Lloyds Banking Group is pushing programmatic beyond direct response, opening up new brand opportunities

Programmatic isn’t just for direct response for Lloyds Banking Group - soon it could be used to make awareness part of the consumer journey.

How do you take the emotion out of TV and put it into digital? It’s a sprawling conundrum that the banking firm will tackle in earnest next year when it tries to stack its media to perfectly amplify its TV advertising on smaller screens.

“I want to test using emotional responses to try and see if I can gauge people's reactions to seeing a still from one of our TV ads on our website and get them to think Lloyds more often,” said Ed Cole, marketing manager for marketing performance and optimisation at Lloyds Banking Group.

It could mean that Lloyds’ TV bursts throughout 2016 are supported online by continual strategies optimised to push brand metrics. And so whereas digital has traditionally been measured in a 30-day window, the bank will explore wider periods to build its brand and drive longer term incremental growth.

“The 30 day window in digital is a big challenge, it needs to vary by product,” said Cole at Quantcast’s Supernova conference this month. This will push programmatic to shift longer-term metrics, he continued, despite other companies believing it’s only good inciting action and driving conversions.

“If you think about mortgages, which are a very long term product for example then I need to move past a 100 day cycle to maybe a 365 day window or even longer. Tactically it’s about always-on activity and constant testing – 365 days or even longer. You can then look at the impact of something like a TV burst by continued online engagement that amplifies what consumers are responding to.”

But Lloyds can’t do this on its own and is working with data providers to understand how it can start to measure the long-term effects of all its advertising. The bulk of these efforts will flow from its data management platform (DMP), which will be external though Lloyds is yet to decide on which one to partner with. Cole sees the ad tech’s arrival as a milestone in its bid to work out how it measures the whole customer journey – both online and offline.

Pushing first-party data through a DMP is one of the core aspects separating advanced and novice programmatic advertisers, with many like Mondelez and Mars exploring the idea of setting one up. For Lloyds, it’s a chance to not only gain more oversight of its own data but also to uncover the right ways to target consumers – whether it’s for direct response or brand. “The industry has yet to solve the attribution issue,” said Cole, who cited the DMP’s potential to put a value on the telephone in the journey.

“As a group we’re just starting to answer it. We couldn’t even consider it until [ad] tagging was in place and with things like the DMP coming through we can start to think about how to measure it all together.”

“I need to start to work with data providers to understand how can we start to measure the long-term effects of all my advertising,” he added. And like GlaxxoSmithKline, Cole said he knows what he needs to do join “those bits and pieces of advertising up”, he just hasn’t found a company that can do it yet.

Beyond its ad tech stack, Lloyds is also running more incremental creative tests to see what ads people respond to. Do they want a direct response type of message or do they want a price message? Lloyds’ ads are being repeatedly tested on questions like this in order to sharpen the creative as the bank pushes to get the right ad sorted now that it knows how to send them to the right time and place.

“We haven’t got the right ad yet but we’re working with our creative agency to understand how,” said Cole. “We’re looking at what we can say within our guidelines to the person to make them want to either direct respond and convert at that time or in a brand response campaign trigger an emotional response and they go on to later do something with the brand.”

Lloyds’ ambition to turn programmatic buying into a brand build tool could also see viewability used to optmise campaigns. It’s an issue top of mind for the bank following tests throughout 2015, although its resigned – due to the issues around an agreed metric – to using it as way to determine which publishers are delivering more ads that are going to be given an opportunity to be seen as oppose to a currency for trading.

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