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David Murphy

Trinity Mirror Matt ColebourneTrinity Mirror is one of the UK and Ireland’s biggest multi-media publishers. TMG's flagship Daily Mirror and Mirror.co.uk reach an average audience of 22.9m people in a month according to the latest NRS PADD multiplatform audience figures, making the Mirror’s the second largest newsbrand in the UK.

In total the group comprises five national titles and over a hundred regional news brands including the Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo. In terms of digital reach, its combined audience exceeded 108m monthly users in July, a 30 per cent year-on-year increase (source: ABCe).

TMG New Businesses
The TMG New Businesses Division is a dedicated team within Trinity Mirror set up to build, partner or buy new digital businesses to provide future revenue streams for the group. These start-up businesses leverage the group's unique reach, audience and content and typically sit across the advertising, publishing, entertainment or services categories.

In March 2014, TMG launched pinpoint to create a smarter local advertising solution for its nationwide advertiser base. pinpoint is an app-mediated, hyper-local mobile ad platform that intelligently targets smartphone users with location-based advertising.

“The system enables advertisers to send targeted mobile messages, previewed in sponsored brand notifications, to a growing network of fully opted-in smartphone users, aggregated across the group's universe of national and regional app titles,” says Matt Colebourne, director of New Businesses at Trinity Mirror Group and the driving force behind pinpoint. “The network currently comprises 16 group app titles including national brands such as The Mirror and the Daily Record, plus regional powerhouses such as the Echo and Manchester Evening News. At time of writing, the pinpoint audience comprises nearly 2m handsets and over 1m opted-in app users.”

Format choice
As a medium, pinpoint provides the mobile advertiser with a choice of different formats; ranging from URL campaigns (which push to a mobile site, landing page or app download destination of the client's choice) to more sophisticated ad units which can variously pull through imagery, maps and promotional barcodes. Irrespective of ad format, all pinpoint messages appear first in preview form as a sponsored push notification on the end user’s mobile lock screen or notification tray.

“Given the group's unique national/local footprint, we conceived pinpoint very much with an eye on the longer tail of over a million plus small to medium enterprise advertising businesses and the intersection of local and mobile,” says Colebourne. “However, our experience to date has shown that it's completely relevant to advertisers of any scale so long as they have a role for regional or local advertising. From a group perspective we've obviously had early success bundling pinpoint as a complimentary sell to regional print and display, but we've also sold pinpoint as standalone to self-serve customers.”

In its first year, pinpoint has picked up business from a raft of existing Trinity Mirror clients ranging from national household brands such as Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Royal Mail and Virgin Trains, to regional names such as Shrewsbury Flower Show and five councils in the Greater Manchester area, plus new wave mobile-first start-ups such as Deliveroo and MiniCabster.

“In terms of adoption by client categories it's been pretty evenly distributed across sectors in its first year and a half,” says Colebourne. “Unsurprisingly, we've seen strong uptake from events looking to drive awareness and attendance from local catchment areas, including Shrewsbury Flower Show, Cancer Research Race for Life, Grandslam Madness and Live Nation. Other strong verticals have been motors, bookmakers and the public sector. We've even seen pinpoint appear on the media plan for property brands, such as Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket, to target our app users beachside as far afield as the Canaries and Florida.”

Key advertiser benefits
Colebourne adds that there's something incredibly powerful about the ability to target an audience in the right location, at the right time on their primary devices.

“As an app-mediated network, pinpoint utilizes the native smartphone location services of the end user's device and therefore benefits from best-in-category GPS data to locate its target to an accuracy of 15 metres,” he says. “We also believe the use of push notification to preview the messages is unique in the marketplace and ensures not only that campaigns achieve high cut-through and highly visible calls-to-action but also appear as sponsored by a trusted local brand.

Future plans
This quarter, TMG is adding geo-fencing to pinpoint’s capabilities. Since launch pinpoint has enabled advertisers to target prospects in a given locale based on their past location behaviour. With the launch of geo-fencing TMG will be making good on its promise to allow clients to pro-actively target prospects visible within a specified zone of interest or catchment area. “This is fantastically exciting when you consider the possibilities for pioneering a step-change in sales promotion at a hyper-local store-by-store level,” says Colebourne. “As we bring this to market we'll be looking to work in partnership with clients to crack the code on successfully evaluating redemption on promotions at point of purchase."

Additionally, further down the track TMG will be launching its version of Custom Audiences. It's fast becoming a cliché that location is the new cookie but by pre-emptively capturing handsets, that say regularly visit horse racing meetings across the Autumn, or visit Old Trafford frequently across the football season, TMG believes it can create highly valuable audiences for broadcast targeting.

"The Trinity Mirror NBD team is dedicated to innovating new businesses that transform the group's digital capabilities across services, publishing, entertainment and advertising,” Colebourne concludes. “We built pinpoint with patented new technology to capitalise on the unprecedented reach and engagement enjoyed across the network of Trinity Mirror apps.

“In its first year, the beta version delivered a resounding proof of concept among our early-adopting clients and we look forward to ramping up the self-service offer in the second half of 2015, with an eye on our small-to-medium business clientele.”

Trinity Mirror Solutions digital director, Shaun Jordan, adds that pinpoint provides further evidence of the group’s emerging leadership position in digital. “We're seeing real excitement from clients, national and regional, for pinpoint and the hyper-local targeting opportunity it affords,” says Jordan. “We're seeing ever more uses for this channel and, of course, it absolutely meets our customers' needs to deal with a publisher that can offer the full range of advertising solutions from brand building through to direct response and from print through to targeted mobile.”

There’s more information on pinpoint here. 

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