News Article ————

ICS-digital: Three Award Nominations and Integrated Digital Strategy

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Published Date 02.02.2024

Charlotte Green, Director, ICS-digital

It’s not long now until the UK Digital Excellence Awards take place in Marble Arch, London. The awards on February 22nd recognise and reward outstanding digital campaigns that deliver results and, most importantly, ROI for clients.

This year, we’re delighted to say that ICS-digital has been nominated for three awards across categories celebrating creative approaches to different industry verticals, inventive use of content, and innovative use of data and research.

Best Digital PR Campaign – Buzz Bingo and ICS-digital

First up, our Digital PR agency team is especially proud to be nominated for our work with Buzz Bingo across the last year.

A long term client, we were initially tasked with supporting Buzz to achieve organic growth following a rebrand and split from Gala Bingo.

With strategies specifically focusing on a ‘hit list’ of non-branded, product-specific keywords with high transactional intent e.g. ‘bingo’, ‘bingo bonus’, and so on, the site now delivers hundreds of thousands of UK users every month.

To make this happen we worked with the Buzz team to prioritise digital PR strategies that would achieve quality and quantity of links.

Based on competitor analysis we set a target of earning at least 200 links over the space of 12 months, with 30% of links being from sites with a Domain Authority of above 65, with close attention paid to other qualitative metrics.

Campaigns were focused on reacting with agility and speed to breaking news, or planning around upcoming key dates with a mixture of light and fun campaigns – never putting all our eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Starting in January 2023, we executed a total of 20 reactive campaigns, a mix of planned campaigns and tactical newsjacking. Three favourite (and most successful campaigns) that we mentioned in our nomination are:

Taylor Swift Ticket Frenzy

When Taylor announced her UK tour, we used data from US registrations and the size of UK venues to predict ticket registrations, and how many of those would successfully *get* tickets – combining a hugely relevant celebrity for our audience and the theme of ‘chance’ which is relevant to a gambling brand.

National Fish and Chip Day

We devised a survey to find out the most popular fish and chip combinations across the UK – creating plenty of debate and highlighting some of the more unusual choices. We targeted both nationals and regionals with different story angles.

Reality TV Moments

Two of the biggest TV moments in 2023 stemmed from Love Island and Married at First Sight – we created rapid, reactive stories around star sign compatibility, social media earnings and partnered with relationship experts for commentary over the course of the year.

And the results? Well, Buzz saw a number of significant headline improvements:

  • Of our target keywords, Buzz Bingo now ranks in the following positions:
    • ‘Bingo’: Position 1 (up from #5)
    • ‘Bingo bonus’: Position 3 (up from #13)
    • ‘Bingo live online’: Position 1 (up from #10)
    • ‘Rainbow Riches’: Position 2 (up from #6)
    • ‘Slingo’: Position 4 (up from #13)
    • ‘Bingo games’: Position 4 (up from #9)

Speaking of competitive, regulated industries, the way in which our tech SEO, onsite content and off-site link acquisition teams are able to work together to achieve phenomenal results at tactical budget levels is something we’ve always been incredibly proud of.

The work of ICS colleagues in collaboration with the Investing Reviews team is a fantastic example of this.

Richard Wilson and Chloe Thompson from the ICS-digital PR team

Organic Content Campaign of the Year – ICS-digital and Investing Reviews

Investing Reviews is a UK-focused independent reviews and comparison service focusing on investing platforms and trading brokers.

The challenge for brands like Investing Reviews is to navigate the high bar that Google sets in order to protect users from erroneous financial news.

Our strategy focused on putting the Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust (E-E-A-T) approach at the forefront, creating expert-led news content based around share price movements, market conditions, and investing news.

Using expert finance copywriters, establishing a reactive news strategy based on the latest financial industry developments, and producing day-and-date news copy, each of our news articles was crafted with an understanding of the likelihood of surfacing as part of Google’s ‘Top Stories’ carousel.

This strategy paid off and in time Investing Reviews saw a fantastic ‘hit rate’ of stories appearing in ‘position 0’ in the SERPs, regularly outranking more established rivals such as The Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance.

During the initial 10-month campaign, we produced 111 news articles, with 57,922 total page views – exceeding our initial KPI of 1,000 organic traffic per month.

Furthermore, the domain authority of Investing Reviews increased from 49 to 52 and at the conclusion of the campaign, the news section of the site ranked for 5,408 keywords, having previously ranked for zero – a phenomenal impact at a tactical budget level.

Our final nomination is an example of how a startup can achieve measurable results in a short timescale with a joined-up strategy.

ICS-digital and Playstar – Integrated Campaign of the Year

In this campaign we worked with the Playstar team on an integrated mixture of SEO initiatives to grow rankings and challenge big-brand competitors in the casino niche.

From hyper-local strategy for the state of New Jersey and content creation, to off-site SEO link acquisition and digital-PR-based link earning.

This has resulted in:

  • 2,000+ organic signups per month across web and app in year 1 – a phenomenal ROI and foundation for growth
  • Branded search volume for ‘playstar casino’ increased from 220 to 910 monthly searches YoY – critical for brand trust
  • 484 highly-relevant keyword rankings in New Jersey, including 48 top 20 keyword positions – outpacing some of the most well-funded competitors
  • Digital PR (results Sept 22-Sept 23)
    • 497 placements (vs KPI of 100)
    • 463 placements included links (93% vs KPI of 60%)
    • 165 links with DA of 70+ (33% vs KPI of 30%)

Achieving results across a wide range of SEO battlefronts simultaneously, in one of the most highly regulated and highly competitive industries in the world has been highly satisfying.

If there’s any thread between the three campaigns mentioned here, it’s the power of integrated strategies and working across multiple SEO disciplines to achieve outsized results.

We can’t wait for the winners to be announced but whether we pick up a trophy on the night or not, we’re massively proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with our phenomenal clients and we’ll continue to share digital insights on the ICS: Everything Digital podcast throughout 2024.

Charlotte Green ICS-digital
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