Vodafone says in-housing digital media buying is 'overwhelmingly good'

In-sourcing biddable media should be 10-15% 'more effective' in year one.

Vodafone says in-housing digital media buying is 'overwhelmingly good'

Vodafone says its first results from taking biddable, digital media buying in-house have been "overwhelmingly good".

Sara Martins de Oliveira, the global director of brand and media at Vodafone, said the telecom giant has set up teams in 11 markets, including the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, Egypt and South Africa, and hired about 120 of the 150 people required in the first nine months.

Biddable media should be between 10% and 15% "more effective" in the first year of in-sourcing, Oliveira told Campaign in an interview. "If we manage that, which the first indication is we will, that is a very positive result," she said.

About 70% of the improvement comes from media efficiencies and 30% from savings.

The telecom company spends an estimated £600m a year on advertising and is thought to invest about a quarter, perhaps £150m, in biddable media.

Improving effectiveness by 15% could save tens of millions of pounds.

Vodafone has run 12 "100% in-sourced" ad campaigns since taking biddable media in-house last summer.

"The KPIs are overwhelmingly good – really, really good on every aspect," Oliveira said, explaining how Vodafone has compared key performance indicators, such as click-through rate and viewing duration, with previous campaigns.

Those campaigns have included Future Job Finder, which featured Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man and ran largely on Facebook to encourage young consumers to use Vodafone’s job-hunting tool.

Video agency Vidsy came up with the creative for the "quick turnaround, very low cost, very agile" campaign, which cut cost per click and drove a 50% increase in click-through and a 66% jump in session duration, compared with a prior campaign.

Vodafone’s decision to talk about the progress of media in-sourcing follows industry speculation that the telecom giant had run into problems.

Oliveira maintained there have been no "huge" challenges, declaring: "In-sourcing doesn’t become this monster everybody thinks it is."

Campaign revealed last June that Vodafone, which uses WPP’s Wavemaker as its global media agency, was bringing digital media buying for search, social and programmatic in-house in a pioneering step.

Oliveira said Vodafone made the move because planning and buying tools that used to be the preserve of external agencies had become easily available to advertisers and there was an opportunity to use first-party data to offer a better, more joined-up customer experience.

Brainlabs helped Vodafone on a project basis in the early stages of in-sourcing but it is understood that the UK performance agency is no longer involved.

In-housing is a growing trend. US telecom firms Sprint and T-Mobile have also in-sourced some parts of their digital media-buying.

Rob Roy, the chief digital officer of Sprint, told Campaign in November that "moving in-house has blown away our expectations in terms of how much year-over-year improvement we've been able to see".

The full interview with Sara Martins de Oliveira appears in the March print edition of Campaign in the UK and will be published online next week.

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