HTML and CSS Reference
Creative Development and Design
In this phase, the advertiser's creative agency will go back to the mock-ups and designs pitched during the digital
strategy section. The agency will bring in creative and technical team members (that's you!) to design and build the
final ad experience for the advertiser. This involves leveraging design skills with technology and code. Designers
Because ad experiences vary and marketers always want the newest thing, the technology changes at such a
rapid pace that it's sometimes hard to keep up with it all. I stay ahead of the curve by reading up on new techniques
and experimenting with different code languages. Find what works for you and keep at it. Depending on an ad's
complexity and an advertiser's requirements, design and development can take several weeks to finish, so this activity
can be done in conjunction with other campaign requirements, such as finalizing the media buy. To some, creative
development is the most important process in the campaign; it's what tells the advertiser's message. Others say that
it's the media buying and optimizing the target audience. I myself feel nothing goes far without an amazing creative
message. With a compelling creative, you can make people want something they didn't want before. If you can
achieve this with a mass audience, then it doesn't really matter where the ad runs. But keep this in mind: when was
the last time you went online to look at the ads? At any rate, when a campaign is both effective and timely, it always
performs very well.
Brand Time vs. Direct Response
An advertiser has many options when it comes to communicating with an audience. It can provide an ad experience
that includes a game or video, which typically rolls into a brand-time initiative. Or it can allow the viewer or user
to click something or fill out a form and submit information in the hope of getting potentially useful personal
information (this form of advertising is called direct response). Certain options work better on certain screens and
with certain advertisers. Stats from an ad-serving company, PointRoll, show that brand time works better on tablets
and large screens and direct response works really well on mobile phones. PointRoll suggests that the big screen and
tablets are more of a lean-back approach to advertising, whereas mobile is more of a utility-based experience. It gets
users' attention quickly and while they are on the move.
Another focus for the advertiser in creative development is having a clear call to action. If you want your audience
to do something, tell them! If you want them to watch a video or click a button, you'll gain higher response rates by
instructing the audience to do it. In addition to keeping the CTA (call to action) clear, certain publishers won't allow
you to develop a creative that doesn't follow the message it's attempting to communicate. For example, say I develop
an ad where the CTA states “Click here for a free coupon!” Yet when the viewer clicks, a video pops open with no link
to a coupon. A publisher will usually protect its audience by not running such a misleading ad campaign as this.
As this is all part of the user-experience aspect of the creative, you'll want to do your absolute best to develop an
ad campaign that makes sense to your audience visually as well as functionally. The key is to remember the user; keep
his or her overall experience in mind at all times.
Another prime focus of advertisers is the ability to tell a story with one or multiple ad campaigns. Many advertisers
use cross-screen initiatives to communicate the message. This transmedia approach lets advertisers deliver a single
cohesive message to a user via multiple screens and devices. Perhaps it's instructing a user to visit a web page in
a broadcast spot for more information, or it's uploading a photo from your phone for a chance to see yourself on
television and win a prize. The possibilities are virtually endless with this form of engagement, and the ROI (return on
investment) for advertisers is enormous. With information about their user base they normally wouldn't get, they can
more easily target individuals listening at given times and on given devices or screens.