March 14, 2022

A-List & Creativity Awards 2022


Shop is A-List 2022 Data & Insights Agency of the Year

Credit: Courtesy Digitas

The COVID-19 pandemic upended a lot of advertising practices, but one of the most important ones has been data. As brands saw consumers start to behave in entirely new ways to adjust to pandemic life, marketers needed to adapt—and Digitas' data capabilities enabled them to do just that, said Jen Faraci, chief data officer at Publicis Groupe's Digitas.


One example was Dunkin’, which tapped Digitas to help its stores attract more visitors last year. Digitas used location data to look for people near Dunkin' stores, particularly people who also had a purchasing history that showed they were Starbucks drinkers but may have stopped going to the rival chain during lockdowns. Those people appeared to be up for grabs. “We were able to combine the store visitation data with competitive data to really start to target consumers who are more likely to be in the vicinity of a Dunkin’,” Faraci said.


Over the summer, the Dunkin’ campaign identified 6 million potential customers to reach. Faraci said the targeted advertising campaign boosted store visits by about 575,000 people. Digitas has said that the campaign helped generate almost $3 million in incremental revenue.


For Whirpool, the agency applied its data to predict when consumers will be in need of new appliances, and it created personalized messages to three segments: Emergency duress shoppers, expected duress shoppers and exciting life change shoppers. The result was a 6 point increase in brand preference, 35% growth in consideration, 26% growth in store visits to key retailers and a 51% reduction in marketing cost per purchase, according to the agency.


Agencies like Digitas are evolving how they use data, because there are so many new sources of data and the way it is applied is changing. There are new rules about how data is collected—such as Apple restricting data sharing on iPhones—which has made it more difficult for marketers to rely on data they and their partners don’t collect themselves. In 2019, Publicis bought Epsilon, a data company that has troves of research, and Digitas has baked data into its foundations and integrates with Epsilon PeopleCloud. “We have invested in people who are well-versed in the systems,” Faraci said. “And I think that is starting to pay off.”


Digitas said it won more than 18 new clients in 2021, including The Auto Club and Talbots. It expanded its relationship with existing clients including Sephora and Goodyear. The data and analytics team is not the only part of the agency that is playing with numbers, either. The agency wants the whole team to think about how data affects strategy and creative. “We operate with a culture of data,” Faraci said.


The data is not just being used to manage advertising campaigns, but it makes Digitas a consultant for how brands should conduct business. For instance, its data helped brands understand how to navigate COVID-19, predicting when people were coming out of their homes finally. Retailers wanted to know if consumers would start to shop in stores, and when they did whether there were emerging products that were important to carry. Digitas also mines social media to understand what hot products are rising on platforms such as TikTok.


“I think a lot of clients realized that the way through the pandemic was going to be to apply data in new and more complex ways,” Faraci said. “Because they could no longer rely on people behaving the same way they always had.”

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