Why Gumtree is making changes to its digital ad spend

Online video within digital spend is proving less effective as a channel for brand campaigns than previously hoped, Gumtree's marketing director told Campaign - but the brand is spending more overall with tech platforms.

But the latest stage of the brand's campaign, "Make it happen", will focus on TV and VOD, rather than online video.

Created by Fold7, the new ad seems to depict a series of people and objects moving between the mobile screen and a home, reflecting the brand’s ability to cater to key moments in life, such as having a child.

It was created by Adrian Lim and directed by Simon Willows through Agile. The media agency is the7stars.

While last year’s launch of the campaign had been about conveying an emotional message, this spot was intended to be more response-driven, Hannah Wilson said.

"What we needed to do when we rebranded was change people’s perception of us – but we wanted to ensure that was driving a response as well," she said. "We felt it [the first stage of the campaign] had done the piece of work to reposition us, and now we wanted to focus on normalisation."

"Normalisation" meant establishing the brand as having a frequent role in catering to important life events, Wilson explained.

"The heart of what we do is offering people opportunities whether that’s a home, or a job, a new car or an item of furniture – from the life-changing to really small things," she said.

"We looked at the turning points in people’s lives, and what we saw is that there are a huge number of turning points – leaving home for the first time, moving in with friends. Even with being a parent, there are so many different stages: growing out of their baby things, going to school, when they start having guitar lessons or doing different sports, then often the second or third child."

Alongside the run on TV and VOD, Gumtree had already been running radio and out-of-home for a few weeks. There will also be some digital and paid social for the brand campaign – but while Gumtree is increasing its overall digital spend, including on ads to drive app downloads, it is cutting the amount it puts into digital brand advertising.

On YouTube, for example, Gumtree has stopped running its brand campaign, though still runs app download ads. This decision was largely from evidence mounting that digital was less effective as a brand channel than it was for performance advertising, Wilson said.

"We did have some concerns about brand safety but I think those have been addressed. I think the platforms are all working very hard or moving towards the point where you can do like-for-like comparisons on effectiveness, and ensuring there is a responsibility for brand safety."

She added that she was optimistic the digital landscape would be able to innovate to become a stronger channel for brand advertising: "I’m sure it will – I just can’t envisage what that will look like at the moment."