Personalization is the new mantra for success in marketing. At nearly every industry conference, there is a guest speaker or group panel discussion dedicated to how companies are or should be personalizing their marketing campaigns by using data — and for a good reason: A recent Nielsen study found that a successful creative message is the most important element contributing to the performance and the return on ad spend (ROAS).
With all the data available today, either from a company’s own Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Data Management Platform, (DMP), or a third-party, it is difficult to understand why a brand would not pursue personalized messaging. After all, media and targeting have become a commodity, and are the means to get to the specific consumer. The creative message is the communication touchpoint of the brand with both current and potential consumers; it is the facade and the most important link in the chain.
Ad personalization, if simplified, is the ability to analyze and visualize multiple data points in real time to deliver the most relevant ad experience to the individual user. In today’s reality, this is not enough. As a marketer, you need to be able to deliver that personalized ad to the consumers through omnichannel distribution — on any device and on every channel, to measure consumer engagement and optimize for better performance.
As succinctly stated by Robert Tercek, best-selling author of Vaporized, “We’re entering an era defined by digital intelligence, creative solutions, and decisive action.” It is crucial for marketers to marry data and creative. By running the right combination of the two on the right channels, advertisements can be more organic, and inspire engagement from the consumer without betraying the brand identity.
Today, marketers have the luxury to be able to see consumers through the entire advertising funnel — enabling them to target consumers based on where they are in the process — from the introduction of a product, all the way to intent to purchase. Brands have the ability, either in-house or via third-party vendors, to create and target ads that scale cross-device and cross-channel, reducing repetition, eliminating ad fatigue, and enhancing consumer experience throughout the funnel. They can A/B test different messages, offers, and calls-to-action in real time to determine what resonates with that consumer, down to the color of the button that generates more engagement. Marketers can do all of this across programmatic display, video, social, on YouTube and over-the-top (OTT) TV. So, why aren’t they?
Smart advertising today is all about bringing your data to life with the right Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) partners and technology. Marketers now have the ability to use geo-fencing and weather data to personalize ads in real time, based on nearby stores or weather triggers such as snow, rain and wind conditions. This level of personalization can make a difference in winning your consumer’s engagement away from the competition. It’s all about being relevant, and to achieve that, you need to be able to utilize the data the right way, with the right DCO partners and technology.
Two key elements of DCO are real-time optimization, and omnichannel. In addition to automating the creation of thousands of personalized variations of their messages, brands can A/B test on the fly and optimize which creatives are resonating best with each audience. Creative can be tested, corrected, and improved during the campaign, capitalizing on existing personalization in an efficient and intelligent manner.
DCO has proven its worth: a 2018 survey found that 72% of marketers that personalized for social reported higher KPI’s. Omnichannel DCO is the best way to do this. Using DCO on a single channel gives the brand very limited insights and understanding of consumers true preferences and behavior. As consumers switch and jump between devices and channels — from Facebook on a mobile device, to watching shows on OTT, followed by online shopping via desktop — so should your ad experiences. You need to be where your consumers are, with an aligned and unified creative message, optimized for each channel and improved per consumer engagement across all these channels.
If a company has yet to incorporate DCO into its marketing strategies, the following steps are recommended:
Do Your Homework
It doesn’t cost anything to at least entertain presentations from top DCO companies. Forrester’s Creative Advertising Technology Wave Study is a good place to start to see which companies are “leaders” in the DCO field. Meetings with these companies will provide you with knowledge of the advantages of DCO, the potential costs and benefit differentiations between each company.
Review Data and Assets and Define Goals
Whether prospecting new customers or re-targeting based on website engagement or CRM data, DCO strategies are only as good as the data and assets available. Consult with your selected DCO partner about the different data sources available and the ways to incorporate towards the goals you want to achieve.
Test personalization in an upcoming campaign. Depending on the DCO partner, minimum spends can be very reasonable — just make sure you are dedicating time for the test to run and a budget that aligns with the results you’re hoping to achieve. Start with the platform and channel where the majority of your target consumers are, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or simply programmatic display or video across desktop and mobile.
The data is available. So is the technology. Personalizing the marketing message is limited only by your creative imagination.