Tag Archives: Creative

Why you should always use a soft launch in data-driven campaigns

This is part four of a five-part series introducing the creative process for data-driven campaigns as outlined in our new guide: The Creative Process for Programmatic: A Guide for Marketers.
Broadway shows have done it for decades. Bars and restaurants have been doing it for years. More recently, retailers have gotten on board—and now, smart brands are using the soft launch approach when mounting data-driven advertising campaigns.

Thanks to the sophistication of digital media buys, the soft launch is now not only possible, but recommended. Digital — and, particularly, programmatic—allows your campaign to “sneak” out into the real world, where your team can review it in its live environment before launching in full force.

As part of our recent study of best practices for data-driven creative campaigns, we found that soft launches can save significant time, money, and hassle for marketers and their creative, media, and production teams.

What is a soft launch?

A soft launch allows you to run your campaign for a short amount of time (experts recommend 4-7 days) at a minimal daily budget (as low as $10 day). You and your teams can use this time to look for bugs and make sure everything is performing correctly. During this time, you should:
  • Make sure that all of your platforms are integrating. If you’re not using an end-to-end solution, make sure that your buy-side, sell-side, and creative platforms are integrating correctly and not interfering with each other, as this may affect how ads are served.
  • Review how the creative looks in context. No matter how carefully you craft your creative template and variables, your work may look different once it’s live. Make sure everything is lining up properly and rendering correctly—and as long as you’re at it, give the copy one more solid proofread.
  • Ensure that the correct metrics are tracking. Have your media agency pull reports at both the campaign level and the dynamic creative level. This will give you a birdseye view of your campaign, as well as a sense of which dynamic elements are performing best and should be optimized.

Once you’ve evaluated your campaign in a real-world context, you can ratchet your budget up to your desired daily spend.

When should you do a soft launch?

The soft launch is a crucial step that should never be skipped with data-driven campaigns; but if you have the flexibility it’s worth considering for all digital campaigns, even those with a more traditional bent. It occurs at the end of Step 4 in our recommended process for data-driven creative campaigns: after your team has:
  • Gathered data signals.
  • Collaborated on an all-hands kick-off.
  • Designed and developed creative.

Before moving on to the soft launch, your team will also traffic the campaign and conduct a cross-agency QA.

To learn more best practices for trafficking and QA’ing data-driven campaigns, as well as see examples of real campaigns in action, please visit The Creative Process for Programmatic: A Guide for Marketers.
Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

The data-driven difference: the most important tools for designing and developing dynamic creative campaigns

This is part three of a five-part series introducing the creative process for data-driven campaigns as outlined in our new guide: The Creative Process for Programmatic: A Guide for Marketers.

A major shift is occurring in the way agencies work together to design and develop digital creative campaigns. Previously, teams were siloed: the media agency used data to determine ad types and sizes, and served the creative production agency with a spec sheet off of which to build executions.

Today, we’re moving toward a model in which all teams work together, using sophisticated digital tools for increased efficiency. In the model we put forth in our new guide for marketers, the brand and media team now share data with the creative production team, which uses it to create a strategy for the campaign’s creative based on audience insights and real-time environmental and media triggers.

We explored the topics of gathering data signals and getting all teams on board in previous blog posts. Here, we’ll talk a bit about how creative production agencies are using tools for increased flexibility, efficiency, and control in building dynamic creative.

What is dynamic creative?

Dynamic creative allows for variables such as copy, imagery, font, and color to easily change based on data signals, such as who is viewing the ad, where they’re viewing it, and when. It consists of two complementary pieces: the creative template, and the dynamic creative feed.

The creative template

Much like the blueprint for a house, this serves as the structure of the ad unit. When you use a blueprint, variables such as the type of flooring and color of the exterior may change, but the “bones” of the house will remain the same.

Similarly, the creative template provides parameters for variables such as:

  • Character counts for copy
  • Length of animations
  • Size and location of images

Within those parameters, the team can experiment with different headlines, images, and types of animations, as well as other factors.

The dynamic creative feed

This houses the creative assets that will get plugged into the creative template, as well as the logic that dictates which assets will be served to which viewers based on your data signals and campaign strategy. Using a feed to control your dynamic campaign strategy gives you maximum flexibility, allowing you to quickly and easily make changes to your creative on the fly.

The template and feed in action

When we worked with L’Oreal on a campaign for their Vichy sunscreen brand, the team selected several dynamic creative elements that would change based on data signals, including lifestyle imagery, product image, and call-to-action. Additionally, messaging driving to the nearest store could populate based on the user’s postal code.

The design team created a simple yet elegant template that accounted for all of these variables, and the dynamic creative feed signaled which variables would appear to which users based on their data signals.

To see examples of the creative from this campaign and learn more about best practices for data-driven campaigns, please visit our marketers’ guide to data-driven creative campaigns.

