At the start of March 2020 things were looking positive for Zoopla. In January and February, we’d run a fully integrated marketing campaign backed by a new brand positioning demonstrating that we know what a home is really worth.
This activity had resonated well, and our brand tracking results showed consideration had gone up as a result of the new positioning.
Then the coronavirus lockdown happened.
When everyone was ordered to stay inside, moving home became impossible. All property viewings were banned and the market was suspended. The momentum we’d generated was lost.
In order to succeed and maintain brand consideration when restrictions eased, we’d need to nd a way of engaging home hunters during a frustrating and distressing time. And we’d need to do it with a small budget…
And so, the Zoopla Fort Challenge was born. A social, influencer-led competition encouraging the stay-at-home UK public to get creative by building and sharing ‘forts’ within their homes and gardens.
The objective of the campaign was to reach and engage as many home hunters as possible during a time when they’d had to put a move on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
We had a relatively small budget and targeted +5m impressions and +25k engagements across the 6-week campaign. We also targeted a below-benchmark blended CPM across Instagram and Facebook for our media spend.
We decided to help frustrated home hunters – many of whom were stuck at home with kids – to ‘move’ in a whole new way. And so the Zoopla Fort Challenge was born.
Over six weeks at the height of the coronavirus lockdown we used Instagram and Facebook to invite the nation’s wannabe movers to create homes within their homes.
‘Forts’ was launched through the social followings of a range of influencers.
Rosie Ramsey, who has a dedicated following of over 600k, was our highest-prole recruit but we also worked with Fritha Quinn, Kerry Villiers, The Dadsnet social community of parents, and a variety of micro-influencers with smaller but highly engaged followings.
Each of them invited their audiences to build a fort and to share it on social using #ZooplaFortChallenge to be in with a chance of winning homeware vouchers or a luxury UK holiday post-lockdown.
We supported our influencer activity with fresh social ads throughout the campaign – each updated with new forts created by the public – and celebrated weekly winners with dedicated posts and email reveals.
We also kept up a lively stream of organic content and positive community management on our own channels to engage existing followers.
We encouraged Zoopla employees to get in on the act, creating their own homes at home, as well as our estate agent community.
At the end of the competition, we released a compilation film that celebrated the incredible new homes that had sprung up across the UK and crowned our jungle-fort winner.
There was signicant risk to putting all our marketing spend during lockdown into a campaign that would live or die by the amount of user-generated content produced.
Thankfully, the campaign really struck a chord with the public. We saw social inuencers joining in (with no contact from Zoopla or money changing hands) after they saw other (paid) inuencers building forts.
We also left no stone unturned in driving awareness of ‘Forts’, including jumping on the Star Wars-themed #MayTheFourthBeWithYou day by lining up our cockapoo influencer to post his fort on that day.
The amount of forts being built – and the amazing efforts people went to to Zoopla-fying them – was fantastic to see.
The forts our audience built were inspired. We had toadstool cottages made from cushions, tin foil space ships ready for take o and bedsheet bedouin tents for a night under the stars.
In total, 1,000+ pieces of user generated content were created – a gure that far surpassed our expectations considering the effort that goes into physically constructing a fort at home!
And it wasn’t just photos that were submitted. We had guided video tours and thoughtful, funny property-style descriptions.
The campaign recorded a total of 9.1 million impressions and over 40,000 engagements. We also saw hugely positive sentiment across the social community (including from Zoopla estate agents, who loved getting involved in building forts).
We achieved a below-benchmark blended CPM across Facebook and Instagram, optimising our ads across video and static formats throughout the campaign.
Our fort-specific CRM activity re-engaged tens of thousands of inactive email users, meaning we could prime them to re-start their search with Zoopla when restrictions eased.
Finally, brand consideration amongst our audience in market went up by a whopping 3% during the period of the campaign.