Author: Kyle Kramer

How Purple Carrot Went from Updating Its Ad Audiences Every 90 Days to Every Hour

Purple Carrot is a 100% plant-based subscription meal service that delivers healthy meals right to your doorstep every week. Purple Carrot’s vision is to create a world where plant-based eating is a mainstream choice to improve health, the environment, and animal welfare.

Before Customer.io Ad Audience Sync

Ads are a primary growth strategy for Purple Carrot.

Purple Carrot’s in-house ad spend strategy is mainly structured around Google adwords and Facebook, managed by Alli Hobbs, Purple Carrot’s Marketing Manager. Their team is primarily focused on prospecting through direct response ads combined with some retargeting campaigns on Facebook. Alli and her team were maintaining these channels by downloading CSV files of segments and updating their target audiences once every 90 days.

Not only was this a “huge pain and time suck” as Alli puts it, but it also left room for inaccuracies in their targeting.

For example, Purple Carrot is excluding prospecting from customers who have canceled their subscription. If a customer joined and canceled within 90 days there was a huge possibility that the team hadn’t had the chance to update the audience and that person could be served the incorrect ad.

This was not only a poor experience for the customer, but also an ineffective use of ad spend for Purple Carrot.

After Customer.io Ad Audience Sync

Alli and the Purple Carrot team started using the ad audience tool a few months ago by building out two customer groups: active customers and customers that have canceled.

Purple Carrot then used these audiences as exclusion lists for their retargeting and prospecting campaigns.

“We were doing a version of this before but I can confidently say that this is much better. This tool is a much more robust and encompassing version…This really makes our ad spend more effective and efficient,” said Alli, “We were definitely spending money on customers that had already converted.”

Not only are these audiences more accurate, but now they are automatically kept up-to-date in real-time every hour. This allows Purple Carrot to save the time and headache of manually uploading lists and have confidence that their ad budget is being allocated to the most accurate and best possible audience.

If you are looking to take your ad audiences to the next level and streamline your paid media processes, we’re here to help!

How Mailgun Uses Customer.io’s Audience Sync to Focus Their Efforts on What Matters

Mailgun is an industry-leading email service provider (ESP) with a developer centric focus and product offering. Founded in 2010, Mailgun uses the power of its email API combined with its deliverability services to ensure their customers are getting the highest rates of deliverability in the industry.

Challenges with Ads

Historically, paid ads through Google have been the main focus of Mailgun’s paid media strategy, with two goals:

  • Driving signups for their core email API product
  • Driving leads for their deliverability services

Mailgun’s target buyer persona tends to be software developers.

“This crowd is very in-touch with the tech community and a traditionally tough group to market to,” Nick Lafferty, Mailgun’s Paid Search Manager, explained. “You’ll see competitors in our space getting trolled on Reddit and other places where devs hang out for their marketing tactics –– we have to be careful not to be that company.”

This makes it increasingly important for Mailgun to run authentic paid Google ad campaigns that speak to real problems their users are having. While Mailgun’s marketing team already had the ability to segment their specific audiences, the entire process getting these segments into Google Ads as a customer match audience was still entirely manual.

This meant manually uploading segmented lists as CSVs and pairing with the right messaging every day. The uploading alone takes away valuable time and effort that could be spent towards more meaningful tasks, like evaluating the performance of different campaigns or identifying new segments.

A New Focus with Customer.io

Nick is a newer member of Mailgun’s team and part of the refreshed focus and initiative into Maillgun’s paid media strategy. Additional spend, channels, and segmentation have all been a core focus, with the idea of building the Mailgun brand in the minds of its customers and driving conversions and leads for their sales team.

With these refined initiatives, Nick and his team were looking for a tool that could help them streamline their processes and provide opportunities to improve their already successful campaigns.

Utilizing Customer.io’s Segmentation and Ad Audience Sync, Mailgun has been able to refine its audiences to stay true to that authentic voice they want to maintain by creating messaging they know will resonate to that particular audience.

Before, Mailgun was having to manually organize, segment, and upload audiences via CSV files, their process is much more streamlined with the ability to have this done automatically, and they’ve even been able to create new segments because they know the current ones are always accurate.

“Customer.io’s Ad Audience tool has been an amazing way to keep all of my core audiences automatically up to date. I used to upload customer lists manually which was a huge pain and lead to gaps in ideal targeting” says Nick.

The Mailgun team is targeting current, active customers, sales hit-lists of high value prospects, and cross-sell opportunities. Since Customer.io updates these audiences hourly, Mailgun never has to worry about the wrong persona getting served the wrong ad.

“It really shines as a ‘set it and forget it’ tool, so I never have to worry if my audiences are up-to-date and I can focus instead on running the best possible marketing campaigns to those users.”

Spending Time on What Matters

So much of running a successful ads program has to do with being able to spend your time effectively and efficiently.

“That’s exactly what this tool lets me do,” said Nick. “The ad audience tool lets me get past the tedious and boring stuff and lets me spend my mental capacity on creating awesome copy, visuals, and ads––with a strategy I know will resonate. That’s what it’s all about”.

If you’re interested in the ad audience tool to better maintain your ad audience automatically and improve your audience segmentation, let us know!

How Codecademy Increased Their Ad Conversion Rate by 30% Using Customer.io’s Ad Audiences

Codecademy is an online-only interactive learning platform that teaches users the technical skills that they need to upgrade their careers. Founded in 2011, Codecademy has been one of the leading companies facilitating the learning of code and teaching code online. Codecademy has over 45million customers that they need to message on a daily basis.

