The Struggle to Integrate Programmatic with Creative
October 26, 2016
By Kelsey Meuse
While programmatic technology has focused on automating the buying and selling of digital advertising and has assimilated itself with display, video, and even native, it has struggled to integrate with the creative aspect of a modern-day campaign. As a result, programmatic creative is mistakenly used as a synonym for dynamic creative and data-driven creative when in reality it is neither -- and the next big disruption that our industry is facing remains at a standstill.
Programmatic creative is actually a combination of technologies that facilitate impactful creative storytelling and capitalize on the things that make programmatic so useful in media and audience targeting.
Ad buyers who want to deliver the best possible ad experiences can apply the same sort of innovative thinking they use for the purchase of inventory, and planning of campaigns, to their ad creative.
Advertisers today should be looking at how creative technology can meet the challenges of programmatic environments in a more targeted, personalized way.
While programmatic buying has increased efficiency through automation, the opportunity within programmatic creative is to leverage data, media, and creative technologies to craft an engaging narrative that reacts in a fluid manner to the customer journey.
Rich media is capable of capturing consumers' attention, but is often viewed outside the world of personalized creative because of the design challenges of creating engaging campaigns at scale. However, working within a programmatic context enables the ads to load properly across the Web on any site or app, rather than only on unique sites that are purchased individually.
The data strategies that have always been at the core of advertisers' programmatic plans translate to programmatic creative, and advertisers can apply the same inputs for creative targeting that they would for media buying -- inputs like audience data, ad engagement data, and contextual data, for example. This requires native data capabilities as well as direct integrations with tools such like data-management platforms and demand-side platforms.
The value of programmatic creative is enhanced when this data is harnessed, not siloed. By combining a data warehouse with a visual, creative-based buying platform, advertisers can activate their first- and third-party data in a meaningful way to tell full-funnel customer journey stories. This includes new methods to deliver different creative to different audience segments and data about engagement and exposure directly from the ad server itself, in order to tell a sequential story across all consumer touchpoints within a digital campaign.
Finally, the most successful programmatic creative functions in the same way as dynamic creative optimization, and implements targeting, optimization, and scalable creative authoring. Dynamic creative is not a separate tool.
Rather, programmatic creative (the data-driven personalization kind) is an aspect of dynamic creative that allows brands to leverage data and programmatic media to deliver optimized, high-performing messaging to different portions of the target audience. The most crucial components of this technology are the ability to automate data where appropriate and to also maintain editorial control over the creative so as to deliberately craft the experience, rather than rely solely on an algorithm.
What should matter most to advertisers from now on is not how they buy their ads, but how effective those ads are. If brands want to deliver advertising that truly stands out amid the competition, then understanding programmatic creative is of the utmost importance.
"The Struggle to Integrate Programmatic with Creative." MediaPost, 10/26/16.
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