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5️⃣ steps for the successful production of digital materials 💎

A digital campaign is no mean feat: a combination of design and technology,

complex specifications, and it all needs to be done "for yesterday".

How should you proceed with the various stages of digital asset production? Why shouldn't you skip any of them?

See what it looks like step by step.

Step 1️⃣ Establish a starting point. What, how and when?

Work on the production of digital materials should start with establishing WHAT you need to prepare, HOW and WHEN. In the case of a larger campaign, this information will be provided by the production plan; for smaller ones, a simple list will do.

It’s often the case that one line in the production plan has several or even a dozen or so assets to prepare.

Remember that the production plan is not the same as the media plan.

Although they have some elements in common (e.g. a list of placements), they differ in terms of content.

In the media plan you'll find information on the planned number of impressions and costs, while in the production plan you'll find the file delivery dates, a list of specific formats, technical specifications and examples. These aspects are important in managing the production of materials.

If you cooperate with a digital production studio, they will handle all of the tasks below – your role will be limited to approving the previews.

If you cooperate with a freelancer or have an internal team complete the project, you will be responsible for project management and the other aspects listed below.

Our checklists will help you establish a starting point for the work.

WHAT needs to be done, i.e. the list of assets to prepare

The individual formats from the production plan or the list of assets should be written out very carefully. A mistake at this stage (e.g. entering the wrong file size or format) will have a knock-on effect and thus delay the completion of the tasks. Each format from the list should be accompanied by the specifications, i.e. technical guidelines for the designers or animators.

📌 Checklist. What should be on your list?

  • publisher and ad server, e.g. Onet, WP, Adform, DV360;

  • type, e.g. static banner, HTML animated banner, video animation, mailing, takeover ad, KV, 3D;

  • format, e.g. JPG, PNG, HTML, MP4, PDF;

  • size in pixels, e.g. 750 x 200 px, 1920 x 1080 px;

  • maximum file size, e.g. 150 KB, 2 MB;

  • specific guidelines (if any), e.g. protected areas, specific layout/template, content restrictions and others described in the specifications;

  • how to implement the click tag (for HTML animation).

You may find that some of the above elements are missing from the production plan. This can apply to both important and less important aspects. In the latter case, due to the deadlines, you can start production without the missing element – but it will need to be added later, because even seemingly insignificant details can be the deciding factor as to whether you manage to deliver the files on time.

HOW to do it, i.e. what each asset must contain

At this point, you need to take care of:

  • the visual and textual elements which should be included on the creative

  • and the animation style.

For the first point, the most important thing is the Key Visual – you may already have it to start with, but sometimes you need to create it from scratch. In terms of graphics, sometimes you have to rely on materials provided from head office or translate TV or print ads into the master banner of the digital campaign.

When it comes to the animation style, it's a good idea to build on previous campaigns for consistency. As with the Key Visual, however, sometimes you need to create something completely new. You can also build on assets made earlier, such as a TV ad.

WHEN to do it, i.e. deadlines and ASAPs

Each format may have a separate deadline for delivering the materials to the media agency, but there may well be one deadline for all the formats. In both cases, you should plan your work well, because each campaign has more and less important formats. It's worth prioritizing them.

Now we know WHAT, HOW and WHEN. What's the most convenient way to present it all?

A carefully written list of assets will allow you to avoid a lot of problems later on (e.g. missing the deadline, producing materials not in accordance with the guidelines, etc.)

Production plans are usually delivered in the form of an Excel file, so the easiest way to do it is... by adding more columns to the production plan.

This means that you always have the original document in front of you, but it's updated to include the key information at the same time.

It also makes it easier to track the status. This is especially crucial in larger campaigns, when it's easy to get confused due to the large number of formats and different delivery dates. Things can start to snowball when you're managing the production of several campaigns at the same time.

📌 Checklist. What columns should be added to the production plan?

  • deadline for delivery;

  • format / size in pixels / maximum file size;

  • creative line (if there are several);

  • guidelines on how to prepare the formats visually;

  • specifications and specific technical guidelines (it's more convenient to have them on hand than to go back to the file with the specifications each time);

  • preview link;

  • link to the production files;

  • status;

  • comments and any additional information.

