What Display Advertisers Can Learn About Creative Optimization From Search and Social

creative optimization thunder ads

In years past, display advertisers have not been able to benefit from creative optimization because budgets couldn’t support the amount of creative work involved.

But today, emerging productivity solutions such as creative management platforms (CMPs), programmatic creative tools, and dynamic creative optimization platforms (DCOs) significantly reduce these barriers to high-volume ad production to a very manageable level.

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Can Optimized Ad Creative Make Programmatic Perform 30-50% Better? These 5 Studies Say ‘Yes’

Performance lift from Thunder ad creative

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the burgeoning relationship between programmatic media and ad creative. Most of the discourse has been about how optimal creative can significantly impact the performance of the media in theory. The purpose of this article is to look at the data behind what those gains might be in practice.

Creative optimization is the act of customizing and testing advertisement artwork and messaging to be more resonant with audiences. Since programmatic allows advertisers to precisely target specific audiences, these technologies have inspired advertisers to leverage creative variations for greater media effectiveness.

The dominant tactics include:

  1. Customizing ad creative to what matters to specific audience groups
  2. A/B testing messaging
  3. Sequencing or updating messaging over time

The expectation of gains from these tactics comes from an already established success in creative relevancy and testing in email, social, search and website content. Armed with programmatic buying, big data and algorithmic optimization, advertisers hope to translate similar gains into display ads, native ads and video.

The strategies here seem sound, but what data is there to back it up?

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Revising the Display Creative Process: Democratizing Design and Connecting Teams

Thunder creative management platform - display advertising

When it comes to design, $51.8 billion buys surprisingly little love.

What I mean is that despite display being a $51.8 billion market annually, the creative part of display advertising takes a far back seat to media planning and buying.

At the core of it, this lack of love stems from the high costs of creative production, particularly because marketers and media folks aren’t able to produce enough creatives to match the scope of what could be done.

In my experience, there’s no shortage of copy or concepts to run epic display ad campaigns. Marketers would like to use a test and learn mentality with display, but due to the costs and time involved in creative production, only a single or a few campaign concepts can actually get created. It’s online advertising in 2014 and we’re stuck in a plan and execute mode.

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How Creative Agencies Can Take Advantage of Programmatic Advertising

Thunder programmatic advertising: right person, right place, right price, right message

The programmatic opportunity—or threat, depending on your point of view—for media agencies is clear. Ad inventory is bought and sold more simply and effectively through digital interfaces. Audience targeting becomes incredibly sophisticated and precise. Media buying, if less about personal relationships, consumes less time and is more effective.

So thanks to programmatic buying and RTB, advertising messages get to the right person, at the right time, for the right price.

Sounds good right?

But wait, isn’t something missing?

Oh yeah. Despite being at the heart of advertising—despite being the whole reason for programmatic buying and targeting to be used in the first place—the ad creative has somehow become an afterthought in the equation.

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