Lately, there has been some debate about the specific roles that creative management platforms (CMPs) and dynamic creative optimization systems (DCOs) play in the programmatic creative sphere. CMPs are in effect design tools that facilitate the creation of the “art” in digital advertising, while DCOs are more complex automation software that represents the “technology” or “science.”
Actually, brand marketers will not fully leverage their programmatic creative initiatives unless they have an integrated platform with both a CMP and a DCO. In tandem, these products generate the most sophisticated creative versions that are truly personalized based on the data feedback loop. If you want a CMP to build and update creative without the need to re-traffic, that is sufficient for top-of-the-funnel campaigns. Meanwhile, if you want a DCO that will allow you to change ads dynamically based on 1st party data leveraging assets from a product feed, that’s a great thing for bottom-of-the–funnel efforts.
The reality today is that advertisers want to follow a customer through the entire sales funnel, communicating with them from prospecting all the way to the point of purchase. If you only have a CMP, you won’t have enough data to know when to change the message and updates will be manual each time, which is inefficient. If you only have a DCO, you will only ever offer a hard DR message, because your business model is 100% built to drive conversions.
Brands are realizing that DCO providers have hard and fast templates that have been optimized to drive clicks. But what happens when multiple brands in the same vertical want to use that same retargeting technology? The result is the same ad, but with the logo swapped out for those of their competitors.
As all brands understand, the key to what sets them apart is their brand and affinity with customers. As we know, there isn’t much difference between the tastes of Coors Light, Bud Light and Miller Lite. Brand managers show differentiation and move product through brand marketing. As such, their ads must follow suit and need to be relevant, personalized and unique, as well as timely.
DCO solutions have evolved over the years so that they are finally able to meet the challenge of the programmatic era that requires the level of scale that human beings just can’t muster.
To succeed, truly programmatic creative needs to focus on scale and automation in all aspects ranging from creative production and asset management through content feeds and optimization. When operating at massive scale, optimization quickly outgrows a human’s ability to complete the task. Optimization is, in essence, a series of many experiments and benefits from experience (running campaigns) to get better at what it does. A machine is better equipped to retain the lessons learned and to apply them again in future campaigns.
So, to accommodate both upper- and lower-funnel advertising campaigns, advertisers must employ a programmatic creative platform comprised of both a CMP and a DCO.