Programmatic Ads & Creative - An Insider View

The question that arises with Programmatic ads is if they would take out the creativity from the advertising industry. With user personas being pre-built and ads being thrown in with colour variations, content modifications by AI, is there any scope at all for the creative teams to flex their mind muscle?

To answer the above question, let’s try to understand – How the Programmatic creative technologies work, and how much of interference or domination over human instinct can they have without being the death of all creative copy and concepts!

Programmatic Creative refers to the data driven adtech that add speed, scale, and automation to the creative process. This covers both ad production and creative optimisation.

Right from the conception to production stage one has to tailor ads to be more relevant to their audiences. With Programmatic ads, instead of showing one generalised creative to all, it is now possible to segment audiences into groups and show each group a custom creative that is more likely to impact them specifically. It is still debatable whether the Programmatic Creative as an adtech is leading to higher ROI but it sure helps at launching improvised campaigns, by enabling both the creation of multiple ads for the purpose of testing, and potentially automating the test to optimize on its own.

Programmatic Creative steers out into two major methods-

  • Dynamic Content Optimisation, DCO
  • Creative Management Platform, CMP 


DCO comprises  of dynamic content and dynamic content platform. DCO is like a content factory that churns out 100 to 1000 personalized ad creatives (copy and banners) for different types of users. Then this content is distributed through data-driven algorithms and pre-moulded user personas for best engagement results across campaigns.

The user-data-driven algorithms provide the insights into what kind of creatives (msgs & design) should be used. The algorithms then process the data in real time to process the design open file in multiple variants of creatives. These creatives are then shot when the ad request is made on the publisher’s end. This means that the load time or response time for the DCO ads is more (as the creatives are called/modified on the runtime), slowing load speed of the publisher property, which can have a negative impact on fill rates.


The second method that we have enlisted is the CMP or Creative Management Platform. The Creative Management Platform is a powerful design tool for the designers that keeps human involvement intact and makes highly intuitive advertisements that garner the right kind of response when sent to the right kind of audience using data-driven programmatic ad serving platforms. A creative or a brand solutions manager makes a ad design/copy based on the engagement results of the similar kind of banners from the past, this is then fed into the new campaign. The changes in the creative are made by analyzing data of the running campaign over a period of time.

The campaigns are not the factory manufactured variety, they have more quality content and appeal to more complex human emotions rather than just the superficial outlines of the user persona. Creativity matters more in this aspect.

In DCO where the pace itself sets the momentum, creativity is required to sell and appeal with the most simple of ideas, and a lot of thinking may go into the task on a periodic basis. However mechanized DCO sounds, it cannot dispense creativity.

CMPs are all about creativity being aligned to work with data and produce maximum results.


Source: Thunder Blog
Source: Thunder Blog

How to choose between the two?

Programmatic creative technologies require skills that may not intersect, the choice in the two also depends on the use case as well.
A use case in which one has to preplan sending correspondences to pin-pointed users, (for example a promotional campaign for a pre-planned sale) may explore DCO with scheduling and dynamic content that is in permutations and combinations and varies with the user’s details such as gender, geography, weather conditions etc.

skills for dco cmp


CMPs are perfect to launch well informed campaigns, for which we have a defined objective & TG. Rich in creativity, personalized and wider outreach helps align creative ideas and data to get maximum traction. These campaigns work well when you are dealing with a more general perspective and are yet to bond with the user on a one to one basis. That needs appeal, rather than a veiled sales pitch which can be generated even with a DCO.

Whatever the format, creativity is not going out of the window anytime soon. Human skills will have to either excel at coding and scheduling a mass churn out or they will have to compensate for the lack of aesthetics in the dynamic and mechanized programmatic ads with one to one personification. As Programmatic rises, the need to bring out creativity, stronger, faster and better rises.

So All The Creative Crowd Hollering at the possible AI Apocalypse, Keep Calm & Wait for the Part II of this series.





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