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When creative teams are armed with data, engagement becomes easier. Part two of this five-part series on programmatic buying shows how using audience insights can help brands to craft better, more compelling creative.

Step 1Organize audience insights

Step 2 – Design compelling creative [You are here]

Step 3Execute with integrated technology

Step 4Reach audiences across screens

Step 5Measure the impact

Why it matters

Brand advertising is really about telling a great story. When technology enters the equation, brands can use it to make the story better—ensuring the relevance of their campaigns, and deepening their relationship with customers.

But today’s consumers have become accustomed to controlling the when, where, and how of it all. They’ll shuffle between smartphones, tablets, and desktop devices, choosing the best digital companion for the moment. For these reasons, your ad creative must be compelling enough to engage audiences across channels and screens. That means including the creative team early in the campaign planning process to tailor messages appropriately.

Here are the opportunities, takeaways, and best practices from marketers who have found success with compelling creative that adjusts to suit its audience.

The opportunity

The consumer journey is less linear than ever before. Audiences divide their time across channels and devices, so it’s important that brands’ creative executions aren't confined to silos. The best cross-channel, cross-device executions meet audiences wherever they are, in a format that’s ideal for that particular context.

Creative agencies often devote considerable resources to designing and hand-coding custom creative executions for digital campaigns. (Think homepage takeovers and the like.) Brands can—and should—bring the same high standards to every ad placement in their display campaigns and execute at scale.

How to succeed

To design compelling creative for a programmatic world:

  • Involve your teams as early as possible

Establish a general campaign plan and align your creative, analytics, and media teams as early as possible. This not only allows the creative team to tailor messages appropriately for different channels and devices; it will make it easier to ensure creative assets are able to work across them. This will also ensure a shared understanding of the data and targeting options—like age groups, language, and geographical location—that will inform the campaign.

  • Build creative that takes advantage of channel and device features

Customize creative units that take advantage of a mobile device’s features—whether it’s the touch screen, accelerometer, location-based information, or call functionality. (Imagine geo-targeting the user, then serving up retail locations near him/her via Google Maps.) Then, use programmatic buying to put creative to work at a moment’s notice.

  • Make it personal with "smart" creative

By building a logic-based ad with dynamic creative, a brand can deliver the most relevant ad for each viewer—in real time. The ad unit can translate signals from a brand’s organized audience insights (demographic, location, interest-based) to ensure that every ad is the most compelling for the context in which it’s served. In the “Narcos” case study below, for example, Netflix was able to deliver one type of creative to the U.S. audience, another to the Colombian audience, and yet another to the Brazilian audience.

  • Share campaign results with creative teams

Including all teams at the outset is key, but so is sharing the results. Establish a feedback loop so that developers, designers, and directors can optimize their strategies. This will help your teams understand the ad sizes, formats, and special features that work best “in the wild.”

Case study: Google Marketing Platform1 and Google Web Designer help Netflix launch global hit “Narcos”

See how Netflix used Google Marketing Platform's Dynamic Creative and Google Web Designer to easily manage all of its creative variations and languages, as well as build engaging designs that could run across any device and fit any screen.

Netflix Double Click Narcos ad