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Digital pollution: why creative quantity shouldn’t mean worse quality

Digital pollution: why creative quantity shouldn’t mean worse quality

Marketers are creating more content than ever and investing more ad spend into digital to capitalise on the growing time spent on digital media. However, adapting creative to digital at speed has driven digital pollution on to the internet because marketers have seen it as an afterthought, according to Ad-Lib Digital.

Ahead of a panel at The Drum’s Digital Summit, where top industry minds from brand, agency and tech answer crowd-sourced questions on creativity, we catch up with Ad-Lib creative director Patrick Collister who talks to us about digital pollution and what can be done to limit its impact.

What are the biggest challenges to creativity at scale?

”For most marketers, digital is still an afterthought, with too many still spending most of their time and energy on above the line, only to adapt and push assets into digital afterwards. This is a real problem given that digital is now set to account for 50-60% of ad spend in many markets.

”As privacy and targeting policies bite, such as Apple and Google deprecating third-party cookies, marketers need to stop being so lazy, spraying their audiences freely with little thought for the user experience.”

What is digital pollution and why should brands be worried about it?

”Pollution is when you don’t care for the environment when there is too little or no regulation to preserve the ecosystem. Looking at the web today, with ever-declining benchmark response rates and such widespread use of adblockers, tells us something is wrong with the ads we are serving to consumers.

”Digital pollution is a result of efforts to produce a quantity of message with no thought for the quality. These two are not mutually exclusive.

”We should be concerned and make every effort to address this. In polls in the UK, advertisers as a profession are said to be less well regarded than our current politicians with an undeniable track record of lies.

”At Ad-Lib, we believe quality of advertising is possible with quantity/scale required.”

Can tech help or hinder the situation?

”Technology is both the cause of the problem, but also can create the solution.

”Technology can really help improve creativity – by enabling creative minds to provide richer more interesting experiences and relieving the time and effort required in production, deployment and delivery.”

How can brands start to get the right balance between creativity and automation?

”If the ads are relevant and interesting, consumers will engage. At Ad-Lib, we really care about creativity and are applying our technologies to show that better creative works better.”

What can we expect to see for this topic in 2021?

”Next year we can expect to see digital ad spend bounce back, as the impact of Covid wains and with that we hope to see a greater appreciation for the quality of the message.

”Coca-Cola, one of our clients, took a moratorium on its digital advertising going into Covid, relaunching at scale with a greater focus on interesting and contextually relevant messaging as the lockdowns across Europe were eased in the summer. We’ve seen this have a great positive effect – and hope to see much more emphasis across advertisers.”

Register now for The Drum’s Digital Summit and our Creative Clinic, where crowd-sourced questions on creativity will be answered by Rupert Privett, APAC lead at Ad-Lib Digital; Uma Reade, head of creative lab, international and CBT markets at Paypal; Pratik Thakar, creative content, connections and design excellence at Coca-Cola; and Vincent Niou, associate vice-president of programmatic and data strategy at Essence APAC. The session goes live at 2pm Singapore time (SGT) on Monday 9 November.

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