CUSTOMER STORIES

BVK Lowers Data Costs by Nearly 75% and Delivers a Profitable Analytics Platform for Client Insights

By unifying marketing data on Snowflake, this ad agency delivers an analytics platform that’s more profitable, scalable and adaptable to clients’ evolving data needs.

KEY RESULTS:

~75%

Lower data costs, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year

50%

Faster loading of reports and dashboards

Three marketers having a collaboration session in front of a desk with an open laptop
BVK logo
Industry
Marketing & Advertising
Location
Milwaukee, WI

Expanding brand awareness to enable real-world outcomes for clients

An independent marketing and advertising agency in Milwaukee, BVK creates and maintains brand momentum for clients, helping organizations in healthcare, travel, higher education and other industries “surround” consumers with engaging, interactive advertisements.

BVK’s clients need reliable analytics to understand how advertising impacts outcomes like program enrollments, online bookings and student applications. While some agencies use off-the-shelf reporting software, BVK developed its own in-house analytics platform, providing clients with easy-to-understand insights that enrich their understanding and overall experience.  

But operating a platform of this magnitude requires underlying infrastructure that’s easy to use and scale. As a result, BVK relies on Snowflake’s Data Cloud to integrate massive amounts of advertising data, reduce data costs and bolster its monetization strategy.

Our analytics platform — built on Snowflake — is the glue that holds our business together with the client’s. It’s the way we drive results for our clients in a visual format.”

Josh Derouin
SVP, Performance Marketing & Analytics, BVK
Story Highlights
  • Significant cost savings:  BVK saves hundreds of thousands of dollars per year with Snowflake, resulting in pass-through savings for numerous clients.

  • Greater transparency into usage:  Tracking each client’s analytics usage is easier with Snowflake, which helps BVK ensure accurate billing and monetize its platform.

  • Better response to clients’ data needs:  Making Snowflake the foundation of its analytics platform allows BVK to support more use cases and enable richer client experiences.

Balancing the complexity, cost and risk of a client-facing analytics platform

Managing approximately $100 million in annual working media is a data-driven endeavor. To surface performance insights for clients and internal stakeholders, BVK supports hundreds of dashboards that measure everything from awareness to conversion.

BVK’s previous data environment offered an all-in-one experience for data pipeline, warehousing and visualization, but lack of customization combined with an abundance of data workarounds inhibited analytics. Pricing depended on row usage, which led to rising data costs. “Our contract started at around $200,000, but as we grew, our contract reached close to $480,000 per year,” says BVK Data Engineering Manager Collin Page.  

Long-term vendor contracts posed cash flow risks and made it difficult to allocate data costs, leading to friction with clients and stress for BVK’s leaders. “I had to buy all the data that I needed ahead of time,” says Josh Derouin, SVP of Performance Marketing & Analytics at BVK. “We were completely banking on our company’s ability to sell and the number of clients we would have.”

Still fresh to the data world, Page was unsure of how to enact the change that seemed necessary. “This is my first data position, so everything was new to me,” says Page. “It was kind of a blank canvas, and I didn’t know where to start or who to reach out to.”

Building a firm foundation on the Data Cloud with kipi.bi

After extensive research, BVK made Snowflake the foundation of its analytics platform. According to Page, “I probably read 100 different blogs and learned about the different products, and all the arrows pointed to Snowflake.”

Snowflake’s elastic performance engine and optimized storage offered a flexible, affordable solution for building the next generation of BVK’s analytics platform. Snowflake’s ability to work with a wide array of industry-leading tools and technologies — such as Fivetran, dbt, Tableau and Sigma — was a key factor in BVK’s journey to the Data Cloud.

Snowflake was the easy choice for us. Every single tool we were looking at had a Snowflake connector.”

Collin Page
Data Engineering Manager, BVK

BVK engaged Snowflake Elite Services partner kipi.bi — Snowflake’s 2023 Americas System Integrator Growth Partner of the Year — to accelerate its migration project. “We interviewed a bunch of vendors, and kipi.bi was the exact right size and offered the right approach for us,” says Derouin. “Their willingness to invest in discovery and onboarding was awesome. They were hands-on but also educated us on the best way to get it done.”

