digital advertising

Q&A: VivaKi ANZ Director Lynn Chealander on automated full page takeovers

In June of this year, VivaKi and News Corp Australia managed one of the first automated sponsorships in the APAC region – a full page takeover across a number of verticals on news.com.au, executed through Rubicon Project’s technology platform.

In its first incarnation, like digital itself, automated advertising was seen as predominantly a direct response channel – but with high impact formats and executions like this increasingly being automated, some third parties are reporting that brand spend is rapidly shifting to this channel.

To find out more about the aims, execution and results of this innovative campaign in Australia, we spoke to VivaKi ANZ Director Lynn Chealander:

What was the background to the campaign?Lynn Chealander, VivaKi ANZ Director

The campaign in question was for our telco client Optus, working in tandem with our media agency Starcom.

It centred around a new mobile phone launch, with a narrow list of publishers they wanted to reach. Since this was a heavily brand-focussed campaign, those publishers had to be super premium, with a preference towards top-tier news sites.

Given these restrictions, we needed to figure how to activate the buy across premium publishers effectively while guaranteeing quality, and that we met the client’s targets.

We were aware that in the traditional way of buying digital campaigns, via phone, email and excel, this type of branding campaign would normally have included at least one full page takeover. And that’s where the initial idea of automating the ‘buy out’ process started.

What are the benefits of buying a full page takeover or other high impact ad through automated advertising, versus the old way of doing things?

There are lots of benefits for automating high impact ads, none more so than for full page takeovers, as we did in this case. They mainly centre around time saving and increased efficiency – but crucially also include areas like reporting. In the case of our campaign for Optus, the benefits of automation can be summarised as follows:

  • Speed and insight – since there is one buying point, instead of separate i/os for each publisher, the reporting process is simplified a great deal, and can be customised just as the client needs it.
  • Consolidated reports – In the past, the advertiser would have to get analytics from each publisher, then reconcile with their own ad server. Through automated advertising, the entire process is consolidated, making the whole thing much faster.
  • Transparency – we guarantee our client transparency – the same level of transparency they would have in a ‘traditionally’ sold deal – contrary to what some reports in the press might lead you to believe, this level of transparency is not just achievable, but actually inbuilt into automated advertising technology.
  • More efficiencies, for buyer and seller – from having one set of tags instead of several, to the client having one point of contact, the list of benefits goes on. For sellers, the whole process is greatly simplified too – all they need to do is create a deal ID – it’s an all round win.

What were the measures of success?

As a brand campaign for a product launch, the principle client targets were around reach and awareness.

Over a week the campaign ran across either the tech or entertainment verticals of news.com.au for full days.

Overall, it exceeded the client’s targets and they were very happy with it.

What were the results and will it be repeated?

We saw three times uplift on our results for this compared to the rest of the campaign. All parties were very pleased, and it will definitely be repeated. As far as we’re aware, this is the first time a full page takeover has been bought programmatically in Australia, and we’re already thinking about how we can build on this success in future.

There’s just so much more you can do programmatically that we haven’t been able to do before with this type of creative, especially around data.

Serving dynamic creative tailored to segments of your campaign is an example of this. And the key thing is that through automated advertising we can bring the client’s first party data to bear securely, without sharing it with the wider eco-system. When we start to add advertisers’ data to the equation is, I think, where we really start to take this type of deal to the next level.

What were the technical challenges of executing this type of deal through automated advertising?

Overall, we were pleased to find that it all worked fine this first time, and was a lot more straightforward than expected.

We were also able to turn it around incredibly quickly, literally from sign-off to live, it only took a few days to turnaround. Pretty seamless as we ironed out and anticipated the potential organizational and operational pitfalls.

I think it helps that people in this market are pretty nimble – that we’re comparatively small and everyone knows each other.

The whole process was quick and easy – from first discussing with the publisher to live within just a couple of weeks.

How do you see this type of execution developing in future?

In future, this type of campaign will definitely include serving high impact creative simultaneously across multiple sites, targeted to the right audience.

For us, the next steps include getting a clearer idea of which premium publishers can do which formats, and understand even better through widely accepted formats like the IAB Rising Stars what we can achieve exclusively through programmatic.

Also, as I’ve alluded to above, the next phase is going be around customising creative more individually and accurately based on the CRM data the client holds. But, as above, doing this securely through our technologies. We’ve proved the effectiveness of this type of personalised messaging in direct response campaigns, now is the time to start doing it in brand campaigns too.

Will high impact, rich media creative be an important part of automated advertising’s future?

Absolutely – since we’ve done this first automated buy-out, we’ve talked to other advertisers, and they’re all very excited and see the big potential on offer here.

For more on automated full page takeovers and high impact formats read Jay Steven’s article in B&T: ‘Mad Men Vs. Math Men’