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2022 Award winners spotlight: Most Innovative Campaign, Mobile, Paid Social, Search and Retail Campaigns

David Murphy

We continue our round-up of the winning entries in the 2022 Effective Digital Marketing Awards with a look at the winners of the Most Innovative Campaign, and the Most Effective Mobile Campaign, Paid Social Campaign, Search Campaign, and Retail Campaign...

Most Innovative Campaign  
Yext – The 1999/Big B Campaign
With this campaign, Yext was keen to get across its message that a technology used by consumers every day – keyword search – hasn’t been updated since the 90s, so when people go to a business’s website and search for something, they get a list of irrelevant, unhelpful hyperlinks back as results. Yext has an alternative solution, that this campaign aimed to promote.

Because Yext believes that keyword search hasn’t evolved since 1999, it decided to lean into nostalgia marketing with a ‘90s theme – and humour – to effectively focus on and highlight the contrast between outdated search technology and Yext’s own solution.

In the UK, Yext launched research in partnership with YouGov which explored how frustrated consumers are by site search. The research found that despite 58 per cent of UK adults using site search at least weekly, 56 per cent believe that site search provides them with unrelated search results online.

Alongside this research Yext tapped into the ‘90s theme of the campaign by sending ‘90s-themed goodies to select top tier journalists. These ‘desk drops’ contained a Nintendo ‘90s=style console, a tote bag, ‘90s trivia cards and an AOL disk. A QR code on the CD led to an interactive ‘Escape the ‘90s’ Y2K survival game.

Yext also produced a TV commercial which comically personifies different technologies as they return to their Class of 1999 high school reunion. The characters include a mobile phone (‘Cell Phone”), cloud storage (‘Storage’), and internet (‘Internet’) reflecting on how outdated they were in high school back in 1999 and how far they’ve come today. Enter the spot’s antagonist, ‘Keyword Search’, who hasn’t changed in looks, attitude, or efficacy since graduation, calling for the DJ to play ‘No Scrubs’ on the dancefloor before busting out some equally outdated dance moves.

The commercial was accompanied by a comprehensive landing page, additional video content featuring the characters, full page ads to create awareness and build anticipation of the commercial’s reveal, and supportive digital marketing with Keyword Search as the villain.

The ad was supported by a DOOH sponsorship with LinkNYC to share ‘90s facts; digital ads that looked like old Windows error messages; and a physical CD as a sleeve insert for one of Adweek’s print issues.

In the UK alone, the report on the launch of the campaign secured nine pieces of coverage in key marketing and tech trade titles. The display ads and email campaign generated 9.3m impressions, and video and voice ads a further 9.4m impressions.

From April to June 2021, Yext saw a 40 per cent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) increase in direct traffic to itsext homepage and a 121 per cent QoQ increase in paid traffic. In the same time period, Yext also experienced a 33 per cent QoQ increase in new visitors to the homepage.

As one of the judges summarised it: “Using humour in a B2B campaign is a bold move, but it’s done brilliantly here, and with hugely impressive results.” 

Most Effective Mobile Campaign 
Abide and Moburst – Abide App Subscription Campaign
Abide, a Christian app focused on meditation, sleep help, and Bible stories that strengthen one's relationship with Christ,
ontracted Moburst to run a media campaign focused on driving an increase in subscriptions, while reducing the cost per subscription down to $35 in order to ensure a positive ROI.

The media strategy centered around Facebook, Google, TikTok, and ASA campaigns. Moburst targeted people with an interest in Christianity, prayer, meditation, sleep, relaxation, and mental health across several English speaking regions including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The Facebook and Google activity focused on generic, competitor, and retargeting campaigns. The retargeting campaigns were based around customer lists such as a list of individuals who registered for the app but never started their free trial. On ASA, Moburst ran brand, discovery, competitor and generic campaigns.

The agency initially sought success through the use of traditional ad creatives, but quickly shifted its strategy to utilizing influencer video content in its paid campaigns, seeing this as a great opportunity to make a personal connection with consumers.  

After seeing the best performance on ASA, Google and TikTok, Moburst shifted its focus to just these three platforms. The campaign spend strategy was to allocate 80 per cent of the budget towards ROI-positive campaigns, and 20 per cent toward test-and-learn opportunities. These included geo-fencing, day-parting, boosted posts on Instagram Reels, and gender- and age-specific campaigns.

