What is Dynamic Creative in Advertising?

Discover the Ideal Way to Personalize Online Content

Chameleon on a tree branch representing the concept of dynamic creative in advertising.
••• Thorsten Negro / Getty Images

It sounds like it would refer to an advertisement that is energetic and inspired, but dynamic creative has nothing to do with the tonality of the advertising. In fact, it's not so much about how the advertisement looks, but the content it serves up online. And as you'll see, it can be used to great effect, increasing ROI and acquisition. First, let's look at the basic definition:

Basic Definition

Dynamic creative is a term commonly used in digital marketing, and is simply another way of saying "personalized content." Dynamic ads are built in real time when an ad request is sent to the server and will pull different creative elements based on the environment, the user and other factors. From a specific location to a recent web search, or the history of the pages you have visited, an ad using dynamic creative will serve content based on the customer and their behavior.

How Does Dynamic Creative Work?

Think of dynamic creative as a matchmaker. The content is based on your likes and sometimes dislikes. The more you shop around for a certain product or service, the more it will tailor the ads you see to those search results. 

How it does this is through the use of cookies, tracking data, time of day, day of the week, geographic location, and many other factors to build ads that are targeted at the website visitor. And although some ads are alike, the ones you see will be tailored to your very specific needs. You will have a different advertising experience entirely from someone just a few blocks away who is on the same website because they have been searching for different things. 

What's more, people in different parts of the country, or the world, will see different pieces of creative based on their surroundings and local events. Dynamic creative is so flexible, it can sometimes be quite startling to see ads that make you go "wow...I was looking for something just like that, how do they know?"

Examples of Dynamic Creative

It's summer, and you're planning a vacation. You use the usual websites to look for the best deals for your holiday, and you may even look into a few new items of clothing for the trip. As you continue to browse, dynamic ads will be served that address those needs. Through data collection, real-time automation software knows that you're actively seeking vacations and related paraphernalia. Suddenly, you'll start seeing ads for suitcases, sunscreen, hotels, power converters, and different kinds of footwear. 

A smart shoe manufacturer can use this information to directly target you with specific types of footwear. You are not going to see ads for work boots or running shoes. However, if you suspend looking for vacations, and instead start looking for tuxedo rentals, wedding invites, and flowers, the ads will change. Now, instead of beach footwear, you'll see formal shoe choices. The dynamic creative acts as a kind of reverse chameleon, tailoring results that will be the most relevant and eye-catching to you. 

Similarly, other brands will get in on the action. If you are indeed planning to go to a wedding, you'll be served ads from jewelers, stores specializing in household gifts, and greeting card companies. Whatever you are looking for, dynamic creative will have the answer. It's a great way for brands to increase the chances of click-through rates and conversions, by serving the most relevant content possible.

The Benefits of Dynamic Creative

The online marketplace is cluttered. Very cluttered. If an advertiser wants to get through to a consumer, that message must make a connection. If it can be a more personal connection, the chances of a consumer reacting to it are greatly increased. Just imagine, a banner ad with your name in it would certainly catch your eye. Of course, that's rarely possible, but based on things you're searching for, dynamic creative can serve up ads that are a reflection of your current interests. That increases click-through and conversion.