Creative: The Missing Piece in the Transparency Conversation

It’s hard to have a conversation around programmatic media these days without the concept of transparency arising. Transparency concerns are, after all, one of the driving forces behind the growing number of brands choosing to bring their programmatic buying in-house these days.

Transparency, when invoked during programmatic conversations today, is a broad concept used to describe the need for advertisers to understand not only how their media budgets are being spent, but also where their ads are appearing. In other words, transparency is the path to resolving long-standing industry challenges regarding both an inefficient supply chain and brand-safety concerns.

But it’s more than that. Transparency is also the path to our industry’s next creative renaissance.

Contrary to popular belief, programmatic and creativity are not mutually exclusive terms. One of the most prominent themes to emerge at this year's Cannes Lions festival was that technology isn't killing creativity. Rather, technology is enabling creative to become better—and more effective—than ever before. This rings true within the programmatic space, but only when transparency is a guiding principle within campaigns and programmatic partnerships.

Marketers today must seek out partners in the programmatic space whose workflows and feedback loops enable the sort of transparency and collaboration that can feed better creative executions. It’s not enough to simply know that your media budget was spent within an efficient supply chain that minimized bot traffic and exposure to questionable content. To truly move your campaign forward from a messaging and creative standpoint, you need to have a deeper understanding of which executions are resonating, and with which audiences. If your partner isn’t supplying those creative insights, your campaign is going to suffer because of it.

Programmatic media isn’t just about data. It’s about data-informed creative. As our industry continues to embrace and enable greater transparency within the programmatic space, we’re going to witness a dramatic resurgence in powerful online creative. And perhaps more importantly, we’re going to enter a world in which the data geeks and creatives of our industry have a lot more to discuss around the water cooler.

By Kait Boulos, VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Varick

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