Ferris Bueller said it best in 1986: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” These Bueller words of wisdom can certainly be applied to the fast-paced advertising world. Our days are fast moving, years pass by even faster, and technology is warp speed ahead. As marketers, it’s monumentally important to keep a pulse on emerging technologies that allow our clients to grow their reach and influence. And there is no sign of a slowdown anytime soon!
As advertisers shuffle to stay ahead of the evolving technological trends, they must also keep up with their target audience. Online audiences have a short attention span and advertisers must keep pace. Luckily, there are tools and platforms that allow agencies to target people in the right place at the right time – enter programmatic media and Demand Side Platform (DSP) buying. DSPs utilize technology to buy ad impressions and make data-driven decisions on a scale beyond human capability. But there’s a catch – with servers and DSPs pumping out millions of ads per day, it’s easy for messaging to get lost in the clutter. The end goal for marketers is to break through the clutter and engage the core audience with the right message.
While programmatic media has been around for years, Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) is something that has not been used much. DCO is the ability to quickly assemble creative assets in different formats and messages based on data and machine learning. In truth, DCO should be utilized just as often as algorithmic media. For example, ten years ago marketers were manually activating dozens, if not hundreds, of different ads to see what engaged consumers. Today, DCO allows this to happen instantaneously. It’s a much more streamlined process, with DCO using data inputs such as location, time, behaviors and engagement to personalize the ad experience. DCO takes a lot of heavy lifting and guesswork out of optimization and decision-making.
As an example, let’s say a young woman is in the market for a new modem. Knowing relatively little about her options, she browses the web to learn about the different device choices. Her online behaviors signify that she’s “In Market for Network Equipment,” and she’s placed in this online audience. She has also registered on a few apps and websites in the past as a 33-year old female. The cookies on her computer and the registration data allow her to be retargeted with ads for modems she’s already browsed. Revisiting the webpage via retargeting, she puts a few different models in her shopping cart but doesn’t check out. These additional steps trigger dynamic creative to learn and adapt its messaging to speak to her consumer journey. The modem ads message that was previously served to her said “Learn More,” but after her additional actions, the ads would now say “Buy Now.” Other ads running promote discounts on her apparent modem of choice. As she continues her path to purchase, the DCO platform learns on the fly and tailors ad copy, colors, and more to fit her individual taste. Ultimately, this information is stored so the platform can learn from it. Did she purchase after seeing product-specific ads in her shopping cart? Or was it the teal-colored Call to Action (CTA) that brought her back? These types of inputs inform strategy, messaging, and potential optimizations for current and subsequent campaigns.
Agencies and advertisers alike have a lot to gain from Dynamic Creative Optimization. For both creative- and media-driven agencies, the production and activation of dynamic creative is more efficient. Fewer hours are spent on the manipulation of assets and campaign builds, and more time is devoted to new concepts and in-platform optimizations. For advertisers, DCO can potentially mean cost savings on manual creative production and future learnings about their brand. Several different companies offer DCO as their core competency and have developed robust platforms to allow ease of use. These platforms potentially enable deeper insights, granular creative analysis, and hand-in-hand collaboration between media and creative. The hope is that with the right targeting and the most impactful messaging, advertisers and customers have a mutually beneficial experience.