How to increase performance via personalisation in display advertising
6 min read

How to increase performance via personalisation in display advertising

Personalisation in display advertising is nothing new – and it’s almost guaranteed to improve your campaign performance. However, how marketers can achieve that perfectly personalised display campaign is something else entirely…

In fact, for 83% of marketers, personalisation is considered one of their biggest challenges. For example, knowing how to use different types of personalisation effectively, such as dynamic creative optimisation (or DCO for short) can be perplexing when getting started.

Therefore, in this article, we have set out to answer your questions surrounding personalisation:

  1. The definition of personalisation in digital marketing
  2. What is personalisation in display advertising?
  3. What are the key benefits of personalisation?
  4. Different types of personalisation in display advertising
  5. What is personalisation best practice?
  6. The best tools for effective personalisation

1. The definition of personalisation in digital advertising

At its core, personalisation in digital marketing means serving the right ad, to the right person, at the right time. Based on a consumer’s individual characteristics such as name, demographics, behaviour, and unique identifiers, you can tailor your advertising to these parameters.

It’s all about getting the right data and knowing how to use it.

2. What is personalisation in display advertising?

Within display advertising, you can leverage personalisation to achieve considerable impact. And using personalisation within display advertising offers the opportunity to reach consumers across the internet in several different formats.

This can range from a simple retargeted ad to using dynamic creative optimisation to automatically adjust creative on the fly for a captive audience (more on that later).

Chances are, as a performance marketer, you would have heard of personalisation within much of your marketing strategy, you might even be performing some personalisation yourself. Yet, we’re here to give you the best practice guide to personalisation within display advertising – and the best ways to get the most out of your campaigns.

3. What are the key benefits of personalisation?

In an age where online advertising is everywhere, it’s unlikely your display ads without some form of personalisation are going to get noticed. In fact, you may even have heard the phrase that a person is more likely to climb Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.

And yet, studies have shown that consumers are far more open to online advertising when it applies some form of personalisation. Not only that, but 63% of consumers find brands that continue to use generic, old-fashioned ads irritating. In contrast, over 90% of consumers find personalisation appealing.

The statistics are clear, in an age where 26% of internet users are using some form of ad blocker – you need to rise above the rest. Personalisation – and creativity – is how you bridge that gap and speak to your consumers in a language that they understand.

Still need more convincing? For every $1 invested in a personalised ad, you can generate $20 return on investment (ROI). With an average increase of 17% on marketing return if brands are using personalised digital marketing techniques.

4. Different types of personalisation in display advertising

As mentioned above, personalisation within display advertising can take many forms. It’s not just a matter of setting a retargeting pixel on your website and then blasting your audience with display ads until they return to your site – or block you.

Instead – when done right – personalisation for display ads can be engaging, effective, and advanced in the way that they draw your consumers down the funnel and eventually to purchase.

Here are our top 4 choices:

Contextual advertising

Contextual advertising is personalisation, just not in the sense that you might know it. Since the rise of GDPR and the gradual decline of cookies, contextual targeting has proved an effective way to reach your audience based on their likes and dislikes.

Using contextual targeting, you can select what your display ad creative appears next to on online content. Using your demand side platform (DSP), you can buy ad inventory that matches key words and sentences that you know will be relevant to your audience.

Philip Smolin, Chief Strategy Officer at marketing technology firm Amobee sees contextual targeting as a useful investment in your online advertising strategy, “The use of first-party combined with panel data, and use of contextual strategies, [means] we continue to perform media buying and optimisation on behalf of a brand in a compliant way.

Read more on contextual targeting here.

Display advertising retargeting

This is retargeting for display advertising that you are probably the most familiar with. By placing a tracking code on your website and on key pages of that website, you can accurately build an audience that is already familiar with your brand.

Site retargeting with display advertising works as an effective way of encouraging consumers to go beyond simply that brand awareness stage. In fact, it can go way beyond that.

Among consumers, there is on average a 20% drop off rate between checkout and payment. Within the travel sector alone, this adds up to an average loss of $1.78 trillion dollars lost at checkout. However, next level retargeting can engage consumers with items left in their basket in order to encourage them to make that final purchase. Still not sure? Read our blog on the subject here.

For more information on ways you can succeed…and fail at retargeting you can read more here.