We’re also hosting a hangout on air on Tuesday, April 5th at 12pm ET, to discuss the research and provide some key takeaways from the guide. RSVP here.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

The one crucial thing that can make or break your digital creative campaign

This is part two of a five-part series introducing the creative process for data-driven campaigns as outlined in our new guide: The Creative Process for Programmatic: A Guide for Marketers.

Anyone who’s managed an ad campaign knows that there are two kinds of success. The first is executional: hitting KPI’s. But there’s a second metric that can be just as important, and may even influence your numbers: how everyone feels when the campaign is over. Is the team bursting with new learnings and toasting a job well done, or reaching for the Advil while muttering: “never again”?

To help ensure that your campaigns run smoothly from start to finish and end in beers instead of tears, we recommend incorporating a single, crucial step into your process: the all-hands-on-deck collaborative brief.

We recently tested several methodologies for executing data-driven creative campaigns, which we explore in detail in The Creative Process for Programmatic: A Guide for Marketers. We universally found that including a collaborative digital brief-building session can lead to more positive results, setting the stage for a campaign that runs smoothly from start to finish.

The new all-hands kickoff

You’ve probably had an all-hands kick-off before: one in which you gathered all of your agencies and gave them their marching orders. This is different. Instead of briefing your media, creative, and production agencies, you’re soliciting their expertise.

This briefing process may seem more open-ended, collaborative, and cyclical than the process you’re used to. Consider that involving your agencies in developing a collective digital brief changes the approach from: “here’s what I want you to do” to “here’s what I’m thinking, what are your thoughts?” It enables you to take advantage of the knowledge on your team and creates a stronger sense of investment from everyone involved.

Meet in person if possible and use this time to review project goals and start building the digital brief. We also encourage extensive whiteboard usage. Writing down all the data signals you gathered in Phase 1 can help everyone visualize the campaign map and generate ideas together.

When we worked with Royal Bank of Canada on their campaign for a premium credit card, the team successfully used the collaborative briefing meeting to bring together marketing, media buying, creative and data analysts. As a group, we discussed the brand’s overall goals for the campaign, the target audience, and the data signals that could be used to reach that audience. We also decided on the creative strategy that would be used for the campaign.

Check out phase two of “The Creative Process for programmatic: A guide for marketers” to learn more about RBC’s approach and how you can follow suit.

We’re also hosting a hangout on air on Tuesday, April 5th at 12pm ET, to discuss the research and provide some key takeaways from the guide. RSVP here.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

Do it better with data: How identifying data signals can improve digital creative

This is part one of a five-part series that will walk through the creative process for programmatic campaigns, which is outlined in The Creative Process for Programmatic: A Guide for Marketers.

If there’s one thing the programmatic revolution has undeniably given us, it’s data. We know more about how to reach the right people and understand how they respond to campaigns than ever before. But even as we’re drowning in data, we don’t always know what to do with it.

Data can play a powerful role in running more effective campaigns only after we learn to harness and apply it strategically. Recently, we teamed up with several brands and agency partners to do just that, and last week we launched our findings.

Today, we’ll explore Phase 1 of our five-phase creative process. Phase 1 is all about gathering data, sifting through the dozens (or hundreds, or thousands) of data signals available and using them to inform your creative strategy.

So what’s a data signal?

A data signal is information about your audience or their context that can influence your campaign. These can include demographic or behavioral information, information about the properties on which your ads might appear, or external factors such as the weather or market performance that may influence how people are feeling when your advertising reaches their eyeballs.

Once you understand the data signals available, you can design creative strategies that take advantage of those signals, with messaging or imagery that is relevant based on the audience, media, or environment where your ad will show up.

For example, in our research project, our brand partner L’Oreal used audience targeting lists from their programmatic buying tool to segment their audience into women and women with children, and show each segment a relevant sunscreen product coupled with relevant imagery. Another brand partner, Gilt, used top-performing keywords from previous campaigns to decide which merchandise to feature in their creative units for each of their audience segments.

Take a deep-dive into these case studies and learn more about how audience insights and data signals can help inform your creative strategy.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

Three changes marketers can make today to prepare for data-driven creative

As 2016 marketing strategies kick into high gear, there’s one word on everyone’s mind: programmatic. Global programmatic ad spend is expected to reach $21.6B in 2016, and account for 67% of all digital display ad sales(1).

Programmatic advertising allows brands to reach more valuable audiences with messages tailored to their interests and mindsets in the crucial moments when decisions are made. As such, it’s not just changing how we buy and sell media—it’s also transforming the way we strategize, design, and develop creative.

At DoubleClick, we saw a need to define best practices for developing and implementing creative strategies for programmatic campaigns. In partnership with the digital creative studio, Fancy Pants Group, and the management consulting company, Accenture, we tested several approaches with three global brands: Gilt Groupe, L’Oreal Vichy, and RBC Royal Bank of Canada.

Over the course of these tests, we identified a new creative process for programmatic campaigns. Today, we’re debuting that process and the research behind it in a comprehensive guide for marketers.



Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick Creative Solutions
1. eMarketer, 2015

Netflix launches global hit series Narcos with help from DoubleClick and Google Web Designer

When Netflix launched its new series Narcos1 in August of 2015, it faced a big global marketing challenge.

Narcos is a realistic look at the rise of the Cocaine Highway as told through the lives of legendary kingpin Pablo Escobar and the American DEA agents tracking him. It's a passionate story of crime, drugs, money, honor and politics, set in the late decades of the 20th century, with dialogue half in Spanish and half in English.

Netflix wanted to reach a global audience that included target groups like "thrill seekers" (men 25-34 drawn to the excitement of crime culture) and "conspiracy theorists" (older males fascinated by the political implications of drug trafficking). That meant Netflix and its digital agency, AvatarLabs, needed to bring the Narcos story to countries from Peru to Sweden with targeted messages that would appeal powerfully to different target viewers in each culture ― without overwhelming their budget or their marketing teams.


See how they made it happen.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, Google Web Designer

1 Narcos can been seen exclusively on Netflix.

Google display ads go 100% HTML5

Over the last year, we’ve rolled out tools to encourage advertisers to build in HTML5, so you’re able to reach the widest possible audience across screens. To enhance the browsing experience for more people across more sites, DoubleClick Digital Marketing, DoubleClick Ad Exchange and the Google Display Network are now going 100% HTML5*.

  • Starting June 30th, 2016, advertisers will no longer be able to upload Flash ads into DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, or AdWords.
  • Starting January 2nd, 2017, Flash ads will no longer be able to run through DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, or the Google Display Network.

It’s important to update your ads to HTML5 before these dates.

Advertisers who currently use display ads built in Flash in their campaigns have several easy ways to navigate the transition, ensuring your creative continues to reach people successfully. Read more here.

Posted by Karin Hennessy
Product Manager, DoubleClick

*Note: this update applies only to display ads; video ads built in Flash will not be impacted on these dates.

Weight Watchers boosts acquisition volume by 56% using DoubleClick Dynamic Creative

Ever since Weight Watchers first began as a gathering of friends in 1963, the company has been helping people lose pounds and live healthier lives. Today the Weight Watchers digital marketing team is focused on acquiring new generations of customers for those classic local meetings as well as their online products and services.

The Weight Watchers team has had ample success with search and social media, where they found it easy to test different headlines and calls to action. But they hadn't found a way to do the same kind of vigorous testing on display advertising. Building and managing dozens of creative iterations, and accurately measuring the results, seemed like a major challenge.

To tackle that challenge, Weight Watchers, its agencies, [email protected] and OgilvyOne, chose DoubleClick Dynamic Creative.

See how they managed their creative testing to identify the best-performing creative iterations and boost acquisition volume by 56%.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, Google Web Designer

Netshoes sees 5X increase in conversion rates with DoubleClick Bid Manager

E-commerce in Brazil has grown 20+% year over year for the last five years1. In this highly competitive environment, choosing the right advertising partner is a critical strategic decision for a retail brand to ensure their message breaks through.

Netshoes is the world's largest sports retailer, selling everything from basketball shoes to fitness gear across all of Latin America. Historically they have been deeply focused on performance advertising, and at times have used up to 8 different advertising platforms and retargeters at once in search of the best results.

But recently, Netshoes decided this approach wasn't giving them the best results. They found they were competing against themselves by bidding for the same audience with multiple ad providers, driving costs up and ROI down. When they consolidated their media buys across display and video with DoubleClick Bid Manager, the results speak for themselves:
  • 400% better conversion rate than with other channels.
  • 30% view rate on TrueView video ads, with CPVs lower than the market average.
  • 15% time savings across the Netshoes media buying team.

"The results we get from DoubleClick are simply much better than those from other partners in our past"
—Danilo Mangini, Marketing Manager, Netshoes

Learn more about Netshoes’ approach in the full case study.
Posted by Kelly Cox
Product Marketing Manager, Google
1 Source: e-bit Webshoppers

Mobile micro-moments: Creating valuable programmatic advertising with search insights

Year after year we've heard pundits announce that this is "The Year of Mobile," but we don't quite seem to get there. Still, the facts don't lie: eMarketer estimates that mobile will account for 72% of U.S. digital ad spend by 2019 and Google's tech-forward target audience spends more than 74% of its time on mobile.1

Because mobile devices are consumers' always-on, constant companions, Google Marketing wanted to deliver personalized, contextual creative programmatically via ads. To show how the Google app can add value in people’s lives, Google Marketing brought the app’s functionality into the ad units themselves. Combining aggregated search insights, geo-targeting, and dynamic creative, the ads proactively fed users with helpful, relevant information.

The Google Marketing team followed four key steps as it developed the creative for the Google app. To learn more about the approach, check out the full case study.

Posted by Kelly Cox
Product Marketing Manager, Google
1 ComScore MobileMetrix, September 2015.