Campaign Media Awards 2006: Digital Sales Team of the Year - Guardian Unlimited

The massive growth of digital advertising has made headlines throughout the year, but Guardian Unlimited managed to outperform the market significantly.

The team set out to increase revenue at a faster pace than the online ad market, while gaining a reputation as a leader in terms of knowledge, service and innovation.

Guardian Unlimited started by investing in its staff's knowledge of the web and media in general, resulting in the team being considered more knowledgeable than many competitors. They trained 15 print client sales staff to sell digital to the existing print and online client base, which contributed to Guardian Unlimited winning 100 new clients in the past 12 months.

Guardian Newspapers Limited's digital director and senior editorial staff presented monthly to digital agencies and the planning departments of traditional agencies. The team also sent agencies a monthly newsletter.

Guardian Unlimited improved service by expanding its sales team, the strategic digital planning resource and campaign management team as well as adding a dedicated project management resource.

This paid off with recent research by Starfish identifying Guardian Unlimited as a media owner with a strong understanding of the media marketplace, scoring second to MSN when it came to "overall commercial offering".

The team executed more bespoke projects than the previous year, took a market-leading stance to the adoption of behavioural targeting, and achieved successful commercial use of new platforms such as podcasting.

"They deserve credit for educating the marketplace and pushing behavioural targeting up the online ad agenda," Robin O'Neil, a MediaCom associate director, says.

The team sold the world's biggest podcast sponsorship deal to Volvo, worth a six-figure sum, and produced podcast content for the Renault Megane, the Post Office and Oracle.

One of the team's most successful commercial collaborations was the Weekend Photography Prize, in association with Windows XP, which generated more than 9,000 competition entires, 160,000 page impressions on the microsite over ten weeks and an average user dwell time of four minutes, 35 seconds. Purchase intent among the audience rose 21 per cent.

The team also completed the first UK ad deal on RSS, which saw Toyota advertise on The Guardian's branded Newspoint RSS reader.

The achievements speak for themselves, with total revenue up 50 per cent. Display revenue was up 55 per cent, compared with the market growth of 40 per cent recorded by the Internet Advertising Bureau, while sponsorship revenue was up 41 per cent and search revenue up 42 per cent.

Finalist: Emap Advertising.

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