Programmatic is growing because it works. Now I want to bring your attention to another important element that can drastically impact the success of the digital campaign, it’s the creative. According to Google Media Lab Research, 70% of campaign performance is down to creative. Now we have creative playing a big role in digital marketing, and what does it look like if we marry creative to programmatic, would it give us a winning formula?

As many of us know programmatic has greater impact than traditional digital campaigns when brands have the option to reach specifically the users most likely to convert, and specifically in the moments that matter. How do we do that? We can target specific audiences that have visited the brand’s site or people who are already seeking out for similar offers, for example. And we can also use data signals that give us audience insights to deliver the right message to a given individual at the right time where the appropriate context is available. It enables brands to reach the users most likely to convert at the right moment.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen marketing efforts to manage the transition from traditional media buying to programmatic by creating technology partnerships, and developing media partner relationships. A lot of marketers do see the need for change. However, changing the way we buy media is only half the battle. We also need to build creatives that work to take the full advantage of the opportunity programmatic offers for more relevant and customised customised communications with our customers.

One-to-one marketing

The first benefit of digital (and programmatic) is the ability to do one-to-one marketing. We can already reach a highly specific audience through our programmatic buy; dynamic creative allows us to use audience insights from our media buy and push that onto our creative strategy, and there’s no limit to how specific we’re able to get in our messaging, on target. So it becomes one-to-one marketing.
Every viewer sees different content –  depending on the online behaviour of a viewer, the banner content changes dynamically.

Ease of promotional theme update

The second benefit is efficiency. Marketers or creative agencies that use data-driven creative to populate their ad units can quickly change up messages, images, new assets without the need to re-traffic the entire campaign. Not only is the creative workload reduced, but the heavy load from trafficking is also lifted. We expect to see significant gains in efficiency for future campaign-setup process.

The same banner template can be used all year round even with different themes. Design and messaging can be changed up to fit the marketing calendar. For example, free shipping promotion can be changed to Chinese New Year promotion just by updating the background image, message and call-to-action.

Efficiency in creative generation

The third benefit is the ability to test creative to optimise banner effectiveness. How do we know if we’re making the most out of our banner campaign? With two variables on hand: creative and media, when looking at the digital-campaign results, how do we know if it’s the creative or the media that is driving performance? The answer is we can systemise the process with creative testing. Then, we can develop best practices using the results.

Both creative and media placement are variables, creative testing only analyses the creative, so we keep the placements constant. To measure the impact of the creative, we look for lifts in brand recall and intent. If the creative fails, we start all over again. Digital is an effective marketing vehicle. Marketers pick channels and strategies that deliver measurable results. Creative testing can also contribute to the campaign’s success. Without testing, creative quality is merely a subjective point-of-view kind of discussion. That could get nowhere. Now with data from creative testing, we can isolate creative quality. And we can use tactics that work to form a set of best practices. Consumers are spending more time online, naturally the campaign budgets are following them. Running creative testing is relatively cheap. Before spending our campaign budget, why not crunch up data to form a strategy that allows us to focus our resources on creatives that work. 

The importance of creative quality shouldn’t be underestimated. Although the process of formulating a strategy takes some work and investment, effective creative and proper testing can bring dramatic results.