Personalisation and dynamic creative optimisation (DCO)

DCO is essentially an advanced form of retargeting. Instead of just retargeting a user with an ad after they abandon a shopping cart, with DCO technology, you can dynamically test your creative to every user.

The dynamic creative element of DCO, is a feed source that is connected to your display advertising library. This allows for real-time updates to show the latest creative to your audience.

The optimisation part of DCO relies on machine learning to multivariate test your campaigns. Using this, performance marketers can experiment with different copy, images, offers, colours, and CTA combinations to prove which works best for the maximum view-through conversion rates.

Extra tip: Level up your DCO display ads with information such as weather forecasts, live odds, and stock market data – this adds an extra element of relevancy to your campaigns. Read more on DCO best practice here.

Digital storytelling and DCO

For more advanced users of personalisation in display advertising, dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) is where you should be focusing your time – and budget – next.

Digital storytelling is the first phase of effective, personalised dynamic advertising. And the clue is in the name. This allows you to tell a story from top of funnel to bottom of funnel with your display advertising. Adapt messaging and creative as you go – otherwise known as ad sequencing. What makes it advanced is the dynamic element.

Dynamic creative optimisation, alongside digital storytelling allows for the adverts message and creative to be adapted on the fly based on the consumer’s unique characteristics.

Melia Hotels are an excellent example of a brand that uses DCO to their advantage.

We are able to build better creatives with Bannerflow: showing the right message to our audience, boosting our CTR, and therefore increasing our ROI.” Jose Luis Aranda, Global Digital Media Advertising Director, Meliá Hotels International

If you’re interested in learning more (how could you not?) then take a look at some of our material on the subject. Learn more about digital storytelling and dynamic creative optimisation.

5. What is personalisation best practice?

There are some essential strategies every marketer should adopt in order to perform effective personalised marketing.

Here are our top 5 tips:

  1. Be transparent about exactly what and how you collect personal information. Since 2018, GDPR has meant it’s important to gain consent before processing any first party data.
  2. What is more, make sure you justify the use of that personal data for better, more useful ad services.
  3. Only collect the information you really need. What their grandmother had for breakfast might be interesting, yet not essential to your retargeting strategy.
  4. When you create ads, steer clear of old-fashioned interruptive advertising. Make sure they’re engaging but not annoying. Remember, ‘Too many ads’, ‘annoying’ and ‘intrusive ads’ are the top three motivations for ad-blocking.
  5. Keep it creative! The worst mistake you can make is relying too much on the data and not enough on the creativity! Read more on achieving that balance.

6. What tools should marketers use for personalisation?

The right tools are essential for effective personalisation. Without the means to collect the data, analyse it, produce the ads you need, and serve them – personalisation of your display advertising is almost impossible.

Analytics platform

An analytics platform allows you to effectively analyse the behaviour of visitors to your site, and how they interact with it. This data is invaluable for personalising advertising based on where they might be in the funnel. Google analytics, Heap analytics or Crazy Egg are popular in this category.

Customer data platform (CDP)

A CDP is your one stop shop for aggregating your first-party data. It enables your brand to serve your online ads programmatically based on targeted segments for individual campaigns.

Customer relationship manager (CRM)

Anything you learn about a prospect will be housed in an CRM. Any first party data that they provide can be used to feed the rest of your marketing stack with relevant information.

Tag management platform

In order to easily add and edit the javascript tags that allow you track prospects on your site, you will need a tag management system such as Google Tag Manager.

Demand-side platform (DSP)

A DSP enables you to place advertising in front of the people who really matter. In real-time, this platform will bid for advertising space in front of the segments you have identified. Find out more here.

A DCO solution

A DCO solution offers advanced personalisation, meaning you can serve your ads to the right person at the right time using this solution. Paired with a CMP for creative display ads – it’s the ideal combination for truly effective personalisation at scale.

Creative management platform (CMP)

A CMP allows you to create, manage and analyse all the display campaigns in order to serve creative ads to the segments that matter. Without CMPs, producing the numbers of campaigns needed for DCO is a time-consuming and cumbersome process. Plus, with template free design, it allows for highly engaging and effective creative for any display ad campaign.

To summarise

Personalisation of your display advertising is essential for any marketers in today’s landscape. Sometimes, it can be daunting just how many ways there are to do personalisation effectively.

However, if brands prioritise both creativity and personalisation in any online field – the possibilities for return on investment are there for the taking.

Get in contact with us to learn more about how a CMP can level up your display advertising.

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