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Ella and Jo Case Study

By Darragh O Rourke,

Ella and Jo are an Irish owned and operated skincare company. Founded in 2017 by two professionals who wanted to create a brand for people to feel empowered and great about themselves while taking care of their skin.

As Ella and Jo sell their product through a number of other retailers including Kilkenny and McCauleys Pharmacy, one challenge for Ella and Jo was to persuade customers to buy directly with them.

Ella and Jo are an Irish owned and operated skincare company. Founded in 2017 by two professionals who wanted to create a brand for people to feel empowered and great about themselves while taking care of their skin.

The products are all premium, with glass jars instead of plastic and wonderfully luxurious boxes for the bundles. They avoid discounting where possible as the products speak for themselves.

All products are vegan and cruelty-free. Made in Ireland, 100% recyclable. The products are vegan, breastfeeding-friendly, pregnancy-friendly and the brand puts an emphasis on giving each woman a moment of luxury in self-care despite a busy lifestyle.

Their mission is Creating innovative, results driven skincare, bringing luxury moments everyday, while delivering expertise through high energy, fun and engaging experiences.

Helping women feel better about themselves by creating exciting engaging product experiences that they look forward to everyday. All while having fun together.

They are a wholesaler and their product is available on multiple third party websites.

As Ella and Jo sell their product through a number of other retailers including Kilkenny and McCauleys Pharmacy one challenge for Ella and Jo was to persuade customers to buy directly with them.

The overall objective was to grow revenue by 130% in 2023 compared to 2022.

There were 4 sub objectives that were required to hit the overall objective while maintaining profitability:

  • Maintain profitability with a max cost of sale target of 14% for Paid Search
  • Build Brand Awareness to grow New Customer Acquisition. As a relatively young brand building awareness and growing customer base are key
  • Drive Repeat Business – Returning customers made up 45% of orders in Jan – June 2022 and a goal was to increase repeat customer rates
  • Grow business in the UK market -The aim was to double their UK revenue in the first half of 2023

We collaborated with Ella and Jo to identify their target audience and created a number of personas. The target customers for ella and jo cosmetics are women aged 25-54 who care about natural skincare products.

In order to achieve the revenue target of 130% growth we broke our strategy down into two key areas:

  • Increase brand awareness and winning new customers
  • Driving Repeat business and customer loyalty

We collaborated with our Google Agency team and Ella and Jo to design a full funnel strategy. We were keen to use the latest campaign types within Google to capitalise on the advancements in Machine Learning and AI available in the Google Platform.

We imported first party data on their existing customers and developed a similar audience strategy. In addition to this we used the previous converters audience on Google Analytics and the persona’s we had created, to further refine our target audience.

In order to reach these new target customers we focused on 4 key campaigns types:

  • Discovery
  • Video
  • Search (Awareness)
  • Performance Max

We implemented a first party data import from Shopify into Google Ads which fired a conversion every time a customer purchased for the first time. We used this to optimise for New Customer Acquisition

Growing Lifetime Value by capitalising on the expanded reach and growth in new customers was the next step in the strategy. The key tactics for driving repeat business included:

  • Brand
  • Remarketing
  • Performance Max

We collaborated with Ella and Jo to forecast targets & goals, budgets, KPIs. The forecasts were broken out by month and gave the client a clear roadmap towards achieving the 130% growth target. The target was broken out into traffic, conversion rate and average order value in addition to overall revenue and included channel targets.

To support the brand awareness and new customer acquisition strand of the strategy we collaborated with Ella and Jo on a number of campaigns including promotions, discounts and new product launches.

As their products are available on other E-commerce websites it was key to provide unique promotions and information directing potential customers to their website.

Our approach to new customer acquisition included a first phase of creating a goal to measure new customer acquisition directly from Google Ads. Once this goal was in place, we could give Google Ads that vital signal to optimise towards new customer acquisition leveraging machine learning and automation.

These creatives were then used on our key campaign types

  • Discovery – this campaign is very visual which allowed us to showcase the brand and the promotions in a striking way but this format is also very flexible allowing significant reach on the google network. They allowed us to utilise Google Custom intent technology to optimise who sees the ads while using Machine Learning Technology to optimise the ad’s performance
  • Video – We used our first party data and Google Analytics Audiences to target similar audiences to ensure our Video Ads were focused on audiences with high intent
  • Performance Max – We used Performance Max to expand the reach of our shopping ads on other channels within the Google Network
  • Broad Match – We enabled broad match on our awareness campaigns to increase the reach of our search campaigns but used Smart Bidding to retain control of the ROI.

