BullGuard are the UK's leading internet security software provider. Founded in 2002 on the vision of a single product to protect and secure the Internet consumer, BullGuard has since established itself as the leading UK internet security product 2009 as voted by Which magazine and highly recommended as a best buy in PC Pro, VB 100, Computer Buyer, PC Plus magazines.
BullGuard is a best-of-breed antivirus, antispyware, firewall, spam filter, online backup and live support package all in one. In the first two years of the business BullGuard built a customer base of over 3 million users and today BullGuard is one of the most respected and well-known brands in the security industry.
BullGuard has a strong brand profile built on high-end reliable products which defends users against Internet security threats. With an established business and consumer customer base in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Spain, China and Brazil, BullGuard wants to increase its dominance in these markets through further acquisition. Relying on www.bullguard.com as the central blood supply for the generation of new business, BullGuard uses the web to engage with end users in a way which will increase revenue generation through trials, purchase and renewals.
Internally the digital strategy of the business incorporates other business competencies to create efficiencies across business operations that will provide the increased agility for BullGuard to escalate its growth strategy over the coming years. This includes further adoption of the web as a first line support mechanism and creation of self service resources for consumers to fulfil their requirements with the efficiency and ease which is yet to be delivered in the Internet Security market.
What issues or challenges did the organisation face?
Originally BullGuard concentrated on strengthening its core competencies to a level which would support its growth. With a strong search engine ranking pulling in thousands of visitors a month, the business moved to escalate those numbers in line with business objectives in 2009.
Although managing the PPC in-house and through an administrative agency, BullGuard recognised the immediate results PPC could generate would require additional investment and the recruitment of a company which would enact the search strategy to meet the targets of BullGuard's digital strategy.
Objectives of the campaign
- To increase BullGuard brand awareness and favourability, including purchase intent amongst key target audiences in key countries amongst key product groups
- Build awareness of Internet Security, Mobile and Backup (all of our products, as per business 'objectives), the need for it, what product is best for you.
- Consistency of customer experience throughout all touch points on (and off) line
Key Digital Strategy objectives:
Drive increases in;
- Conversion rate: website visits to free trials generated
- Conversion rate: free trial to purchase
- Conversion rate: website visits to direct purchase
- Increase share of search, visibility of BullGuard against key, identified search terms.
PPC Campaign Objectives:
- To increase revenue generation through www.bullguard.com with immediate effect through attraction of increased volumes of interested consumer web traffic.
- To reduce the cost per click for traffic to convert to sales and increase the volume of sales conversions (downloads, purchase and re-purchase figures).
- To have the scalability to fully manage both the UK campaign and to include international campaigns that would increase as expansion escalates.
- To provide a platform to fund future expansion.
How did this campaign aim to address this and add value to the business in a more general level?
The instigation of the PPC campaign was initially designed to attract and engage higher volumes of consumers to the website www.bullguard.com. PPC was determined to be the fastest way to attract large volumes of consumers to the website by way of their own self qualified interest in Internet security and related search terms via the major UK search engines, Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.
BullGuard engaged Vertical Leap to fully manage all aspects of the UK campaign which would both test the viability of the sales targets in BullGuard's digital marketing strategy but also provide a communications testing platform for messaging, customer behaviour and consumer insight testing.
On a broader level the success of the UK campaign would determine the inclusion of other international sales geographies benefitting from localised PPC sales campaigns. These would involve the use of locally popular search engines, localised marketing messaging and understanding of the motivators in local markets.
Ongoing success of the campaign in the UK should be self sustaining in terms of generation over cost and this in turn will fuel its own escalation to greater investment in PPC advertising.
The target audience
The broadest target audience is in essence anyone who is using a PC or laptop to access the internet. This required the campaign to have breadth and appeal across demographic boundaries. But also to focus on specific selling campaigns and seasonal promotions including small and medium enterprise price offers, start up business packages, Christmas, Student Academic year and a New Year sale.
