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, Lee Henshaw, founder and managing director of Silence Media, believes advertisers will focus more on the creative aspects of their campaigns in 2016.

UK programmatic display ad spend continues to boom and is predicted to hit the £2.5 billion mark this year, accounting for nearly 70% of total digital display budgets. To realise this growth, the industry must undergo a major shift in the way programmatic creative is conceived, addressing the ugly, unappealing and intrusive ads that users are blocking.

In the offline advertising world, creative is expected to be beautiful, stylish and engaging. Sadly, the creative collaboration between the ad agency and the brand hasn’t transferred to online advertising, where creativity is often abandoned in a rush towards data-driven automation and price-driven metrics. 

The rise of ad blocking is a clear signal that perfectly targeted advertising is not the goal of the customer but the dream of the advertiser. To stem the ad blocking tide, brands must return to the principles of advertising creativity to deliver content that people genuinely want to engage with.

In the year ahead, digital advertising will undergo a transformation, so how will this creative renaissance in programmatic display manifest itself? 

Video is a highly engaging medium, and brands will look to incorporate everything from movie trailers to live video streams into their digital display ads. Video excerpts can run silently in the background of a banner ad with the user given the option to watch the entire video with sound if they wish.  

Imagery will also be a key part of the creative renaissance, with stunning photography comparable to that found in glossy magazines featuring in digital display, and image galleries adding an extra dimension to draw the user in. 

Social elements in display advertising create compelling content that delivers value for users and increases engagement, so incorporating social media feeds into display advertising will be a key trend of 2016. 

Interactive content is also likely to gain traction over the coming year. An advert for a new book could invite users to read an excerpt, for example, or an ad for a new product might tempt users with a game or quiz. 

Messaging is typically neglected in designing programmatic advertising, with bland uninspiring calls to action. Brands will spend more time analysing both messaging and content during the coming year – using split and multi-variant testing to determine the copy and content preferred by the customer. 

Packing these creative elements into a single display ad without intruding on the user experience may sound like a tall order, but using expandable formats and giving users control over whether to view them or not will create the space required for creativity to flourish. 

Creativity and the move towards automated advertising and data-driven metrics have been incompatible in a clash between opposing ideas, with increasingly frustrated customers caught in the middle. 

But, as brands continue to increase budget allocation to programmatic brand advertising, they will demand creative that better engages consumers and new ways to measure success, driving the renaissance in creativity that will assure the future of digital advertising.