Quality creative: the performance powerhouse for ad campaigns

John McNerney
By John McNerney | 1 September 2023
John McNerney.

John McNerney, Managing Director, AUSEA, Yahoo

Imagine a symphony orchestra performing a piece of music, each instrument playing an important role to make the music sound great. In advertising, the creative part is like the conductor. It's like the boss that makes sure all the different parts of an ad campaign work well together and make it awesome. Just like a conductor leads the musicians, quality creative leads the ad campaign.

It's no longer enough to rely on run-of-the-mill advertising; marketers must harness the inherent power of high-impact creative to thrive in this dynamic and intricate landscape. It also doesn’t help that the ad landscape has become increasingly complex amidst a shift to cookieless environments and the proliferation of emerging channels.

However, achieving and defining quality creative isn't a straightforward task. It requires understanding the nuances of consumer preferences, the art of storytelling, and the skillful integration of data-driven insights. As the ad landscape becomes convoluted, the pressure to deliver exceptional content has never been higher.

Here’s how marketers in APAC can explore practical strategies to elevate their campaigns by embracing high impact creative, from incorporating human elements to leveraging data-driven factors.

The elements of a great creative

People are inundated with ads, which means what they actually pay attention to is more important than ever. The emergence of new channels brings forth even more opportunities for advertising - you can even see billboards on passenger boarding bridges when you’re walking onto a plane, when you have nothing to do but stand and stare!

Creative can be a powerful differentiating factor amidst this abundance of advertising, with creative quality driving 56% of impact on purchase intent, according to the MAGNA Media study1. This makes it clear that creative has proven links to driving actions.

But if you don’t have an expansive budget to pour into developing new brand assets, don’t worry - quality creative doesn't mean you need to drastically change your existing assets, or need to ask your CFO for more money.

There are still small changes that advertisers can implement to greatly improve the effectiveness of their creative. Understanding how emotions play a crucial role in human decision-making, it's important to realise that some purchases are heavily influenced by feelings, while others might be affected less noticeably.

For example, adding a human element can make your ad stand out and be more memorable. Most ads already include logos or product images, but advertisers can build on this and add data-driven factors such as personalised recommendations and location-based targeting to optimise performance and drive brand quality and trust.

Strong visuals draw in consumers with the propensity to buy, and even placing a more direct call to action (CTA) can spur consumers - with as much as a 77% lift to take action among shoppers looking for offers or deals after seeing an ad2. Creating ways for a brand and its customers to talk and connect can bring even more advantages, building a stronger and deeper bond.

Your creative is much more impactful than you think - and even minor improvements can go a long way.

All systems go: Quality creative within a full-funnel approach

Starting your campaign with the right creative can immediately produce positive results and spur customers to meaningful action.

Although creative is often associated with the top of funnel metrics, it actually extends across the entire journey. Quality creative is an effective KPI driver for brands compared to ad media placement, driving top-of-mind ad recall (79%), brand favourability (77%), and purchase intent (76%).3

Creative plays a crucial role in engaging consumers from the beginning to the end, making it a vital component of a full-funnel marketing strategy. Having a full-funnel strategy is important given how customer journeys are more cyclical, and less linear.

And it is now more crucial than ever to understand audience behaviour, given how people interact with different devices at different moments. This is especially important in the mobile-first APAC market4 where people are digitally connected even when they are on the go.

Marketers should experiment more with communicating messages across multiple devices. Customising creatives to suit each channel's strengths. For example, on desktop ads, visuals should be prioritised, with enhanced imagery giving a 50% uplift in message association and a 27% uplift in search intent4.

Yahoo's collaboration with Tourism Tasmania in Australia is one example that demonstrates the power of creativity first hand. It incorporated digital-out-of-home (DOOH) with captivating audio, native and display ads on mobile and desktop to create a seamless experience from awareness to conversion.

Leveraging an omnichannel demand-side platform (DSP) can also help better optimise quality creative across channels to drive the best results, while giving you a complete picture of your audience and the campaign.

A winning combination

Given the seismic changes across the advertising ecosystem, brands that lean in on quality creative will be on the cusp of ushering in a new golden age in advertising.

According to the Yahoo- Magna study, compelling creative has been revealed as the game-changer in achieving success throughout the entire consumer journey.

But what good is great creative if no one sees it?

While quality creative is essential, it should not exist in a vacuum - it needs to be paired with premium placement, relevant targeting, and strategic timing, and backed by ad tech tools that help bring scale, precision, and drive performance.

Programmatic creative technologies, such as DOOH and streaming, paired with programmatic buying, can enhance the effectiveness and relevance of ads while providing a personalised experience.

Additionally, the shift towards cookieless environments has also led to progress in consolidating and standardising campaign measurement across channels. Marketers are advised to seek out solutions that effectively address measurement challenges and provide a unified perspective of the customer journey. This strategic step holds the potential to enhance customer experiences significantly, enabling the delivery of tailored messages and offerings founded on valuable insights.

Even with all the tools and best practices available, creative still needs to be fueled by creativity. This goes beyond campaign ideas and extends to exploring new frontiers and pushing the boundaries on what’s possible.

The case is clear: creative is the first step to achieving breakthrough ad success. But marketers need to think innovatively, and utilise the latest tools and technology, in order to truly unlock and unleash the power of their creative.


  1. Creative, the Performance Powerhouse, Yahoo and MAGNA

  2. Creative, the Performance Powerhouse, Yahoo and MAGNA

  3. Creative, the Performance Powerhouse, Yahoo and MAGNA

  4. From following marketing trends to creating them—a digital, mobile-led future is already emerging in APAC, December 2022. https://www.campaignasia.com/article/from-following-marketing-trends-to-creating-them-a-digital-mobile-led-future-i/482440

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