Three ways advertisers can raise their creative games

In the face of new challenges, brands need to focus on creative more than ever

AOL June 24, 2016

If there’s one thing that the Cannes Lions festival has taught us, it’s that creativity is king…when aligned with data.

But as mobile upends the media landscape, are we doing enough as an industry to address our creative strategies and blind spots?

According to new report from eMarketer, more than a quarter of people online in the U.S. (nearly 70 million Americans) will block ads in 2016, up 34% from last year. And as people do more and more on their smartphones, the number of people using mobile ad blockers will skyrocket by 62% this year to 20.7 million.

So, what can advertisers do to up their creative games in the face of this mounting challenge? Here are three ideas:

Reduce complexity

Today, 50% of brands, agencies and publishers juggle more than four vendors to build, manage and optimize creative assets, according to a 2015 survey conducted by AOL and Digiday. With much of the creative process occurring in expensive silos, it’s no wonder that consumers are often unhappy with the final product.

Advertisers need to simplify the creative process and deliver holistic campaigns that deliver seamless brand experiences across screens on multiple channels.

The Future of Advertising Fuses Data and Creative

According to the same survey, almost half (46%) of brands, agencies and publishers are using data to optimize and inform creative strategies.

This in no doubt a step in the right direction as consumers in today’s digital age now expect personalized ads that speak directly to them. But while using data is imperative, it’s also taking up far too many resources— in fact, 40% of creative budgets are being consumed by desktop, video and mobile display creative optimization, and one-third of the work week is spent exclusively on optimizing the creative.

It’s clear that if brands want killer campaigns and award-winning ads, they need to free up their creative resources so they can do what they do best.

Push for programmatic

Approximately half of brands, agencies and publishers are still not using programmatic advertising to develop, execute or optimize their ads. This is a mistake as advancements in programmatic technology are streamlining media planning and buying, and innovations in the merging worlds of creative and programmatic tech are empowering marketers and publishers to unleash data-driven creativity.

By using programmatic to reduce the time spent on measurement, workflow management, audience data integration and dynamic creative optimization, advertisers can bring efficiency to all areas of the creative process.

With more time to spend on developing the kind of intimate, personalized advertising that people now expect, brands can deliver experiences that beat ad blockers and dissuade consumers from downloading them in the first place.