3 mins read

How Hello! leveraged first-party data to raise client ad brand awareness

Case Study is the official website of the weekly celebrity news magazine Hello!, and is the UK’s leading celebrity news site. Started in 2001 to complement the print magazine, the site now attracts over 40M unique users each month, with an additional 15M across its social channels such as Snapchat, Apple News and TikTok.

Hello! knew that its first-party data segments had a positive impact on metrics, such as click-through-rates (CTRs) across both display and paid media — resulting in CTRs increasing by an average of 33%. But the publisher was seeing an increased demand from clients to prove the uplift of commercial campaigns on brand awareness in their ‘request for proposals’ (RFPs).

Hello! is not alone with this problem, indeed it’s an issue many fellow publishers have encountered when writing RFPs for ad clients. While CTRs are a traditional — but somewhat outdated — measure of success, a click is increasingly considered an unreliable or poor measure for brand awareness, consideration and campaign effectiveness. 

The publisher also wanted to understand and prove the strength of their audience, provide more granular insight and help bust some reputational myths for their advertisers that would enable Hello! to own a stronger sales narrative.

Project Drumbeat

Hello! magazine’s answer to the challenge was an initiative they labelled ‘Project Drumbeat’. First-party data platform, Permutive, was a key part of the product development roadmap, allowing the publisher to bring their product innovations together with a shared common theme of data and targeting at the heart of its strategy. 

The project involved a split test approach and a data journey, through site collection, segmentation and analysis, to targeting and optimisations in-flight. Permutive’s platform was used across the whole journey.

“With more and more partnership campaigns stressing the importance of proving brand awareness and consideration, we thought it would be interesting to explore whether we can tie this to the power of our first-party data.” 

Robbie Bates, Head of Programmatic and Data Strategy, Hello!

The subsequent audience insights have been used by Hello! to power campaign effectiveness reports at ‘Post Campaign Analysis’ (PCA) and on new RFP responses, building Hello!’s creative ideas and sales approach. 

Results from using first-party data

Overlaying audiences powered by first-party data increased client ad brand consideration by over 15%. By using rich audiences collected on-site, Hello! drove better quality, more interested and relevant audiences to its advertising and branded content. Audience insights also drove re-bookings from key clients, as tests proved brand consideration and final campaign effectiveness.

“We now have a first-party data solution, which drives performance, for one. For two, we’ve increased our capabilities from an insight perspective massively, we’re now able to provide our clients with more granular insights proactively, mid-campaign and post-campaign, which is ultimately new conversations and also repeat booking

Robbie Bates, Head of Programmatic and Data Strategy, Hello!

Leveraging first-party data has also seen Hello! achieve over 25% revenue growth year-on-year in its brand partnerships — working with brands including John Freida, Coach, River Island, Facebook and Swarovski. This success has been largely driven through new revenue lines and digital product innovation, including integrating the Permutive platform to power its first-party data strategy. 

Audience insights are also driving stronger narratives to help Hello! sell, upsell and rebook clients across entertainment, lifestyle, fashion beauty and technology verticals. Tier 1 ad clients have tripled spends YOY with increased insight and campaign effectiveness metrics being provided at end of campaigns.

Publishers have traditionally drawn the short straw in the advertising ecosystem. However, the tide is changing and a publisher’s first-party data is going to be needed to power the future of digital advertising. Yet this can only happen if relationships are built on trust – trust between publishers, advertisers and consumers

Aarti Suri, Senior Customer Success Manager, Permutive

Looking to the future

Hello! is now looking to run similar Project Drumbeat tests on audiences powered by first-party data across on-site and creative display advertising, as well as expanding on metrics and measurement that go beyond ‘the click’.

Working with Permutive has helped us to unlock the value of our first-party data and opened new doors for us with advertisers, while improving the quality of our RFP responses.

Tamsyn Spires, Publisher at HELLO! Magazine, HELLO! Fashion,