💡 Tip.

Importing your production plan to Google Docs is a great help. It allows you to easily share it with everyone involved, and you can update it whenever you like. This means that there's no risk of someone using an outdated version.

OK, so we already have the list of assets, we know how to prepare them and when. What's next?

Step 2️⃣ Make a work plan. How do you prioritize?

It's time to prioritize.

  • First, sort the formats by the column Deadline for delivery to the mediathe closer the date, the higher the priority of the task.

  • Then check if the list includes custom formats (containing specific guidelines and requiring more time to complete) – you should set aside more time to work on these than standard formats.

  • Another crucial factor when prioritizing is the date and type of display. For example, flat-fee ads charged per day or several days (displayed for 1 or more days) are much more important in terms of timely delivery than programmatic formats, displayed e.g. for 1-2 months.

Now you can move on to creating a simple (but important) work plan.

This will allow you to complete the project within the set deadlines, taking into account the specific costs, and you will avoid having to make the same amendments across many formats at the same time. You can find examples of such plans below.

Example 1.

There are 10 HTML banners to prepare.

  1. Preparing the storyboard for the animation master format and the static version.

  2. Preparing the HTML animation for the master format.

  3. Feedback and approval of the master format.

  4. Preparing the reformats.

  5. Feedback and approval of the reformats.

  6. Preparing the production files for all the formats.

That was easy! Now let's take something a little more difficult. 😉

Example 2.

There are 10 HTML formats in 5 creative lines to prepare, which are similar and have the same layout, but differ in background, text and packshot.

  1. Preparing the HTML animation for the line 1 master format.

  2. Feedback and approval of master 1.

  3. Preparing the line 1 reformats and (simultaneously) the master for the other lines.

  4. Feedback and approval of the line 1 reformats and the other masters.

  5. Preparing the reformats for the other lines and (simultaneously) the line 1 production files.

  6. Preparing the production files for the other lines.

The difference is that we can work on some tasks at the same time and, as a result, speed up the implementation.

What if it's a more complex banner campaign❓

Example 3.

There are a total of 100 HTML, JPG, video and mailing formats to prepare. Standard and rich media formats (this is our favourite type of campaign at

This is where the power of a well-written list of assets comes into play.

  1. Preparing the static master format and the storyboard for the HTML format.

  2. Feedback and approval.

  3. Simultaneously: reformats of the static formats, HTML master animation, preparing the storyboards for the rich media and video formats, and designing the mailing.

  4. Feedback and approval then preparing the production files for the approved formats.

  5. Simultaneously (depending on approval): reformats of the HTML formats, preparing the video and rich media master, and coding the mailing.

  6. Feedback and approval then preparing the production files for the approved formats.

  7. Preparing the rich media and video reformats.

  8. Preparing the other production files.

The order provided above is an example. In reality, it should be based on the pre-set priorities. It may be the case that although we could complete X formats today, we should deal with Y formats first, because the former have a delivery date in a week, and the latter in 2 days.

Step 3️⃣ Implement the plan. How do you manage the production of the materials?

Depending on your work system, you can manage the project using the production plan – just add a column describing the status of tasks to it.

It's also a good idea to list the formats using organizational tools, such as Asana or ClickUp. These allow you to preview the static, video and PDF formats.

There are problems with certain file types including HTML5 banners, which need to be downloaded as a ZIP, unzipped and only then displayed. So, if you often run such campaigns, consider using specific, more advanced tools designed to work with banner campaigns and HTML files.

At, we use a proprietary tool to preview digital assets. It makes life much easier for our clients: they don't have to download the materials, as they can see them after clicking on the link. The comments and approval option improves the production process even further. Both static assets as well as video or HTML animations can be accessed using one link.

How do you list the formats?

  • Be guided by the priorities and deadlines. First, list the most important and urgent formats so that the production can start. This ensures that you won't cause a bottleneck in the campaign. In the meantime, you can start listing the other tasks.

