Case Study

eHealth Boosts Brand Awareness With Google Display Ads

the rundown

Since 1997, eHealth has helped Americans choose the health insurance plan that best meets their needs. The company ran campaigns on the Google Display Network to attract new customers and boost brand awareness, but without the ability to measure its effects, eHealth was hesitant to fully invest. Cue Google"s Brand Lift, which lets companies quantify the impact of display and video on brand interest. After running a three-week campaign featuring 600 of its top-performing search keywords, eHealth realized a 45% increase in branded searches among consumers exposed to the campaign.

The Goals

  • Create brand awareness and interest and acquire new customers
  • Measure display's effect on brand awareness

The Approach

  • Increased focus on branding and display
  • Used Brand Lift to understand display's impact on consumer search behavior
  • Created contextually targeted display campaign featuring 600 top keywords

The Results

  • 45% growth in branded searches and 33% lift on all keywords for consumers exposed to Brand Lift display campaigns
  • Brand Lift is a proxy for brand interest
  • Insights from Brand Lift help drive informed investment in display

Since 1997, eHealth has helped more than 4 million individuals and families find and choose the health insurance plans that best meet their needs. As America’s #1 marketplace for health insurance, eHealth partners with more than 180 insurance companies to bring consumers a wide array of coverage options (over 13,000 plans). “We make Obamacare easy,” says Ian Lopuch, vice president of customer acquisition at eHealth.

One of eHealth’s primary marketing objectives is attracting new customers. By building a robust digital presence, eHealth stays in constant contact with consumers to create awareness of its offerings and help them make informed decisions. “We want to be in the most relevant places at the right time to connect with potential customers,” says Lopuch. To strengthen its influence in these “relevant places,” eHealth has traditionally focused on social media and search marketing, notably with Google, with whom it has partnered for more than a decade.

Following the historic change and upsurge in digital media coverage under the Affordable Care Act, eHealth wanted its brand to stand out. To complement its historically direct response approach with branding, eHealth ran campaigns on the Google Display Network to create awareness and brand recognition. However, the company remained hesitant to fully invest in display without the ability to measure its tangible effects on brand impact.

When eHealth learned about Google’s Brand Lift solution and the ability to measure the impact of display and video on brand interest using Google.com searches, the company was eager to test it, with the objective of understanding the true value of display. “Our main goal in trying Brand Lift was to see if our display ads were actually working for our company, and for our industry,” says Yamini Priya Rasetty, senior manager of customer acquisition at eHealth. “We trusted Google and thought it was an exciting opportunity to better understand the impact of our display campaigns,” she adds.

How Brand Lift works

Google’s Brand Lift solution measures brand interest using a sophisticated technology that interprets rich, anonymized search data to track incremental changes in search behavior from consumers who are exposed to eHealth’s display ads. Using a randomized A/B test to compare searches from users who have seen eHealth’s ad with searches from users who haven’t, Brand Lift measures the incremental lift in searches relative to the control baseline search rate, with a 90% confidence (one-sided test). These insights enable advertisers to discover the search terms with the highest brand lift, see the geographical areas with the most impact, know which ad groups are most valuable and learn what ad frequency level is the sweet spot.

With Brand Lift, eHealth understands display’s true value

eHealth tested Brand Lift with a contextually targeted display campaign featuring roughly 600 of its top-performing search keywords. After running the campaign for three weeks, eHealth used Brand Lift to uncover a 45% increase in branded searches and a 33% lift in all health insurance-related search terms for consumers exposed to the eHealth display campaign. “We see search behavior as a proxy for brand interest, so the results are very exciting,” notes Lopuch.

Brand Lift also reveals display’s valuable role in identifying and investing in media channels. With this data, eHealth discovered that its display campaign was adding value to the consumer, assisting other channels such as Search.

“Thanks to the insights from Brand Lift, we’ve been able to allocate budget and resources for our display campaigns,” notes Rasetty, who says eHealth plans to keep using the Brand Lift solutions. “It was really the starting point to doing more with our display campaigns,” she continues. “It’s inspired the eHealth team to fully embrace display.”

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  • Published May 2014