For big brand or multi-brand clients of the larger advertising agencies, multi-country and multi-format campaigns are now the norm. This means that on one campaign alone, there could be thousands of files and digital assets – all at different stages of approval, in different languages and intended for different purposes on different platforms.
The sheer complexity associated with managing all these rich media assets and all the connected digital rights and permissions is a significant challenge. Ad agencies can also struggle to stay on top of which is the correct version of a particular files, which can bring a whole host of other associated issues.
Advertising is a sector that in certain elements of operations has seen significant advances in its use of technology over the past decade. Yet part of the problem with managing digital assets for global campaigns is that many agencies are still using ageing and legacy Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems that are hardly fit for purpose in modern advertising. But deploying DAM in the cloud is a strategy that is starting to pay off for larger ad agencies.
Modern digital asset management
In 2020, ad campaigns are often highly ambitious and far-reaching. They require ongoing collaboration with the client and local agencies around the world, which includes effective distribution of marketing assets to each target audience around the world and monitoring and control of go-to-market timing across respective geographies.
This has meant that the use of digital assets (photos, audio, videos, animations and more) has become much more sophisticated and widespread. Ad agencies have been willing to invest in data analytics technology to understand their audiences better, reflected in 2019 research by YouAppi and Dimensional Research that revealed over the previous five years, 67 per cent of marketers have significantly increased their focus on data and analysis. Yet, investment in systems for coordinating, keeping and tracking digital assets is much needed as well and adoption of new technologies has not been rapid enough.
In many cases, ad agencies are still using relatively basic content management platforms, or DAM infrastructures that have been cobbled together. This leaves these agencies at the mercy of poor visibility and coordination, and general inefficiency as users must hunt around for the latest versions of files, or try and understand how and where digital assets are being used.
But transferring DAM to the cloud can have a powerful and positive effect on global ad campaigns and the digital asset and content management required for such campaigns. Cloud-based DAM systems can offer:
Enhanced storing and searching for rich media assets – this type of content comes in many different files types and formats, including 3D and 360º assets. These are large files that take a lot of storage -- with volumes growing all the time -- and users will also need to find the latest version of a file quickly. Deploying DAM in the cloud allows for enhanced scalability as assets grow in size and volume and the speedy finding of the right file, with users able to undertake rapid, full-text searches of assets and associated metadata.
Constant control of assets – permissions and control of assets is essential for a global ad campaign. Different users need access to different assets, and protection should include digital watermarking, automated legal review processes based on specific language or images, and configurable workflow automation, keeping content safe and a brand’s reputation intact.
Control also gives ad teams the ability to act swiftly in the event of a crisis. If an influencer working for a brand is caught up in negative publicity and the relationship is terminated, then users must be able to access every associated campaign and asset and take appropriate action immediately. Cloud DAM makes this possible.
A single source of truth – Cloud DAM systems can provide work-in-progress functionality and workflow automation to optimise what happens to digital assets and keep track of their status. Keeping control of asset review and approval in one platform allows the users to know when an asset is finalised and usable. Connecting to the others information systems in place, the platform make the information searchable and easily findable, avoiding content duplication and making sure the users have access to the final version of the assets. It will provide the single source of truth - the correct and most recent information on which to base business decisions - for asset production that is such a key element of a global ad campaign.
TBWA\ and cloud content services
A powerful example of how an ad agency can benefit from moving digital asset management to the cloud, can be found with TBWA\. A top-ten ranked global advertising agency that works with multiple clients including Accenture, Adidas, Apple, McDonald’s and Nissan, TBWA\ wanted to better support its clients with a highly configurable platform allowing them to configure their customer experience uniquely for each client and effectively tailor the solution to their differing needs. They also wanted to roll out new instances much more quickly as new clients were coming on board.
TBWA wanted to explore a number of other opportunities to leverage the cloud as a centralised content hub across all of its global operations. Since moving to the cloud, TBWA\ has experienced increased platform performance and improved uptime, and with ‘push-button deployment’ any platform upgrades are implemented instantly to ensure TBWA has immediate access to the latest features and technology, allowing it to further enhance its digital asset management.
By transitioning to the cloud, TBWA\ can continue to effectively manage media assets across its worldwide network of clients and partners, while also providing the elasticity and configurability they will require as their needs evolve.
Moving DAM to the cloud is a move that other ad agencies are likely to follow in order to meet the demands of global and interactive ad campaigns in 2020 and beyond. Such campaigns are increasingly reliant on smart digital asset management and it is only in cloud-based solutions that the right functionality, flexibility and scalability can be found for large ad and marketing agencies.
Chris McLaughlin, chief product and marketing officer, Nuxeo