10 essential types of personalisation in display advertising

Personalisation within display advertising is growing ever more important. It is a key driver for increasing ad performance and getting a better return on investment from the channel.

Indeed, recent Bannerflow research found that “there was an 8% increase in click-through rate for personalised ads in 2019 compared to 2018”. However, not all brands and industries use a form of either audience or one-to-one personalisation.

For example iGaming personalises 21% of all its display ads, while retail personalises just 11% of all its display campaigns. Yet, with increasing CTR rates, the opportunity to increase ad performance through greater personalised content and messaging is clear.

Therefore, in this article we will explain the different types of personalisation you can do with display advertising to drive results. Including:

Audience personalisation

User journey targeting
Device targeting
Demographics targeting
Behavioural prospecting
Contextual targeting
Product targeting
Parameter targeting

One-to-one personalisation

Product retargeting
Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO)

Audience personalisation in display advertising

Personalisation in display advertising – audience personalisation

1. User journey targeting

User journey campaigns show consumers ad variations designed specifically for each level of the sales funnel. From top to bottom, from awareness to retention. You only show viewers ad variants with the message and imagery that is right for them. User journey targeting uses your own first person, customer data to show specific ad variations.

2. Geo-targeting

Like the name suggests, this type of audience personalisation relies on using location touch points to serve viewers with specific advertising. The touch-point data could be as simple as using an IP address or using a GPS location. The beauty of geo-targeting is that it lets you drill down to a granular level with your viewer.

3. Device targeting

Knowing the device that your ad is being served to is a powerful and mostly under-utilised form of audience personalisation. Targeting by device enables advertisers to serve specific creatives to specific devices. For example, a telecom operator may target iphone users with the latest iphone in their ad creative. Or an ipad-specific game campaign is only ever shown on ipads.

4. Demographics targeting

This type of audience personalisation sees brands using the first person data they hold (or purchased third person data) to plan, and create specific messages. It means taking the same product and offer, and producing ads that target specific demographics. For example, within travel, demographic groups will have very different reasons for visiting a holiday destination, when compared to one another.

5. Behavioural prospecting

Behavioural prospecting focuses on targeting users, via personalised ad creatives, who are either researching or interested in specific things. It determines ad placement using cookies that are tracking a user. This provides advertisers with personalised information on a viewer and can be used to create a digital profile – often created without the user’s knowledge.

Note: Since legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into play, as well as restrictions on cookie usage in browsers (e.g. ITP) the era of easy behavioural prospecting ceased.

6. Contextual targeting

Contextual targeting is placing appropriate ads within the right contexts. Within display advertising there are two very popular ways to target contextually. Directly selecting what creative your ads appear next to, or changing the content of ad creative, based on the content and keywords on a website. And targeting with your Demand Side Platform, DSP, programmatically to buy ad inventory that matches key words and sentences.

7. Product targeting

Product targeting campaigns serve viewers with selected products and offers, via live, or spreadsheet-based, data. They target viewers who have browsed product pages, or have shown intent. Product campaigns target selected viewers, with specific products.

8. Parameter targeting

This utilises tracking based on external parameters made available by the web page. What’s more, these kinds of parameters (can potentially) help to serve display advertising that is tailored to a wide range of different campaign rules. For example, in affiliate display advertising, each affiliate has its own ID and a chosen display ad variant is served to an affiliate page based on this affiliate ID.

One-to-one personalisation in display advertising

Personalisation in display advertising – one-to-one personalisation

1. Product retargeting

Product retargeting is particularly useful for cross-selling or cart abandonment. Like product targeting it enables you to show an ad with a product that a viewer has previously expressed interest in and is an extremely effective form of dynamic ad. For example, it will display a product using a data feed in an ad, that is currently sitting in an unfulfilled shopping cart of a user.

However, you need to pay attention to your cookie usage. For retargeting cart abandonment with display ads, make sure to implement burn pixels for purchased items and set frequency caps to avoid irritating viewers.

2. Dynamic creative optimisation (DCO)

Dynamic creative optimisation is the ultimate way in which marketers can use data sources to personalise display campaigns. DCO applies live analytics, data sources and real-time creative optimisation to select the most appropriate ad creative. The end product: hyper-relevant, personalised display ads.

For example, a DCO produced display ad will not only show info based on precise viewer geolocation, but may also select the best offers and the most suitable imagery for a specific viewer. DCO campaigns are both data-driven and creative. They also require a marketing team’s in-house processes, knowledge and technology to be at a high level.

Find out more about about personalisation

If you would like to find out more about personalisation in display advertising we recommend you read our Ultimate Guide to personalisation in display advertising. Or if you would like to find out more about how Bannerflow can assist you in finding the right type of personalisation for your brand, then please get in touch.

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