Published February 2018
As a company, Ford’s customer is anyone who can drive, but each of its individual brands have specific targets. Because of this, it’s important for Ford to deliver relevant messaging to the general population, as well as more targeted messaging for different brands.
That’s why Ford likes to test new strategies and tactics to understand what works best, especially in retail campaigns where the goal is to generate quality leads. And a key aspect of this is being able to reach audiences through mobile apps.
“We know that most of the ads are running in app, in mobile inventory," explained Leandro Fonseca, Digital Media Manager at Global Team Blue. "Thinking about our structure today and the results we had in the campaign, we think this type of inventory is very strategic, because practically 90% of our site visits today are already mobile."
An evolving digital strategy
Since creating better ad experiences for consumers has become more important, Ford decided to test native advertising. Native advertising is less intrusive, and fits the form and function of the publisher’s content. “Native ads are more editorial," said Fonseca. "They engage users in a different context without disturbing the experience on the site.” Ford worked with their agency Global Team Blue to identify key partners to test native, including DoubleClick.
Ford was excited to test native ads through DoubleClick, because developing the creative and setting up the campaign required minimal resources — the team simply used the most high impact photographs and compelling copy from existing creative. Not only did this minimize the amount of resources needed for the test, it also allowed the company to show relevant messaging across all environments, including mobile apps.
Huge jumps in click-through rates
Results for DoubleClick outperformed Ford’s native tests with other platforms. Compared to other partners, DoubleClick provided 59% higher CTRs (click-through rates), so Ford decided to focus all resources on DoubleClick.
Native campaigns with DoubleClick were also more efficient than standard display, driving a 268% higher CTR. Across the board, Ford saw encouraging numbers: cost-per-click for native was 75% lower than display, and the CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) was 7% lower. Ford saw the most success in mobile apps, where the CTR was 174% higher than the overall native campaign.
The key benefits of running DoubleClick campaigns are profitability — the business leads that eventually result in sales — and accurate targeting. And of course, it allows us to find the right people at the right time with the right message, which is the basic goal of programmatic.
Going beyond performance with native
Based on the learnings from the native test, Ford was able to create a more strategic digital strategy for the long run. Since native ads make it easy to create campaigns on mobile, Ford has decided to invest more heavily on improving its mobile site. The team is also looking forward to testing native ads for other business units and objectives in the future, including using video in its native ad campaigns.
“Our initial test revealed that native works well for performance campaigns. But we want to test branding and product campaigns to see if it performs well on consideration metrics as well," said Fonseca. "Our goal is to make a larger volume of creative that works with specific product features, and combine this with targeting."