Creating Dynamic Ads on the Fly

On-the-fly content personalization and user behavior profiling have enjoyed a fair share of Internet hype, but how can agencies use these techniques to create real world campaigns?

A few companies are beginning to show interesting offerings in this space, most notably Macromedia with its Generator tool and Mediaplex with its MOJO (mobile Java objects) technology. Both technologies have their pros and cons, but do offer advertisers the ability to create dynamic ads on the fly.

My company, Freestyle Interactive, has been working with MOJO quite a bit, and if you don’t know much about it, you should take a look. MOJO can tap into just about any data source (such as an e-commerce site’s inventory and pricing database) and can display that information dynamically in an ad banner. However, its most powerful features require some engineering to completely integrate MOJO with the advertiser’s back-end data. Depending on the advertiser’s needs, this integration can be well worth the time.

While dynamic, data-driven ads certainly have their place and can produce amazing click-through and conversion rates, they still require rock-solid creative and strategy, especially when dealing with rich media. Agencies should learn when to effectively use tools like MOJO, adding them to their ad technology arsenal.

Freestyle put together an example to show how a fictitious airline might use a dynamic ad. This example, a Java-rich media banner, streams the price for an airline seat from the MOJO back-end and displays it in the banner. The price is queried from the airline’s database and is current on each banner served.

In this mock-up, we rotated a random price to illustrate the concept; when deployed, the banner would query the MOJO back-end for the current price. An important advantage of this concept is the fact that the creative changes with no human interaction; there are no changing GIF images, no manual labor. Agencies that are not too comfortable with rich media can provide Mediaplex with a GIF template, leaving certain areas blank for MOJO to fill in dynamic pricing, quantities, and other information, or they can tap into MOJO directly from a rich media ad, as shown in this example.

To better explain MOJO’s capabilities, I asked Barak Ben-Gal, Mediaplex’s Director of Strategic Planning to answer a few questions about MOJO.

Why is MOJO so exciting?

    MOJO is the only technology available today that enables companies to integrate real-time advertising on the “front end” (the online interface with their customers) with real-time business data contained at the “back end” of an advertiser’s information infrastructure, such as pricing and inventory. This first, true integration allows companies to automatically customize and continually optimize their marketing efforts with accuracy, timeliness and accountability.

What are some possible creative solutions that MOJO enables advertisers to create?

    Due to the ability to automatically change and update data in real time (such as product or price data), MOJO allows advertisers to deliver strong promotional messages. MOJO also limits exposure. For example, utilizing MOJO’s eBusiness Messaging capability (requiring back-end integration), an advertiser might establish a business rule that tells the technology to run a promotional price on a computer model until the inventory reaches a predetermined level. MOJO would then “read” the predetermined level and automatically raise the price, as directed by the business rule. MOJO would serve the new price across all sites within the campaign. Therefore, an advertiser would never be in the position of running a low price on a low inventory item.

The advantage of dynamically generated ads is easy to understand for direct-response advertising, but beyond this, how can MOJO help branding campaigns?

    MOJO’s dynamic messaging capability makes the technology highly effective for both promotional advertising as well as advertising that delivers on the brand promise. For example, Mediaplex client Mortgage Mart’s raison d’etre is to offer the lowest rates available at any given time on mortgage rates. Utilizing MOJO’s ability to “pull” up-to-the-minute rates from the Mortgage Mart site and instantaneously serve the data into banners across all campaign sites, Mediaplex enables the client to deliver on its “best value” brand proposition in real time and, therefore, at all times, throughout the duration of the campaign.

How detailed is MOJO’s tracking beyond standard click-through and impression numbers?

    MOJO’s tracking system is as detailed as the client requires. Mediaplex tracks past the click, is capable of tagging specific pages to ascertain where the user drops off, and can lift information (such as number of products purchased and total dollars spent) from the order page to deliver a revenue-per-conversion analysis by site or by creative. Various derivative calculations based on these metrics can be incorporated into reports. Due to MOJO’s front-end/back-end integration capability, campaign data tracked can then be fed back to “populate” an advertiser’s information system.

Where is the future of MOJO headed in terms of the online advertising space?

    As more advertisers allocate more dollars online, they are increasingly demanding accountability. Simply put, they want to know what’s working, what’s not and they want to know now. MOJO, in fact, sets a new standard of accountability by (a) providing reporting beyond the click-through (i.e., to the view-through) and (b) integrating an advertiser’s online and offline results via MOJO’s data feed capability (i.e., Data compiled from online campaigns are fed back to the advertiser’s information system to augment data compiled from offline programs.).

Anything surprising or unusual Mediaplex has learned on a MOJO enabled campaign? Any buying patterns or other information that advertisers might be missing?

    For a MOJO-enabled campaign for (one of the fastest-growing multi-category retailers of computer products consumer electronics, games and game systems), Mediaplex was able to increase order level and reduce cost-per-acquisition significantly via Multiple Messaging.

    Designed to promote multiple offers and deliver separate click-through paths within a single banner, Multiple Messaging takes users directly to the “buy” page. Research shows that a user who is taken directly to a product page is much more likely to order than a user who is directed to the corporate home page and must then find the advertised product on the advertiser’s site. However, until MOJO, advertisers were concerned about displaying a specific product and an associated price in their online advertising, they were worried about running out of stock or having a different price on the web site versus the ad.

    With MOJO, Multiple Messaging can be extremely effective because an up-to-the-minute price can be associated with each specific product in the ad. In fact, for eCOST, MOJO’s Multiple Messaging banner produced 348 percent more orders than the generic eCOST banner which ran simultaneously for test purposes. Cost-per-acquisition was reduced from $136.56 for the generic banner to $33.81 for the Multiple Messaging banner on a comparable cost-per-thousand basis.

Does MOJO have any direct competitors? What about Flash Generator? How does MOJO differ?

    MOJO has no direct competitors in terms of front-end/back-end integration capability (allowing real-time messaging in response to changes in an advertiser’s business variables).

    Flash Generator is slower than MOJO: It can only update once every 15 minutes. MOJO can update in real time. Mediaplex is currently integrating Flash Generator into the MOJO system.

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