Sky AdSmart TV Case Study: Think Ford

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Adsmart Case Study: Think Ford


Think Ford is an ambitious and successful dealership group which serves Ford customers throughout Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey, it has proved itself willing to embrace new digital marketing initiatives throughout its partnership with GForces*.

A particular area of interest for the company is online video and television advertising – specifically, using these media to target specific groups of potential customers in areas close to their four locations in Bracknell, Farnborough, Guildford and Wokingham. TV and video advertising is, in the words of the dealer’s Marketing Manager Heather Findlater, “central to Think Ford’s marketing activity, providing a very definite focus around which other marketing can be structured”.


The Challenge

Even in the age of digital video recorders, television advertising on nationwide channels is still one of the most direct ways in which retailers can advertise products and services to a wide audience. It is, however, also one of the most expensive. The wide reach and accessibility of the medium also carries disadvantages as well as advantages. Return of investment can easily be driven down by a combination of high prices and a lack of precision in targeting customers local to the dealership, and belonging to demographics unlikely to be receptive to the company’s wares.

The objective for Think Ford, therefore, was to find a means of television advertising that would target the desired demographics in a particular area of the country at an affordable cost. Doing so would allow the business to gain a crucial advantage over its competitors, none of whom had made any significant investment in television advertising. The Sky AdSmart service provided by GForces as the official reseller to the automotive retail market, promised to fulfil these goals, and Think Ford decided to proceed with the use of this tool – still new at the time (January 2015).

The Solution – Sky AdSmart

Sky AdSmart overlays the usual national scheduled advertising across the broadcaster’s main channels with programming targeted at viewers with a certain profile over a specific geographical area (selected by the user of the system through pre-existing customer data from Sky Subscriber and Experian Mosaic).

The charge for this service is levied on a “cost-per-view” basis, and only applies if a viewer watches over 75% of an advert at normal speed (i.e. without fast-forwarding or changing the channel). As well as being far more cost-effective than generic television advertising campaigns, this is a far better way to increase viewer engagement with the brand, and to raise awareness of its specific promotions.

Furthermore, by cross-referencing data about the success of a particular campaign with Sky AdSmart’s demographic data, Think Ford could assess the effectiveness of its marketing strategy and refine its methods accordingly in subsequent promotions. It was with all this in mind that the business embarked upon its first marketing drive with Sky AdSmart in January 2015.

Top Line Results

Think Ford’s New Year sale was aided by an advertisement broadcast to Sky viewers throughout the GU (Guildford) and RG (Reading) postcodes during the month of January. It was hoped that the commercial would be watched 352,000 times – the actual figure was slightly higher at 354,345. Still more pleasing was the subsequent increase in traffic to the Think Ford website, which saw over 1,000 visitors on 14 separate days over January (something which had previously only been achieved on six days between April and December 2014). Greater brand awareness, moreover, could only have originated with the Sky AdSmart campaign, as Think Ford was yet to implement any of GForces’ other total digital marketing (TDM) services at that point.

June 2015 saw the launch of Think Ford’s 10 Day New & Used Sale Event with a Sky AdSmart commercial spearheading the campaign, this time in conjunction with an array of different marketing activities including Facebook, PPC and YouTube advertising, as well as retargeting. This advertisement, which was again transmitted to Sky customers across the GU and RG postcode areas, achieved 216,076 impressions, resulting in an extraordinarily low cost-per-view figure of £0.05. This campaign delivered 272 directly attributable leads, along with a notable increase in year-on-year website traffic – further proof of Sky AdSmart’s effectiveness in nurturing the brand’s visibility.

The cost-per-view of Think Ford’s third Sky AdSmart campaign of 2015, the “September Save Event” promotion on new and used cars, proved to be even lower at £0.04. 222,871 viewers, carefully selected for their financial situation and class background as well as their GU/RG postcode addresses, saw the advertisement. The “September Save Event” resulted in a 35% increase in “Think Ford” brand searches, 45% more visitors to the Think Ford website, and 58% more vehicle valuations.

The success of Sky AdSmart during 2015 has left Think Ford glad that they adopted this marketing tool before any of their main competitors, and enthusiastic about future campaigns. “Each campaign has generated a buzz in the dealership, online and via the telephone shortly after the first airing has taken place”, says Heather Findlater. “GForces and Think Ford strive to create commercials and videos that act as business enhancers. This process will continue with ever-increasing production values”.

Content courtesy of Sky AdSmart TV.