Dynamic creative tools support programmatic media buys

Friday, October 24, 2014 | 7:15 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

As we introduced on Wednesday and explained further yesterday, it’s critical to pair your media buying strategies with smart creative strategies to develop more successful digital campaigns. A media buy is only as good as the creative that goes into it! 


Our second creative and media pairing revolves around the idea of programmatic: When you are buying your media programmatically (automatically, in real-time, with granular information about each viewer) you should also be building your creative messages automatically, in real time, for every viewer. Dynamic creative is a technique that advertisers can use to accomplish these real-time messages.



Did you know? Consumers are twice as likely to engage with real-time advertising than they are with generic ads.* 

Dynamic creative is a powerful and flexible system that lets marketers create a single ad template and then swap in creative variations to fit each viewer. What's more, it does it in real time: changing headlines, images, copy and calls to action depending on variables like the user's demographic, their location and the device they're using at the moment they see the ad. 

People may be familiar with the idea of dynamic creative for direct response campaigns (i.e. showing a product based on what someone already viewed), but there are also clever ways to incorporate dynamic creative for brand awareness campaigns. 

For example, Nike used dynamic creative to fuel their real-time “Phenomenal Shot” campaign for the World Cup. Nike wanted to deliver experiences that related to live moments in the soccer matches. They used an HTML5 dynamic template, which allowed them to create and manage one flexible ad—instead of hundreds of custom-built ads—that could run across screens. 

To accommodate dozens of ad alternatives localized for 15 different languages, they created a Google Spreadsheet template that served as their dynamic feed to generate ads. Once the dynamic feed was set up, they could generate the ads quickly by updating the spreadsheet, which minimized the effort and speed of releasing ads in real time. The spreadsheet was robust yet simple enough that the ads could be updated without assistance from technical or creative employees.


Nike cleverly used dynamic creative as a way to bring live moments into their ad campaigns in real-time. Knowing that their viewers were on their phones as they were watching the soccer matches, Nike made sure their ads could show up on smartphones and tablets, to grab users’ attention and engagement during commercials or breaks in the game. 

As brands buy more reservation-based ads through programmatic channels, using the information about their audiences in their creative is going to become increasingly important. To accomplish these smart creative campaigns, Advertisers must include both the media agency and the creative agency in the room at the outset of the campaign. This will enable the agencies to develop creative and media plans that are aligned. 

To learn more about how to pair dynamic creative with your programmatic media buy, visit our dynamic solutions page and select the vertical that is relevant for you. 

And come back on Monday for our third pairing: Mobile media buys and HTML5 creative. 

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

*source: “Media Economy Report: How Data is Changing our Business,” Jan. 2014, Magna Global

Powerful creative management tools support large-scale campaigns: A deep-dive into Asset Library

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 7:27 AM


Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

Yesterday, we announced 13 updates to our DoubleClick Creative Solutions and explained how advertisers can develop more successful campaigns by pairing their media buying strategies with smart creative.

Pairing #1 from yesterday’s post centered on scalability: Creative agencies need robust creative management tools to keep up with the scale and complexity of increasingly large media buys. The new Asset Library tab that launched this week in DoubleClick Studio provides just that -- it allows creative agencies to easily scale and manage their assets across their creatives. 





With Asset Library, you can host, manage and update all of your creative assets for free, from a single cloud-based location within DoubleClick Studio. Easily manage your assets across all of your DoubleClick campaigns and update live campaigns immediately with new creative.




Six things to know about the new Asset Library tab:
  1. No waiting: You don’t have to wait for a hosted URL from the DoubleClick team, so you can get your ads live faster.
  2. Larger file sizes: Upload individual creative assets up to 60MB, and upload any total file size that you want. 
  3. Share assets easily: Advertisers can use Asset Library to share their creative assets directly with their creative shops, all in one place.
  4. Batch Update: Automatically update a batch of creatives with one click in Asset Library. You can also refer to assets uploaded to Asset Library within your dynamic creative feeds.
  5. Automatic video transcoding: Asset Library automatically transcodes videos into all necessary formats when uploaded into the platform.
  6. Update live campaigns immediately: Edit your asset in Asset Library and push it live to the locations you want in your campaign immediately, no 24-hour review cycle or re-trafficking required. 
Here’s what some of our beta testers have said about Asset Library:

