ValueClick Media has joined a growing list of ad networks and vendors that can automatically assemble ad offers according to a user's location, behavior, and other attributes.
Using the system, called ActiveAds, ad buyers can tailor an ad's message based on a user's location, page context, and other factors to deliver a large number of custom creative executions -- put together on the fly. In addition to data collected by ValueClick, ad clients can supply their own stockpiles of consumer information to retarget existing and prospective customers.
Such ad systems have become common in recent years, and are now offered by the likes of Yahoo, Tumri, and PointRoll, as well as ad management providers like DoubleClick and ValueClick's Mediaplex ad server.
Indeed, ValueClick spokesman John Ardis said Mediaplex has offered such tools for many years, but that they had never been implemented on the company's ad network. He said advertiser demand has lately increased for such offerings.
Much of that demand comes from performance-driven marketers. That means airlines, e-commerce players, ticket booking services, and other advertisers that process a large number of product and offer types, often personalized by region.
PointRoll, for instance, has enabled auto dealers to deliver specific inventory and pricing information to regional car buyers.
Darren Herman, head of digital media at full-service media agency Media Kitchen, said brand advertisers have been slower to adopt such offerings. His firm is now experimenting with combining geographic and behavioral data with contextual information to deliver even more permutations.
"We're not only looking at page content, but also audience segments," he said. "We've optimized the ads based on the audience segment and page-level detail...If we know we're buying auto intenders and we know we're going to be on a football site," the message could take both attributes into account, he said.
Herman added brand advertisers are reluctant to hand over control to an automated creative platform.
"It's definitely great for clients that have a database of products they can feed into the ads," he said. "Creative agencies have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. For big brand advertisers, [when you create] so many variations on an ad unit, they have to sign off on every one.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.