Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

A Million Ads: “Personalisation is part of human evolution”

Stepping on to the stage at Mad//Fest London 2021 – where NDA was the official media sponsor – A Million Ads’ Senior Account Manager, Zoe Bruton, discussed the importance of personalisation in digital advertising.

“Personalisation is so important because it’s part of our human evolution,” Bruton opened. “As humans, we are processing 40 million bits of information per second, but only one millionth of that (40 bits) are processed consciously. This means our subconscious is constantly filtering and prioritising information, looking for personal relevance, like someone calling our name in a crowd for example.

We make decisions based on emotions and feelings at a subconscious level and the key for advertisers is how to tap into these emotional cues to grab the attention of their consumers. In fact, consumers are demanding personalisation more than ever before.” 

To prove this, A Million Ads recently conducted out a research study with Attest, which revealed that consumers are willing to exchange their data for better ad experiences, with 56% of UK consumers reporting they prefer personalised ads. 77% even claim they feel annoyed when seeing or hearing the same ad over and over and 55% of people would consider buying a product or service after hearing or seeing a personalised ad.

With this in mind, A Million Ads created a platform that combines creativity with tech to deliver personalisation at scale across audio and video.

“As consumers we consistently switch between platforms, from streaming your favourite playlist over breakfast, to watching the latest binge-worthy series at home.” said Bruton. “Audio and video are two great mediums for sustaining and creating emotional connections.”

“You may have heard of the term ‘audio visual transfer’ – the emotional impact that both mediums have on our memory, which helps us to connect what we hear with what we see and vice versa. Because if what you see doesn’t match with what you hear and vice versa, then brands will struggle to build a strong brand identity and connections with their consumers. We need to be creating data-driven campaigns whereby the creative transcends the media channel, offering a slick omnichannel approach.”

An example of A Million Ads’ tool in action came during some recent work the company did with Under Armour and its agency, Digitas.

“We started with a digital audio campaign, incorporating contextual data, such as weather, time of day, location and device type“, explained Bruton. “The dynamic audio creative used a personalised music bed, sound effects and various dynamic script lines. We then paired the dynamic audio with multiple pre-existing video assets for greater impact and to create an omnichannel campaign that made the most of the client’s media budget and simply delivered a better ad experience, because that’s what we want to see as an industry.”

“It was also key for Under Armour to create a campaign that allowed the brand to understand consumer rhythms and behaviours and, most importantly, fit in with their day, rather than the consumer fitting into the brand.” said Bruton.

The campaign also used rotation throughout the dynamic scripts, meaning every time a user heard or saw the ad, the messaging was slightly different, keeping the ad fresh and ad fatigue at bay.

“People often say to me: ‘if we’re using data, does that mean really dull, boring creative?’ And, no, absolutely not! Data is like a creative goldmine at the end of a rainbow, you can do so much with it. Ultimately, if you’re not using data in your creative, you will be left behind.”

This dynamic two-pronged approach allowed Under Armour to be much more creative and agile in its media strategy and make the most of its media and creative budget. The dynamic audio campaign generated over 46,000 possible ad variants and a brand effectiveness study with Attest found that, of those who noticed the personalisation in the ad, 64% had an overall positive brand perception of Under Armour and 81% said that they considered buying the product.

On the dynamic video front, A Million Ads generated 4,320 ad variants and found that the dynamic creative offered a stronger completion rate and website engagement than its standard creative, proving that personalisation works. Research also found that the dynamic video drove a brand favourability of 69.9% and a purchase intent of 74.6%.

“Personalisation is part of our human evolution. It’s in our past so, inherently, it’s going to be in our future. Bridge the gap between data and creativity and really think about media efficiencies and creative efficiencies, but most importantly think about the consumer – putting them at the heart of your advertising.” she concluded.

*A Million Ads is a client of Bluestripe Communications, owned by Bluestripe Group, the owner for NDA.