Integrated ad server connection and subscription models facilitate online advertising
As part of the Scout24 group, ImmobilienScout24 is one of the leading internet companies in Europe. The real estate platform leads the market in Germany, with eight million new users per month, and rising. The company’s goal is to bring together people looking for properties to rent or buy and suppliers of real estate. Other market sector offerings, such as mortgages or the evaluation of market data, are also a major opportunity as the platform develops.
For ImmobilienScout24 to continue observing stable growth, it was essential to forge new paths in the area of advertising, and to optimise the processes involved. That is why the ad sales and ad management teams have been working with ADvendio’s cloud solution since July 2014 to achieve superior advertising effectiveness.
Before the implementation of ADvendio, ImmobilienScout24 had no integrated solution for online advertising and the staff had to manually switch back and forth between different systems. Previously, all reservations and bookings were managed via an MS Access database, and PDF packages were created in Salesforce using data that had to be entered manually into the ad server for each job. “Our processes were less than optimal,” says Christoph Knoch, Senior CRM Business Manager at ImmobilienScout24. “For every customer enquiry, our sales team manually checked availability in the Access database before entering the booking information onto two different systems. First, onto the Access database so that it was visible to the sales team, and second, onto the ad server so that the advertisement either continued to run or was manually taken down. This was a huge effort. Due to the manual work, the occasional error to do with actual availability was also slipping in.”
ADvendio and Salesforce allow maximum flexibility
Increased efficiency would be required if ImmobilienScout24 was to achieve its target growth. As Christoph Knoch had already had good experiences with ADvendio at Jobscout24, the decision quickly went for the cloud solution.
“As well as my good experiences in the past, a crucial factor was the innovative and flexible Salesforce platform on which ADvendio is built upon. We have been working with Salesforce since June 2010, and we are very satisfied,” says Christoph Knoch. “We also sought a future-proof system to complement Salesforce. For example, we are currently working with an ADTECH ad server, but if we ever wanted to expand or change, it would have to work just as well with the new system. With ADvendio it is possible at any time, and we can incorporate as many ad servers as we like while continuing to work without cumbersome intermissions. Thanks to ADvendio, our efficiency has increased by up to 50% per campaign, and that is not including time spent on reporting. The final resulting time savings could be even higher. The staff is also happy with the new automated workflow: no more media disruptions, no more entering information twice, and everything is automatically passed to the ad server.”
In January 2014, ImmobilienScout24 started adapting and implementing ADvendio. The implementation was divided into two projects. The first started the ad server integration for the key accounts in traditional media sales, while the second created a specially adapted and customised solution for the telesales staff. These needs could readily be met with ADvendio. The comprehensive all-in-one solution covers many advertising processes as standard, and can also be customized according to customer requirements.
The traditional agency business is being automated
Media sales at ImmobilienScout24 make use of traditional online ad business, mostly through agencies, who place banner ads for customers accordingly. With ADvendio, ad management staff can meet ImmobilienScout24’s ambitious growth targets much more efficiently, by carrying out every task from order processing to reporting using the same application. The automatic connection to the ad server also lets them share performance data directly with the customer. This has allowed the speed and transparency of the entire ad sales process to improve from both staff and customer perspectives. “For our media sales team, only a few adjustments in ADvendio were necessary. In essence, the solution corresponded to almost 95% of our needs from the start,” notes Christoph Knoch.
Subscription bookings with integrated ad server connection
The next step was connecting the telesales team to ADvendio via a digital booking calendar in December 2014. The telesales department mostly offers very exclusive subscription products of a longer duration. Estate agents can book these onto specific regions and sections of the real estate portal according to the focus of their area of work. This required the automation of different item numbers with different durations and regional prices. “It provided us with a major challenge”, remembers Christoph Knoch. “In contrast to typical usage of ADvendio solutions in media sales, we needed a solution that is specially adapted to subscription offerings for the telesales team. Usually, ad servers do not support subscription features, that is to say, the automatic extension of products. With the ADvendio booking calendar, we were eventually able to provide a very simple solution for our staff. They only need to enter the product in question, and the time and region required, done. The complicated technical know-how is under the bonnet, so to speak.”
To ensure the new solution really delivers great time savings, the ADvendio team has highly automated the entire subscription booking process. Whereas previously the staff in the sales area of ImmobilienScout24 regularly had to manually read out the data to check which campaigns expire and which ones need to be lengthened, this can now happen automatically. Then, the telesales team of ImmobilienScout24 creates a reservation with the ADvendio booking calendar and generates an electronic proposal. As soon as a customer confirms the reservation for an inventory space and a region, the booking is redirected to the ad server. Even subscription products can be managed with ADvendio solutions; an extension will be automatically detected and the updated data is then transmitted to the ad server. If the customer does not confirm a reservation, the place will automatically become free after the expiry of the reservation deadline. However, the ad sales team can archive the reservation and view the information at any time in case of new orders, meaning that the entire customer history is continuously recorded. This makes it possible to provide an individualised consultation in response to customer enquiries, based on previously entered reservation and booking information. This significantly improves the level of customer service.
The subsequent reporting also ensures more transparency for the customer. In future, automated email campaigns can draw on performance data and send personalised emails to the client, in which the performance is conveyed.
Planning for the future: fully optimizing ADvendio’s range of functions
“In future we want to use ADvendio’s reporting capabilities even more intensively, which includes more extensive reporting on customer level”, says Christoph Knoch. “In addition, we can already observe the major benefits that ADvendio delivers. When we started implementing the new system, the weaknesses of the old one were highlighted once more. All the data was different and not uniform. With ADvendio, everything is much more structured and without media disruptions.” In 2015, the company plans to continue its steady growth. ADvendio will provide a considerable boost. “Right now, we are certainly only scratching the surface of ADvendio’s full range of functions. However, the feedback from our staff is so positive that we want to integrate the solution even further,” says Christoph Knoch.