Director, Client Solutions EMEA
Kevin Van Der Straat
Director, Global Product Operations
The combination of techniques and technologies known as “programmatic creative” are bringing new levels of creativity back into programmatic advertising campaigns.
Programmatic creative (PC) is giving brand marketers the tools to programmatically deliver highly-tailored rich media creative advertising that engages and activates customers. It’s enabling programmatic partners to break through traditional silos and work with creative and media agencies to enable these individualized ads.
Rather than single 30- or 60-second videos distributed everywhere, marketers can run variations across YouTube, social media, and every other platform. Then within those outlets, individualized creative messaging can be tailored to the recipient. They can optimize further by applying machine learning with AI to further hone in on the cost-effective outcomes they want.
The sum of these capabilities is far more powerful than their individual benefits. It reinvigorates the creative power of advertising within today’s advanced, data-driven framework.
Programmatic Creative in Use
Suppose there are two men of similar demographic backgrounds, devices, and geography. They are both choice prospects for a brand’s messaging, but one is single and the other a father. Through the use of programmatic creative techniques, they can each be shown individualized videos with differing images and music to match their profiles.
Our technology partner Jivox uses PC to layer elements that automatically create highly personalized video messaging in the briefest of instants. With one international hotel chain, it incorporated the client’s first-party customer data to show personalized videos referencing rewards program members’ points balance, while also including data on location, device, and demographic and behavioral profiles. Targeted subjects were shown tailored video advertisements appropriate to their locales — a beautiful beach, a mountain resort, and so on — along with an overlain message on what their points could do for them there.
Another video campaign for a major car manufacturer in Europe used the techniques to show similar variations. It increased measured outcomes by 800% while realizing big savings in production costs over what it would have had to spend to create multiple variations without PC.
“What we’ve traditionally done in programmatic media is very ugly ads in a rigid template — wonderful, rich data plugging into awful ads,” says Danielle Wykes, Managing Director EMEA of Jivox. “The technology now allows brands to have complete and utter freedom in terms of their creative.”
Through the use of PC, a single video campaign is able to show tens of millions of variations. Because the components are stored in the cloud, they can assemble and serve quickly and lightly onto screens driven by powerful CPUs. Rich media, screen takeovers, and interactivity have become part of the programmatic mix. Even retargeting gets a new luster as messages vary along customers’ purchase consideration cycles.
PC’s power has been unleashed through the confluence of increased telecom bandwidth and speed, the computing power behind even small screens, and the deft application of AI and machine learning. Marketing technology partners start with a big data advantage, then gather more on who is looking at what device, when and where, to deliver those engaging and individually targeted creative variations.
Enabling Better Measurement
New measurement capabilities also come into play, enabling marketers to move beyond creative that’s constricted by rudimentary “bottom funnel” measurements such as clickthroughs.
Instead, sophisticated attribution models let us track exposures to outcomes such as store visits, brand uplift, and brand recall that spring from messaging delivered to the right screens in the right sequence, at the right days and times. Qualitative measures such as surveys help cross-reference so as to further optimize along the value chain.
The technologies let marketers and their agencies start with a creative rather than technological perspective to determine what will work best to achieve the aims.
At Its Best, Advertising Is Creative
Advertising is most effective when it moves people, when brilliant creative executions stir emotions and action. Programmatic advertising, unfortunately, has minimized those wonderful flights of creative fancy. Advertisers have spent many millions on data while letting investments into creativity lag far behind. But the right audience and screen means little if the messaging itself is not compelling.
Creative is the first point of contact with prospects and customers. It’s the thing that attracts them, gets them to look, to listen, to pay attention, and to engage. Now, with programmatic creative techniques that incorporate the best of creative input, dynamic creative optimization (DCO), AI, machine learning, big data, and strategic analysis from the best experts, we can use the best of it all for marketers’ benefit.
Creative agencies can act on insights learned from enriched data, tuning finely crafted messages to both a brand’s imperatives and a user’s desires. They can work in tandem with media agencies and programmatic partners.
The most powerful technologies are finally re-introducing the human aspect into programmatic advertising. Marketers are moving from a focus on quick results that lose track of the human side to instead bring the best creative techniques to bear in developing messages that both target people and persuade them.