Meetup Debrief: It’s Time to Get Creative

When reviewing campaign performance, how many times have you thought, “Well, the targeting was on point but the creative was lame?” Considering the innovations publisher revenue teams have sparked with programmatic and other monetization technologies, they are in a prime position to revolutionize digital creative.

Opportunity is knocking. The proliferation of platforms—from mobile to social and even connected TV—has advertisers leaning more on publishers for creative solutions at scale. A solid creative offering can win additional business, drive better ad performance, and improve user experience.

On September 18, 2019, AdMonsters brought together an illustrious panel (Time to Get Creative), featuring Derek Gatts, Vice President, Ad Product, CNN, Katie Spagnuolo, Associate Director, Media Strategy & Distribution, TripAdvisor and Ron Duque, Senior Director, Revenue Operations, GroundTruth, to discuss how to leverage the latest breakthroughs in creative technology, scaling creative development, effectively integrating ad design into workflows, using creative services to up-sell advertisers, smart formats for different platforms, evaluating and optimizing creative performance, transferable skillsets for creative, what to look for in a creative management partner and more. The Meetup was sponsored by Celtra at GroundTruth’s lovely office at 1 World Trade Center.

Following are some of the highlights from the AdMonsters Meetup: Time to Get Creative, Sponsored by Celtra:

Derek Gatts, Vice President, Ad Product CNN

In his work with ad products at CNN, Derek Gatts works closely with data intelligence to develop deeper insights that lead to unique ad format capabilities. When it comes to creative trends like AR, he says that one of the challenges for most publishers’ ad products is going after the one-off shiny object, when media companies should start thinking like SAAS companies, bringing things to market in a cohesive way. How can a publisher take something that’s been done in the past and build something unique that specific to an advertiser, KPIs and use cases?

For a large publisher like CNN the transition from scale to quality isn’t an easy one, but the road there includes looking more closely at what users are doing—looking at positive attributes from social like FB and Twitter as an example in terms of how they develop an ecosystem around what the user is doing on their platforms. CNN is looking at what signals they can create in relation to how users interact with advertising that can allow the publisher to serve users better, perhaps through content recommendations or ad creative. “It should be less about assets and more about ‘I know this is how this user engages with this type of format,'” he said.


Katie Spagnuolo, Associate Director, Media Strategy & Distribution, TripAdvisor

As the Associate Director, Media Strategy & Distribution at TripAdvisor, Katie is tasked with managing and further developing their platform monetization fueled by data. She’s looking at leveraging first-party data, creating audience extensions to target users even when they’re offsite, and most important, making sure creative is relevant.

“Travel planning is complex,” she said, “There are multiple touchpoints. We want to make sure we’re engaging users in their travel planning by following their consumer journey.” For TripAdvisor it’s about providing that extra value to clients with dynamic creative that pulls in data and personalizes messaging. Advertisers rely on the trust the brand has built amongst their audience and then leverages their voice when it comes to creative. “We look at how we can take what’s core to TripAdvisor like ratings and reviews and incorporate those elements into their messages so that its authentic to their brand,” she explained.

When it comes to workflows and processes, TripAdvisor has a Core Experiences Team that works across the organization to ensure that everyone isn’t working in silos. A program will have a consistent pre-sale, KPIs will be known, and creative needs will be holistically met. The processes are streamlined to provide triggers across the journey of the program from pre-sale to flight to post.

Ron Duque, Senior Director, Revenue Operations, GroundTruth

Ron Duque and GroundTruth fuel a lot of what makes weather app WeatherBug work. Everything about the app (and by extension advertising in-app) has to be relevant to location and weather. Location is a very important ingredient in the creative process.

Latency is a big challenge for mobile in-app advertising. “We were at 9 seconds, then we got it down to 4 seconds, now we need to get it down to half of that. We needed to find the technology and partners who could help us reduce latency and better service consumers so they don’t get pissed off,” he said. It’s hard to find that in the header space with a rich media company who can help you accelerate your tech and offerings.

The company has a consumer-first philosophy and Ron and his team are even willing to pushback on sales. “We’re being very strategic in what we show people. It can’t be intrusive. We have to think like them and ask ourselves, ‘Is this something I want to see?’

All three speakers talked extensively about how important it was to have a creative management partner that works seamlessly with you like Celtra to provide effective and efficient cross-channel creative workflows, powered by data and analytics, as well as the ability to deliver dynamic creative, at scale across the entire media plan, in real-time and connect creative to media, measurement and data infrastructure to bring about adops simplification and value enhancement of the tech stack.