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Programmatic creative is a burgeoning area of ad technology.
Lots of new software is entering the market that allows ad creative to be produced and optimised quickly and at scale.
These technologies can be defined as CMPs or DCOs. So, what exactly are they?
Both CMPs (creative management platform) and DCOs (dynamic creative optimisation) allow for creative versioning.
That's obviously just a slightly silly term for the creation of multiple versions of an advert.
As is the opportunity with programmatic media, these multiple versions are designed for different demographics, behaviours, times, locations and so on.
In this way, adverts can be personalised, offering greater relevance and hopefully a better conversion rate (and reduced cost of sale).
CMP: creative management platform
CMPs are essentially specialised design tools (think InDesign) for advertising. They address the challenge of producing enough creative for all markets, channels and campaigns.
This software assists designers who can’t keep up with formats, lack performance visibility and need greater economies of scale.
Creative is designed for a number of segments, which are mapped to ad buys (in the DSP). The success of each ad can then be analysed and creative revisited.
Notable CMP providers include PaperG and Flite.
Visualisation of a CMP, via PaperG
DCO: dynamic creative optimisation
Think of the DCO as the enormous, automated Mr Potato Head of programmatic. There are template ad units to which feeds of advertiser data are applied, creating many versions of creative.
This is generally used only for campaigns serving a large number of impressions, the chief benefit of a DCO being the 'O', the ability to use multivariate testing to ensure the most appropriate flavour of creative is served.
That means the user will be served an ad with the highest possible chance of resulting in a click/action (taking account in real-time of that user's past behaviour, location, device, time etc.).
DCOs require a bigger initial commitment to set up than CMPs, because of their automated big-campaign nature.
The software has to be aligned to datasets and inventory and, with ads that can show different product selections and messages, making sure all of this fits together properly when automated is quite an involved task.
Notable DCO providers include AdMotion and now Unruly, for social video.
The concept is a fairly old one, being used for retargeting for a while now, but is now being integrated further into the ad technology stack to deliver more formats, more creative and more relevance.
Visualisation of a DCO at work (taken from a 2012 Econsultancy blog post).
So why choose one over the other?
Well, as you've probably gathered from the description above, CMPs involve more of what we might call 'art'.
DCOs involve more of what could be called 'science'.
Obviously, programmatic campaigns using a CMP are still darn sophisticated, making use of data to serve different flavours of creative, but they aren't as focused as DCOs.
DCOs are used for big, self-optimising campaigns such as retargeting, where increasing conversion only slightly can have a dramatic impact on ROI.
CMPs are about allowing creatives the chance to perfect the ad unit and craft it to their liking, in a world of increasing ad complexity.
Tickets are currently on sale for Econsultancy and Marketing Week’s Get With The Programmatic conference.
The event takes place in London on September 21st.