Creative Best Practices for Programmatic and Premium Campaigns

Whether it is Digiday’s Programmatic Summit or a video ad fraud discussion, programmatic media buying is showing up as the new staple in the ad world diet. Programmatic is expected to surpass premium by 2017, and will account for more than 80 percent of U.S. digital display ad dollars. As programmatic grows, advertisers and marketers need to keep in mind that creative still matters.

Creative assets including copy, layout and visual aesthetics are responsible for more than half of the total sales impact for a campaign—regardless of whether a campaign is programmatic or premium. However, achieving quality creative will differ between programmatic and premium campaigns. Below are three ways to understand the differences between premium and programmatic media buying, and how they impact creative design for interactive advertisements.


The mobile and second screen phenomena has moved marketers and advertisers away from focusing on targeting devices and into developing an understanding of the consumer journey across all touch points. This is important to keep in mind as advertisers should take advantage of a marketers’ strong understanding of the day-to-day relationship between the brand and its target consumers. Advertisers should also factor in consumer habits across all digital mediums as these will be even more necessary in premium vs. programmatic media landscape.

In the premium world, we suggest advertisers form strong relationships with publishers. Maintaining user-experience and collecting impressions are shared goals of both parties, so ongoing dialogue is vital to achieve creative success for ads on premium placements. When it comes to programmatic, we recommend advertisers give themselves some room to test, review and iterate before settling on targets. Data is rarely clear-cut; it could take some time to ensure your programmatic buys are reaching the relevant physical placements of your target audience. Make sure to take the time necessary to understand what the data is saying, and use what you learn to inform the creative of your ads. Spending time on this at the front-end will reduce the amount of time you spend optimizing or redesigning on the back-end.

Creative data.

As the old adage states, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The same is true when it comes to creative. That’s why it’s important to begin a campaign by learning from the lessons of past campaigns. While we don’t usually associate numbers and stats with the creative process, the level of sophistication in campaign data continues to improve, and it does provide valuable insights for creative such as which types of figures consumers prefer to draw in interactive ads. In addition, creative teams should use external data to help build creative best practices. For programmatic campaigns, seek out industry-wide reports on the most successful creative regardless of publication like those found in the CPXi report. For premium campaigns, work with the publication to understand which types of units have performed well in the past. Doing so will inform your creative specifications and help inform creative choices from beginning to end.

Optimization planning.

Real-time optimization toward high-level business goals is part of successful campaigns and creative. Ironically, to efficiently and effectively optimize on the fly, advertisers need to plan. Through the process of building out multiple creative configurations, optimization planning is a part of most advertisers’ programmatic campaign process already. Media planners, not creative, may be the ones scrambling to ensure the targets are being properly translated into placements. In premium campaigns, advertisers rely on publishers to bring expertise and answers, but it doesn’t always guarantee enticing and high-performing creative. We suggest making optimization planning part of your pre-launch process and that you reserve some creative resources for optimization while a campaign is running—as even the most comprehensive plans end up on the drawing room floor once reality hits.

By keeping creative as the core of any interactive advertising campaign, programmatic or premium, we believe advertisers can maximize performance. And we also believe accounting for the creative differences between programmatic or premium media shouldn’t be a hurdle to achieving success. That’s why we simplified and sped up the creative process for interactive ads with our flagship product, Aarki Studio, a multiscreen creative advertising platform built for ease of use. We believe the easier it is to create amazing, interactive ads, the more time advertisers can spend on implementing best practices like those outlined above. To learn more please contact us.

Topics: Creative Insights