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“We’re NOT collecting more data”: How Gumtree is using first party data to replace cookies

In a post-cookie era, publishers are effectively adapting to maximise the potential of data through enhanced analytics. Surprisingly, the one thing they don’t need is more data, argues Gumtree’s Head of Ad Ops, Victoria Trevillion.

A recent report by marketing data company Wiland, surveying 193 publishers, agencies and brands, found companies are increasingly leaning on data enhancement and analytics to make their existing data assets work harder and smarter.

Other reports agree that the void being created by the outphasing of 3rd party cookies will make it critical for publishers to take control of their first-party data and customer relationships, “The first step is understanding and activating their own data. The good news is that publishing brands are already in a strong place and have a wealth of first-party information on their readers.”

Absolutely, says Head of Advertising Operations at Gumtree, Victoria Trevillion. Since the online classifieds and community platform adopted a new Data Management Platform (DMP) provided by Permutive 18 months ago, they doubled down on harvesting first and second party data. At the time, they realised they needed to carefully examine what they wanted to do in an environment where their advertising data gathering processes should focus on trust, content quality, and privacy protection.

We’re not collecting more data

The commitment to invest more heavily in the potential of their data has proven successful. Trevillion says Gumtree has now doubled their audience segmentation from 300 to 600 audiences. The interesting part is that the data they use hasn’t changed over the past 10 years.

We’re not collecting more data, but we’re better at harvesting and using the data more effectively in various aspects of the business.

Victoria Trevillion, Head of Advertising Operations, Gumtree

She references how previously, Gumtree used their DMP for targeting purposes only. “Now, we use it in the pre-sell process, where we approach advertisers and provide insights about trends we’re seeing on our platform that might interest them.

For example, if there’s a large spike in Barbie searches, maybe due to the film’s recent release, we can offer them the opportunity to tap into our toys category or reach parents in the market for Barbie Dolls. 

Victoria Trevillion, Head of Advertising Operations, Gumtree

“We can also identify trends like a surge in electric vehicle searches. This allows us to be more proactive in providing insights pre-sales. Then, we use that data for targeting to optimise campaigns, and we’ve seen significant improvements in meeting client objectives.

“Post-campaign, we provide advertisers with insights into user interactions and behaviours during the campaign and on our site. For instance, we can show an advertiser that people who clicked on their ads spent six times longer on Gumtree than the average user, helping them target specific users in the future.”

These improvements were not solely driven by restrictions on third-party cookies, however, but also represent a natural progression for the business. “While we were aware of the impact of third-party cookie deprecation and we have had to adapt, the shift towards more data-driven strategies was also influenced by our independence as a company” and increased “control over our strategy”.

We are now able to focus more on direct interactions with advertisers and agencies, moving away from reliance on open marketplaces and third-party revenue, which we had little control over.

Victoria Trevillion, Head of Advertising Operations, Gumtree

Highlights from our interview with Victoria can be viewed below: