Realizing the untapped opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of unbranded search terms in the automotive industry, GMC explores a lifestyle content campaign.
When we realized that sites like Cars.com and Edmunds perform better than specific automotive brand sites, like GMC, on critical unbranded search terms, and that most consumers start shopping for vehicles on third-party sites, the team knew it was time to test unbranded lifestyle content and measure its performance.
To design a content focused campaign to capitalize on the sheer volume of unbranded search queries in the automotive industry; to intercept undecided vehicle shoppers at the search engine and drive them to consider GMC by providing valuable information.
page rankings for 70% of targeted unbranded terms
incremental organic site visits per month
lift in monthly traffic with paid amplification
Average time spent on new un-branded lifestyle pages
Although the primary KPI for this experimental campaign was increased site visits, the team tracked additional metrics. Across the board the results were impressive and, in some cases, surprising. Based on customer-initiated engagement with GMC’s shopping tools, we learned that many visitors were lower in the purchasing funnel than originally assumed, and were influenced by GMC’s lifestyle content. GMC was the first automotive OEM to roll out a content-driven, lifestyle-themed SEO strategy. Now, other automotive brands are pursuing the same strategy.
“With innovative thinking and collaboration, iProspect and GMC improved un-branded SEO ranking and drove traffic. GMC also gained some surprising and valuable insights about that traffic.”
Content Category Research : Based on a variety of data, the team identified three topic categories at the intersection of the most popular queries, least competitive topics, and existing content gaps: towing and trailering, fuel efficiency, and vehicle performance.
Content Development : While GMC’s creative agency developed thirteen “core” content pages for the three categories, iProspect and partner Skyword created ninety supporting lifestyle articles. Skyword’s content platform enabled the team to assess the content against preset goals, and to coordinate the extensive and formal multi-party review process.
Content Syndication: To augment the initial organic search success, iProspect engaged Outbrain (a paid media syndication partner) to promote the content via their network of more than 100,000 blogs and sites. Links to GMC’s content appeared at the bottom of native content on highly trafficked sites (Huffington Post, CNN, etc.) under headings like “Related stories from around the web.”