Effective digital advertising comes from that powerful combo of placement, timing, and engagement. Programmatic, the relatively new power-hitter on the digital team that’s been moving up the ranks these past few years, handles ad placement and timing like a pro—and is improving all the time.
That solid performer, rich media, on the other hand, brings advertising engagement: the experiential element that makes an advertiser’s message “stick.” (eMarketer reported that rich-media banner ads are 267% more effective in gaining click-throughs than static banners.)
With these two powerful digital athletes, you’d think programmatic and rich media would be hitting grand slams for advertisers left and right. But programmatic hasn’t fully welcomed rich media’s contributions to its team, or at least not yet. And there are a few reasons why.
1. Programmatic and rich media are different types of players on the same team. Programmatic experts focus on code, trafficking to demand-side platforms (DSPs) and optimizing based on format, but DSPs don’t report on interaction and engagement. Instead, of thinking about how users are interacting, it’s about the where, when, and who. Rich media is all about the how: how users feel, think, and react. The focus is different, though the goal—interaction with your ad’s messaging—is the same. The only way to maximize reaching this goal is to work with partners that understand the “how” as much as the “where,” “when,” and “who.”
2. Limited rich-media programmatic inventory. Programmatic doesn’t offer enough rich-media inventory, but focusing on private marketplaces (PMPs) is one way to combat limited inventory. Publishers can set up PMPs for high-impact units across their entire network. It lets players enjoy some of the benefits of programmatic, such as automation of workflow, while helping to address creative rendering (see the next entry) because it allows publishers to ensure that creative renders correctly when deployed.
3. Challenges with out-of-banner and expandable creative. If the creative doesn’t perform as it’s supposed to, particularly in formats that expand or interact with the page, consumers don’t get the intended experience—and advertisers don’t get the return they aim for. Ads need to display correctly across all devices and screen sizes, and that includes programmatic, too. Proper rendering requires an integrated ad server that can communicate page requirements to the creative while it’s being delivered.
4. Rich-media delivery is not built for programmatic scale. For direct buys, thetypical solution is to create different tags or creative instances for specific sites and pages to ensure everything works properly. This is not scalable for a full-blown programmatic campaign placing ads on multiple domains. Rich-media creative can have a single tag that ensures it runs smoothly across a variety of different sites that may occur on ad networks or in PMPs. The solution is to create rich media that is meant for programmatic, so the ad “waits” and detects the domain, then it is called to render.
Let’s face it: in the past few years, the rise of programmatic has led to the proliferation of an uninspiring, lowest-common-denominator standard banner creative—one that worked everywhere but didn’t lead to much inspiration or engagement.
Now the pendulum is swinging the other way. The best way to engage is to bring creative back to the forefront while capitalizing on all the benefits of programmatic. It’s taking the best of both worlds and making them work. Let’s get the obstacles off the playing field, so rich media and programmatic can really play ball for advertisers.