Creative That Works: Email Is The Most Measurable Medium

Top-notch marketing creatives — those with travel budgets — will soon be strutting around Cannes with their awards in hand. You can’t help but feel good for them.

But will they really deserve the awards? Will these honors be based on actual marketing results, or on the judges’ subjective feelings about the campaigns? 

This question is pertinent in light o a report out today in Marketing Week. Measuring creative is not only an “oxymoron,” as the article states, it is an apparently hopeless task. 

A survey of 400 brands by Marketing Week shows that 61.8% measure the impact of their creative. But even more — 76.5% — measure media. And 11.7% measure neither. 

Post-launch measurement is conducted by 90.3%, but only 40.6% pre-test creative to see if it can be improved, and 35.2 pre-test to decide whether or not to even run the creative.

Here are the pre-launch mechanisms used for testing creative:

  • Live testing — 66.7%
  • Focus groups — 62.2% 
  • Online quant — 50%
  • Machine testing — 22.4% 
  • One-to-one — 17.3% 
  • Neuroscience — 8.3% 
  • Biometrics — 3.8% 
  • Other — 4.5%



Oh, these poor children.  Maybe they should fall back on the eternal direct marketing verities, the ones that have served direct mail senders for over 100 years.  

You don’t need to scan eyeballs, lead a group of tired consumers through a focus group, track their browsing behavior through 150 websites  or take a wild guess based on your likes an dislikes.  

You can switch channels and start understanding your results immediately in terms your CFO can understand.   

Sorry if this sounds like a pitch, but email is the most measurable channel. People respond or they don’t, they open the email, they click through, they convert. 

And smart email marketers conduct A/B testing of just about everything, from the subject line to the offer.

They can make real-time changes and easily correct course. 

That’s as simple as it gets.

In an article on ClickZ earlier this year, Kevin George, brand marketing manager at EmailMonks, recommended testing these elements in an email:

  1. Subject line
  2. Preview test 
  3. Email cop 
  4. Personalization in emails
  5. Email design 
  6. Discounts or offers in email 
  7. Call to action 
  8. Time of  sending email.

What more do you need to know? 

Email is getting more interactive, and more brands are using video and other engagement tools. But the creative elements listed above cannot be judged on your view of their entertainment value: they have to produce numerical results.

Attributing impact in a larger campaign is a different matter. And few marketers have mastered attribution beyond last-click measurement.    

But back to creative impact (outside of email). Based on analysis of 500 campaigns in 2016 and 2017, Nielsen concluded that “creative is responsible for 47% of the sales uplift, ahead of reach (22%), brand (15%) and targeting (9%),” Marketing Week reports.

Really? Show me the numbers.



1 comment about "Creative That Works: Email Is The Most Measurable Medium".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 11, 2019 at 8:54 a.m.

    It's hard to believe that any sophisticated branding advertiser---as opposed to any type of advertiser----doesn't pre-test and later, measure, the impact of their TV ads. One must wonder about the makeup of the respondents to this study and whether they are representative. As for Nielsen's estimates---based on some sort of data manipulation-----about the role of "creative' being 47% of the ball game for the average advertiser, I believe that this probably understates the case and that there siimply isn't enough data on the intangible aspects to permit the data chompers to really get a good fix on this.

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