From Static to Dynamic Creative: The Power of Meta DCO

Dec 5, 2023
Dec 5, 2023
9 min
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dynamic creative

Boost the efficacy of your ad campaigns using Meta’s dynamic creative, and evaluate the pros and cons of using dynamic creative optimization.

Marketers no longer use one ad - or even one ad version - to inspire people to take action. Using a personalized approach to stand out amongst the thousands of ads users see daily is the best way forward. However, the task of producing these ads is onerous.

The question is, should we fully leverage machine learning to help us to produce these ads? And how much can we trust this feature to deliver better results?

Join me as I dive into dynamic creative ads and evaluate the pros and cons of implementing this optimization tactic.

What is dynamic creative?

The term ‘dynamic creative’ is a strategic combination of your ad creative elements and designs based on a toolkit of different media, ad copy, and call-to-actions. These data-led and personalized ads serve the user a bespoke experience according to their account behavior. Individually tailored ads have a knack for sparking resonance and inspiring the user to take action - all in the hopes of boosting ad performance

While Google pioneered dynamic creative ads in 2011, Meta has taken the baton and run with it since releasing their version in 2015. Since then, other advertising platforms have jumped on the bandwagon, like LinkedIn, TikTok’s ‘Smart Creative,’ Snapchat, Pinterest, and Amazon Ads. Even Shopify recommends running dynamic creative ads on Facebook to increase sales. In this article, we’ll look at Meta and its dynamic creative options. 

What is dynamic creative optimization (DCO)?

Meta’s algorithm determines the best combination of design elements to achieve the goal of your campaign across its platforms. 

Anatomy of the dynamic creative elements on Meta.
Image source: Meta

What makes dynamic ads different is that this automated decision to display certain elements happens in real time, based on the user. By doing this, Meta offers advertisers a competitive edge - but only if they’ve set up their dynamic creative campaign correctly.

Meta’s dynamic creative campaigns deliver ad versions based on the media options you’ve set. These variations are served to users based on their profile information to increase the chance of conversion. If you use the Advantage+ creative options and add variables for Meta to use, the following changes may also occur:

  • Minor image enhancements to thumbnails or images
Meta's image edits it can make to your dynamic creative ads like colour and brightness adjustments.
  • Cropping your image or video
Examples of Meta's cropping edits it may make to your drynamic creative ads.
  • Applying a template to your creative elements for Stories
  • Stories carousel ad based on a single image, headline, or product catalog
  • Switching text between fields and changing the order
  • Playback speed for videos without sound
  • Creating videos from images
  • Song selection to accompany your ad content
  • Switching ad destination between your website and your shop on Facebook or Instagram
  • Expanding an image by filling the background with matching colors or patterns
Examples of how Meta's Advantage+ edits your dynamic creative ads background

What’s the difference between DCO campaigns and dynamic product ads (DPA)?

Meta’s dynamic product ads (DPA) are limited to shopping campaigns and based on a catalog. In other words, it can only use your defined product images and details from the catalog without any mixing and matching. This limitation makes DPA easy to set up but limited in creative variations. These ads move users toward a conversion from wherever they are in your sales funnel (based on browsing history, add-to-basket, and add-to-cart actions). 

In contrast, dynamic creative optimization (DCO) campaigns offer plenty of variations for mixing and matching and are much more complex to set up. Not being tied to a catalog means you have many more options available, but you’ll need to define the ad copy and creative variations, which is a bit more work. With more variations created, Meta will customize the ad even more for the user, which can increase the conversion rate.

Should I use dynamic creative?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a straightforward yes or no answer. We should evaluate the pros and cons of using it to make an informed decision. Not all ad accounts or instances are equal. Recently, Meta rolled out even more dynamic creative options with their Advantage+ features throughout the campaign creation workflow. 

You can pick which dynamic creative options to use, which offers new Facebook advertisers an opportunity to create more ad variations. Advertisers are more likely to suit the target audience if they repackage their assets. Often, the creative workflow is a stumbling block for small businesses, and this feature is a workaround if you struggle to create enough variations of your ads to test.

Let’s take a look at the best use case for dynamic creative ads:

  • Match user intent to your designs for a personalized experience
  • Catch abandoned carts and close the sale
  • Leverage retargeting with specifics
  • Use dynamic messaging
  • Run multivariate creative tests
  • Ditch the white background for colorful and on-brand designs
  • Lure customers back with obvious discounts with strikethroughs
  • Create a customized feed for clearance sales
  • Leverage scarcity with countdown timers
  • Use sequential messaging to drive need and highlight reasons to buy

What are the limitations and disadvantages of using dynamic creative or DCO?

  • The more variables you use, the longer it takes to gather the results, as you should only test one or two variables at a time so you know what worked. 
  • You’ll spend a portion of your ad budget on the wrong ads during this process - it’s less cost-effective than using Madgicx to find your winning ads. Madgicx helps identify both poor-performing and scalable ads easily, and with stop-loss automation tactics in place, you can ensure you don’t overspend
  • DCO campaigns are time-consuming to plan, prepare, implement, and monitor
  • The design work, implementation, testing, and monitoring can be labor-intensive, with many variables in a dynamic creative campaign
  • The costs to produce the creative assets and manage the DCO campaign, as well as the ad spend to determine the winning ad, add up quickly
  • If you’re too vague, use overly generic designs or copy, or don’t check that the combinations make sense, your ad might have the opposite effect on your target audience. 
  • Without a creative workflow or strategy in place, a dynamic creative optimization campaign will be infinitely harder to roll out

It appears that the people or organizations that benefit most from DCO campaigns are either small businesses with limited capacity to create the cross-platform (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook Marketplace, etc.) ad versions needed or larger enterprises that can fully commit to the work involved in crafting and implementing a comprehensive DCO strategy from start to finish. 