In terms of ROI, we implemented the many Google Ads features around Value Based bid strategies and automation to maintain a strong ROI. We also used 1st Party Data to reconnect to previous email subscribers and website visitors through various campaigns for higher retention in our marketing funnel. A new customer acquisition focus also helped us take a more medium-long term view at growing revenue sustainably to reach our ambitious ROI & Revenue growth targets.

The client agreed to a 14% CPA model which allowed us to continue to grow spend in line with revenue increases. By applying a Target ROAS bid strategy on our conversion campaigns we optimised the campaign based on ROI and grew spend.

New customer acquisition was a key objective for the brand and we wanted to ensure that our campaigns were driving new customer acquisition in addition to driving overall revenue. By increasing the customer base the repeat purchases would also increase.

We developed an integration between Shopify and Google Ads that sent through a conversion every time a new customer made their first purchase. This allowed us to optimise our campaigns around new customer acquisition in addition to overall revenue and margin. By using the new customer conversion we could identify which campaigns were driving new customer acquisition and optimise accordingly.

Another innovation within this campaign was a commitment to using Machine Learning, AI and Automation across multiple stages of the campaign.

99% of all spend came from Ad formats that used Automation powered by Machine Learning including.

  • Discovery Ads
  • Responsive Search Ads
  • Dynamic Search Ads
  • Performance Max
  • Responsive Video Ads

This allowed us to create multiple options for creative that were displayed differently and optimised depending on the user and the likelihood that the ad would help Ella and Jo achieve its objective. The Machine Learning algorithm was generating unique combinations of ad copy on the fly to optimise performance and to customise the ads been seen by different audiences.

All of our campaigns used Machine Learning to optimise Bidding with the exception of one of the Video Campaigns that was designed more for Views. The conversion campaigns such as Performance Max, Search and Brand used Target ROAS bid strategy that optimised based on ROI ensuring we were using Machine Learning to target customers who were most likely to convert and to help us achieve our ROI goals. Our upper funnel campaigns such as Discovery, Video, Search Awarness all used a Max Conversions bid strategy. While their primary goal was to achieve awareness all of these campaigns produced sales between Jan and June 2023.

Traditionally using Broad Match would lead to higher bounce rates and lower conversion rate and an increase in irrelevant phases. However by using signals from our audience strategy and also by using our Target ROAS bidding model Google’s Machine Learning Algorithm tested and learned in real time to expand the reach of the campaign with 3,600% increase in the number of phases generating clicks,  while increasing conversion rate by 59%. This led to automation at scale with new keywords been tried and tested without manual intervention by the Paid Search Specialist.

  • Revenue has increased by 143% in the first 6 months of 2023 v the same period in 2022. We have surpassed the ambitious target of 130% and have a great platform to build on as we move towards peak.
  • Paid Search Revenue increased by 109% and conversion rate increased by 32%. The CPA target was 14% and the achieved CPA was 11.7%. This CPA included all upper funnel activity in addition to the more conversion focused campaigns.
  • This primary objective was achieved as each element of the strategy achieved the sub objectives laid out.
  • Brand Awareness also grew significantly with 117% increase in brand impressions in Apr – June 2023 v Apr – June 2022. Google Trends also shows a significant increase in Brand Strength. Overall clicks grew by 325% year over year and impressions increased by 58%.
  • Our campaigns were focused on driving repeat purchases and growing lifetime value. Returning customers made up 64% of orders in Jan – June 2023 whereas first time customers made up 36% of all orders for Ella & Jo in Jan – June 2022.
  • New Customer Acquisition was a key focus.  They saw a 63% increase in new customer acquisition in the first 6 months on 2023 v the same period in 2022.
  • 90% of our Search traffic came from broad match phrases. This resulted in a 3600% increase in the number of phases delivering traffic in Jan – June 2023 v Jan – June 2022. The conversion rate on these phases also increased by 59% year over year. This also led to a 916% increase in clicks in Search Campaigns.
  • UK revenue in up 136% year over year.
  • 3.8% conversion rate on First Party Data Audience v 1.20% for all other audiences combined.
  • Similar Audience to all customers should be added to more campaigns.

About the author

Darragh is our Sales and Marketing Executive. He is a graduate from the University of Limerick with a degree in Business Studies and received a Level 8 Certificate in Digital Marketing from Munster Technological University.