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By The Drum | Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 10 min read

TikTok, Specsavers and MG OMD have won the Healthcare and Pharma category at The Drum Awards for Social Media. Here is the award-winning case study.

Amid pandemic-related store limitations and customer hesitancy, Specsavers faced a pressing decline in eye test appointment bookings due to a limited pool of customers they can contact for recall appointments. Our challenge was clear: reverse the decline and invigorate growth by driving more bookings in a fiercely competitive market against the competition. The strategy demanded scaling paid social performance campaigns and driving Eye Test Booking appointments while maintaining a cost-effective CPA.

Engaging the sought-after 18-34 audience had so far proved elusive and costly within paid social campaigns. The solution emerged in TikTok, boasting a 69% user base within the desired age bracket. However, success hinged on crafting authentic, native content. Partnering with TikTok and creative agency "Uncovered," we produced 6 tailored assets embodying Specsavers' core values.

Even amid the challenges of cookie deprecation, meticulous campaign tracking using TikTok Pixel and Google Tag Manager was executed.

The campaign's impact was remarkable, and the number of eye test bookings exceeded all expectations:

30% below the target CPA

5x below the CPA ceiling

Notably, the asset using the native "Video Reply" creative feature emerged as a star performer, underscoring the significance of platform-specific content.

Ultimately, our journey with Specsavers illustrates the power of strategic innovation, authentic engagement, and data-driven insights. By harnessing TikTok's potential and tailoring content to resonate with audiences, we not only revitalized the brand's target demographic but also redefined its paid social investment strategy.

Amidst the backdrop of limited store availability during the pandemic and the prevailing hesitancy among people to schedule appointments, Specsavers found themselves grappling with a notable reduction in the pool of customers available for recall for eye test appointments after a span of two years. This decline in appointment bookings posed a significant problem, and Specsavers challenged us to accelerate our digital acquisition efforts to drive more bookings. Specsavers operate in a highly competitive market space, where they compete with brands such as Boots Opticians and Vision Express.

To achieve their targets and outperform their competition, we needed to significantly scale investment across paid social performance campaigns and maximise the volume of Eye Test Booking appointments for Specsavers, whilst ensuring CPA was under the breakeven ROI point.

Within our performance paid social strategy, investment in Meta accounted for most of the investment, however, we identified that reaching and engaging younger audiences between 18-34 on the platform was difficult and more expensive based on our internal campaign data. After trialling other social platforms outside of Meta in a bid to diversify our platform portfolio, we hadn’t yet seen the success and performance we needed.

This led us to explore TikTok as an alternative, as data shows 69% of its user base is 18-34 so it would allow us to tap into that younger skewing audience. However, we knew that using existing assets from other social platforms wouldn’t work on TikTok, and with it being an untested channel for Specsavers in the performance space, we knew there would be a lot of challenges and smart planning required to make this work and deliver results.

STRATEGY To see success on TikTok we knew that truly authentic and native creative was needed, but this was an area that was new to Specsavers. We, therefore, had to reinvent our approach to performance marketing by fully leaning into creator content, enabling us to connect with consumers in an entirely new way.

Partnering with TikTok, we worked together to overcome the creative challenge by outsourcing creator outreach to a creative agency partner. Moreover, this partnership enabled Specsavers to go to market with a truly native creative look and feel.

The native-style ads utilised creators and featured educational content, while also including clear CTAs and on-trend digital voiceovers to drive action.

Using consumer insight data, we then customised our audience strategy to complement the creative route, segmenting our strategy into multiple broad buckets (e.g., Value/Savvy Shoppers and Style / Fashion Shoppers) to increase the level of insights available to us during and post-campaign. This created synergy between the content and the buying strategy resulting in an astute, data rich strategy, giving us the absolute best chance of success.

Launching on a brand-new platform for performance, against the backdrop of cookie deprecation required rigorous auditing and a comprehensive setup of our campaign tracking. To ensure they were able to effectively report on and optimise the campaign, we installed the TikTok Pixel with full-funnel events tracking. Implementing TikTok’s advanced developers’ pixel, enabled us to mirror the entire floodlight journey within Google Tag Manager, optimising activity toward the ultimate goal, “appointment confirmation”.

However 1 week prior to launch, during a final audit we noticed an issue with events being double counted due to a technical implementation nuance specific to TikTok. We were on an extremely tight deadline to resolve this and worked tirelessly with our ad operations team and set up workshop calls with TikTok developers to overcome the issue prior to launching.

