Cox & Kings integrated search strategy

Natural and paid search campaign to acquire new customers

Search strategy drives a 47% year on year increase in passenger bookings and 95% increase in revenue driven via the website.

The overriding objective was to drive awareness of the Cox & Kings brand, increase customer acquisition and revenue driven from the website.

Specific objectives included meeting a 20% year-on-year increase in natural search traffic and improving the conversion rate by a minimum of 0.5%.

We were also targeted with delivering between 1.15% and 3% conversion rates for key destinations through the paid search campaign.

Summary of strategy
We delivered an integrated natural search and paid search strategy, whilst integrating telephone tracking and attribution technology to build an understanding of the customer buying journey.

What we did
The immediate priority was to improve return on investment from the existing paid search campaign. When taking over the campaign we found that the number of keywords being targeted was disproportionate to the level of budget. In short, too little budget was being allocated to too many keywords, which was negatively impacting performance.

Using various trending tools, we began by putting in place a month by month tactical plan that took account of seasonality, promotional periods and fluctuations in demand during the course of the year for the many destinations and holiday types offered by Cox & Kings. This allowed the budget to be attributed to specific destinations at specific times.

With a more robust schedule in place, keywords for each destination were carefully analysed to assess historical performance with poor performing keywords removed. Ad copy was given a creative refresh utilising key messages and USPs. We also integrated optimisation and attribution technology to help continuously monitor, test and optimise performance.

Alongside the paid search campaign, we redesigned the architecture of the Cox & Kings website to account for search behaviour and to enhance the user-experience. The site was optimised accordingly based on agreed keyword targets.

As well as more traditional link building tactics (submissions to relevant directories and tourist boards), we have also delivered a creative link acquisition programs targeting influential bloggers that perhaps best encapsulates our innovative, PR-driven approach to natural search (see separate “ingredients from abroad” case study).

Underpinning the search strategy, we worked with our technology partners DC Storm (optimisation and attribution technology) and AdInsight (call tracking technology) to integrate their two tools.

As the purchase of a Cox & Kings holiday takes place over a long period of time, involving a number of touch points (website, brochure and notably, calls to travel consultants), we wanted to help the client build a 360 view of the customer journey, with a particular focus on the ability to determine more accurately where telephone enquiries and bookings originate from.

Campaign highlights include a 47% year on year increase in passenger bookings and 95% increase in revenue driven via the website, mainly via paid search as this was the main focus for the early stages of the strategy.

However, we have also delivered a 133% increase in top 10 natural rankings on Google, which has resulted in a 29% increase in non-brand traffic from search results, exceeding the 20% target. The conversion rate from natural search traffic has also significantly increased, averaging 2.69%.

This includes highly competitive search terms, such as tailor-made holidays. This search term alone has driven a 557% increase in targeted traffic year-on-year and a 111% increase in sales directly attributable to this search term.

What the client says
“The Leapfrogg team is full of energy, ideas and know-how”.

Philip Hamilton-Grierson, Marketing Director, Cox & Kings.

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