Pointroll real-time-marketing-paper: Understanding the intersection of data, Media and “Big” creative July 2013
Dynamic Creative Optimization
& the Empowered Marketer
Understanding the Intersection of Data,
Media and “Big” Creative
Online media, paired with an influx of data sources, has made
it easier for advertisers to reach consumers at scale and
specifically target the best audience possible to receive their
ad messages. But one single piece of creative will not elicit the
same reaction with each and every consumer.
Enter real-time marketing, where advertisers can dynamically
alter their messaging and creative in real-time depending on
data and the traits a consumer exhibits.
While data and media advancements have enabled advertisers to identify and reach the best consumers, that’s only half the
battle. Once found, marketers want to engage consumers with relevant creative, messages and offers that inspire action.
‘Big data’ must enable ‘big creative.’ Pairing real-time marketing with dynamic creative technology is a powerful tool for
advertisers looking to deliver specific, targeted messages to their online audience, while adding flexibility and efficiency that
was previously impossible.
“Being able to be responsive and have a real-
time conversation with your consumers or
viewers is nearly essential now for any brand.”
Guy Slattery, Executive Vice President of Marketing at AE Networks
eMarketer’s Real-Time Marketing: Speeding up the Creative Process
As reported in eMarketer’s Real-Time Marketing: Speeding up the Creative Process, a 2012 GolinHarris survey indicated that
consumers had more positive feelings about brands after they were exposed to real-time marketing than before the exposure.
Nearly half said they would feel more positive, while 46% would be more interested in the brand. Likelihood to recommend, to
consider making a purchase and to try or buy all were markedly higher after exposure to real-time marketing.
While real-time marketing makes it possible for advertisers to better match a unique creative message to a target user to create
buyers and brand believers more quickly, the dynamic technology that drives this tactic has overwhelmed marketers.
The following paper will explore how marketers can maximize real-time marketing via dynamic creative and will look
at both the pitfalls and best practices that can effect higher performing campaigns and, ultimately, conversions.
Behavior of US Consumers Before and After
Exposure to Real-Time Marketing, Feb 2012
% of respondents
Note: likelihood of respondent to perform the action that same day
Source: GolinHarris “Insights’ March 12, 2012 / eMarketer.com
Try / Buy
Real-Time Marketing Done Right
Real-time marketing at its most basic is about matching the right ad to the right person at the right time. Yet the tactics and best
practices can vary tremendously depending on the advertising vertical and the brand or agency’s overall goals.
There are two ways in which brands and agencies currently leverage dynamic content to create real-time advertising
Dynamic Versioning introduces efficiency when using multiple creative executions and focuses on delivering creative based on
understood, pre-defined parameters.
Dynamic Optimization involves learning what works best and optimizing that result, improving the performance with each new
impression delivered or campaign flight. Optimization is about learning what works and letting technology push forward better
While dynamic technology is a great tool, the approach has been incorrectly applied or not leveraged to its full potential. At
PointRoll, more than 60 percent of all our campaigns utilize dynamic creative, across multiple verticals including auto, retail
and CPG. The following case studies illustrate best practices and learnings – both do’s and don’ts – from real-time marketing
utilizing both the dynamic creative versioning and dynamic creative optimization capabilities of real-time marketing:
Dynamic Creative Versioning
When used properly, dynamic versioning technology can
save a brand and their agency team hundreds of hours of
time that would be spent generating thousands of creative
permutations. A leading telecom company utilized PointRoll’s
solution to produce 227 creative versions at once. This enabled
the brand to act quickly during the campaign, matching creative
permutations to the target. It also reduced campaign delivery
time from 290 hours to 93, saving more than 60%. This gives the
advertiser more time to study the results, adapt their campaign
plan, and plot future media spend.
Use Case: Dynamic Creative Optimization
Real-time marketing is a remarkably effective strategy when
brands know the customer profiles they want to reach and need
a tool for delivering messages that align with their audience at
each point in the buying cycle.
One automaker used its own site data to build dynamic ad
permutations, so that it was moving beyond the basic targeting
criteria (such as demo and geo) to segment based on intent as
well as audience data. This auto brand identified consumers
who had visited its site and built their own cars on the page,
then labeled these consumers “decision makers.”
Building and targeting thoughtful segments constructed with
an advertiser’s first-party data can help move consumers down
the purchase funnel. The brand was able to target and optimize
creative messages and offers based on their first party intent
data to change messaging in real time, driving performance and
closing the conversion gap.
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Real-Time Marketing: Leading Automotive Brand
Dynamic creative optimization is often confused with dynamic versioning. The goal of dynamic versioning is to introduce
efficiency when using multiple creative executions, and ultimately, to drive performance. At the same time, creative
optimization is about learning what works best and optimizing to that result, so that with every real-time impression you are
improving the performance of the campaign flight. The dynamic nature makes it very easy to focus on versioning, rather than
optimization, resulting in too many personalized messages.
Here’s how one auto company produced permutations and quickly learned that too many versions don’t allow for the most
Context: If the brand were optimizing based on conversion rate, with
a goal conversion rate of 0.25%, then they would need more than 100
million impressions evenly distributed to optimize the full campaign for
the first time.
Learning: Optimization is best utilized early and often, with no more
than 10% of the flight dedicated to the first optimization. If the auto
advertiser with 64,800 permutations followed this best practice, it
would take more than 1 billion impressions to deliver an effective
campaign that leverages the optimization learnings.
