When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.
Targeting prospective customers with personalised mobile advertising that’s scalable is becoming a reality at one of Australia’s leading real estate websites.
Domain is owned by the Fairfax Media Group and is a destination site for thousands of prospective home buyers, renters and sharers. With half of total traffic coming from mobile devices, the group has adopted a mobile-first strategy and is investing in a range of technology capabilities to drive mobile searchability, usability and conversion rates.
Marketing manager, Shahrooz Chowdhury, told CMO its main objective is to drive leads to real estate agents, making direct response a vital ingredient to success. To achieve this, Domain has utilised Criteo’s retargeting capabilities for the majority of its retargeting spend over the past year.
When Criteo’s mobile advertising solution became available in December, Domain began trialling it. The cookie-based solution allows advertisers to serve personalised, real-time ads on mobile Web browsers, and was officially released in April.
“The ability to serve a personalised advert to a prospective customer, coupled with the transparency of the cookie-based solution, drives our conversion rate and is one of the key tenets of our digital advertising strategy,” he said.
One major motivation for the Criteo technology investment was to see if Domain could get a more efficient CPA (cost per acquisition) result through mobile comparable to that achieved through the desktop site, Chowdbury explained. In addition, it was important to have personalised targeting capability for mobility at a scale that could meet the needs of Domain’s largest advertisers.
At the same time, like most modern marketers, the Domain team was experiencing challenges around de-duplication and attribution modelling, and has been working with Criteo on how to develop its wider marketing technology stack into an integrated platform. As a parallel project, Domain has been tagging all customer conversion points across channels, and is now migrating these to a centralised tag management platform.
Chowdhury said live leads and retargeting those, as well as potential or lapsed users, have a “unique return” and Domain was keen to see how the skews apparent in the desktop environment compared to mobile.
“We saw CTRs [click through rates] and CPCs [cost per clicks] for iPad and Android were about the same, but for iPad the cost per acquisition was halved but twice as good,” Chowdhury continued. “That level of segmentation gives us confidence when we’re comparing mobile to what we see on search, display advertising or elsewhere.
“We also found CTRs are 40 per cent higher on mobile than desktop. That was a key concern for us because a lot of research out there shows that on mobile specifically, it’s very easy to trigger an annoyance level we’re not comfortable with from a brand safety perspective. This gives us proof that engagement is there.
“The other thing is inquiries through mobile, which we found to be as effective as desktop.”
Looking ahead, Chowdhury’s next priority is better re-engaging consumers through the Domain mobile app. He said Criteo has a new product currently in beta testing, which will allow the real estate site to achieve this, and hoped to launch these capabilities in the next two months.
Chowdhury pointed out Domain continues to develop tools to try and maintain its relevance through consumer value-added services such as finger search, taking and storing photos as consumers are participating in an open for inspection, inspection planners and shortlists.
“We are looking to take the same sort of approach with apps as we do with the desktop and mobile sites, but advertising with an ad to retrigger our app opening up – driving people into the long tail, niche parts of our site,” he said.
Chowdhury admitted personalisation on mobile can be a labour intensive task, involving a complicated mix of networking considerations such as GPS, Wi-FI, GSM and IP-level targeting, the challenges of time of day and week, specific DSPs, HTML5 compatibility and multiple ad exchanges.
“Criteo is managing that with very little bandwidth at our end, so we can focus more on the environment we are building up,” he said. “Our team is growing quickly and we’re trying to leverage as much third-party technology as we can to get visibility [of consumers].
“It’s important for us to have click tags assigned to every auction bid and prove the breakdown of segmentation during and after, and by looking at that path to purchase of the consumer. We look at mobile-only conversion points like click to call on our app, and ensure that’s consistent across our mobile and desktop sites. My team are gearing up to take a lot more of that work on.
“Criteo makes it easy to get runs on the board and proves the use case before we have all our ducks in a row.”