While the industry loves talking about data and creativity, in reality you see very few interesting examples of it being put into practice, especially in video. Part of the problem has been the types of creative tools available to advertisers. One of the more interesting examples we’ve seen is the latest iteration of ‘Brainient Studio’, which came out of beta just this week. Here Emi Gal, CEO of Brainient, explains what the product does, the problems associated with data-driven creativity, the rise of HTML5 and the metrics being used to measure effectiveness.
You recently launched a new version of the Brainient Studio. Could you explain what it is and what it will allow ad creators to do that they weren’t before?
Over the past six years, the Brainient Studio has become one of the most comprehensive interactive video tools in the industry. Hundreds of media owners, brands and agencies use the Studio to create interactive video ads, and over the past 12 months many of them have been asking us to extend the Studio’s capability to other types of formats. So the new version of the Studio enables our customers to create video, mobile, connected TV and display interactive ads using a single platform.
Besides being cross-media and cross-device, the new Studio enables customers to convert horizontal videos into vertical video ads with just one click, build dynamic ads using data signals like time, location, weather, platform and audience data or use a single set of assets to create multiple formats and deliver them across multiple devices (with a single tag).
While the industry likes to talk a lot about data-driven creativity, in reality it seems that we see few genuinely interesting and innovative examples of data being used to enhance the ad experience in any meaningful way. What are the main cultural and technological barriers to data-driven advertising?
The main problem we have right now is that the media, the data and the creative are owned and operated by different companies within the ecosystem. The media is bought by an agency using data from a DMP (or a DSP’s DMP, or no DMP at all) and the creative is built by the creative agency (or, in some instances, by the media owner). There’s currently no tool that seamlessly integrates data from any data source, makes it easy for creatives to leverage that data to build data-driven ads, and also support delivery across any publisher or DSP. That’s exactly what we’ve built with the new Brainient Studio. You can integrate data segments from any DMP, build creatives based on those segments and then deliver the right ad to the right person across the right device, using a single tag. There’s no other creative authoring tool in the industry that is able to do that across any type of interactive ad, from video to mobile or display.
Will the move to HTML5 creatives help tackle industry issues like fraud and ad-blocking?
I think that by transitioning to a new technology, the industry doesn’t necessarily solve the underlying reason why ad-blockers exist: most digital ads suck. No technology in the world will be able to truly circumvent ad-blocking, but creating high-quality, thoughtful, interactive and personalized ads will slowly change consumers’ perception of ads. At Brainient we strongly believe that creating great ads is as important as buying the right audience, and we’re committed to building tools that empower advertisers to do that.
We’re seeing a lot of buzz around vertical videos – is there any difference in performance between horizontal and vertical formats?
Absolutely. Snapchat recently reported that vertical videos get 9x higher completion rates than horizontal videos on Snapchat. That’s certainly consistent with some of the tests we’ve performed at Brainient, where we see completion rates increase by 50% for vertical video ads delivered on mobile compared to standard horizontal videos.
The display advertising side of the industry has ended up in a place where click-through rate (CTR) is the go-to metric for advertisers, which many believe is a questionable way to measure campaign success, not to mention the fact that CTR can be easily manipulated. Is there a risk that interactive video could lead us down a similar path if the industry doesn’t educate advertisers on the need to think more about actual effectiveness?
What advertisers are interested in when it comes to brand advertising is the brand recall for their campaigns. Unlike traditional display advertising, where the only measurable performance metric was CTR, in rich media & interactive video you can measure engagement, time spent, earned time and other brand-centric metrics. In the future, I think metrics like engagement, viewability and brand recall will become the prevalent metrics for brand campaigns, as advertisers become more sophisticated in the analysis of their digital spend.