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Art and the Algorithm: Leveraging RTB to Boost Creative Performance on Facebook Exchange

Published: October 16, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by AdRoll President Adam Berke, a Johns Hopkins grad and digital marketing veteran of 10 years. Adam works closely with many brands and agencies and is an industry evangelist for display advertising best practices.
real time biddingIn the world of real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic buying, creative is often treated as an afterthought. However, creative strategy can impact campaign ROI as much as a well-refined bidding algorithm.
That’s not to say that creative has to be left as a subjective art form. In fact, developing innovative creative solutions is one of the greatest opportunities for cutting-edge RTB technology providers.
Let’s explore some ways you can use RTB technology to enhance creative in a retargeting campaign on Facebook Exchange.
1.     Measure Performance Decay
How many impressions are optimal to serve a user before there are diminishing returns? At what point does a particular message cease generating a response, and therefore indicate that it’s time to either alter your message or escalate your offer? The answers to these questions will vary from campaign to campaign and shouldn’t be guesswork – work with your Facebook Exchange (FBX) bidder to gather this data!
For example, below is a performance histogram for an online retailer running static ads on AdRoll. From it, we can see that very few customers convert after seeing the same ad for 11 days. With this knowledge, we can incorporate new creative with different messaging after 11 days to produce an increase in conversions among the same set of prospects.
ad fatigue data
2.     Leverage Dynamic Creative
There is substantial evidence highlighting the benefit of personalization in standard IAB display units. As we just published last week, this effect is just as evident when it comes to dynamic creative and Facebook Exchange retargeting.
Using dynamic creative on Facebook solves two problems: relevancy and ad fatigue. Dynamic creative improves relevancy by ensuring the ad served to a potential customer is tailored to his or her browsing history on your site. It’s better to present previously viewed products and other related products than, say, presenting just a logo and hoping for the best.
Secondly, it automates the process of refreshing creative. Instead of presenting the same ad unit over and over again, dynamic creative will automatically swap out product images in the ad unit to avoid ad fatigue. We’ve also found that advertisers can use data about what products are generating the best response in their dynamic FBX campaigns to improve their Facebook Marketplace ads.
3.     A/B Test
I know I started off taking a bit of a jab at algorithms, so allow me now to make amends. An algorithm can be a terrific, time-saving tool when it comes to creative optimization. Instead of trying to guess which creative will perform best on FBX, a good bidding algorithm can measure performance as impressions are being served, and automatically shift budget to versions that are getting better results.
There is both an art and a science to creative strategy, and the most effective campaigns employ both. Compelling design and attractive product imagery are a crucial part of the equation. Once those are in place, FBX provides an awesome laboratory for creative iteration, experimentation, and data-driven optimization.
Adam Berke AdRoll
Adam Berke

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602

(650) 539-4124

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