With a new year comes a new raft of predictions for what might unfold within it. PerformanceIN has been speaking with marketing experts in a number of disciplines to gauge their thoughts on what could make 2016 a groundbreaking year for their space. 

In this piece, Nikki Hawke, vice president of marketing for The Exchange Lab, explains how creative will move closer to media automation, and the repercussions of this happening.

As native advertising continues to gain momentum, 2016 will see a renewed focus on the relevancy of creative to the audience and environment. In order to run an effective programmatic campaign you need a balance and harmony between the executional side of media buying and the creative elements, which is partly why dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) is now a common tool for retail marketers. 

Many advertisers are looking to bring their creative and media-buying partners together at a much earlier stage with a view to understanding ways of marrying creative and audience in an engaging way without losing the efficiencies of media automation. 

Here are three things advertisers should consider when exploring this trend:

Unlocking sequential potential with DCO

DCO, which falls under the programmatic creative umbrella, is an effective way to build real-time creative from your brand’s programmatic campaigns to improve and personalise your digital ads. The tool has unlocked incredible potential in the way brands are able to tell stories and evolve their engagement with consumers online through paid media. The next iteration of programmatic will be focused on improving the connection and efficiency between data and creativity to the benefit of advertisers and consumers.

According to a study by IPG Media Lab and Yahoo, consumers are looking for personalisation more than ever, with 55% feeling strongly that personalised content saved their time and attention from irrelevant content.

While tailoring ads to be more relevant to audiences is something brands have been doing for years, it is now possible to take it a step further by segmenting audiences into groups and showcasing a custom creative message to each section, increasing the impact of engagement with your consumers. 

The right formats for the right impact 

What makes stand-out brand advertising has always been great ideas transformed into captivating content. Tailoring creative based on devices is also important as consumers live across multiple screens daily and engage with content on them in different ways. Video creative in particular needs to be carefully considered before deploying across multiple devices. Some top things to consider are device screen size, format length, player orientation, and, in particular for digital formats, ensuring your brand comes across in the first three seconds as opposed to longer play formats suited to TV.

Let great content lead the way

Programmatic should be viewed as a vehicle for great creative. Whether you want to achieve awareness, shift brand perception, align your brand and its values next to content that will engage your target audience or create brand engagement, you can take advantage of the efficiencies of programmatic automation and highly visual advertising. High impact formats, such as Rising Stars, Takeovers, and Filmstrips – traditionally reserved for premium deals – can be secured programmatically through private marketplaces (PMP), often at far lower rates than going direct.

No matter which screen the creative is meant for or which data or technology is being used, there is no replacement for content that is driven by great ideas. As consumers continue to seek out personalisation, it is more important than ever to ensure customers are celebrated as individuals looking for unique solutions, products, and services across devices. Brands who hone in on individuals, speaking to them directly across devices will be the ones who come out on top in 2016 and beyond.