PaperG, now “Thunder,” offering cross-channel creative tools for display and social
Platform seeks to better align creative with programmatic capabilities.
PaperG began in roughly 2007 as an automated display ad creation tool for the small business (SMB) market. It evolved into an enterprise platform for the programmatic display world and now has rebranded as “Thunder.” “Flash comes before Thunder,” CEO Victor Wong joked in explaining the choice of the name.
While the company hasn’t abandoned the SMB market, it’s now much more focused on tools for major brands and agencies. In its new incarnation, the company is offering a way for marketers to develop essentially unlimited versions of ads for the PC and mobile and for different screen sizes.
“Thunder is the only platform that allows you to edit for display and social channels simultaneously,” according to Wong. “We asked what software for creative would look like if it were built today.”
Rather than create “one ad for one audience and one screen,” the way ads have historically been built, Thunder is intended to automate creation of numerous versions of the same campaign for multiple screens and audiences. The platform can also generate ads from a URL or landing page (part of the PaperG legacy).
Even though the tools simplify ad creation and production, the idea of dozens of versions of the same campaign for various audiences and devices places a creative burden on humans. Accordingly, Wong says his team helps customers with creative strategy using a customer journey matrix to assist with thinking about ad versions and audiences.
Interestingly, Wong says the platform doesn’t support “intrusive” ad formats. He explains that ad blocking and other consumer objections to certain mobile ad experiences (e.g., interstitials, takeovers, pop-ups) is feedback from the market on which formats to avoid.
He main point, however, is that creative and targeting need to be better coordinated. “Many agencies don’t take targeting into account when they make the creative,” Wong observed. “There’s a lack of coordination between targeting, audience segmentation and messaging.” He also decried the “mindless retargeting” that happens across the internet and mobile with the identical creative.
Wong says that while targeting and relevance are being adequately addressed by programmatic, “creative is the weak part.” Thunder is an attempt to address that problem by enabling better alignment of ad creative with increasingly sophisticated audience targeting across platforms and screens.