Art Plus Math Equals Advertising: The Relationship of Data and Creative

Pop quiz: do you think creativity is a hard skill or a soft skill for marketers?

If you are a creatively-driven person, you may think of creativity as a hard skill.

It is a process after all that many artists hone for years, much in the same way that a data-driven marketer will spend countless hours learning how to analyze the numerical values that we attribute to campaign success. 

But if you are a data-driven marketer, creativity is a soft skill that supports your analytical work. 

More importantly, it can help you generate ad creative–even if you’ve never felt like a very creative person.

The way you can do that? By rethinking how you analyze and utilize legacy and performance data to surface inspiration for hyper-specific elements of ad creative. Because the fact is, in 2022, you don’t have to be a storyteller to tell a great story. 

Join QuickFrame’s Alex Villa, Associate VP of Customer Success, for an on-demand eMarketer webinar. She’ll show you how data can help even the least artistic marketer feel like the world’s greatest creative director. Click here to watch the webinar

Ahead of the talk, let’s double click into a few of the creative elements that data can help inform.

Ad Creative Elements That Can Be Informed by Data

Because advertising utilizes entertainment to sell a product, by their very nature ads are an inherently artistic, story-driven medium. 

But just because it’s artistically driven, doesn’t mean you need to be artistically minded to produce a killer ad that tells a great story.

Instead, you can focus on something you certainly love: data.

By analyzing the data from legacy ad creative assets–inclusive of static images to carousel ads and videos–combined with performance data from present campaigns, you’ll surface key learnings that can help inform numerous creative elements. Those include:

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Production Type

If you have created both live action and animated videos before, then you should have all the data you need to understand which of these two hallmark types of video production will work for your brand. You can refine this even further if you have run different styles of live action or animated ads. 

  • Did a big-budget brand commercial, or a low-cost UGC-style creative perform better? 
  • Is your audience more engaged with 3D or stop-motion animation? 

Even if you’ve never created videos before, review legacy static assets to generate learnings you can use. Do graphics-heavy visuals push the needle, or are stock images of living-breathing humans more likely to do the trick?


Similar to the type of production, analyze the number of actors you feature in your ads to determine the perfect size for your ensemble. Did you see increased performance when your audience was engaged with one on-screen actor, or were they more likely to act on a commercial that featured a big cast of relatable faces? 

Conversely, you can also look at the performance of ads that do and do not feature talent–even if it’s a static asset. This could help you answer the age-old advertising question: to feature cute animals in your commercials, or to not feature cute animals in your commercials?


One of the biggest, and frankly clearest, metrics that illustrates how to use data to inform creative is in the length of your video, specifically Video Completion Rates.

This metric tracks exactly how long a viewer watched your video, whether it’s 1-second or 1-minute. Keeping an eye on how long the viewer is watching an ad tells you how involved your narrative can be, and whether or not the opening hook you are employing is actually resonating with your audience. 

As typical videos range in length, from 6-seconds to 60-seconds and beyond, pinpointing exactly how long it takes for your ads to resonate with your audience will save you time and money across the entire video production process


Surfacing inspiration for the kinds of stories that will resonate with your audience will be a little difficult to do if you have never created a story-driven advertising campaign before. If you have, you can review your performance data to determine if your story landed with your audience, or if you need to take a new approach to engaging your core consumers.

But that doesn’t mean you need performance data to inform your story. Review the data you have at your fingertips on your audience and platform demographics. Thinking broadly about what your audience wants in a story will give you a starting point that isn’t random–but is directly informed by data, like Gen Z’s hunger for bite size content, or millennials’ love of social proof.

Data Informed Creative is the Future of Video Advertising

With less granular audience targeting data, advertisers must refocus their optimization efforts on the performance of their creative assets, like video advertising content

  • What are the messages that are resonating? 
  • What kind of talent does your target audience want to see? 

Data about nuanced creative elements is more critical than ever before, not just because they can generate insights in a privacy-friendly way, but they can uncover information the human eye may not be able to detect. 

In order to do this, brands must engage with data-driven marketing to surface nuanced creative insights that will provide a deeper understanding of their customers and how their creative assets perform. Make sure you watch Alex’s webinar with eMarketer so she can help you rethink the way you look at data today.

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