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How Digital Virgo optimizes marketing spend in real-time with Snowplow BDP 

Learn how Digital Virgo uses Snowplow Behavioral Data Platform to gain new subscribers, remove team silos, reduce data latency, and introduce standardized reporting. 

After switching from Google Analytics to Snowplow and Snowflake, Digital Virgo, one of the world’s leading specialists in mobile payments via telecom operator billing solutions, has reduced data latency by 90% and eliminated data silos by integrating Snowplow with Snowflake. Digital Virgo has access to standardized data reports from all 40 countries in which it operates and has been able to significantly improve the quality of its data collection through convergence to a single source of truth.

Background

Digital Virgo enables the payment of products and services via the carrier billing system by connecting premium merchants to telecom operators worldwide. Its technological hub, consisting of innovative platforms and tools, enables the company to respond to its partners’ main challenges of scalability, complexity and security, to drive growth.

Since adopting Snowplow, Digital Virgo is pioneering how its data and marketing teams optimize marketing spend and ultimately, budget.

For the first time, the company is able to track Ads campaign traffic in real-time and collect more accurate session data. As a result, Digital Virgo was able to accurately measure campaigns in real-time during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Challenges

Data Latency

Data latency describes the amount of time it takes for data to be transferred from its source to the point where it is processed or analyzed. In Digital Virgo’s case, this process took too long. Previously, Digital Virgo’s data and marketing teams lacked real-time traffic data from Google Analytics and could only review the data at day +1. The delayed information had a significant impact on the team’s ability to adapt decisions on ad performance based on customer behavior. With the company running approximately 22,000 marketing campaigns in 2022 alone, the impact on marketing spend was significant.

Data Accuracy

The data team also encountered data accuracy issues. In most cases, discrepancies were found between the number of clicks on Google Ads and the number of web sessions. For example, their Google Ads account showed 1,000 clicks for a campaign, but their analytics solution showed 800 sessions. This resulted in incorrect cost-per-click figures and consequently hindered marketing spend decisions.

Before Snowplow, we had Google Analytics 360 and our behavioral data was not available in real time in our Snowflake warehouse or in our AWS infrastructure. Snowplow opens up a world of possibilities for us because we can provide data to our team to analyze trends in campaigns… to analyze what’s happening within five or 10 minutes.”

ANTHONY GIANASTASIO | HEAD OF ANALYTICS, DIGITAL VIRGO

Standardization  

Data standardization is the process of formatting and organizing data in a consistent and uniform manner. As Digital Virgo expanded into new territories, its data team realized that Google Analytics managed different dimensions in each country, making it difficult to create a standardized set of reports for each country, thus further complicating campaign decision-making.

Data Silos

Data silos are a common problem in many organizations and often cause data and marketing teams to work independently from one another. This was the case at Digital Virgo. Its marketing analytics team was responsible for Google Analytics and used BigQuery to analyze web data in Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The data team (part of the IT department ), on the other hand, handled Digital Virgo’s core business intelligence (BI) tools and its Snowflake warehouse, which stores transactional and advertising data.

This siloed approach to handling data within the organization made it difficult to have a single source of truth and generate reports on how marketing campaign activities translated into revenue and other company KPIs. In such an organization, it was impossible to maintain a common understanding between developers, marketing and data teams of all event data. Snowplow provides a custom, self-describing event schema that serves as a contract between all teams and enables the enforcement of a common standard across the organization.

Solution

Real-time analytics

Snowplow BDP (Behavioral Data Platform) provides Digital Virgo’s data team with the rich, real-time data it needs to make accurate decisions about marketing spend. Data latency has been reduced by more than 90% compared to Google Analytics. It takes just five minutes for Snowplow data to be available for analysis in Digital Virgo’s Snowflake instance, which performs continuous real-time analytics. As a result of this integrated Snowplow and Snowflake solution, data can now reveal which engagements are having the greatest impact across a variety of channels.

This benefit was particularly important during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as it allowed Digital Virgo to measure campaign performance in real time and take immediate action to optimize spend and performance. When promoting its sports services during the games, the data team was able to view campaign costs in real time by applying a lightweight sessionization model that combined Snowplow data with Google Ads data.

Server-side tracking

Digital Virgo has adopted both server-side and client-side tracking with the PHP and JavaScript trackers, respectively. This allows the company to build up a more complete picture of a user’s journey as they go through their session. This was previously not possible with Google Analytics due to the cost implications.

Snowplow’s PHP tracker has introduced server-side tracking to Digital Virgo’s content management system. Unlike client-side tracking, Snowplow’s tracker collects and stores user data on a server rather than on the user’s device. This method allows for more accurate data collection as it is less susceptible to manipulation via web browsers such as Safari. It also allows for better data management and storage, as the data can be stored in one central location.

Centralized data solution

All Snowplow data is fed into Digital Virgo’s Snowflake instance, giving the company a single source of truth for all its data. The marketing analytics team no longer needs to use BigQuery to analyze campaign and web data, but instead can work closely with the data warehouse team to link transactional data with campaign and web data. This has not only enabled Digital Virgo’s data team to show how marketing campaigns convert to revenue, but it has also helped break down silos within the data team.

Standardized reporting

Since replacing Google Analytics with Snowplow BDP, Digital Virgo has access to a standardized canvas for web tracking across all of its 40 operating territories. This means that the company’s data and marketing teams benefit from a consistent set of reports from each country, saving a lot of time and effort compared to the previous solution.

Results

  • Secured a significant number of net new subscribers during the 2022 FIFA World Cup
  • Removed silos between data teams and consolidated them into one global data team
  • 90% reduction in data latency
  • Standardized reporting in 40  countries

      We are now able to gain a perfect matching between clicks and sessions, thanks to the complete server-side implementation of Snowplow tracking.”

      ANTHONY GIANASTASIO | HEAD OF ANALYTICS, DIGITAL VIRGO

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