Cross-funnel display campaign improves response for American Express: DMA All For One

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American Express Co. reaped a 450% higher response rate using a full-funnel display ad campaign to promote its Pass prepaid debit card than it would have using an upper-funnel-only strategy, said Marleta Ross, VP of global marketing at the financial services company, on June 21.

The company ran display ads on premium online sites to raise awareness and then worked with demand-side platform MediaMath to target the ads as consumers engaged with them and a dedicated website. It did so because the product was new and targeted a specific consumer base of parents with teenagers, she said at the Direct Marketing Association's All For One Marketing Summit on June 21.

“In the beginning of the campaign, we heavied up on the awareness media to drive people through the funnel. As the MediaMath algorithm started to learn who people of interest would be, we shifted the plan where we could drive more of the media and engagement in the lower and middle funnel,” she said. “So actually the economics started to work out, and we started to actually see scale.” 

The three-tier funnel strategy not only generated higher response rates than upper- or lower-funnel-only approaches, but also delivered a 73% lower cost-per-acquisition rate than a lower-funnel strategy, said Ross.

Rick Greenberg, SVP of client solutions at MediaMath, said the full-funnel program allowed American Express to retarget consumers as they moved through the funnel, thereby avoiding serving the same ads to a single consumer and potentially driving away a prospective customer.

He said retargeting also helped the company employ a cost-efficient bidding strategy that paid for the investment in more expensive display buys on premium sites.

“You can remarket differentially not only from a tailored messaging standpoint but also the bid strategy,” he said. “So folks that drop lower in the funnel are going to tend to be higher response rates, so you can bid higher for them when you recontact them. You can also message them differently as they drop down in a different stage of the funnel."

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