Custom videos and windscreen repairs: an unlikely combination that worked

Pieter-Jan Terryn, Frederik Dooms / January 2021

It can be a frustrating experience: streaming your favourite TV show on a broadcaster’s online player when an ad pops up, completely taking you out of the moment. But what if the ad’s tone of voice reflected that of the show you were watching? Or if the voiceover changed to match your local dialect? Considerate, customised tweaks can turn a jarring ad experience into a delightfully memorable one.

For Carglass Belgium, raising the bar of their ad customisation was crucial to connect with their younger audiences.

“To show up where millennials spend most of their time, we needed to reinvent ourselves and shift our focus to video content,” says the brand’s digital marketing manager Valerie Vervueren.

To do this, in conjunction with creative agency AdSomeNoise, digital agency Semetis, and national broadcaster SBS Belgium, the windscreen repair specialist provided tailored user experiences through video; a format not typically known for its dynamic features.

“To show up where millennials spend most of their time, we needed to reinvent ourselves and shift our focus to video content”

Rejecting the generic for the customised

Carglass offers a service that consumers only need once every few years at most, so staying top of mind is a key challenge for them.

“With such gaps in between conversions it’s easy to lose customers in the sales funnel,” says Vervueren. “That’s why we can’t afford to be generic.”

Carglass particularly wanted to find a way to connect with younger drivers, among whom the brand seemed to be least top of mind. From their data, digital agency Semetis could see this target group streams a lot of online video content, so serving them customised video ads offered a logical solution.

“While many marketers believe scaled customisation through video is either too expensive, too time consuming, or both, we also know that today’s consumers expect personalisation and reject genericness,” says Jochen Sablon, head of creative & strategy at AdSomeNoise.

Committed to finding a way to automate the process, AdSomeNoise and Semetis decided Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) — programmatic advertising using real-time technology — could be the answer for Carglass.

Improving storytelling while reducing costs

Carglass was able to deliver ads with more relevant storytelling for each user by using a combination of real-time data — including the programme being watched and the weather — along with contextual data, such as location and car ownership status. For example, a French speaker in Brussels watching a sitcom who had previously enquired about minor damage to their rear window would be served an upbeat advertisement in French, featuring rear windscreen replacement and details about the Carglass service centers closest to them.

Carglass used a combination of real-time and contextual data to serve users more relevant ads.

Activating this data-driven automated creation of content ultimately allowed the team to build a customised, always-on performance pipeline. This enabled them to convert users that dropped out of the funnel and led to a 89% drop in view-through conversion cost and drove bookings at a low cost per acquisition. Crucially, it also impressed younger viewers.

“Too often, online video is just a recut of creatives made for television. Brands worry that personalisation means they have to create 300 pieces of creative from scratch,” says Sablon. However, thanks to their automated approach, the team was able to save over 30 hours of production and 300 hours of rendering work.

The challenges of being first-to-market

While it often pays off to be first-to-market, it can also make it difficult to define return on investment in advance. But that’s the nature of innovative solutions. They require a leap of faith.

“There really was no ready-made solution for what we wanted to achieve,” said Vervueren. “So we all had to work together and be completely transparent about what was and wasn’t possible. And still there was a lot of trial and error.”

“Too often, online video is just a recut of creatives made for television”

Having seen the transformative effects of innovation, Carglass, Semetis, and AdSomeNoise are already looking towards their next project: data-driven dynamic audio. The finer details still need to be worked out, but they already know automation will again play a pivotal role in allowing them to personalise at scale.

3 takeaways for brands looking to innovate through custom videos

  • Embracing customisation can drive brand awareness as well as conversions
  • Automation can significantly reduce time and cost spent on customisation
  • Being first-to-market can bring some challenges, but it also presents brands with a unique opportunity to stand out

Technical talk: how Carglass customised their video ads

To apply Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) to video, Semetis and AdSomeNoise needed to avoid transcoding — the technical process of converting a video file to make it viewable across different platforms and devices. Using an iFrame was the solution.

They were then able to automate and personalise their ads through Google Marketing Platform and Studio. The campaign is particularly unique for its use of DV360 to pass on contextual data to the DCO unit before the information is configured in Studio. Finally, THEOplayer — a widely used video player adapted by most publishers in Belgium — served the dynamic video in an iFrame, acting as the ad server.

Learn more about automation

The Google Miniseries "Transform to be ready" — airing between January and March 2021 — dives into key marketing themes including first-party data, automation, and changing consumer behaviour. Click on the banner below to find the launch date and registration link for your country.

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