For digital brand advertising to realise its programmatic potential, advertisers must first embrace the value of digital brand itself, says Paul Lowrey, Group Head at Collective
It’s no secret that programmatic has taken the advertising industry by storm, but questions continue to be asked over its ability to deliver digital brand campaigns effectively, as was brought to light at the recent IAB Real Time Advertising Conference.
One of the key obstacles frequently cited is a disconnect with advertising creatives. Programmatic teams tend to be technology focused, and the resulting jargon and acronyms have creatives running for cover. Yet the ability to deliver the right vision to the appropriate audience in the right place at the right time has the power to take digital brand advertising forward, driving engagement to new levels.
The problem is that to date programmatic has largely been driven by ‘performance’-led solutions – standardised creative formats that are relatively easy to deliver at scale with success being demonstrated with clear measurement.
With a seemingly infinite number of creative formats, data targeting, publishers and measurement solutions, the unfair perception is that digital brand advertising can be seen as a complex and luxurious form of advertising that compliments a digital plan rather than being at the heart of it.
Programmatic is ultimately a vehicle for delivering relevant content to the target consumer. As such, although it appears complex, it actually makes it more beneficial to reach consumers at their most receptive, and therefore offers a fantastic opportunity to brands.
If ‘brand’ is to maintain growth not only programmatically but across the digital landscape, there needs to be a greater emphasis on delivering creative synergy between suppliers. Formats need to offer the flexibility and creativity that brands require.
Meanwhile, brands need to develop more engaging creative that answers the consumer’s need at the very moment it is reaching them. Many still take a traditional advertising approach, when content that complements the surrounding editorial will make more impact as it adds more value to the consumer experience. Programmatic has the power to deliver the required insight to develop such tailored content.
Furthermore, there needs to be a clearer indication of what constitutes success for digital brand campaigns and how to measure it.
If the evolution into programmatic is to be successful, it’s ultimately about proving the true value of digital brand advertising alongside more traditional forms and where it can be aligned to performance – but not suffer by having success measured the same way.
There are a growing number of agencies that understand both sides and can help bridge the technology-creative divide to help brands make the most of what programmatic has to offer; that can look beyond the complexity of digital ecosystems to focus on basic consumer goals and help brands to meet them.
It’s a challenge the advertising industry needs to tackle head-on. The agencies and advertisers who are brave enough to move away from the status-quo and utilise the vast amount of data, creativity and technology at their disposal will ultimately drive not only the future of programmatic brand but the future of digital brand itself.
By Paul Lowrey
Group Head at programmatic