Five things we learned about Sky's data-led marketing

23 May 2018  |  Katy Eckersley 
Five things we learned about Sky's data-led marketing

Sponsor content Katy Eckersley looks at the fascinating insights that could help others on their own data journeys

Sky have been sharing some detail with the wider market around how they’ve capitalised on their advanced use of data when it comes to planning media campaigns. Their presentation, “Targeting pole position in data enrichment”, has given brands an insight into Sky’s digital data journey over the past three years and how they think they have now ultimately got themselves into pole position.

The presentation was based on a metaphor of an F1 team, which, although mainly focused on the driver, requires a huge team effort, without whom any success could not be possible. Sky were very quick to stress that although their in-house media and data teams are at the forefront of all data projects, without support from their “crew” (marketing, legal, finance, media agency, creative agencies etc) then the journey would not have been possible.

The purpose of this article is to share a few of those insights to help guide those earlier on in their journey through some of the red flags and pit-stops they faced along the way.

1. At the start of their journey, Sky relied on third party data or contextual targeting to speak to both their prospective and existing customers. Obvious problems existed here around duplication - at any one time Sky can have 10 different campaigns in market advertising completely separate products with no control over any overlap.

There were also question marks around the provenance and age of the data being targeted and how often it was refreshed. Additionally, they couldn’t tell from this data who was an existing customer vs a prospective one, causing wastage in messaging pushed out in market. From this, it was clear that there were efficiencies to be made.

2. The decision was taken to invest in a DMP via Adobe. Feeding in site data via Adobe tags and linking all CRM data into an Adobe feed immediately allowed Sky to create rich profiles of their customers which was sorted into segments for targeting.

However, this did not create immediate efficiencies as challenges were faced with getting media partners integrated (which each required additional consulting hours from Adobe), trying to achieve scale with media partners on low match rates, and managing expectations internally around how instantly usable the data would be on plans.

Despite these, this step forward put Sky very much in the middle of the starting grid, with the addition of the DMP providing this extra fuel.

3. Now the DMP was set-up, the next step was looking at how Sky could utilise any data captured from the multiple digital campaigns they had in market. They were very clear that anything captured was of the right quality - specifically an impression that was in view, in a brand safe environment and ideally that a customer had interacted with.

A clear example of this was via Rezonence’s FreeWall format which only runs on a whitelist of premium publishers, asks a consumer for their preference by asking a question and is 100% in view.

A good example of this was for Sky Sports, which targeted existing Sky Sports customers (via Adobe) and asked them which sport they were most excited about watching. A DMP pixel was placed in each answer which, when engaged with, started to populate a trait within Sky’s DMP for each of the five sports.

This meant that Sky not only knew that they were already a Sky Sports customer but also which sport was their favourite. Sky were able to pass these segments onto other partners, for example, they were able to pass this segment to their DSP, who, when a customer who had selected “cricket” as their FreeWall answer, served them a cricket creative.

This stage of Sky’s data journey really embraced tailored creative, data enrichment and insights. However, work was still to be done around managing partner integrations, deciding which data was valuable enough to pass back and making sure they had creative to match the segments being created.

4. Although now relatively advanced in their use of data, Sky are always looking ahead to what’s next, to allow them to remain in pole position.

The obvious flag that might get them stuck in the pit lane is GDPR which they are addressing clearly through customer consent to accept tailored advertising.

Focus is now on leveraging DMP data to personalise experiences wherever a customer lands in the Sky ecosystem; looking at Omnichannel customer experiences particularly the link between TV and digital and measurement of all of these.

Challenges remain over refining duplication within segments and true holistic planning but these are key focus points moving forward which will help Sky remain ahead of the pack

5. In summary, Sky’s data journey over the last few years has seen them face challenges, successes and opportunities which have all combined to ensure they are in pole position in the market when it comes to data strategy and data enrichment.

Sky summed up their journey to the audience by identifying the three main ingredients needed to execute a winning strategy - collaboration, patience and a celebration of success. We are all excited to see how they build on this in the coming months and will be watching with interest!



Katy Eckersley is VP Sales and Propositions, Rezonence

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