Why Programmatic is not Killing Creativity

Nick Hugh, Yahoo VP & GM, Advertising EMEA

Nick Hugh, Yahoo VP & GM, Advertising EMEA

Since the advent of programmatic buying, there has been much debate about whether digital advertising is moving towards an era of man versus machine.

According to the IAB, 47 per cent of display ads were traded in programmatically in 2014, nearly doubling from 28 per cent the previous year. Given such huge growth, a key question on marketers’ lips is whether science and automation does indeed pose a threat to creativity?

Creativity in the digital age is about more than just the format alone, it’s about both design and distribution and that’s key where data is key. Yahoo processes around 150 billion user data events every day globally – that’s an incredible amount of knowledge that we have about consumers but it’s how we process data that really counts.

Data is the lifeblood of programmatic and we believe in the concept of smarter data – using data smartly to distribute content to the right consumer at the right time in order to minimise wastage and drive optimum performance.

Creativity needs programmatic because it’s so much more targeted and allows you to scale different creative executions for different audiences. It’s no longer about hanging your market campaign on one piece of creative – we’ve moved into an era of a multiplicity of creative and data helps to find the right audience for each piece of content.

When it comes to processing data, what is certain is that the machines alone cannot do it all. Rather than it be a case of man vs machine, it is actually a man (or woman) plus machine. In fact, increasing numbers of people are being employed on both the buy and sell sides of programmatic. Added to this the growing trend for marketing teams to employ in-house programmatic specialists, one could argue that employment opportunities are booming in this field and its the dearth of people with the required skills which is the issue.

Advertisers are also acutely aware that the dominance of mobile is demanding a new approach when it comes to reaching consumers on their personal devices. There are one million different apps available through iOS and Google Play and on average, people use 20 different apps on their mobile phone, spending roughly 86% of their time in-app versus mobile web.

Looking at mobile behaviour, the number of possible apps is higher than the number of possible 8 million chromosomal combinations. As there are more than 410 x 1093 combinations of apps, one could argue that the mobile fingerprint is more distinctive than our biological DNA.

With that potential to interact with a specific user at a particular point in time – creativity moves back into the fold extremely quickly. There is an argument to be had that rather than killing creativity, programmatic is laying the ground for a new wave of creative thinking.

One thought on “Why Programmatic is not Killing Creativity

  1. It really boggles the mind when you hear someone say that creativity is dying because of programmatic ad buying. For my team and me, it makes it even easier for us to be creative with the content that we are trying to show our potential customers. When you are making ads for the general audience, there is a tendency for you to be more general in your advertising so that you can appeal to everyone. With programmatic ad buying you pretty much know that your ads are going to be seen by the people that know your product, or at least your market. This allows you to get into the niche language and culture of what ever market you are working.
    I hadn’t even thought of the technical side of creativity, and that is very interesting to read about. My team only focuses on the actual content and then we use another company, Centro ( https://www.centro.net/programmatic-media-buying-products/ ), to take care of the programmatic ad buying. Reading about what they go through to be creative is quite eye opening.
    As you said, advertising is not just about being creative with the content, but it is also about the distribution. If both of those parts are working together in an efficient manner, then you have yourself an opportunity to have a good campaign. And that is what I have going on with my team and Centro.

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