The Welsh Government

Keeping up with the Coronavirus in Wales

Change …

The Welsh government wanted to communicate its official COVID-19 public health messages via a programmatic display campaign. With no prior learnings to lean on, the campaign needed to be nimble and keep up with the ever-evolving coronavirus conversation by allocating the right budget to the most effective ad spots, with highly relevant targeting.

Made Simple

For real-time coronavirus updates, iX Insight, our proprietary trend-spotting tool, tracked evolving themes. Thanks to our partnership with Hearst, iCrossing has access to a truly colossal amount of data from Hearst magazines. On a daily basis, our data collection tool pulls, categorises and visualises all queries that Hearst magazines appear for in Google search. We then use this vast amount of data (around 330,000,000 searches per month) to identify what topics the public are interested in – providing us with much greater detail than is available on Google Trends.

Turning data into action

We wanted to track and rank public interest in four targeting categories: general, lockdown, keyworkers and testing. This would allow us to up/downweight budgets for line items targeting these categories based on current public interest.

We had access to all the trends data we needed from iX Insight, but no tech to automatically analyse it or action updates. So, we built a tool to do just that. We built a proprietary connector between our trend identification tool (iX Insight) and our delivery platform (DV360). This allowed us to keep on top of COVID-19 conversations and, where necessary, respond automatically to changes in areas of interest.

The tool was built using Google Cloud Functions and was scheduled to run daily. It queried our iX Insight database for coronavirus-related terms, ranking each category by volume of traffic. The tool then pulled spend and performance data from the ‘DV360 read API’, evaluating iX Insight trends against current performance to determine new budgets for each targeting category.

Using the newly released ‘DV360 write API’, the tool automatically changed budgets to align with the analysis. This enabled us to weight our budgets according to what people were talking about that day. For example, in July, when public conversation moved away from testing and more towards returning to work, our tool reacted, reallocating budget from our ‘testing’ line-items to ‘keyworker’. And when the treasury announced that the economy would be given a £100 billion boost to protect jobs and businesses, the ‘keyworker/worker’ line item took most of the campaign budget over a three-day period.

We built a proprietary connector between our trend identification tool (iX Insight) and our delivery platform (DV360). This allowed us to keep on top of COVID-19 conversations and, where necessary, respond automatically to changes in areas of interest.

Being agile and reactive in an unpredictable time helped us make a significant impact. 3/4 targeting groups saw a clear positive correlation between budget upweighting (i.e. public interest) and click-through rate.

Results
Click-through rate increased by 158% - from 0.12% to 0.31% (vs benchmark of 0.15%) 
Cost-per-click decreased by 54% from £0.48 to £0.22 (vs benchmark of £0.50)

Insights

Life under lockdown: The impact of COVID-19 to date

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