Originally Published in: The Drum
May 19th, 2016Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has partnered with The Exchange Lab to deliver personalised ads to further encourage customers to sign up to its loyalty scheme, as part of wider data-led strategy which includes programmatic media buying. IHG has appointed The Exchange Lab (which was acquired by WPP six months ago) as its “lead programmatic partner”, as part of the hotel chain’s wider strategy, with the ad tech outfit specifically charged with devising creatives that can “effect behaviour-change at the transactional stage of the purchase process”. The process of dynamic creative optimisation involves using audience data made available from a variety of sources (this can be both first- and third-party data such as demographic or behavioural) to deliver creative content tailored for specific audience types. This is performed using The Exchange Lab’s Proteus product, which also selects the most cost effective, or best performing, programmatic channels for brands to deliver creative by plugging into multiple inventory demand sources, and then deliver said creative. Both parties claim the strategy has delivered “significant uplift” to sign ups to IHG’s Rewards Club programme, with the efforts forming part of the hotelier brand’s ‘Lowest Price Promise’ campaign efforts. Apurva Pratap, IHG’s vice-president of distribution and commercial marketing, Europe, said: “By partnering with The Exchange Lab we’re able to target guests right at the end of their booking journey, so they’re left in no doubt that if they book an IHG stay anywhere else they will overpay. It’s a tactic we’re excited to roll out and we’re looking forward to seeing how this drives channel shift towards direct bookings.” Luke Smith, The Exchange Lab’s senior business partner, said the partnership is indicative of the growing number of marketers that are “waking up” to the potential posed by such technologies, and the scale it can bring to their media buying potential. Dynamic creative optimisation has proven to be a key priority for brands in the last 12 months, but many marketers have expressed frustration at their creative agencies’ inability to do so. Speaking previously with The Drum, ex-ISBA chief Bob Wotton, recounted to The Drum some of the feelings expressed during one its town hall meetings where members aired their woes about issues facing them. He said: “There’s not a lot of it going on, and a sense of despair about agencies’ ability to actually do it… I understand the reasons: it’s expensive; labour-intensive, and not within the DNA of a lot of them. But they need to get up to pace.” The announcement from IHG and The Exchange Lab comes the same week as a report from LeanPlum suggested that personalisation of content on marketing messages, or “push notifications” improved open rates by 800 per cent, compared to average.