How Do You Solve The Real-Time Creative Conundrum?

Creative management platforms (CMPs) such as Flite, Spongecell, and Thunder are becoming more important to the digital advertising and media ecosystem, particularly as marketers require more and different kinds of creative assets in real time across many different geographies. These dynamics are driven, to a large degree, by programmatic media buying. Marketers need more control of creative assets (all kinds) in realtime. These assets can often amount to hundreds of creative versions, if not more, and numerous, diverse ad formats.

It’s a steep challenge to manage all of this among media and creative agencies. Adstream is a global CMP for creative asset management. It also provides analytics technology. Adstream says its cloud-based technology is used by more than 6,000 global agencies and brands. It says it manages more than 25 million creative assets and delivers two million per year to more than 125 countries.

Adstream’s platform enables agencies and brands to collaborate globally on, store, manage, and review all forms of marketing and ad content. Adstream also enables delivery of content across every type of media channel, whether traditional or digital and also provides content tracking to ensure creative is used and optimized.



The impact of programmatic video buying across TV, video through a demand-side platform, video-on-demand, and digital video has had a profound effect on creative management, according to Ian Wheal, global strategy director, Adstream. “It’s so much harder now to manage creative between advertisers and agencies as the demand for video has increased,” he said. It may be easier to transact media, but it’s not easier to manage all the assets.

Wheal maintains that digital technology is spurring a lot of diversity in video content which, of course, as led to way more content. Brands need to generate efficiencies in  production so they can get the most out of their creative spend. “You have to manage across multiple formats and multichannel content is fraught with complexity,” Wheal said. “You have to collaborate with hundreds of agencies and it has to happen in real time.” Getting control of that process is a challenge for even the most sophisticated agencies—creative and media.

For example, Microsoft works with McCann in New York and then has to work with 10 different production centers on video content. Then, the agency must work with all the social and PR agencies in each country. You might be working with five different media agencies around the world, agency trading desks, and other partners.

Wheal points out the issues that can arise between media and creative agencies, such as getting access to the right creative asset at the right time to deliver it to the right audience. “That process is fraught,” he said. Plus, there’s no real process established for this workflow in traditional media either. So what’s the solution? Of course Wheal advocates creating a repository of assets that are tagged with appropriate metadata. Different content is used for different audiences and all of this content must be accurately tagged. That’s a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, which is why there are tech solutions for it.

The key takeway here is that there’s a big opportunity to move from programmatic media buying to driving engagement and targeted creative if creative assets and workflows are managed properly. “We know engagement is a huge driver of ad effectiveness. We need audience metrics for programmatic,” Wheal maintained. That means targeted creative and then creating measurement standards for that creative.

And the $64,000 question is: How do you make that work across a multichannel environment?

Wheal said there needs to be a closer collaboration between the systems that creative and media agencies are using. “You need to be able to get closer to put real-time creative into the media world.” He said creative and media agencies are still very detached in the way they work and there are lot of inefficiencies.

Wheal said the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau are forming a taskforce to look at these issues of creative delivery and measurement from a traditional and programmatic perspective.

With multichannel campaigns now dominant, video has become the go-to asset for driving campaign engagement. So the time is nigh to figure this out.

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