WhatsApp Case Study results

WhatsApp sees 87% uplift in reach through audience-focused digital out-of-home targeting

Using The Trade Desk’s proprietary Audience Reach Percentage (ARP) targeting, WhatsApp elevated its digital out-of-home (DOOH) spend and reached its target audience with greater precision.


of DOOH budget allocated to audience-optimised screens

uplift in reach for ARP beyond nontargeted baseline

Privacy is a growing issue for consumers, particularly where social media is concerned. WhatsApp wanted to reassure its users that their conversation data – from inane jokes to heartfelt confessions – was protected and secure. To inspire this trust, the company introduced new privacy features that would make it easier for people to control what they shared. WhatsApp wanted to promote these new privacy features and strengthen trust beyond its core brand supporters – to reach consumers who aren’t yet on the app. Drawing on its own separate research, the brand identified two audience categories they wanted to reach: privacy-neutrals, made up of people not that concerned with the topic of privacy; and privacy critics, people who worry about the use of their personal data online. For their advertising agency, Spark, the challenge was to seek out the best channels to reach and educate these audiences on all the new privacy features in a discreet way.


The agency team planned a data-led multimedia digital campaign using display, video, and audio. These channels enabled the team to precisely target users as they browsed the internet – an activity where the subject of online privacy is highly relevant. But given the complexity of the messaging surrounding the new features and the skepticism from privacy critics, the team needed a way to enhance their digital plan with an impactful, inspiring, and highly targeted media channel that would maximise engagement. That’s why they added digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising into their strategy.

Working closely with us, the agency created a DOOH plan that, combined with an innovative, targeted use of audience data, enabled WhatsApp to reach its audience when out and about with a privacy message that was highly visible, clear, and relevant to both the neutrals and the critics.


The campaign ran on more than 700 screens located in busy neighbourhoods, business centres, shopping malls, and transport hubs (think bus stops). What’s more, the impressions were delivered using our industry-leading Audience Reach Percentage (ARP) feature.

ARP is essentially an algorithm that ranks and tiers DOOH screens based on relevance – or, put another way, how highly they index towards a desired audience. So, by mapping WhatsApp’s audience data to screen proximity, the team were able to use a waterfall approach that prioritised spend towards the most relevant screens.

They then optimised impression delivery, while also supporting a balanced distribution of spend and comprehensive coverage. The exciting and most innovative aspect of the algorithm is that it runs continuously, which means it dynamically modulates spend allocation based on changing audience concentrations near screens throughout the day and week.

For this campaign, ARP targeting and optimisation helped ensure that 80% of WhatsApp’s DOOH spend was delivered to the screens with the highest concentration of the desired audience around them. Most impressively, it achieved at least 87% uplift in reach compared to the baseline targeting (i.e., the audience WhatsApp would have reached without ARP).

To see how Audience Reach Percentage can enhance your omnichannel strategy, get in touch: [email protected].