With the penetration of digital media at an all-time high globally, reach is no longer a challenge for brands. Although this may sound like a blessing for brands, rise in penetration and reach via digital media has proved to be a bane for consumers who are constantly bombarded by ads, resulting in higher adoption of ad blockers.
Nonetheless, brands are increasingly becoming aware of the usage of ad blockers. Technology such as retargeting has enabled brands to “recapture” the interest of a consumer who left a brand’s website without completing a purchase or a sign-up. However, the problem with such “blind” retargeting is that brands run the risk of showcasing a product or service which the consumer has chosen not to buy or has bought already; hence, they may lose out on being relevant to the consumer. According to a recent Adblock Plus survey on ad blocking usage in the U.S., 40 percent of those surveyed said they block ads on laptops motivated by irrelevance or annoyance of ads.
Dynamic Creative Optimization
The problem of irrelevance faced during a simple retargeting exercise is solved through Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), where retargeting — coupled with highly personalized sequential messaging — has the potential to produce highly relevant ads. DCO is based on real-time audience data at the moment of ad serving versus simple retargeting, where the captured data is limited to the moment of accessing a website. Therefore, DCO enables the brands to choose creatives for an ad only after real-time programmatic data, specific to the audience, is gathered.
Although DCO would tremendously improve the relevance of ads, requirements with respect to integration between a brand’s website data, media data, third-party data — bought from companies such as Experian or Acxiom, as well as CRM data — make implementation of DCO very difficult.
Reliance on data and associated analyzing tools to target and customize content has changed the entire marketing landscape. Companies such as Jivox, Merkle and Epsilon lead in providing DCO services. Additionally, with the wider use of data analytics, major technology companies such as Accenture and IBM (with Watson) dominate the data analytics and DCO landscape.
Role of Procurement
With the addition of marketing partners, procurement needs to accommodate a change in the agency structuring. For an effective rollout of DCO campaigns, brands are compelled to work with multiple partners (creative, media, ad tech/data analytics-based agencies) acting as program managers. Hence, marketing procurement will have to take the lead in structuring a DCO-specific agency roster while ensuring that the essence of the campaign is effectively conveyed to its partners.
The other specifics that procurement needs to ensure while selecting the right vendor would include external APIs and product feeds. In addition, procurement needs to be cognizant of the right data management platforms to garner deep customer insights, as they will help the brands unify audience and performance data across various sources such as publisher websites, apps, etc. It would enable the marketer to build relevant audience segments to target their ads.