One of the primary challenges Moburst faced was accurately measuring campaign performance as the introduction of iOS 14 shortly before it began managing the account severely hindered its ability to track the performance of long-tail conversions. Abide’s typical userflow is registration…7-day trial…subscription. Because the trial expired after seven days, and iOS 14 restricted its ability to see conversions beyond a 7-day lookback window, it had to find a way to effectively target those customers most likely to convert, as well as identify a way to measure estimated latent conversions which came in beyond the 7-day lookback window.

The team noticed that it typically saw latent conversions continuing to filter in via platform-level as well as MMP-level reporting over a period of around five weeks. As a result, it began keeping track of the initially reported conversions versus the final number after an extended waiting period of five weeks. This tracking indicated that latent conversions led to a significant increase in conversions over time. As a result, it collected data on week-over-week latent conversion improvements and arrived at an evolving average of a 300 per cent increase in conversions over time, due to latency. This average was applied to its internal reporting for optimizations as well as external reporting on anticipated and estimated conversions and ROI.

By focusing on this measurement approach, the team was able to begin making significant headway in improving performance. It honed-in on Google and ASA because they showed the greatest promise, and heavied-up its efforts on iOS versus. Android.

Finally, after a collaborative review of the app flow, Abide updated its iOS app to enable a custom ATT prompt, and switched the order in the app from 7 day trial…registration…subscription to registration…7 day trial…subscription. This allowed it to better identify audiences who were most likely to register and optimized towards that event. These combined efforts led to incredible results, showcasing a massive improvement in ROI over a period of several months

The campaign results were impressive. ROI jumped from 35 per cent to 170 per cent. The cost per subscription was cut to less than a quarter of pre-campaign levels. As one of the judges summarised the campaign: “The strategy was super clear, and the shift to using influencer creative was smart. Their reporting challenges with ROI and the new iOS have been shared by many marketers, so it was interesting to hear how they solved them. The updated user flow in the app was also a smart improvement. Their metrics were also very impressive.”

Most Effective Paid Social Campaign 
Imagination Technologies and Liberty – A Brand Vision That Captured the Imagination
Imagination Technologies is a leading British semiconductor and software IP design company that services markets across the globe. The business revised its vision, mission and set of values and wanted to communicate this change with an engaging film campaign, to give viewers a sense of brand personality. The challenge was that the message had to be conveyed to a variety of people, including new recruits, existing customers, prospective customers, suppliers, investors, the press and government departments, across multiple territories, speaking many different languages  

Liberty chose to run the campaign on YouTube, Google Display Network, LinkedIn, Teads, Facebook and Twitter. It focused on a high-quality brand film and supplementary videos, with social messaging backing them up. Viewers were then directed to the new Imagination website to learn more about the organisation and what it’s like to work with them.

The campaign ran in three stages - tease, amplify and echo. The tease stage used shorter videos, and largely used interest-based targeting. The amplify stage used longer videos, shown to people who had positively interacted with previous assets. The echo stage retargeted the most invested people, bringing them back to the website to learn more about the business.

The level of targeting was amongst the most complex Liberty’s paid media team had ever been involved in. Dozens of different options meant hundreds of combinations were employed across platforms. Considerations had to be made for large and fairly generic groups, such as electronics engineers, as well as journalists within the automotive and technology sectors.

Once audiences had been decided, a further consideration was what content to show and when to show it. This is where the three stages were introduced and the plan of pushing people further along the funnel became the central approach.

Once the campaign had launched, a custom Data Studio dashboard was used to track all activity and give the teams the data to adjust the campaign to prioritise the best-performing channels. Some of the updates made on-the-fly included shifting budgets across regions and platforms, pausing underperforming platforms and adjusting ad copy for select platforms to improve messaging. The UK and the US ended up with a higher percentage of spend after very strong performance in each country during early stages. Instagram Ads did not perform as well as the video channels, so that budget was moved to cover further YouTube and Teads activity.

The campaign was a great success, with more ad impressions, video views, clicks and even leads generated than were expected. YouTube impressions were 57 per cent over target. Cost Per View was predicted at £0.05 but it came in at just £0.02 in the UK and £0.01 in other territories. View rate was 48 per cent higher than the industry standard in the UK and over 50 per cent higher in the US.

