Ben Will, digital media specialist for Virgin Australia.
As part of Sir Richard Branson’s global phenomenon, the Virgin Group, Virgin Australia shares one of the brand’s key cornerstones: changing business for good. In 2005, the airline was the first in Australia to introduce mobile check-in and has remained at the cutting edge of in-flight entertainment. That early adoption mentality is a key reason Will and Rossi embraced the opportunity to be the first-to-market users of Adobe Audience Manager for the Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) Custom Audiences beta in Asia-Pacific markets.
“We were using Audience Manager for several channels within media buying and website personalisation, where previously we only utilised it in terms of display buying because there were no proper integrations with our search campaigns,” remembers Will. “But the possibility to leverage the same segments in search and display is great because that centralises it all and enables us to apply it in the same way. In terms of orchestrations of our multichannel media mix, it provides a better way to align our audiences and create relevancy.”
Using Adobe Audience Manager, Virgin Australia and Columbus have been able to execute audience-targeted digital efforts in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand across the Microsoft Search Network (formerly the Bing Network) and with display advertising on Microsoft properties.
“We’re always on the lookout for things to test,” Rossi says of their mindset. “Our approach to testing is a 70/20/10 approach: 70% of our budget and time spent is on what we know as our foundation, then we have 20% looking for new opportunities, and the final 10% is focused on trying something we haven’t ever tested before.”
For Will and Rossi, that approach allows them to operate in a sweet spot of sorts, where their successes are maintained, while they remain at the forefront of industry innovation.
“It has been quite an exciting journey from the beginning, where the Columbus team was mainly focused on search, to now, where we’ve diversified the strategy and we’re supporting the entire business with a performance-driven approach to digital media buying,” marvels Will. “We’re always trying to test out the newest features and be very innovative in our approach, so we can utilise data as much as possible in our media buying and ensure we’re efficient and effective in our media spend.”
Rossi started at Columbus nearly five years ago and was particularly thrilled to take on the Virgin Australia account, which was an open-minded working environment. “Working on an account like Virgin Australia is ideal. It’s the account you want to work on because we get to do the coolest things,” he says. “We have flexibility while we get to simultaneously play a pivotal role in a lot of interesting campaigns and deliver case studies such as this one, which really shows the expanse and breadth of the work we’re delivering.”