Introduction to Dynamic Ads

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Adform offers Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) features and tools for you to personalize ads based on your visitors’ preferences, to optimize your campaign performance, and to automate banner creation. Dynamic ads is one of the two solutions that Adform provides to reach your audiences effectively. (Product retargeting is the other.) Using DCO incurs additional CPM cost on top of a regular ad serving cost. A dynamic ad adjusts its presentation based on specific parameters. You can use dynamic ads with any campaign — direct or RTB campaigns.

With Adform’s implementation of dynamic ads, you have a base ad (a creative shell) with an associated versioning spreadsheet that indicates how to adjust the assigned image(s) and text for various audiences, contexts, visitor participation, and ad performance.

Also, you indicate a strategy to show the most relevant personalized messages for all impressions. A dynamic ad setup requires one or more images, one or more creative shells for the images and text, and versioning information (in an .xlsx spreadsheet).


As you can see in the visual above, each banner component is saved separately, allowing you to mix and match different creative parts. You can select one or more parts to be dynamic.

You can use animations and multiple frames in your dynamic ads. You can also include video; however, currently there are restrictions for dynamically changing it.

Click the banner to preview some examples of dynamic ads in Adform Creative Showroom:

Weight Watchers Sweden


A-Rosa Hotels

Use Cases for Dynamic Ads

To produce a relevant message, you must define and segment your target market and choose the most effective tactics depending on geography, demographics, or the consumer's stage in the sales process. This is a major strength of dynamic ads — customizing content for a specific audience at a specific time. Targeting of dynamic ads works effectively with entertainment, retail, travel and leisure industries.

Date and Time Targeting

You can set up a dynamic ad with a schedule and customize its message (text and images) to various time-based situations. For example, you can set up ads that adjust for the season, various holidays, time of the day, or day of the week.

Use date and time targeting if your business:

  • Advertises time-sensitive events like premieres, tours, or limited-release movies.

  • Promotes short-term offers, deals, campaigns, and seasonal sales.

  • Has considerations that require you to advertise offers based on seasons.

  • Wants to schedule special offers in advance (for example, show different versions on public holidays and religious holidays).

Geo Targeting

With location targeting, a dynamic ad can show a specific version based on where the viewer is or if you want to reach a specific geographical market. You can target by country, state, region, city, postal code, and Designated Market Area (DMA) region. This targeting is also effective with financial, automotive, and telecommunications industries.

Use geo targeting if:

  • Your products are available primarily in specific geographic locations.

  • Your advertising focuses on market segments, demographic trends, or lifestyle segmentation — usually around metropolitan areas (DMA targeting).

  • You want to direct people to the nearest business branch, shop, hotel, or museum.

Audience Targeting


Your company must have a DMP account to use audience targeting.

This type of targeting is good for campaigns that target a fixed audience with known characteristics or preferences. You take advantage of collected information about consumer's age, gender, interests, history, and so on. (For example, women's shoe retailers may aim to reach young females and dog food sellers target dog owners.) You can use both first- and third-party DMP data. Ads for e-commerce sites and automotive, telecommunications, cosmetics, and beauty industries can benefit from audience targeting also.

Use audience targeting if your business:

  • Offers a range of products or services that appeal to a specific range of customers.

  • Has many customers with different intentions when they visit your business website.

  • Wants to customize special offers based on collected data from your online shop or customer portal.


The majority of ads used in the sales process are retargeting ads, which help you offer your products or services to people who have already visited your website. The audience is fixed, but you can customize variables such as product images, headlines, CTA text (such as Buy Now), and price. For example, retargeting ads can follow a person who researched a particular car across the web by showing other ads of that car model, or a person who abandoned a shopping cart can get reminded to complete the purchase.

Use retargeting if your business:

  • Sells multiple products that apply to a wide range of consumers.

  • Wants to cross-sell or upsell by showing customers ads of products they are likely to buy.

  • Wants to increase sales by reducing shopping cart abandonment rates.

Adform Signal Targeting

With Adform Signal targeting you can target ads based on data (such as the winning line item, deal ID, media, domain, and others) that’s only available during the impression-delivery process. You can access this data with Adform macros.

Managing the version spreadsheet becomes easier because you can reuse the same spreadsheet across multiple line items, campaigns, or orders by assigning the version for a line item, order, or campaign.

Use Adform Signal targeting if:

  • You want to reuse the version spreadsheets across multiple line items, orders, or campaigns.

  • Different versions in the version spreadsheet need to be assigned to different line items.

  • Versions need to be assigned to different media, RTB deals, or RTB domains.

  • You want to indicate that specific versions should only be applied to specific creative shell sizes.

Key-Value Targeting

With Adform key-value targeting (or external signal targeting), you can control which versions viewers see by specifying a key value in the Dynamic Ad Tag script. In particular, this targeting works well with ecommerce sites and in the automotive, telecommunications, and the cosmetics and beauty industries.

Use key-value targeting if your business wants to show different versions to viewers based on page category, gender, or other targeting criteria from external data.

Dynamic Ad Setup Overview

After you determine that you want to use dynamic ads, you upload resources and set the dynamic ads up in Adform.

The general process is:

  1. Upload images.

    Before setting up dynamic ads, you must have images available in Adform. To upload images, see Manage Assets.


    Adform supports any image files for dynamic ads (such as .jpg, .gif, and .png) that can be uploaded as assets. However, you may need to consider requirements of the publisher or programmatic inventory before using an image format in a dynamic ad.

  2. Create and upload creative shells.

    A creative shell is a dynamic ad template with built-in logic to render relevant images, text, and landing page information as indicated in the versioning spreadsheet. You must upload a creative shell before it can be assigned to a dynamic ad. Adform supports HTML5 standard ads and HTML5 rich media ads as creative shells. To upload creative shells, see Set Up Standard HTML5 Banners and Set Up Rich Media Banners.


    If you use Adform Studio, you can upload your HTML5 Standard Ad template directly from Studio. Otherwise, upload a HTML5 standard ad template from your desktop.

  3. Start the dynamic ads setup and specify a strategy. For details, see Set Up Dynamic Ads.

  4. Assign creative shells (templates) for the dynamic ads.

  5. Upload a spreadsheet with version data and adjust the column naming as needed. For details, see Build the Version Spreadsheets for Dynamic Ads and Set Up Dynamic Ads.

    Have one spreadsheet row for each version of a dynamic ad. The columns indicate the changing elements that determine the dynamic ad’s content. Each specified element (such as a targeting definition or schedule) needs a separate column with a unique name.

  6. Preview the dynamic ad, save it, and, then, use it.

    You can preview a dynamic ad and share the link with a third party when you set it up. You can also preview the creative shell, itself. For publishing details, see Assign Banners.

Use Reporting for Dynamic Ads

To report on the performance of dynamic ads, use custom reports. When building a custom report, you can use four unique reporting dimensions for breaking down the data:

  • Dynamic Ads: An entity that links a creative shell, version list, and a dynamic ad setup.

  • Dynamic Ad Creative Shell: A template built-in logic for real time rendering of images, text, and landing page information.

  • Dynamic Ad Setup: An entity that consists of information about creative shells, versions data, and dynamic strategy set.

  • Dynamic Ad Version: A single set of data variables and values used for messaging.

Use these dimensions with standard campaign metrics, for example, Tracked Ads, Clicks, Viewability %, eCPM, or Conversions, to understand the performance of the dynamic ad.

You can also use the built-in reports, for example, Display Performance report.

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