Finder finds its brand advantage with new experience management measurement

Head of insights and analytics shares how brand experience tracking is helping the product comparison site make better marketing and digital decisions

A redesigned website, fresh insights into competitive opportunities and growing audience engagement and conversion are just some of the wins Finder is having after investing in a new brand and consumer experience measurement platform.

Finder is an Australian product comparison site aiming to help people make better product buying decisions. Since launching in 2006, the site has grown to attract 2.4 million unique visitors a month, leading the pack for visitation. It’s also extended its footprint into several other geographies including New Zealand, the US, the UK and Canada.

Finder head of insights and marketing analytics, Steve Lockwood, told CMO the business recognised it needed a more robust framework of measurement around its brand experience. This prompted a search for a new platform that could supply a real-time review around how the brand experience was changing over time and importantly, how Finder compared to its competitive set.

In December, the group chose Qualtrics Experience Management Platform and went live in January.

“Previously we had done sporadic surveys, where we received some information on overall brand health. But we didn’t have a deep enough view of how we were perceived, what our identity was externally, and how our experience was coming across,” Lockwood said. “We tended to focus more on financial KPIs. But given the highly competitive nature of this space, needed to focus on differentiator beyond the numbers of brands we compare, or quality of offers we gain. Providing the best experiences was an area we wanted to get ahead in.

“The mission of the business is to help people make better decisions that are empowering and rewarding. We realise we need to deliver that experience if we are to retain our position and grow the brand.”

Traditional brand measurement often leaves businesses waiting a month or quarter for a report. “By the time you get the information, it’s too late to do anything about it. This gives us real-time access, and we can quickly react to changing situations,” Lockwood said.  

With Finder launching a big brand campaign in February, it was also critical to understand how deeply that campaign affected perceptions of its brand.

“As we went through that process, we were quick to react to certain things we are trying to amplify - things we are good at - and importantly, identify areas we needed to improve,” Lockwood said. “With Qualtrics, we’re tracking 30-40 metrics in different areas, collecting feedback on perceptions of the brand and what people relate to us in terms of brand attributes, specific feedback on the site and how we can improve.”

The Qualtrics platform is designed to help Finder unlock insight into the intentions and experiences of consumers, through measuring things such as Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction. It then mixes in what the vendor calls ‘O-data’ such as website bounce rates and time on page, all with the aim of unlocking brand drivers and identifying opportunities for growth. Insights are broken down into audience segments.

Value-add

Within 10 weeks, Finder measured a 23 per cent lift in brand awareness, 45 per cent improvement in brand salience, 19 per cent increase in consideration and 8-point rise in NPS.

These results reflect the way in which insights are being used. For example, off the back of website and product navigation insights, Finder made changes to its site and has seen bounce rates going down and audiences growing rapidly.

As we’ve gone through the process, we’ve tried to get as much value into as many areas as we can,” Lockwood said. “We’re using feedback to feed into more refined messaging in PR and communications, as well as set up a more efficient approach to our marketing investments and channel selection. We are doing a site redesign in part as a result of the feedback we’ve been getting via Qualtrics, and we’ve tried to push the identity we want to get to in conveying the mission of the business to market.”  

Another recipient of useful insight is marketing investment. Previously, Finder’s channel activity worked in isolation, with search, display and TV all distinct strategies.

“When we started looking at weekly results on which channels were influencing recall and consideration, we realised we need to take a much more holistic approach to planning our marketing; a true cross-functional approach. We weren’t getting synergies and consistency of message across channels,” Lockwood continued.  

“Early on into the new brand campaign, we didn’t have that so we corrected and we’re taking a fundamentally different approach to how we distribute and phase budgets, with an always-on approach. This will be a significant factor in the way we maintain our brand presence.”

Insights are also informing decisions on sponsorship deals and what Finder will move forward with in the next year.

“The efficiency of decisions we are helping people make show our financial performance accelerating, and Q1 was very strong, with year-on-year growth started to go up, rather than plateauing,” Lockwood said. “All results have helped us revolutionise our approach to brand growth.”  

And access to insights has also expanded as the platform became more embedded. Initially, usage sat with Lockwood and the insight and analytics team, who were sending automated reports from day one tailored to suit PR, leadership and other functions. Over time, people in PR and marketing gained access, data science have direct access, and Lockwood’s team has expanded. Today, about 25 people use the platform.

“Our automated reports are going to broader audiences, with findings reviewed weekly in person as well, and working groups using findings to integrate into multiple KPIs across the business,” Lockwood said. “So we’ve tried to democratise as much as we can so they can play an active role in strategic decisions.”  

Lockwood said the core elements of Finder’s brand tracker haven’t changed since adoption.

“Consistency of metrics are far more valuable than the numbers themselves – how those metrics change and how we can correlate those back to actions we’re taking in this business,” he explained. “That’s the evolution for us, not the surveying, and how we integrate these into operational results, showing us audience and traffic growth against our brand health and how it’s connected to growth in revenue. We have tried to connect all parts of the measurement ecosystem together.”   

Since going live, Finder has extended brand experience measurement to now consumer experience measurement, with a consumer confidence tracking solution in place since May in Australia. It’s now being rolled out into New Zealand. Lockwood said he was looking at employee experience component as another option.

Other priorities include rolling out the Qualtrics platform to support Finder’s operations outside of Australia, and continuing to utilise insights locally as new technology components are rolled out in the next six months.

Competitive set

Meanwhile, among the more unexpected insights was in the way Finder’s competitors are perceived, Lockwood said. Some are doing better than he had thought, and some worse.

“One of the most interesting things is we’re able to see opportunities that we could probably have success where we thought competitors would be more likely to have success in,” he said. 

“Also in our own tracking, some products we are perceived to be leaders in – it was surprising. I assumed most people considered us primarily for financial product comparisons, but we had good distribution of existing consideration for our wider product sets such as energy, insurance and technology products.

“Commercially, we haven’t been as focused on these, so this has helped us with new areas of investment to grow different parts of our comparison services beyond the financial core.”  

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