Content Marketing

More than half of content produced is never activated

More than half of content produced is never activated

Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Advertisers’ lack of visibility into their creative production lifecycle sets the industry up to waste billions in 2024 on content that never gets used.

This is according to a study by creative agency CreativeX, which estimated that the average F500 company could be wasting at least $25 million a year on unused creative assets. Across the entire industry, that translates to $100 billion on assets that are never activated.

Advertisers are looking to genAI to create more content, more quickly, but more content does not necessarily mean greater impact. The lack of concrete data across the content lifecycle, from creation to activation, means marketers have limited visibility into whether and how their core assets are localised, versioned, and repurposed across markets, brands, channels, and agencies.

Without visibility into content production, brands miss out on potential efficiencies 

In the current marketing landscape, brands are under increasing pressure to drive marketing efficiencies. But they are investing in content production without visibility as to how it’s used, by who, and where.

This leads to inefficiencies in the content production lifecycle, costing brands millions annually. CreativeX’s analysis demonstrated that 52% of core assets created by brands were never activated across their markets. This means paid-for creative work was never given an opportunity to drive business value or exposed to the consumer.

As marketing budgets continue to come under strain, advertisers shouldn’t just look to cut costs but examine where there are opportunities to make efficiency gains in their creative lifecycle. Reallocating budget towards activities that will drive further value might mean more investment in content that is activated, or upping investment into research or media.

GenAI is set to make the content production challenge more difficult

While generative AI might cut production costs and time, this investment is wasted if the content is never deployed at all. Without the visibility to track content from creation to activation, and guardrails in place to ensure creative quality, marketers will not reap the full benefits of AI.

AI can help provide this visibility. CreativeX’s Creative Lifecycle application is powered by AI/ML-driven asset-matching technology that unlocks a view of where and how core assets are localised, and activated, and the extent to which they are reused.

The application was developed in collaboration with The Brandtech Group, OLIVER and advertisers leading the way in digital transformation including Bayer. For Bayer’s marketing team, Creative Lifecycle has enabled unprecedented visibility into their content production process.

David Jones, founder and CEO of The Brandtech Group, which partnered with CreativeX on testing and developing the new technology, said: “When I hear all the talk about artificial intelligence and how it’s going to revolutionise marketing, my response is that it’s already here. It’s already happening, and has been for some years, not just since ChatGPT exploded onto the scene.

“It is disrupting all aspects of marketing. Creative Lifecycle is a fantastic example of an application of AI that pushes way beyond content production, which many brands are now doing. It gives global brands access to information they have never had before and our teams are in a position to drive a step-change in efficiency, to truly elevate the use of our clients’ best marketing assets, at scale.”

Gaining visibility into an asset’s creative lifecycle allows brands to answer other pressing questions, specifically how content is being used and repurposed, which in turn facilitates a data-driven conversation between global and local teams.

Anastasia Leng, CEO and founder of CreativeX, said: “CreativeX has been using technology to measure inefficiencies in our content production cycle for years now, but this is probably one of the most wasteful patterns we’ve uncovered to-date.

“The industry dedicates much air-time to the notion that content is wearing out, but the data shows that more than 50% of ads we create never reach the consumer, let alone get a chance to wear in. Our newest creative data application, fittingly named Creative Lifecycle, allows brands to track how their content is used end-to-end, providing some much-needed transparency on our creative assets’ activation and re-usage rates.” 

In the study, CreativeX’s application was used to analyse 1,284 core assets associated with 422,272 posts across 50+ markets in 2023. Assuming that the working-to-non-working media spend ratio is 70:30 for the average F500 company, and using Dentsu’s predicted media spend figures for 2024. 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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