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JaimeHeadshot3Not many years ago a video studio could make a living producing video ads for just one or two clients. For campaigns with a heavy retail message they’d spend days producing cuts of the same offer for each television market. They’d probably have several versions for each location, with messages like ‘starts tomorrow’, ‘must end Saturday’ and so on. Lucrative for the studio, perhaps, but also slow, unresponsive and immensely tedious for the brand.

The problem grew even more immense with the growth of online. Brands wanted more versions of flash ads, driven by a broader set of variables – demographic, geography, site-specific or behavioural. The task of updating the flash, generating the .swf files, uploading them into the ad server, obtaining approvals and putting them into rotation was cumbersome, to put it mildly.

You might have even experienced the process yourself. And the heartache when you reach the end and Legal wants to change the wording in a disclaimer. Time to start all over again!

Thankfully, times have changed. Software got smarter and templates were created that allow anyone to make on-the-fly changes to pre-determined elements of creative without going into Flash. This process, called dynamic creative, freed up the creative team to work on, well, creative, rather than wasting hours regurgitating variations to the same concept.

If you want to see how this idea of a template works, check out how Messages on Hold are using it for users to substitute their own name for that of the next Prime Minister (http://www.youforpm.com.au/).

From process improvement to campaign optimization

Dynamic creative isn’t just a timesaver though. It is essential for streamlining production, but it will increasingly be used for ad optimization.  Rather than simply changing a few words, dynamic creative could change imagery, or products, based on the intended target. The future lies in algorithms that learn how to piece together the optimal creative for the audience. It’s no longer just swapping out text and images – these days it’s also about changing video sequences, or animations or the overall layout of an ad.

This highly adaptive approach means creative can be quickly optimised to maximise their performance. Headline A works better than Headline B, for example. One product shot works better than another.  For some segments a green backdrop might work better than red. Early testing in a campaign can arrive at the best outcome for each segment and channel, without the massive rework from the creative team.

Now for personalization

The Internet is, of course, all about one-to-one marketing. But some things have to be shared. It’s unrealistic to assume everyone sees an ad that’s unique to them, right? Well, we’re certainly getting closer to it.

We’ve all seen dynamic advertising at work. Consumers browse for a product then, for the next few days brands try to lure them back, highlighting the exact item you were looking at. It works in flat ads, we’ll increasingly see it in animation and in video too.

The newest dynamic tools make that possible, automating the production of hundreds of product-based creative versions while controlling other dynamic elements as well. This sort of retargeting of visitors can significantly increase ad spend, turning browsers into buyers and driving repeat business too by allowing branded retailers to suggest what products to showcase to a particular audience segment.

And it works higher in the funnel too. Third party demographics and behavioral data can be used to apply to numerous variations of highly relevant creative: “You’re someone who likes shopping for men’s shoes – well, here are our newest men’s shoes!”

The journey is just starting, though. Smart versioning will continue to add relevance to the customer’s online experience and technologies will apply it to richer media, all backed by powerful analytics that will optimize the layout and the message.

Developing this sort of tailoring would be an immense undertaking without the use of dynamic creative optimization (DCO) technologies. It means consumers take an interest in what they view, advertisers see a better result, planners have a powerful tool to focus the message and creatives get to go home at night. Everybody wins.

Jamie Singson is Senior Product Marketing Manager at DG Mediamind Technologies

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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