How Gumtree uses first-party data to win new business

The company

As a community classifieds platform where people can discover, buy, or sell second-hand goods and motors, Gumtree has been championing re-commerce for over 20 years. Gumtree provides a platform for people to connect around a life stage, a need, a pastime, passion or interest, from new parents trading buggies and nursery equipment, to bike enthusiasts, fuelling their passion. Known for making Good Finds happen, Gumtree's vision is to ensure everything can find new purpose, with a mission to make trading second-hand goods locally, more enjoyable and, simpler for everyone. With more than 1.8 million live ads at any one time, more than nine million people visit the site every month.

The challenge

Addressability across the web has collapsed to 30% due to the combination of users choosing cookie-blocking browsers and opting out of sharing their data with third parties on Chrome, putting open marketplace (OMP) revenue in freefall.

To address this head-on, Gumtree needed a strategy that would help them refocus on their direct-sold business. Gumtree sought a partner that would support its direct client/agency relationships through enhanced campaign performance, boosted match rates and targetable audience volumes, and improved client retention. 

“Permutive has helped Gumtree diversify away from motors spend, supporting us with proactive insights and relevant audiences to win new business.”

Victoria Trevillion, Head of AdTech at Gumtree

The solution

With Permutive, Gumtree expanded its direct revenue by using insights from cohort behaviours and affinities pre- and post-campaign to optimise against advertiser KPIs. The publisher rebuilt all its existing cohorts, variations, and lookalikes to create more accurate and customised segments, resulting in nearly 600 targetable audiences available to advertisers.

Gumtree can now demonstrate granular insights from first-party data in post-campaign analysis. This enabled Gumtree to deepen relationships with the buy-side and strengthen its position as a data provider with valuable insights and the ability to achieve campaign goals for partners.

  • 27%

    increase in CTR of direct campaigns compared to 2021 (YTD in 2023 and includes non-rich media GAM PG/PD and IO activity, not PMPs)

  • 25%

    increase in average CPM (2023 YTD) of direct campaigns (as defined above) compared to 2021

  • 100%

    uplift in available audiences versus previous DMP


Improved performance 

Against a challenging market backdrop, Permutive improved the performance (scale and CTR) of Gumtree’s direct advertising campaigns, leading to higher rates and new business, up weights, and renewals. Wider insights have helped Gumtree broaden their advertiser industry mix, with more than half of new business coming from non-motors advertisers. Key verticals outside of motors include B2B and recruitment; and secondarily home and retail.

Increase in available audiences 

Gumtree has almost 600 available cohorts in Permutive, an almost 100% uplift versus its former platform. Over the past 12 months, over 22m impressions have been targeted to new ʻlookalikeʼ and ‘clicker’ audiences, extending campaign reach and improving performance of campaigns, as well as representing nearly £90k of revenue. 

New business through insights 

Permutive helped Gumtree re-focus on non-motors verticals, supporting advertisers with proactive insights and relevant audiences to win more new business. 

Gumtree is creating deeper relationships with advertisers and starting to see some clients book on an ongoing basis, even changing their strategy around creatives and targeting based on insights Gumtree is able to provide.

Victoria Trevillion, Head of AdTech at Gumtree, says: “I’d like to see this collaborative approach to all campaigns, as insights from both sides can feed a virtuous circle of optimisation. As cookie deprecation reduces visibility on the buy-side, advertisers can trust publishers to make their budgets work, but the best results come from both sides working closely together. We’re all committed to getting the right result for the advertiser.” 

Gumtree has access to far improved audience insights via Permutive, such as cohort indices and overlap. The publisher uses these to improve campaign performance mid-flight as well as provide clients with post-campaign recommendations. This has proven critical to winning budgets and rebookings in a competitive market.

For example, Permutive worked with Gumtree on post-campaign analysis for a used car brand and found that users exposed to the campaign had a strong interest in various auto brands and were 7x more likely to be interested in electric vehicles. Gumtree were able to leverage these insights to win new business for a related brand, running a successful campaign for electric vehicles. 

“As power starts shifting back to the sell-side, advertisers can trust publishers to make their budgets work, but the best results come from both sides working closely together.”

Victoria Trevillion, Head of AdTech at Gumtree.