In the world of digital advertising, a hot topic of late is whether machines will overtake humans’ creative abilities. We often hear the question “Can Machines Be Creative”?
In order to scale personalized advertising it is essential to incorporate machines to scale to volumes humans cannot match. There has been a lot of awareness lately on the power of DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization) and Criteo has been at the forefront of developing and utilizing this kind of technology to provide scale and performance – in fact, Criteo’s own Real-Time Creative Optimization (RTCO) technology takes DCO to the next level by optimizing ads on-the-fly for every individual shopper and impression, at every step of the shopper journey.
However, maintaining a brand’s integrity and aesthetic requires the human touch. One of the lesser-known aspects of Criteo’s unique position in the marketplace is that we have a global team of 80+ designers that leverage elements of our DCO+ technology to produce creative that millions of shoppers click on every day.
Creative Services helps drive performance without sacrificing branding appeal. The team works with the technology to safeguard a brand’s identity and identify the perfect combinations of machine-generated creative to entice shoppers.
Composer, a feature of Criteo’s DCO+ technology, consists of multiple proprietary design tools which allow the Creative Services team to develop a unique design framework for each advertiser.
The team uses Composer to develop quality creatives that form the foundation of an expansive layout library. A suite of over 60+ foundational layouts are paired expertly with different verticals (ex. Retail vs. Travel) and other specific creative requirements. When combined with the DCO+ Layout Crossover feature, which combines elements from different layouts to form new ones, plus a full range of colour and style options, the library expands to display up to 17 trillion potential design combinations.
Designers then expertly curate from a variety of elements, activating ones that will best represent a brand within their stated guidelines. They take care to ensure that dynamic elements from the catalog feed are also adjusted to provide the best creative. For example, if a Designer determines that the product titles are too long, a smaller font size will be activated to minimize truncation. Designers can also incorporate client prioritization of content to ensure that the most important data is displayed most prominently.
The Creative Services team regularly interacts with Criteo clients and agencies to gather assets, re-imagine creative to fit within brand guidelines, listen to the challenges or goals of a campaign, and analyze product feeds to customize creative to fit advertiser needs.
In some cases, the Creative Services team has had the opportunity to work with a client for several years, enabling Criteo to build an in-depth strategic solution that evolves with the client’s brand. The Creative Services team provides clients with creative control over the millions of iterations generated by the engine. The team iterates creative based on seasonality, holiday, and brand refreshes to ensure a brand’s creative story remains consistent across all marketing channels.
Criteo values customer feedback and it is a critical part of how the product roadmap is influenced and shapes what the next generation of DCO+ will look like for all our products. Eventually machines may be able to become “creatively smarter” but ultimately humans provide insight into aesthetics and strategic creative thinking – hence the value of a design team as a necessary part of the equation for successful retargeting.
Designing & Optimizing for Perfection
Criteo Designers come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from agencies, start-ups, client-direct, and bigger corporations. The diversified backgrounds of Criteo designers ensures that creative is not happening within a vacuum. While the engine optimizes for performance and scales the creative personalization to cater for individual shoppers and context, the Creative Services team is simultaneously optimizing feedback over the course of the relationship with clients.
Criteo’s powerful technology has created a vast amount of opportunities for designers to pair aesthetics with high-performing elements that have been proven to engage shoppers. Thus, ensuring clients are in control of how their brand is represented in-market while achieving great success with their campaigns.