In our last blog post, we reported about programmatic advertising at Falkensteiner. With the support of adverserve, the Vienna-based hotel group has established a completely new ad serving infrastructure. We spoke to Johannes Angerer, Head of Online Marketing at the Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group, about his experiences and Falkensteiner’s learnings with programmatic advertising.
Johannes, what was your starting point at Falkensteiner when you decided to enter the programmatic world in August last year?
We have developed a comprehensive digital strategy at Falkensteiner because it is through online channels that many of our guests have become customers – and the number of our online customers is growing rapidly. Our online advertising strategy was no longer comprehensive to how the market has developed, hence our advertising budget was managed by marketing partners, but we became increasingly dissatisfied with the output. There was quite simply a lack of transparency, as well as a lack of technical means to continually optimise our campaigns.
You have finally decided to build your own ad serving infrastructure. How did it happen?
We met up with Thomas Zant and Tom Jelinek from adverserve and quickly realised the enormous unused potential we were wasting. This was mainly due prioritising other topics and the discussions with adverserve have influenced our strategy and our focus. We quickly perceived where our gaps were: We did not have our own setup, and all media channels were more or less seen and treated as islands. We had very little transparency when it came to knowing where our customers came from, how they behaved and how we should optimise the approach along the user journey, accordingly. First of all, adverserve explained to us what ad server tracking is all about – like tracking campaign data in real time, integrating all digital channels into a single system and then producing complete transparency through analysing and reporting all marketing activities.
What benefits did you expect from the project at the time and have they been realised?
I think the fundamental improvement over our previous advertising approach has been this aspect of complete transparency that I mentioned earlier, as well as the total control that comes with it. We now have data sovereignty, and not only can we check our campaigns at any time via real time reporting, but we can also directly intervene to correct them where necessary. This is extremely useful and puts us in a situation about which we could have only dreamed of in the middle of last year. The entire campaign cycle, based on programmatic and data management, has shown us how to run our campaigns in an effective and user-driven manner. This gave us an entirely new approach on how to design campaigns. Long and complicated discussions with our media partners were suddenly no longer necessary and we actually knew what we were doing. It really meant a whole new way of doing advertising for us at Falkensteiner.
From today’s perspective, what have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them in cooperation with adverserve?
The rudimentary technical understanding in the programmatic area was an enormous challenge. This is where our collaboration with adverserve was invaluable. The best prerequisite for success in such a complex project is when both sides are willing to discuss every question, concern and idea in an open way. We have learned that not every idea can be put into practice. The adverserve team properly challenged our ideas and always came up with a new one. Programmatic does not mean that everything works at the push of a button. However, after a larger test project, the numbers ultimately convinced us and that uncertain gut feeling has now given way to clear facts. We saw back then and continue to see adverserve not just as a service provider, but as a strategic partner. I think that this is how both sides see it – and that is why we enjoy so much success together.
Johannes, thank you very much for the conversation!
You are most welcome!
Fotocredits: thinkstockphotos.de: patat/Jay_Zynism