Digital Transformation – A Real Case Study

Francisco RodriguezInnovation, Online advertising, Traffic Quality, Volume & QualityLeave a Comment

Digital IT strategy & Infrastructure

It is quite challenging to summarize in a few words the work of several years, but our objective in terms of technology at JOT has always been to develop a platform of solutions and services that allow our account managers to focus solely on the optimization of digital marketing campaigns while reducing to the minimum all the other daily tasks adding very little value, hence reducing costs and improving results.

 

Let’s start with a bit of history.

Six years ago, we set the objective of accompanying our partners in their digital growth. A growth that would require managing large and varied volumes of data.
To mention a few:

  • Multiple traffic sources: Search (Google Adwords, Bing Ads/Yahoo Gemini), Display (Google Display Network, Outbrain, Taboola), Social Media (Facebook), RTB & Mobile.
  • Multiple devices (Desktop, Smartphone, Tablet)
  • Management of 1,000+ accounts between Google and Bing and 1B+ long-tail keywords.
  • Daily traffic of 6M+ clicks and 4.5B+ impressions monthly. 
  • Global coverage in 70+ countries in 17 languages.

 

And all of this while matching multiple destinations and conversion models as shown below:

All of this entailed that the account managers spent more than 70% of their time performing daily / routine tasks manually, most of these tasks being tedious and repetitive with a high threat to the quality of our operations.

 

It was very challenging to realize important changes using only Adwords and Editor and after considering several market leading tools, we decided that, both because of the way they are commercialized and to better fit our business model, we should develop “in house” a suite of applications to solve this problem.

 

Our initial focus was on automation and performance.

Automation: Automate and automate, that the account managers only have to analyze information and make decisions. Moreover, because we always need to work independently from our main partners (Google, Bing, Facebook), we could not depend permanently on their solutions, so we opted for the development of independent solutions but fully integrated with these partners via their APIs and scripts to update data in real-time.

Performance: Looking for a continuous improvement of performance and results, every night we downloaded and processed all the information of our accounts and statistics of our campaigns and we developed tools for Reporting, Management, Monitoring and Quality Controls:

  • Reporting: Economic and optimization reports including all the KPIs influencing our business.

  • Management: Keyword research, ad management, bid management, 100% automation in the creation of campaigns, automation of flows, automatic management of budgets, management of our own Black List system, conversions, tracking and much more.

  • Monitoring & Alerts: Complete system of “Monitoring and Alerts” that allow managers to be fully informed online of any abnormal behavior (for better or for worse) in our day to day.

  • Quality, Quality and more Quality: Extensive series of automatic quality controls that guarantee the proper operation of the business to make sure we deliver the highest quality of service to our partners.

    With this, we managed to reduce management times by more than 80% in a couple of years, doubling in the meantime our volume of business and eradicating human errors almost completely.

 

Adapting our platform to the ever-changing world of digital marketing

Adapting our platform to the ever-changing world of digital marketing with constant modifications of algorithms, policies and appearance of new functionalities that require us to be updated at all times.

For years, all we talked about was “Quality”. Nowadays, Analytics, Remarketing and Multiplatform Audience Management are our new obsessions, three areas especially motivating thanks to the results that they bring.

From a technical point of view especially, we still needed more to continue massively scaling up the business. For this reason, in the last two years, we have focused on two areas: Migration to the Cloud looking for the scalability of all our processes and Artificial Intelligence to see what our data tells us.

Migration to the Cloud: After analyzing the different alternatives offered by the market, we decided to bet on Microsoft and therefore moved part of our platform on premises to Azure, seeking at all times a balance between the cloud and proprietary systems, using a hybrid architecture, that would allow us to exponentially improve the performance of processes hardly scalable in our own architecture, while keeping a strict control of costs as to not diminish the profitability of the business.

The main measures carried out were:

  • Creation of a Unified Data Warehouse.
  • Generation of ETLs for obtaining information, transformation and storage in the hybrid architecture, using various platforms: On premises (Sqlserver), Azure (Sql Data Warehouse), Amazon (Redshift) and Google (Bigquery).
  • Development of services and processes: Periodicity of dump and/or handover, quality controls, logs, security and backups.

 

Artificial Intelligence: With Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning bidding, we try not only to automate tasks, but also improve optimization tasks and search for trends and market patterns to help us approach an automatic optimization of many of our campaigns.
We wanted to rely on what our data told us. For that we not only decided to work with the historical data stored over 4 years (with a volume close to 16TB), but we also decided to include external factors such as weather forecasts, wide range of events (cultural, social, sports, social networks…), that have a great impact on our accounts and are a great help to understand certain patterns and behaviors until now incomprehensible.

 

And with that we are today managing 2.7 billion keywords, 20M ads, 200K campaigns, and almost 3,000 accounts, and this across 74 countries and in 17 languages.

 

But our Digital Transformation has not ended and we continue to set up new challenges for ourselves.

 

What will be our next strategic moves?

  • We will continue to work in a tight strategic partnership with Google and Bing.
  • We will continue betting on Artificial Intelligence & Big Data.
  • We will focus on Innovation and Business Development.
  R + D + i with great dedication of internal and external resources. Participating in international projects and consortia of Big Data (Toreador, EW-Shopp, EDI, Solomon, Galleries, …) (more information in Fernando’s article)
  • We will continue developing YODA.
  Putting our technology, experience and methodology at the disposal of SMEs, not only of the big players. For them, we developed YODA (YOur Digital Agency), a 100% Fully Automated Solution that Simplifies SME’s Digital Advertising.

Innovative solution guaranteed with the European seal (SME Instrument) that will eliminate the current barriers of access of SMEs to digital marketing (more information in Camilo’s article)

We will keep fine-tuning our Social Media advertising projects: Facebook is now a reality in our generation of high-quality traffic but we still have an important way to go (more information in Jorge’s article)

 

To be Data Driven.

I would like to conclude this article by mentioning our great value, the core of our business, our Database, and everything that involves exploiting and managing this data. Data is the source of many of our joys as well as a few of our headaches. But this we can develop it further in a future blog post.

JOT,

One of the world’s leading platforms for high quality audience acquisition for global digital partners

 

Francisco Rodriguez, CTO

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