UPC partners with Facilitate Digital to develop an online performance-based sales engine
UPC Netherlands is the 2nd largest cable television operator in the Netherlands. They provide analog and digital cable video, broadband internet, and traditional circuit-switched and digital (VoIP) telephony services.
It is part of the UPC (broadband) division of Liberty Global that operates cable networks in the Netherlands, Germany (Unitymedia), Switzerland (Cablecom), Austria, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, and Slovakia
Three years ago UPC completed a review of its existing agencies and decided that consolidation was required. In the process of ceasing one agency relationship it became evident that they held control of the historical marketing data through their direct ad server relationship, and were incapable of transferring the account or data to UPC.
To prevent this situation from re-occurring UPC decided to establish a direct relationship with an ad server vendor, thereby increasing control of their online marketing data.
UPC completed a comprehensive review of all ad servers on the market and chose Facilitate Digital for its market leading technology, experience and willingness to deliver customised solutions base on UPC’s particular business challenges. The online team use Facilitate Digital’s ad serving solution on a daily basis to manage all aspects of their online marketing programs including display, search, affiliate and email.
During the implementation UPC defined their parameters for campaign success. They established the conversion window by channel – the time period within which a sale must be made following a click or view of an online advert for the channel to receive credit for the acquisition.
The implementation also involved the placement of tracking tags on the UPC website and the provision of publishers and affiliate network tracking tags. Facilitate Digital’s account management team project managed the set-up and trained the UPC team and agency partners to ensure a successful implementation.
The model that Facilitate Digital assisted UPC to develop enabled the online team to develop a sophisticated online marketing model that has remained consistent throughout the significant development of the channel.
Facilitate Digital’s consulting team continues to work closely with UPC on post implementation projects such as the creation of a customised conversion attribution model, and the integration of external data sources e.g. onsite web analytics to further enrich the levels of decision enabling insight.
UPC and Facilitate Digital have developed a groundbreaking affiliate commission model and reward mechanism. Historically affiliates have been paid an acquisition commission only when delivering the last-click. UPC has discovered through conversion attribution analysis that the affiliate channel plays a crucial role in the customer conversion path, although the last-click is often delivered via another channel.
Affiliates decide which advertisers to promote on their websites based on an earnings per click (eCPC) performance indicator. Certain affiliates did not promote UPC products because they were often not the last-click, which resulted in no commission and an overall lower eCPC.
To encourage increased promotion of UPC products and to reward affiliates for the true value that they deliver UPC and Facilitate Digital have developed an innovative commission and award mechanism that rewards a commission for both assists and direct acquisitions.
UPC has also found innovative uses for Facilitate Digital’s technology in the area of email marketing. They have developed an internal email marketing capability that uses Facilitate Digital to serve creative banners and HTML within emails. This approach makes use of the real-time auto-optimisation features of the ad server to improve email campaign performance. The UPC email marketing team has received industry recognition for this innovative solution through a recent email-marketing award.
UPC relies heavily on critical functionality in Facilitate Digital’s solution such as:
- Single container tag – A post-click tracking tag technology placed on the UPC website allows management of all publisher tracking tags via the ad server interface providing the ability to rapidly test and adopt new tag based technology vendors e.g. retargeting
- Real-time de-duplication – Post-click sales are attributed to a single publisher or affiliate, effectively removing multiple commission payments for individual acquisitions
- Ownership & control of online marketing data – Total freedom to make any changes to its agency roster in line with its business requirements without any data loss concerns
- Vantage dashboard – Online dashboard provides one-stop view of all key online marketing performance metrics
- Automated reporting – Scheduled delivery of tailored reports saves the team hours of work each day. From high-level, weekly reports to more detailed daily reporting, UPC’s online marketing team now spend minutes setting up a recurring report rather than hours of time stitching together data in Excel worksheets
- Flexibility – Ability to change and optimise a creative implementation in real-time for all display based marketing activity, including affiliates
- Conversion attribution – Provides a detailed view of the customer interaction with UPC’s various campaigns across display, search and affiliate channels on a post-click and post-view basis
UPC Netherlands has been working with Facilitate Digital since 2008 to support the development of its online marketing programs. As a result of the positive experience in 2009 the relationship was extended to cover key countries across UPC’s European footprint.
“My initial objective was to increase control over our marketing data and to drive down ad serving costs, but I quickly realised that the knowledge and insights that Facilitate Digital brought to the table would help us to rapidly transform the online channel into a major sales engine.” – Antoine Brouwer, Director Online
UPC has achieved impressive results with Facilitate Digital. Estimated results include:
- Reduction in implementation lead times through direct management of publisher, retargeting tags via the ad server
- Supported the emergence of online as one of UPC’s key sales channels through the continual delivery of decision enabling insights
- 50% reduction in ad serving costs which allowed budget to be reallocated to sales generating investmen
- Increased flexibility in managing agency relationships based on performance without concern for data ownership
- Cost saving through reduction in affiliate commissions by 40% as a result of de-duplications
- Continuous optimisation of media has driven down the cost per acquisition and improved the ROI
- Further optimisation opportunities through the insight delivered by custom conversion attribution models