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Creative LCD
As already mentioned briefly, the goal in this development process is to create an LCD spec so the ad can run
flawlessly across every publisher and ad network on the buy. This is where a creative agency has many hard choices
to make. In order to raise the bar creatively, it—you—may need to ignore or break some publisher spec, but in order
to run the campaign everywhere, you'll need to follow the lowest spec. It's a tough call to make, especially if you are
trying to be innovative in the space.
innovative advertisers will work with ad servers to ask for special publisher allowance to run their creative.
This requires a one-off conversation with the publisher to hash out any concerns they may have about the ad's
execution prior to running. Many different things could be settled, such as how much file size (or k-weight) the ad can
have and what features the publisher will allow. In most cases, demonstrating the creative will help the publisher sign
on or off on the execution. Worst thing that can happen is that they ask you to revise a few things.
These one-off conversations always occur, yet members in the space feel differently about them, depending on
which side of the fence they're on. On the one hand, the conversations can allow an advertiser or creative agency to
be super innovative, to break rules that once applied to everyone. On the other, they set a poor precedent for other
advertisers looking to do similar things, and because it's not a public standard, other agencies will have to ask for the
same special permission.
At the end of the day, the process is political and money driven. “Hey, welcome to advertising!” If you have a
close relationship with a publisher or pour lots of dollars into a campaign, chances are you'll be given the OK to do
whatever the hell you please. Being a job on its own, the process typically involves getting an ad-serving vendor such
as PointRoll ( ), Media Mind ( ), or Crisp Media ( ) to
get that grant of permission and run a large, innovative digital ad campaign. These companies focus on developing
strong publisher relationships so that advertisers and creative agencies can focus on being creative and continute
to invent.
Ad Serving
Once the creative is designed, developed, and advertiser-approved, it's usually passed to an ad-server. The ad server's
job is to do just what it's name states: serve the ads the creative team designs and develops. Once the ad-serving
company gets the creative, it goes through an asset-intake process, where the creative assets are analyzed and
processed to ensure all files are present and within spec and follow general best practices that adhere to publisher
guidelines. If it is determined that the creative files are completely out of spec, they will usually be returned to the
agency that developed them for further optimization. If the assets require only minimal work—adjusting a size or
shaving some k-weight—the ad-serving company will typically do the work for the creative agency, whether to satisfy
the client or ensure continued work or float the costs based on other revenue streams.
Once the assets are given the sign-off, they're sent to the ad developers and engineers to install tracking and metrics
for reporting purposes. Tracking is the additional code implementation into the creative assets in order to fire off
an impression per view, a click for buttons and interaction beacons to track user interaction. For the ad server, the
tracking is typically installed by way of an API (Application Programming Interface). APIs come in many forms but in
this case it's the communication layer between the ad creative and the ad-serving platform.
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