Bespoke consumer research revealed that more than 50% of our target audience in China, and more than 75% in the US, spent only ‘a few minutes or less’ deciding what motor oil to buy. Low interest combined with improving product quality was cutting down the opportunities to reach people at the right time. We needed to completely redefine our approach to audience targeting.

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The Campaign

We turned to applied advanced data science to predict when individuals would be in the market for motor oil. We defined high-value actions as signals of purchase intent, such as visiting the workshop locator page of, or oil-change specialist workshop visits (using geolocation data).

We then mapped these hundreds of signals of purchase intent for the millions of individuals in Shell’s digital ecosystem. Predictive analytics and machine learning gave each individual an ‘intent to purchase’ (ITP) score from 1-10, based on their likelihood to purchase motor oil. Finally, we focussed our investment on people with high purchase intent scores.


Over 975,000 workshop visits in China and the US were attributed to Intent-To-Purchase targeting. In the US alone, we delivered a Cost Per Store Visit 2.6x lower than any historical footfall-driving tactics.

The workshop visits delivered by ITP targeting achieved an estimated ROI of 2.49 (China) and 4.44 (US) for every dollar of ITP media investment.

WARC Media Awards 2020

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