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Case Studies


Auto Trader ‘Finding the Golden Key’ digital campaign

Auto Trader ‘Finding the Golden Key’ digital campaign


We wanted to encourage users to try out Auto Trader’s search functionality and appreciate the volume and breadth of stock available on the site.

Simultaneously, we wanted to drive engagement with our Social Media fans and followers and broaden our appeal to new audiences through making our content exciting even to those not looking to buy a new car at the moment.


The strategy broadly was to incentivise users to interact with the Auto Trader website, mobile site and magazine, and to make use of our Social Media presences to enhance the experience, thus increasing the awareness and value of those presences.

We ’hid’ five golden keys a day on amongst the search listings for a period of 8 days. Discovering a key entitled the user one entry to a daily £1000 prize draw.

Special one-off keys were hidden in the magazine and mobile site, to emphasize the tri-channel Auto Trader offering and more effective exchange traffic between the three.

The real time nature of Social Media enabled us to post clues as to the keys locations via Facebook and Twitter and encourage the communities to engage with each other and hunt down the keys. This also emphasized the value of our ‘car community’ on Facebook and Twitter.

We witnessed our fans and followers independently interacting with one another, forging relationships and chatting about cars, on the Auto Trader Facebook page and on Twitter.


The campaign lasted for 8 days and was executed by in-house Auto Trader marketing resource. Awareness of the campaign was raised through the use of email, on-site promotion, Facebook advertising, PPC, and Social outreach.

By engaging with influential bloggers, we offered them their own exclusive key clues to share with their audiences and further raise awareness of the contest. This helped to make the cost of promoting the competition very low and meant the cost-per-search was much lower than more traditional advertising.


Facebook and Twitter followers grew by over 5,000 during the campaign, whilst average interaction rates with posts soared by 800%.

Over 1.6 million searches were carried out in relation to the key hunt by over 112,000 players. We gave away £1,000 each to eight very happy Auto Trader users and immeasurably enhanced perceptions of Auto Trader as dynamic, modern, digital brand amongst those exposed to the contest.

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