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Staysure uses LinkedIn Profile targeting to uncover new audiences

March 2020

Insurance specialists layer new targeting feature and receive outstanding results with Microsoft Advertising.

Passionate about insurance

UK-based insurance provider Staysure specialises in travel insurance for the over-50s market. In 2004, founder Ryan Howsam created the company with a desire to help people who couldn’t find reasonable travel insurance that covered their pre-existing medical conditions. 

15 years later, the company has grown to over 500 employees across the East Midlands and has provided quality travel insurance to over 7 million people. Today, Staysure maintains its family focus and ethos of ‘Worth Doing Right’ to make sure everyone gets the right coverage to suit their needs.

In a market dominated by aggregators, Staysure was looking to try something different to gain a competitive edge. It decided to pursue an unusual audience targeting strategy with Microsoft Advertising by using LinkedIn Profile targeting to gain that edge.

Turning everything on its head

After 15 years of a well-established audience targeting strategy under their belts, Staysure was looking for a way to diversify its audience to help the company expand its business. “A big part of what we are doing is turning everything on its head and looking at audiences with a fresh perspective,” commented James Robinson, Staysure’s Head of Digital Marketing. 

For a brand with 15 years of pedigree and a well-established targeting strategy to reach its core audience, this is a refreshing perspective. Staysure was hopeful that diversifying its audience targeting and thinking differently will help the company expand its business. 

“We assumed LinkedIn wouldn’t be a good fit for us, as it over-indexes on working professionals and most of our customers are retirees,” Robinson notes. “But when we stopped thinking about how we describe ourselves as a brand and [when we] looked at where the opportunities really are, we started to see that our ads resonated with audiences we would not have expected.”

This journey of discovery was kickstarted when Staysure took on the services of Merkle as an agency. Leading the charge on executing this new audience strategy was Senior Paid Search Manager, Georgina Hurst. “From our perspective – Data is King,” she remarked. “And we don’t want to make any assumptions when it comes to what should or shouldn’t work for our clients. So, we use any additional layer of data we can get and then optimise on top of that.” 

The power of LinkedIn Profile targeting

One of those key additional layers of data turned out to be LinkedIn Profile targeting data. Staysure started by overlaying 150 industries onto its existing campaigns to see which job verticals resonated with the company’s products. Surprisingly, one of the best performing industries was construction – not the traditional audience Staysure would typically target. 

“Based on what we’ve seen, our theory is that people working in the construction industry are more likely to have pre-existing long-term medical conditions, particularly when you think of labourers having to do lots of heavy lifting,” said Hurst. “This proved to be a low volume, but extremely well performing, segment for the campaign – even outperforming our highly targeted remarketing campaign.”

After testing and learning which industries were high performers, Staysure targeted the 20 best performing industries and set aggressive bid modifiers up to +300% to gain additional clicks. “You’ve got to be brave with your numbers,” quipped Georgina. But this strategy was also born out of confidence, having seen from the original testing period that these audience segments performed well. 

The targeting strategy paid off. LinkedIn Profile targeted campaigns had a 94% higher CTR and 111% higher conversion rate than standard text ads. “I was shocked by how strong the performance was of LinkedIn Profile targeting,” said Hurst. “For the conversion rate to be significantly higher than even our previous website visitors was very surprising.” As a result of implementing LinkedIn targeting, Staysure managed to increase its overall conversions by 5% between August and December 2019. 

With such strong performance thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft Advertising, Staysure now plans to replicate this success across its other brands. “We didn’t even know that these people existed as potential customers for our products,” said Robinson. “And when some of these audiences did perform well, it was a puzzle. But that’s the beauty of this approach. We’re testing the boundaries to see how far we can push this strategy to maximise our reach and potential.”
 

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