The North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA) is an advocacy organization that supports North American flame retardant producers and users. NAFRA also educates the general public and policymakers about the ways flame retardants help prevent and slow fires.
NAFRA came to us in 2019 to implement a search engine marketing strategy, with the goal of increasing traffic to their website, and educating everyday consumers about flame retardants.
In our early conversations with the NAFRA team, we discussed how to provide consumers with information about flame retardants. In particular, we considered what everyday search terms would be relevant to NAFRA’s web content. We decided to show our ads to people searching for information about flame retardants, and also people looking to learn about fire safety.
Through our research, we found relatively few people using Google to ask "are flame retardants safe?" There also aren’t that many people asking "what are flame retardants?" However, we wanted NAFRA to reach a broader audience. To expand our reach, we set out to also connect with people who were worried about more general topics related to flame retardants, such as fire safety.
Here, we found a high volume of Google searches for terms like “fire safety tips” and “how to prevent fires.” When people Google these terms, they see our ads, which explain how flame retardants help prevent fires and help save lives.
When people click on our ads, they are directed to landing pages on the NAFRA website. In the first month of NAFRA’s ads program, 312 people clicked on our ads and visited the website. Then we began the work of optimizing the account over time.
Each month, we met with the NAFRA team to report on the ads’ performance, and to suggest ways to increase clicks and decrease cost. In December 2021, two years after we launched the program, our ads produced 2,194 clicks to the website with the same budget: a 603% increase in clicks.
One factor in this increase was that in 2020, NAFRA rolled out their new website, flameretardantfacts.com. The old website was not designed with consumers in mind, but the new site focuses on the general public and their concerns. Once the new website launched, we were able to promote far more site content and reach more people.
In the first month of ads, December 2019, we paid $9.41 for each click. In December 2021, we paid just $1.64 per click, representing an 83% decrease in cost.
How did we make these improvements?
One of the most significant changes we made was to adjust our ads so that people searching for things like "flame retardant shirt" or "flame retardant fabric" will not come across our ads. These people aren't interested in our information about flame retardants - they are looking to buy a product.
Because big retailers like Amazon and Walmart are willing to pay a lot for ads like this so that they can make a sale, this drives the cost up to target these keywords. By setting up this kind of filtering, we lowered our cost and reached more relevant people at the same time.
In addition to total clicks to the website, we worked with NAFRA to increase the time people spent on the website after clicking on our ads.
We believe that it's not enough to drive traffic to a website. People need to actually spend some time on the website, and engage with the content in a meaningful way. We've found that people spend longer on the website if there is an engaging and relevant video near the top of the page.
In order to take advantage of this, we ran ads driving people to a video landing page, which features a video that compares two fires in action, showing how flame retardants can reduce the impact of home fires. We’ve found that this really resonates with visitors. Sending people who click on our ads to this video has doubled the amount of time they are likely to spend on the website.