With new advertising platforms like TikTok, retail media networks (RMN), or connected TV (CTV) ad platforms added to the ad channel mix, media buyers are pressured to craft and distribute more creatives that resonate with people than before. Additionally, strengthened privacy regulations left them without precise techniques for audience targeting, such as third-party (3p) cookies and mobile IDs. That means marketing and creative teams must serve ads to broader audiences and be able to rapidly test and tweak them in real-time to ensure creatives are highly relevant for specific user groups.
Creative management platforms (CMPs), which automate ad production and optimization, make it possible. The creative management market’s growth illustrates media buyers’ demand for personalizing ads at scale.
The market size of creative management platforms was valued at $985.75 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 12.38% between 2023 and 2030, reaching USD 1985.94 million by the end of the forecast period.MarketWatch
In this article, we’ll learn what creative management platforms are, how they work, and what features distinguish sophisticated tools from basic ones. We’ll also shortlist top solutions and discuss how AdTech market players can benefit from having CMP capabilities.
What Is A Creative Management Platform?
A creative management platform (CMP) is a cloud-based software for producing, distributing, and measuring ad content performance. CMPs enable and simplify dynamic creative optimization — assembling tailored ads from various components (visuals, text, call to action) in real-time and updating creatives to make them more appealing to customers based on insights into their performance.
Advanced platforms use artificial intelligence (AI) for real-time analytics, text generation, or creative optimization and scaling.
With a CDP, the creative production cycle comprises four stages:
- A platform makes a master creative based on uploaded ad materials (image, text, video, etc.) and makes ad variations, different in sizes and formats.
- The user publishes ads on multiple advertising platforms from one dashboard.
- The platform’s reporting module retrieves ad campaign performance metrics, and the solution tweaks creatives to improve their performance.
- The user can relaunch a campaign, and the cycle will start again.
Benefits Of Using A Creative Management Platform
CDPs allow companies to achieve ad production speed and scale previously impossible without automation. The game-changing influence of these platforms on teams’ operations can be compared with the introduction of the printing press in Renaissance Europe. The invention led to a massive increase in book production volume and reduced book prices roughly eight times compared to handmade ones. But let’s return to modern days and discuss how creative management platforms streamline the operations of marketing and creative teams. We consider the four main pros of using these tools.
- Advertising campaign automation. To free users from creating ads from scratch, CMPs provide ready-to-use templates and allow them to build templates and reproduce ad variations from a master creative without coding. On top of that, edits in master creatives simultaneously appear in all ad variants.
- Efficient scaling. Creative management platforms have features to streamline ad creation and launch. With localization, teams can quickly adapt creative copy for international audiences. Сomputer vision models analyze video frames and adapt ad content for multichannel campaigns. For example, in CMP development projects, Xenoss implements computer vision for image and video processing to find the key ad elements, define the most efficient ones, and reuse them in other assets.
- Time savings and production cost reduction. Designing thousands of creative versions for a single campaign and publishing them on as many platforms as needed via a single dashboard is a time and cost saver. For instance, Coca-Cola automated ad production with Ad-Lib.io, which allowed the team to handle the task five times faster. Xenoss team was an Ad-Lib tech partner: our engineers transformed an unstable MVP into a full-fledged product in just four months. Spotify, in turn, sped up production cycles for a global summer campaign twice and created and launched four times more content with Celtra.
- Real-time insights on ad performance. Platforms measure ad performance across platforms in real-time against numerous KPIs like conversions, click-through rate (CTR), impressions, cost per click (CPC), ad frequency, or bounce rate. Marketers understand which ad variants perform better or worse, while a CMP capable of automatic ad optimization update creatives based on the analytics results.
What Features Make A Versatile CMP?
Vendors must ensure users have all the necessary tools for automating ad production. We suggest looking for these features when evaluating options.
- Ad creator. Ad creator has design tools and assets that help users to craft and optimize digital ads without coding. Building blocks for graphics, animations, or videos usually include fonts, colors, images and photos, logos, sounds, etc. Users can crop and resize images and videos, convert them to other formats, remove backgrounds, add animation transition effects, or even make QR codes. Many CMPs also offer ready-made templates for desktop and mobile platforms, various channels, and formats.
- Scaling tool. The scaling module enables quick and mass production of ads and their optimization for networks where advertisers need them to run. With this feature, designers can create many ad variations from a master creative, each of a specific format and size.
- Cloud-based collaboration module. The module permits team members to share creatives, give feedback on assets, edit, and approve them directly in the platform, as all materials are stored in the cloud.
- Publishing feature. A platform’s integration with numerous ad networks (e.g., Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube) allows marketing teams to launch multi-channel campaigns in a few clicks.
- A/B testing and auto-optimization.This feature lets users compare ad versions and change creative components: rephrase messages, replace images or videos, or add or move interactive UI elements. In addition, A/B testing and auto-optimization allow designers to spend less time thoroughly reviewing ad performance data.