  • If the project is small, list all the formats at once.

  • The materials should be listed separately if possible, as there may be individual comments for each of them. For example: 2 master versions are 2 independent tasks, 5 reformats are 5 tasks, etc.

  • Formats appearing together (e.g. several creatives for a carousel on Facebook or a takeover ad containing a banner and wallpaper) are better listed as 1 format. They should be presented as they will actually look together. This can't be omitted or left to the imagination. It could be the case that two separately approved files will not fit together at all when embedded on the publisher's site.

After listing the formats, assign the assets to the appropriate specialists for completion (depending on the required skill): graphic designers, HTML5 developers, motion designers, etc.

To ensure that the work goes according to plan, remember to track the campaign status.

This will allow you to control the project and react when the time is right, e.g. if there is a risk of delays. It's extremely important to be diligent and meticulous, especially when implementing several projects at the same time and complex campaigns.

You can update the campaign status in one of the aforementioned organizational tools and/or on the production plan.

Step 4️⃣ Quality control. How do you quickly spot any errors?

Every time you receive a new file, you have to check that everything is correct. It doesn't matter if it's the first or second version, or if the changes were major or cosmetic. Any alteration can significantly affect the creative – sometimes completely by accident.

What elements should you pay attention to?

📌 Checklist. Check that the creative:

  • was prepared in accordance with the task;

  • has no errors or typos in the text;

  • is well designed in terms of the graphics, i.e. the elements have been used and positioned correctly (in accordance with the master and guidelines of the brand);

  • looks correct visually – pay attention to the margins, the proportions of individual elements and the legibility of the text/graphic elements;

  • meets the requirements and guidelines set out in the technical specifications.

Step 5️⃣ Prepare and send the production files

After the previews have been approved, prepare the files in terms of the technical aspects, so that they are ready for display.

At this stage, it's worth remembering that the files sent for approval did not necessarily meet all the technical requirements. For example, there could be one preview which now needs to be split into several separate files in accordance with the specifications. It's the task of the people responsible for preparing the production files to pay attention to these issues.

At this stage, you should also go back to the first point and perform quality control in accordance with the guidelines included in the what needs to be done section. This mainly applies to the technical aspects (file size, format, resolution, restrictions, protected areas, length, coding etc.).


The files should be sorted by publisher name, preferably with the relevant line number from the media plan, e.g. "35_Wyborcza_Takeover_Topboard_DCM". This ensures that the media agency will be able to easily navigate it and avoid simple mistakes.

Sometimes, instead of sending the files to the media agency, you need to upload them directly to the ad server, eg Sizmek or Google Studio. This requires the skill to operate various different platforms.

Remember that after checking the files, the media agency and publishers may come back with comments regarding visual or technical issues or gaps in the files. Only once the ads are displayed will you be able to say...

...we did it!

So, how do you successfully produce digital materials?

Let's summarize all the stages of managing the production of digital materials: 1. Start with the basic information:

  • make a list of assets to be prepared (WHAT);

  • establish what elements should be on the creative and what the animation style should be (HOW);

  • set deadlines for the delivery of individual formats (WHEN).

2. Write out a plan including priorities:

  • set priorities based on the deadlines, custom formats (requiring more work) and the date and type of display;

  • create a work plan based on the priorities set.

3. Manage the production of the materials:

  • list the formats, taking into account the deadlines and priorities;

  • assign the formats to the appropriate specialists;

  • update the status of completed tasks on an ongoing basis.

4. Quality control:

  • check that the assets have been produced in accordance with the task;

  • look out for errors and typos in the text;

  • check if everything is correct and consistent in terms of the graphics;

  • check that the project complies with the technical specifications.

5. Prepare and send the production files:

  • assign the preparation of the production files;

  • check the quality of the files (in accordance with the requirements and specifications);

  • send the files and wait for feedback/comments from the media agency or publisher.

But what if you don't have time for all this?

We'll do it for you! Write to us and let's talk about the digital problems you're facing.


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