Hi everybody, my name is Ian Flynn. I’m the head of creative solutions here at RocketMill. Today I’m going to talk to you about the modern magic of dynamic creative. It’s a magical place where data and creative combine, where feeds and fonts become as one, and spreadsheets and drop shadows work together in harmony.
But is it all smoke and mirrors or is it the real deal? If people don’t know what dynamic creative is, any creative that changes automatically based on information about the user whether it’s related to the behaviour, local, or context. Does that make sense? Basically, it’s kind of like an algorithmic way of creating creative for different audience’s locations, context, etc. Clever stuff.
I’m going to separate dynamic creative into two sections for the main things that we focus on, dynamic creative for Facebook and dynamic creative for Display, because they do differ quite considerably in their applications. I’ll start off with Facebook. What dynamic creative is for Facebook ultimately it gives you the ability to have a selection of different images, selection of different headlines, descriptions, CTAs and so forth, put it up into a little campaign and then Facebook will automatically dynamically create this creative on the fly. From that then you can optimise and see which ones perform best based on the images and descriptions, whatever you use. That’s dynamic creative for Facebook.
Dynamic creative for Display is slightly different, and I’m actually going to let DoubleClick, who the creative management system we use to explain it in a little bit more depth.
[DoubleClick: DoubleClick rich media dynamic creative lets you set up campaigns with flexible content that you can change any time without ever having to re-traffic creatives. Use dynamic creative to optimise your campaign, re-target engaged audiences and fine tune messages on the fly. Dynamic creative makes it easy to target by audience, publishers, time of day, season, location, and more. With dynamic, you can easily test different creative elements while making sure your best performing creatives automatically get better exposure.]
How to use dynamic creative
So that’s a little flavour of dynamic creative for Display. To put it into summary, the four things, especially that DoubleClick Studio offer within dynamic creative are kind of using these four variables. Geo targeting, so that the creative change based on where you’re seeing the ad. The message based on the website that appears on, so again changing the creative base on the contextual whereabouts, where this ad is being seen and what websites and so forth. Audience targeting, so what audiences the ads are going to from DMP such as choozle and so forth, and schedule updates, so you can change creative based on time of day. Really, really exciting stuff.
A little bit more depth of how this works, so DoubleClick Studio, this is the feed side of things I mentioned earlier. This is an example feed that they provide if you want to do geo targeting within the creative. You can see here that you have lots of different columns, the geo code one for example shows all the different locations you want your creative to be shown. Within that you’ve got headlines and how that differs per geolocation. Then you go into all the different variables, so image URLs, call to action, exit URLs, which you can define yourself, and basically show what things you want to change based on the location that you’re providing. Again, really exciting stuff.
To show you how that translates into the actual creative, you can then use an HTML5, you can then get parts of your creative and change that based on the feeds that you put in. You can use things like Google web designer if you’re using DoubleClick Studio tie in really nicely, don’t actually have to do any coding you basically just say I want this bit to change based on that column within the spreadsheets. Really simple stuff, really exciting.
Dynamic creative optimisation
Another thing that I’ve seen in the ether, and I think we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the next few months and years, is dynamic creative optimisation, so it’s based on this creative model that we’re showing you. The more creatives you have, the more campaigns you’re running, you’ll be able to optimise it based on the different things that you’re seeing. It’s a bit like CRO but on a bigger dynamic level for advertising, so it’s really exciting stuff.
As we can see. this technology is super powerful, so is it all too good to be true, or is there things that we really need to consider? My learned colleague Bertram Greenhough as I’m sure you’re all aware of, he did a video “There’s More to CRO Than Conversion Rate Optimisation” Give it a watch, the summary is, it’s not necessarily just to do with changing the colours of buttons to make landing pages convert better, there’s more to it. There’s motivational side of things, making sure the message is right and so forth. The same applies really to dynamic creative.
I’m going to elaborate a little bit on what Bertie was saying within his video and kind of go into a separate thing. Has anyone heard of Gestalt theory? A few of you. Good. Something that really resonates with me. It’s actually a kind of method of psychology, which can be used in multi different parts of life. Gestalt theory is generated, basically to try and distil some of the chaos that’s happening on day to day life. What it really means is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Let me try and give you some examples of this. If you had spaghetti carbonara, this is the one that first comes to my head when I think about this. You’ve got some of the ingredients in there, you’ve got cheese, eggs, bacon. Anyone else? Pasta, yes. All of those things, obviously, individual ingredients. Once they come together they become a spaghetti carbonara. That’s when this means the whole is greater than sum of its parts.
The same applies to music compositions, you can go, all the intricate details, all of it individually can be one thing, but once it comes together it becomes something new. It’s a big thing within design. It’s something that’s really resonated with me from the very beginning, so I’m going to show you what this really means. This looks like what, a scribble, kind of hooky based like thing. The second bit looks a bit like a tooth, but again it’s what kind of a scribble doesn’t really mean much. But with those two bits together and a few other bits it becomes one of the most famous logos in the world. So, that’s Gestalt theory in action, basically. All these little scribbles on their own mean nothing, but as soon as they come together it becomes something bigger.
