Cornhill Direct, which is part of the insurance giant Allianz, offers car and home insurance direct to consumers and had a historical need to ensure its positioning in search engine results.
In mid-2008, however, the brand decided to take a much more pro-active approach to its online communications strategy. Changes in Google’s approach to search ranking and the rising importance of social media in consumer’s online journeys, meant that it needed to re-evaluate how it addressed its customers online.
Consumer’s interaction with brands is no longer restricted to passively consuming advertising – instead they are online researching a brand on search engines, discussing it on social media or reading about it on review sites.
iCrossing used this analysis as the basis for their new campaign for Cornhill Direct.iCrossing’s team used cutting-edge research techniques to identify the issues that had most resonance with their target audience. They then used this insight to build a raft of on-site content that would not only spark off online conversations and interaction amongst the brand’s network, but would also beneficially impact on the site’s search rankings
The campaign had four interlocking objectives: to drive brand awareness for Cornhill Direct online; to drive engagement with the brand; to grow the network of sites that interact and engage with Cornhill Direct and to increase profile in search engines for Cornhill Direct around key search terms.
The campaign was hugely effective in driving awareness of and engagement with Cornhill Direct in the online space.By enabling the brand to ‘talk’ to customers outside of the traditional point of purchase environment, Cornhill Direct were able to avoid costly bidding wars for premium search terms and were instead able to pick up relatively ‘easy’ traffic from different places in consumers’ journeys towards purchase.
In terms of search engine visibility the activity was an unquestioned success, with a 46% increase in natural search traffic (Oct 08 – Feb 09), a 75% increase in top 10 visibility for car insurance terms and a 44% increase in top 10 visibility for home insurance terms. The rise in traffic from unbranded, generic search terms from 25% to 56% of all search traffic.
The success of the content in creating engagement with the brand can also be seen in the statistics. Referral traffic, where users are being directed from another site, rose by 147% as Cornhill Direct’s target network picked up the Household Economy content and linked to it from their site. A side-effect of this was a major rise in weekend traffic – traditionally very limited for insurance sites – as users had other reasons to visit the Cornhill Direct site.
The overall impact of the campaign is also clearly indicated by the outputs from iCrossing’s NetworkSense Monitoring, which enables the quantitative measurement of online attitudes towards a brand. According to this metric, brand sentiment increased by 40% from November to February whilst the number of brand mentions rose by 185%.
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