Personalizing Your Messaging for Pet Owners

Sep 10, 2013 10:05 AM  By

Pet owners are an expanding segment of the population in the United States, and the growth is largely fueled by the growth of pet ownership among single-person households.

This is an extremely engaged audience – with about 1/3 of US dog and cat owners spending 30 minutes or more every week consuming research on pet nutrition and health. This audience consumes huge amounts of content from brand sites, pet-focused content sites like Animal Planet, and pet bloggers – content producers whose rise rivals that of mommy bloggers.

As a product category, pet food products in particular tend to have very brand-loyal customers. The rewards for acquiring a new pet food customer are particularly appealing – not only is pet food a CPG that “consumers would purchase online,” but according to Deloitte’s “American Pantry Study,” pet food is also one of the top categories consumers would consider for recurring at-home delivery.

With this all in mind, pet supply retailers have plenty of reason to deliver the most relevant product and messaging to members of their diverse audience base. Campaign strategists understand that delivering a more relevant message will resonate for each of our audience segments, but in this market,  retailers not only have to deal with a wide array of pets (12% of US households have pets other than dogs or cats) and products, but also a diverse set of interests.

For example, according to a 2012 survey conducted by Trone Brand Agency, 77% of U.S. dog and cat owners research both nutrition and health topics, while just 38% search for pet grooming.

Personalizing creative for a large variety of consumers is neither impossible nor cost-prohibitive. It merely takes a two-pronged approach that combines good targeting with dynamic creative tools.

Dozens of creative variations

There’s no need to manually create dozens of pet, brand, product and messaging variations of an ad in Flash. Dynamic creative lets agencies leverage flexible templates to achieve whatever degree of personalization they need. Designers can streamline their work by assembling all the necessary image assets, and copywriters can focus on crafting the perfect message for each of their micro-segments. They can even tweak elements over time without having to pull in a Flash developer or re-traffic – they can do it on their own.

New product introductions

Two out of three dog and cat researchers are interested in new products. If ad designers plan ahead and leverage dynamic creative, it’s straightforward enough for them to carve new variations from existing campaigns and feature new products for their pet retail advertiser.

This is especially vital because time-to-market during new product introductions is key to pet supply retailers. Dynamic creative lets them get their message to market quickly by piggybacking on an existing, always-on campaign. They can build awareness and buzz about the new product without having to start from scratch with a new creative or campaign.

Timed retargeting

With standard product retargeting, a prospective customer who has looked at a product but did not purchase can be retargeted easily with dynamic creative technology. But pet retailers also have an opportunity to convert occasional customers into loyal ones.

People who have purchased pet food can be retargeted after a certain number of weeks with reminders to re-purchase. Or pet retailers can create an enticement for automated, recurring delivery of their favorite pet food brands.

Creative optimization

Even if an advertiser knows their customer segments well, campaigns have a lot of moving parts to get right – from messaging and offer to imagery, animation effects, layout and calls to action. Too few advertisers and agencies today take advantage of creative optimization to get the ideal mix.

Optimization tools end the debate and let the audience decide which ad is the best (as this pet-focused video on creative optimization underscores). Not only do creative optimization tools increase CTR by over 40% according to our benchmarks, they also give advertisers insight for the future into what works and what doesn’t. With dynamic creative tools, continuous experimentation is both worthwhile and straightforward, letting marketers continually throw new ideas to the mix and compare to their best performing ads to-date.

What about manufacturers?

It’s not just pet supply retailers who should pay heed – manufacturers of pet supplies and services can benefit from dynamic creative solutions as well. Many of these advertisers already do a good job building engaged audiences with a steady stream of content. Dynamic creative can be used to promote new content, highlight local retailers via geo-targeting, or encourage a purchased with coupon.

Relevance unleashed

With a highly engaged and growing audience and so many dynamic capabilities and possibilities available, players in the pet supply space have everything to gain by staying fresh and getting personal with their audiences. The right tools make it faster than ever before (and so easy your cat could probably do it).

Jaime Singson is head of dynamic creative optimization and tag management solutions at DG.