“Style automation” isn’t Synonymous with Sophisticated Advertising
Perhaps the biggest impact that technology has made on the advertising space in the past five years is automation. Media planning and buying are no longer the laborious processes they once were, as advertisers large and small can use software to help them find their audiences online, buy ads and deliver messages to consumers in fractions of seconds. More sophisticated advertisers can even serve different creative messages to different audiences, or stratify the segments of the audiences that they want to reach.
While automation has brought speed and near real-time adjustment to the buying process, it hasn’t spread widely to the creative side of advertising. This is probably for the best – while technology can understand which creative forms get the best response from consumers, it still can’t replicate human thought when it comes to the actual conception and design.
That’s not to say that some tech players haven’t tried to move into this field. Google recently announced an automated capability for its AdSense Native ads, giving Google’s machine learning control over the creative look and feel of native ad units. While this “style automation” might seem alluring to advertisers, it’s not a worthwhile substitute for good creative and design in native ads.
Native advertising is certainly attractive to ad buyers, even down to the local advertiser and SMB level. While this is by no means a new tactic, it is an increasingly relevant and effective method of combating the blind eye most consumer turn toward banner ads. When done right, native can cut through the clutter and deeply engage consumers. This is why native is predicted to grow to $28 billion in 2018, but it’s also why automation isn’t the answer. To stand out, native requires thoughtful planning and creative.
It’s important to note here that this isn’t an either/or situation for advertisers – there are more choices besides heavy investments in creative or automation when it comes to native. Advertisers at the local and SMB levels may be surprised to learn that they can turn to their existing media partners for creative services. And those media partners can actually offer award-winning creative services themselves, without investing extensively in in-house creative staff.
By working with white-label services providers, media and advertising providers can gain access to award winning creative teams that handle all of the development and execution for them. Instead of relying on automation, the marketers can actually sign off on the creative assets and request changes based on their goals.
It’s never been easier for advertisers of all sizes to access a wide variety of creative services that can help bring their brand visions to life. Rather than leaning on technology and creative automation, everyone in the advertising services supply chain should be looking to make it easier to bring together human vision and creative passion.