Driving loyalty through better insight into what people want to watch

50%

increase in email open rates

50%

email opt-in rate increase

81%

lift in click-through rates

Scotland’s leading digital media brand nurtures long-term loyalty with more personalised email and mobile communications. STV of Scotland knows that its audiences have more choices than ever. To help their subscribers skip the detective work of finding programs and content they’ll watch and love, the company uses analytics-driven marketing automation to identify and recommend shows that match viewers’ individual tastes.

Challenge: Inspire long-term audience loyalty

Picture the scene: You’ve just finished a favorite TV series and you’re on the hunt for something new. With so many choices, how do you decide what to watch next?

STV, Scotland’s leading digital media brand, knows viewers have more options than ever when it comes to the shows they watch and the platforms where they watch. To nurture the long-term loyalty of its audience, the company realised it needed to build closer relationships with them. But how could they get insights into their customer’s unique preferences?

“Like many leading media companies, we securely collect sophisticated data related to viewing habits and demographics,” explains David Handling, Customer Experience Manager at STV. “But with four million active monthly viewers, identifying individual preferences was a tough challenge. Without tools to leverage digital marketing channels, it was complex and time-consuming to extract actionable insights from our data and reach out to our audience on a one-to-one basis. To achieve our engagement goals, we knew we needed to build, test, run, and analyze tailored multichannel digital campaigns at speed and scale.”

Solution: Activating an analytics-driven engagement platform

STV uses Acoustic Campaign (formerly known as Campaign Automation) to identify fine-grained segments based on a 360-degree view of audience members and then share with them tailored content via digital channels including email and mobile push notifications.

To help people reduce the detective work required to find programs they’ll enjoy, STV uses analytics-driven marketing automation to identify and recommend shows that match each viewer’s individual taste. STV selected Campaign first to identify and create fine-grained segments based on a 360-degree view of audience members. Then, the marketing and customer experience teams further used Campaign to reach these segments with automated nurture campaigns across email, web, mobile push, social, and more.

STV was impressed with how non-technical marketers can use Campaign to create segments, build campaigns, and analyse and share results.

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages. To stand out, STV aims to ensure that its communications are compelling, consistent, and relevant. “With Acoustic Campaign, we have the flexibility to rapidly identify and target the best audiences,” says Handling. “In the past, we simply didn’t have the capacity to build and execute campaigns with any meaningful degree of personalisation. Now, that’s all changed. We can bring a new campaign concept from design to market in a matter of days or even hours if the situation demands it.”

When STV was evaluating integration partners, a key criterion was an experienced team to support the migration and configuration process. “Acoustic delivered exactly what we needed,” recalls Handling. “From the outset, it was clear that we were talking to a team of knowledgeable, confident and flexible professionals, able to adapt their approach to help us achieve our goals.”

STV’s IT team worked closely with Acoustic to design the data model necessary to support various analytics use cases. The configuration requirements were complex, but the Acoustic team provided the resources to complete its transition to Campaign seamlessly and without interruption to its existing cadence of customer communications.

In parallel with STV’s digital engagement initiative for its two television channels and the STV Player, the Acoustic team also collaborated with one of the company’s newest brands: the Scottish Children’s Lottery. That brand raises funds for young people across Scotland. As STV prepared to launch the lottery, it planned to use Campaign to deliver a 360-degree view of lottery subscribers, and utilise the SMS feature.

Shannon McCulloch, Digital Marketing Executive at the Scottish Children’s Lottery, explains: “We were able to reach out to players leveraging account-related information — for example, to inform people that they had won — and to create campaigns to attract new participants and drive more revenue from the lottery site. Working with Acoustic, we successfully designed, built and tested the automated digital campaigns we needed to support our first lottery draw. Since then, we’ve raised over £4 million for children in Scotland.”

“Acoustic Campaign helps us reach our audiences with relevant, compelling content that sparks their interest and drives engagement with our brands.”

David Handling, Customer Experience Manager, STV Group

Results: Increased engagement, viewership, and program love

STV uses Campaign to share approximately 60 million targeted messages a year with viewers and lottery players across Scotland — helping it deliver relevant, compelling content to drive engagement with its brands.

Using Campaign, the company leverages its rich collection of data to deliver highly personalised communications. For example, to push a big moment on an upcoming episode of a show, STV can send mobile notifications to viewers who have been watching the current season. The day after the show airs, the company can send an email to the viewers who didn’t watch the episode in real time, encouraging them to stream it.

“We drove 40,407 streams on mobile devices from about 286,000 communications promoting several shows, which is massive considering we’re utilising two marketing channels,” says Handling. “A key advantage is that we’re able to share targeted push reminders with people who use our mobile app directly to their iOS and Android devices. This approach increased the number of viewers streaming one of our STV shows by 55%.”

“Actually, we’re driving even more streams than that,” comments Handling. “There are a significant number of streams we can’t track because viewers are watching on a different platform. For example, a viewer might get a push notification on their phone and then go watch the show on their TV.”

STV promotes live broadcasts by sending push notifications just before the show starts and during key moments in the broadcast. “What’s great about mobile push is that virtually 100% of those users will see your message,” says Handling. “For one of our live events, we saw a 746% increase in conversion rate. This strategy was so successful that we plan to use it to promote more live shows like The X Factor and the World Cup.”

After the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect, STV found Campaign to be extremely helpful in rebuilding its contact database. GDPR raises the standards for consent for EU-based subscribers, and the STV mailing list initially fell 90%! Acoustic Campaign is helping STV rebuild its lists for various channels of communication. Their email opt-in list is already back up 50%.

Campaign has a material impact on audience engagement, both for its TV and charity brands.

“We’ve lifted open rates for our morning news emails by 50%, and click-through rates by 81%,” Handling comments. “Being able to give our news desk a bigger role in creating that content has played a key factor in that success.”

McCulloch adds: “We’ve also experienced excellent results with digital marketing initiatives for the Scottish Children’s Lottery, including an onboarding campaign to encourage our existing direct debit subscribers to participate in a second weekly draw. By sharing SMS messages containing a link to claim a discount online, we can measure the number of recipients who opened the page and redeemed the offer. We’ve seen click-through rates of 10% — contributing to a significant number of new subscribers for our second draw, helping us raise more money for the charitable causes the Children’s Lottery supports.”

“In addition, we use Acoustic Campaign to promote STV Children’s Appeal Charity fundraising events, including a sponsored Kiltwalk, with a 50% open rate on our charity-related emails,” says Handling. “It’s our way of speaking to our fundraisers about our charity and keeping them current about how we’re helping kids in Scotland.”

“Overall, the performance of Acoustic Campaign has been excellent and we’re just getting started,” concludes Handling. “We plan to use Acoustic Campaign’s geolocation capabilities at popular locations such as Scotland’s airports. For example, when an STV app user is waiting for a flight, they could receive a push notification inviting them to download their favorite programs to watch while traveling.”

With an analytics-driven approach at the heart of its customer engagement strategy, STV is meeting its business objectives while strengthening its position in an increasingly competitive space.

About STV Group

STV is Scotland’s leading digital media brand and holds the Channel 3 Public Service Broadcasting license for Central and Northern Scotland. It provides millions of consumers with quality content on air, online and on demand. A wholly owned subsidiary of STV Group, the Scottish Children’s Lottery raises funds for and improves the lives of young people across Scotland.