Using first-party data, Mediahuis Data Studio grows data-driven ad campaigns

By Heleen De Winne


Antwerp, Belgium


In 2017, Mediahuis implemented a data management platform (DMP) to be able to use its troves of first-party data. With more than 4.8 million registered users (in an area of 6.6 million residents) that log more than 300 million page views per month, Mediahuis’ sites generate huge amounts of valuable data.

This includes not only the data gathered from the millions of readers’ interactions with its sites, but also the first-party socio-demo info Mediahuis has of its 4.8 million registered users.

To be able to use these reams of data to offer advertisers an unparalleled advertising experience, Mediahuis centralised all of its in-house data knowledge by launching MH Data Studio, a dedicated data team within Mediahuis Advertising.

MH Data Studio is the dedicated data team within Mediahuis Advertising.
MH Data Studio is the dedicated data team within Mediahuis Advertising.

Customised approach

MH Data Studio uses its DMP to analyse all first-party data in order to create a number of category-specific audiences that advertisers can readily use. To create these segments, socio-demographic data is combined with user interest and intent information. In addition to these prepackaged audiences, MH Data Studio has created numerous bespoke segments, fully tailored to the advertiser’s needs and with the goal of driving specific business goals. 

The rise of these more custom-made segments stems from the advertisers’ desire to communicate with their very niche and specific audiences, while restricting any form of waste. And that’s where MH Data Studio came to the spotlight: It uses data analytics and data science to build personalised ad campaigns and to provide their advertisers with custom audiences and insights.  

One way they try to achieve this is by placing a pixel on an advertiser’s site, or by matching databases or matching DMPs. This not only allows them to (re)target (or exclude) existing visitors or clients of the advertiser with personalised messages on the network of Mediahuis, it also allows the data scientists of MH Data Studio to analyse the audience profile of a specific advertiser.

By cross-referencing the visitors of clients of the advertiser with its own first-party data, Mediahuis can get an insight into their socio-demo profile, their reading and surfing behaviour on the Mediahuis sites, and the different interest segments they might belong to.

This unlocks valuable insights on the type of message and content the advertiser should use to effectively approach his clients. As a result, they can now answer questions like:

  • Which interest profile is most likely to buy the advertiser’s product or service?
  • How can she use this information to approach or target new potential clients and target groups?
  • How do visitors that don’t convert on an advertiser’s Web site differ from the people that do convert?

By using machine learning capabilities and lookalike modelling, whether it be on existing clients, Web site visitors, or surfers that previously engaged with banners, Mediahuis can intelligently expand and enrich the relevant audience for an advertiser’s campaigns.

Successful results

By investing in first-party data and launching the MH Data Studio, huge dividends have been paid. Due to Mediahuis’ local character and by putting flexibility, transparency, and respect toward advertisers and readers first, it can offer a level of service that media giants can hardly match.

Mediahuis now continuously runs custom-audience campaigns across its network of sites. In 2019 alone, more than 700 targetable segments were deployed in advertising campaigns and more than 50 pixels were placed on the sites of various brands. This resulted in many successful data-driven campaigns and insights.

Moreover, Mediahuis had an 82% increase in data-driven campaigns in 2019 compared to 2018. This shows that advertisers are in need of data-driven solutions backed by powerful first-party data, which is why MH Data Studio proves to be a successful advertising service.

About Heleen De Winne

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