Digital advertising gives brand marketers the ability to orchestrate campaigns with remarkable scale, to reach specifically targeted audiences with a precision that could only be dreamt of in traditional media. By now, this much is a given. But by and large, the capacity to create and deliver deep brand experiences on the web remains dreadfully underutilized. There’s a lot at stake here: Google’s Neal Mohan famously claimed online display advertising could become a $200 billion business, if we can solve the “creative problem” in the space. More recently, he’s spoken about how, if digital is going to triumph over traditional media when it comes to spending and interest among marketers, it will have to be an asset that marketers trust for branding.
Mohan couldn’t be more right. And if his prediction is going to come true, brand marketers must stop treating the same old simple display ads as if they’re good enough. Fortunately, a few marketers are in charted waters here. They know these ads aren’t good enough. That’s why for years entertainment marketers, in particular, have pushed the boundaries of digital advertising, demanding highly creative, engaging and visually rich digital ads that can be targeted at scale with programmatic, via real-time bidding.
The specific demands of entertainment marketers has already pulled digital advertising into an environment where ads are more creative, interactive and visually appealing than they were 10 years ago. Simply enough, entertainment marketers expect their ads to reflect the experience of their entertainment properties. To deliver these experiences, clearly standard, static display ad formats simply will not suffice. That’s why some of the most modern and effective digital formats have been developed in order to meet their demands. Today, the entire digital ad industry stands to benefit from these innovations, which have made display more visually appealing and engaging to consumers, delivering results that clearly go above and beyond the banner.
It’s time for vertical brand marketers including automotive, CPG, financial services, telecom, etc., who have often led the way with other emerging, high growth digital advertising channels, to this time follow the lead of the entertainment marketers who are pushing envelope on the programmatic delivery of high impact, custom premium ads via real-time bidding. The formats and creativity in the ads that entertainment marketers demand, simply to sell the experience of their media properties, also have broad implications for branding online. Thanks in part to the entertainment industry, digital ad campaigns can now deliver custom, premium ad content at scale – and that’s an essential tool in digital branding.
If we look at the precedents set by the entertainment sector, we can get closer to that promised $200 billion mark in digital advertising. For its targeting capabilities and scale, digital’s rightful place is above traditional media. And for lessons in how to level the playing field in creative content between digital and traditional, always be sure to keep a close eye on what entertainment marketers are doing.