Paid Media for Codecademy: A New Frontier

Paid media is a newer focus in Codecademy’s growth strategy. The eight-year-old company has traditionally relied on, and seen growth, from word of mouth by touting their free coding classes.

As they have grown and learned about the needs and requirements of their customers, they have shifted to a paid product that delivers more value to the user. Through this process they have found a need to run paid advertising to gain the attention of potential new users.

Initially, the Codecademy team focused their paid strategy on retargeting and brand strategy with the idea of getting people who are already familiar with Codecademy to sign up.

More recently, the Codecademy team has begun focusing on new acquisition and trying to gain the attention of people who don’t know Codecademy exists, but have a need or a desire to learn how to code.

“We see a lot of value in going after people who have never visited our site or heard of Codecademy” said Kunal Arya, who leads Codecademy’s paid marketing efforts. “We want to say, forget the bootcamps!––come to Codecademy and learn how to code.”

Before and After Customer.io Audience Sync

Before Codecademy was utilizing the Customer.io Audience Sync tool, they were serving the same ads to their whole audience––a giant list of millions of customers.

This strategy caused issues like inefficient spend. Either the messaging is too generic and doesn’t appeal to anyone, or it’s specific but being served to the wrong audience. Both can leave your dollars being spent in the wrong way and leads to a lot of frustration internally.

Once the Codecademy team started using the Customer.io Ad Audience tool, they were able to split this one campaign into three different campaigns in Google ads. These campaigns include free users, site visitors, and net new (or people who have never heard of Codecademy).

Each of these segments have very different and particular motivations and goals. It’s extremely important to tailor your ads’ copy, visuals, and placement specifically to the audience you are trying to reach, or your efforts are essentially null and void.

Once Codecademy had determined the components of their new campaigns, they needed a way to easily and effectively put that messaging in front of the right people.

With the Customer.io Ad Audience tool, Codecademy is now able to automatically segment their audiences based on their campaign, ads, and messaging. This allows them to not only have the right ads in the right place, but to also know they are being updated and are accurate on an hourly basis–– when you’re dealing with list sizes of millions of people.

Now, as they are continually evaluating and improving their campaigns, their audiences remain updated without having to manually review, organize, and re-upload the segmented lists.

The Results

After implementing this new campaign strategy utilizing Customer.io’s Ad Audience sync, Codecademy was able to achieve a 30% increase in the amount of conversions from ads served to customers. That’s no small feat!

“The biggest change we’ve made is our audience segmentation. We’re now seeing which audiences are performing well and increasing budgets accordingly, and decreasing spend where we haven’t seen as much success,” said Kunal. “It’s allowed us to spend more strategically and efficiently.”

If you are looking to take your ad audiences to the next level and streamline your paid media processes, we’re here to help!

How Mailgun Increased Their Customer Onboard Rate by 30%

Mailgun sends billions of emails each month on behalf of their customers. Everything from transactional emails to marketing newsletters, while also providing other email deliverability solutions like Rapid Fire Throughput SLA and email validations.

Mailgun has grown substantially, and with that growth, it has become more and more critical they are able to easily communicate with their customers using automated messaging.

Mailgun depends on making sure they achieve the best possible deliverability for their customers by having a rock-solid backend. However, when it came to the need for a front-end solution that made it easy for their marketing team to create and send automated campaigns using their real-time data, they needed a partner for help.

Infrastructure — Being Genuine

This probably isn’t too shocking, but the Mailgun team prefers to use Mailgun when they’re sending out emails. They stand behind their product. So the team wanted to find a front-end partner that could work flawlessly with Mailgun.

They also wanted to make sure their own marketing team could adopt all the best practices they recommend to their customers. Their transactional emails had to be separated from their marketing emails with different subdomains in order to keep those reputations separate. Changes like these make a world of difference in sending, which they needed the ability to continue doing with their new front-end partner.

Integration Trouble

Mailgun’s biggest hurdle in finding a new front-end provider was data integration. Mailgun’s old provider couldn’t reliably tell them what their customers had or had not done with their Mailgun accounts, even though that data was available in other places.

What exactly does that mean? Instead of segmenting a list to target users on a specific action, they were emailing everyone even if that message didn’t apply to them. For example, a message that said “add your domain now” was being sent to people who already had added their domain.

Mailgun had all of this data at their fingertips in Segment and their data warehouse, but not where they really needed it—in their email marketing solution.

Solution — Customer.io checks all the boxes

As you can see, Mailgun had a lot of problems they needed to solve. They set out to find a solution that would work perfectly with Mailgun, solve their use case needs, and meet their standards for security. It wasn’t an easy task, and they vetted several providers before ultimately choosing Customer.io.

“Not only is the interface super easy to use, but it integrates with our data warehouse securely. All that data is now at our fingertips, so we can send relevant emails to the right people. Plus, we’re using our own Mailgun account for sending. The SMTP integration was quick and straightforward, and Customer.io’s security protocols met our standards — all good things.” – Nicole Jacobson, Marketing Director, Mailgun

Putting it to the test

How is Customer.io actually performing as the front-end solution for Mailgun’s marketing team? Well, in just one marketing email for their email validations product alone, Mailgun had an open rate of 69% and a 4% click-through rate by sending to a segment of 33,000 engaged customers. They’ve also seen a 30% increase in the number of new customers who have fully onboarded since switching to Customer.io for their welcome email sequence.

“Overall, migrating over to Customer.io was a great choice for us moving forward, and we’ve only gotten started.”– Nicole Jacobson, Marketing Director, Mailgun

Mailgun integrates seamlessly to Customer.io through SMTP and their team provides some of the best deliverability available. If you’re interested in learning more about Mailgun, feel free to contact them or sign up for a free account.