Sneak Peak:Read this case study to know how an Italian automaker company made use of Search ads to increase its brand awareness and saw 120% increase in year-on-year sales. Company: Fiat Industry: Automotive Tool Used: Search Engine Marketing Result: 120% increase in year-on-year sales Business Type: B2C
The Brand & the StoryThe Italian automaker Fiat was founded in 1899. The automotive brand is renowned for producing some of the most compact vehicles on the market. The brand had reached the international success however it left the U.S. market in 1983. After a gap of 28 years, the automotive brand returned to a North American market in 2011 however had to face established competitors and reduced brand loyalty across the three generations of consumers. The Italian automaker wanted to lift market share & brand awareness for which it adopted a creative & sophisticated Search strategy for achieving its brand building objectives. With the help of Search ads for Fiat the brand could realize a 127% lift in brand awareness as well as could steer its way again into the minds of auto buyers in North American.
Turning towards Search advertising for brand buildingAfter a bit of research Fiat settled on leveraging Search ads as a key element of its re-entry strategy for the U.S. market. With the help of a two-pronged approach for keyword coverage, the brand could try to achieve its goals. Fiat first bid viably on specific branded keywords that included “Fiat” and “Fiat 500” for connecting with people who were already searching for the Fiat brand. On top of it, it also bid on broader “category” keywords that like “small car,” “compact car,” and “city car” for getting the attention of new customers & undecided shoppers. “Retention [or “branded”] terms bring the highest yield at the lowest cost,” explains Susan Thomson, director of media & social media at Chrysler Group LLC. “But we invest in our segment [or “category”] terms to ensure that we capture undecided shoppers throughout their purchase process. We work to have the most relevant ad copy and we’re constantly optimizing based on what customers are searching so we match up with their needs.”
Driving the brand’s objective through SearchFiat believed that a prudent Search strategy would impact the brand building goals positively but also direct-response goals. And so to put a figure on it the automaker brand collaborated with Google & IpsosMedia CT for conducting a “Brand Value of Search” study. They designed this study mainly for measuring affect of Fiat ads on their brand awareness when the ads were displayed on Google searches for “small car.” The search & brand marketing teams of the automotive company worked together during the study for not only identifying how the presence of a Fiat ad was driving the brand lift, but also how the results were influenced by different ad copies. Two variations of desktop ads were tested which gave insights on how the ads emphasizing Fiat’s Italian roots affected the brand perception more. After the study was completed, the results they got could reveal that the unaided awareness was increased from just 11% to 22.5% due to the presence of a search ad for Fiat, which was an 11.5% point spike up in unaided brand awareness. Not just that, there was a lift of 6 % points from just 3% to 9% in top-of-mind awareness of Fiat. “While we understood the value of segment search in driving engagement, we were pleasantly surprised to also see a lift in Fiat brand measures thanks to search impressions alone,” says Thomson. “Through our presence on the search results page on small car queries, the Fiat brand’s awareness and favorability increased and it really helped drive undecided shoppers’ consideration of the brand.” Moreover, the Italian automaker could also see Fiat convincing results in the study particularly meant for mobile search ads. The unaided awareness of Fiat when it comes to the mobile searchers got lifted 6% by points (from 22.9% to 28.9%) while Fiat was featured in the top sponsored position on mobile. And, top-of-mind awareness on mobile got lifted by 4% points from 15.3% to 19.3%. Looking at the mobile trend and potential growth coming with it, the brand went ahead and re-designed its mobile site for focusing more on the needs & behaviors of mobile auto shoppers. “We know mobile users are quickly becoming the primary audience,” says Thomson. “We know it’s important to reach people in the moments that matter, regardless of the device they are using, and with Google we’re able to drive new brand awareness and consideration across different screens.” Overall, Fiat’s market reentry was a great success, as the company saw year-over-year sales growth of over 120% between 2011 and 2012. With virtually no brand awareness in some categories prior to reentry, one year later, one-third of small car shoppers saw Fiat as a market leader and status setter in high-quality small cars.
Gearing up to accelerate the future successNow the Italian automaker keeps digital marketing front & center for both brand & performance in order to ensure that the these results keep accelerating. “We’re seeing the Fiat brand continue to grow,” says Thomson. “Our target consumers are advanced consumers of media, so we’ll continue to invest in mobile, social media and video.” Whatever the future brings, the Fiat brand’s digital strategies have put the brand firmly in the driver’s seat. The campaign Highlights:
- 120% increase in year-on-year sales between 2011 and 2012
- A lift of 11.5 % points in total unaided brand awareness when a Fiat Search ad was present
- A lift of 4 % points in Top-of-mind awareness on mobile when Fiat appeared in the top sponsored position