How Programmatic Tech Will Become A Part Of The Storytelling Process

progioDCOCreative and tech have an uneasy coexistence. But the advertising world is in the early stages of a new hybrid model, where creative relies on tech for personalization and storytelling.

“With programmatic buying and targeting, the contextual opportunities are increased to quantum levels, and we’ll need machines in order to address them,” said Chick Foxgrover, CDO of the 4As, about the prospects of automation technology becoming more integral to campaigns.

Here’s how ad creatives are beginning to leverage automation technology.

Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)

DCO is the most apparent application of programmatic tech to an agency campaign. Google senior product manager Mike Glaser pointed to a campaign the company worked on for EA Sports, promoting the “Madden NFL” video game to users based on their known NFL affiliations.

Google said that campaign demonstrates the “full suite of programmatic capabilities,” which can “optimize everything from targeting to bids to creative.”

“Programmatic knows how to use data really effectively,” said Ogilvy global CDO Brandon Berger. “The creative world is spending a lot of time figuring out how to bring together qualitative and quantitative. As those two come together, we can learn a lot about microtargeting and all the data sets available to us.”

Another common application of DCO is through ecommerce and mobile product feeds.

Paul Dolan, GM of the Xaxis subsidiary Light Reaction, said that’s been a strong early use case, with the potential to serve targeted ads based on browsing history or what a user has placed in an online shopping cart. “As long as there are images and data to match products,” he said, “you can get very granular at a pretty high scale.”

Programmatic Storytelling

Beyond DCO, tech companies are starting to realize the levers at their disposal actually do allow programmatic tech to enhance the creative themes and messages of a client’s campaigns. According to Dolan, “The lines between creative formats and executions are being blurred.”

“Clients come up with creative themes, artwork, designs … and we build out experiences and formats,” he said.

Dolan noted the ability for a programmatic company to “tell a story using different ad formats, as someone moves from app to app, so you can integrate an advertiser’s brand much more with the content.”

Glaser said Google is working on similar capabilities to blend programmatic serving into the fiber of a creative campaign. “To me,” he said, “the conversation is much more about the overall creative possibilities that programmatic enables for a brand, in addition to what we historically thought of as just dynamic creative optimization.”

Ecosystem Convergence

As both Glaser and Dolan noted, the tech vendors rely on the other parts of the industry in order for this to work. Like with the EA Sports example, Google can provide the retargeting and audience segments, but its agency partner goes from producing perhaps one or two actual pieces of creative to at least 32 – one for fans of each National Football League team.

And Dolan’s example, of a campaign that develops and shifts formats as a user jumps between apps, only works when publishers can support that kind of personalization and flexibility for the advertiser.

“We see more and more media and publishers are trying to crack this as well,” said Berger. “It requires more cohesion between the agency, tech and media.”

Ultimately, DCO and the expanse of automation technology makes the different sectors of digital advertising more reliant on each other.

“The more we see what programmatic and better data can do,” Berger said, “the clearer it is you have to add that layer of humanity.”

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1 Comment

  1. James, we agree with Chick Foxgrover that we need “new machines” to address contextual quanta. In fact, the old machines (think programmatic re-targeting and efficient RTB) will be replaced, along with the spreadsheet quants, by the “machine-intelligent marketing” machines that now deliver contextual cross-channel ads that are relevant, informative, sequential, personalized, cost-effective, conversational, mobile-friendly, faster and pretty.