The campaign was designed to appeal to UK consumers and business users interested in internet security. The issues associated with attracting these users is the diversity of the group, but BullGuard had some specific key search terms for which they were receiving good traffic from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rankings. Initially these terms were used as a benchmark for the PPC keywords and then expanded to accommodate more specific key phrases as research into the long tail' or attracted key phrases revealed more specific search behaviours online. The long tail provided greater attraction for business users more typically using defined key phrases of more than 3 words to perform searches for their Internet Security needs.
Media, channels or techniques used
The campaign itself was designed for the UK market and from its inception was required to meet immediate goals in terms of new visitor acquisition.
Extensive keyword research was conducted to establish keywords based on a variety of factors such as the campaign budget, average Cost Per Click (CPC), traffic analysis and market trends.
Ad text variations were created to appeal to users based on the keyword selection, website content and incentives. BullGuard wanted to attract transactional behaviours to the website in the form of trial uptakes, purchase and renewal so in order to attain these results PPC campaign adverts were designed for each key search phrase. They were designed to be flexible, allowing small word variations to measure effect from day to day if necessary to improve opportunities and uptake but keenly to ensure agility within each element of the campaign.
Alongside the ad text variations Vertical Leap constructed the landing pages designed to fulfil immediate demands and link interested, self qualified consumers through to more areas of the main BullGuard website. Technically this used the optimisation of A/B tested landing pages with variations on layout, text and call to action.
With the essential work established Vertical Leap planned the advertising buying strategy to fit around the optimum times for BullGuard to attract maximum traffic. This included utilising data on the diary search behaviour of consumers so that the campaign could focus budget in the most productive timeframes throughout the day. This was also reflected in seasonal campaigns with specific target audiences such as business users, start up businesses, students returning to university, Christmas computer purchases, New Year sales promotions. The promotions also include price offerings to enhance conversion rates by removing free trials and offer in its place, direct purchase options.
BullGuard's campaign designs centred on the core promotions of its products and generic search terms including Internet Security but also on products specific promotions to coincide with peak buying behaviours in the computer and laptop marketplace. Vertical Leap designed the campaigns to ensure that correct conversion tracking and new landing pages would positively influence conversions rates. To drive initial clicks from the search pages, Vertical Leap rolled out a brand long tail campaign to maximise the reach of the campaign beyond the benchmark core key phrases.
A successful outcome of the UK campaign was planned to be repurposed for international PPC campaigns to be managed by Vertical Leap. The roll out would include USA, Australia, Germany, Spain, Holland and France
Timescales of the campaign
Keywords research conducted at the beginning of the campaign in August 2009 informed the planning and design of the UK PPC campaign.
The keyword research influenced the advert text for each key phrase. This was done in conjunction with the primary landing pages so the campaign could begin swiftly.
Once agreed the buying strategy was implemented and the campaign initialised. In all this took approximately three weeks.
Beyond this measurement of campaign happened daily and was reported against weekly and monthly analysis. The ongoing management involved weekly and monthly reporting to ensure action was taken to maximise all opportunities.
A review at six months concluded the success of the campaign warranted commencement of the international campaigns using the UK as a template for the initial USA roll out. This was to be followed by Australia, Germany, Spain, Holland and France shortly afterwards.
There was no initial budget set for PPC spend but the clear parameters established that PPC must pay for itself in terms of cost against increased transactions through the relevant landing pages and website.
Across the campaign timeframe investment into PPC has increased four-fold with room to increase. Current investment stands at £6.5k per month.
"The web means everything to our business and is the primary growth channel for BullGuard. Whilst our PPC was being designed internally and administered externally we were unable to escalate our revenue generation through the website.
Vertical Leap demonstrated a reasoned and balanced approach to Pay Per Click advertising that was represented by their fixed full management fee and has been further substantiated by impressive reduction in our costs to acquire new business against a boom in visitor numbers. The 98 per cent cost reduction against over 700 per cent increase in transactions speaks for itself and has led PPC to move from support strategy to a digital mainstay within BullGuard.
With the success of the campaign in the UK we were given the confidence to push PPC as our primary activity into other geographies including Spain, Germany, and Scandinavia. An added bonus has been the speed with which we can move and test the viability of new markets, using the data to build convincing business cases in the move to optimise BullGuard's position in the global internet security market." Justin Mlynarski, digital marketing manager, BullGuard