Can Factory were invited by ITV to assist them with the redevelopment of the entire itv.com website. The goal was to produce a complete replacement site that was focused on delivering engaging content and functionality for a broadband audience. The team initially worked with ITV to gather the business requirements and design the final solution. After the initial scoping study a bespoke solution was decided upon and our team worked with a number of partners to provide all of the integration services and solution design. ITV had an in house development team which worked closely with our staff and produced an incredibly flexible suite of tools that allowed ITV to re-launch the site in July 2007.
The application Can Factory developed was deployed alongside ITV’s main web applications collecting user behaviour in an asynchronous, highly transactional fault tolerant manner. ITV’s website regularly receives more than 8 million unique visitors per month, so it was essential that the application developed by Can Factory had no performance implications for the platform.
Can Factory put a small team of highly skilled net developers in place at ITV with a project manager to oversee the development. Delivered using agile methodologies, the team integrated seamlessly with ITV’s own development personnel and project processes.
The benefits to ITV were:
- Fast start-up time to kick the project off.
- A team who already understood agile software development.
- Experienced project management to maximize the productivity of the team and ensure clear communication to key stakeholders within ITV.
- A real return on ITV’s investment delivering quality software in a number of well-defined phases, at a fraction of the cost of a large consultancy.
- Idea sharing between Can Factory and ITV development teams to pass on some of Can Factory’s best practices.
- Cost-saving for ITV with adoption of some of Can Factory’s best practices for virtualised development environments.
- Enabled ITV to ramp up and then quickly scale down their development resources.
What was delivered
Can Factory’s User Data Store application or UDS gives ITV the ability to deliver targeted advertising and content. It provides the mechanism for the ad server and the CMS to return content based on parameters about the individual. As well as this, it is the foundation for personalisation of the site.
By designing the CMS to deliver dynamic content, the UDS can be utilised to deliver content based on an individual’s past behaviour, explicit preferences, and/or socio-demographic profile.
The data collected from users is be analysed and grouped into segments. These segment values are then written to cookies on visitors PC’s. The itv.com CMS then reads the segment values from the cookies and returns content which has been tagged as being most suitable for that segment.
The data collected from user behaviour is analysed and grouped into segments. These segmentation values are written to cookies on visitors PC’s. The ad-server reads the segment values from the cookie and returns the most appropriate advertising for the visitor.
Values collected and segments created from these values can include explicit data collected such as age, gender, or location and implicit data collection such as visits to different parts of the site, response to email campaigns, or preference for videos.
This allows advertisers to be intelligent about whom they deliver adverts to.
Allows ITV to develop parts of its site so that it has features such as:
- Recommendation based on past behaviour.
- Show me more/less of this.
- Top viewed/rated/commented.
These features and functions can be applied to all content types, text based articles or videos. The UDS collects the necessary data, provides the required analysis and reports to deliver data for these functions and features.
Modules are being developed and incorporated into the CMS which then read the values from the UDS data to deliver the outputs for these functions and features.
Even though ITV use Omniture for its metrics for absolute numbers, the UDS can be used to provide data for specific analysis. Currently to request data to calculate new unique visitor’s costs around 30% of ITV’s current Omniture contract, or to request granular data for a given month would be around 10% of the Omniture contract.
Having the raw data internally allows ITV to calculate and create custom analytics. The UDS saves on the cost of requesting custom data feeds from Omniture.
What the client has to say
ITV had an ambitious project to bring its website back in-house, rebuild its website and launch a brand new ITV player all to very tight deadlines. We looked for competent partners to help accelerate this project. Can Factory were chosen for their experience in high traffic web application development. Can Factory developed ITV’s Single-Sign-On application, user registration and management module, as well as the community-based modules such as forums, votes and polls. All the work Can Factory contributed was of an outstanding standard, delivered on time and professionally. I was so pleased with their initial contribution to itv.com that I engaged with Can Factory on a number of further projects after the launch.