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Google tips hat to Harmoney for use of AI in marketing

10 Aug 2018

Local money lending marketplace Harmoney has been dubbed by Google as a standout case study of the powers of artificial intelligence (AI).

As part of the Advertising Week conference in Sydney, Google’s global vice president for Communications & Photos, Anil Sabharwal, spoke about how AI is shaping out lives today.

Sabharwal touched on Harmoney’s use of AI through its Smart Bidding capabilities, which is designed to find and convert its best customers.

 “Advertising Week APAC is a big event in the calendar for any marketer. For our business to be used as one of two examples in Google’s keynote during this conference was a huge boost for our team – We were so impressed with the results of Smart Bidding, so we’re glad that attendees got to hear about our experience with it,” comments Harmoney head of digital marketing, Glen MacKellaig.

What is smart bidding? It’s a subset of automated bid strategies that optimise for conversions or conversion value.

“Smart Bidding uses machine learning to optimise bids to maximise conversions and conversion value across a campaign, ultimately maximising return on ad spend (ROAS). Smart Bidding strategies, such as Target CPA, Target ROAS, and Max Conversions, use a wide range of signals to tailor bids to someone’s unique context. These include device, location, time of day, remarketing lists, browser, language, and more. “

Harmoney explains that, “As a marketer, eligibility becomes as important as intent, to judge where to spend marketing dollars. Harmoney wanted to make sure it was attracting – and approving – quality applicants, so it harnessed the power of Smart Bidding to reach more qualified leads.”

To do this, it used existing datasets to determine characteristics and behaviour of ‘ideal’ loan applicants. It then graded from A1 to F5 based on their credit history. The company was looking for A, B, and C grade applicants who could be approved for larger personal loan sums of up to $70,000.

“These A,B,C-graded applicants were Harmoney’s prime target audience when it began carefully testing Smart Bidding in June 2017.”

The company used Target ROAS automated bidding in AdWords to attract its ideal loan applicants. And the strategy worked, with a 2x increase year-over-year in ABC-graded accounts, Harmoney says.

“As the Smart Bidding algorithm has been trained to seek the characteristics and user behaviour of our prime target audience across Google’s platforms, we’ve been able to reach a new level of clarity and focus that is attracting a greater volume of eligible traffic. With Smart Bidding, we can present more accurate and relevant messaging to users, which has helped us refine our budget process to focus more closely on users who will be approved in our application process,” says MacKellaig.

To date, Harmoney has matched borrowers and lenders for loans totalling $900 million across New Zealand and Australia

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