Tech and media agency Assembly, which originated last March when MDC Partners combined multiple agency assets into a single unit, has added digital video into its Dynamic Creative Versioning tool mix.
“We’ve developed a technology that allows us, in real time, to test, learn and reapply content,” said Martin Cass, CEO of Assembly and former president of Carat USA. The technology’s first iteration has already been used for this purpose by clients including Hotels.com and Expedia, he added.
Although the concept of altering ad content in real time isn’t new – vendors like Spongecell, Flite and Adacado are augmenting pricing and location data directly in the ad serve – Cass said Assembly’s tool is different because it does not run on third-party technology, which gives clients more reign over their own data, he claimed.
Cass said he does not believe one single agency can be all things to all people, but as more marketers move programmatic buying in-house, “we’ll say, ‘Great – we’ve got a fantastic piece of technology for you to license and it’s been built on us, which means that data is yours."
“We have a first version of (Dynamic Creative Versioning) out, and are about to release the second version built on HTML5 to not only buy media, but help change out (static and) video content in real time," he added.
The goal, said Cass, is to eventually create more of a cross-platform view of a client’s display ad creative, biddable search and video campaigns. Assembly’s tech stable consists of technologies developed by TargetCast (which MDC Partners acquired in 2012), including campaign reporting tool BrandScoreCard and TargetDCV, the backbone of Dynamic Creative Versioning, which is out of beta and in use by clients.
One of the benefits of aligning multiple versions of creative with programmatic media executions is less waste and more relevancy, Cass said. For instance, if a direct-response advertiser in retail typically drove performance through a certain subset of publishers, but has since experienced pricing pressures, swapping out creative around a place, product or message could help yield a better result.
“Typically you would have rejected that media, but in this case, it’s ‘keep the media’ but evaluate different pieces of commercial persuasion, which work for the same space size,” he added.
MDC Partners increased its revenue by 13.2% to $326.9 million in the third quarter, and Assembly, according to MDC Chairman Miles Nadal, is tasked with integrating discrete pieces of the media business with the technology side. Varick Media Management's stack was built over the course of eight years, and the agency has in the last eight months executed about four internal mergers.
Cass called it "challenging" to unite four agencies with different skillsets and specialities, and to "go from three people sitting in a room to 450 in five different offices," but said the speed in which the mergers were executed have been motivating.