How we delivered a 72% increase in non-brand subscriptions for Birchbox.

Rocketmill are a pleasure to work with. The account management is second to none. Not only did we see immediate results, we also saw additional improvements in performance over time - the numbers speak for themselves!

Sarah Wilkinson Marketing Director, UK

The Brief

We were briefed to grow subscriptions versus last year, whilst maintaining a target cost per acquisition (CPA).

Although we didn’t have specific instructions to grow non-brand by a certain amount, we identified an opportunity to do so, making it a focus from the start of our partnership.

The Approach

We began with revisiting our audit of the account, implementing some quick-wins which would provide Birchbox with immediate results. We then restructured the account in a way which allowed us more control over the keywords.

Initially, the improvements which delivered the most impact were as follows:

  1. CPC analysis, which clearly showed certain clicks were being overpaid for, and some core keywords weren’t showing at all. We overhauled the bidding strategies and realigned budgets for maximum visibility.
  2. Simplifying the account structure, so we could easily distinguish top-performing keywords and ensure they’re never limited for budget. This reduced keyword overlap too.
  3. Refreshing all ad copy and extensions, to make them super relevant to each keyword, whilst promoting key benefits and a clear call to action.

From there, we had a solid base to start optimising our non-brand keyword performance. Some of the key drivers of growth came from making use of similar audiences, smart display and Gmail ads.

  • We used Similar Audiences targeting to prospect to people modelled off our most valuable customers.
  • We used smart display as a form of branding, making use of CPA bidding to only pay when a subscription met our target.
  • Gmail campaigns gave us freedom to talk to our new and existing customers with tailored messaging and offers.

The Results

We were able to successfully scale up subscriptions via non-branded keywords and campaigns, without compromising CPA.

Comparing 1st October 2019 to 31st January 2020 to the same period last year, we’ve seen some incredible results:

  • 379% increase in traffic
  • 72% increase in subscriptions
  • 66% decrease in CPCs
  • 7% decrease in CPA

This non-brand activity also has a direct impact on our brand campaigns. Over the same time frame YoY we saw significant improvement across key metrics for our core brand term:

  • 42% increase in traffic
  • 28% increase in CTR
  • 64% decrease in CPCs
  • 36% increase in subscriptions
  • 62% decrease in CPA

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