29/06/2015 12:00 BST | Updated 29/06/2016 06:59 BST

Tech Companies at Cannes Lion Help Improve Quality of Creative

Last week saw the international creative community descending on the streets (and sandy beaches) of Southern France. The Cannes Lions International Festival is a yearly celebration and showcase of the work and innovations the world's creative and advertising industries have come up with.

Jon Wilkins, Executive Chairman at Karmarama said at this year's festival that "Big tech firms at Cannes are trying to join the party. They are here to celebrate the meeting of the algorithm and the idea- the future of programmatic creativity. But I don't buy it".

I would argue that Jon is missing the point, it's not a case of either or - it's about how we can work best together! To prove this we (a big tech firm) recently published a report analysing 40,000 banner ads, across 18 different industries from 1,076 different advertisers over an 8 month period. This report shows how technology can help improve the creative output of advertisers. It found that people respond more positively to male faces in adverts than female faces. Adverts featuring men averaged 102% higher conversion rates than those without a person in them and adverts featuring women saw a 25% higher conversion rate, whilst ads featuring a man and a woman under performed with a 15% lower conversion rate.

Interestingly the entertainment industry saw the greatest gender bias, 41% of adverts for entertainment products ranging from films to TV shows to theatre productions featured male celebrities whilst only 8% of adverts featured female celebrities. Some might find it surprising that adverts with male celebrities had a 670% higher conversion rate than ads featuring female celebrities.

Across the board online ads that feature a human in them saw 4% higher conversion rates than those that didn't feature a person of either gender.

The full report also looked to highlight the impact (positive and negative) different creative design choices have on the success of an online campaign. We dissected the designs to compare elements ranging from background colour, promotions and offers, inclusions of products, humans, call to actions and whether an advert was animated or not.

Key findings highlighted ads with red backgrounds had 31% higher conversion rates than average whereas grey backgrounds had 8% lower conversion rates than average. Furthermore, product images have 6% higher conversion rates than those without and animated ads have a 7% higher conversion rate. And ads with a logo placed in the lower left corner have 81% higher conversion rates than those with a logo placed anywhere else.

Some might look at the data and conclude that it over-prescribes creative opportunities but we think the opposite is true. The data illuminates what has worked well in the past, but it doesn't limit the discovery of what mightwork in the future.

With insight like this provided by analysis, tech and data, advertisers will be able to hone their content to be ever more effective and improve the overall quality of entries on show at Cannes Lion for years to come!