A+E Networks

Case study

Growing a loyal audience across a collection of culture brands.

Many channels, one goal

A+E Networks needed a strategy to build awareness for its newest shows and movies and to capture a more loyal audience. Despite creating hits like Vikings, it was becoming harder to promote existing titles as incumbent and emerging players like Netflix were quickly tapping into content trends.

How do you break out from the noise and drive interest in shows and movies with ubiquitous names like "Alone" or "Washington"? How do you build awareness for nonbranded editorial content, focused on historical events and people of interest, within a crowded search landscape?

A+E was also planning a major shift in its online streaming platform, shifting all long-form video viewing to a new subdomain with a more immersive video experience. This approach would duplicate online show destinations which could wreak havoc on their organic visibility.

Helping people discover shows with common titles was one of the challenges facing A+E Networks when they approached AKDM. We partnered with them to drive awareness, brand affinity, and viewership both on-air and online. We then shifted our strategy to convert viewers into paying subscribers across a portfolio of properties including A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, Biography and more.

Our strategy

To build a successful paid media approach, we defined a multi-prong strategy specific to each brand within the A+E Network's portfolio. First, we dug into the brands' segments to identify a nuanced targeting approach and the leading competition. For instance, while HISTORY skewed towards men 50 and up, scripted titles like Vikings could carry a broader demographic. On the flipside, Lifetime had found success amongst younger women with holiday movies, classics, and, more recently, reality TV.

With a wide variety of content, each brand needed a unique approach to targeting. We crafted title-specific keyword strategies and engaged the existing fan base across paid media, app store optimization, YouTube advertising, and SEO.

We also brought this strategy to A+E’s mobile apps. One critical insight from comprehensive app store tests: a combined App Store Optimization (ASO) and SEM approach can boost results. We saw a meaningful impact on paid and organic outcomes from tests on Apple app store paid search tiles; these results allowed us to focus the app store budget on paid ads to improve organic positioning. Ultimately, our approach also proved the benefit of an integrated approach to defining growth strategies across paid media, ASO, video, and app store.

When it came to non-branded SEO, we focused on properties with a more in-depth library of related web content unique from specific shows like HISTORY and Biography. Unbranded web content helped us build authority around topics relevant to the core audience for these brands helping us become a dominant entry point for the website while opening up the audience base for retargeting.

When A+E migrated its streaming experience to a newly launched subdomain, it caused a massive shift in how content was engaged with online, as show-related content was now present and duplicated across two wholly unique websites. We developed an indexation and landing page strategy for Google organic traffic that allowed A+E to maintain its show content search rankings. To avoid any potential cannibalization, we ensured viewers first landed on authoritative property marketing sites before driving them to the new watch experience destination.

What we did

  • Audience segmentation
  • Omni and sub-brand strategy
  • SEO
  • Paid search
  • Paid social
  • Paid video
  • App store optimization

By the numbers

Days of Google traffic interruption following domain migration
YoY organic traffic growth on HISTORY
app installs in 2020
video views in 2020
“I’ve trusted the talent at AKDM for over a decade to successfully grow our viewer base. They are uniquely able to connect with distinct audiences in order to build broad appeal. What I love about working with them is they get how to define a strategy—and then get into the nitty gritty of executing on it. They take accountability and pride in delivering results.”
Jen Taylor
VP Digital Marketing

Get in touch

Get in touch by emailing contact@akdm.co

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