With damage to car glass often occurring unexpectedly, Autoglass saw that mobile is ideally suited to the urgency of car glass repair. The company built a mobile-optimised site, launched mobile search ads and implemented mobile-specific click-to-call ad extensions. Next it debuted a mobile app along with a click-to-download ad campaign. As a way of driving further downloads, Autoglass also introduced in-app advertising across the Google Display Network, which was managed within its AdWords account.
Launched in 1979 and based in Bedford, Autoglass is the UK’s leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the company annually comes to the assistance of over 1.5 million motorists. Autoglass repairs damage not only through a network of local service centres, but also offers nationwide coverage through a mobile emergency service.
Help is on the way
Damage to car glass often occurs unexpectedly, and a small chip can rapidly escalate into a shattered windscreen. Autoglass recognised that mobile is ideally suited to the urgency of car glass replacement. With this in mind, the company embraced the world of mobile early and built a mobile-optimised site to reach out to its customers in 2010.
Since that time, Autoglass has worked with digital media agency Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) to plan and implement its online marketing activity. “Autoglass were pioneers when it came to launching a full mobile site,” says Paul Kasamias, search director at SMG. “It’s all about customer context. When you’re out and about and you have a cracked windscreen, you need a quick solution – and mobile is the best way to reach that solution.”
Overall, mobile bookings are up 11% and clicks are up 53% year on year. Mobile search is now the first line on our media plan and will continue to be our main focus as the key driver of bookings.
As a B2C company in a very competitive market, Autoglass needs to constantly look for ways to utilise the full value of mobile for its business. To help boost traffic to the Autoglass mobile site, it initially launched mobile search advertising through Google Mobile Ads in 2010. Then in early 2012, Autoglass implemented mobile-specific ad extensions too. By displaying a phone number in search ads, the click-to-call facility enables users to click the number to call just as easily as clicking to the site.
The launch of the first Autoglass mobile app in 2011 offered yet another way for customers to engage with the company when on the go. Autoglass uses click-to-download ads to promote the app and also uses in-app advertising – managed within the company’s AdWords account – as a way of encouraging downloads. “Mobile investment has increased significantly over the past year,” says Paul. “There’s been a 115% increase in mobile search. And when you take into account in-app advertising and click-to-download, it’s an overall increase of 220%.”
See for yourself
This significant mobile investment calls for robust ways of tracking and measuring mobile activity to get a full picture of ROI. Autoglass and SMG measure lead generation in calls, bookings and app downloads. “To understand the true value of our mobile search activity, we use unique telephone numbers for our click-to-call ads, so we can track them and link them back to specific campaigns and keywords,” Paul explains. “We also track the number of mobile apps that are downloaded and the number of online bookings made through the app. This gives us an insight into the number of people downloading the app who then go on to make a booking.”
By running mobile-specific ads that work in combination with the mobile-optimised site, Autoglass and SMG have recorded high returns. “We’ve seen a significant uplift in traffic, spend and bookings due to mobile search, which now accounts for 23% of our total search traffic,” says Paul. “Overall, mobile bookings are up by 11% and clicks are up by 53% year on year.” But what’s surprised Paul most is the high volume of app downloads Autoglass has achieved since initiating its app promotion activity. “We’ve delivered over 4,000 app downloads in 10 months through a combination of click-to-download supplementary ads and activity on apps within the Google Display Network through AdWords.” Before the activity, the ratio between those who downloaded the app to those who eventually booked a service was 16:1, but following the investment into mobile search and display this improved to 3:1 on iOS devices and 8:1 on Android devices. The average cost per booking meanwhile amounted to less than more expensive generic campaigns.
For the future, Autoglass and SMG are focused on finding ways of building on this and maximising mobile’s full potential. “Mobile search is now the first line on our media plan and will continue to be our main focus as the key driver of bookings,” says Paul. There is also the upcoming prospect of using new reporting features in enhanced campaigns to better understand the full impact that mobile can deliver, and the company is developing a unified customer experience across devices that will incorporate the next iteration of the mobile-optimised site. “Mobile is about more than lead generation; for Autoglass it’s about giving customers a service they can rely on,” says Paul. “It’s about providing a hassle-free solution to a stressful situation that puts customers at ease – a quick response from your mobile.”