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Programmatic Creative: The Bridge Between Beauty and Data

Programmatic Creative: The Bridge Between Beauty and Data Charles Cantu
Big Data is the new name of the game. In past years, technology like targeting software opened a huge window for marketers to reach just the right audience for their products. But programmatic creative takes it one step further, fusing that data with the ability to create beautiful, engaging ad content that reaches a target market under the perfect conditions.

One company that nailed this process is Jaguar Land Rover. Its thousands of customization options made it impossible for dealerships to show the full line to shoppers. Couple this with the fact that 80 percent of shoppers who test drove Jaguars made the purchase, and you can see why dealerships felt a big gap in the potential for sales and actual sales.

The company had to find a way to broaden its test-driving experience past the dealership and provide customers the option to customize.

So it partnered with the IBM Interactive Experience to create a virtual experience. The motion-sensing technology allowed buyers to fully tailor and “test drive” a virtual vehicle. What’s more, the Jaguar Land Rover Virtual Experience can run on a PC — providing even more options for Jaguar to expose shoppers to its full line of cars.

The Power of Programmatic Creative

Programmatic creative integrates design elements with programmatic and real-time bidding strategies, allowing advertisers to tailor a message to the audience viewing it and the environment and device on which it’s being viewed.

It’s also growing at enormous speeds — and with good reason.

Consider this: What if you were able to serve an ad to a potential customer right when he needed it? A customer is shopping for a new pair of black canvas Converse, for example, and at that moment, he sees your interactive ad for black canvas Converse. The customer will be attracted to that immediate ad that addresses his needs. A quality add that contains pleasing aesthetics, vibrant colors, and a sensible format can inspire even more interest from that consumer.

With such highly targeted campaigns, the response rate can increase by 200 percent.

Breathe Life Into an Old Practice

Targeted advertising isn’t new, of course. In the old-school version, advertisers could target locations, search engines, and even seasons (think cold and flu season).

With programmatic creative, however, advertisers have instant control over color response feeds, ad sizes, varying ad concepts, and the ability to optimize the ad for certain segments.

Sounds like a dream come true, right? A silver bullet to increased ROI and company growth.

Not so fast.

Programmatic creative can be a huge benefit to your business but only if it’s implemented well. And as with any technique, there are best practices and stumbling blocks.

As you implement programmatic creative, there are a few things you need to watch out for.

First of all, data and creative teams are often physically separated, making it harder for them to work together to create the best ads possible. What’s more, agencies rely on creative assets made for direct buys rather than making sure they develop new assets that can be used in the dynamic programmatic space.

Companies may not take full advantage of all the options available, either. For example, it’s not just ad sizes that can be adjusted with programmatic creative. You can also break traditional constraints of ad formats and incorporate engaging interactive material.

Barriers aside, there are plenty of ways to make programmatic creative work for you. The data you gather along the way can help you create engaging, high-impact ads that will exponentially increase your ROI.

Here are several key best practices as you implement programmatic creative:

  • Synthesize raw data into actionable insights about customers. Great data teams will be able to tell how, when, and where any given audience makes decisions.

  • Communicate from day one. With the sheer amount of in-depth data, agencies often have a crystal-clear picture of their target market. When the data team communicates well with the creative team, the two can work together to deliver the most engaging ad to the best lead at just the right moment. It’s magic.

  • Track key metrics. Search terms, blog comments, video tags, tweets, and pictures should all be tracked as they appear. The evolving snapshot will help you gain powerful insights into how your customers react to your ads, whether you addressed their needs, and whether they’re sharing with their network to expand your reach.

  • Develop a process that incorporates the data and creative on a rolling basis. As new data comes in, creative should be able to adjust in ways that will optimize the experience in the long run. If ads failed to find an audience or to convert potential customers, what can the creative team learn from this failure? By adjusting your ads based on reliable feedback and data from your chosen metrics, you can re-craft that ad to achieve your intended goals.

When you look at how data and creative intersect to deliver the best message to the best person at the best time, you really can’t turn a blind eye. And with these best practices in your arsenal (and the stumbling blocks in the back of your mind), you’re set to achieve success at the Jaguar Land Rover level.

This article was co-authored by Salim Hemdani, VP of software at Mixpo.

Charles Cantu founded Huddled Masses in 2012 as a boutique trading desk that offered smaller organizations and agencies programmatic optimization of highly targeted digital campaigns at scale. Today, Huddled Masses is in the top tier of media buying...

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