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By Mat Mildenhall & Jonathan Leck
So you think you’re implementing Dynamic Creative Optimization? But what is often called DCO is not true DCO, because the ‘O’ is missing or incomplete.
The question you should be asking is, are you optimizing your creative ads, or are you simply automating the production process behind it?
OK, so Dynamic Creative Optimization is no longer new. In fact, it’s increasingly become a vital part of the marketing strategy for many of today’s successful brands. However, optimization may well be confused with automation. Just because dynamic content is being created at speed and at scale doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being fully optimized.
Think of the ‘O’ as the business end, not the creative end. Optimizing targeted customer engagement and conversion.
Over time we’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience partnering with clients to build and provide this capability in multiple categories, including Automotive, Banking & Finance, Hospitality and Aviation. Working with major brands in these sectors has helped us achieve significant strides in personalization, agility of communications and efficiencies in creative and production.
The missing ‘O’
But, and there is a but, often what is called DCO is not true DCO because the ‘O’ is missing or incomplete. Very often, more can be done to fully realize the power of optimization.
So how can you ensure that the ‘O’ is in your DCO? Well before we ‘solve the O’ it would be helpful to quickly recap the key terms:
This is an automated process for buying ads that is combined with data-driven technology to target audiences at the individual or household level.
Creative Management Platform (CMP)
The key here is that a CMP synthesizes data and logic to manipulate creative shells into personalized ad variants. The result is the delivery of creative and production automation at scale.
Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)
So here it is. DCO is a particular type of programmatic advertising that uses a CMP platform to target audiences with personalized and optimized creative.
DCO vs Automation – The common misconception
This is where the misconception often happens. Without a deliberate plan to optimize the performance of an ad within the programmatic campaign, DCO does not truly deliver optimization. The question you should be asking is; are you optimizing your creative ads, or are you simply automating the production process behind it?
But how do we get from CMP automation to true DCO?
Here are our eight foundations for getting from CMP automation to true DCO
To help illustrate what we mean we’ve highlighted three short case studies of how we helped deliver optimization in DCO
Through optimization we identified many car features that are truly meaningful to the target audience, features that did not make it into the mass market advertising. Fueled with this knowledge we developed creative variants for these ‘micro features’, with an optimization plan and schedule identifying which USPs help drive the biggest impact. Who would have thought that air-cooled cup holders are important to so many people?
The aviation industry has some of the most savvy online customers who are often ‘in-market’ for weeks, making sure they gain the best deal. Our objective was to optimize the impact of different pricing and CTAs for each stage of the consumer’s purchase journey. Using flight search data and 2nd party data from online travel partners, we optimized the urgency of the message, and the exclusivity of the fares to drive the highest sales and conversion.
Banking & Finance
Trust is clearly crucial in banking and finance. Our challenge was to apply DCO to optimize the right tone that would engender trust and create sales leads. We designed DCO to guide the communications to best suite the potential customers’ preference for how to communicate with the financial institution. The personal experience of each consumer, through the entire web experience, was then designed to meet their needs and preferences.
Can this deliver meaningful results? Yes, absolutely. Audience engagement and conversion is significantly increased as compared to one-off creative display. Media efficiencies can also be achieved, we typically see a reduction in media CPA with optimized creatives of up to 70%. Speed to market is also improved, reductions in production time-to-market of up to 85% are not uncommon.
It’s no surprise in a recent Adobe digital trends report (2020), marketers and CX leaders ranked targeting and personalization as the 2nd highest digital-related priority area.
About the authors