Creative agencies sometimes hesitate when confronted with dynamic creative optimization (DCO).
They have perhaps heard talk of some imagined technological nirvana (or dystopia?) in which machines drive the big “wins,” so there’s no longer a need for top-level creatives to craft brilliant campaigns.
To be clear: that’s not how DCO works. Like all programmatic technologies, dynamic creative optimization requires a combination of the best skills that people have to offer working in concert with cutting-edge technology.
For instance, artificial intelligence can ingest tons of data. That data, combined with the application of machine learning, helps creative campaigns to be more precise and effective. But to accomplish this, the machines also require frequent strategic analysis, constant monitoring, adjustments, updates, and nuanced input from the creative people running the campaign.
Believe me, I understand there can be a level of fear when it comes to DCO and I get why some creative agencies just aren’t “there” yet. I was trained in print design to craft the best brand images and identities, protecting them fiercely and sweating every minute detail. I didn’t see the benefits of DCO at first. Now I do.
DCO is additive and long-term
DCO is not a replacement for anything. It’s additive, building upon the great brand work that creative people conceive and execute. Its implementation requires a close working relationship among designers, developers, strategic thinkers, and creatives. All contributors must work together to achieve the client’s objectives.
At its best DCO gives creative people the kinds of feedback that helps make their work more powerful. It amplifies their contributions. Programmatic creative, the umbrella under which DCO sits, assures the work is never completely done and can always be improved upon with input from skilled specialists.
For leading brands, well-conceived DCO ensures the campaign constantly changes and adapts based on performance, learnings from the market, creative refreshes from the brand, and newly defined imperatives.
Strategic and hands-on, working together
The DCO approach is both consultative and collaborative. It works best when digital, print, social, and every other component is considered strategically from the outset, pointing everyone toward the same goal.
DCO can be leveraged in a much more sophisticated way. At its core DCO finds the messages that resonate most.
Xaxis AdLabs has an internal creative production team devoted to executing just these sorts of Programmatic Dynamic Creative (PDC) strategies. We mix in programmatic signals from first party data, environmental factors, and additional audience data.
Post-launch, machines help optimize and enhance effectiveness, boosting conversions and clickthroughs. We can work with the tags inside a DSP and rotate variations to different segments in different environments and see how well they resonate.
We are able to use all these levers to target different messages through decision trees into very granular personalized messages, creating a stronger chance of a user being shown an ad customized to them, and making that ad that much more effective.
Working towards hands-on, always-on solutions
Marketers using programmatic technologies are becoming less concerned with campaign flight dates and more focused on full-year solutions that adapt based on data they receive on creative variations.
This new orientation means we are also starting to move beyond quarterly I/Os and test-based campaigns towards always-on solutions. A combination of strategic and hands-on work is especially crucial for these kinds of continual campaigns that build over time.
At Xaxis, we help advertisers reach potential customers where those customers spend their time — on desktop screens and with their phones. The trick is to reach individuals in the right place at the right time with the creative elements that are most meaningful to them.
The digital world holds almost limitless opportunities. DCO helps creative agencies capitalize on those opportunities by amplifying and enhancing their contributions.
Jenna Brillhart, Art Director, Ad Labs
Jenna Brillhart is the Director and team lead of eight developers and designers across the Toronto, Los Angeles and New York offices. She is responsible for managing campaign schedules, leading creative strategy meetings, pitching to creative and media agencies about digital creative, designing creatives for digital campaigns, branding product packages, designing and developing out platforms and websites.