Adaptive Messaging: Adapt and Thrive


When your messaging can optimize on the fly to react to audience response, you’ll get the ROI effectiveness clients demand.

The difference between success and failure has always been the ability to adapt. It’s certainly true of media and marketing. Markets and consumers change, the platforms we use to reach them change, and the factors that motivate customers to interact with brands change. If your ad’s message and the way you deliver it aren’t working across your multiple audiences, including those sub-audiences that you may not even be aware of, not only do you run the risk of not being heard, but, worse, of being left behind.

A Better Way to Make Digital Media More Effective

You’re already leveraging programmatic buying and, most likely, seeing some real benefits for your digital advertising and the dollars spent to place it. But if you’ve yet to discover and put Adaptive Messaging into practice, you’re not fully optimizing advertising or spend.

At its core, Adaptive Messaging is the creative cousin to programmatic buying. By being able to quickly change elements within your digital advertising you ensure media dollars work their hardest by ensuring the right message, look, and feel gets to the right person at the right time. By automating creative optimization, Adaptive Message has a reach that far exceeds simple dynamic capabilities. Adaptive Messaging allows marketers to be increasingly granular in manipulating the effectiveness of not only overarching product or brand messaging, but also the variables within an ad unit that have a real impact on audience action: CTAs, headlines, content, and even imagery and other graphic elements. Because every aspect of a digital ad is measurable, ascertaining and changing those elements that aren’t getting the audience to behave in the way you want is simple and fast. Keep and optimize what works and quickly get rid of or change what doesn’t.

A Better Way to Know Your Audience – and to Meet More of Them

You shouldn’t need any more convincing of just how critical audience segmentation is to campaign success. You shouldn’t need additional explanation about how reaching not only your primary targets but all your sub-audiences has never been more important. Nor should you need to be reminded that many of your marketing peers already consider sub-segmenting table stakes in digital marcom. But if you’re a bit late to the party, consider this your last-minute invite.

The audience you must reach is diverse and distracted. The more you’re able to tailor your message and how you present it, the better chance you have of making an impact on a greater percentage of your targets. It’s that simple. At the same time you’re reaching more diverse segments, Adaptive Messaging is helping you gain a deeper understanding of those sub- audiences. That understanding helps you forge deeper and longer lasting connections: First you uncover these sub-audiences, then you discover how to communicate effectively with them going forward. And it’s a continual learning process borne of optimization.

Adaptive Messaging Makes Everyone Happy – Even The Creative Team

The era of spending days (or even weeks) to come up with the best singular marketing message for your product or program are over. In Adaptive Messaging, creative teams will construct multiple messages—and multiple ways to state and present them—which in turn helps ensure you have on hand the right combinations of variables to motivate diverse audiences. Instead of waiting, for example, to learn if your CTA is actually inciting action, you can swap in and out alternate CTAs until you find out those that work best for particular targets. Then those results and learnings can be leveraged time and again on future campaigns.

What this means for the creative team is freedom—there’s no stressing and guessing about the single best way to construct a piece of iMedia. Instead, they do a little more work up front, brainstorming and crafting multiple headlines, CTAs, benefit statements, and the like. The ad’s eventual performance will determine which of these pre-made variables will be pulled into play, and where and when. And data-driven decisions trump gut instincts every time.

Best, Adaptive Messaging simply works. In a recent CPG campaign for a well-known food product we were able to substantially optimize performance:

  • +73% with CTA variability
  • +24% with Size variability
  • +21% with Recipe and Image variability
  • +11% with Background Color variability.

Adaptive Messaging Makes Smart Financial Sense, Too

Misperceptions about cost have made some agencies and clients reluctant to explore this Adaptive opportunity. Fortunately, technology has automated the optimization process, knocking down the barriers that made people wary. Although there are some additional up-front costs associated with the creation of multiple assets, those costs will be quickly earned back via an enhanced ROI simply because you’ll become much more effective in reaching your target and inspiring them to action. Once the adaptive logic that powers the decision-making is built, the swapping of variables is a simple automated process with, because the assets have already been created and loaded, no new cost.

Your Media Spend Becomes a Research Spend

Adaptive Messaging can uncover much about your audience and your creative’s impact upon them. By loading the data you want to learn more about in your creative assets, each ad ultimately becomes a test-and-learn experiment that’s being optimized as you go. And in an era of does-it-work demands and almost infinite measurability, Adaptive Messaging gives you real- time platform for both analysis and optimization. The insights gained become part of your best practices and knowledge base, helping to ensure your future marcom efforts launch smart. Reaching your audience with more effective messaging. Harnessing learnings to become smarter and more effective across campaigns and spends. Shaking off the shackles of ineffective, guess-work creative. All with greater ROI. Adapting and thriving: That’s the power of Adaptive Messaging.

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Nathan Zwilling
Nathan Zwilling

Nathan is not afraid to ask the hard questions. As Group Director of Digital Strategy, he focuses on holistic marketing efficacy across all marketing vehicles. With a special love for the variability and targetability of digital, Nathan has dedicated his career to creating real-world results by understanding what in marketing does and does not work, and uses these learnings to drive success. His team strategizes down to the last detail for our clients.