Consumer spending is strong in the run up to the festive period but brands still need to work hard to ensure their products end up under the tree this Christmas, writes Angus Blackwood, account director ANZ at Adform
Despite gloomy predictions, Black Friday was a big success, with online retailer Kogan reporting sales were up 80 per cent on last year, while Amazon Australia enjoyed the biggest shopping day in its history. Yet the competition for consumers’ wallets isn’t over, especially as online sales are expected to surge around free shipping day on 14th December; the last day retailers will guarantee delivery. Last year, the two weeks prior to Christmas saw exceptional growth in online shopping, with the number of purchases increasing over 26 per cent year-on-year.
Competition for consumer attention – and cash – is fierce at this point in the year, with over two thirds of consumers across the APAC region feeling there is too much choice in many shopping categories. Brands must find creative ways to add sparkle and relevance to their festive campaigns to ensure they resonate and stay front of mind with last-minute shoppers, and dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) provides the key to both consumer attention and Christmas spending.
DCO has already reshaped the boundaries of tailored messaging, allowing brands to automatically combine creative elements such as headlines, descriptions, colours, calls to action and images to instantly generate almost limitless versions. The most relevant creative version is served depending on data points such as the users’ location, the time of day, previous browsing behaviour and even the weather, ensuring the message resonates with the individual. Campaign performance is measured and the resulting insights are used to continually optimise creative to drive sales and return on investment (ROI).
Initially seen as something of a novelty, DCO is now a mainstream commodity and expectations around what it can achieve are increasing. Despite the tech being widely available, 70% of marketers still struggle to create compelling DCO units to make better use of creative aesthetics. To meet brands’ heightened ambitions this Christmas, DCO is moving beyond the basic capabilities of creative production efficiency, moderate personalisation and general optimisation and giving brands three welcome gifts:
1. Enhanced decision-making capabilities
The latest DCO technologies extend creative decision-making beyond the standard options and provide powerful, flexible targeting capabilities. Using tools such as full decision trees, Boolean logic, negative targeting and integrated heatmaps, advanced DCO allows brands granular control over who sees their creative messages and enables sophisticated optimisation.
DCO can now be used with powerful mass versioning capabilities that automatically ingest and rank large volumes of product data to be used for recommendation and retargeting. This capability is particularly important over the festive season as it amplifies brand storytelling and takes the user on a journey of inspiration, similar to walking through a physical store, introducing and showcasing relevant products along the way based on browsing history and intention.
2. A bridge between creative and technical
One challenge with standard DCO strategies can be the disconnect between the audience the third party demand-side platform (DSP) buys against, and the audience that the DCO solution is looking to match through its logic. The result is incoherent, incorrectly targeted messaging. Understanding and connecting the two using external DSP signals or macros for instance can bridge this disconnect, aligning the correct messaging to the right audience and as a result avoiding situations where the DCO solution is forced to serve a default advertising message.
3. Data-driven multi-channel campaigns
As DCO technologies become more advanced they can leverage a wider variety of data points including real-time and historical campaign data, first and third party and trading data. These rich data sets enable the underlying machine learning mechanisms behind DCO to learn more effectively and perform better, resulting in better decisions, consistent communication and tangible campaign benefits.
The latest DCO solutions are also able to bridge the gaps that currently exist between technologies, formats, and media, enabling easier strategy execution across multi-dimensional activation points. By moving towards cross-channel, format and device support – for instance by introducing the mobile rich media ad interface definitions (MRAID) system and video ad serving template (VAST) format – DCO allows brands to execute personalised campaigns. It supports cross-device targeting across a range of different media and channels with a wide variety of creative forms.
With a rapidly dwindling number of shopping days to go before Christmas, brands need to ensure their festive campaigns stand out from the crowd to capture consumer attention, and the relevant, tailored ads enabled by DCO allow them to do just that. By embracing the latest advances in DCO, which promote advanced decision making, bridge the creative and technical sides, and enable data-driven multi-channel campaigns, brands can ensure they benefit from both consumer attention and spending this Christmas.