If you don’t know what’s driving your sales, how can you best invest your marketing dollars? That was the question Joella Duncan, Director of Media Strategy at Equifax, decided to tackle when she discovered that up to 40% of the credit reporting agency’s sales weren’t attributable–i.e., they couldn’t tell which channel or source they came from.

Declining numbers of third-party cookies–and the associated loss of cross-site consumer data–meant it was nearly impossible to understand the customer journey for almost half of their sales. Joella knew she had to quickly take action to future-proof the business. While this was a challenge from a marketing perspective, for Joella it was positive for consumer privacy:

“Not only is Equifax focused on putting the consumer first, but likewise me as a person and a marketer, I believe that putting the consumer first and serving their needs builds loyalty and builds the relationships that you need,” says Joella. She touches on an important trend: that consumers will put their trust in trustworthy companies, those that don’t play fast and loose with their data. 

In response to the declining levels of attribution data, Joella and her team began a strategy of “knocking on doors.” Each month they carve out a percentage of their budget to put against experimenting with new audiences to drive results. Right now, her entire conversion team is running tests and continually optimizing.

Joella brought Quantcast on board at the beginning of 2020 to provide help with better understanding her audience. While not a data scientist herself, Joella is extremely data-driven. This meant that having a partner that walked the walk when it came to insights was essential. Since working with Quantcast, she’s seen more high lifetime-value customers come on board which means they’re attracting more premium customers who are not “churning out.”

An Agile Advertising Partner

Being data driven is one thing. Being able to act on that data is another. With Quantcast, Joella has been able to quickly move budgets as new opportunities and audiences emerge. This means she’s confident she’s getting the best results for her investment and not missing out on opportunities to reach new audiences. 

One of the early signals that made Joella excited about the opportunity with Quantcast was the short time in which the campaigns hit optimal efficiency. According to Joella, most programmatic or other advertising partners take four to six weeks to hit optimal performance. “Quantcast did it in two,” she says. 

At some point in every campaign come diminishing returns, when each dollar spent has less and less impact on results. Joella hasn’t seen that with Quantcast to date as return on ad spend (ROAS) continues to grow. 

Machine Learning Solving Real Business Challenges

In a year that shocked and disrupted a wide range of industries, many senior marketing leaders saw their carefully curated plans go out the window and have struggled for growth since. Joella’s pandemic experience has been different. Equifax grew by double digits in 2020, remarkable growth especially for an established business. 

Joella sees machine learning and AI as key to future growth. With third-party cookies going away, AI will be core to probabilistic data, she says. Even basic elements like measurement and attribution will rely on it. The prospect of more and more sources of data being measurable and able to have AI applied to them is an exciting prospect. As the potential for AI is unlocked over time, she expects it to begin to influence–and take care of–more and more decisions. 

That is one reason why Joella is excited for her team to adopt the latest self-serve capabilities of the Quantcast Platform. She believes the time it will free up will enable them to be more creative and thoughtful when it comes to strategic innovation and testing more ideas. Today, the platform and its machine learning engine Ara™ takes in a wide range of signals to train its models. This range of data is essential to helping Equifax to widen the funnel and identify more high-value customers. 

Joella Duncan recently spoke at Quantcast’s Virtual NOVA event. Find out more about what she and a wide range of other Quantcast customers had to say and watch the replay here.