By Ian Wheal, Global Strategy Director, Adstream
The marketing landscape is evolving, and it’s changing the way advertisers, marketers and agencies develop, manage and deliver creative assets for their campaigns. Unfortunately, these changes have also made asset management more complicated than ever.
Here are four of the biggest shifts driving these new challenges.
1. Video has taken over multi-channel
Today there is no such thing as a single-channel strategy. The customer journey spans multiple screens, formats and platforms. With multi-channel campaigns now dominant, video has become the go-to asset for driving campaign engagement. In fact, advertisers’ spend on video grew by 85% in 2015.
Video ad content is at an all-time high, driven by advancements in programmatic buying, which has improved targeting for video-driven campaigns, and expected to continue growing in months and years to come.
This is great news but it raises a host of challenges for those managing creative assets. Video file types differ by channel (e.g. linear TV versus YouTube versus OTT or on-demand) and — regardless of format — are usually large and difficult to work with. Additionally, each of these files must be meticulously adapted to the specifications required at its destination.
2. Multi-channel campaigns have gone global
With new channels for customer engagement growing globally, ad campaigns are following suit. Advertisers can now approach customers across previously untapped markets through social, mobile and more, presenting new opportunities for brands to grow revenue. For this reason, global ad spend continues to increase year-on-year, reaching a new high of $540 billion in 2015 and due to grow another 4.6% in 2016.
However, as ad campaigns have gone global, so too has the process of managing campaign creative. Today’s global advertising environment has inspired a new centralized production model. In the past, content was produced and then adapted for different regions. Now, specialized agencies tailor content for specific markets and audience segments.
As a result — among global advertisers and agencies — creative content is typically created, managed, delivered and evaluated by multiple parties and departments in separate countries, and continents. Content is created in one place, moved to another, distributed somewhere else and then measured. Achieving a top-down view of a global campaign is difficult, and its absence can impact operational alignment, which is expensive, or message consistency, which can damage the brand.
3. Creating video content is even more expensive and challenging
As video has become table stakes for brands and marketers, the cost — particularly for original content — has skyrocketed. Furthermore, spending on original video ads has increased 114% since 2014. And globalization isn’t making content production any easier.
Prone to reshoots, rewrites, and disagreements over post-production strategy, producing video content is notoriously challenging. This is why setup costs for domestically produced video content could reach $8 million in 2016. Bring in a globalized approach, and “common production issues” can result in costs that spiral out of control.
To streamline efficiency and manage costs, marketers must re-purpose video content wherever possible. But even adaptation presents its own challenges as well.
4. All of this has made attribution harder
Brands, marketers and agencies must be able to track and measure the effectiveness of their content in a multi-channel, global, and mobile environment. Attribution allows marketers to understand which channels and types of content are producing the greatest impact. In turn, this dictates where budgets should be spent. Today, the number of brands using multi-channel attribution methods has increased by more than 10% year-on-year.
Beyond traditional attribution methods, granular data on individual pieces of creative enables advertisers to identify successful material over the long term. This in turn enables them to benchmark performance and build more efficient creative processes, from creation to delivery and play out, as operations scale.
Ian Wheal leads the product strategy, marketing, and corporate partnerships at Adstream, where he works with some of the world’s leading brands, agencies and studios in developing innovative solutions for the marketing ecosystem. He started his career at the global management consulting firm AT Kearney, and founded West Point Media, a UK and German outdoor advertising company.