Press release

Harmoney recognised for innovative use of data, takes home a win at IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards

, 30 August 2019

harmoney iab awards 2019

Pictured from left: Mark Jackson (Industry Manager - Financial Services, Google NZ), Glen MacKellaig (Head of Digital Marketing, Harmoney), Caroline Rainsford (Country Director, Google NZ), Miles Davis (BI Manager, Harmoney), Mateo de la Vega (Digital Marketing Manager, Harmoney), Matthew Davison (Operations Lead, Google NZ).

Harmoney, the fastest-growing online lending marketplace in Australasia, has taken home the win in the ‘Best Use of SEM/SEO’ category in the 2019 IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards.

Harmoney incoming CEO David Stevens says that this win in the highly competitive awards demonstrates that Harmoney is making better and more innovative use of its data. “We are able to use this data to ensure relevant messaging reaches borrowers who are suited to our products, and to offer our services as a solution for them. It is very much a ‘made in New Zealand’ fintech story, as the success of the model here, where the company was founded, is driving our marketing in Australia.”

Harmoney is dedicated to responsible lending principles and protecting lenders on its platform, so borrower's need to meet strict lending criteria. For the marketing team, borrower eligibility becomes as important as intent in determining where to spend marketing dollars to maximize Return On Investment (ROI). A special challenge is that Harmoney as a fintech company is competing in a market dominated by major international banks with much larger budgets. Additionally, the ‘personal loans’ search category is focused on a few search query variations, which makes Cost Per Clicks (CPC) very high.

Therefore, to win in this market Harmoney had to find a smarter method than outbidding competitors. To make sure Harmoney was attracting only quality applicants, the company harnessed the power of machine learning technologies.

Harmoney’s digital marketing manager, Mateo de la Vega says, “Harmoney’s core business competency is our risk-based pricing, which relies on accurately predicting credit risk through our 100% online application. Utilising this capability, we have developed an innovative customer prospecting model. This enables us to better use Google’s ad targeting to show ads only to those people who are likely to need and qualify for our products and services.

“We are able to employ four years of historical data and real-time signals to build and maintain this model using machine learning. The model enables us to predict in near real-time the risk score of an applicant and its expected Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) with an 85% accuracy.

“Google Ads’ Smart Bidding Algorithm is then able to leverage Google’s data to select which bid adjustments to make depending on the predicted value of an auction, to reach our Target Return On Advertising Spend (tROAS).”

This work meant the company can now manage campaigns leveraging the tROAS algorithm to focus on profit. It enabled Harmoney to automate and optimise its non-brand search and find inefficiencies the company would have missed using traditional metrics.

Harmoney's Head of Digital Marketing, Glen MacKellaig says, “The recognition of the IAB New Zealand Digital Marketing Awards and the background to it indicates is that our innovation in digital marketing is integral to Harmoney realising its strategic growth potential. We have been able to confidently increase our marketing spend as an investment in sales growth, and the major growth opportunity for Harmoney now is to expand our Australian business.

“With a market that is ten times larger and competing with much bigger players in the personal loan category, the challenge is to grow the brand without a massive budget increase, committing instead to a leaner approach. The success of the tROAS algorithm for Non-Brand Search in New Zealand has given us the mandate to adopt the same strategy for our Australian expansion.”


About the IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards

The 2019 IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards recognise outstanding companies and individuals and bring together the very best in New Zealand digital advertising, each of whom are shaping this dynamic industry. The key calendar event on 29 August 2019 gives entrants the opportunity to showcase their work recognised at a nationwide level and benchmark their work against other industry professionals.

About Harmoney

Founded in New Zealand in 2014, Harmoney is a leading digital platform lender in Australasia and the largest in the New Zealand market.  


Harmoney has:

  • Facilitated $1.7 billion in loan volume via over 80,000 loans;

  • Has been awarded the Canstar 5-award Outstanding Value (A1 – A5) two years in a row;

  • Created highly skilled and highly paid roles in Auckland, Sydney, and Suva;

  • Was a finalist 2017 and 2020 NZ Hi-Tech Awards;

  • Winner of the Best Personal Loan (Risk-Based) category at the 2019 Finder Awards in Australia;

  • Winner of the ‘Best Use of SEM/SEO’ category in the 2019 IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards.

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