How to create a DCO campaign in Meta Ads Manager

  1. Make sure you’re all set up on Meta Business Manager and Ads Manager before we begin and create a new campaign. Go through the campaign settings, ignoring the A/B and ‘Advantage campaign budget’ toggles for now. 
Campaign settings view.
  1. Click ‘Next’ to go to the ad set settings page, set the budget, and configure your audience settings. Feel free to use an Advantage+ audience, which Meta’s AI creates based on your ad account history and any other Advantage+ audiences you’ve already created. 
Ad set settings: Use the recommended Advantage+ audience settings
  1. Select the Advantage+ placements option and click ‘Next.’ Continue with the settings to where you’ll link your Facebook Page and Instagram account to your ad.
Ad set settings: select Advantage+ placements which is recommended during ad setup.
  1. Now, you’ll get to the ‘Ad setup’ section, where you add your creatives. Scroll down to the ‘Ad creative’ section, where you’ll find options to create more variations. You can also utilize the Advantage+ options to manage the different variables. Choose either multiple products or product categories for your ad.
Ad settings: Ad creative settings where you select multiple products or product categories
  1. In the ‘Carousel cards’ section, you can edit each card for different placements by clicking the ‘Edit creative’ button. You can add up to 9 more cards.
Ad settings: add carousel card and edit the creative versions.
  1. If you scroll down, you’ll see a chart that tells you how you can make more optimizations before you launch. Below this, you can add five options of primary text and set your ad’s call-to-action.
Ad settings: Add Card and edit creative versions, primary text versions, and call to action.
  1. Next, you’ll see the Destination section, where you can set the URL to send people. You can define up to 5 of these. As part of dynamic ad creative, Meta will analyze which links are most likely to be clicked according to user behavior and show the most effective option in that instance.
Ad settings; set your destination URL
  1. Below this, you can set your app links if you are advertising a mobile application. The same rule applies, where you can set up to 5 variations for iOS, Android, and Windows users.
Ad settings: App and deep link settings
  1. Once you’re happy with your settings, click ‘Publish’ to launch your campaign.
Ad settings: Tracking and website events

Tips for ideal dynamic creative optimization campaigns

If you want to use dynamic creative optimization in your next ad campaign, consider these best practices to yield the best results. 

  1. Choose the right creative assets to inspire action - the imagery you use is what makes you stand out against your competitors. Use media related to the action you want them to take
  2. Use a template - Considering the volume of creative needed for this to be effective, it saves oodles of time if you have templates set up to create the variations you want to use.
  3. Avoid being too generic or too specific - Find the sweet spot between being generic enough to appeal to an entire audience segment and specific enough to resonate with the individual you’re speaking to.
  4. Focus on the first 3 seconds - make your videos hook people early on; otherwise, they’ll keep scrolling.
  5. Use multiple call-to-actions - try different CTAs to go with different variations
  6. Be concise with your copy - compelling and clear copy works wonders for getting users to take action
  7. Retarget people - based on their website activity, post engagement, emails, and online behavior
  8. Align ad creative to your brand’s CI - increase brand recognition with designs aligned with your brand kit 
  9. Use all aspect ratio options - multiple versions of your ad reach even more potential customers
  10. Design videos with sound off - add subtitles for the hard of hearing and people who don’t have sound enabled
  11. Leverage current data - Tie relevant things like the weather, the Oscars, the Superbowl, financial markets, and current affairs to your campaign.
  12. Test, test, and test again - using dynamic creative is another way to conduct creative testing by platform and by which version users interact with the most. It shouldn’t replace A/B testing, which allows you to test one element at a time and have more control over the testing environment, but DCO lets you run multivariate tests much more easily. 
  13. Don’t test too many variables at once - To tell what worked, you should test different variables incrementally over time. The more variations you have, the longer the process will take.
  14. The work doesn’t stop with ads - Work once your ad is live includes monitoring your results, applying your learnings, and coming up with new ideas for how you can leverage dynamic creative with your audience segments.

If all of this still sounds like a lot of work and beyond your company’s current capabilities, there’s a simpler solution. Try Madgicx’s Creative Workflow to constantly create converting ads, thereby removing the guesswork from this process. The Creative Workflow helps you manage your ad creative from concept to creation, then launch and gather creative insights based on your performance analytics. 

Try Madgicx for free for 7 days to browse for inspiration and kick off a new workflow.

Madgicx Creative Workflow; Ad Library, Sparkle, Launch Ads, and Creative Insights.


Your creative assets are hands down THE most important components of any ad campaign. Dynamic creative ads offer a great way to test the performance of variations but still require human effort to plan these variables and their sequencing to make sure the ad makes sense.

Furthermore, with Meta’s dynamic creative ads, the possibilities are endless. However, while using dynamic creative can boost your performance results, it’s clear that adhering to best practices determines the success of more intricate DCO campaigns. 

Unless you’re prepared to do the groundwork to utilize it best, things may go horribly wrong with your dynamic ads. This, coupled with the time it takes to see results, can make a DCO campaign more effort than a simpler campaign using dynamic creative. So, it’s best to ensure you have the time and resources to run dynamic ads for your brand before investing in these ads. 

What should you do if your business falls into the in-between category without the resources to devote?

Use Madgicx, an all-in-one solution to constantly create converting ads - it’s much simpler than implementing a dynamic creative campaign and offers AI and data-led optimizations to enhance all aspects of your ad creative workflow. Try Madgicx today with a risk-free 7-day trial.

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Dec 5, 2023
Dec 5, 2023
Vanessa John

As a content and technical writer, my goal is to help business owners and advertisers navigate the digital landscape.

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