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Media Mavens: The Innovid Interview with Andres Fabian

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Editor’s Note: This Q&A is the latest installment in an occasional blog series where Innovid interviews industry thought leaders about their take on the future of advertising and media. 

Raised in the Dominican Republic, educated in Australia in graphic design, and employed all over the world, Andres Fabian has held creative and product design leadership roles at VMLY&R, Autotrader, and Leo Burnett Group. He is a true believer in measuring and optimizing creative performance. Read on to get Andres’ take on dynamic creative optimization (DCO), metrics, and more.   

Innovid: How did you get started in the ad business, Andres?

Andres Fabian: I’ve been in the advertising industry now for a little bit over 20 years. I started in the Dominican Republic as a graphic designer and then I moved to Australia, where I entered a creative competition over there and I won. I got my start at DDB and worked my way up from junior art director to creative director. Now I'm here in America, and I made the transition from creative director to product designer and back to creative director again.

Innovid: What’s the biggest change in advertising creative you’ve seen? 

Andres: Back in the day, advertising was all about creating that one, all-encompassing ad and disseminating it universally. It was a 'spray and pray' strategy — hoping to strike a chord by sheer volume and presence, whether in the Super Bowl or other high-visibility platforms, often disregarding whether the content truly resonated with the intended audience.

However, the landscape has dramatically transformed. From a media standpoint, there's a deeper understanding of audiences now. We've entered an era where data and insights drive our strategies. Media directors and clients have become savvier, recognizing the value of segmented and personalized advertising. Budgets are indeed tighter, but this constraint has fostered creativity and efficiency. We're no longer shouting into the void. Instead, we're engaging in meaningful conversations, using targeted messaging that aligns with specific audience segments and their unique preferences. This approach not only enhances relevance but also amplifies impact, ensuring that every dollar spent works harder and smarter.

This shift signifies a broader trend in media — a pivot towards more accountable, performance-driven advertising where relevance and engagement are paramount. It's a more strategic, thoughtful approach to creative development and media placement, prioritizing quality and relevance over sheer exposure.

Innovid: With the 100% digitization of TV fast approaching, how do you think creative is going to change now and in the future? 

Andres: Well, one of the things that we need to really think about is how the consumption of content is changing in the landscape. We need to make sure that anything that we're doing, there has to be a flavor of it, based on the device where we are meeting our targets. There has to be a version for video games, a version for CTV, and a version for other platforms. We also have to find a way that we can measure that impact, because not all advertisers have all of the money to do everything everywhere. And if you do have that money, you need to show that that investment is actually paying off.

Innovid: How has advertising measurement changed in the digital age? 

Andres: People in the analytics department employ very expensive tools to make sure that we're meeting our goals. I always encourage my creative teams to get familiar with some of these tools, because it's great to come up with a really good idea — but it's even better to know that the outcomes that we set out to get are being achieved. So we rely very heavily on some of the dashboards from our media partners that they can provide us, where viewership and ratings are gathered. But we want to make sure that we go beyond just those reach numbers and learn more about the outcomes. What actions did people take after they saw the ad? Did they click the button? Did they download the app? Did website visits increase? Did registrations go up? We want to make sure that we are getting the right attribution for all of our efforts,

Innovid: What’s your experience with dynamic creative optimization (DCO)?

Andres: It’s been completely successful for a client I worked with. For this client, we relied heavily on DCO, because we wanted to be very precise with our messaging. We had some very strong, well-informed assumptions about what our targets wanted to see, so we created messaging around that. But we quickly saw that the algorithm self-corrected to the most effective messaging out of the five that we had conceived. We always had the most successful, high-converting versions out in the market that were yielding the biggest bang for our buck. Without that technology, we would have been spending a ton of money trying to reach a bunch of people who were not interested. 

Innovid: Can you give us a little more detail on how the DCO was implemented?

Andres: We were able to change the different headlines, different backgrounds, and different layout configurations, especially when we're trying to localize some of some of this messaging. We were trying to change on the fly based on the availability of inventory. If we wanted to do different sales events, based on how much inventory there was, we could trigger those automatically. It's incredibly powerful and useful. And for those companies that know the value of it, it's quickly becoming one of the strongest tools in our utility belt.

Innovid: What technology could you not do without in the ad business? What is an absolutely essential technology for you in your job?

Andres: From an ad tech point of view, DCO is not going to go away and the demand for personalization is going to increase. What we've seen with our own testing is that the more variations, the more successful our campaigns are. We did a really big vetting before working with you guys at Innovid. We had looked at other folks, and your solution was the one that covered the largest amount of channels. So it's a converged experience. So not only I can go back and come up with traditional, incredible 30-second  ads, but I'm also looking at how this is going to look on Netflix, versus how this is going to look on Apple TV, how this is going to show up on Amazon, and how it's gonna look on Roku? Not only that, I can also tailor ads based on devices. With Innovid, I have the ability to work with a partner and have all my assets in one place and have them take care of my whole media placement. I honestly don't see how we can live without that.

Learn more about the fundamentals of CTV advertising.