I was looking forward to my latte with Ben from MoneySupermarket because he heads up the Media Systems department, an area I’m keen to know more about. Having previously spoken to Dan – a member of Ben’s team – when I spent a day at MoneySupermarket I knew that these guys were on the ball and doing some pretty exciting stuff.
Ben is keen for his team to know the technology they use back to front (more of that to come) so it was no surprise when he grabbed my pen and started drawing me a diagram!
Digital media by its very nature runs on technology. There are numerous companies offering tech products such as a DSPs, SSPs, DMPs (see this very useful tool for explanations of these). The list goes on. In a nutshell Ben is responsible for all the technology used by MoneySupermarket’s digital marketing team. This means selecting the best product, implementing and integrating the tech and then helping the rest of the company to adopt it. In his word, it’s all about ‘solutionising’.
We all know by now that data is king. As an aggregator MoneySupermarket accrue a lot of rich data and in order to structure and roll out campaigns they rely on technology such as BlueKai which is a data management platform (DMP). As an example of this as well as an interesting tidbit, Ben explained to me the idea of propensity modelling:
As MS collects data from users on their website the information is fed into their internal database. What they then do in this scenario is look at groups of users who have bought two related products, perhaps car insurance and home insurance. They remove this group from the database and then look at those remaining users who have only bought one of those products. These users are likely to have a higher propensity to buy the other product than a user who hasn’t purchased either. (This process is far more detailed, involving demographics and scoring but this is the basic framework.) Once this group has been identified from the internal database it is transferred to BlueKai (the DMP) where is can be processed and sent to MediaMath (DSP) or Rubicon (SSP) etc for targetted campaigns.
This brought up an interesting point about the data they are able to collect about individual users. As mentioned previously MoneySupermarket, as an aggregator, is able to collect very specific data about users. I asked how helpful this was in terms of targetting campaigns. Ben explained that in fact when planning a campaign it is more of a case of grouping people accurately in order for the campaign to be as relevant as possible to as many people as possible. Having endless data on an individual is one thing but ROI comes from finding the correct balance between accurate targetting and maximum reach.
One thing that stood out about Ben was his background. Ben studied computer science at university meaning his technical knowledge is very good. This may seem an obvious degree for a Head of Media Systems to have but actually many people in his position will know what the technology can do and not how it works. Knowing how it works gives you a distinct advantage in that you are able to deal with the tech companies more fluently, spot areas for innovation and on a practical level know how long things take to do and then whether or not things are feasible. This is something he teaches his team and he advised graduates to take the time know the intricate details.
That was it then, time to go. For all the tech at Ben’s disposal it was nice to see from his drawing in my book that still nothing beats a hastily sketched diagram.