The Birth of the Creative Hypothesis and How It’s Changing the Way We View Advertising

Nearly everything we know about the world and the way it works has been discovered by way of a hypothesis: an educated guess. In the world of advertising, the focus has always been on the audience and fine-tuning it to become more and more specific. In the midst of this rush to gather more data about prospects and work to position the brand as the answer or solution to their problem, the creative gets left in the dust. 

Is The Creative The Missing Piece of the Advertising Puzzle?

By not paying attention to improving the creative, advertisers are making an across-the-board assumption that the graphic or video clip is the foundation for the ad, but everything else is changeable. 

These days, marketers are centered so much on “what the data reveals” that they pay less attention to “what is the question being asked?” The creative hypothesis turns this model on its head and proposes not only a creative-backed approach to asking a question, but also an intelligent method for finding the answer. 

Experiment Methodology

The Issues of Digital Advertising

With so many concerns and issues to overcome before an ad even gets published, it’s easy to see how advertisers can get mired in the muck. Which creative should be used? How often should the ad run? How should we optimize it?  The further down you drill into these legitimate concerns, though, the more you lose sight of the original goal. 

Even though experimentation is considered the gold standard of testing, many marketers and advertisers loath to implement it simply because they believe it’s too cumbersome and complex. According to the Harvard Business Review, only 12.6% of advertisers use experiments for this very reason. 

The creative hypothesis method seems to change that. 

The Creative Hypothesis is Rooted in What Works

The premise is simple: by aligning the creative hypothesis with the business’ goals, the two parts are able to come together and function as a whole. This process is known as building the Creative Experiment.

The Creative Experiment starts as an ordinary promotion-based incentive. In order to encourage the audience to take the action we want them to take, we build a creative around a relevant, deep question that the company wants an answer to. 

Sweepstakes Participation Incentive. Example of the Addams Family hypothetical promotion

The process that the user goes through

  • Viewers vs. Skippers - Is the creative impactful even on those who skip?
  • Creative - What theme and style creative had the most impact on results?
  • Audience Targeting - Which Audiences targeted are impacted by the creative?
  • Geo - Which regions are showing the strongest lift from our creative?
  • Gender - Do women have a different perception of our ads and brand than men?
  • Technology - Which technology combinations of browser and device enhance my creative impact?

From the user’s perspective, they may only have to watch a few short clips to be entered to win movie tickets. Advertisers will get their name, email address and other relevant information, but it’s what happens in the background that’s drawing the most attention. Because in the background, the creative hypothesis is being tested, and Theatre Audience is currently the only company that’s not only testing that hypothesis, but drawing relevant answers to it. 

The more experiments you conduct, the better your conversions become.

The Theatre Audience Platform

Where Theatre Audience excels is through its intelligent use of not only a promotion-backed offer in the ad, but also in the science that drives the platform and drives conversions. As the user watches video clips, for example, information is being collected. 

This behavioral, perception and preference data is then fed into one of four distinctive machine learning models (dependent upon the number of user entries into the promotion -- the more entries that are obtained, the more accurate our modeling and creative predictions become. ).  

Creative Experiment Insights

From here, the information is analyzed and different correlations are drawn -- more conclusions than any team of advertisers or marketers could come up with, and from there, further insights can be derived and new questions asked, restarting the cycle -- not from scratch, but rather with another hypothesis in mind that creates an even deeper probe into the user’s behavior, preferences and perspective on the question being asked. 

What Kind of Information Can Be Gleaned from Such Tests? 

Perhaps the most intuitive part of Theatre Audience’s technology is what kind of information can be gleaned from these creative experiments and the hypotheses that drive them. The answer is: anything you can conceive. Want to know how a product change would sit with your prospective audience before you make that change? Wondering if there are gender or aged-based preferences in terms of your new logo or product design? 

The only way to know is to test, and the only test worth conducting that truly gives you all possible angles of the answer, complete with concrete data to reinforce it, is an experiment that’s rooted in a creative hypothesis. 

To schedule a product demo and some recommendations on how your team can best leverage Creative Experiments to drive stronger, more effective ad creative, ...

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