"We’ve used the asset library to host HTML5 assets and then pull them in dynamically within DoubleClick Studio. This has made file management more efficient and enabled us to change assets quickly when pricing, messaging changes and creative tweaks have been necessary." ~David Morgan, Director, 22Design 

"We use DoubleClick Studio to build 99% of our creative and appreciate how Asset Library has simplified video serving. Instead of handing off files, we can manage the serving ourselves through our Asset Library folder." ~Kate Bush, Associate Director of Project Management, Isobar Detroit

"I have been using Asset Library with a dynamic ad campaign for one of our major clients. Having all of the assets accessible in DoubleClick Studio...in one place has saved me so much time and energy. I can keep all my assets in a well documented and simple way. It also makes the data feed that I put into Google Docs a lot smaller and easier to manage when dealing with vast amounts of data in the dynamic ads. It is the most beneficial upgrade to date." ~Darren Stevenson, Head of Digital Display at UK creative agency Partners Andrew Aldridge

Over the next couple quarters, we’ll be integrating Asset Library into Google Web Designer, DoubleClick Campaign Manager and DoubleClick Bid Manager, so you’ll be able to access your creative assets from every management tool within the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform.

Ready to give it a try?
Simply login to your DoubleClick Studio Account and click on the new Asset Library tab in the top navigation bar. You can also check out our Getting Started guide

Come back tomorrow for creative and media pairing #2 around programmatic. 

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick Creative Solutions

13 new DoubleClick Creative Solutions to make your campaigns more successful

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 7:49 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

Savvy advertisers know they need to pair smart creative with their media buying strategies, to accomplish successful digital campaigns. Today, we're making it easier than ever to do just that with 13 new tools across our DoubleClick Creative Solutions. These updates help advertisers succeed with four key creative + media pairings:

1. Powerful creative management tools support large-scale campaigns
2. Dynamic creative tools support programmatic media buys
3. HTML5 and in-app creative tools support mobile ad targeting 4. In-stream video tools support video ad targeting



Pairing #1: Powerful creative management tools support large-scale campaigns
Display campaigns are getting larger and more complex. To keep up, creative agencies need tools that help them build ads to suit every shape and size required by that campaign, in a fast and seamless way. 




Asset Library is a creative management layer launching today in DoubleClick Studio and rolling out across the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform in the next couple quarters. Asset Library allows advertisers to host assets for free in DoubleClick and easily manage and bulk update creative, even in live campaigns, without having to re-traffic them. 



“We have cut our development time considerably using Asset Library as part of our daily work flow. It's hard to imagine how we survived without it.” ~ Michael Douglas, Head of Production, SapientNitro




Pairing #2: Dynamic creative tools support programmatic media buys
Advertisers can use the audience information from their media buy to craft relevant ads for every viewer. Our new dynamic tools focus on making the process easier to manage:




  • A lightweight version of dynamic creative for retail and hotel clients is available in DoubleClick Bid Manager (Premium US users). Use six HTML5 templates to build dynamic ads that are aligned with the programmatic media buy. They work for Facebook right-hand side inventory too!
  • Advertisers can now pull their Google Merchant Center Feed into a dynamic remarketing creative in both DoubleClick Studio and DoubleClick Bid Manager. This makes it much easier to build complex retail campaigns without having to re-input the data.
  • Understand which products in your dynamic ad lead to which website conversions, using the new u-reporting feature in DoubleClick Studio. 



Pairing #3: HTML5 and in-app creative tools support mobile ad targeting
To show a successful ad unit on mobile and tablet placements, you have to build HTML5 ad creatives in formats that work well on smaller screens.




  • Build mobile-compatible ads in minutes, with 20 new HTML5 and in-app Studio Layouts
  • To build more custom HTML5 ads, agencies can use Google Web Designer and then publish their ads in one click to DoubleClick Studio. 
  • For a dynamic creative campaign, DoubleClick Studio supports HTML5 dynamic creative, so advertisers can ensure their real-time messages reach consumers wherever they are. 
  • Publish with confidence: DoubleClick supports MRAID 2.0 (the IAB’s latest mobile in-app standard) and has certified over 90 of the largest publishers and networks, to make sure their websites will support DoubleClick in-app ads. 


