How dynamic creative adds another dimension to video ads

Video advertising is all the rage, and marketers can take it to the next level with dynamic video: layering a personalized message over their content.

Video is where it’s at. It’s taking up more and more of the digital ad spend. It continues to be a bigger priority for tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon. It often results in more engagement than static display ads. And it’s everywhere.

The increased focus on video has made the market that much more saturated and as a result, that much more difficult to attract attention. Brands like Dos Equis and L’Oréal have stood out with interactive videos. Another emerging strategy is dynamic videos.

Marriott’s method

Dynamic creative changes automatically based on information advertisers know about the person viewing it. It’s not practical to create millions of videos tailored for every single person who may end up on your website. But you can layer personalized creative on top of the same video everyone sees, as Marriott does.

By combining knowledge we have about an individual – maybe they love golf or going to the spa – we can serve up opportunities for them to enjoy a resort, even if they weren’t planning on it,” says Andy Kauffman, vice president of global ecommerce and digital services at Marriott.

While you’re watching a video, an overlay ad will pop up with some kind of personalized information. That combination has proven successful for the brand, resulting in an immediate increase in ROI.

Personalization is generally a plus in marketing. It all comes back to the idea that highly-targeted marketing gives people the relevant experiences they ultimately want; lack of relevance is often cited as the most common reason for the recent explosion in ad block usage.

“I generally think personalizing anything is going to be better as long as it feels seamless and shows someone what they’re going to care about,” says Stephen Beck, founder and chief executive (CEO) of Engine Digital, point out one caveat. “As long as it’s not crossing the line into being creepy.”


Personalization’s pitfalls

Invasiveness is always a risk when it comes to personalization. The “shoes following you around the Internet” makes many people feel uneasy enough, let alone basing ads on your significant other’s online activity in an expert example of targeting we never did get to the bottom of.

“An ad tech company creates something and the brand loves it because it’s new and different, but at the end of the day, if it works well, the user on the other end won’t even know that it’s personalized,” says Beck. “They’ll just think it’s more interesting.”

That conundrum – personalized but not too personalized – is part of why every brand doesn’t run out and create dynamic video. Great content is difficult to nail and something like this, which is still more of a novelty than the norm, doesn’t have enough of a proven success rate for more risk-averse brands.

There’s also the time and money it takes to execute dynamic video. While Marriott has its own content studio, not every brand can say the same. Those working with agencies are potentially looking at high costs and long turnaround times.

Looking ahead

Vernon Vasu, chief marketing officer at ReFUEL4, thinks both of those things will decrease as dynamic video becomes more widespread. Vasu considers this an inevitability, with personalized videos eventually being commonplace on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“I think it’s going to be the standard format in a few years; I think the standard storytelling television ad is dead,” says Vasu. “It’s the only way video can go: there has to be a hell of a lot more interactivity and personalization for it to work.”


By the time dynamic creative is more of a staple of video advertising, Marriott will be old hat at the strategy. Kaffuman’s words of wisdom to other marketers is not to just jump in headfirst.

“You have to not just chase the shiny new technology, but make sure it’s actually enabling your business,” he says. “Personalization is certainly a great tactic to get noticed and we’re certainly all in on it, but at the end of the day, you need to have great content and great content doesn’t always have to be personalized.”

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