Why You Must Align Creative and Programmatic Strategies

The promise of programmatic media is the ability to target granular audiences with messages that directly appeal to them. But all too often, brands neglect to realize that this promise can only be fulfilled if they align their creative content to their programmatic strategies. By aligning creative and programmatic strategies, brands can send the right content to the right audiences at the right time.

Sending out generic, one-size-fits-all messages will lead to lackluster results, at best. Programmatic campaigns can be specifically targeted and receive ongoing optimization, but if the creative associated with the media does not resonate with the audience, the brand is not coming close to maximizing its investment.

If creative content isn’t tailored to fit various contexts and situations, the proverbial “right person, right time” is missing the ever-so-vital “right message.”

Creative Personalization

Today’s consumers know their digital lives are being tracked by brands, and in return, they expect to receive personalized experiences. From a programmatic standpoint, this means serving specific offers, products, and lifestyle messages to consumers based upon their past behaviors.

Aligning ad content with media targeting provides a better user experience that leads to increased engagement. One study noted that 55 percent of people exposed to a personalized ad felt favorable toward the brand, and 41 percent had a purchase intent for the product.

Making sure programmatic and creative work hand-in-hand will also improve media efficiency. You won’t waste impressions with messages that are less likely to get a response. For example, if you run an insurance company and you know someone is already an auto insurance customer, you should send a message about the benefits of bundling. Sending a generic auto insurance ad would only be a waste of media.

Begin the Alignment Process

Aligned content and media keeps up with modern customers’ expectations, but making this happen requires coordination. The brand, the creative agency, and the ad tech partners must all be committed to the idea that personalized messaging works best.

While there are a lot of moving parts to keep in order, these three tips will help smoothen the process:

1. Create a message-to-audience map. Take out a piece of paper, and map out the unique conversations you want to have with specific members of your audience. This document will serve as the foundation for aligning your content with your programmatic media strategy. At this stage, don’t worry about technical execution or how it’s all going to happen. This exercise is about listing all your different audiences and identifying the specific things you want to say to them.

2. Focus on flexible design. One of the biggest keys to creative alignment is ensuring that your ad design is easy to tweak. You should be able to effortlessly swap out different images and copy without impacting the integrity of the ad. This modularity of design creates a system that allows you to efficiently communicate with many different audiences without increasing your ad production costs.

3. Monitor and test religiously. With the potential for hundreds of creative iterations, applying a programmatic approach to content and media offers the opportunity to extract many valuable insights about your various consumer audiences. Over the course of a campaign, evaluate which creative elements drive the most engagement or drive the best return on your ad spend. Then, use that information down the road when creating and adding new assets to the campaign.

Aligning your creative content with your programmatic strategy will provide many benefits to your brand. When it all comes together perfectly, it looks like a conversation: Brands offer a helping hand to consumers at the very moment they need one.

This article was co-authored by Sean Cotton and Steve Krol, the founder and CEO of Advanse, a programmatic creative company that helps advertisers deliver personalized ad creatives.