Are You Prepared For Real-Time Creative?

We’ve all seen the giant billboards that say “Your Ad Here.”They represent the call of the media owner, broadcasting available space for advertisers to market their goods. In the old days, marketers would see that blank canvas and envision the ideal creative idea that would bring the space to life. Today, the world has changed. Advertising is no longer a case of “your” ad, as an advertiser, but “your” ad as in you, the consumer.

Marketers are facing one of the biggest and most difficult transitions ever, transitioning from media that supports “one to many” messaging to those designed for “one to one.”  The adoption of smaller and more functional screens is inarguable, with consumers now interacting with media that offer a level of engagement more closely aligned with one-to-one communication. Look no further than mobile, where consumers spend more than 14 seconds engaging with their devices, which are always close at hand.



Responding to this behavioral change is a difficult task, given the architecture and workflow of the ad industry. At the same time, it’s necessary for marketers wishing to win new customers. This transitional stage will force brands to move from broad advertising to messaging focused on function, engagement and enhanced brand experiences. Advertising -- especially digital -- is forever changed. 

For a real-world example, consider my colleague preparing to take her young daughter to the pool. While reading local news updates online, she saw an ad for a retailer highlighting summer products. Knowing she needed to pick up "swimmies" for her daughter, she engaged with the ad, clicked through to the retailer’s site, and found her product. She was able to find the closest store from a map, check the stock in that store and then learn the exact aisle where the product was located. My colleague drove to the store, found the aisle, purchased the product and was in and out in minutes.

The hardest part of this transaction is ensuring the ad reaches an individual with the mindset to buy, with the right message. That is the challenge in marketing today, and the industry has overlooked a crucial item in this process, which is the message and creative.

If the industry’s modus operandi is matching the right ad to the right person as the right time, creative deployment is more important than ever. The question asked more than any other is “How are marketers preparing for the future of real-time, one-to-one marketing?” There are simply too many variables that go into an individual’s lens prior to viewing an ad for the one-to-many template to function in a world of rabid consumption across devices.

This is where ad technology will help marketers. Consider the following questions:

-        What time of day are prospects viewing this ad?

-        How is the weather? Is it raining? Sunny?

-        Have they visited the brand’s site before?  Are they loyal customers or new?

-        Where are they viewing the ad? Is a competitor's store running a sale this weekend?

-        Have they seen an ad before? If they have, what was the response?

-        Are they viewing the ad on the desktop, mobile, or in a social setting?

-        Is it a video experience combining sight, sound and motion?

Each of these affects a consumer’s response, and this data informs the decision on which message to deliver. Programmatic has accelerated our understanding of delivering the message in the right place, so our attention now turns toward the creative management.

In five years, 100% of the ads delivered in the digital ecosystem will include dynamically served content (I’d personally argue that this transition will occur in closer to three years). There is simply too much competition for consumers’ dollars right now; marketers who consider consumer needs and wants (alongside the function of digital ads) will undoubtedly see the benefit.

The Web is littered with empty space that might as well be labeled “Your Ad Here.” Technology has opened the door to unlimited creative possibilities, but online advertising has doubled down on data and audience insights. By focusing on messaging, creative permutations, and dynamic attributes that allow for customized experiences, advertisers will start to deliver something of value to the in-market, purchase-minded consumer.
3 comments about "Are You Prepared For Real-Time Creative?".
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  1. nick koutsopoulos from the Hartford, October 17, 2013 at 8:09 a.m.

    I would agree with your statements Mario. Dynamic creative has been around for awhile, but the value proposition of the tactic has taken time to catch-up.

  2. Raymond Faust from StarTribune Media Company, October 17, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.

    Spot on Mario; Real-time relevance is within our grasp.

  3. John Tantillo from Branding And Marketing Group, October 19, 2013 at 2:36 p.m.

    Is it Real Time Creative or Real Time Results? Wonderful article. Would love to hear and learn more. Warmly, JT

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