Financial Times leverages data for precision forecasting

Data Operations platform efficiency accelerates strategic transformation into a marketing intelligence platform, reaching select audiences in the right place at the right time.

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Highlights

  • 80% Time saved compared with manual reporting

  • 9 months of risky custom development saved

  • 4 person hours saved per forecast
     

  • 3x increase in reporting frequency to customers

Challenges

The Financial Times is one of the world's leading sources of news and information, with a reputation for precision and transparency. The FT delivers targeting solutions and market intelligence to brand customers through innovative new ad products, such as the award-winning Cost Per Hour (CPH) offering, alongside in-depth, granular reporting and analysis. This enables them to deliver increased audience attention for advertisers while maximizing monetization opportunities via highly granular and accurate forward sell-through intelligence. 

 

However, manually scaling up the insights needed to drive revenue quickly becomes an insoluble data challenge. On the ops side, measuring CPH performance requires ops teams to piece together large amounts of raw, real-time data coming from disparate sources. On the planning side, a site-wide inventory forecast means running almost 1,500 queries in the DFP UI, and merging the results into spreadsheets. Each forecast requires up to four-person days to create, by which time is already out of date.

What Switchboard does

Switchboard's cloud-hosted solution automates critical commercial and operational data insights to drive decisions at scale. The platform automates many complex steps – from aggregating and cleaning raw media data, to applying business rules and joins, to merging the streams into a unified data warehouse. 

 

Today, the FT has a CPH performance monitoring system, with user-friendly dashboards, powered by impression-level viewability data merged with real-time delivery data. Switchboard provides end-to-end process automation and continuous data governance monitoring, meaning no additional developer staffing is required to build and maintain expensive infrastructure.

Results

With the help of Switchboard, the FT stood up its sell-through forecast in one week and its CPH ops solution in three weeks, saving 6–9 months of risky custom development. Today, Switchboard’s platform eliminates 80% of the time required for manual CPH performance reporting, and a four-person day bottleneck in yield forecasting. 


With real-time forecasting rolled out to all teams, the FT now delivers a 3x increase in reporting frequency to customers, with a 5x increase in granularity. By leveraging a battle-proven, real-time DataOps platform, the FT now has a scalable data maturity model upon which they are able to significantly iterate and improve for the long term.

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“The prior method of compiling the CPH campaign reports took anything from two hours to half a working day. They can now take as little as 20 minutes.”
– Barry Cassidy,  Director of Advertising Data & BI

About The Financial Times

The Financial Times is one of the world's leading business news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. In 2016 the FT passed a significant milestone in its digital transformation as digital and services revenues overtook print revenues for the first time. The FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of more than 910,000 and makes 60% of revenues from its journalism.

About Switchboard

Switchboard’s ready-made data unification platform turns disparate data into a single source of reliable, trustworthy information. Business stakeholders at Orangetheory Fitness, Spotify, FT, Pearson and others get a strategic data asset for customer insights and revenue operations, while their technical teams retain control without the burden of day-to-day operations.