When optimizing against hundreds of variables, it’s easy to get carried
away. Targeting on a granular level that produces thousands of
permutations makes it impossible to measure performance lift, which
really kills the power of optimization. Optimization is about learning
what works -- by limiting the number of permutations, advertisers
let technology learn and then push forward the best-performing
“We found that one
permutation was delivering
conversions at a much
Using dynamic creative
optimization, we widened the
audience we were delivering
to, which helped achieve the
highest conversions of the
campaign by far.”
Total: 64,800 creative variations for one brand.
x 3 ad sizes
x 200 dynamic creative variations per campaign
= 4,800 creative permutations
x 3 ad sizes
x 160 dynamic creative variations per campaign
= 60,000 creative permutations
Real-Time Marketing Learnings: McDONALD’S
Through the use of an optimized call to action and creative messaging, the fast-
food chain’s agency HL Partners was able to increase performance for a localized
McDonald’s launched a digital campaign to drive more brand awareness to their
breakfast sandwiches and coffee in the St. Louis, Missouri market. The campaign
featured social media tie-ins with the ability to tweet and Instagram to share photos
and comments on how a consumer’s morning was going.
After the initial launch drew minimal clicks, HL Partners and PointRoll
recommended utilizing a dynamic text field to revise and optimize the call to
action (CTA). The stronger CTA, “Click to tell us about your morning, STL” and
subsequent updates increased performance significantly, driving users to the
brand’s #GoodMorningSTL website where they could share and view other user’s
McDonald’s breakfast photo submissions.
The Dynamic call to action drove higher results than the initial
• McDonald’s saw an overall campaign click-thru rate increase of 65%.
• Dynamic campaign click-thru rate lift of 112%.
• Instagram click-thru rate lift of 124%.
• Twitter click-thru rate lift of 110%.
“Our creative was
the original CTA
able to react and
adapt in real-
time was all of
the difference to
Addressing Common Real-Time Marketing Challenges
• A/B Testing. There’s a difference between optimization and versioning. Optimization is about learning what works
and letting technology push forward better performing permutations, while versioning focuses on delivering
creative based on understood, pre-defined parameters.
• Trying to do too much. The rule of thumb is that if you’re measuring and optimizing everything, you’re measuring
and optimizing nothing.
• No clear key performance indicator. Many advertisers use real-time marketing strategies to spit out hundreds
of versions of an ad to see what works, and what it tells us. But without defining success up front, the brand won’t
• Not enough impressions. Small sample sizes don’t allow the technology to learn prohibiting proper optimization.
Dynamic, Real-Time Solutions for Key Verticals
The following verticals have experienced the greatest lift in performance when applying a real-time marketing
strategy powered by a dynamic creative solution.
• Tier 2 Automotive. Ideal for versioning vehicles, offers and local messages, retargeting and optimizing the
consumer throughout the purchase cycle.
• Local QSR. Version creative to deliver time of day driven offers and products, optimize based on features including
coupon downloads, social media sharing and call to action.
• Retail. Create local promotions centered around retailer inventory data to drive in-store sales and easily change
promotions in real-time across all digital channels at once. Optimize creative and targeting based on conversions
tied your eCommerce site.
• CPG. Version retailer co-marketing campaigns more efficiently or target, deliver and optimize products and
messages in one or multiple brand categories by demo, location, interest and more - in a single campaign.
• Travel. Origin location, destination or interest are ideal data-drivers for targeted and relevant dynamic
travel campaigns. Retarget to stay top of mind or optimize messages to those that result in bookings or other
• Telecom. Family, individual, data plan or device offers can be versioned and targeted by audience and geo location
in real-time. Optimize campaign performance to those messages that result in the highest rate of activation.
At PointRoll, we’ve found that ads utilizing dynamic creative
deliver a 471% lift in conversions over static ads.
Additionally, real-time marketing campaigns powered by
dynamic creative technology can expedite conversions and
maximize media spend.
How PointRoll Can Help You Implement Successful
Real-Time Marketing powered by dynamic ad technology is a powerful tool for advertisers looking to deliver specific, targeted
messages to their online audience. At PointRoll, we’ve found that ads utilizing dynamic creative deliver a 471% lift in conversions
over static ads. Additionally, real-time marketing can expedite conversions and maximize media spend.
Beyond the what, PointRoll focuses on why Real-Time Marketing can make a difference for brands, agencies and publishers
and how to apply dynamic technology to meet their specific needs.
Delivering hundreds of real-time marketing campaigns driven by billions of dynamic creative impressions, PointRoll knows that
executing personalized, relevant and responsive consumer ad experiences requires more than technology – it also requires a
• Get the right message to the right audience at the right time.
• Target, retarget and alter messages quickly in response to your market, consumers, ad performance across any channel,
screen, publisher, and more.
• Get ROI out of every message and consumer reached.
• Make the most out of your client’s ad spend and have the data and insights to prove it.
• Less media waste, better performance and enhanced targeting.
• Trafficking tracking efficiencies, time savings, and more.
• Alter creative messages for relevance and responsiveness.
• Versioning, production efficiencies, time savings, resource management benefits.
• Maintain creative flexibility and impact.
• Use your site data to inform targeting and creative decisioning, creating value for your brand and agency clients.
• Real-time functionality can leverage site content to create native ad experiences.
PointRoll is the leading multi-screen digital advertising technology and services company that advertisers, agencies and
publishers turn to when they want great creative, intelligent ad delivery, exceptional results and a consultative partner to help
them build once, publish everywhere, and measure everything.
PointRoll’s technology platform empowers our clients to intelligently create, deliver and measure relevant and responsive
campaigns across video, mobile, rich media, social, standard display and emerging channels.
Delivering the insight, innovation and experience that inspires the limitless imagination of our clients while maintaining focus
on strategic needs, more advertisers and agencies turn to PointRoll than to any other company to help them do more with
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