Effective Digital Marketing Awards – The Winners (Part 4)

We continue our round-up of the Effective Digital Marketing Awards winners with a look at the winning campaigns in Most Effective Influencer Campaign; Most Effective Social Campaign; and Most Effective Programmatic Campaign categories.

Most Effective Influencer Campaign
Casumo and Kitty – Play Absurd

In 2017, Casumo appointed creative agency Kitty, to help the online casino operator roll out its first ever UK creative campaign in a bid to establish itself as a casino with a difference, and to stand out from the crowd.

Kitty quickly identified influencer marketing as the most effective way to achieve Casumo’s aims. In order to choose the right influencers who would have maximum impact, Kitty carried out extensive consumer profiling and analysis, looking at what influenced the target audience, with a particular focus on their TV viewing habits, areas of online interest and behaviour to establish the type of content that would engage them. It found that what brought the target audience together, especially for their online persona, was their love of the weird and absurd. The campaign therefore needed to showcase human eccentricity, as well as fitting with Casumo’s sense of fun.

As it was a UK campaign, Kitty scoured the country for under-the-radar games and traditions to create the ‘Play Absurd’ campaign, featuring some of these utterly ridiculous competitive sports, including bog snorkelling, toad in the hole and gurning. These activities brought online, engaged communities together in the name of fun and rewards. The campaign focused on video content featuring comedians and online personalities, including Anto Sharp, Gina Yashere and Justin Moorhouse.

Kitty produced a rolling series of challenges, captured on video, where one of the influencers was introduced to an absurd and historical sport. In front of their loyal and engaged fan base, they were tasked to discover the history of the sport, as well as attempt their own challenge.
The video content was promoted via the influencers’ Facebook and Twitter channels, with the reach further amplified further with the support of Casumo’s PR agency who capitalised on the buzz around the campaign.

The results were confidential, but very impressive, and succeeded in establishing Casumo as a fun, slightly different online casino brand.

Most Effective Social Campaign
The Open University – #iwas campaign
The Open University (OU) was up against some big guns in this category, but triumphed with a minuscule budget of under £10,000. As one of the judges remarked: “I loved how simple the campaign was, yet it was engaging and inspiring.”

The aim of the campaign was to highlight the importance of part-time distance learning (and the OU’s role as a key provider) in the run up to the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which focuses on Higher Education for 18 to 21-year olds, and the positive impact on the UK skills gap and wider economy. Under the umbrella of lifelong learning the OU wanted to empower its community – aged from 18 through to 80 – to share their stories and prove Higher Education should be available to all.

The OU decided to use social media to tell a story highlighting how many people could not upskill, reskill, progress or change their career without flexible, part-time education. An initial series of content was created to set the scene for the campaign, make the campaign aims clear and showcasing some pre-prepared case studies to inspire others to share their own stories.

This content included an explainer video by honorary graduate and OU alumnus Darren Harris who explained the crux of the campaign and what the OU wanted people to do. There was also an OU News story explaining the campaign with a link to get involved. And three further case study videos, as well as a series of photos from current students or graduates, which were shared on the OU’s channels and their own.

The social call-to-action was to ask the community to share the age they were when they started studying and the reasons why, using the hashtag “#iwas…” ideally with a photo of themselves, and the hashtag #lifelonglearning. The content was collated on Twitter by creating and sharing a Twitter moment.

The campaign was incredibly successful. The content created is timeless, can be used over and again to support university objectives and messages, and repurposed at each stage of the Industrial Strategy. As a second judge commented: “While # campaigns are often temporary, this is the perfect example of a larger strategy that can live beyond the digital space. The pride and celebration of those who have succeeded as part of their experience is extremely powerful and forever relevant. In the education industry people want to see and be moved by real stories and this campaign does it brilliantly.”

Over a 22 day period, the total reach was 9m, smashing the target of 5.5m. The OU received 639 success stories from its student community, and saw 7,400k clickthroughs to its #iwas landing page on the OU News website. This generated 6,400 engagements (likes or shares) and 837 retweets or shares. Social media posts were 100 per cent organic, with no money was spent on promoting these posts or any of the campaign content.

At a Parliamentary briefing hosted by the OU’s Vice-Chancellor at Westminster, as well as being displayed in the background, the Vice-Chancellor referenced some of the student stories from the campaign in his opening remarks. This helped illustrate the importance and benefit of easy and flexible routes to learning throughout life – something the UK increasingly needs in order to meet the economic and social challenges ahead.

The briefing was a success in enhancing the OU’s parliamentary visibility as a key player in lifelong learning debate. In addition, the OU’s Student Recruitment & Finance Team said the #Iwas campaign generated enquiries from prospective students because the messages from the student and alumni community were so positive and inspiring.

The #Iwas campaign was also widely talked about across campus by staff – it was seen as a positive and motivating campaign by academic and support staff during a period of significant change at the university.

All in all, a tremendous campaign that proves you don’t always need a big budget to win an award.

Most Effective Programmatic Campaign
Telegraph Media Group and Fetch – News Personalisation at a Grand Scale
The Programmatic Award went to Telegraph Media Group and Fetch for their News Personalisation at a Grand Scale campaign. This campaign also took the Most Effective Use of Data Award and the Grand Prix Award for best entry overall.

Driven by the Telegraph’s goal to drive 10m engaged users – users who return to the Telegraph site a minimum of five times – by 2020, the publisher aimed to create brand affinity with a new generation of younger readers (35-44 year olds), who demand instant and relevant online news.

To do so, it segmented its audience into six interest groups, from ‘Quality News Enthusiasts’ to ‘Mobile Lifestylers’. The segmentation included their online behaviours, device usage and content preferences. Then, by combining three different technology platforms – a Data Management Platform, the DoubleClick creative ad server and its server buying ad inventory, each group was then targeted programmatically across the web and social, with ad units driving them to relevant, personalised news content, with the help of human-handwritten headlines.

The campaign delivered impressive results. The Telegraph saw a cross-device uplift of 11.9 per cent, with 35 per cent of the returning users coming from mobile. This led to 4m engaged users (against a target of 10m users in three years). The campaign also delivered 1,200 Premium Subscriptions and £3.9m in revenue for Telegraph Travel. The stats also showed that readers who came to the Telegraph through Fetch’s campaign were four times more likely to return to the site on month three compared with the average digital Telegraph reader, and were spending on average, nine minutes on site per visit. Visit frequency increased by 15 per cent among user’s exposed to the campaign.