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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

How dynamic creative optimization delivers advertising results

August 18, 2021 | By Jay Kulkarni, CEO – Theorem Inc. @theoreminc

Today’s online consumers expect ads to show them what they want, when they want it. An overwhelming 80% of shoppers say they’re more likely to make a purchase when a brand offers a personalized experience, while 70% say they’re more loyal to companies that demonstrate a clear understanding of their personal needs. So it’s not surprising that personalization has become a must for digital marketers.

To deliver these kinds of highly targeted and hyper-relevant marketing campaigns at scale, savvy advertisers use innovative display ad technologies like dynamic creative optimization (DCO). Powered by a combination of dynamic, data-driven content and automated machine learning, DCO is quickly becoming one of the most effective strategies for delivering the types of personalized campaigns that today’s online audiences demand.

How DCO works

DCO is a type of programmatic advertising technology that gives marketers the ability to optimize dynamic creatives in real time. It creates a highly personalized experience tailored to the user’s needs, at that exact moment, by using data that’s collected when the ad is being served. The system updates dynamic elements instantly to provide content that’s most relevant based on a broad range of data signals. These include location, weather, gender, device, buying behavior, and where the user is in the buyer’s journey.

One of the reasons DCO is so effective is because the process is completely automated and continuously improving itself. AI takes care of multivariate testing and automatically optimizes ads based on data. This not only improves performance but also allows marketers to produce a high volume of ad variations quickly and at scale. DCO is also easy to implement when integrated with a data management platform (DMP) for access to data feeds and a creative management platform (CMP) for access to creative assets like copy, images, and display.

Getting it right: 5 best practices for dynamic creative optimization

While DCO is a hands-off marketing tool in many respects, it does require some forethought and strategy for success. To make the most of your next campaign, keep the following best practices in mind.

1. Meet customers where they are

Successful DCO campaigns adapt to the audiences they serve at every touchpoint. This includes determining where users are in the sales funnel and displaying creatives that best match that mindset. For example, creatives served to customers close to action might feature harder-selling pitches than those designed for higher-funnel consumers. You can also use conversion tags to track your creatives’ performance in the buyer’s journey and replace poor performers with new variations that might catch customers on their way out.

2. Include contextual elements

Use data triggers like location, time, and weather to keep campaigns grounded in a user’s environment. For example, images for a fast-food restaurant can be set to reflect time of day, displaying breakfast sandwiches and coffee in the morning and fries and burgers in the afternoon. Or a retailer can recommend umbrellas and Wellies during a rainstorm and sunscreen and visors on a sunny day.

3. Diversify your assets

DCO gives you the opportunity to test a wide range of creative assets and it’s important to take advantage of this technology and use it to the fullest. The more diverse your variation of CTAs, headlines, images, and other creative assets, the more your campaign will benefit from DCO.

4. Trust the machine

As the “O” in DCO implies, one of the biggest advantages of the technology is that it’s specifically built to optimize your creatives. But the platform only has as much control as you allow it. Resist the urge to make ads too busy and overload them with as many products as a template will allow. Trust the DCO platform’s AI to do its job and select the most effective elements for the moment based on data.

5. Review performance

While DCO handles the minutiae of multivariate testing, it’s up to you to examine your campaign as a whole and determine if it needs adjustment. Make time to review your creative’s performance data regularly so you can identify the elements that are most effective in driving engagement and optimize your strategy accordingly.

Deliver on expectations

DCO is a must-have tool for creating highly targeted and personalized dynamic ads. Using a powerful combination of advertising display and analytics, the technology helps brands deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. It drives engagement and increases brand loyalty by creating the contextual relevance that today’s consumers not only prefer, but have come to expect.

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