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What is Dynamic Creative Optimisation & How Can I Use It?

How relevant is your advertising to your customers’ individual needs? New technology is finally making the hyper-personalisation of live display ads possible. This is radically ramping up relevancy to undreamt-of levels. 

But what exactly do all these fancy words mean? In simple terms, a 33-year-old female teacher, who’s just bought a car, will see ads designed to appeal to her. DCO does this by using rich customer data to select the perfect images and words for each customer.

The more data-led your approach the greater the functionality and success of ads. For instance, Epsilon’s Dynamic Creative software can create 4.6 million different ads from just one ad template. 

Toby Morris, Senior Business Development Director at Epsilon, says marketers today fully accept that personalisation of emails, websites, and mobile apps is one of the critical strategies contributing to business profitability.  The next vital step in driving up online purchasing, and increasing the lifetime value of customers, is personalising digital display ads at scale. 

So, how can you do this, and what’s our advice to those considering DCO to boost digital advertising performance?

How Dynamic Creative Optimisation of Ads Works ?

According to Morris, dynamic creative optimisation can be defined in many ways, and there’s confusion in the market about what makes up true DCO.

DCO is the art of using real-time feeds to populate a personalised ad in real-time. When a customer is about to view an online ad, various calculations are carried out by the DCO to understand the user’s intent and behaviour. These behaviour patterns include recency, purchase frequency, and previous interactions on that particular website. 

The DCO platform then creates relevant ad visuals, calls to action, and messaging. The result is a tailored ad displayed to the user.

It’s important to stress that DCO is not about making lots of different ads and just sending versions out to suit different uses. That’s not dynamic. That’s a creative management platform.

The best DCO works by having an ad framework and then automatically populating it in real-time. This personalisation is based on each customer’s unique core ID, which has been created using online and offline data.

The chosen system powering this will ideally be dynamic, automated, high-performing, personalised, and capable of tailoring ads across a brand’s omnichannel spectrum.

A best-in-class DCO system will be supported by a powerful AI platform. This will analyse billions of daily ‘interactions’ and make decisions in milliseconds about when and where to show the next best creative iteration to each person.

Messaging is adjusted for each person, and performance is optimised based on specific marketing goals. This optimises both planned and unplanned changes in real-time. 

Demographics Plus Live Consumer Behaviour Data

Personalisation technology is only as good as your data, says Morris. Epsilon’s CORE ID helps advertisers make sense of complex data with a single view of each consumer’s online and offline activity. Unlike other systems, CORE ID does not depend on cookies or devices, but it still achieves powerful one-to-one personalisation.

Once you have deep consumer insights, you can improve your brand experience and increase the lifetime value of your audience.

Limitless Iterations and Automated Ad Creation

DCO-generated ads are hyper-relevant to the audience, so they have a far greater impact on their viewers compared to ‘static’ ads. Calculations are made in milliseconds about whether to serve ads, and what the most relevant iteration should look like. The best systems simply don’t spam customers with unnecessary ads if the DCO thinks they are unlikely to buy. 

If there is a sales opportunity, however, the system will create a personalised ad. For instance, if a customer has booked a flight to Mexico, the DCO may serve them with an ad for a hotel in Cancún. This ad would be accompanied by appropriate messaging.

It’s the scale of the analytics which is so vital in these processes and with a system like Epsilon’s, with 16 display and video ad sizes across desktop, tablet, mobile and connected TV, you’ll reach people with the right format, no matter where they are.

With the right kind of DCO platform, advertisers can automate asset creation like this at scale. They also enjoy dynamic delivery using a range of different banner ad sizes. Thanks to rapid, ongoing testing of iterations, the system will cut down on wasted ads, and fine-tune iterations according to what’s been successful. This will lead to performance constantly improving over time.  

This feedback loop will ensure the creative is fully optimised. It will work out the changes needed to make the ad more enticing for the customer.

Advertisers can then track clicks and measure performance against their KPIs. Goals that can be set might be the number of clicks on the ad, or website interactions, right through to conversions or revenue generated within the business. 

Beware the “one size fits all” approach

Companies keen to embark on DCO adoption should be wary, however, as it can be hard to understand exactly what vendors deliver.

Don’t settle for empty promises of personalisation. Today’s providers have a tendency to dress up their ad management solution as dynamic creative optimisation, but in reality, all they are offering is a poor imitation.

The key is to check whether solutions providers use a dynamic real-time feed to populate your ads. This will enable them to adapt the creative in milliseconds, aligning it with the needs of individual customers.

A great DCO solution will even be able to understand where in the purchase cycle an individual is. For example, are they researching at an early stage, or are they ready to make a purchase decision?

With an all-singing, all-dancing DCO system, it’s possible to deliver truly human-centred, personalised adverts. Any best-in-class provider should be able to set up a campaign to achieve that one-to-one level of communication.

Thanks to personalisation and true contextual relevancy, the outcome is more ad-driven revenue and increased customer lifetime value. 

Why DCO is Needed in a Post-Cookie Era

Most brands have relied on third-party cookies for their re-targeted advertising, but the effectiveness of cookies has been strongly criticised in recent years. 

For instance, cookie data is often obsolete by the time your ads are following customers around the internet. They may have already bought the CCTV camera they were researching a week ago.

And now the web giants are walking away from cookies anyway. This means brands need to find new ways to understand and reach the right audiences, beyond third-party data.

With third-party cookies over, DCO is of growing interest to brands and media agencies. Now is the time to team up with the smartest DCO AdTech providers. With their help, you can test and learn how to improve your digital advertising performance. 

Being able to ad-serve different dynamic variants to suit your best customers, and people like your best customers, is a game-changer in advertising. The competition is only getting tougher, so it’s a game worth playing.

Is Your Supplier Offering True DCO?

Many dynamic creative solutions promise to ‘personalise’ ads, but how can you be sure your supplier can offer true DCO? Here are four things to look for in a DCO supplier:

  1. If it’s not real-time, it’s not really dynamic – make sure you have the ability to pass real-time, responsive feeds into an ad wireframe, not just have a supplier make lots of static ads. 
  2. Make sure your tech can talk to suppliers’ tech - if you have an existing technology stack for services such as DMP (Data Management Platform) or DSP (Demand Side Platform), then make sure your supplier fits within your existing framework.
  3. Check personalisation levels – can your supplier target at an individual, one-to-one level?
  4. Does the solution really optimise? – there is an “o” in DCO for a reason. If a supplier can’t adapt and change an unsuccessful ad creative, then your ad is not being optimised.

Where does Epsilon fit in?

Epsilon is committed to delivering optimised marketing solutions with provable outcomes, rather than just campaigns. For more than 50 years we’ve led the market thanks to CORE ID, the most accurate and stable identity management platform representing more than 200 million people. Our award-winning data and technology are rooted in privacy-by-design and underpinned by powerful AI.

Find out more about how Epsilon can help you by visiting our Dynamic Creative page.

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