Experiments, trending and ‘Pet-Fi’ pave the path for raising iiNet’s profile.

Helping the challenger brand to take on the big players.

Formed in suburban Perth, Western Australia back in 1993, iiNet is Australia’s second largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the leading ‘challenger brand’ in the telecommunications sector.  With leading broadband offerings, stellar customer service and a slightly irreverent persona, iiNet have come from ‘nowhere’ to take on the ‘big boys’ of telecommunications.
Since 2012 APD has worked with iiNet across their Paid Search and SEO activity, in which time we have helped them grow their profile.  We now work across several of its service offerings including Broadband, NBN and Mobile Plans. When the relationship kicked off, we ran a number of experiments to test assumptions; we made exhaustive technical optimisations and implemented content and keyword strategies. In the first year our blended approach of organic and paid search reduced iiNet’s Cost-Per-Acquistion (CPA) by 53% and combined sales were increased by 139% for a higher return on investment.

A flying start: increasing combined sales by 139% and reduced iiNet’s Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) by 53%.

The challenge: to top our previous year’s performance.

In the second year of the engagement, the goal was to continue to generate more than 50% growth in annual organic search traffic. iiNet also wanted to achieve an even higher organic search visibility while gaining a greater social media reach and engagement than the major players: Telstra and Optus. With a less extravagant budget than their competitors, smart strategies were needed to:
  • Boost social ‘impression share’ relative to the social audiences of the other big Australian Telcos
  • Build on the already positive brand sentiment, further engage with existing customers and expose the brand’s personality to new audiences.
  • Boost exposure for the iiNet brand on popular, high-authority domains such as news portals, content marketing platforms and blogs.

Challenge accepted.

Never ones to turn down a challenge, APD brainstormed an elaborate April Fools’ Day prank. Doing something quirky aligned with iiNet’s brand proposition as the challenger. On 1 April – we launched ‘Pet-Fi’ – a fictional product dubbed as a ‘revolutionary’ device that once attached to a pet’s collar created Wi-Fi hotspots. To activate the prank, it was a joint effort of APD and iiNet’s web, content, social and PR teams. A faux product landing page was created, including multiple hardware options for different size pets and ludicrous product benefits such as “Utilising your pet’s kinetic energy, Pet-Fi harnesses the energy generated by your pet’s movement to stay charged”. Blogs, press releases as well as media and blogger outreach, ensured that the launch announcements would get maximum coverage. We worked with the social media team at iiNet to create enough social buzz for the prank to take off. Later in the day when the hoax was revealed users were encouraged to prank their friends by sharing the page.

The prank received 1.2 million social impressions, beating major Telcos.

On Twitter, the Pet-Fi prank spread rapidly, helped by using prepared fictitious testimonials, celebrity tweets and partner accounts. By 4pm on 1 April #PetFi garnered over 1.2 million social impressions via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – compared to 205,000 impressions for #ConnectedPet (Telstra) and only 110,000 impressions for #GiveTheDogAPhone (Optus). During the course of the campaign, the Pet-Fi pages were shared and liked by 2,000 Australians on Facebook.  The proactive social initiatives, boosted with a small budget for paid promotions, attracted engagement and positive sentiment from users.  By 9 April, the Pet-Fi page had been visited by over 50,000 users. The iiNet website received over 190,000 visits on 1 April, which was 48% more than the daily average for January to March of 2014 and significantly higher than 1 April the year before.

"iiNet owned the April Fools' Conversation in 2014 on Twitter through amplification of a very clever campaign that revolved around people's love of pets on the platform. This allowed them to break through the clutter in an extremely competitive Telco landscape to keep the brand top of mind.”

Cindy BurkeSenior Sales Executive, Twitter Australia

“We see APD as a trusted business partner who deliver insightful and innovative solutions focused on meeting our business objectives – primarily increasing customers at the lowest possible cost per acquisition. I would not hesitate in recommending working with them”

Jane OrchardDigital Marketing Manager, iiNet

High profile coverage: A SEO win.

The Pet-Fi page and the surrounding iiNet blog posts attracted links from over 60 high-authority domains, making it great from both a publicity and SEO point of view. High profile portals linked to iiNet including BuzzFeed, BRW, Yahoo, news.com.au and NineMSN. The Pet-Fi April Fools’ Day prank was covered by 176 online outlets including The West Australian, ABC News, The Daily Telegraph, Campaign Brief, The Canberra Times and Fairfax Media over the following days. The prank was also picked up by national radio, TV and print media including ABC News 24 and Channel 9. As a result of the increased number of links to the iiNet domain that were generated during the Pet-Fi campaign, iiNet’s organic search visibility improved significantly.

Content, testing and learning continues to fuel growth.

Beyond April Fools’ day, the APD team are involved on an ongoing basis in generating content that is relevant and useful to potential iiNet customers. Whether it is a ‘How to Set-up’ guide or a review of the latest iPhone, our team blog prolifically on matters that might help to boost organic traffic for the iiNet service lines that we are engaged to work on. Based upon the blogs, we create campaigns, working with their social media team to tie in with and complement paid search, as appropriate. We have leveraged location-based targeted content with great success. By continually testing, refining everything for ad copy, landing pages and headlines we continually improve results. Due to this success, iiNet has increased their investment in paid search advertising and given it greater priority within its strategy.