Victor Wong wants to make “designing for ads an easier experience.” And as co-founder and CEO of PaperG, a San Francisco, Calif.-based advertising technology company, that's exactly what he is trying to do.
Wong founded PaperG in New York City about six years ago — before the term “programmatic” had even been coined to describe the space the company now occupies. The now 60-person team began with very little capital and fairly simple mission: to reduce “creative friction.”
Wait. What "creative friction"?
“We tried to help print advertisers and publishers transition to digital. We saw ourselves as part of the generation that was going to make paper into a digital medium. There was — and remains — huge creative friction when trying to transform content that is paper based into digital content or creative,” he said.
Over time, the company's focus has shifted. As more content has become digital, PaperG has tried to turn itself into the “Ikea” of the ad world. “We are trying to make high-end design accessible and affordable to everyone, to find out what works for some people and then apply it to everyone,” he said.
Save Time, Cut Costs
Wong said the PaperG platform can automate 80 percent of the ad creation work. The rest is customizable by the customer. “Asking marketers, agencies and advertisers to come up with an ad from scratch, over and over again, is such a big deal, and drives up creative costs. Besides, you can learn a lot from the ads others have built. But to try to do everything in a silo -- that’s entry level.”
How does it do that? PaperG uses machine learning and algorithms to effect data driven design, rather than doing everything from scratch. Then it uses data to figure out how to build a better ad next time.
When compared to competitors like Google and Adobe, PaperG appears to be further along in the programmatic creative space.
Stacking Up Against Adobe
PaperG’s offerings are much more scalable and accessible than Adobe's, for example. While most ads today are built on Adobe’s platform and everyone starts off in Photoshop, Adobe has a big problem: iPhones and iPads don't support flash-based advertisements. However, Adobe still remains the de-facto ad creative solution. Adobe has catered to the high-end creative professional but never to the people who see creative as "friction" to getting what they want ... done.