Creative Data - why intelligent targeting is just the beginning

The technical targeting options for advertising campaigns are improving all the time. Nevertheless, a lot of individualization potential is still being wasted in terms of content. The example of the current Sporttip campaign shows how a little more Spotify would do advertising good.


Everyone knows them, the product suggestions in online stores like Amazon: "Customers who bought this item also bought". Sometimes they are actually useful. Sometimes they at least provide amusement. One thing is clear: companies like Amazon, Spotify, or Netflix that offer a huge selection of products or content need mechanisms to filter out the relevant offers for their users.

While streaming giants like Spotify put the user at the center and curate a huge content offering to generate the best possible individual user experience, targeting in online advertising works in reverse: In the context of traditional targeting, advertisers and agencies focus on selecting from a (limited) population of users those who represent the best "match" for their product based on available data such as demographics or behavior.

While Spotify finds each user's own favorite music among millions of songs, advertisers are usually limited to a handful of messages and campaign motifs. The obvious contradiction: On the media side, target groups can be defined with ever greater precision, granularity, and individuality thanks to ever better data. On the creative side, however, they are often picked up with identical advertising materials.


Problem: High costs prevent individual approach

The reason for this is that the complexity increases very quickly with segment-specific targeting. A dozen advertising materials become hundreds when they are individualized on the basis of the user journey and other available data. The costs for ad production and campaign handling increase, while the target groups become smaller and smaller due to more precise targeting. The result: granular segmentation is not worthwhile in many cases.

This can only be corrected if the implementation costs are noticeably reduced. Conventional fully dynamic advertising media with integrated product feeds, as they have been used for years, especially in e-commerce, can only partially solve the problem, however, as they have various limitations in terms of design, animation and handling.


Solution: Partial automation and new agency-customer relationships

In the current Sporttip campaign, Swisslos and Sir Mary are therefore relying on a new type of advertising material management system (WMS). Based on individually programmed templates, it offers no restrictions in terms of design and animation compared to conventional HTML5 advertising media. The easy-to-use backend allows Swisslos to independently create new advertising materials with customized messages on an ongoing basis. In this way, the customer can continuously define new target groups and test corresponding messages himself. Thanks to a direct connection to the ad server, advertising media can also be adapted in real time during ongoing campaigns without having to exchange assets on the ad server.

So with just a few clicks, a soccer ball is replaced by an animated tennis ball and the Champions League ad is rewritten for the Tennis Masters. In addition, feeds with current prices as well as events can be integrated into the WMS. The effect: production costs drop, granular targeting starts to pay off.

The automation of ad production is just the beginning. Stronger segmentation and a larger number of advertising materials inevitably increase complexity and thus the effort required on the media side. Here, Sir Mary also relies on automation in the area of analysis and reporting. A specially developed tool bundles campaign data from a wide range of sources such as ad servers, DSPs and social media managers and ensures that specialists no longer have to deal with the manual consolidation of data. At the same time, customers get a much better and always up-to-date insight into campaign performance by being able to view real-time data in the browser.


Cooperation between agency and client redefined

The still prevalent separation between creative and media agency, whose intersection is often limited to an Excel production plan, prevents the full potential of segmentation and data-driven media strategies from being exploited. At the same time, the addition of specialists on the client side enables new forms of collaboration. Transparency is needed here. The tool cuts coordination times by more than half. This

Sir Mary and her clients feel the increase in efficiency enormously. Using the Sporttip campaign as an example, this also means that the client has direct access to the agency's tools, so that he always has an up-to-date insight into the campaign performance and can intervene himself. The future of the agency-client relationship must take place at eye level and should be characterized by challenging each other and pushing each other further.

* Tino Elsener is an account director and partner at Sir Mary. 

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