Addressable Content: Rigor to Relevance

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Today’s brands covet data nearly as much as sales, content is produced at a faster rate than ever before, and audience science continues to unearth smarter approaches to gaining deeper consumer understanding. Broad adoption of industry technology has paved the way toward easily integrating these resources and create opportunities for more precise messaging across the marketing ecosystem. However, many of these resources have quickly become commoditized, and it is now the care with which they are brought together that sets brands apart by facilitating the delivery of consistently relevant messaging.

It is well-documented that consumers prefer personalized content to generic messaging[1]. As we return to some sense of normalcy emerging from the pandemic, brands will once again want to be top of mind. In order to win consumers over as they make their way along the purchase journey, the content they see should be personalized, but not invasive. It should also not just acknowledge the context it finds itself in but takes advantage of it. Whether by making consumers smile, positively provoking them, or simply providing convenience, the goal is to be the brand of choice come decision time. The challenge of course is that every consumer journey is different and maintaining relevance across them is extremely difficult.

Automated ad personalization has existed for some time in the form of Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO). In practice though, DCO has more often resulted in the testing of one-off media buys as opposed to innovative ways of working. Without all-encompassing strategies that consider data availability, technical connectivity, and true creative variation, DCO on its own fails to consistently deliver appropriately relevant ads. Left alone, it leans on audience assumptions, which then dictate creativity, which ultimately produce no measurable improvement in performance. Far too often DCO merely optimizes media to where it performs best. However, with an additional layer of content optimization, we allow brands to not only reach the right audience but to speak specifically to individual consumers based on what is known about them.

We need a new approach to deliver consistently relevant messaging. An Addressable Content approach is rooted in a strategy that affords more personalization, context, and narrative control to brands’ digital advertising. Precision capability supplies logic by feeding various data and technology components through to creative considerations and, ultimately, fully functioning executions. The content itself, in all its considered variations, is where a sort of magic emerges in the form of reliable, automated ad personalization. What results, is the ability for brands to measure, iterate on, and normalize the relevance-driven outcomes they seek. The value that emerges from Addressable Content is a result of its framework, a framework that DCO lacks. Beyond the display, this framework also supports video, audio, social, DOOH, and more.

At this point, most brands understand the importance of investing in the development of an audience strategy. While this is an integral first step toward being able to activate Addressable Content, there is still a gap that exists between identifying the various audiences associated with a brand and following through on delivering them consistently relevant messaging. If we had the option of 1) traditionally serving five identified audiences with the same video creative, 2) repurposing the existing creative with audience-relevant voiceovers, or 3) creating a completely dynamic video, which should we choose? We may want to jump at the completely dynamic option, but the reality of annual creative cycles and budgetary constraints should keep us grounded. If we are engaging mid-cycle, it is still incredibly more valuable to repurpose the existing creative than not take advantage of what we know to be unique about our audiences. Addressable Content does not need to be overly complicated, but it is a smarter avenue toward activation.

While Addressable Content certainly has positive implications for consumer preference and brand performance, now more than ever brands need the dollars they spend to work harder for them. In a post-COVID-19 world, brands are well-aware that they cannot afford to constantly be reacting to the news. In the case of a retail brand, how beneficial would it be to be able to dynamically shift messaging to drive in-store traffic vs. curbside pickup vs. eComm activity based on what we know about where a consumer lives? The shift in thinking required to fully embrace an Addressable Content approach will not happen overnight. However, the moment we are living through may very well expedite it. Brands are going to be looking to futureproof, so who will lead the charge?

[1] Forbes, 2020

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