Winning the Online Shopping Festival Race by Cognitive Advertising

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The Online Shopping Festivals are gradually becoming a battle ground for the top retailers as the winner becomes the first off the starting block in the annual festival shopping race.  They need to arm themselves with a huge war chest of advertising dollars. Interestingly, there was a 111% uplift in digital ad spend on Cyber Monday and 55 % on Black Friday when compared to the average day spends in 2015 as per a report by Open X. This is indicative of the scale at which these mega events are growing and the quantum of marketing spends which needs to be earmarked for it singularly. To ensure that the players in this race do not run out of marketing dollar fuel, it is important to implement Cognitive advertising strategies three to six months before the start of the holiday shopping season so that they get the biggest bang for their bucks.

A large pie of the marketing budget for online shopping festivals such as the Cyber Monday sale, Black Friday sale, Big Billion sale comprises of the creative banners that need to be produced for every product being advertised. To offer a rich and compelling brand experience to consumers, it is imperative to personalize the creative at an individual impression level which further enhances the need to develop a humongous set of creative materials. Retailers are yearning for an innovation that reduces the creative production spends and increases speed to market.

The solution: Cognitive Advertising

The answer lies in applying Cognitive solutions to Digital Advertising. Cognitive Powered Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) which allows marketers to break an ad into individual pieces and create different versions for different audiences.  Each ad uses a template of one to four dynamic elements related to variables such as content, visual and calls to action. These are then dynamically assembled to serve up a customized ad based on unique user attributes. The live audience data from the ad exchange is fed into a DCO platform that serves as the decision criteria for restructuring the creative. This data can be augmented over time using personality insights, text analytics and weather APIs from IBM Watson thereby increasing the CTR and conversion rates of display advertising. The auto learning capabilities of Watson and algorithmic improvements over time aid in enhancing the data which can then be used to optimize creative choices according to campaign objectives.

Decision parameters could be segmentation attributes such as geography, demographics or behavior, conditions such as weather, time of day or inventory levels. The increased adoption of real-time bidding in media buying provides an added advantage for Cognitive DCO as the same targeting parameters can be used for creative optimization. DCO can be used in all ad formats such as banners, rich media, videos and social media sponsored links. The marketer can create thousands of customized ads on the fly, without having their creative department create every combination.

Cognitive Advertising

Programmatic RTB coupled with Cognitive audience targeting techniques such as behavioral, contextual and semantic techniques have given retail marketers the ability to reach individual customers with unique offers. Cognitive Dynamic Creative Optimization allows retail marketers to take personalized targeting to the next level by pairing every targeted customer with personalized creative ads and at the same time significantly bringing down the creative development costs. This drives huge savings in the creative development costs while increasing the marketing ROI by personalized ads for individual customers. This presents an excellent opportunity for the online retailers and eCommerce players to leverage this new age technology to drive efficiency in their digital advertising campaigns during the online shopping festivals.

Discover more about the Cognitive Era.

Managing Consultant, IBM iX

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