Pairing #4: In-stream video tools support video ad targeting
Make your TV commercials work for digital by building in interactivity. Serve your video ads alongside the rest of your digital campaign so that your data and reporting are consolidated. This can lead to better campaign insights. 




  • Our new VPAID Layout lets you easily build interactive in-stream video ads (VPAID). Simply upload your video asset and add interactive elements to create a complex ad unit in minutes.
  • You can also ensure people have a smooth viewing experience with your mobile video ads. DoubleClick Campaign Manager will transcode and segment your videos so they can be served in a file size that will load on the viewer’s mobile connection (3G, 4G or wifi). The video can even be altered on the fly, if the connection changes during playback. 

Digital campaigns are nuanced and complex, so having the right support resources at your disposal is important. We built the Creative Recommendation Tool to help you identify the best product to use based on your project’s resources. We’ve also integrated Chat Support into the Studio UI, so you can get in touch with a real person immediately, get your problem solved and get on with your work. 

While advertisers may be focused on scaling campaigns across big bets like mobile, video and programmatic, smart creative is a critical element of every successful campaign and can’t be an afterthought. Advertisers will achieve the best results when they combine creative strategies with media strategies from the outset of their campaigns. 

Over the next few days, we’ll dive into each of the four creative strategies listed above, to provide best practices for combining creative and media strategies in your campaigns. Stay tuned!

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick Creative Solutions

Introducing Custom Affinity Audiences across the Google Display Network

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | 9:20 AM

Cross-posted from the Inside AdWords blog


Over the past 2 years, we’ve launched affinity and in-market audiences, two new ways to help advertisers reach people across the Google Display Network who are most likely to be receptive to their messages. For example, if you’re marketing a new car for 2015, affinity audiences makes it possible to reach auto enthusiasts, while in-market audiences lets you find people who are actively shopping for a car.

Introducing Custom Affinity Audiences

In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out our newest offering in this suite -- custom affinity audiences. It gives you the flexibility to reach exactly the audience you're looking for, because you decide who to reach.

Custom affinity audiences lets advertisers define who they want to reach across the web, on any screen. By factoring in consumers’ most recent passions and ongoing interests, your message always reaches the right people. Custom affinity audiences works across the Google Display Network, which, according to ComScore, reaches 94% of the web in the United States on a monthly basis, and 89% of global internet users. Like affinity audiences, custom affinity audiences work best with existing features and formats like Engagement Ads and viewable impressions, and can be measured using Brand Lift reporting.

In the Spotlight

Electronic Arts used custom affinity audiences to engage fans of specific NFL teams in their recent Madden GIFERATOR campaign. Google’s affinity audience solution offers a segment for football fans, but EA used custom affinity to take precision to the next level. They created 32 custom affinity audiences, one per NFL team, to reach fans of specific teams with display ads timed to the real-time action on the field.

Alexis Cox, Senior Product Manager at EA, collaborated with Google to build this innovative campaign. “One of our goals with the GIFERATOR was to make Madden a part of the live NFL conversation. Custom affinity audiences has allowed us to broaden Madden’s reach with tailored real-time content while maintaining strong engagement,” Cox said.


This new way to customize a campaign was also music to the ears of Kevin McCollum, producer of Motown the Musical. Getting the attention of people on vacation in New York City, with all its myriad attractions, can be a huge challenge.

Motown the Musical used custom affinity audiences to find potential theatergoers in New York City and saw strong results. McCollum shared, “Google's custom affinity audiences allowed us to reach New York City tourists at a scale and efficiency unlike an any other technology, and it drove fantastic results, at no additional cost.”

“Using custom affinity audiences yielded nearly double the performance of our other campaigns targeting New York City tourists this summer,” said Kyle Fox, Associate Digital Media Manager at SpotCo, agency for Motown the Musical. “Set-up was easy and we were still able to maintain the great hands-on optimization we expect from AdWords.”

Offering Richer Insights

We’re continually improving AdWords to make it easier for you to reach the right audience and to provide insights about the audiences you’re reaching. As you build a custom affinity audience, we will now provide immediate estimates for the people you may reach by showing breakdowns of their demographics like age and gender as well as their most relevant affinities.



