Merging the Impact of Creative with the Power of Technology

June 2015

Achieving audience engagement is easier when creativity and technology work together. At the heart of successful brand advertising are great stories told through compelling creative. Audience insights fuel creative development, and technology ensures that ads work across screens to reach and engage the right audiences. Harnessing the power of programmatic technology enables teams to develop relevant, engaging experiences and increase their appeal among consumers.

Today's consumers are in control, engaging when, where and how they want. They reward relevant messages through interaction, and penalise one-size-fits-all messages by tuning out. They're constantly connected via smartphones, tablets and computers, and often shift between devices to choose the best digital companion for any given moment. This means advertising creative should not only be compelling and relevant, but must also speak to audiences across channels and screens. Three rules of thumb can help brands form an intelligent approach to design in this environment.

Audience insights make ads personal and real-time

Brands can use audience insights to customise ads in the moment they are served, bringing a relevant creative experience to every viewer. Insights on audiences, including the content they enjoy, the channels they spend time with and the devices they use, can help creative teams build ads that resonate.

  • Our Recommendation: Build a logic-based ad with dynamic creative to deliver the most relevant ad for each viewer, in real-time. The ad can use signals from a brand's organised audience insights, such as demographic, location and interest-based signals, to make each ad impression compelling to its viewer. To accomplish this, creative, analytics and media teams need to be involved in conversations from the outset of a campaign to ensure shared understanding of the data and targeting options and inform the media buy.

Cross-channel, cross-device ads put audiences first

Audiences divide their time across channels and devices, so it's important that brands' creative executions aren't confined to silos. Signals about the device and environment (web or app) on which an ad will show can inform the creative so it's relevant to the user. The best cross-channel, cross-device creative executions meet audiences wherever they are, in the most engaging format for that context.

  • Our Recommendation: Build HTML5 creative that can work on multiple devices and in multiple channels at all times. Customise some creative units to the unique characteristics of mobile devices by using features such as the touch screen, accelerometer, location-based information and call functionality. Then, use programmatic buying to put creative to work at all times across all screens.

Engagement can be scaled across campaigns

Creative agencies spend a lot of time designing and hand-coding custom creative executions, such as homepage takeovers, for digital campaigns. Brands can bring that same high-quality creative to all of the ad placements in their display campaigns. Creative agencies have powerful tools at their disposal today to accomplish this at scale.

  • Our Recommendation: Establishing a feedback loop will help others understand which ad sizes, formats and special features work best. Share campaign insights with creative developers, designers and creative directors so they can optimise the creative strategy. They'll find value in knowing which creative assets deliver the best engagement, which videos have the best completion rates, which permutations of dynamic creative get the most attention and any brand lift results that may be available so that they can continue to develop and iterate the creative that's most effective.

It's essential that brands and their creative teams create experiences that run seamlessly across devices, take full advantage of the capabilities of each screen and speak directly to their intended audience. Thanks to programmatic buying, messages can be delivered to audiences one impression at a time, providing relevant brand experiences to consumers, wherever they are.

YouTube UK Ads Leaderboard: Year-End 2016