Don’t Let Creative Costs Get You Down

Regardless of campaign size, target audience, industry, or site placement, the reality of modern online advertising can be summed up with two words: creative versioning. Creative services are a huge part of every banner campaign, including developing countless variations of ads for contextual placements and, more commonly, as campaign data begets the need for creative optimization.

Some large campaigns require dozens, even hundreds, of individual banners. Contextual campaigns, even those on the small side, are also best approached with multiple creative executions, each version specifically addressing the page’s content. Companies like Offermatica and Optimost have based their businesses on multivariate creative testing and optimization for years.

Now a new player is entering the space.

This week, Boston-based DesignBlox introduced an ASP (define) based platform called Adroit. It’s designed to address the challenge of scaling ad production through a dynamic ad development system.

Adroit’s value proposition lies in both its ability to marry Flash functionality with analytics and its complex formula for measuring each creative piece’s effectiveness. The latter, the company says, was developed with the help of the direct response industry.

Here’s how it works: When a creative designer develops a rich media (or static, if you prefer) display ad for a campaign, that ad becomes a template for additional iterations. The banner is dynamically altered to include Adroit’s action script, which allows the advertiser to amend it quickly and easily through the Adroit platform.

Aspects such as copy (phrasing, offer price, and so on) and images can be altered in real time, and there’s no limit to how many versions of an ad can be created. Banners can also be synched with landing-page creative to ensure both deliver consistent messaging. The company claims the creative integrity of the original ad is maintained (good news for fastidious creative directors and clients). Adroit’s system doesn’t resize fonts; instead, character limitations are created for each banner based on layout and design.

When a series of ads goes live through the advertiser’s ad server, Adroit’s automated testing wizards look for statistically significant results based on behavioral targeting, demographic variables, or other predetermined success objectives. It stops the test, regardless of the predetermined testing end date, when it notes considerable results and serves only the most effective version of the ad moving forward. Adroit cookies track unique viewers and each ad element that’s shown. And the platform is ad-server agnostic, making it easy to integrate into existing campaigns.

The Adroit service is sold on a CPM (define) basis, with a one-time configuration fee to customize the database and discounts available for a high ad volume. No endless creative costs threatening to blow your campaign budget. The product can also be white-labeled for use by agencies or directly by savvy clients.

I got a run-through of the user-friendly system. Clients and agencies alike are sure to embrace its ability to streamline and minimize the process of creating multiple versions of ads for a campaign. Let’s face it, most self-respecting interactive shops don’t hang their hat on this type of creative development, nor are they structured to accommodate it. Not to imply it’s busywork, but changing the copy or color scheme on dozens of banners isn’t the best use of an agency’s creative abilities.

Sure, you could hire a chop shop to burn through banners for a reasonable price. But anyone who’s worked with such companies knows there’s little strategy applied to ad development — and often a reduced production value and less-than-acceptable attention paid to critical details, like those found in your client’s brand style guide.

That’s the real value of a platform like Adroit. It’s to agency creative developers what media planning tools are to strategists and buyers. It delivers the edge needed to boost a campaign’s overall effectiveness. Very adroit indeed.

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