How credit card provider MBNA is integrating social data to build custom audiences

Nic Travis, vice-president and head of digital marketing at credit card firm MBNA, says the key to keeping on top of data is to make sure systems are ‘deeply integrated’ and to work with specialist businesses rather than big agencies.

MBNA - Sunday Times Advert-JUNE16 copy

How important is integrating social data into ad targeting?

It’s about using data in the most effective way and for us that means keeping it within the walled gardens. But it’s also about using data cleverly. The key thing for us as a credit card business is to keep the focus on the fact that we are a premium lender. So we deal in segments that have better creditworthiness.

Therefore our marketing has to be as efficient as possible so we are only reaching people who are eligible. Social data is interesting for that because we can merge internal data, data from Experian and Facebook data to build custom audiences that will take out a large group of people we wouldn’t consider lending to.

How are you keeping track with the data needs of evolving ad tech?

I think we’re in a good place. I’ve bought into the fact that the digital landscape always changes. People think we do everything slowly but that’s not the case. You can choose an ad tech platform today that might [be obsolete eventually]. The key thing is that parts of our system are deeply integrated and we make sure we work with specialists. That’s been our biggest change – to work with specialist businesses and not large agencies who claim to offer every service under the sun. Working with Infectious Media for example, we chose them because they are specialists in data and programmatic display.

READ MORE: Why social data will dominate online ad targeting

What challenges do you face integrating social data into your CRM?

As a credit card provider we have a wealth of data so we potentially don’t have the same need to gather yet more information as we know pretty much everything about customers. For us, it’s more about leveraging that data with platforms to be more effective marketing engines.

How do you see the walled garden structure of social networks evolving and impacting MBNA?

I envision a world where pretty quickly Facebook won’t just be offering ads in Facebook. It’s only a matter of time before native ads will be booked via Facebook data. I’d much rather focus on learning how to use that data. There are so many platforms, we’re through the innovation phase and there’s massive consolidation coming. Facebook has the momentum but an interesting prospect would be if Amazon was to launch its own ad network. It can bring a whole lot of different data to its own custom audience.

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