You’ll see these same kind of insights whenever you access Interests & remarketing features from the +Targeting button in AdWords. To learn more, visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Jon Krafcik, Senior Product Manager, Display Ads

1ComScore Key Measures and Media Metrix, August 2014

Top holiday tips for retailers

Thursday, October 2, 2014 | 11:14 AM

Cross-posted from the Inside AdWords blog

With October kicking off this week, the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. According to our recent research, 29% of shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping before Halloween. With this in mind, we’ve put together a Holiday Shopping Checklist filled with the season’s best practices for retailers to maximize performance across both Search and Shopping campaigns. In addition to our checklist, here are the top holiday trends from last year and tips from the Google Shopping team on how to make this Q4 a good one.

Address increased shopping demand today. Last holiday season, traffic sent to merchants from Google Shopping doubled year-on-year.1 This momentum has continued and in July we saw traffic sent to merchants surpass last year’s peak holiday traffic from Google Shopping.2  Not only has consumer interest increased, but it is also beginning earlier. Our research shows last year consumer interest in Black Friday was up 27% from 2012 and related searches started about a week earlier than the prior year. Get the most out of this high volume shopping period by establishing your marketing goals early and using our checklist to help achieve them.

Connect with mobile shoppers. The best way to connect with your customers is to be there whenever and wherever they are looking for your products, and increasingly this is on mobile. Mobile devices drove 35% of all traffic to retail sites in the US last holiday season, and this is expected to increase to 43% by November 2014.3 Globally, Google Shopping sent over 3X more traffic to merchants on smartphones in holiday 2013 year-on-year.1 Make sure you plan for a significant proportion of your shoppers to be mobile this season.

Provide fresh and accurate information to customers. Pricing and shipping are two of the most important factors for shoppers when making a purchase online.4 Update and resubmit product feeds regularly to  ensure that customers see consistent pricing and inventory information across your Product Listing Ads and website. Improve the customer experience by using automatic item updates to update your items on Google Shopping based on the data we find on your website. If you offer free shipping, include messaging in your text ads or use the new Merchant Center shipping configuration tool to reflect this in your Product Listing Ads.


New shipping configuration tool in Merchant Center

Differentiate from the competition. With strong competition during the holidays, promotions are a key driver in determining consumer purchasing decisions. This was evident last year, as 92% of all shoppers took advantage of some type of promotion.5 Consider how you can differentiate your messaging by highlighting a strong promotional offer or unique value proposition. Make your Product Listing Ads stand out by using merchant promotions and provide an additional stamp of credibility for your business by becoming a Google Trusted Store. Provide additional value for shoppers by displaying product ratings on your PLAs. According to Diana Ruka, Senior Director of eCommerce at COACH, product ratings have provided “added value beyond price points or descriptions - they convey a message without need for words- they provide distinction.”   
Example of merchant promotions, product ratings and the Google Trusted Stores badge displayed on Product Listing Ads

For more holiday tips and best practices, check out our Holiday Shopping Checklist or join us for our Learn With Google Hangout on Air on October 30 at 10:00am PST for more holiday optimization tips.

Posted by Shelby Coyne, Product Marketing Manager, Google Shopping
1 Google Internal Data Q4 ‘12 to Q4 ‘13.
2 Google Internal Data Q4 ‘13 to Q2 ‘14.
3 IBM Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, June 2014.
(Note: IBM’s definition of ‘mobile devices’ includes smartphones and tablets.)
4 Shop.org, Holiday Planning Guide, February 2014.

5 Baynote Holiday Shopper Survey, January 2014.

Building the next generation of display ads for a multi-screen world

Monday, September 29, 2014 | 8:39 AM

Cross-­posted from the Inside AdWords blog.

It’s true that mobile devices offer a new canvas for advertisers to connect with consumers, but painting on this canvas has not always been easy. Many marketers started out by shrinking down their existing display ads for mobile, but this didn’t always make for a great consumer experience. They also discovered that frequently their existing display ads were not able to run on mobile devices or on mobile browsers. But now, a new generation of display ads is changing how advertisers engage with consumers on mobile devices.

