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2019 Insights from Creative Studio, a Look Into 2020 and Beyond

Robert is a Junior Creative Strategist on the StackAdapt Creative Studio Team with a passion for developing and implementing creative solutions for brands running on the platform.

The StackAdapt Creative Studio team has had quite the exciting year. Since I joined the team in April of 2019, a number of new creative capabilities have been developed by our team and deployed on the StackAdapt platform.

With thousands of brands competing for attention in the digital realm, our team has worked hard to develop innovative solutions to set our clients’ ads apart. Part of that has been building a robust library of HTML5 capabilities, including some pretty sweet custom formats that I have enjoyed working on. We’ve explored ways to include motion into your creativesthe benefits of interactive ads and have explained how to leverage your creative for the best campaign setup and performance.

As a wrap up to the year, and to make sure you are well-equipped to take on 2020 with a diverse repertoire of ad creatives, I’m going to highlight some of my favourite ad formats of 2019.

Countdown Ticker

The ability to include a countdown in your digital ads can be an excellent way to attract user attention and encourage action before a specific time and date. The ticker was originally developed by the Creative Studio for retail brands using StackAdapt to convey a sense of urgency by counting down to a sale or launch. Think of key retail shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day. There is also immense value in leveraging the ticker for other tentpole events and verticals outside of retail, including sporting events, arts and entertainment, product launches, grand opening events and even webinars.

This is a tactic that plays on the psychology of fear of missing out and is aimed at encouraging users to complete a very specific action, at a very specific time—or even before time is up. Viewers can click a button and add the event directly into their Google calendar, iCalendar, Yahoo calendar or Windows Live. Not only was our team of Creative Strategists excited about the potential for this ad format, our clients were equally as enthusiastic!


The slider ad format was developed in order to show different options or scenarios within an ad. Instead of using the text on the ad to describe the benefit or options available, the slider allows you to save on prime ad real estate and illustrate the message visually. For example, you could demonstrate what a living room would look like with different sofa options, or how you might liven up a kitchen with Pantone’s Classic Blue. You can even show product differentiation in colour or style, including the same car with a different finish. The viewer can click and drag an interactive circle to change the view and see the defined comparison.

The slider allows you to demonstrate how the viewer’s life may differ if they were to have your product and use your service. This interactive format engages users in an immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression.

360° View

All of the ad types can bring a different value to any campaign but I must say I am rather partial to the 360° view ad unit—it was one of the first I developed that left the StackAdapt team in awe. This interactive ad encourages the user to engage with the image by clicking on the item and dragging the mouse across the image, to rotate it and view the item from all sides. With a full view on the product, it provides an opportunity for interaction fully controlled by the viewer.  

This ad format was so successful, we want to be able to do even more. Going into 2020, we’re looking to further develop our 360° capabilities by adding an interior view and three.js integration, which is integrating 3D models and landscapes. I cannot wait to get started.

And on that note, I’d like to give you a sneak peak into something 2020 has in store for the Creative Studio team…

Engagement Tracking

Engagement tracking allows for a deeper understanding of how your audience connects with your brand. It can also help to better understand your target market on a psychographic level—what is important to one viewer may differ from the next. We will be able to add engagement tracking to ads in display inventory to either determine how the consumer feels about your brand, or to get a better understanding about their wants and needs. This is useful to test different CTAs, or even multiple products to determine which would be the most popular—ideal for a prospecting campaign in order to then apply the outcome to the retargeting stage.

The Future of Digital Design

Now you’ve seen some of the ad formats we have developed in 2019, and you know where we’re heading in 2020. If I were to put my imagination to work, no holds barred, I have more ideas that could revolutionize digital advertising as we know it—maybe not next year, but somewhere in the foreseeable future.

Augmented Reality (AR) is a digital medium offering new ways to present information by making it engaging and impactful—and something I am personally very interested in. AR is an interactive experience, merging the real-world environment with computer generated objects altering your perception of reality. It has quickly evolved into one of advertising’s most transformational technologies.

Brands are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to reach their target market and AR creates an immersive media experience that can form deep emotional connections between an audience and a brand. I believe this technology could have a huge impact on all mediums of advertising. Brands running native campaigns could benefit tremendously from this technology as it presents a unique opportunity for brands to convert information from a landing page to a visual experience. Talk about engagement! I think this type of 3-Dimensional journey could be revolutionary for captivating your audience and building the relationship between your brand and your target market.

It’s hard to tell whether or not AR will become more widespread in the upcoming years, but I’m sure other ad formats will continue to emerge. Since the design techniques we’ve developed have been so successful to increase user engagement and improve campaign performance, I can’t imagine we will stop looking for new ways to create ads. Moving forward into 2020, we are researching potential integrations with modern technologies to enhance our offerings and our team will continue to develop creative capabilities that are in our current roadmap.

Reach out to your StackAdapt Representative to learn more about these and other creative formats offered by the Creative Studio.

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