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TIL: Facebook’s Dynamic Language Optimization

Written by: Erik Mansur, VP, Product and Engineering

This is the latest post in our new “TIL (today I learned)” blog series that puts a spotlight on specific digital advertising technologies and strategies. Today we give you the lowdown on Facebook’s “Dynamic Language Optimization.”

Wait, WTF is Dynamic Language Optimization?

Dynamic Language Optimization, referred to as “DLO”, is technology that allows Facebook to deliver personalized ad creative to users based on the language they specify in their Facebook profiles. Advertisers supply Facebook with the requisite creative assets in a variety of languages, and once that ad is targeted to a broad, multi-ethnic audience, Facebook takes care of the rest.

What problems does it solve?

DLO’s strength is that it helps advertisers serve the most relevant creative to targeted audiences, while also minimizing the amount of ads needed to do that.

Related post: TIL: Facebook’s Minimum ROAS Bidding

In the past, advertisers had to make a decision: do they target a broad audience with generic creative (usually in English) to maximize the effectiveness of that ad within the Facebook auction? Or, do they build highly specific audiences — often on a country-by-country basis — with creative elements translated into the appropriate languages?

If you chose the former path (broad and generic), the net gains you’d make in the auction mechanics could be hampered by lower CTRs (click-through rates) as users tend to click on ads in their native language. If you chose the latter path (specified by language), your CTR would ostensibly be better, but the smaller targeted audiences would command a premium price in the supply-versus-demand world of ad buying.

DLO can solve both these problems by allowing advertisers to keep their audiences broad while delivering specialized creative elements to users within those audiences.

What are the best ways for me to use it to make my advertising campaigns successful?

The first step in using DLO is to understand how it works because it’s slightly more advanced than standard single-language ad formats. Most non-Carousel ads will have the following within a single ad: a main creative element (usually an image or a video), a headline and body text. Contrast that with DLO ad formats, which allow for up to six different headlines and bodies, plus images or videos, all within the same ad.

DLO’s strength is it helps advertisers serve the most relevant creative to targeted audiences while minimizing the amount of ads needed to do that.

DLO is similar to Facebook’s Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) than it is to standard ad creation. But while DCO will optimize for creative elements that have historically performed well, DLO will deliver personalized creative based on the language selected when the elements themselves were uploaded.

One key element of Facebook’s DLO is the requirement to specify the “default language” in case there’s no match between a user’s preferred dialect and one of the six language options.

For example: Say you’re a gaming advertiser using DLO when targeting a broad audience of high-value countries in Europe. Given that such an audience could be made up of Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Scandanavia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, you’ve got a hard choice to make for which six languages to select for elements in your DLO ads, and which language to specify as the default.

However, a savvy advertiser knows that in the majority of Scandinavian countries, English is taught as a compulsory language in secondary school. As a result, you could confidently upload creative in German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch, with English as the default language, knowing that your CTRs shouldn’t suffer if a Swede or Finn sees your English-language ad in their Facebook newsfeed.

After the release of Lookalike Audiences, Worldwide Targeting, and Value Optimization, the days of managing thousands of individual Facebook ads began to wane. Why create country-specific ads when giving Facebook carte blanche to optimize at a sub-audience level is much easier and more effective at driving ad spend and exceeding KPIs?

DLO is one of the ways Facebook is hoping to solve “the creative problem” in their “broader is better” approach, and a feature worth adopting by any advertiser with a global presence.

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