With the 5-day SES New York Conference coming up on March 19th-23rd in NYC, Supercool was lucky enough to get some time with one of the event’s speakers, Jon Aizen, Director of Display Initiative, with Yahoo!. Jon shares his thoughts on what would be the coolest dynamic ad in the history of the planet, the creative value of an ad vs the marketing message, and which industries could be taking better advantage of Yahoo! Smart Ads. Supercool Creative: If you could just waive your hand and instantly create “the coolest dynamic ad in the history of the planet,” using real or imagined technology, what would be in it? Jon Aizen: The coolest dynamic ad would be one that is indistinguishable from the content that surrounds it – an integrated and consistent part of the experience of the webpage in which it is embedded that provides consumers with a personalized, interactive, and dynamic experience. For example, denverco.areaguides.net, which is composed of a variety of content widgets that provide job listings, news, and other types of content, is actually advertising content that the website is monetizing directly on the page. In effect, this execution is effectively a dynamic ad, albeit one that is constructed with custom integration, but more importantly, it blurs the lines between content and advertising to deliver real value to consumers. Supercool Creative: Does an inverse relationship exist between the creative, or entertainment value and the message effectiveness of digital initiatives? In other words, as the marketing message becomes stronger, does the entertainment value necessarily decrease and vice-versa? Is there an ideal balance?
Jon Aizen: The best advertising actually delivers value for the consumer, which, in turn, creates value for the advertiser. Ultimately, however, the value delivered in the advertising needs to tie into the value provided by the advertiser’s goods or services. For instance, an interactive game inside an ad with brand messaging seamlessly integrated can serve to educate and entice a consumer into making a purchase in the future. After all, Internet users are still consumers who shop in both the online and offline world. More importantly, however, that makes them no less averse to commercial activity or marketing messages. What they want is ads that deliver value and relates to their experience – positive experiences go a long way in making a marketer’s message more effective. Solutions like Yahoo! Smart Ads are a great example of how marketing messages can enhance the user experience. They enable advertisers to harness their content and offers, personalize it to the user based on data, and, in doing so, create a more positive, engaging experience which ultimately drives results for advertisers. In late 2010, we ran a four-month long, personalized retargeting campaign with online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats in an effort to increase conversions and lower cost per acquisition (CPA). Taking into account previous events a user viewed online and the user’s location, we offered up an app-like creative ad unit on Vivid Seats’ website, which offered live ticket availability and latest prices, to their target audience, as well as a general public service announcement control ad. We measured the post-view conversion activity and found Yahoo! Smart Ads caused at least 100% more incremental view-based conversions than the PSA group. Supercool Creative: What industries could be taking better advantage of Yahoo! Smart Ads and why? Jon Aizen: There has been broad adoption of dynamic ads and, in particular, Yahoo! Smart Ads across most of the major industry verticals. For some, like travel and retail, the applications are obvious because those advertisers have many different products, which make for ads that can be highly personalized to users based on offers that match those users’ profiles. Others, such as automotive and finance have also found great success with Smart Ads, tailoring their messaging to consumers based on what Yahoo! data can tell the optimization algorithms about those users. That said, there are a number of industries that are just now starting to realize the potential of dynamic creative. A good example can be found in the entertainment industry. In order to promote upcoming movie releases, some studios are beginning to use solutions like Smart Ads for Video to select appropriate trailers based upon the viewer and overlay local show times. Another industry, consumer packaged goods (CPG), has recently started deploying dynamic ads at larger scale. Some pioneering CPG companies are using this type of ad to test and drive the most effective brand messaging based upon the specific consumers viewing their ads. The results have been very positive and we expect more advertisers to take advantage of this ad format in 2012. You can follow Jon @yonajon and SES @SESConf.