In this article we are going to look at the perspective of someone who creates marketing campaigns for a living. We have the pleasure of talking to Gillian Verrecchia, Account Director at Mediahuis Ireland. Gillian helps brands advertise effectively with Mediahuis, Ireland’s largest publisher. Her job is to launch marketing campaigns, monitor its progress and conduct post-campaign analysis.
Amongst other things, Gillian stresses the importance of data. Even midway through a campaign, data can tell us if it is on track to deliver on the key performance indicators (KPIs). Changes can be made to optimise the campaign.
My role is quite varied. It involves working on a lot of campaign briefs that I receive from advertising agencies. For example, brand X has a budget of Y and has specific objectives for the campaign in terms of click through and other metrics. Our job is to persuade the agency that they should advertise with us as opposed to someone else and also how they should best spend their money with us, using our inventory which includes printed newspapers and online properties like independent.ie.
Depending on the scale of the brief, we can do quite a lot of brainstorming with people on the team. We will ask the Data Insights team to identify the target audience the client is hoping to reach and where we can reach them across our sites or newspapers. The aim is to come up with ideas that encapsulate the brief and engage with our readers as well. Added to this, a huge part of my day-to-day job is client management. I personally manage one of the biggest advertising agencies in the country. There’s a lot of agencies within that one group. It’s important to maintain that relationship, keeping them up-to-date on changes that are happening in our business and new ad formats they could avail of.
Mediahuis sees that publishing needs to take that digital-first approach. If you take, for example, the Sunday World newspaper, we have the strongest title in that genre. However, for a long time the Sunday World did not have a digital platform. When it was introduced however, we truly embraced digital, launching some exciting new podcasts along the way. Now, the Crime World podcast is the number one podcast in its category. The listen-through rate is extremely high and many people actually listen again to the full episode. We have also seen that customers are embracing our digital channels more and more. Our digital newspaper subscriptions has exceeded targets, fourfold over. Readers very much trust our brands and they’re willing to pay for great content.
Data definitely plays an integral part in everything that we do. If we receive a campaign briefing from an agency, the first thing that we do is to look at where the target audience sits across our inventory. By doing so, we can prove that, for example, our audience is much stronger than a competitor like the Irish Times. This helps you win business and secure the client.
Even midway through a campaign, data again comes into its own. We appreciate being able to tell the client that we’re on track to deliver on their KPIs. Data also has a critical part to play in post-campaign analysis. To this end, we have developed Programmatic Plus to offer reporting that other company cannot offer, helping to prove that the client has well spent their budgets with us.
We worked with AIB last year on a particularly successful campaign. AIB are well known in the mortgage space and for big loans, but what they wanted to become better known for smaller to medium-size loans.
In Ireland, the local Credit Union is where people usually go to for smaller loans. AIB wished to show people that they can achieve their dreams by getting that small loan from AIB also. We used two different stories to illustrate this, presented as ‘natives’, which are crafted articles that appear on our printed magazines and also our website, along with a suitable embedded video where appropriate.
One story involved Caitlin who always wanted to fly a plane, eventually achieving it with help from AIB. The other story then was about Adam who had a dream of achieving a career in music. Adam is seen getting singing lessons and finally recording his album, all thanks to AIB.
This was a really good set of stories which connected with the audience. It put AIB into a space that they haven’t really been seen in before. The results were incredible. We overachieved on every single KPI. For example, we saw a long dwell time on the content. On average, with a native, you usually see a dwell time of around two minutes. With the AIB content, dwell time was over six minutes, which is really strong. Click-through was 2.6% which is, again, above the industry average for display advertising.
Remember, data will help you make decisions around how to make your marketing spend more effective. It will allow you to monitor, pivot and analyse campaigns as they proceed, and certainly when they have completed.