AEC Sees Large Increase in Website Visits

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2015 campaign includes radio, pay-per-click and realty program

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article is contributed by The American Energy Coalition.

The American Energy Coalition (AEC) has expanded its marketing and outreach efforts for 2015 and is reaching an ever-increasing audience with a strong Pro-Oilheat Message, using multiple media platforms.

Central to the overall marketing effort is the AEC website at americanenergycoalition.com. Total website visits for the first six months of 2015 totaled 12,980, which marks a 129 percent increase over the same period in 2014 and a 193 percent increase over the same period in 2013.

The greatest number of website visitors came from New York with 4,115 visitors for the first six months of 2015, followed by Pennsylvania (3,050), Connecticut (1,497), Massachusetts (772), and New Jersey (525).

Disadvantages of Natural Gas/Truth vs. Myth, continues to be the top visited web page with 6,127 views for the period, followed by the AEC Homepage with 5,020 views. Another popular visitor destination is the Bioheat Fuel Page/Upgrade and Save with Renewable Bioheat Fuel, which received 2,601 visitors from Pennsylvania alone in the six-month span. The Real Cost to Convert page also performed well, attracting 2,371 visitors from Pennsylvania and 1,633 from New York.

Desktop computers continue to be the gateway of choice to access the AEC website, accounting for 8,545 visits in the first half of 2015. Mobile devices such as smart phones accounted for 3,006 visits, and tablets accounted for 1,429.

Social Media Growth

AEC has gained a strong following in social media. The Coalition’s Facebook page has 1,061 Likes as of mid-July, and the Twitter feed has 591 followers. Since the campaign launch about a year ago AEC has reached 17,754 people organically with 82,952 people reached through paid Boosted posts.

The AEC Pay-Per-Click Campaign (PPC) that began last June continues to generate impressive results, with state oilheat associations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Long Island, New York City and Pennsylvania participating. In 2015 Pennsylvania led the PPC pack with nearly a quarter of a million impressions through June 30 (243,146), and 2,998 of those searchers clicked through to the AEC Website. An impression is recorded when someone searches one of AEC’s keywords or key phrases and sees the ad. AEC pays a per-click fee when a user clicks on an AEC ad to visit the website. The results indicate that during the first six months of 2015 nearly a quarter of a million people from Pennsylvania searched one of AEC’s keywords or key phrases and viewed an AEC ad, with 2,998 of those impressions resulting in a click-through to the AEC website.

In the PPC campaign, New York City was second to Pennsylvania with 123,687 Impressions and 1,561 click-throughs, followed by Connecticut with 70,924 Impressions and 1,140 clicks. Next were Long Island with 40,245 Impressions and 837 Clicks and Rhode Island, who only joined the Campaign on June 15, with 2,636 Impressions and 39 Clicks.

Pay-Per-Click Budgets

One of the keys to the Pay Per Click performance is the budget that AEC sets for paid ads. Pennsylvania, for example, has set a budget of $3,000 per month or about $100 per day. Once the daily budget is expended, the AEC ad no longer appears, and the campaign stops accumulating impressions and clicks for the day.

Another key to managing PPC budgets is the time of day when the budget is expended. In Pennsylvania the average time of day the budget was expended was around 5:00 p.m. A higher budget would result in more impressions and clicks and a lengthier time of exposure for the advertisement. New York City’s budget is $1,500 and is expended at about 4:00 p.m. on average; Connecticut’s budget is $1,000 and is expended, on average, at about 5:00 p.m.; Long Island also has a $1,000 Budget that is expended at about 5:00 p.m. on average; and Rhode Island, who is new to the Campaign, has a $500 budget that is expended at about 7:00 p.m. AEC reviews budgets with the state associations periodically, and associations can adjust their budgets at any time.

Spring Radio Commercials

2015 marked the second year that AEC and its partners ran a Spring Radio Flight in addition to the Fall Radio Flights that have aired for five years now. This year AEC created or recycled ads with eight messaging points. The eight ads were edited to 10- and 15-second spots and recorded with a male and female voice and with both an AEC and NORA tagline for a total of 32 radio commercials.

One spot that featured Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil also needed to be edited to include a reference to Low Sulfur Heating Oil, bringing the total of Radio Ads to 36, for participating State Oilheat Associations to pick and choose from, including the tagline option to provide a choice in funding source. To listen to the radio spots online, go to americanenergycoaliton.com/radio-spring-2015.

Participation in the three-week June 2015 Total Traffic and Weather Flight was the broadest in AEC History, with ads running simultaneously in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Long Island, New York City, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. So with spillover to the north from the Boston stations and spillover to the south from Washington D.C. stations, the AEC Pro Oilheat Message was heard from southern Maine and southern New Hampshire to northern Virginia (with a small gap in the southern New Jersey/northeastern Pennsylvania marketing area).

New Realty Program

New for 2015 is the AEC Realty Program, which has been preapproved for state and regional associations to utilize NORA consumer education funds to offset the reduced presentation costs. Programs may be offered in a catering facility, at an Association facility (if available), at a local Board of Realtors®, at a large real estate brokerage, or via Webinar. The Realty Program includes local market information on fuel usage and local mandates; information on the core attributes of Oilheat (safe, renewable, efficient, clean, domestic, abundant and independent); dealer services for home sales; energy/money savings for homebuyers; and additional information for home inspectors. Programs are currently scheduled for Long Island and New York City, with expected expansion to other associations in the near future.

Two real estate brochures—The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Selling Oil Heated Homes and the Homeowner’s Guide to Oilheat—have been updated to reflect today’s market conditions, the increased use of Bioheat® fuel and ultra low sulfur heating oil, and mandates and tax incentives for efficiency upgrades. These brochures will be provided to all event attendees, and can be ordered in bulk from the AEC Website for associations and dealers to distribute to realty partners and customers.

The AEC is encouraged by these results, particularly with regard to the social media and pay-per-click activity and is eager to welcome more states into the campaigns. The Coalition is also pleased to be able to measure the results of our marketing effort in a more studied way. We ask that you consider the work we do on your behalf, and urge that you help us so we can continue to help you.

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