How Digital Has Transformed the Creative Landscape [Infographic]

Long gone are the days when marketing and ad teams spent their time developing just a few choice pieces for traditional channels.

Digital has revolutionized nearly every aspect of creative, from how it’s made to how it’s distributed.

How exactly have things changed? Which shifts have had the biggest impact? Did digital kill the creative star?

To find out, check out MDG’s infographic, How Digital Has Transformed the Creative Landscape.


1. Creatives Are Developing Many More Formats for Many More Platforms
The biggest change brought by digital to creative is that it has both increased the number of platforms brands need to engage on and the number of content types they need to develop.

In addition to traditional channels and formats, marketers must now create a wide range of content for a wide range of platforms. These include:

Blog posts Social posts
Long-form text Infographics
Images and slideshows Short-form videos
Long-form videos Interactive experiences
Owned websites External websites
Organic social media Paid social media
Organic search Paid search
Display advertising Email newsletters

In many ways, this mirrors the shift other industries underwent long ago: marketing and advertising creative has moved from focused craftsmanship to production at scale.

2. Personalization and Programmatic Are Driving Even More Demand for Creative
Another major impact of digital is that it has made it cost efficient to target specific audiences, and even specific individuals, with specific pieces of creative.

These approaches and technologies, such as personalization and programmatic ad buying, have been widely embraced because of their effectiveness.

  • 70% of creatives say it’s important to personalize content around the customer journey
  • 81% of agencies now engage in programmatic buying of digital advertising

A key consequence of targeted marketing is that it has sparked demand for more creative, since multiple versions of ads and content pieces are often needed. That is largely why:

  • 65% of creatives say they are creating more content than 5 years ago
  • 60% of creatives say they spend more time creating content than 5 years ago

3. Data and New Tools Have Changed the Nature of Creative
Digital has not only changed how pieces are distributed, but also how they are made. In part, this has taken the form of new tools, such as hardware and software, for developing creative.

  • 69% of creatives say they are using different tools compared with 5 years ago

However, the shift goes well beyond just new tools. The combination of constantly-updated data and fresh content types has made the entire creative field more iterative and collaborative.

  • 73% of creatives say it is now important to be able to collaborate easily

Increasingly, development is organic and fluid, not static. This means teams are being required to do more on a day-to-day basis than simply creating.

Compared to five years ago:

  • 40% of creatives spend more time on asset management and collaboration
  • 38% spend more time on iterating designs and getting approvals
  • 28% spend more time on meetings and administration

4. Creatives Have Started to Rely Increasingly on Automation and AI
How have creatives been able to develop many more pieces as well as take on much more collaboration and iteration without massively bigger budgets?

A large factor, and another transformative aspect of digital, has been automation.

The share of creatives who say they use automation to help with:

  • 46% templates
  • 40% photo/design retouching
  • 34% file naming
  • 31% style guide implementation
  • 20% smart grids
  • 18% localization

Automation may just be the start of how technology transforms the creative process. AI has already been incorporated into design software to enable the development of dynamic experiences, and a significant share of creatives believe it will soon have an even bigger impact.

  • 69% of creatives foresee their use of AI increasing over the next 5 years
  • 45% of creatives think AI will take over some of their job responsibilities

5. The Democratization of Creative Has Made Talent More Important Than Ever
A key way digital has transformed creative is that it has democratized it; with smartphones and social media nearly anyone can share nearly anything online.

This has led to a growing flood of content from consumers, not just creatives.

Every minute online people:

  • Share 2 million snaps
  • Watch 4 million YouTube videos
  • Post 50 thousand Instagram photos
  • Publish 80 thousand Tumblr posts

At first glance, this would seem to make creatives less valuable: who needs a professional when everyone with an smartphone can post something? However, that’s not actually the case.

A study of the Instagram preferences of 13-24 year-olds found they want posts that are:

  • Thoughtfully composed
  • Artfully presented
  • Beautiful/engaging
  • Have rich/authentic narratives

In other words, young, online-savvy audiences highly prize the abilities of professional creators, like skillful design and deft storytelling. Ultimately, while digital has transformed nearly every other aspect of the field, it has not killed the creative star. In fact, talented creators are more valuable than ever—and now they have more powerful tools than ever.

To find out more, check out the full infographic, How Digital Has Transformed the Creative Landscape.

How Digital Has Transformed the Creative Landscape [Infographic]

Learn more about the importance of marketing and advertising creative. Contact MDG today at 561-338-7797 or visit

MDG, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, outdoor, newspaper, digital marketing, website design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, paid search marketing, and SEO. To learn about the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG today at 561-338-7797 or visit