Why Omnichannel Creative Is the Future of Advertising Effectiveness | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Why Omnichannel Creative Is the Future of Advertising Effectiveness

By John Mruz

Creative once ruled the advertising discipline. But with the rise of programmatic media over the past decade, marketers have channeled their efforts into data-driven media planning and precise audience targeting, and creative was deprioritized. Although the creative aspect has time and again asserted its influence on the success of campaigns, it has often been overshadowed by distribution strategies. This focus on the distribution aspect of the creative rather than its intrinsic quality has left key aspects of ad tech relatively underutilized, even as those technologies have continued to advance.

Things are changing again, and as audience targeting faces a critical saturation point, forward-thinking marketers are now eyeing creative as the next big opportunity – and leveraging creative ad tech to capitalize.

As advertisers grapple with the phasing out of essential signals like Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs) and third-party browser cookies, a renewed emphasis on creative optimization becomes inevitable. To harness this burgeoning opportunity, brands are required to use creative management platforms that not only offer omnichannel support but are also attuned to emerging formats and the impending elimination of cookies.

Audience Targeting at a Saturation Point

The established methods of gaining an edge in advertising, predominantly through audience targeting, are steadily becoming obsolete. A combination of factors contributes to this evolving scenario:

  • Signal Deprecation: Key signals that advertisers have relied upon, such as cookies and MAIDs, are on the decline.
  • Commoditization: Conventional audience segments, once seen as unique and proprietary, have become ubiquitous and are now accessible to a wide array of advertisers.
  • Complexity: There's an undeniable allure surrounding first-party data, especially in the wake of declining third-party cookies. However, the intricacies of collecting, storing, reconciling, introducing, and leveraging first-party data present formidable challenges for a plethora of brands.

Simultaneously, the media consumption landscape is undergoing rapid changes. Consumers today engage with media across diverse devices and channels. A significant chunk of these channels – including connected TV (CTV) and social media – are under the umbrella of dominant players, often termed "walled gardens," which strictly regulate data access. The contemporary consumer, while navigating these myriad channels, anticipates a personalized experience and a seamless transition from one touchpoint to another. This fragmented media landscape inevitably raises substantial obstacles for advertisers aiming to deliver a unified message.

All of this makes a tougher and less differentiated path out of media planning and buying. Creative, long overshadowed, is now emerging as the main focus for brands that want to stand out.

Three Keys to Omnichannel Creative

Omnichannel creative, with its promise of a unified brand experience across various platforms, presents itself as the answer to the fragmented media consumption pattern. However, to fully harness its potential, three pivotal areas need attention:

  • Better Signals: Modern advertising demands a shift from traditional audience targeting signals to more nuanced cues. Contextual technology emerges as a solution, providing enhanced signals that enable dynamic ad optimization based on real-time content relevance.
  • Better Taxonomies: It's imperative for brands to discern the components of an advertisement and determine the elements that significantly impact its performance. Sophisticated technology can assist in comprehending the anatomy of an ad, leading to insightful conclusions about its efficacy and areas of improvement.
  • Support for More Formats: The omnichannel approach invariably implies a splintering of ad formats and standards. Different platforms have varying ad specifications, and a single creative might not be universally compatible. This fragmentation necessitates technology that facilitates the seamless execution of creative across diverse standards without compromising the essence of the message.

As the advertising world confronts the decline of conventional targeting tools and the rise of a multifaceted media landscape, omnichannel creative emerges as a beacon of hope. The future of advertising lies not merely in pinpointing where to place an ad, but in the heart of the creative itself. Brands that pivot towards optimizing their creatives, harnessing superior technology, and embracing the omnichannel ethos will undoubtedly lead the next wave of advertising success.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

John Mruz is Mediaocean's SVP of strategy & product commercialization.