What's the best way to personalize a dynamic ad? By a person's gender? By their local weather? By how many children they have? By the websites they read?
Overwhelmingly, for the last few years, the answer has been "by the product(s) a customer looked at on my website," otherwise known as dynamic remarketing (AKA product retargeting, personalized retargeting, etc). But despite the huge growth and popularity of dynamic product retargeting, dynamic ads can be personalized based on a wide array of signals about the customer.
Out of all the possible messages an advertiser could deliver to a customer, signals are bits of information about a customer (or group of customers) that help an advertiser (or a dynamic ad unit) select which message that will have the greatest possible relevance and/or appeal.
A signal could be something going on around a customer (e.g., weather, a concert), something a customer did (e.g., visited a store, subscribed to a newsletter), or a group a customer belongs to (e.g., retirees, parents), just to name a few examples.
To better understand the pros and cons of various types of signals, and when they might be employed most effectively, we'll group signals into four categories:
Contextual signals relate to the world around the customer and what customers are currently experiencing. Using real-time contextual cues, we can make inferences about a customer.
|A customer is…||in a city with hot weather in the forecast||therefore we might infer that he or she…||will be more likely to purchase warm-weather clothing.|
|reading an article at healthwebsite.com/causes-of-heartburn||may be interested in heartburn medications.|
|in a ZIP code with a nearby retail storefront||might find it useful to see the contact info for that storefront.|
Demographic signals describe a customer's basic traits, such as gender, age, and marital status.
One could argue that demographic signals don't belong in their own category, because they're almost always aggregated from the other three categories (contextual, behavioral, first-party), but for the purposes of this post, it's helpful to consider demographic signals separately.
|A customer is…||female, 15||therefore we might infer that they…||will be more likely to purchase ladies tops.|
|male, 40, with an income over $75,000 a year||will be more likely to purchase men's suits.|
|a parent of two children||might be interested in buying a bunkbed.|
Behavioral signals describe something a customer did. Fewer inferences need to be made, so advertisers can draw far more precise conclusions about which products, messages, and offers ought to appeal to which customers.
|A customer…||looked at athletic shoes on a retail website||therefore we might infer that he or she…||is shopping for athletic shoes.|
|bought athletic shoes on a retail website||might be interested in buying gym socks.|
|performed a web search for 'cabo san lucas flights'||might be interested in Cabo San Lucas travel offers.|
First-party signals are based on information that a business has stored (perhaps in a CRM system or DMP) about a customer. This might include purchase history, opt-in preferences, and customer service interactions.
Businesses have been using first-party signals (AKA "first party data") to target and personalize marketing for a long time. When a local merchant makes sure to stock your favorite brand of bottled water, that's an example of actionable first party data. What's relatively new and still in its infancy is to use an advertiser's trove of first party data to personalize and fine-tune digital display ad creative.
|A customer…||purchases Nike shoes about once a year, and last made a purchase 11 months ago||therefore we might infer that he or she…||may be interested in current Nike inventory.|
|opted in to receive a retailer's "What's New" newsletter||might be interested in new products and offers.|
|has a 6 year old daughter.||might be interested in girls' clothes and children's toys.|
Hopefully you've been convinced that dynamic ads can mean much more than just retargeted product listings.
The next step is to determine which signals are truly relevant for your business and can be turned into messaging that will make your dynamic ad creative more relevant and compelling to your customer base. Setting up more bespoke forms of ad personalization will likely require some time and investment, but it will pay off in the end when your competitors haven't progressed beyond basic "look at Product X, retarget Product X" dynamic ads.
Contact us to learn more about the Canned Banners Dynamic Ads platform.