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More than half of marketers (59%), advertisers (52%) and brand creatives (53%) agree that they find it difficult to personalize content at scale. And while agency creatives are a little more confident, a new survey from Adobe indicates that fewer than half of respondents overall believe that their company’s content personalization is very extensive.

So what’s holding them back? Time is easily the biggest impediment, per the survey’s results. Presented with 9 barriers to content and digital ad creative personalization and asked to rank their top 3, fully one-third pointed to the time to create and iterate as their number one barrier. Another fifth indicated that this was their second- or third-ranked barrier, such that a majority overall put it in their top-3.

It’s easy to understand why time would be a key barrier to personalization at scale when considering other results from the survey. On average, respondents estimated that it takes 17 hours to create a single piece of short-form content or ad format, with brand creatives on the low end of that spectrum (14 hours) and agency creatives on the high end (22 hours).

Long-form content, understandably, takes even longer. Marketers, advertisers, brand creatives and agency creatives estimated that they need 27 hours on average to create a single piece.

Personalizing the content requires creating variations, which 9 in 10 respondents are doing. Most commonly, they’re creating variations to target different segments of the market (59%), but many also create variations for different digital channels (49%) and for different campaigns (42%).

All told, respondents reported that it takes them on average 12 days to get a single piece of content to market.

The analysts note that creatives, marketers and advertisers feel that content quality is more important than both personalization and content cost, such that they’re “not willing to sacrifice quality for speed and volume.” But while those priorities seem laudable, cost is a hindrance: half of the respondents ranked the cost of creation and iteration as a top-3 barrier to personalizing content and digital ad creative.

In other findings from the report:

  • Roughly three-quarters of marketers and advertisers report interacting with design/creative teams on a weekly basis, and even more brand and agency creatives (91%) say they interact with marketing and advertising teams with that frequency;
  • Fewer than one-third of marketers, advertisers and brand creatives feel that content creation and delivery are very well-coordinated, in line with other survey results suggesting that creatives face a number of collaboration challenges;
  • A majority of marketers, advertisers and creatives say that more people are now involved in content creation and delivery compared to a few years ago; and
  • While about half (52%) of creatives, marketers and advertisers say that creatives are involved in the pre-planning stage of content development, 71% would like to see them involved in that stage.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 1,037 creative, marketing, advertisers and IT professionals, a majority of whom are from brands with more than 500 employees.

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