Programmatic Creative Across Devices: The Opportunity And The Challenge

creativv_edited-1Digital advertisers often become enamored with ad tech at the expense of creative.

“We are still miles from being able to generate great varieties of good creative to suit the various permutations of user brand environment,” said Chris Stark, SVP of product marketing for Grapeshot, a UK software company that does algorithmic ad optimization.

Defining creative programmatic strategies will require the brands to rethink how they express themselves, Stark said.

Nevertheless, there’s been a resurgence of dynamic creative optimization tools and greater interest in flashy new mobile formats like full-page takeovers and native spots.

AdExchanger asked execs from firms playing in the programmatic creative space: What are the opportunities for programmatic creative and cross-device, and what are the execution challenges? 

Click below to read their responses.

Tim Waddell, director of product marketing for advertising solutions, Adobe

“The opportunity for marketers with programmatic is greater transparency and control over media campaigns. With programmatic, advertisers can reach the same audience across channels and devices to deliver personalized creative experiences throughout the user journey. For example, a personalized, relevant and consistent creative experience can be delivered in a display ad, social ad, search ad and on a website – all powered by data and programmatic. This is made possible by data and audience segmentation, and the ability to reach those audiences across channels through a programmatic ad-buying platform.

However, these capabilities drive a greater reliance on technology and algorithms to assist in the process. Humans cannot manage these processes alone, which is the fundamental goal behind programmatic – automated, data-driven and transparent ad optimization.”

Paul Longo, managing director, Accordant Media

“There are two key challenges we see facing cross-device creative programmatic and mobile scale in general.

The first is extending desktop display segmentation to mobile. Clients have spent significant time developing audience segments and creative pairings for display and the scale and accuracy of this approach has proved to be very powerful. Those segments and aligned messages now need to scale to mobile. Progress has been made here but nascent mobile tracking capabilities and the smaller, less flexible creative palate are specific obstacles to overcome. Additionally, advanced dynamic efforts used on desktop, such as ad sequencing and storyboarding, are difficult to execute in both complexity and reality of the consumer’s engagement and attention.

The second is proving the efficacy of mobile. Mobile measurement is a critical component to scaling programmatic creative cross-device. Many consumers conduct research on mobile but transact on desktop. A holistic cross-device measurement approach is needed to gauge the true value of mobile impressions that influence desktop actions. No solution here is perfect but establishing cross-device benchmarks based on best data available is the right place to start.”

Matevz Klanjsek, chief product officer, Celtra

“The idea behind programmatic creative is the alignment of media and creative strategies. …. One of the main challenges of cross-screen programmatic creative is the identification of unique users. While it is relatively easy to track users on desktop or in mobile apps, mobile web remains a challenge. With better methods for matching cookie data and advertising IDs, accuracy has improved but match rates are low, often below 50%. This might be a showstopper for DR campaigns, but for brand advertisers the ability to personalize the message for even a half of their audiences is already a huge improvement from static banners. … Programmatic creative is about the automation of creative production, but advertisers will still need to adjust the way they operate to fully leverage it. For a lot of advertisers, the message is an afterthought, but with programmatic creative it’s starting to take center stage alongside data and media. This means that advertisers will need to start thinking about the creative strategy much earlier in the process and put more effort into synchronizing it with the media strategy.”

Ben Maitland, EVP of marketing and sales, MultiView

“Certainly, it’s not as easy to target folks on mobile yet, and the CPMs are higher. But in terms of format, there are data advantages because your phone is your most connected device. With programmatic creative, mobile requires the most intuitive approach yet. The banner doesn’t work. Video, native and larger ads are more compelling and are therefore required for effective mobile advertising. However, getting that content to the right person at the right time shifts the challenge from content origination to one of inventory, data and scale.

That’s where the cross-device concept is a crutch for mobile. Mobile struggles with scale and compatibility with the ecosystem and, paradoxically, the more “closed” the instance of the advertising is – for example, “in-app” – the more available the data source, such as latitude and longitude. Therefore the most valuably identified audiences will need to be ported to and from desktop, across devices in order to reach scale in a probabilistic manner. Mobile struggles to close the loop itself – to identify audiences, serve ads and scale, without the cross-device crutch. Therefore successful campaigns will embrace cross-device approaches while optimizing toward mobile as the mobile ecosystem better develops, data becomes more readily available and quality inventory supply meets demand.”

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