As consumers spend more time online, expectations for a more personalized and seamless experience continue to increase. When not managed effectively, online advertising is often seen as a negative disruption in the consumer’s overall journey, which limits engagement and ad performance.
The good news for marketers is that the solution lies in the form of state-of-the-art advertising technology. Ad tech can create ads that inspire shoppers with the right product at the right time, while reflecting the brand’s vision and achieving online marketing goals.
Data is the key ingredient behind effective online marketing that provides a seamless consumer experience. Big data has been on the rise for years, but what’s more important are the real-time insights that we gain from data. To create meaningful ads, up-to-date commerce data is crucial in all stages of the purchasing journey and sophisticated ad tech is needed to process it for the best possible results.
The ability to match users across platforms and devices is the first step of providing relevant advertising. It is impossible to deliver the highest relevant ads throughout the shopper journey without linking a user to their various devices. For example, if a customer were to visit a brand’s online store on their smartphone, but ultimately, purchased from a tablet, they might receive ads for a product that they already purchased if cross device activity was not tracked. This negatively affects the consumer experience and is intrusive to the user. A deterministic identifier technology is necessary for any sophisticated online ad and requires collaboration with other players in the industry.
The next step is content — marketers need to determine which ad is the right ad to show to a specific user without risking over exposing the consumer to their ads. Through developing and implementing algorithms to predict this information, which we call predictive bidding, we end up serving the ad that an individual shopper is most likely to interact with based on their data. This algorithm is specifically pulled from the shopper’s data and is a real-time decision that analyzes the individual before the ad is displayed. This ensures consumers are being served the ad that is most relevant to them across their devices.
Long gone are the days of retargeting where one ad followed a user for weeks, regardless of whether or not the user had made a purchase. Now, a powerful product recommendation is required to define which products will be shown. Modern retargeting processes more complex data to calculate the most appealing products, which are not necessarily the ones the user looked at before. While retargeting is an important part of the omni shopper experience, many people don’t realize that there is so much more to ad tech that can help brands achieve their marketing goals. Retargeting goes beyond generating awareness to consideration and up to driving conversion, while also providing product recommendations that fit to a user at each stage of the journey.
One key feature of ad tech that is often overlooked is real-time creative optimization. Consumers are not one-size-fits-all and each individual has their own preference for each element of what they’re shopping for. While one color may get one person’s attention, another person wouldn’t notice. Colors, ad styles and formats are all critical parts of advertising, and real-time creative optimization defines the right mix of elements that users will most likely react to. Billions of creative combinations are often possible while keeping in line with the corporate identity of the advertiser.
While we’ve already seen much progress with the evolution of data and creative capabilities in ad tech, the increasing impact of Artificial Intelligence is expected to drive more innovation and help brand’s achieve the most complex marketing goals. The end goal is to turn ads into a useful tool in the online shopping experience that users love!