Everything You Need to Know About Going Dynamic
Remember when you used to go to the mall and see something you really liked, but if you left without it, you never saw it again? Oh yeah. Those days are gone. Show the same sort of interest on a website today, and that “store” will follow you everywhere. Go so far as to put an item in your cart, and you’ll be seeing that product in your dreams.
There is a point to this observation — and it’s the topic of this blog. In today’s digital age, standing out means getting personal. It’s about knowing what your audience likes and keeping it top of mind for them until they take action. And the way marketers are doing that today is dynamic ads.
So we’re going to start from the very beginning and cover everything you need to know about dynamic ads from what they are to how they’ve changed the game for brands and customers alike. Let’s get to it.
What are Dynamic Ads?
The term “dynamic” refers to the banner’s ability to tailor itself to various triggers. This gives brands the opportunity to automatically change which ads are shown to users based on relevant information — things like geo-location, behavioral actions, demographic information, keywords, etc.
Unlike traditional ads, dynamic ads use external data to modify various components within the ad based on who is viewing it in real-time. These can be pre-determined sets of data (ie. based on location or time of year), or they can be done programmatically (reliant on custom data like feeds that have user interests, behaviors, products, etc). Here are some of the components that can be dynamic:
- Headline/Subhead/Body copy
- Disclaimers On/Off
There are a lot of ad types that can be dynamic too:
- HTML Banners
- Static Banners
- Expandable Rich Media
- Video ads
- Remarketing Ads
These ads give marketers a new level of personalization and context through a highly automated process. “Dynamic ads connect a user’s activity on their computer to information provided by the advertiser,” Donny Aguilar, Senior Developer at Assemble, explained. “For example, you’re looking at a sweater on a specific website. That website will take the IDs of the sweaters you looked at and save them onto your computer’s cache. Next time you’re online, the studio that hosts the ad will identify the ID on the cache and pull it from the feed of product information to display that sweater, or related sweaters, in the ad. The more you browse, the more information it will store and use.
“Alternately, ads can also be built with data that you’ve already captured from your customers. Paired with the correct messaging for that customer, you get a personalized dynamic ad.“
So Why Dynamic?
Sure, dynamic ads sound pretty cool, but adding a personal touch to your ads may not be enough to convince you to ditch your current strategy and invest in dynamic. Well actually, it should. And here’s why.
91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. In fact, 80% of “frequent shoppers” say they will only shop with brands who personalize their experience (SmarterHQ).
Today, customers aren’t just impressed by brands that understand their wants and needs — they expect it. If they’re willing to share their information with you or engage with you in some way, they want preferential treatment.
The main goal of dynamic ads is to allow you to target your messages to the multiple types of customers you have. Retargeting is an effective way of driving action since you know a user has already interacted with that product. But what about when your strategy involves using different messages; maybe one type of message to talk to prospects and a completely different message to push awareness?
Dynamic can help you customize all of your messages throughout your funnel, and do this at scale. Thanks to upcoming changes in cookie tracking, getting abandoned users back to your website by speaking to their specific needs will be an invaluable tool to building stronger brand loyalty and driving leads.
User behaviors are the key to understanding them better as customers, and this data is what drives the whole creation of the dynamic campaign. Whether that’s knowing that a user read three of your articles, stayed on a specific page for more than 5 mins, or only visits a job section of your site, dynamic ads use this information to serve ads that speak directly to them.
For example, let’s say as a mobile service company, you see that a user is reading multiple articles on your site about switching mobile plans. Seems obvious that you would want to show that person an ad that focuses on your plan options. But you wouldn’t show that same ad to a user whose browsing history includes 10 product pages — you’d show them an ad about a new phone promotion. And with dynamic ads, you can. They’ll automatically switch the content to fit the user who is viewing it.
But that’s not the only reason dynamic ads have become a marketer’s best friend:
- It’s Personal. One more time for those in the back: these ads stand out because they speak directly to your customer. Hyper-relevant content drives clicks and conversions, and with ads that adapt in real-time using location data, browsing histories, time of day, weather conditions, and more, you can do exactly that.
- It Saves Time and Money. This is a big one. Dynamic ads are continuously optimized through a fully-automated process (we’ll get to that process next), so that means after the initial setup, the work is done. The ads just run and adapt as programmed.
- Adjustments as Easy. If you do want to make additional changes to your ads at any time, they take minutes versus hours to create a whole new ad. New assets and data sources can be quickly swapped in and out as needed without having to re-traffic or rebuild from scratch.
- Changes can be Scheduled. You can schedule promotions to turn on and off based on the dates you choose using a promo calendar. Run seasonal specials aligned with the time of year, use specific messaging or imagery for certain holidays or events, and more.
- It’s Smart Advertising. Dynamic ads are constantly learning through historical performance data to better predict which elements will increase end-user action. Gaining a deeper understanding of your customers isn’t only effortless, but putting that data to work is now too.
How the Process Works
Going dynamic means all the heavy lifting is once and done. The initial setup of these ads is what puts you in the position to easily adapt your strategy at any time — in no time.
“The very first step is knowing what elements in the ad need to be dynamic,” Donny emphasized. “With this information, we can create a master banner that will house all of the dynamic elements. The client then provides us with an Excel sheet that lays out all the variations for each of those elements in columns (ie. product name, image, CTA, URL, etc). You can have 45 different variations, or you can have hundreds or thousands.”
A PSD file with the master ad’s creative elements and copy is also provided by the client and used by the development team to set up the master banner within the ad studio. “Once the master is ready to go, it only takes a few minutes to make changes to any dynamic element because it’s as simple as adding a new column to the Excel sheet. Compare that to trying to update a standard banner, which would require creating a whole new master banner and additional resizing for each update, or around triple the hours of work.”
Here’s an example of how that adds up:
7 Creative Concepts X 2 Sizes X 16 Triggers/Audiences = 224 Versions of Creative
For brands on a global scale or those with a very extensive audience, the time saved by the dynamic process is HUGE. Think about it — you have hundreds of creative concepts that come into play when your ad is shown to users across different countries, languages, and age groups. Creating each of those ads uniquely or swapping out changes when necessary can rack up the costs very quickly when they each require a new build or adjusting 20 units. Dynamic allows you to program the updates to be automatic, or make any new changes along the way in a matter of minutes — on hundreds of ads. As fast as your strategy changes, your ads can too.
Designing for Dynamic Best Practices
For a dynamic ad to work as smoothly as possible across all content variations, it starts with the initial design. As previously mentioned, identifying the elements within the ad that will be dynamic is the very first step to a successful build. But there are also some key parameters that all variations need to fit that designers have to know from the get-go.
- Choose ad formats/sizes first, pick the imagery second
- Keep headlines short and text lengths consistent across variation to account for swapping out various messages
- Optimize all images, using only jpgs, gifs, and pngs
- Choose a Google WebFonts or a web-safe font
- Use RGB, not CMYK
- Think through dependent elements for all variations of the banner
- Remember dynamic creative is considered Rich Media
For more resources on dynamic ads or to discuss how they can elevate your marketing strategy for both you and your customers, contact Assemble today.