Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dynamic Creative Doesn't Require Decisions

One of the things that annoys me with dynamic creative is when the first conversation about deploying is around 'decision trees'. If this is the first conversation about dynamic creative, it's usually a sign dynamic creative isn't fully understood and that there's going to be a fun conversation around what we are using dynamic creative for.

Decision trees are an amazing tool that Flashtalking popularised.
The tree shows a nice clean process where certain rules trigger certain changes to the creative. These changes aggregate up to a wonderful world where the creative will appear to respond according to things we know about people or know about the page the person is on.
To be clear, I think this is a wonderful tool and a massive step above the excel sheet driven approach of most of their competitors. My problem with it is that it conflates these decisions with the creative. Therefore we often see these decision points leading the creative process, leading to the horrible messes we often see within product ads (more on those later).
The idea of having creative that is dynamic doesn't require rules to be defined - creative can change themselves based on nothing at all (and often are changing at random).

Decision Twigs

Since the majority of creatives actually only need one decision or rule, I suspect there are a large number of twigs out there. This should be normal - most of our audience aren't paying much attention to our advertising and we shouldn't need to be deploying huge levels of creative complexity.

A single decision can mask a huge number of creatives

Imagine a decision based on the title of the page the ad is deployed on. The creative could show an Italian picture and some Italian copy based on words within the title. If the title contains France, the pictures and copy could be altered. This could continue into many other countries.
This single decision could be extended out into dozens of individual creative combinations. These will take time to input into Flashtalking's decision tree or another adserver's excel file but will only really involve a single decision from the adserver.
The actual achievement here is that Flashtalking have managed to sell a trafficking technique so well that creative agencies are selling on their behalf. The problem is that the creative agency then obsesses over how to make these trees look more complicated so they can feel that the dynamic setup looks 'clever'.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Testing new interface

Might be time to resurrect this. It's been a long time and media has moved a long way in that time.

I've missed out on blogging about:

  • RTB
  • Mobile
  • Cross device
  • Phone Hacking
Lots of things and I did have some opinions at the time!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boris only likes cars...

Saw some bits from the Londonist on how the cost of transport in London has been changing from 2000 to 2012. Noticed some obvious hiking from Boris so thought would be nice to do a version of the Obama bar chart that shows unemployment.
I've assumed that Boris was in charge of the prices from 2009 onwards.
First, the one that hits the poorer people harder - bus fares.

This one shows very clearly how aggressively prices have gone up on the price of the standard bus fare. Maybe this is what's paying for the new buses?

Weekly passes had followed a similar trend but looked like they had been a priority for savings. Now it looks like they're going up just the same:

On Tube fares, I've replaced the cash price with the price of an Oyster card single journey as that seemed the most appropriate for Londoners rather than tourists (keen on the cash price remaining high to screw tourists!). Once you look like this it's pretty clear that Boris has been raising these like a madman.

The weekly numbers show that he's made pretty much no difference whatsoever -the numbers keep on going up.

He hasn't been as harsh to the congestion zone, only raising it once during his whole term and reducing the area it covers. Although he may talk lots about cycling, he actually seems to be nicest to motorists:

Just thought it necessary to emphasise while he's running talking about how he's saved us pennies in Council tax while taking pretty substantial amounts out through TFL rate rises.

Graphs from the Google Charts API. A little bit easier than D3, but difficult to do anything especially funky with them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

For everything people have been saying about John Lewis' new TV ad, it's interesting seeing what's live for digital advertising at the moment:

Not quite as interesting!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six ways you can support the Guardian | Info |

Seems slightly desperate, but it's a good idea.

------ from, via Google Reader
Subscribe to the Guardian and Observer before the end of this month and pay only £5 per week for our seven-day package – a saving of 45% on the cover price

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Install Google&;#39;s Note in Reader Bookmarklet in iPad&;#39;s Safari

Great - this does work!

------ from, via Google Reader
If you want to install in your iPad's Safari a Google's Note in Reader bookmarklet, just in case you really need to share something from your mobile browse

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How the Cable/Willetts market in higher education ended up inflating fees

Some nice quotes to remember

------ from Left Foot Forward, via Google Reader

Remember all that lovely spin about how higher education tuition fees of more than £6,000 a year would be rare?

“Mr Willetts gave warning that universities should only charge maximum fees only in ‘exceptional circumstances’.” – The Daily Telegraph, February 21st 2011

“People keep citing £9,000. You know, £9,000 should be the exception not the rule. If you want to go through the £6,000 barrier you are going to have to jump through a lot of hoops.” – The Independent, December 5th 2010

“Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): ’One of the worries out there is that all universities might end up being allowed to charge £9,000. What assurance – what rules, what guarantees-can my Right Hon. Friend give that “exceptional” will mean “exceptional”, and that £6,000 will be the limit for most universities in the country?’

“Vince Cable: ’That is a highly pertinent question in the light of the experience of the last government, who had a two-tier system. There was a migration of all universities to the top of the range. They operated, in effect, like a cartel, and that must be stopped.’” – Hansard, December 9th 2011

Well, it’s all turned out rather differently.


As the BBC reported this morning:

More than a third of England’s universities have had their plans to charge £9,000 for every course officially approved. Some 58% will be allowed to charge £9,000 for at least some courses in 2012, said the fees watchdog the Office for Fair Access.

One major reason why is that universities fear students will price as shorthand for quality, so resulting in universities actually competing to raise prices. As Left Foot Forward reported recently, the Vice Chancellor of De Montford University, Professor Dominic Shellard, told his student newspaper that DMU will charge £9,000 next year because:

“…whether we like it or not there’s a correlation between what you charge and people’s perception of quality. We’re quite ambitious as an institution, we want to go well beyond this notion that we’re a post-92 institution. It was a reflection of our ambition.”

We are fast heading towards a two-tier higher education sector where potential employers will ask applicants “did you go to a £9K university?”; strangely, senior Liberal Democrats said they changed thier minds on tuition fees due to the need to reduce the deficit.

Yet, with government paying fees up front and institutions competing to drive prices upwards, we have a recipe for increasing government debt, at least in the short term.

Watch these kids play Star Wars on a giant touch screen


------ from Boing Boing, via Google Reader

It's probably the level of concentration required, but these kids do not look nearly as excited about what they are doing as I think they should.

For the last two years, University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Arthur Nishimoto has been working on this incredible-looking video game based around a multi-touch interface. According to the YouTube page, the game:

... explores how a real-time interactive strategy game that would typically rely on complex keyboard commands and mouse interactions be transferred into a multi-user, multi-touch environment. Originally designed for use with TacTile, a 52-inch multi-touch LCD tabletop display, "Fleet Commander" game play has been ported to
EVL's 20-foot wide multi-touch LCD wall, Cyber-Commons. "Fleet Commander" uses Processing, an open source programming language.

There's more about the game's development at Nishimoto's website. Also: In before the Orson Scott Card jokes!

Video Link

Via and Carl Wirth

Used bike ad is slightly militant


------ from Boing Boing, via Google Reader

"Anyone buying this bike for a "fixie conversion" will be shot."

(Via Kent Peterson)