Dynamic creative layout
It applies to layouts as well, not just logos. Again, some of you guys might know roughly where this is going and what brand this is associated with, but looking at this symbol here doesn’t really mean much. It’s kind of quite abstract. It’s got a plant at the top. As soon as we put this on, plants make us happy, provide us a little bit more context here, so happy meaning maybe the romantic silhouette that you’re seeing, plant being at the tops, okay so it’s starting to give me a little bit of commentary of what this is. Then a little bit more, so a little bit more context. They make us want to smooch, neck, and kiss. They also make our bottles. Then you’ve got another little logo at the bottom, so okay I’m starting to get a little more insight into what this is now. I understand. Then coke-cola to finish it off. All of those things individually wouldn’t make much sense on their own, but as soon as you get them together it becomes its own thing.
Lastly, just another example. You see that, probably a banana, probably, right. Doesn’t really mean much on its own. Soon as I put that there, probably the best beer in the world, it becomes what? It becomes this whole big brand idea. Interestingly, the creative, the design here, isn’t anything special. It’s just a couple of product shots and some like unremarkable topography but together it becomes this whole big brand idea, which resonates with the audience that they’re trying to target. It’s trying to get that wittiness in, which people who drink beer, drink Carlsberg specifically, have obviously resonated with it because they still use it to this day.
The thing is that I’m sceptical about, and dynamic creative is still a new thing, I think it’s very easy to create a dog’s dinner with dynamic creative. Because if you’re thinking about all these little individual elements that I’ve shown you that all come together as one, if you’re starting to change things on the fly without considering this, you’re going to come up with things that maybe have message that doesn’t fit with the imagery, doesn’t fit with the descriptions, and so forth. That’s the only little bit that I’m sceptical of with dynamic creative. However, I think there is a solution and I’ll show you how.
How should I use dynamic creative here? Well, I shall tell you, random presentation. It’s all about the brand idea. I think you probably as marketers hear this loads, but it is, and to kind of clarify what I mean by this, it’s not necessarily the brand is the brand idea. So, Carlsberg has a brand, right? The brand idea is probably the best lager in the world. It’s a different thing. That’s the bit I think you really need to understand what is the message that we’re trying to convey to our target audience that really resonates with people. Get that nailed. That not necessarily needs dynamic creative, that’s just good marketing. That’s not changed since the early ages.
Establishing your brand idea
It’s a complicated subject, establishing your brand idea. A lot of people sight Simon Sinek with this, the Start With Why, which if you haven’t read, you do need to read, it’s a really insightful book especially with stuff to do with this. It’s not about what you do, it’s not about how you do it, it’s about why you do it and that is what the brand idea is. The way that I start off with trying to establish a brand idea is to bring it back to the basics. What emotion is your brand idea trying to own? All the best brand ideas that you can think of, things like Cadbury’s, which is fun, Coca-Cola, which you saw earlier, romance, Carlsberg wittiness. There’s always an emotion that’s associated with the brand that you’re trying to covey and it’s that core primitive emotion that you’re trying to tap into with the marketing that we do.
That’s a good tester, to say “Is this a good enough brand idea?” If it is, there should be something that sparks within you, or at least for your target audience. Then, and only then, where you should start to think about dynamic creative. Using dynamic creative to execute and optimise your brand idea, that’s what it’s for. I’m going back to Facebook and Display here, because again they’re slightly different.
On Facebook, for me, if you’re trying to convey a brand idea, which is often the most effective way of marketing from a long term perspective, not necessarily performance, brand ideas are best communicated through video. The reason why this is, is because of really the limitations that Facebook have with some of their ads. You can’t, with their image ads specifically, you’ve got to use 20 percent text within it, so images have to really stay as images. Then you’ve got the headline and description, which is again very stuck in the way it looks from a template perspective. There’s really only so much you can do, Gestalt doesn’t really factor into it. It’s good for trying to get someone to an article, for example, but not necessarily to convey an emotion because it’s quite restrictive.
However, video is better, because you can actually start to convey emotion within that and you can do it, you know, the standard formats within video that we use is 6 second, 15 seconds, 30 seconds. Six seconds should be enough to get that across if you’re doing it right.
On Display, which elaborates on the gestalt theory a little bit more because you can actually do it as its own design as opposed to a template thing that Facebook offers. It’s about using dynamic creative to show nuances of your brand idea, so it’s considering how does your brand idea differ between location, between audience, all the things like that. Let me give you an example.
How brands can use dynamic creative
Depend is a client we work on. Their brand idea, or their brand promise is ‘dignity restored’. For people who don’t know what Depend is, it’s an incontinence product. It deals with a product which has a lot of stigma associated with it. What they’re trying to do, and the kind of why they do it going back to what we were saying earlier, it is about trying to restore dignity for their users. It’s not necessarily saying we are an incontinence product and we stop leakage, it is about trying to restore dignity. That is the emotional hook that they are trying to get.
So, brand idea is there. It exists. Dynamic creative now comes in. Their target audience differs, it’s not just one format of target audience. There’s new moms that suffer with it. There’s elderly men and women. There’s people that are more active than others, and not so active. There’s lots of different personas that they’ve done the research on and tried to associate who use Depends products. Here you can see, you’ve got one example of new moms, one example of an active user so one of their products is an active fit range, and an over 60s male as well. Same product, same brand idea, different applications. That’s where dynamic creative becomes really interesting.
In conclusion, for me, dynamic creative isn’t about smoke and mirrors, it is the real deal, but it’s just a magical process for leveraging your brand in an efficient personalised way. Thank you very much.