Data + creativity = profit

Google and Facebook serve up 15 trillion ads a year. How do you make yours stand out?


There’s something deeply satisfying about running a performance and optimisation campaign. Turn on the ads, optimise your keyword lists, refine the conversion journey, dial the demographic laser-targeting up to 11 and watch the sales rack up. It really makes you feel like you are squeezing every last ounce of juice from your spend.

The instant gratification and intermittent reward schedules are addictive. Can we beat last week’s numbers? Can we convert another 1% of clicks into sales? How’s our cost per acquisition (CPA) this week? It becomes a game. And the plethora of detailed stats at your fingertips make it easy to report up the line. You spent £50k, got back £100k and because you can almost always get a return, it’s easy to justify to the board.

Nudging those who already know they want your product into hitting that ‘buy now’ button creates sales efficiency, maximising your chances in the relentless competition for that last click. Done well, it can raise sales by 50% or more. If you have any kind of direct channel, you should almost certainly be doing this (and if you aren’t, Dinosaur can help you with that).

Where performance underperforms

And yet, there’s an elephant in the room. Despite these amazing tools at our disposal, marketing effectiveness is declining.


The problem is this: increased efficiency only converts those who are already in the market for your product. And your competitors will respond in kind. So, it rapidly becomes the marketing equivalent of trench warfare. Brands are expending ever more ammunition trying to outgun each other without really moving the battle lines. Google and Facebook are the only real winners in that war.

Breaking out of the trenches

As Byron Sharp showed in “How Brands Grow” expanding your market and attracting new customers is more profitable over the long term than investing in getting existing customers to buy more. That being the case, lobbing ever more retargeted tedium at people who already buy your brand is a bad idea.

So, how can you expand your reach to new audiences? Can we harness this astonishing behavioural data to deliver the holy grail of effective brand communications: the right message, at the right time, to the right person?

Spoiler: yes, we can. The hypertargeting used to convert clicks to sales in search can be used to create moments of perfect emotional relevance. But it has to be an integral part of the entire creative process from first thoughts to development, execution and delivery. The medium and the message must become so tightly entwined as to be inseparable.

Profiting from data: listen and understand

Step 1 of great creative is to get inside the head of your target audience. What do they care about? What makes them smile? What drives them? And what drives them spare?

Search data, audience signals and social listening show us how your customers discover your product, where they talk about it and how. Where we used to rely solely on Mosaic data, archetypes and tiny focus groups, we can now see and hear first-hand how people feel about your product at scale. We trace their buying journey across the YouTube tutorials they viewed, the Facebook groups they joined, the searches they did to find out more, the comments they made in forums and the Trustpilot review they left behind at the end

This is an amazing creative toolkit. It lets us understand what makes someone tick, so we can develop campaigns that exactly fit the emotional needs of your customer.

Profiting from data: the medium and the message

We can see where your customer hangs out and when they buy: the right place and time. We also understand how they think. So, we can craft the right message. These are the building blocks of a powerful campaign.

But we have put this in context: Google and Facebook serve over 40 billion ads a day. The roar of competing noise is staggering. To get your ad noticed over all the others, it really does have to stand out. And this where smart creativity differentiates. In the second it takes for someone’s eyes to slide over an ad, how will you arrest the next twitch of that ever-scrolling thumb?

Simply put: we have to be right there in the moment with them.

Hitting exactly the right moment is what Cadbury’s did with its pre-joy campaign.

Cleverly subverting the content of popular and joyful viral videos, they made YouTube pre-rolls positioning Cadbury’s as the source of all that joy: 6 seconds before granny started rapping, she munched their chocs. By crafting ads with perfect relevance to the context in which they appeared this campaign stood out, made people smile and associated Cadbury’s with fun and happiness.

Profiting from data: targeting for emotional relevance

This is micro-targeting redefined. We’re no longer trying to target a single demographic of existing buyers, but instead a moment when people are sensitised to your message, creating an opportunity to be incredibly relevant and memorable.

Take this recent execution from VOO, selling its fast broadband package. Cheekily, it hijacked the ‘buffering’ roundel in popular video streaming services with its own message. So, at the exact moment people were experiencing the frustrating limits of a slow internet connection, a better alternative was offered.

Alternatively, take Burger King’s recent ‘Whopper Detour.” It was a simple idea (the best ones often are); offer consumers a Whopper for just one cent, but only when they are standing in a McDonalds.

It works because the creative team looked at exactly the same targeting tools that are available to every other marketer and harnessed them in surprising, cheeky, memorable and emotionally satisfying ways. And note, this execution is not just right on brand for Burger King but also a conversion piece. Great campaigns serve both performance and brand objectives, as we’ve argued for a long time. In fact, it’s the most profitable kind of campaign a brand can run; Binet and Field’s analysis of 993 ad campaigns spanning two decades demonstrates this convincingly.

The new face of integrated communications

What these campaigns have in common is this: the data-led insight, the creative idea and the delivery were all tightly coupled to conjure up work far greater than the sum of its parts. Most people hate repetitive and irrelevant messages that get in the way of the content they came for, so smart marketers are using the insights and opportunities provided by modern adtech to create emotionally satisfying campaigns people actually remember.

Of course, digital executions like these may only ever form part of your campaign. The most effective marketing mix for your brand is unique to you. We don’t ever lose sight of that. Here at Dinosaur, we’ve always worked across multiple channels, disciplines and audiences to deliver persuasive, relevant and effective campaigns. This is just the next evolutionary step in our pursuit of advertising effectiveness. By integrating data, strategy, creative and delivery better than ever before, we cut through the noise and grow your brand.


To see more of our work, click here for case studies on how we’ve helped The Co-op, Adidas, TfGMMidcounties Co-opWagamama and many more. 

Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more, give us a call on 0161 831 0831 and ask for Nicola or get in touch at


Contact Us:
To find out how Dinosaur could help you get great results, phone Nicola on
0161 831 0831
Get great articles like this in your inbox

Privacy policy



Contact Us:
To find out how Dinosaur could help you get great results, phone Nicola on
0161 831 0831
Get great articles like this in your inbox
Success! You have been subscribed to our newsletter.
Error! You have not been subscribed to our newsletter.