Winners 2023

Best low budget campaign

Better connected in space
National Broadband
Agencies: Hard Numbers, Bottled Imagination

National Broadband has a very specific audience: 500,000 homes in Britain, mostly in rural and remote locations, that suffer from slow and unreliable internet connections. It will do ‘whatever it takes’ to supply the fastest 4G or 5G broadband service available to these customers to ensure they can log on whenever they like.

But getting the service to the people who need it most was difficult for National Broadband, whose website didn’t even rank for ‘best rural broadband’. With just £5,000 to invest on digital PR, National Broadband hired Hard Numbers to drive traffic to its website and maximise links to specific landing pages to improve its ranking for highly competitive search terms.

To bring the problem to life and demonstrate the poor internet connection in Britain’s rural areas, Hard Numbers looked to space. While 500,000 homes do not receive 10Mbps – an internet download speed deemed sufficient to ensure a smooth online experience – the International Space Station has speeds of 600Mbps.

This generated an idea: what is the internet connection speed on the moon and in some of the world’s most remote locations? How do these compare to UK homes? The Fair Internet Report, which monitors more than 53,000 towns and cities around the world, provided some of the answers.

It emerged that the moon will have broadband speeds of 100Mbps by 2024, which is faster than 70 per cent of Wales and 57 per cent of Scotland. Gathering facts and data, Hard Numbers developed a series of eye-catching infographics.

Working with Bottled Imagination to help maximise the SEO of the campaign, the agency created a landing page and sought to generate links to it, that would help improve the website’s ranking position in searches for ‘rural broadband’. This meant securing coverage and back links from sites with high domain authority, such as national and regional media.

Creating a bespoke media list, focused on those journalists talking about connectivity, Hard Numbers pitched three different angles: half the UK had worse broadband than the moon, rural Britain has worse speeds than Mount Everest and a list of the worst villages for rural broadband.

The campaign generated 47 news articles, including three pieces on Mail Online. It also generated interview enquiries from BBC Radio Essex and Essex Radio, which must have been shocked to discover that Roydon in Essex has worse broadband than the moon.

While Hard Numbers had set a target of six articles from sites that had not previously written about National Broadband, in fact 21 of the publications had never mentioned the company beforehand. The websites also averaged a domain authority of 61, against a benchmark of 30, and 63 per cent of the coverage included a link to National Broadband’s website, including 39 per cent which linked to the landing page.

Google Analytics also revealed that searches for ‘best rural broadband’, which used to generate less than one per cent of website traffic, now bring in 6.74 per of visitors. Significantly, though it wasn’t the campaign’s objective, the landing page generated 82 contacts from potential customers. National Broadband is now keen to repeat the exercise.

The judges described the campaign as ‘memorable, simple and impactful, which was well-activated across multiple channels. The fact that the client wants to go again speaks volumes’.