Curology uses Personas to deliver personalized ad experiences

How the Curology team used Personas to retarget high-value customers with relevant messages and build high-performing lookalike campaigns.

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The Company

Curology is an online retailer that offers custom skincare for acne and anti-aging. Curology’s team of dermatology providers works 1:1 with patients online to develop a skincare formula customized for them and mixed in Curology's in-house lab. Since its establishment in 2014, Curology has improved the skin of tens of thousands of patients in the U.S.

The Challenge

Curology is a growing health technology company focused on acquiring new members for their skincare subscriptions. In order to maintain its healthy growth rate, Curology needed to maximize their return on ad spend by finding the right customers and getting the right message to them. To do this, they first needed to quickly create granular audiences based on what they knew about their customers.

For example, the Curology team wanted to target users who had reached a certain point in the sign up process but had not converted. Curology then wanted to use those audiences to constantly refresh the retargeting campaigns they were powering to minimize performance variability. This required the acquisition managers to spend hours per week manually pulling segments from their database and uploading them to the desired ad platforms.

Fabian Seelbach, SVP of Marketing, said, “The annoying part of maintaining audiences was the need to update them manually on a recurring basis. It was a process that we needed to automate.” Without fresh audiences, it was nearly impossible to maximize their ad efficiency.

The Solution

Curology chose to use Personas to deliver targeted ads to users who were likely to sign up for subscriptions. Personas is a new product built on the Segment platform that can automatically update audiences for use in email and marketing platforms based on first-party data.

Unifies user history across devices and channels into one comprehensive profile.

Synthesizes data into traits, audiences, and predictions for each customer.

Pushes audiences to end tools for personalized marketing campaigns and in-app experiences.

The Curology team used Personas to streamline the campaign creation process and drive better advertising results. They used Personas’ audience building capabilities to target high-value members who cancelled their subscription previously but have a high likelihood of being won back. For example, customers who churned because of price.

"We use Personas to get a tailored message in front of our churned customers that we know we can win back. These targeted audiences deliver a strong return on ad spend,” said Seelbach.

The Curology team also used Personas to create audiences based on product usage that they used for lookalike campaigns. With the right customer data, they were able to quickly get in front of the best new audiences for their brand and highlight the most relevant products to help drive conversion.

The Result

Personas reduces marketing spend by excluding poor fits.

With Personas, Curology is able to identify audiences that aren’t a good fit for certain campaigns and proactively exclude them. This is a simple yet effective cost-saving measure that protects them from wasting spend on an audience that has either already converted or never will. "Using Personas allows Curology to save money by excluding unnecessary audiences from new user acquisition campaigns. By doing so, we’ve been able to decrease our ad spend by more than 10% and still see the same number of total conversions,” said Seelbach.

Personas replaces costly manual updates.

Personas eliminates the need to manually update audiences in various platforms, which saves dozens of hours monthly. When using Personas, “the real difference is being able to sustain moving data from our database to the ad platforms efficiently,” said Seelbach. “Because Personas automatically updates lookalike audiences, Curology has seen a reduction in audience decay. Keeping fresher audiences drives a significant increase in ad performance across our campaigns.”

Personas’ audience builder enables more targeted ad campaigns.

The granular data that Personas provides has helped Curology understand which potential customers will be the best members. It also has allowed them to target these customers with higher bids and retarget potential customers with the most effective marketing approaches. For instance, as a new potential member completes an event, they will trigger an automatic email. If the user abandons the registration process, they will see an advertisement to encourage them to return.

“Personas translates into 20% increase in campaign performance by allowing us to use granular audiences that we can retarget with specific creative and by segmenting out high-value customers,” explained Seelbach. Using Personas, Curology is able to find the best members who are willing to invest in high-quality skincare products and maintain membership for the long term.

Industry: Online retailer for custom skincare products
Location: San Diego, CA
Employees: N/A

Using Personas allows Curology to save money by excluding unnecessary audiences from the new user acquisition campaigns. By doing so, we’ve been able to decrease our ad spend by more than 10% and still see the same returns.

Fabian Seelbach

SVP Marketing

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