Programmatic Mobile Targets Lawn Nerd Behaviors For Scotts

When mobile programmatic works well, it not only targets the right audience, but even optimizes campaigns against specific behaviors that only occur within the context of sophisticated apps. Scotts was not only looking for lawn care prospects in marketing its refreshed My Lawn app earlier this year.  The core function of the app went beyond mere branding, to “have a more one to one relationship with our customer and provide more relevant information,” says Raouf Solaiman, digital marketing leader, Scotts.

The new app let users create their own customized lawn plan for the type of lawn, location and specific growth issues involved. With this level of knowledge about the customer’s individual needs, Scotts was establishing a two-way communications channel with customers that could push reminders, lawn care suggestions and other personalized interactions to both brand affinity and actual sales.

The company didn’t just want lawn owners but what I might call the real lawn nerds, who would go to the trouble of building a personal profile of their lawn in an app.  “We started off with the persona we had known,” Solaiman says. “But then we let the data drive how we proceeded throughout the campaign. We took an initial estimate of who the audience would be then listened to the results.”



Solaiman says that “what was interesting was the consumer emerging on mobile is a facet of that persona. So we were able to peel back layers of that overall Scotts consumer and really understand the mobile Scotts consumer." The differences between the two personae were not extreme but notable. Not surprisingly, mobile fans of the brand were younger.

The company was iterating the campaign by peering into post-download behaviors to optimize against lawn plan creators. Scotts uses Fiksu’s API to connect mobile ad spend with specific in-app behaviors and ties it all in to the Adobe Marketing Cloud to connect it with other data.

According to the companies, Scotts anticipated optimizing the media spend to reach a KPI of having 50% of app installers create a Lawn Plan. In the end, the app  exceeded a 60% plan creation rate, and Scotts says it beat its cost-per-install goal (CPI) by 60%. Solaiman told us recently that the plan creation rate topped 75%. But because the promotions were also localized to correspond to growing seasons around the country, successive waves learned from one another. The second two waves optimized faster and reached goal CPIs sooner than the previous one.

Creative was also key, he says. Through weekly meetings with Fiksu about the performance data, strategists iterated on messaging that worked best. “Spring is our holiday,” he says. “So throughout the season we were ensuring that for the next weekend – our big engagement period – we always had refined creative on Facebook or Twitter and the creative that performed best on each channel.”

Solaiman says that for him programmatic works when you let the data guide you. “What bodes well for programmatic is that once you get good positive results from an audience, you can take that audience through lookalikes and adjacencies to understand how you can reach likewise audiences that may have the same propensities.” For him the lesson learned was to follow the data.

Leveraging and optimizing against in-app behaviors is one of the unique aspects of programmatic on mobile. In fact, as these technologies and buying techniques migrate beyond desktop display, they access new modes of use and cast off unique kinds of behavioral data. Exploring this next stage of programmatic evolution – into mobile and video - will be our focus at the Aug. 16-19 Programmatic Insider Summit in Lake Tahoe.  

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