How DIRECTV gets double-digit conversion rate lifts with personalized content

By Marc Hummel

May 11, 2016

45 million people move to a new home in the United States every year. This represents 45,000,000 annual opportunities for home service providers (like DIRECTV) to gain new customers and potentially lose existing ones. It makes sense: Moving is a natural time to re-consider one’s attachments to home service providers, many of which are listed among America’s most-hated companies.

This isn’t just a hypothetical business concern:

  • As many as 60% of U.S. consumers change service providers when they move
  • 80% are more likely to try new products and services
  • And it all happens within a 7-day window before and after the move

Graph

To address this business challenge…

Satellite media provider DIRECTV uses a data-driven personalization strategy to target movers.

The goals of their approach:

  • Reduce acquisition costs
  • Optimize the customer evaluation experience for potential new customers
  • Improve homepage conversion rate

Using data obtained from the USPS’s list of recent movers, they created a custom version of the DIRECTV website for movers, and displayed it to those potential customers. Then they tested their idea.

  • Version A: Control. $300 gift card offer + $10 off for 12 months
  • Version B: Experiment. Personalized content + $10 off for 12 months. No gift card offer.

Version B looked like this:

DIRECTV moving campaign

Here’s where their campaign for movers gets really cool. In addition to the $10 off/month discount offer shown above, DIRECTV would normally also promote a second offer, like a cash gift card. Counterintuitively, they found that when they tested a $300 gift card offer versus the more relevant, mover-centric homepage, the personalized version outperformed the offer.

Matt Donovan, DIRECTV’s manager of digital marketing, explains:

“Any time we can use content in a smart way to drive conversion lifts, and we don’t have to dig into our pockets to sweeten the offer, it’s great. It was one of the first times we really saw the power of the tools working together. It’s been exciting to see how we can use the tools to be smart about content and not have to continually add to the offer to drive conversion.”

The personalized ecommerce campaign also yielded a double-digit increase in conversion rate over the control version.

How did they do it?

First, DIRECTV created a special “movers experience” version of their homepage which included topic-appropriate copy and photography. They took a soft approach, with messaging that focused on reducing the anxieties of an individual in the midst one of the most stressful parts of their lives. The version of the homepage matched the information needs and eased the fears of those currently in the process of moving into a new home. The copy and design instilled confidence and emphasized how satellite television can be easier to setup and install in a new home.

In this test version, there was no $300 gift card. The only thing that changed was the content.

Next, they obtained information about movers from the USPS’s database, and fed it into Turn’s Data Management Platform. Then they used the Monetate data import tool to take action on that data. They created a consistent cross-channel experience that was delivered to the target audience, no matter how they arrived on the DIRECTV homepage (via PPC, email, or direct visitors to the site).

Here’s what the experience looked like in the Monetate interface:

We DIRECTV’s approach was successful for many reasons, and not all of them are obvious. When brainstorming future ecommerce personalization campaigns, consider the following points.

  • Awesome segmentation. DIRECTV identified a segment (movers) that would be more likely to consider a switch in service providers.
  • Empathetic design. DIRECTV created a thoughtful messaging that anticipated the needs and anxieties of their target audience (movers), and created a content experience that helped ease those concerns
  • Actionable data. DIRECTV’s personalization campaign was successful because it was relatively easy to identify the consumers they wished to target (via the USPS database). If their campaign was created around a segment for which the appropriate data was unavailable, it would’ve been just a good idea. Data is good. Actionable data is awesome.
  • Multichannel consistency. DIRECTV created a consistent cross-channel experience. When a mover clicked on a PPC ad or a link in an email, they were shown an on-site experience that matched the messaging, design, and offer of the referring traffic source.
  • The right solution. With Monetate, DIRECTV was able to bring together data from a variety of different sources and connect it to the on-site experience, no matter what kind of device the prospect was using.

For more…

Watch the video interview with Matt Donovan himself below.

Marc Hummel is a former Content Marketing Associate for Monetate. He's also a part-time grad student at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys biking to work, reading, listening to podcasts/music, and eating ice cream. Usually not all at once. For more about Marc, go here.

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