Case Study: Social Finance Lifts Sales With Addressable TV Campaign

Addressable TV campaigns offer the ability to show more-relevant ads to different people who are on various devices within the same household. 

Marketers hope they’ll successfully reach audience targets and receive insights informed by data that give them a better understanding of ad performance across a variety of metrics.

Through A&T Adworks, Social Finance (SoFi), a six-year-old San Francisco-based provider of consumer financial products, undertook addressable TV campaigns in 2016 and this year to identify, target, and reach its ideal audience of “high earners who aren’t rich yet” or people in their early 30s to late 30s, said Brad Simmons, SVP of marketing at SoFi.

Addressable advertising "gives us a vehicle to target these people on television and get a data read on the types of programs and times our target audience is watching,” he said.

The company, new to TV advertising, saw a lift in the number of customers that applied for its product versus a control group. The goal of the eight-week campaigns—one in 2016 and the other in 2017—was to drive viewers to become SoFi customers.

The first campaign was focused primarily on SoFi’s student loan product and measured the impact of the campaign on customer acquisition. The second campaign pitched a mortgage product.

SoFi identified its target as adults 25 to 54 with household incomes of $150 k +. AT&T AdWorks served an addressable ad only to those households to reach SoFi’s best potential customers.

Using a control/exposed methodology, AT&T AdWorks isolated the impact of ad exposure and demonstrated an increase in conversions of those who saw an addressable ad versus those who didn’t.

AT&T said SoFi’s first addressable campaign, which segmented engagement and conversion by type of product, saw a 34.5% lift in the target group in the number of applications started and a 49.3% lift in the numbers of applications submitted, versus those in the control group, who were exposed to an in-market advertiser.

In the second campaign, SoFi added geo-based targeting to refine the target segment even more. In addition to driving results for its mortgage product, SoFi also drove conversions for its other loan products for a “halo” effect.

SoFi said it’s able to be more efficient with its media buying by using addressable TV as a platform to determine what its target audience is watching, and when. For example, a good percentage of its target works at home, so advertising on HGTV makes sense.

“That’s a real insight. Plus, we were able to match members to say, ‘I know this person was served an ad on June 3 and saw it, and he signed up for a product on June 5,’” said Margi Brown, SoFi’s head of marketing and media.

“We can buy select channels and do direct deals with networks now. We can cherry-pick programming,” Simmons said.

According to AT&T, more-targeted categories like financial services, travel, and auto perform well in addressable campaigns. “The more narrow the category, the more narrow the targeting, the higher the lift,” said Maria Mandel Dunsche, vice president/head of marketing, AT&T AdWorks. “Addressable campaigns show the power of using a targeted ad medium on TV and eliminating waste.”

But addressable campaigns can be used successfully for mass market products and services, too. “Addressable is a good complement to linear TV advertising because it allows marketers to make TV more accountable and measurable throughout the entire purchase funnel,” Dunsche said.

Dunsche provided the example of a healthy cereal brand that began an addressable TV campaign with the goal of driving sales. Targeting was based on consumers who had previously purchased the advertised product   The brand saw a more than 20% sales lift vs. the control group, and a “halo” effect of 15.6% on its other brands from the campaign.

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