Client – The Economist

Markets – 12 markets (US, UK, DE, CH, AUS, HK, MYS, TWN, KOR, BRA, NGA, ZAF)

Timing – Oct 20 2014 – Dec 31 2014

Agencies/Vendors – UM London (IPG Mediabrands), Proximity London, Bluekai, Flashtalking, Grapeshot, Turn DSP

Tech Word Cloud – personalization, lead generation, programmatic, Data Management Platform, smart content, prediction & targeting

The Economist employed cutting-edge, dynamic display technology to serve their target audience with relevant content in real time.

BACKGROUND

The Economist needed a way to fix its “perception problem,” and convey the depth of content that made it more than just a business publication. In addition to finding a new audience for its content, it also needed to identify a way to boost subscriptions.

THE IDEA

Through the use of data, content, and programmatic technology, The Economist aimed to deliver smart content in contextually relevant, unexpected places to a target audience. Using both 1st party data sets in combination with other data, they created seven clear, segmented audiences and served relevant, in-feed, creative and dynamic ads in real time. Eventually, the consumers were driven to a hub where they could find the advertised article and subscribe.

THE TECHNOLOGY

Several different types of technologies and tech vendors were involved in this campaign. Both 1st and 3rd party data sets were used to build target audiences, and then technology was employed to “read” the page a user was browsing and identify the most relevant Economist article to match the web page content. An ad was then built from the relevant Economist article and served to the user in real-time.

THE PROCESS

The Economist’s real time digital marketing campaign was led by their media and strategy agency, UM London, in conjunction with their creative agency, Proximity, and several technology partners. Bluekai, a data management platform (DMP), handled The Economist’s 1st party data (subscribers, registrants, site visitors, social audiences, and app users) and used that to build real, actionable audiences. Grapeshot provided the contextual targeting and scanning technology to link the user’s webpage to the relevant Economist content, and a dynamic ad serving solution, Flashtalking, processed Grapeshot’s data to serve the relevant ads in real time.

THE RESULTS

The targets for both prospects and eventual subscribers were significantly surpassed as a result of this campaign. The campaign generated 9,350 subscribers, which exceeded the initial target by 523%, amounting to almost USD 2.5 million in subscription revenue in year one, and USD 18 million in lifetime revenue. Additionally, post-impression, non-click traffic was up by over one million unique viewers in just 12 weeks.