Dynamic Creative Optimisation will Attract more DR Spend to Video


Andrew Morsy

Display advertising has benefitted hugely from dynamic creative optimisation – where an ad is optimised in real-time based on user data such as location, gender, past purchases etc. – but video has been slow to catch up. The first generation of video creative optimisation products were clunky and had questionable value, but over the last couple of years we’ve seen slicker and more scalable products emerge. Here Andrew Morsy, UK Managing Director at Sizmek, explains the opportunities opening up to advertisers and discusses the ‘Flashpocalypse’ as the industry transitions to HTML5.. 

How is dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) being used in video advertising today and what is it doing for advertisers?

Broadly speaking video appears to be following the same path as display – DCO has hugely increased the level of creativity in ad campaigns. We’re starting to see interactive overlays utilising VPAID that incorporate social sharing and e-commerce tools; end frames on pre-roll ads designed to generate direct response from viewers, and engaging out-stream content, both in-app and in-article.

Does DCO open up opportunities for direct response (DR) advertisers to use video more?

Absolutely. The challenge with DR campaigns is getting the consumer to complete the desired action within the window you can measure on that campaign. But having the ability to build and operate dynamic video creative means advertisers can test, optimise and understand which creatives are working best. In the last few years we’ve seen ad campaigns make strides in terms of innovative calls to actions. Take, for example, the Land Rover Trim Selector dynamic creative campaign. The ad features three call to action/landing pages for each model, auto-optimised for clicks and conversions.

When ad tech vendors talk about location data they often talk about home, work and a third recreational space. What type of locations are the most effective for reaching people?  Is it really about ‘right ad in the right place at the right time’, or is it more complex than that?

Location data provides insight into real-time, real world consumer behaviour – hence its value to marketers. The roll-out of scaled, transparent and validated location data has contributed to the demise of the cookie, and used correctly, it gives advertisers the ability to understand their customers without breaching privacy legislation.

Marketers are now able to create real world correlations between location histories for advertising purposes and overlay this with timings and frequency, to produce bespoke custom segments. The effectiveness of location data, whether it’s ‘in the moment’ or using location history as audience proxy, depends on the KPIs of the client.

Many predicted there would be a ‘Flashpocalypse’ as Flash was blocked by default by browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Has the transition to HTML5 been easy or are there still some people out there stubbornly sticking to Flash in spite of the barriers to using it?  

Supercharged by the consumer journey to mobile-first internet usage, the impending death of Flash has seen the majority of advertisers make the transition, and fast. Sizmek has worked with numerous clients to transform huge volumes of Flash assets into HTML5. Of course, they’ll be a few who decide to stick with Flash, but any good ad company knows the industry is constantly evolving. New ad formats are continually coming into play, and it’s about staying ahead of the curve and embracing these that’s crucial.

Last year Sizmek was acquired by Vector Capital, a private equity firm. How does being owned by a PE firm affect your business?

In many ways, it’s business as usual. We continue to supply our customers with the best levels of service, enhance our products, and strive to grow as a business. The future looks bright. 


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