- AI-based analytics. Comprehensive CMPs use AI for real-time analysis of ad performance, user journey, and dynamic creative optimization (DCO), which increases their efficiency in helping users to reach a target audience. For instance, ML models continuously learn from ad performance data and refine their recommendations for enhancements.
- Landing page builder. Creative management platforms with this tool allow users easily and quickly create and test landing pages for personalized marketing ad campaigns.
- Text translation service. Translation management module in CMPs simplifies workflows for teams targeting international audiences. Managing copy in a master creative helps designers and translators see text in context and agree on its optimal composition and messaging. Moreover, the platform automatically adjusts text in all language variations of an ad, saving a designer’s time.
Creative Management Platforms Worth Trying Out
Now that we have learned what features allow creative management platforms to make ad production as efficient as possible, let’s overview solutions from leading providers. We combined our understanding of competitive features with solution ratings and feedback from SaaSWorthy, G2 Grid, and Gartner Peer Insights to make this list:
- Ad-Lib.io – Ad-Lib.io is a CMP that simplifies the process of producing and optimizing digital creative across multiple channels, with an emphasis on personalization and data-driven creative.
- AdCreative.ai – AdCreative.ai uses AI to automate the process of ad design, aiming to improve ad performance through data-driven creative decisions.
- Adobe Advertising Cloud – Part of the larger Adobe suite, Adobe Advertising Cloud is a comprehensive platform that allows for the design, optimization, and automation of ads across a variety of digital channels, including search, display, and social media.
- Adzymic – Adzymic simplifies digital advertising through transforming editorial content into high performing ad units, focusing on enhancing user experience and ad performance.
- Bannerflow – Bannerflow is a CMP that emphasizes ease of use, scalability, and real-time optimization, helping brands manage and design display ads across various channels.
- Bannerwise – Bannerwise is a CMP that allows for efficient design, management, and publishing of ad sets across multiple networks, particularly targeting businesses seeking to scale their digital advertising.
- Bynder – Bynder is more of a digital asset management system, but it also offers creative project management capabilities, helping brands create, share, and organize digital content.
- Celtra – Celtra is a cloud-based CMP that enables scalable creative production, management, distribution, and optimization across digital channels, with a particular focus on dynamic and personalized creative.
- MarinOne – MarinOne provides a unified platform for search, social, and eCommerce advertising, including tools for campaign management and optimization.
- NEXD – NEXD is a CMP specializing in interactive and immersive ad formats, aiming to enhance user engagement and offering easy-to-use tools for ad creation and analytics.
- Papirfly – Papirfly is a brand management platform that includes a CMP component, helping businesses create, localize and manage brand materials across different channels and markets.
- Storyteq – Storyteq’s platform is designed to help brands automate and scale their video and banner production, focusing on dynamic and personalized content.
- VidMob – VidMob is a platform that uses data and AI to improve creative performance, providing tools for scalable video creation, analytics, and optimization.
Providers generally offer prospects to book a demo, which is a great way to assess how account and customer success managers communicate with users and how well they know their product.
How AdTech Vendors Benefit From CMP Capabilities?
Amid dwindling addressability, dynamic optimization of creatives based on real-time performance data becomes crucial for all players of the AdTech ecosystem. Notably, the opportunity to adapt ad creative on the fly enables effective targeting for demand-side platforms and higher CPM rates for publishers. Hence, using CMP capabilities for dynamic creative optimization makes sense for businesses.
Out-of-the-box CMPs may not fully meet AdTech vendors’ needs due to limitations in functionality or integration capabilities. So, three factors may motivate them to develop a platform from scratch or expand the functionality of their product:
- Integration. An out-of-the-box platform may not integrate smoothly with a custom tool. An AdTech provider may need a tailored integration with one or two platforms instead of all the built-in integrations provided. A CMP team may not perform a custom integration with an environment in which (in-app, CTV platforms) they need to run ads. In both scenarios, an AdTech vendor needs engineering expertise.
- Cost. An AdTech business may not need the bulk of the features from the off-the-shelf solution, just an ad creator and publishing tool, for example. Alternatively, they might need specific optimization features that out-of-the-box tool lacks.
- Customization. By building a solution from scratch, a company gets a system with a tailored feature set. It may include custom design templates, an ad preview performed directly in the platform or AI-powered creative optimization based on characteristics of best-performing ads and additional attributes like audience traits (e.g., age, social status, interests).
As privacy legislation obsolete traditional targeting methods, marketers must rely on much broader targeting for their digital ad campaigns. That makes reaching the right audience more costly and labor-intensive.
Creative management platforms come to media buyers’ rescue by allowing them to swiftly produce a multitude of ad creatives, test and rapidly optimize them based on performance insights, aligning with customers’ preferences and needs.
Dozens of creative management platforms are available on the market. If adopting an off-the-shelf CMP is not feasible, businesses can consider building a custom tool or integrating certain CMP features into their products.