Google: Dynamic Data And Social Features Can Save Display Ads

Neal Mohan of Google

Display ads will incorporate a variety of social elements in future campaigns, but integrating creativity and dynamic data today can provide marketers with indispensable consumer mindshare and loyalty. The technology now exists to create these opportunities.

The challenge may seem daunting to some marketers, but technology has made opportunities creative and dynamic ads limitless, Neal Mohan, vice president of product management at Google, told OMMA Global attendees in San Francisco Thursday.

Google has the ability to integrate real-time data into display ads that serve up messages based on the time of day, the weather in a specific region, and more. "It's a combination of taking in real-time data and determining what elements of the ad should go where," Mohan told MediaPost. "You need to do this on the fly across millions of impressions every day. You can't do this once or twice daily, but all day long."

Powering these changes now and in the future, Mohan spoke about four themes during the OMMA Global keynote made possible through technology. They include using data in real-time to target audiences; doubling down on creativity for video, mobile and other formats; embracing innovations by measuring ad effectiveness; and incorporating social elements into all campaigns.

Trying to decide the creative pieces to use in each ad and assembling the ad in real-time creates pretty major challenges. It's not technologically easy, Mohan says. While companies need to make ads creative, technology makes it possible to customize them for millions of impressions. For example, advertisers can bid on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange in real-time. If they need to sell 1,000 basketball tickets an hour before a game, they can buy those ads in real-time.

Google acquired Teracent, a technology company that makes ads dynamic based on real-time information, in late 2009. The ability to ingest the feeds from numerous data sources, such as ticket sales or weather, provides the template to serve up dynamic ads.

The technology takes the ad creative, breaks it up into pieces such as background and ad copy, and builds it to serve up the assembled creative to consumers based on data feeds. So when Huntington Beach, Calif. reaches 80 degrees, Starbucks can serve up local residents who venture online ads for iced coffee and switch it back to hot coffee 30 minutes later when the temperature falls.

While social networks have empowered customers to provide brands' feedback in real time, technology has enabled those same features in display ads. Integrating into display ads a variety of social elements such as product reviews and feedback could help marketers gain loyal customers, too. About 59% of all people online use social networks at least once monthly, Mohan says. "We are learning that the Web is social, just like real life," he adds.

Think about building brand loyalty by gaining a percentage of the 5 billion pieces of content shared weekly on social sites across the Internet, or a percentage of the 50 million tweets on Twitter talking about the company's products.

Potential applications made possible by technology will encompass everything from real-time feedback to the ability to share endorsements for a campaign among friends. Imagine being able to see the friends who choose to not only follow an advertiser, but publicly endorse the brand and ad campaign, Mohan says. "Consumers could publicly declare their affinity for a brand or they could share their preferences for certain products online," he says. "The most successful advertisers will use these signals as a way to optimize their display campaigns."

Google ran a recent analysis of a consumer products goods company that ran a multimedia campaign across television, print, outdoor, cinema and online. Using complex cross-channel modeling, Google found the YouTube portion of the campaign garnered an additional 2.6% incremental reach above the TV spot, equating to millions of viewers that would not have otherwise seen the TV spot. About 25% of the YouTube viewers had never seen the TV spot.

But what if you can measure online and offline campaigns and tie them back to real growth? Google does this by using geographic data tied to the display campaign that companies can now measure increases in store sales by region. It lets marketers calculate the return on investment for online campaigns by looking at the sales in stores for that area. This type of technology allows marketers to move beyond the click.

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