How we helped IDG achieve record Black Friday traffic

The brief

Increase organic website traffic in the Black Friday period

IDG’s two largest publications – PC Advisor and MacWorld – organically attract millions of visitors in the Black Friday period, resulting in increased advertising and affiliate sales revenue.

In the run-up to Black Friday 2016, IDG asked us to provide recommendations to increase this traffic even further.

From the client

“Even when the subject matter gets very technical you don't feel bewildered or left behind. It’s great advice has been invaluable in helping IDG grow its traffic and its editorial strategy to become a market leader in its field. We would, and have many times, recommended RocketMill as a superb business partner. ”
Simon Jary
Publishing Director, IDG Tech Media

The approach

With billions of Pounds in consumer spending up for grabs, Black Friday has quickly become one of the most lucrative – and competitive – days on the retail calendar. In organic search brands, retailers, and publications jostle for position minute by minute. We wanted to provide IDG with a way to cut through the noise, centralise all Black Friday deals, and accrue page equity in perpetuity, rather than starting from scratch every year.

Audience research

We thought carefully about what information users are looking for, and the best way to compare related products succinctly. What are users trying to achieve on a unique day like Black Friday, and what data do they need to make a decision quickly?

Crucially, how can we provide a great experience for IDG’s audience while also leapfrogging the competition in organic search?

Solid foundations

We worked closely with our Technical SEO team to develop a structure for a new website section which was portable, extensible, and provided a great experience for users and search engines alike. Our recommendations combined the best of IDG’s editorial with eCommerce best practice to provide a retail experience for visitors within a trusted publisher environment.

“ We didn't just want to make a bunch of copy changes; we wanted to build something that IDG could roll out across multiple sites, that performs well in organic search, and has best practice built in. ”

Jon Norris
Head of Content

Implementation

Working on a short deadline, we prioritised pages for implementation by IDG’s development team, ensuring we made the largest impact possible in the build up to Black Friday.

We provided copy which met PC Advisor and MacWorld’s strict editorial standards, and was optimised for organic search terms we knew (based on data from previous years) reflected user behaviour.

The results

A huge uplift in organic traffic

PC Advisor saw an increase of 22% in organic traffic, while MacWorld’s organic traffic grew 66%.

More efficient pages

By focusing on the needs of our audience, we were able to drastically increase ease of navigation. Time on page decreased by over 40%, indicating people were clicking through to retailers’ websites much faster than before.

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