Thought Leadership

It's time to build better ads - with a dynamically creative approach

Getting creative with dynamic audio and video ads empowers brands to reach the right audience with engaging content that is always contextually relevant

Kim Aspeling, A Million Ads

Head of Creative Solutions


In the age of personalisation, ads are often incredulously generic. They also appear to seldom use frequency capping, leaving audiences wondering why they repeatedly hear or see the same ad for ice cream when a monsoon is raging outside.

By failing to personalise ads and add any contextual relevance, it isn’t only advertisers’ budget that is wasted. The audiences they are trying to win over become frustrated too.  In fact, our research has shown three in four consumers find it annoying to listen to or watch the same ads and more than half reveal they are more likely to buy a product if an ad is personalised.

Data cues deliver personalisation

This is where creative teams can rise to the challenge of combating ad fatigue through making audio and video ads that are personalised through data cues. The sky's the limit where this can take a brand, with options including weather conditions, location, stock levels and time of day. By factoring in this relevant information, ads can be dynamically created in real time so they are played to the right audience at the right time in the right context. Further, through sequence and rotation, ads can be made even more dynamic, ensuring the messaging stays fresh and thus helping to avoid ad fatigue.

If it is a sunny day, for example, a supermarket brand might want to send people to its stores to buy something for a  BBQ, and if it’s cold, they might want to promote something heartier and warming, like a casserole.

To deliver a truly personalised audio or video ad, a brand or its agency would first look at demographic information from the media owner, such as Spotify or Samsung Ads. This gives basic demographics to see if the person is the right age, gender and in the right location to fit in the target audience.

The next step is to add outside variables, such as the weather, and combine this with which day of the week it is and whether it is morning or afternoon. This approach helps brands to tap into relevant consumer moments and how they feel in that particular moment - a person’s mood on a Monday morning will be different to a Friday afternoon before a bank holiday weekend.

As an example, last year A Million Ads worked with Benadryl and used real time pollen data in a contextual manner to recommend the correct type of relief for the listener, directing them to their local Tesco store. In total 112,218 ad variants were created, tapping into contextual consumer touch points, such as being at a festival or a football match.

Just as importantly, however, a series of ads can be developed so a person does not hear the same messaging twice. Sonic branding can remain consistent, but a brand can tell a story that develops across a series of ads to avoid people becoming fed up with the same message repeated over and over again.

The creative options open to brands is almost limitless. Depending on the product or service being advertised, a whole range of data sets can be brought in to make a campaign relevant. It could be changing which ski resort is mentioned, depending on snow levels, or running taxi ads near a station where TfL data shows there is a problem with the nearest train or underground line. Retailers might also want to run ads according to stock levels. When data is integrated within a campaign that serves dynamic ads in real time, Black Friday offers, for example, could switch instantly from a product that has sold out to one which still has high availability.

The metrics show that consumers engage more with personalised ads because they are relevant and useful. Not only are they presented in the right context, they can also use a local call to action.

Kim Aspeling, Head of Creative Solutions, A Million Ads

Creative steps to personalisation

Serving audio and video ads dynamically means teams need to be a little more creative when it comes to the script but our research with Attest has shown it is worth the effort to serve dynamic, personalised ads.

As a result, it is really important for creative teams to get full sign off on the script before it is recorded and to understand the different flows it will take when created in real time. But no need to be alarmed, it normally only takes roughly a two-hour session with a voice artist to record the necessary lines which are then fed into the system.

To boost efficiency, brands can record more than they need for one campaign and simply bank unused lines for future creative. They may choose to record all of their store’s locations, for example, or every possible result from a sporting event or perhaps add context through covering a range of celebrations, such as Christmas, Valentine’s, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

This extra hour in the studio is worth it in the long run because it allows a brand to move beyond recording a single ad in an hour to recording thousands of possible variations for a campaign. And with artists charging per impressions, rather than versions, this is a perfect way to get more bang for your buck.

The great thing is, not only do personalised ads work for clients, the metrics show that consumers engage more with personalised ads because they are relevant and useful. Not only are they presented in the right context, they can also use a local call to action.

For example, for an audio and video campaign A Million Ads recently did for Under Armor’s Flow Velociti Wind trainer, amongst listeners and viewers  that noticed the personalisation in the audio ad, 64% had an overall positive brand perception of Under Armour and 81% said they’d consider buying the trainer. For the dynamic video, we delivered 70% brand favourability and 75% purchase intent.

Combating ad fatigue clearly has a huge impact on consumers but it also frees brands and creative teams to get more creative as they get more bang for their proverbial buck from an audio or video campaign. Rather than being restricted to a static script, the creative can truly come alive to appeal to audiences wherever they are and whatever outside prompts suggest they will be most receptive to. And by doing so there’s endless possibilities to create award-winning global first campaigns.

Moving forward, creatives and brands should approach each campaign with a feeling that the sky is the limit when armed with a script that, within the set boundaries, writes itself.

Guest Author

Kim Aspeling, A Million Ads

Head of Creative Solutions,


Kim is helping to build and strengthen relationships with agencies and setting the standard of dynamic creative so that brands experience the full benefits of personalisation. With a wealth of experience across the industry, from managing high profile talent to writing and directing for brands such as Adidas and L'Oreal, Kim understands that storytelling is at the heart of how we connect as human beings.

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