From Advertising to Audience

Our data tells a story about Kiwis’ lives as they view, search, watchlist, buy and sell on Trade Me. To bring you better insights on our diverse audience groups, we’re shifting the focus of our advertising business to be audience-led.

We’re changing our name of our team too, from Trade Me Advertising to Trade Me Audience.

Our view is that ‘traditional’ online advertising (which has been around for about 25 years) needs to be more sophisticated to serve advertisers. We know they need more targeted and useful methods of reaching the people best suited to their campaigns.

By shifting our focus explicitly towards audiences, advertisers will use our data and insights to inform their plans and deliver more relevant messages. For example, through our data, we can unearth that people in the audience intending to buy an SUV are also looking at lifestyle property, watersports and pets.

We build a picture of their lifestyle and why they are a perfect target for that particular vehicle. We’ve got insights like this for 178 audience groups and counting, as we’re growing and updating these every day.

The audiences are created from the 1.8 million active members in an average month (and 800,000 on Trade Me each day), with data science bringing together millions of historic and real-time interactions for curated audiences. The insights generated help challenge (and support) media and business strategies, and deliver the right message at the right time via the right creative.

We know it works too. Our Audience Insights product won the IAB NZ Digital Product of the Year.

*Monthly average, June August, 2018 Google Analytics, Trade Me.

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Lifting our advertising game

Speaking at the Salesforce World Tour in Sydney, Head of advertising, Paul Mant told attendees that we faced an already high bar of excellence expectation before bringing on the Krux (now Salesforce) data management platform (DMP).

“Most of our clients believed we were a data goldmine before we’d even entered strategy around DMP,” he said. “So there were big expectations to bring all our interactions to life.”

Adopting a DMP allowed us to take millions of historic and real-time interactions, bring them together then be able to “get in the [media] curation game in a meaningful way,” Mant said.

An example is by creating personas, such as the first-home buyer, pet friendly or young family, based on different demographic and geographic data sets, plus a user’s interactions within the property part of the Trade Me site.

“Pull those three data sets together and take that to a banking client, and they can put the right message at the right time to the right audience with the right creative,” Mant said.

Across our insurance company division, meanwhile, utilising a DMP is helping the company to innovate and use its own data to inform media creative for targeting new audience segments, Mant said. One example was deciding to adapt the look of its mascot, Simon the Sloth, who used to ride around on a skateboard and did a lot of snorkelling. The creative now sees Simon packing boxes in order to better reflect the young family moving into its first home.

We also adapted creative further after discovering that it wasn’t resonating with consumers outside of urban areas, changing the colouring scheme and basing it on a consumer’s local rugby team.

“Curation was our first priority. Secondly, it was about making audiences available for programmatic buying so advertisers have an unfair advantage in buying with us,” Mant said.  

Stage three for us is to increasingly use insights to inform business decision making. “So it’s not just marketing having discussion around what the data means before we start to curate,” Mant said.

“Having a DMP allowed us to do all of that. We thought we’d be flogging products for at least 10 years but we’re achieved that panacea where we start to lead with insights.”

This article was first published by

Using audience data to power creative and increase conversion

The challenge

With large targets becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to reach and tracking results from vanilla creative proving troublesome, Life Direct needed to establish why people bought insurance.

With the objective of increasing sessions to the site by 50% YOY and increasing Life Direct quotes by 10% YOY, we were able to use an engaged audience to drive action/conversion by leveraging the Trade Me data personas across the Trade Me network.

Back to Trade Me Advertising

Testing and prospecting

We reviewed personas that were indexing higher than others and made recommendations. By working collaboratively with Life Direct and agencies MBM and EightyOne, we confirmed which personas should shape creative to test. Creative was developed with targeted offers and messaging.

Prospecting and re-marketing

After the first month we reviewed results and confirmed which personas to continue with, and added remarketing messaging across personas on both Trade Me and external sites. 45 banners were then created relating to the stage in the cycle people dropped off the site, to try and mitigate this happening. Initial findings included an audience interest in property, DIY and suggested they were family focused because of the items they were buying or selling.


We saw an uplift in post-click conversion rates when we started using specific/persona-lead messaging. Sessions increased over 50% YOY and quote conversion improved well over 10%.

Why it was so successful

The Ads team worked together to achieve the same goal with an agreed brief with Life Direct, MBM and EightyOne, end to end and testing allowed to validate the new approach.

How we helped Flight Centre’s enquiries increase by 68%

In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, Flight Centre challenged their digital advertising agency, FCB New Zealand, with a seemingly impossible task to increase travel enquiries by 20% and bookings by 10%. The answer came with our extensive collection of first-party search data.

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Data is a Daiquiri

In the late nineteenth century American mining engineer Jennings Cox found himself in Cuba in a bit of a fix. He’d run out of gin and tonic, and guests were on their way. What he did have was some potent local rum. Which he thought he might get away serving if blended with lime juice, crushed ice and sugar. This creative innovation gave birth to the Daiquiri.

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