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Entries are now open for this year's Masters of Marketing Awards, presented at the Festival of Marketing in October.

There are many categories but I thought I'd highlight the Programmatic & Performance Marketing award by looking at last year's winner and a few other notable campaigns.

1. Amanda Foundation - Digital Pawprint

It's easy to see why this campaign is one of the archetypal programmatic case studies. With simple rules and powerful creative, these ads show how effective segmented advertising can be.

Each ad from the non-profit organization that homes shelter animals was tailored to a user depending on their previous browsing behaviour and demographics. 

So, if a user was known to be in a young demographic and a fan of the outdoors, they might be shown an ad for an athletic dog, with appropriate messaging. Similarly, an avid reader might be targeted with an ad featuring a cat.

Here is just a selection of some of the creative used.

amanda foundation 

Image via Chris Mead

2. O2 - Tariff Refresh

Nick Adams, O2's head of digital excellence, discussed the telco's work in programmatic at one of Econsultancy's recent conferences. One of the campaigns aligned with O2's TV campaign advertising tariff refreshes. 

The ads were repurposed for mobile video ads, with data about the user (their device and location) being used to add relevant messaging to the video. The videos referenced the user's model of phone, its recycling value with O2, the offers on upgrades (and what upgrades were generally preferred), as well as the nearest store.

More than 1,000 versions of the video ad were created in real-time over the course of the campaign. Results included 128% increase in click-through rate over generic video. 

o2 programmatic video

3. The 2015 winner: The Economist - Raising eyebrows and subscriptions

The winner of Best Programmatic or Performance Marketing Campaign at the 2015 Masters of Marketing Awards was The Economist.

We've covered the campaign extensively on the Econsultancy blog. Here's a summary: 

  • The aim was to target intellectually-curious readers who had previously been reluctant to try The Economist.
  • The ads used Economist content and eye-catching headlines, with humour, wit and provocation.
  • Context was key to placement, analysing subscriber usage to identify the best Economist content and aligning target cookie data against seven segments (from finance to social justice).
  • Page context and viewer profile were then assessed in real-time, serving an appropriate ad. The example below sums up the tone of the campaign.

economist ad

The ads linked to an Economist content hub which presented the article in question but also invited the user to subscribe.

Results included 650,000 new prospects, 3.6m people taking action and a campaign ROI of 10:1, on a £1.2m media budget.

An Economist content hub.

economist content hub

4. AirAsia - customer confidence

AirAsia is a great example of a brand combining CRM data with a programmatic campaign.

This is often difficult to do, because the organisation has to have its data available across CRM and media departments, and has to be prepared to fit longer-term customer value models to media spend. The campaign was carried out on Facebook and sought to bolster confidence in the AirAsia brand during a difficult year for the airline.

Display and video ads were the channels used, segmenting customers in three ways:

  • Those who bought an AirAsia ticket previously, but not since the airline's December 2014 crash.
  • Those who bought a ticket after the incident.
  • High-value AirAsia advocates (regular customers that champion the brand).

These customer profiles were targeted on Facebook with differing creative. 

  • Frequent flyers were shown ads detailing reasonable rates for routes they had flown before, directing these people to the AirAsia site.
  • Recent website visitors who searched for a route but didn't convert were retargeted on Facebook with information about these routes.
  • High-value customers were targeted with brand advertising, including video. 

Results were impressive, according to Facebook's case study, generating 30x return on ad spend with its own CRM data and with 20% of video viewers watching the entire video.

air asia facebook ad

Head over to the Festival website if you're interested in submitting an application for the 2016 Masters of Marketing Awards.

Ben Davis

Published 10 May, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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