Today’s digital environment poses numerous challenges for marketers in many aspects – one of their prime issues relating to changes in consumer behaviour. 

Consumers nowadays are easily distracted and highly demanding at the same time. Attention spans are shrinking, while it’s now possible for web users to access realms of information at an alarming pace.  In the meantime, marketers need to figure out how to grab and keep their attention. Doesn’t sound like a piece of cake, does it?

The programmatic rise

Traditional models of media buying made it difficult to deliver relevant messages to different market segments. Media buying was executed based on general audience features. But programmatic technology changed this by introducing a much simpler (automated) process of selling and purchasing ads. 

However, despite programmatic staging a rise to the top of the food chain, there were still doubts over whether automation left any room for creativity. 

Several years later, it’s safe to say that some of these fears may have been exaggerated. 

On the contrary, the race for better consumer engagement in the automated ad-buying process has made marketers, brands, and agencies address the value of what they deliver. They are finally facing the fact that technology and messaging go hand in hand in making successful campaigns.

Creative messaging

Consumers today expect relevance in the ads they see. To achieve this, the focus should be on telling a more personal story through creative messaging.

The industry is becoming more demanding, and in a performance-driven marketplace, creative ignorance is no longer an option. Industry experts keep saying that having the “right creative” is the key to success with programmatic. But what exactly is this? The discussion about the right creative is a discussion about the relevance of that creative. In a nutshell, it means that messages need to be hyper-relevant. In order to be hyper-relevant, they should be customised.

Marketers should tailor ads in accordance with the targeted consumers and deliver them at the right time and context. However, for many marketers, the right time and context are still equivalent to simply matching ads to targeted consumers. 

A brand, an agency, or a marketer can have all components figured out, but if the creative doesn’t deliver the right message, it won’t have any impact. For example, someone who has just bought a laptop won’t be interested in seeing another ad about computer from a company – they’d rather see ads related to tech accessories, laptop accessories and maintenance offers.

Seeking solutions

Media-buying teams within agencies still work separately from the creative department, so there’s little or no collaboration at all. Usually, a creative team (or an agency) crafts the ad, which is then sent to media buyers, who tend not to creatively intervene or optimise the message. One solution for this is to join creative and media-buying teams. Joined forces and ideas will certainly produce better results, allowing creativity to get the focus it deserves.

The creative aspect of an ad campaign doesn’t just refer to the visual aspect of the ad. The media-buying team needs to get creative with the timing, placement and context of the ad.

Moreover, the ad should lead to an appropriate landing page, which is in line with the message being communicated. An example of a well-structured advertising campaign is when someone clicks on an ad showing a car, after which they are taken onto the landing page showing the same item displayed on the ad.

Adding to this is the enormous amount of targeting data that marketers have – thanks to programmatic – which can be used for creative purposes. This data can provide insights about which type of messages and visuals make sense for a certain consumer.


The ultimate goal of marketers seeking to incorporate creative with programmatic should be engagement with customers through meaningful and relevant messages. 

Instead of dividing the media-buying and the creative processes, agencies, brands, and marketers should insist on their fusion, by optimising data for developing creatives and targeting consumers. 

Cross-departmental communication, and even team reorganisation could provide long-term success, while matching relevant creatives with programmatic will provide value for both agencies and advertisers.