Published February 2016
Ever since Weight Watchers first began as a gathering of friends in 1963, the company has been helping people lose pounds and live healthier lives. Today the Weight Watchers digital marketing team is focused on acquiring new generations of customers for those classic local meetings as well as their online products and services.
The Weight Watchers team has had ample success with search and social media, where they found it easy to test different headlines and calls to action. But they hadn't found a way to do the same kind of vigorous testing on display advertising. Building and managing dozens of creative iterations, and accurately measuring the results, seemed like a major challenge.
To tackle that challenge, Weight Watchers, and its agency partners, Neo@Ogilvy and OgilvyOne, chose DoubleClick Dynamic Creative.
The Weight Watchers team was interested in testing elements of their creative, such as images, text, calls to action, colors, and fonts, to identify top performers. But first they needed a starting point, says Aaron Davis, Director of Digital Marketing for Weight Watchers Canada.
"We started out by running a series of basic non-dynamic banner ads," he says. "We put them up in equal rotation, did weekly reports and looked for the best performers." In these tests their team learned that images of food combined with social occasions did well. The top-performing banner was called "coaching cake": an image of a birthday cake with the message, "Kids' Birthday Party? We can help you manage Tempting Moments with Weight Watchers 24/7 Chat.”
Now they were ready to go dynamic.
What if the birthday cake was replaced by a pizza or donuts? What if the message switched to "Girls night doesn't have to be cheat night?" What if the background was red? What if the headline was italic instead of bold — would viewers be more interested or less? DoubleClick Dynamic Creative is built to answer questions like these by making it easy to swap in any kind of element, based on targeting rules the marketing team defines.
At first Weight Watchers used equal weighting for all elements to see exactly which performed best over a given time horizon. Once they had top performers in hand, they switched the campaign to auto-optimization and DoubleClick began showing the highest-performing creative variant to each event audience segment, with no additional tinkering needed from the Weight Watchers team.
"The ability to test different images was absolutely key," says Andrew Butts, Media Director at Neo@Ogilvy. "We could see right away that a slice of pizza got more interest than a cupcake. The same 'Start Today' text might perform better in white than in green. To test all those iterations in a non-dynamic way, even if you could do it manually, would just cost way too much."
Putting it all together
Integration with other DoubleClick products helped Neo@Ogilvy be even more efficient.
From a trafficking standpoint it's hugely beneficial to have DoubleClick Studio to help create the ads and then DoubleClick Campaign Manager to handle the ads; they all talk with each other. When you create a new ad or variation, it automatically gets put right into the flow. You enter your file, pull it into the campaign and away you go.
Programmatic ad buying through DoubleClick offers the Weight Watchers team access to more inventory sources, which gives them new targeting options as well as insights into a wider variety of segments, says Davis. "It also gives us the opportunity to test more meaningful retargeting campaigns and language across our entire site, based on who visits and what they choose to interact with."
Improving it again… and again
Weight Watchers didn't stop with their top-performing dynamic banner. They built a new campaign based on the messaging and creative insights from their first campaign. This new concept, called "Instalife," featured creative with Instagram-style images highlighting people enjoying life while losing weight. They put this campaign into the market alongside their top-performing banner and began to test variations on it, too. Instalife performed better than the previous campaign, so it became the new starting point for Weight Watchers' next campaign.
"We're always looking for the right themes to capitalize and iterate on," says Butts. It's important to be able to run campaigns side by side, he says: "We have lots of variability over the course of a year: seasonal differences, all kinds of changes in offers and awareness. Testing campaigns one after the other wouldn't work. For the best results, we need the horse race."
Better performance, faster action and lower production costs: the Weight Watchers team found them all with DoubleClick Dynamic Creative.
The Weight Watchers team saw a 50% increase in clickthrough rate (CTR) through its initial four-week testing period, with a 56% increase in the volume of acquisitions1. Then as the DoubleClick Dynamic Creative system began to auto-optimize based on performance, the best creative combination drove a click-to-conversion rate that was 190% higher than the previous best-performing non-dynamic banner.
As a bonus, the time needed to introduce new creative messaging has gone from around eight weeks down to two weeks, Aaron Davis notes.
DoubleClick Dynamic Creative has reduced our time to market, lowered our costs and significantly improved both our CTR and our ability to convert. We're very happy.