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How cutting energy costs made its all Add Up for Vyde, MG OMD and UK Gov

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By The Drum, Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 7 min read

How The Department of Energy Security & Net Zero helped people cut energy costs, and won the Digital Industries Award for Not For Profit at this year's Drum Awards Festival. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning digital work

With the energy crisis playing a pivotal role in driving the cost of living crisis, the UK Government wanted to empower and support consumers across the country to take charge of their energy usage and drive positive change. The ‘It All Adds Up’ campaign was part of the wider ‘Help for Households’ campaign, designed to educate and protect audiences looking to reduce their bills. With the cost of living crisis at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it needed to reach as many people as possible. This campaign leveraged innovative technology to deliver personalised creatives in order to empower the UK public to understand the best ways to reduce their energy usage.

Objectives

This campaign looked to educate consumers and help them save on their energy bills. The Department of Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) wanted to showcase three actions that were key to helping reduce energy costs; reducing combi boiler flow temperature from 75 to 60 degrees, turning down radiators in empty rooms and draught proofing to reduce heat loss from properties. By emphasising how small steps could help reduce day-to-day energy usage, the government wanted to break down any barriers to consumers accessing the right information, capture users in the moment and make an impact on households across the country.

Strategy

Vyde built conversational creative units that allowed consumers to choose the ad content most relevant to them. We designed a bespoke decision tree that highlighted the three key actions, offering easily digestible tips for the target audience. User experience was at the forefront of our design. Keeping the decision tree short ensured we could streamline information from the initial interaction to education. It was also important to consider that the target audience would have different circumstances, with some having already taken steps to reduce their energy consumption and actively looking for new ideas, or others having not taken any at all. Different households have different needs and concerns and the creative design needed to address these. Whatever the circumstance, Vyde’s ad was tailored to the individual. This meant UK Gov could keep their target audience wide, yet still deliver personalised advice to each audience, allowing them to reach and influence more of the public to reduce their energy bills.

Activation Strategy

To maximise impact and ensure high engagement with the target audience, Vyde partnered with Captify. Using their Sense platform, Captify identified a minimum of 73.6 million searches related to the cost of living crisis in the previous month alone, particularly by struggling audiences. The strategy targeted these struggling audiences, such as empty nesters nearing retirement, those in debt and those in support and social professions. Using Captify’s search intelligence data, we were able to locate users who were actively searching for information on how to reduce energy bills, and tailor the ad to their needs.

Creative Strategy

The conversational unit contained multiple conversation branches and landing pages. DESNZ were able to qualify the person engaging within the unit to direct them to the landing page they wanted to be on. Audiences were quickly taken to the information most relevant to them, in comparison to loading a generic landing page from a standard format. Vyde’s unit also included videos for the user to watch to offer instant guidance on energy-saving techniques. Once a user had selected what method they wanted to learn about, we could immediately show them how to action it without having to leave the unit, reducing the steps needed to deliver the key information. In reducing the amount of time it took to deliver key information about saving energy to audiences, we improved the user experience and allowed UK Gov to achieve their objectives quicker.

Results

The campaign ran from January 13th to March 1st, 2023, and saw an Active Attention time for which was 65% above benchmark. Alongside this attention time both interaction rate and CTR outperformed their benchmarks.

Sustained Active Attention Throughout

Active Attention is a unique Vyde metric that measures how long audiences spend actively engaging with the unit by clicking on the conversational quick response buttons. On average, we saw users consistently spend more time within the unit than our 10s benchmark, asking questions and finding out specifically how they could save on their energy bills. This also increased throughout the quarter. Compared to an average time of 3.2 seconds for standard formats (IAB), this shows just how effective the unit was in getting consumers to pause their journey and meaningfully interact, adding a layer of accountability to the campaign’s results.

Interaction Rate

Interaction Rate is a key metric for the conversational unit. With a vibrant banner and an opening question designed to pique the interest of users, the interaction rate exceeded benchmarks by 27% consistently throughout the campaign. This strong IR, in conjunction with the high attention time, highlights how those who engaged with the unit spent real, quality time inside it.

Consumer Insights

Our consumer insights revealed that we educated an increasing number of users who had not yet reduced their energy usage. Our opening question across the quarter enquired whether users had taken steps to reduce their energy. Looking at the month-on-month change of responses, February and March saw more users select ‘Not Yet’. Our insights revealed which solutions and tips different audiences were most likely to learn more about. These insights helped DESNZ to understand where their audiences lacked knowledge and what they are looking for when it comes to finding tips to reduce energy. All of these insights were used to fuel future campaign strategies. The campaign's insights were presented back to the Cabinet Office and DESNZ post-campaign. Catriona McGrath, Chief Campaign Officer at DESNEZ, quoted “the unique power of Vyde’s format was evident, with the campaign reaching an increasing number of users across the month and achieving an impressive attention time of 16.47 sections. It also provided invaluable insights which the UK Gov will be using to inform future strategies.” This campaign not only surpassed all performance metrics but delivered personalisation at scale. Through Vyde and OmniGov the UK Government were able to innovate the way information was delivered in order to quickly educate the public during the energy crisis.

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