Today, we’re excited to announce that over the coming months we will launch several mobile display ad formats and tools across the Google Display Network, the AdMob Network and DoubleClick that will make it easier for advertisers to build successful ads that work across screens.
Display ads built for mobile
The new display ad formats that will be rolling out in the coming months are designed specifically for mobile environments:
  • Big brand ads, built for mobile and resized for every screen: Mobile lightbox Engagement Ads use your existing brand assets to automatically create engaging rich media ads in HTML5 that run seamlessly across devices and screens. The ads will dynamically resize to fit any ad size, making them quick-to-create, and you only pay when users engage. We built a demo of this new format for Kate Spade's upcoming holiday campaign. These will soon be available in the AdWords Ad Gallery.
Invitation State
Expanded State

  • Video ads for the AdMob network that people can choose to watch: TrueView ads have already been running across gaming apps in the AdMob network. In the coming months, they will roll out broadly across more apps in AdMob. With TrueView, your ads can reach consumers while they engage with their favorite apps. Plus, you only pay when a user chooses not to skip your ad.
  • Ads that stay put even while a person scrolls down the page: The anchor ad format is a mobile web ad unit that sits at the bottom of the screen on a mobile device. As a user scrolls down the page, the ad remains “anchored” to the bottom of the screen. The user can dismiss the ad at any time.
  • Magazine glossiness for your existing text ads: The magazine style text ad format (previously launched for mobile websites) has now been extended as an interstitial in-app format for the AdMob network, bringing the glossiness of print magazine ads to the ease and practicality of a text ad. Google Display Network text ads automatically become eligible to serve in this new ad space.
Anchor Ad Format and Magazine Style Text Ad Format

Tools to help make your existing ads mobile-ready:
These next generation mobile formats will make it easier for advertisers to build beautiful and engaging mobile ads that work across screens, but we also wanted to make it easier to do more with your existing ads designed for desktop. We've developed three new tools, that will be available in the coming months, to convert your existing ads into versions that will work across screens and devices.
  • Automatic mobile sizes for your image ads: The auto-resizing tool for the Google Display Network will automatically create new sizes of image ads, including mobile-specific ad sizes.
  • Interactive HTML5 backups when Flash isn’t supported: The Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tools for the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Campaign Manager will automatically create an HTML5 version of your Flash ads. When these ads are served on a device or browser that doesn’t support Flash, the system can show the interactive HTML5 ad instead of a static image backup.
  • HTML5 and in-app rich media ads built in minutes: There are now 29 HTML5 and in-app formats available in DoubleClick Studio Layouts, a tool that let’s you upload your existing creative assets into a pre-built rich media ad template to quickly create rich ads that work on smartphones and tablets.

With these new tools and formats, we’re making it easier for advertisers to develop beautiful display ads that just work, regardless of screen or device, ensuring a better experience for both consumers and brands.

Posted by Jonathan Alferness, Director of Product Management for Mobile Display Ads at Google

Forrester Report: A Faster Pace for Retail Paid Search

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:23 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Search blog

The real-time imperative
Real-time matters in retail search because external events continuously affect demand. Whether planned events like Black Friday, or unplanned ones like the next big snow day, campaigns that were optimized for demand are suddenly altered by new market realities. The speed at which a retailer’s search management tool can “see” the new behavior and adapt to it will help to determine how successful campaigns are over time, and because events can shift quickly, speed is ever-more important for success.

We know how important it is for our retailers to be running profitable campaigns with a minimum of ongoing manual effort. It’s why we’ve consistently invested in tools to be faster. From instant conversion data and intra-day bidding to integration with Google Merchant Center for ad creation and management, we’re committed to developing tools to support speed in search.

Understanding how retailers use real-time
Today, in partnership with Forrester, we’re launching a study that shows how retailers access and use real-time tools to stay ahead in the digital game.
What we found was… opportunity
According to Forrester’s survey, only 20% of retail search marketers have access to real-time conversion data, and less than half can see conversions before the next business day.



In addition to response times, we found that, on average, marketers are only able to merchandize about half their inventory in search ads, even though long-tail products can represent a significant revenue opportunity.

Get the full report
For all the results, along with Forrester’s recommendations for retail search success, check out the full report at Think with Google. To get the latest research, communications and case studies from DoubleClick, sign up for one of our newsletters.