Overview of this campaign
This entry celebrates the transformation at speed of ESI Media’s (publishers of The Independent, i and London Evening Standard newspapers) digital sales strategy from relying on contextual sales targeting methods to precision-targeting audiences using data analytics.
Throughout 2015 digital brand yields were under pressure across the industry with the rapid move towards programmatic trading. Clients and agencies were already using data to improve campaign targeting and reduce inefficiencies and wastage when trading digital inventory in the open market. This was threatening our direct-sales business.
ESI had access to a wealth of global user registration data via our identity management partner, Gigya, including age, gender, postcode, country and social interests. We also had access to user browsing and search behavioural data. How could we use this data commercially?
The key objectives of ESI Media’s resulting audience sales strategy were to:
understand our consumers across our digital newsbrand portfolio (independent.co.uk, i100 and standard.co.uk) using our first-party registration and user browsing data
leverage this knowledge through a world-class data management platform (Krux) to segment our consumer groups into easy-to-understand and sell premium audiences, updated in real-time
make this proposition available to agencies and clients to buy both in direct deals and through automated private marketplaces (PMPs)
build tailored audiences to match client needs and optimise advertising campaigns in real-time to ensure every advertisement reached the right audience and delivered to clients’ objectives
strengthen our commercial proposition of a premium, sought-after audience engaging with quality, award-winning journalism in a brand-safe, fraud-free advertising environment
Extending our learnings and capability to the US market where we had just launched an editorial and commercial office.
With the ultimate aim of maintaining and growing revenues and yields and maximising competitive advantage through this data-led offering.
Results for this campaign
Analysis of the ESI audience’s strengths and potential revenue opportunities resulted in 45 premium audience segments built using first and third party data. Segments were tested against run of site campaigns to prove the concept internally and gain experience of campaign optimisation.
Stand-out sales collateral was designed and printed with a rapid turnaround using ESI’s in-house creative team. The mammoth task of educating and training the core digital and wider sales team of 50+ people began and the proposition delivered to agencies within six weeks. Bookings began to come in, campaigns delivered and case studies/category performance data fed back to the market.
In the first quarter of 2015, without any trade marketing /PR the results had started to transform the way ESI traded digitally with no extra resource or budget.
Yield – audience campaigns are sold at a premium versus standard ESI brand campaigns. Audience campaign ecpms were up to double those for ESI brand campaigns with bespoke segments targeting new niche groups commanding even higher premiums.
2015 revenues –data-led inventory accounted for 21% of direct-sold revenues in total.
2015 volumes – data-led sales accounted for up to 24% of direct-sold inventory.
Engagement – as a premium publisher ESI Media’s websites already provide excellent click through rates for clients. The data-led campaigns were hugely successful, up to 5x better than average CTRs for ESI brand campaigns and 10x better than the industry average (0.06% MOAT 2015).
Impressive results from a brand new initiative.
The trajectory continues into 2016 with data contributing to long-term multi-platform client partnerships, extensions into data sharing, segmentations based on viewability, and effective brand campaign metrics and reporting to underline the advantages of reaching the right consumer at the right time in a brand-safe, quality editorial environment.
“The work ESI has done in taking their DMP investment and turning it into a robust, highly competitive, revenue-generating data strategy is progressive and best in class.” Lindsey Clarke, VP Global Advisory, Krux