How car brand MG gets the most out of its first-party data

British car manufacturer MG wants to do more with behavioral targeting, but in order to do that, it’s going to have to get its data in order first.

The advertiser is using a data management platform — and the third-party data those ad tech vendors sell – to expand on the data it already has on younger audiences to reach more of them using insights based on their characteristics, interest and attitudes. Essentially, it will use the DMP to prospect for potential customers.

When it tested the approach in the third quarter last year, the car advertiser sold over 2,400 cars in the period, which was a year-on-year rise of more than 80%. Furthermore, the campaign generated over one million views. Data from the DMP also helped MG determine where it bought programmatic ads that would reach younger drivers. Based on the lookalike audiences there was some crossover between gym enthusiasts and those people who had shown an interest in MG’s cars, for example, which meant the advertiser started to buy ads on health and lifestyle sites it had previously discounted.

The validity of behavioral targeting is still being in questioned. Seven in 10 (68%) of publishers said they don’t benefit from behavioral advertising, according to Digiday Research. A separate study found that cookie-targeted ads typically generate only 4% in additional revenue for publishers.

“We’re trying to do what other brands have done so well over the years and attract a younger audience so that when they’re older we can start to upsell and create some brand loyalty,” said Chris Richards, digital and social media manager at MG.

MG Motor’s U.K. agency, tmwi, holds the relationship with the DMP, though the advertiser owns and controls the data.

Audience segmentation may not be the most sophisticated use of a DMP, but MG sees it as a stepping stone to more second-party data deals with publishers either via Lotame or through its agency. However, setting up these deals isn’t straightforward, which is why MG is taking its time.

For publishers like Autotrader, behavioral targeting seems worth the hassle given they are able to aggregate intent-driven behavior on their sites, which advertisers are willing to pay more for to target ads to highly-specific audiences.

“We’re having discussions with agencies about our own first-party data,” said Rebecca Clarke, manufacturer and agency director at AutoTrader. “We’re working with businesses like MG to understand how we commercialize our data but we’re mindful of how we protect it too. There’s more of an appetite for our data since the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation last May.”

If a publisher uses the same DMP as the advertiser then the ad tech vendor acts as the bridge for the different data sets to match. If the DMPs are different, however, then it’s a harder, more manual process to match those data sets. While there are several ways of doing it, it’s not as it’s not always possible to add unique identifiers at the publisher and advertiser side to match datasets together.

Update: An earlier version of this article stated that MG is using its DMP to compensate for limited first-party data on younger drivers, whereas it is using the DMP to expand on the data it already is. We have therefore amended the article and added a second sentence to reinforce that the DMP was used to prospect for new drivers.

Image courtesy of MG.

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