Ancestry bolsters data-driven approach with 'Life Stages’ series

Digital content helps uncover ideal moments in time for DNA discovery and is part of wider efforts to utilise customer data

Online genealogy company, Ancestry, is using a data-driven approach to capture ‘real-life’ customer moments in Australian-made videos and local digital in order to deliver authentic personalised experiences.

Ancestry A/NZ country manager, Kelly Godfrey, told CMO the recent launch of its three-part digital content series, Life Stages, reinforces the company’s data-driven marketing strategy.

“We were looking for content and storytelling as the kind of heart for what really gets people to want to do their ancestry family history, or do their AncestryDNA test.”

Using brand tracker, social listening and keyword research, OMD Create, OMD’s new integrated creative hub, identified three key stages in life when a sense of belonging is most important: Travelling, impending marriage and being part of a multi-generational family. These formed the basis of the series.

The series is based on data and insights from OMD and produced by branded video agency, Each of the episodes follows the AncestryDNA stories of Australians as they uncover heritage they never even knew they had, Godfrey explained.

Kelly Godfrey
Kelly Godfrey

Additionally, the Life Stages videos follow the brand’s online series, 'It’s a Small World', and further demonstrates Ancestry’s commitment to producing local content, and can be found on Ancestry’s YouTube channel, Godfrey said.

It’s just one of many projects - today and into the future - that will drive home the data-driven approach to marketing, she said. On the back of the release of the videos, FAQ videos have also been released, and an upcoming brand campaign is also in the works.

“It is the start of the journey within this framework and we hope to continue as we learn and get more data in,” Godfrey said. 

Ancestry's data-driven approach makes sense given the company's heritage. “Being an online brand, we’ve literally got data coming out of our ears. So we’re lucky in that we’re able to track our customers across platforms,” she said.

“Pretty much everything that we do is data driven. We’re in that lucky position, being an online brand, we know how our marketing spend is working for us.”

Godfrey said the company recognised the “power of storytelling” as evidenced by the success of the TV show, Who Do You Think You Are, and its partnership with the brand. But it also recognised it needed to take storytelling to the next level.

“We’ve had a lot of learnings from being sponsors and sponsors of Who Do You Think You Are? on SBS for many years now in Australia and other markets where Ancestry and Who Do You Think You Are are both active. We know the power of storytelling to get people into market to do their own family history or journey of self-discovery," she continued.

“But sometimes a 30-second spot on TV doesn’t cut it so we wanted to find a way that we could harness the power of storytelling and have more control over making those messages and putting them out to market, rather than just relying on the show and other family and forecast properties that we’ve partnered with.”

The latest digital content campaign also uses social media platforms to target people.

“It is not just identifying those life stages when people are going to be more in market, but it is also the power of using platforms like YouTube and Facebook to really target people quite specifically who are at that stage in their lives,” Godfrey said.

“We’re trying to connect more personally to people based on those life stages that we’ve identified and the specific questions and issues that people have around AncestryDNA and this whole consumer genomics space, which is very new and exciting. This really enables people for the first time to get a really authentic view of themselves and their unique place in the world.”

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