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Gold for Excellence in Programmatic Marketing at Marketing Interactive’s Marketing Excellence Awards 2021


2020 was a massive year of disruption that gave way to new consumer behaviours and demands. Limited physical mobility, and the birth of WFH, gave rise to a consumer base that spends more time online than ever before.

The surge of online activity presented an opportunity for businesses to reach out to the many engaged users instantly, and allowed recovery through pivoting to digital ads and services.

With 98% of Singapore’s population connected to a mobile network, it is no surprise major telco player StarHub faced immense competition from competitors during this time, in an already competitive and saturated market. The recent entry of mobile virtual network operators had made opportunities to tap into the new demand for products and services more challenging than before, amid struggles to maintain a sustainable profit margin that would ensure consistent and cost-effective ROI and ROAS.

StarHub’s primary objective was to overcome its challenges by tapping into new opportunities in a rapidly changing environment which would drive conversions and online purchases for its mobile plans and phones by reaching and enticing as many non-StarHub subscribers as possible, as well as individuals who keep up to date with fresh mobile releases.

Second, StarHub would work to sustain continued engagement with its target audience in mind, building on touch-points through offers that would keep the brand relevant and top-of-mind.


Working with its media agency Carat, and Yahoo, StarHub sought to address its first objective to deliver to the right person the right message at the right place and time, and measure results transparently and in real-time to determine and optimise conversions and costs accurately.

Amid issues such as privacy and content trustworthiness, the campaign objective was to inform users about StarHub’s mobile phones and plans in a clear and straightforward manner that would drive active participation by leading users to engage with StarHub’s online store to browse its range of mobile phone products and plans.

For this particular strategy, StarHub opted for a combination of programmatic advertising and AI, the former of which has seen great success in SEA. With this combination, StarHub would be able to leverage first-party data to create a hyper-segmented and specified audience for a wide reach at scale by programmatically using Yahoo’s DSP inventory.

To ensure cost-effectiveness, StarHub made sure to not deliver any ads to existing StarHub mobile subscribers, but looked to target users in need of a phone/plan upgrade. This involved highly precise targeting that was made possible through Yahoo’s 200 billion cross-screen data points which looks at search, mail, content and more, of StarHub’s first-party CRM data to create a complete picture of its ideal audience.

Apart from identifying the right target audience, this strategy also leveraged data and programmatic tools to identify where and when the audience was consuming content, down to the minute details such as the timings when they were most likely to purchase.

Most important was message delivery. In order to provide a seamless experience that would boost and maximise conversion, StarHub utilised short and clear creatives with simple C2A’s to ensure users’ positive response to the targeted advertising. Persistency was also key, where the campaign employed re-targeting users who have indicated interest, but had not followed through with their purchase.


Despite the challenges presented by both Singapore’s oversaturated telco market and the rapidly changing economic climate, StarHub’s highly strategic campaign, which combined AI, programmatic and creative range, succeeded in maintaining costs, as well as producing successful results that surpassed initial targets and goals.

Leveraging Yahoo’s full suite of DSP capabilities that focused on delivering to the right person, at the right place and time, with the right message, and delivering useful ad experiences in premium trusted environments, the campaign was able to successfully take advantage of growing consumer digital confidence and behaviour.

Consistent delivery of KPIs, and the surpassing of targets, led to renewals and extensions that saw the campaign shift from a tactical short-term promotion to an extended strategy for StarHub. The campaign was able to reach StarHub’s ideal audience through its targeted measures, driving conversion as well as amplifying StarHub’s brand awareness and value.

StarHub, with its media agency Carat and Yahoo, have proven how a programmatic-powered campaign that employs the right strategy and approach offers tremendous capabilities to drive purchases and to resonate among consumers in both the short and long term.


Carat is an award-winning media and content agency that uses its peerless understanding of the passions, motivations and behaviours of real people to bring brands and their customers together. Carat is privileged to work with some of the most eminent companies in the world.

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