For past few years, the ad tech industry has been in a mad rush, scrambling to find alternative solutions to defuse the ticking time-bomb that is the depreciation of third-party cookies. New identity solutions and new targeting options are steadily rolling out for advertisers and agencies to test and onboard. While it is crucial for the industry to address the impending shakeup, it is also important to take a step back and consider another important aspect of overall marketing strategy: Creative technology.
A 2017 Study by Nielsen found that creative messaging has one of the biggest impacts on sales, yet we are still seeing little innovation around creative technology within the programmatic space. By understanding the different aspects of creative technology, marketers can successfully leverage them for campaigns.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms have been the go-to solution for global brands to manage digital assets and distribute them across different marketing teams. However, the assets often require additional redevelopment at a local level, creating an extra strain on resources. Today, the Creative Management Platform is the evolved solution that allows brands to build standard templates for multi-channel digital assets according to corporate digital guidelines and then distribute these to different teams. Such templates can be used many times over to generate new banner series for different campaigns, with just changes to image and copy combinations. The benefits of doing this include streamlining the processes of creative adaptation and localisation, enabling brand governance at the global level and, most importantly, saving both time and costs.
Creative resizing is probably the most mundane and low-value job for creative teams. With multiple banner size requirements to adapt for display, social, and partner sites and owned channels, layered on with creative versioning requirements, a simple three-version creative plan for a weekend sale event can easily turn into a logistical nightmare. With creative automation technology, a master template can be rapidly adapted into different sizes, and using website information, product feed or data from external API (weather, stock prices, sports scores) to populate the banners with various copy and image combinations. Another trend we are seeing is the application of AI in creative development: advancements in GPT-3 have made human-like copywriting a possibility, while video creation operating on AI is also catching on. We anticipate that this will be an exciting space to watch in the near future.
One of most common applications of Creative Personalisation is in ecommerce to retarget consumers with products they have considered, but have not purchased. With the demise of third-party cookies, it seems this remarketing capability will take a hard knock, but new solutions around personalisation have emerged, such as using Product-Level Turtledove, Topics under the Google Privacy Sandbox initiative, first-party data and using content categorisation. We have also seen great success for brands leveraging other data indicators like location, time of day, day of week to develop multiple creative variants that are contextually relevant.
Creative Testing, Measurement and Optimisation
A recent study by DVJ Insights revealed that over 50% of marketers do not test their ads prior to launch. With limited time-to-market and resources, such endeavours typically remain on the back-burner due to the extra time and effort needed to manually test and measure different elements within ads. A creative testing platform will help to streamline the testing, measurement, and optimisation process. The platform can conduct A/B variant testing, or test different creative elements using the Multivariate approach and measure several metrics, such as engagement, clicks, brand-lift. With machine learning algorithms such as Multi-Armed Bandits, both testing and optimisation (Explore vs. Exploit) can occur at the same time, greatly reducing the length of testing periods and wasted impressions.
Rich Media Execution
In 1987, two great computing advancements occurred: MS Dos 3.3 was released, and the GIF file was invented. As we celebrate 35 years of these inventions, it’s astonishing that the GIF format is still widely used today in display banners. On the other hand, social media platforms have been continuously pushing out new and innovative formats, some of which are spilling over into programmatic display. Innovative creative executions like Social Display, Conversational Ads, Surveys, Interactive Videos, Shoppable Ads, and Lead Gen Ads are just some of the rich media formats that have found their way into display inventory. Banner display ads are no longer just traffic drivers, but tools that allow brands to tell their stories, engage users and even drive sales.