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How Groupon leveraged video ads - Case Study

See how company acquired 160,000 new paying customers with a data-driven and highly targeted YouTube campaign.

There were days when brands would blast their ads at as many people as possible and hope the right audience noticed—are long gone. Today’s marketers understand the importance of data-driven, highly targeted campaigns.

What’s more effective nowadays is looking at your audience’s online behavior—recent purchases, the apps they’re using, what they’re searching for in Maps—and using these insights to serve them contextually relevant, personalized creative.

That was the approach Groupon used in its recent YouTube ads campaign. It worked, driving 160,000 new paying customers this year.

Vinayak Hegde, CMO Groupon, said in an interview with Google.

Groupon used to have a rather transactional approach to marketing. It was all about driving immediate spend as a result of our marketing efforts. It also used to be very much focused around email. That made sense in the past. But now, many of the people we’re targeting—like millennials and Generation Z—aren’t email-centric, they’re mobile-centric. So we’ve had to change our approach in line with that.

We’re able to adapt our marketing to the behavior and interests of the customers we’re targeting.

Today, you can do so much with digital video ads when it comes to audience and context. With the sophisticated targeting data and tools available, digital video allows us to be personally and contextually relevant to customers.

Groupon was able to adapt their marketing approaches to the behavior and interests of the customers they were going after.

First Step: They were doing this by aligning their audience targeting segments to Groupon’s deal categories based on what people are looking up on Search and Maps. They also used YouTube’s new Consumer Patterns to target “people who frequently visit salons,” “live event enthusiasts,” and “department store shoppers,” for example.

Second Step: They built contextually relevant creative tailored to each audience segment and the content they consume—travel-related creative for jetsetters, family activity-related creative for parents, and recipe-related creative for foodies, for example.

Finally, They took a rigorous testing approach to refine and validate our acquisition results with Google’s geo test methodology.

Vinayak also added that they have learnt a lot about the power of matching creative to audience sub-segments to maximize acquisition.

Intuitively it makes sense—if someone is on YouTube searching for videos about microdermabrasion, you’d think they’d be more receptive to an ad about a beauty deal. The testing proved our instincts were right:

contextual relevance really is key to success.


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