Kipi.bi’s data architecture and customer success teams aligned with Snowflake early in the sales process to create a strategic roadmap that gave BVK greater access and control of its data while meeting all technical requirements. Kipi.bi delivered a modernized solution that aggregates marketing data from 18 different data sources into Snowflake — then transforms it to create custom dashboards for business intelligence analysis and optimization.  

"Kipi was very helpful with getting our reports off the ground and helped us get a lot of work done in a short amount of time,” Page says. “Their knowledge on the engineering front quickly helped us change our whole data infrastructure while we were also maintaining the old one."

Transparent costs and better user experiences — on a newly profitable platform

Switching to Snowflake reduced BVK’s data costs by approximately 75%, but the long-term impact could be even greater as the agency adds additional clients. “Scaling with Snowflake helps our profits increase because our expenses aren’t that much more,” says Page. Eliminating hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual data costs empowers BVK to control risk while simultaneously saving clients money.

BVK pull quote card image

“In the past, our analytics product was breaking even. Now with Snowflake, we’re not only profitable, but we’re passing that savings on to our clients as well.”

Collin Page
Data Engineering Manager, BVK

Usage-based pricing from Snowflake and Fivetran makes it easier to track BVK’s analytics costs on a per-client basis and ensure precise billing. Derouin says, “We monetize our platform by applying a margin on the different costs, whether it be rows or compute time or storage.”  

The Data Cloud also assists BVK in eliminating costly data workarounds and increasing data trust. BVK’s reports run 50% faster than before, so users now access reliable marketing insights with fewer delays and less frustration. Comparing differences between BVK’s raw and transformed data allows the team to find and fix data integrity issues faster. “I can just use Snowflake to query the data and determine which tool is the problem,” Page says. “It’s never been Snowflake’s fault.”

Connecting advertising campaigns to outcomes

Reimagining its analytics platform with Snowflake has helped BVK affordably deliver client insights and position itself as a data-driven agency. “It’s been really nice to have positive conversations around cost and our ability to create something custom,” says Derouin. “We’re able to listen to and act on clients’ needs, and they really like that.”

For example, BVK used its analytics platform to simplify co-op marketing for a department of tourism. Thanks to BVK, business owners now understand how co-op dollars were spent and what outcomes they generated. “Because of the flexibility and speed of the platform, we built 60 dashboards for 60 partners who participate in the program,” Derouin says. “ Now we’ve removed the hearsay for our client and their clients, the local businesses.”  

BVK’s revamped analytics platform has also proven valuable for supporting healthcare brands. One of BVK’s health insurance clients needed a better way to correlate their advertising to open enrollment activity. Combining CRM, quoting and advertising data in Snowflake enabled BVK to build dashboards that empowered the client’s product marketers. Another healthcare client turned to BVK’s analytics platform to monitor advertising performance for multiple lines of business.

“We now connect the dots across service lines for our healthcare customer as a whole. If they spent $1 million across five service lines, they can see that breakdown in terms of new patients and other outcomes.”

Josh Derouin
SVP, Performance Marketing & Analytics, BVK

The vision: Predictive insights and enhanced collaboration

Achieving a scalable, cost-efficient data environment with the Data Cloud gives BVK an advantage for future development. “Our goal is to transition to a product that goes beyond reporting and provides predictive analytics through machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Page says. Connecting Sigma to Snowflake aligns with BVK’s ongoing need to surface insights in a visually appealing way.

Snowflake Secure Data Sharing will help BVK streamline collaboration with existing clients and drive engagement with prospective clients that already use Snowflake. Snowflake Marketplace could transform how BVK accesses third-party data sets, such as fuel prices and macroeconomic data. “I’m really excited to start working with data that’s available in Snowflake Marketplace,” says Page. “We can unlock a lot of different insights from data in there.”

BVK’s data team is also evaluating Snowpark as a solution for building machine learning (ML) workflows and data pipelines. “There are so many options to use data for predictive analytics. And we don’t have to pay extra, as Snowpark is included in our standard contract,” Page says. “With Snowpark, we’re looking forward to starting our advanced analytics and AI/ML journey.”

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