by Celtra // September 14, 2018 // Blog

Dynamic creative optimization (aka DCO) is a term you’ve probably heard a lot if you work in advertising, marketing and technology. And yet, it’s one of those terms people often use without really understanding it because they think they’re “supposed” to get it. You can read interviews with ad executives, watch panels at industry conferences, and follow social media accounts talking and tweeting about the power of DCO, but a lot of people in our industry don’t know how to harness its potential. To make use of the powerful process of DCO, it’s key to understand the basics of it and the fundamental questions marketers need to ask to build effective DCO strategies.

Dynamic creative optimization (DCO) is the real-time technological process by which advertisers can personalize advertising creative through the use of various technologies to match the context that is known about a specific person or user. It is hyper-relevant creative at scale. Think of it as intelligent advertising. DCO is the real-time creative engine — the technology — that produces these hyper-relevant ads. To get the full gist, read more about it here.

CEOs are increasingly recognizing the importance of this kind of tailoring. According to 2017 Accenture Research, “73% of CEOs acknowledge the need for products, services and experiences that are more meaningful to their customers.” In other words, the customer journey — and its relevance — is increasingly becoming the make or break moment for your brand.

DCO enables marketers to take into account the context of the customer. It’s not about second-guessing the customer or changing their decisions — it’s about meeting the customer where they are and increasing the relevance of the ad they see based on any number of factors (i.e time of day, weather, and/or consumer behavior data points).

While you may be well versed in the “why” of DCO, what about the how? There are 4 questions every marketer should ask themselves:

1) What specific strategies should I activate via data-driven creative?

Question #1 is your starting place — you want to know how to make an ad more effective using personalization and you want to know why you’re doing it. What’s the goal of making this change? The goal is for the ad to be as relevant and effective as possible to support your marketing goals along the conversion funnel (i.e brand awareness, purchase intent, sales, and loyalty).

2) What conditions are available and appropriate for me to use?

Question #2 is another way of saying, what suitable data do you have to inform how you change the creative? As noted above, this might be based on higher funnel data such as weather or location, or lower funnel data such as 1:1 retargeting, which is a direct correlation to a specific purchase or behavior on the site or within an app. For example, if you’re a pet retailer, you will achieve higher levels of relevancy by personalizing your creative through first-party data (i.e purchase history).

3) How can I measure the incremental effect?

Question #3 asks how you’ll know whether the change was effective. One of the most important components of your Creative Management Platform (CMP) is its ability to filter out the events that would have happened regardless of your creative efforts, ultimately giving you a statistically sound understanding of the true impact of your creative.

4) What have I learned from my measurement?

Question #4 is critical to moving your strategy forward. By measurement, we don’t just mean “this worked and this didn’t”. Instead, we mean understanding what resonates best with the customer throughout their entire journey and using these micro and macro learnings to inform your marketing strategy going forward.

When it comes to getting the greatest return on your advertising and marketing investment, answering these 4 questions is key to building a solid foundation for your brand.

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