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Specsavers, search insight and an award-winning pandemic response

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Specsavers on how the business improved its understanding of search data and trends to serve relevant information to consumers.

In March 2020, Specsavers launched the Covid-19 Care Hub, a content library designed to respond to rapid shifts in search behaviours, trends, and customer concerns. Customers were searching for things they’d never had to consider; there was an evident need to deliver practical information on attending appointments. But demand for a trusted source of Covid-related ear and eye health information also emerged, and was met, by Specsavers’ Care Hub.

Specsavers worked with Curated to pivot its onsite content strategy to cater for this growth. At first, there were suspicions around what content ought to be created to support customers in-store and online. The challenge of avoiding scaremongering, whilst serving impactful content, was at the forefront of the teams’ minds.

Using search data was the key to proving the commercial viability for the Care Hub. The search data was, and is, able to validate hypotheses on how customers were feeling. It was leveraged to create a reliable framework for trend analysis and measuring the relevance of cultural topics for Specsavers’ audience. Assessing trends and Government restrictions in real-time ensured Specsavers always maintained its competitive advantage.

Curated selected critical insights where Specsavers could provide expertise. These were developed into content for the hub, with resulting articles and videos responding to highly-searched customer queries and new clinical research. To ensure Specsavers’ healthcare expertise was never compromised, all the content on the Hub was authored and reviewed by clinicians.

Topics ranged from “Ask the Expert” articles explaining links between Covid-19 and conjunctivitis or hearing loss, to providing advice on coping with the logistical challenges of the pandemic and managing conditions from home.

The responses to rises in searches for ‘how to stop glasses from fogging up’ and ‘blue light glasses’ were particular campaign highlights.

With the jury still out on the effectiveness of the latter, and scientists finding no proven benefit on eye health, Specsavers reacted with a myth-busting article on blue light glasses. A collaboration with experts from the College of Optometrists ensued to tackle misinformation and help customers make informed decisions.

The framework also detected a rise in Google searches for Covid-related eye symptoms – preceding the official research that later confirmed them as symptoms.

Throughout the pandemic, the content was regularly reviewed and updated as new evidence emerged. Web content was supported by media stories and videos created for social channels in an effective example of cross-channel communication. Using Curated’s data-backed framework, Specsavers created two-way communication with customers online, while also gathering insight for its communications teams.

What was the impact?

Appointment bookings: The Covid-19 Care Hub has generated 47,997 appointment bookings and requests through organic traffic since March 2020 — a number that continues to grow. The campaign not only provided the public with vital healthcare information but also helped ensure that those in need continued to receive essential care.

Website visits & content views: The project has been extremely successful, generating more than 4.6 million unique page views of Covid-19 care content since launch, 1.7 million of which were organic. The hub has generated over 3,700 rankings for new keyword phrases.

Standout content, including ‘How to stop glasses fogging up while wearing a face mask’ has driven 711,800 page views and counting, and ranks in first position for ‘how to stop glasses from fogging up’ on Google. Likewise, the myth-busting piece ‘Do blue light glasses really work?’ has received 327,500 page views so far, ranking in 1st position for ‘blue light glasses’, which receives 47,000 monthly searches. These and other top stories were fed into Specsavers’ PR agency, who secured 756 pieces of coverage.

In July 2021, the Care Hub won two gold and one silver awards, and has been shortlisted for two additional Marketing Week Masters awards.

What next?

Beyond informing customers or driving appointment bookings, the work from the Hub has helped to guide wider business decisions. For instance, Specsavers now has the ability to flag key customer pain points (such as mask-induced foggy glasses) which has successfully guided the pivot towards developing anti-fog lens products, alongside promoting contact lens services as a solution. Without search data validating these suspicions, Specsavers would not have been able to create a framework by which trends are assessed and new content is created to support their customers as well as the wider public.

Throughout the pandemic, the campaign helped keep 3.5m people updated on essential eye and hearing care information. It has been an integral part in shifting perception of the brand from a low cost glasses supermarket, to the authority in eye and ear health, improving the lives of all and making eye and ear health accessible to everyone. From providing practical advice around condition management at home (at a time with limited access to care) to demystifying some of the concerns around trending health topics such as blue light, Specsavers has remained a constant pillar of support and a resource for trusted information during very unsettled times.

This period has redefined the business’s understanding of search data and trends, and the opportunity these insights present in serving relevant information to people at the time they need it the most.

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