The six biggest mistakes people make when creating their first DCO campaign

Get them right and DCO campaigns can deliver powerful results. Here are six easy mistakes to avoid when creating your first DCO campaign.

Dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) has become increasingly popular over the past few years – and with good reason. DCO campaigns can deliver tens of thousands of ad variations in real time, and ensure people see the perfect ad for where they uniquely are in the customer lifecycle.

But in order to be successful there are some things you need to get right. Based on running thousands of DCO campaigns for clients across the world, here are six of the biggest mistakes we see people making when  creating their first DCO campaign.

1) Using static ads

There’s a giveaway word in the label ‘DCO’ that indicates that static ads won’t work: dynamic. A DCO campaign relies on the supply of a range of assets that can be assembled in real time to serve a highly relevant ad to buyers at all stages of your customer lifecycle.

A static ad features an unchanging image, while dynamic ads deliver a far richer experience by showing multiple products, images, and motion. So if you choose to run static ads you’re not just missing out – you’re, in effect, being given then keys to a high performance sports car that you choose not to drive!

If you want the results that DCO campaigns consistently deliver, you need to fire up your sports car and provide the assets required for dynamic ads.

2) Not having the right inventory

In order to run DCO ads (or any ad for that matter) you need inventory. That means the perfect ad sizes on the sites your ideal customers are more likely to visit.

There are some sizes that we know work better for DCO. The main display sizes (based on most popular IAB sizes and where we see most delivery) are:

  • 160×600
  • 300×250
  • 300×600
  • 320×50
  • 728×90
  • 970×250

So if you’re running a DCO campaign you need to work with a partner who can buy the right inventory – the ideal websites and the correct sizes.

3) Supplying social media assets

With DCO ads you can run tens of thousands of potential ad variations, all perfectly tailored to the person who sees each ad. But in order to create these ads, you need the right assets.

And often, when we’re working with a client on their first DCO campaign, they’ll send us social media assets to work with. But as we list here, DCO ad sizes differ from social media.

We also need very specific assets in order to build you a powerful DCO campaign. These include:

  • Font files
  • Logo files
  • Brand guidelines
  • Correctly sized JPGS, PNGs or PSDs
  • Feed file (.csv, .xls, Google Sheets, xml, Shopify API, other options can be available)

Simply put, if you want to run a DCO campaign that works you need to provide the correct assets.

Once you’ve collated the assets and passed them to us you can then sit back and let us do the work in creating and running your campaign, with the knowledge we have everything we need to deliver you the results you want.

4) Supplying finalised assets that aren’t available in layers

Often, when we ask for assets, a client will give us JPGs and ask us to make it dynamic. But this won’t work: we need assets that are available in layers in order to build a DCO campaign.

In general, the assets we need are lifestyle imagery to be used for hero frame (most likely to be the first frame and mirrors the message on the client website). This imagery needs to work across all the different orientations of the creative and tell a story that meets the KPIs and the lifecycle approach.

We also need to check that the creative and layout will work whatever the promotion or message we are using. This means that elements such as the CTA text etc can be changed to suit the ad.

5) Not understanding the user journey and how the messaging needs to change

A DCO campaign will usually work throughout the customer lifecycle – from lead generation through to up and cross sell. And the ad you’d serve to introduce your brand or product to a new customer is completely different to the ad you’d serve to a customer who has already bought from you.

Equally, you’d show a totally different message to a customer early on in the consideration process to someone who was on the cusp of buying or booking.

So it’s essential you understand your user journey and how the messaging needs to change throughout it. At the very least, when we’re building a DCO campaign we’ll ask you to provide this information:

  • Who are your audiences?
  • What are the important stages of the website journey?
  • What do you want your audience to do after seeing your ad through each lifecycle stage?
  • What do you want them to think?
  • How do you want them to feel?

6) Not having the correct pixel setup

You can’t run a powerful DCO campaign without knowing where your customer is in the buying lifecycle and other key data. The entire point of a DCO campaign is serving highly relevant ads at exactly the right time.

The correct pixel setup is what ultimately powers the dynamic creative, so you need to ensure that yours is set up properly before running a DCO campaign.

Need help to create your first DCO campaign?

Ready to create your first DCO campaign? We’ve put together this expert guide on how to make a powerful DCO ad.

We’d also be happy to discuss the kind of performance you can expect from a DCO campaign and talk you through the process. You can speak to one of our experts here