Nationwide app launch focuses on social media

COLUMBUS, OH: Nationwide is focusing on social media for the launch of its new car buying guide app.

COLUMBUS, OH: Nationwide is focusing on social media for the launch of its new car buying guide app. The app allows users to compare cars by model, price, and color when shopping for a car.

To accompany the launch on December 16, the in-house team at Nationwide posted demo videos on YouTube, app information on Facebook, and messages on Twitter, with links to drive users directly to the online store where the app can be immediately downloaded. Targeting bloggers, the team worked with Marketwire to create a social media press release that provided the appropriate links and images.

“We focused on bloggers who wrote specifically about areas that would reach those likely to download an automotive insurance app,” said Mike Switzer, communications consultant for Nationwide. “We looked at bloggers who write about Apple, technology, iPhones, automotive, and insurance. We came up with targeted lists in those areas, and then did a lot of pitching."

Switzer added that the team used a number of the lessons learned from the spring launch of the company's first app, which allowed users to file claims from their phone.

“We started developing a communications plan for this in the fall, and knew that because an iPhone app lends itself to the tech world, bloggers and other forms of social media were going to be a big target area for us,” he added. “We learned from our last campaign that if you can generate traffic in the blogosphere, you can drive downloads before any sort of advertising even starts.”

Switzer said the timing of the launch was planned specifically for December, when large numbers of Internet users are scouring the Web for end-of year-auto deals. He added that because of the turnover in car inventory during the transition from one year to the next, his team plans to continue its social media activity to further the campaign for the first few months going into 2010.

“We've already seen higher numbers of Internet stories than we did when Nationwide launched its first iPhone app earlier this year," he said, "and we're projecting a long tail for this campaign.”

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