Lately, everyone’s been talking about Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) and here at Bazaarvoice, we are, too. A quick refresher on all the buzz – DCO is a technology that creates a nearly-unlimited amount of unique versions of an ad from a single or a few ad templates, which are created and tailored automatically, in real-time, to bring timely relevance to the online experience by thoughtfully incorporating such disparate data as geolocation, weather, age and economic demographics, shopping behavior, and previous purchases.

What gets us most amped about this technology is the ability to create personalized, data-driven solutions for advertising creative by not only respecting the time and interests of the online shopper but also ultimately delivering optimal results for the advertiser. DCO offers a potentially limitless variety of relevant and personalized messages to be delivered online, and our partners will help us bring these strategic messages across channels to our brand and retail clients.

Imagine if you could know that a shopper is a 25-34-year-old female grad student in San Francisco who is searching for new oars for her second stand-up paddleboard at lunchtime in the spring; while another set of data tells us that a 35-44-year-old insurance executive is looking for new dress loafers before going out to dinner in New York City in the fall? How could that specific, real-time data affect the advertising creative you display? How relevant could your message now be?

Some of the excitement around DCO is its potential for a wide variety of messaging, where the creative can be exponential and multipliers almost infinite. It’s the difference between “made-to-order and pre-made” as Marketing Land’s Barry Levine recently explained so well. Elements such as size, color, copy, auto pic cropping, and design generation can all be tailored to fit each user and audience segment.

Surprisingly, and according to a recent PaperG/AppNexus study, 97% of ad campaigns don’t have a unique creative for each targeted placement. How can this be when the technology is already out there? Other benefits include speed in implementation and instant personalization, as well as higher click-thru and conversion rates. A Thunder study even found a three-fold increase in click-thru’s and an 85% lift in conversions when creative is informed by targeted data, when compared to a repurposed generic creative, as cited by Levine. So, the evidence appears to be overwhelming: relevance and meaning can eventually both win out, and win over consumers across demos.

I recently spoke with Graham Harris, Bazaarvoice’s Vice President of Brand Partnerships, about why DCO hasn’t quite taken off at the level we all would expect, based on the data we see. He explained, “Unfortunately, not all creative directors and CMO’s are taking full advantage of dynamic creative to the extent we’d hoped, mainly due to the fact that despite all the agility and exponential variety it offers in ad design, there can be less control of the creative aesthetic all brands and creative require at their core. As a result, DCO is more often used at lower levels of the sales funnel, where we see more traction with retargeting and straight optimization. So, for now, while currently focusing on more data-driven, programmatic and personalized creative solutions, we are informing our creative with the data we already know so well. The next step will be to utilize dynamic creative to its full capacity, while still maintaining the design aesthetic and integrity of the brand.”

How DCO Will End Shopper Frustration

With responsible, thoughtful use of DCO, we now have the power to make the online shopping experience increasingly more relevant, as well as eliminate the redundancies seen in repeated banner ads. Much more personal, strategic and carefully targeted use of DCO will make the online shopping experience that much more meaningful and significant, speaking directly to individuals online, providing much more enjoyable, appropriate and personal experiences. DCO basically offers advertisers and creatives an unlimited toolkit and technology to help eliminate banner blindness and fatigue once-and-for-all.

The baseball stadium billboard analogy often seems to resonate well here – why use only one billboard to communicate to thousands of baseball fans seated in a massive stadium when you can geo-target them individually on their mobile phones? Which ad buy then has the most potential? The static creative you use for everyone or the dynamic creative approach tailored for each individual?

We’re never thrilled with ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions, so being able to offer meaningful and relevant alternatives to each unique person is sure to build more online trust and engagement with a brand or retailer. After all, if you inform me about a product accessory I might naturally want or need after a recent purchase – like a sound bar perfectly sized and priced to complement my recent Samsung Smart TV – why wouldn’t I be interested in taking a look?

Why Bazaarvoice Uses DCO Better than Anyone

Here at Bazaarvoice, we are excited to share that we have partnered with several leading DCO solutions to take advantage of this technology. Bazaarvoice Consumer-Generated Content (CGC), such as ratings, review, photos and video, can be leveraged in a dynamic fashion, providing us with a significant advantage in how we take advantage of the multiple layers of insights at our fingertips, which include individual shopper habits, product research, purchases of similar products, submission and reading of reviews, and social media activity, as well as our deep-data insights on individual online behavior patterns across multiple platforms, brands, and retailers.

All this data will ensure that the DCO we provide adds further relevance and meaning to the individual shopper experience. Ads will be custom-tailored through a variety of iterations, including advanced A/B and multi-variant testing, and we’ll be able to optimize on KPI’s including conversion when we know, for example, that a red call-to-action button with the words “Buy Now” performs 27% better than a green one with the words “Learn How” – long before the ad is even generated.

By increasing positive value exchanges across all online platforms, we will improve the online experience, making it more relevant, more personal and, ultimately more profitable, for everyone.

Click to learn more about Bazaarvoice Shopper Advertising.