How programmatic advertising has paid dividends for this Aussie hearing products maker

Marketing leader for Nuheara shares the media buying approach that has helped it address hard to reach prospective customers

For some advertisers, even Facebook and Google have their limits. Such was the case for Australian-born personal hearing device maker, Nuheara, whose narrow target audience was challenging its ability to grow direct-to-consumer business using standard digital channels.

According to Nuheara digital marketing director, Scott Forrest, the brand’s prospective customers tended to be males aged between 45 to 65 who fell into one of two specific groups.

One was made up of people who may not be aware they had hearing issues, although they might have noted they had problems listening in crowded restaurants and noisy areas among many other voices. The second group probably had a similar experience but had also been to an audiologist for a heading check.

In either instance, Forrest said such consumers might be upset to realise they had a problem, but also uncertain or unaware of what solutions might help them.

“Search is constrained by how many people are searching for something,” he told CMO. “We knew Facebook was going to face serious headwinds with where iOS 14 and 14.5 was heading, and in the last month or two that has proven itself out.”

However, Forrest still needed to fill the top of Nuheara’s sales funnel, so a new strategy was needed.

“It was really very much about awareness and getting people to take the first step in their hearing health journey,” he said.

Programming a new media approach

In a previous role, Forrest had solved a similar problem by expanding his company’s media reach, working in conjunction with agency, Bench Media.

“Nuheara was talking to an audience that didn’t necessarily know they needed the product, and so for us it was about getting the message out there,” said Bench general manager, Esther Carlsen. “We have seen a couple of clients have a similar issue with Facebook. We had proven in the past that if you can broaden the channels you are running against, away from performance and into branding, then you start to feed that funnel and target consumers more broadly.”

Bench developed a program using programmatic advertising buys to reach potential customers across a wide range of media types. Carlsen said the growth of media types that can be purchased programmatically, including video, broadcast video on demand (BVOD) and TV, as well as audio, digital out-of-home and other branding channels, has significantly broadened reachable audiences.

“We know TV and video and branding channels really can impact sales and business metrics. All programmatic is doing is delivering that in a different way, using technology,” Carlsen explained. “From our perspective, it was clear that in order to increase the result Nuheara needed across search and across Facebook, adding in these branding channels would be beneficial.”

Carlsen said making programmatic buys on BVOD content proved especially effective.

“BVOD is TV delivered in a different way,” she said. “It is still being seen on a big screen. All it really does is reduce the barriers to entry for people trying to get involved in that channel and improve the targeting. But it also has enormous reach, so you don’t have to target to the nth degree - you can go broad.”

The use of contextual targeting meant Bench could start broadly, then optimise over time. “We were learning constantly, and that feedback was coming back into the business and the team, and we were optimising on that,” Carlsen continued.

For Forrest, one of the benefits of buying BVOD programmatically is enabling a brand to layer its messaging more effectively.

“We had initial branding ads that made people aware of the products and solutions, but then rather than showing that ad to them as second, third or fourth time, we would layer that with testimonial videos. The last set of videos were more conversion based,” he said. “That is something that’s very difficult to do when you don’t know if the person that is watching has seen the [earlier] video yet.”

As a result of this broadened media campaign, Nuheara was achieved a 50 per cent uplift in search volumes across search engines, and grow search queries for its core product, IQbuds2 MAX, by 100 per cent. But according to Carlsen, longer-term uplift awaits.

“Search and Facebook will continue to play an important role in Nuheara’s strategy,” she said. “What Nuheara was doing was to invest in branding. And the longer-term impact of investing in awareness are yet to be seen.”

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