Dynamic Advertising: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There is a lot of buzz in the media industry right now around dynamic and programmatic advertising. From a marketing standpoint, it seems to be the next evolution in how to find your customer at the exact point of decision. Think of it in the terms of advanced weaponry for savvy marketers. The old way, or native advertising as we call it, was like carpet-bombing. An ad is placed; aiming at a general area, hoping it will hit the mark. And you needed a high number of views in order to find your target. In contrast, new digital tactics are much more related to a smart bomb with GPS seeking technology, capable of flying into an open window if needed. The ad is targeted, or better yet triggered, by a specific demographic, buying decision, or action. This ensures minimal collateral damage (unneeded ad spend) and it hits the mark with precision timing. This is dynamic advertising.

Request a demoOne form of dynamic advertising is retargeting. Someone goes online and searches for something they are interested in. Be it a new pair of shoes, a new house, or even a B2B CRM system. Once they’ve initiated that search, companies like AdRoll, DoubleClick by Google, or Criteo spring into action. Using data they have captured about you and your web activity to dynamically serve paid ads that are exactly relevant to your interests on sites you visit frequently whom have selected to serve this type of dynamic ad.

Similarly you have programmatic digital advertising, which is seen as a smarter way to approach the traditional ad-pricing model. Classic display ads come with a set price point based on CPM views. Is it your target audience viewing these ads? That’s not accounted for in the pricing. It’s just billed on the number of views, period. It’s a manual process set by humans. But the programmatic approach is a more advanced way to dynamically set your ad pricing and priority. It serves the ad based on contextual targeting, meaning you get to set your target demographic and the system then serves the most relevant ad based on the viewer’s demographic profile. This in turn better matches the product with the person and bills for relevant views rather than just numbers.


The answer in short is–It depends. While marketers love this new level of accuracy in customer targeting, those that are receiving the ads are sometimes not as thrilled. Let’s walk through some of the pros and cons associated with these dynamic tactics.


Big Brother is watching you1984 Come to Life – Many of those that are targeted by these dynamic ads feel a sense of intrusion into their privacy. They are not comfortable with companies like Google aggregating a digital demographic profile on them, tracking their every move on the internet, and knowing their buying history. Many see data mining practices as an overseeing big brother or even simply creepy behavior from these companies that end up knowing so much about them and their activities on the web. Many purposely block these tracking mechanisms or go incognito in order to mask their activities on the web just to avoid the unwanted data mining. User cynicism toward such practices should be a concern to advertisers and marketers attempting to gain the trust of potential customers.

So Sorry. Too Late! – So-called smart ads are not always as perfectly timed as the advertisers would like you to think. Often ads are served for something you might have been interested in a week ago, but already made your buying decision, so the ad is ill-timed and unwanted. This could obviously negatively impact the brand perception of the advertiser because they are seen as to slow or pestering.

Nope. Missed! – Sometimes these dynamic ads just plain get it wrong. Personally, I happen to have a first name that is often mistaken for an abbreviated female name, therefore I am occasionally served ads that are for female specific products that have no relevance to me. This type of demographic misread is always a possibility with dynamic ads. Demographics based tactics leverage a lot of assumptions…and we all know what happens when we assume.


ConciergeHelp Me Help Myself – Many people, usually those of a younger generation, actually welcome dynamic content (myself included). They see it as a way to cut down on irrelevant or unwanted products and services. It can almost feel special that companies know enough about what you like and don’t like that you only see ads that are custom tailored to your interests. And…it just might push you over the fence on a purchase that you have been considering for a while.

They already have my data any way – Like it or not, data mining on an advanced level is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives. You can’t get the best deals at the supermarket without needing a club card anymore and you certainly can’t expect your internet surfing to go un-tracked. So knowing that this activity is happening anyway, why not allow the information to be put to good use in offering ads that you might actually want to see rather than those that are merely display ads.

Pay for Performance – Programmatic pricing is meant to give a better value for your marketing buck. You are only getting billed for ads that are served to your desired sub-set vs. just anyone that happens upon your ad. They are also prioritized so that if one ad would be more relevant than another than it will be served first and the other will wait for a better match. This cuts down on useless ad spending and ultimately nets an increased click rate for the campaign. Which means repeat business.

While there is notable concern amongst web users around just exactly how much data acquisition is acceptable, it is an unavoidable fact in today’s world that our activities are being tracked and leveraged for advanced targeting tactics, both on and off line. If you are an advertiser looking for maximum ROI, dynamic tactics certainly deliver results and, therefore, are here to stay. The key is knowing where to draw the line and when your target audience is ready and open to your message, otherwise you might be seen as too invasive — or worse, not relevant or too late. Embracing and familiarizing yourself with dynamic advertising solutions is one sure fire way to know the difference and stay ahead of the digital curve.

Lineup Systems’ was born out of the media industry and therefore we understand the complex problems our customers face on a daily basis. Weather it’s negotiating the evolving world of digital advertising and its specific nuances like dynamic advertising to the basics of keeping all of your ads booked on one simple invoice, we understand and provide solutions that meet the needs of our customers. We count some of the world’s largest international publishers as clients, including Gannett, Metro International, News Corp Australia, News UK, Time Inc., Time Out, Abu Dhabi Media, and Grupo Expansión.  Why not schedule a demo today and see for yourself if AdPoint is right for your business?


Lineup Systems is the world’s leading provider of advertising sales technology.





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