And although this was a branding campaign, it also performed well in terms of lead generation, with a 68 per cent increase in website enquiry forms completed during the campaign.

“We have been blown away with the overwhelming positive response to this campaign,” said Maya Ahluwalia, Senior Marketing Manager at Imagination Technologies. “Not only have we overachieved our external KPIs, but this campaign has also positively affected our recruitment efforts with an increase of 147 per cent of accepted employment offers in the quarter post-brand campaign, which is remarkable”

Most Effective Search Campaign 
GoCardless and Blue Array – Turbocharged Growth
GoCardless is a platform that makes it easy for business to take recurring payments from their customers. For this campaign, Blue Array was asked to build on the increase in ‘organic entrances’ that had been achieved between January 2020 and January 2021, in several markets. To do so, it moved away from customer personas, and instead, leveraged company data and interviews with sales and customer support teams. Armed with this information, it focused on a framework of 12 ‘superset’ topics, underpinned by 40 customer pain points, and used a cyclical process to generate 160 content items per month, each of which had to satisfy a number of conditions, such as targeting a unique angle, and being practical, before being created. Articles were then published on the GoCardless website.

Advanced topic research was front-loaded via a ‘keyword universe’ resource, which is part of the ‘lue Array way system to scale editorial content. This provided the agency with a structured database of hundreds of thousands of keywords, organised into an information architecture, which meant the team understood the full landscape of opportunity, and could guide innovation efficiently.

Between January 2021 and January 2022, organic entrances increased by 69 per cent. This increase was driven overwhelmingly by relevant non-brand queries. Compared to the January 2019 to January 2020, the growth stands at 1,676 per cent. Globally, GoCardless occupies top-10 ranking positions for 770 per cent more relevant keywords than it did pre-campaign. One judge summed up the campaign thus:“Achieving results in one market is important. However, managing to replicate that internationally, as this campaign did so successfully, is for me the real essence of SEO.”

Most Effective Retail Campaign
Simpli.fi – Group C Digital and Simpli.fi Drive In-person Visits for Grocery Store Chain
With this campaign Group C, a full-service agency serving a grocery retailer with 126 stores in the US Midwest, was looking to increase and accurately measure in-person visits to its locations. Together, the retailer, Group C, and Simpli.fi developed a custom campaign utilizing Simpli.fi’s Geo-Fencing with Conversion Zones solution to drive low-cost visits to the brand’s 126 stores. The advertiser proposed locations for targeting, Group C Digital provided digital media expertise to set campaign parameters and monitored reporting, while Simpli.fi recommended best practices and optimizations from similar campaigns with other advertisers. As a campaign goal, the team sought to achieve an average Cost Per Visit of $5 between mobile and OTT/CTV creative types.

In order to attract active shoppers in close proximity to the brand’s stores, the strategy focused on conquesting nearby competitor locations. The Simpli.fi team drew custom-shaped target fences around 88 competitor stores, which were provided by the advertiser. By capturing this custom audience from competitor locations, the advertiser could target nearby active shoppers for up to 30 days after leaving a competitor’s store. In order to accurately measure visits from competitor stores, Simpli.fi drew Conversion Zones around each of the advertiser’s 126 physical locations. This enabled Group C Digital to report on visits at the individual store level as well as total figures. Furthermore, the advertiser could see which competitor location the user came from, and attribute the cost of each visit.

After capturing the audience who visited the target fences, the campaign served both display and OTT/CTV ads to potential consumers. Simpli.fi’s cross-device matching links all of a user’s devices in order to deliver large-screen OTT/CTV ads based on mobile location data. When a user entered a target fence with their smartphone and then returned home, Simpli.fi could serve display ads on mobile devices and OTT/CTV ads to the big screen in their living room. Furthermore, Simpli.fi identifies this same user who had seen an OTT/CTV ad and who then visited one of the Conversion Zones around the brand’s stores to track a physical conversion.

The campaign was hugely successful, bringing in more than 163,000 visits to the retailer’s stores, at an average Cost Per Visit of $3.22, beating the original goal of $5.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we'll complete our round up with a look at the winners in the Most Effective Data & Analytics, Advertising and Pandemic Campaigns, and the Most Effective Tech Platform. In the meantime, you can see a recording of the Awards Ceremony here.