RESULTS Specsavers' first web conversion campaign was a huge success and overachieved on all KPIs!

30% below the target CPA

5x below the CPA ceiling

We also took a key creative learning from the use of the “Video Reply” function, which was the most TikTok native version of all the different assets and delivered 23%.

Amid pandemic-related store limitations and customer hesitancy, Specsavers faced a pressing decline in eye test appointment bookings due to a limited pool of customers they can contact for recall appointments. Our challenge was clear: reverse the decline and invigorate growth by driving more bookings in a fiercely competitive market against the competition. The strategy demanded scaling paid social performance campaigns and driving Eye Test Booking appointments while maintaining a cost-effective CPA.

Engaging the sought-after 18-34 audience had so far proved elusive and costly within paid social campaigns. The solution emerged in TikTok, boasting a 69% user base within the desired age bracket. However, success hinged on crafting authentic, native content. Partnering with TikTok and creative agency "Uncovered," we produced 6 tailored assets embodying Specsavers' core values.

Even amid the challenges of cookie deprecation, meticulous campaign tracking using TikTok Pixel and Google Tag Manager was executed.

The campaign's impact was remarkable, and the number of eye test bookings exceeded all expectations:

30% below the target CPA

5x below the CPA ceiling

Notably, the asset using the native "Video Reply" creative feature emerged as a star performer, underscoring the significance of platform-specific content.

Ultimately, our journey with Specsavers illustrates the power of strategic innovation, authentic engagement, and data-driven insights. By harnessing TikTok's potential and tailoring content to resonate with audiences, we not only revitalized the brand's target demographic but also redefined its paid social investment strategy.

Amidst the backdrop of limited store availability during the pandemic and the prevailing hesitancy among people to schedule appointments, Specsavers found themselves grappling with a notable reduction in the pool of customers available for recall for eye test appointments after a span of two years. This decline in appointment bookings posed a significant problem, and Specsavers challenged us to accelerate our digital acquisition efforts to drive more bookings. Specsavers operate in a highly competitive market space, where they compete with brands such as Boots Opticians and Vision Express.

To achieve their targets and outperform their competition, we needed to significantly scale investment across paid social performance campaigns and maximise the volume of Eye Test Booking appointments for Specsavers, whilst ensuring CPA was under the breakeven ROI point.

Within our performance paid social strategy, investment in Meta accounted for most of the investment, however, we identified that reaching and engaging younger audiences between 18-34 on the platform was difficult and more expensive based on our internal campaign data. After trialling other social platforms outside of Meta in a bid to diversify our platform portfolio, we hadn’t yet seen the success and performance we needed.

This led us to explore TikTok as an alternative, as data shows 69% of its user base is 18-34 so it would allow us to tap into that younger skewing audience. However, we knew that using existing assets from other social platforms wouldn’t work on TikTok, and with it being an untested channel for Specsavers in the performance space, we knew there would be a lot of challenges and smart planning required to make this work and deliver results.

STRATEGY To see success on TikTok we knew that truly authentic and native creative was needed, but this was an area that was new to Specsavers. We, therefore, had to reinvent our approach to performance marketing by fully leaning into creator content, enabling us to connect with consumers in an entirely new way.

Partnering with TikTok, we worked together to overcome the creative challenge by outsourcing creator outreach to a creative agency partner. Moreover, this partnership enabled Specsavers to go to market with a truly native creative look and feel.

The native-style ads utilised creators and featured educational content, while also including clear CTAs and on-trend digital voiceovers to drive action.

Using consumer insight data, we then customised our audience strategy to complement the creative route, segmenting our strategy into multiple broad buckets (e.g., Value/Savvy Shoppers and Style / Fashion Shoppers) to increase the level of insights available to us during and post-campaign. This created synergy between the content and the buying strategy resulting in an astute, data rich strategy, giving us the absolute best chance of success.

Launching on a brand-new platform for performance, against the backdrop of cookie deprecation required rigorous auditing and a comprehensive setup of our campaign tracking. To ensure they were able to effectively report on and optimise the campaign, we installed the TikTok Pixel with full-funnel events tracking. Implementing TikTok’s advanced developers’ pixel, enabled us to mirror the entire floodlight journey within Google Tag Manager, optimising activity toward the ultimate goal, “appointment confirmation”.

However 1 week prior to launch, during a final audit we noticed an issue with events being double counted due to a technical implementation nuance specific to TikTok. We were on an extremely tight deadline to resolve this and worked tirelessly with our ad operations team and set up workshop calls with TikTok developers to overcome the issue prior to launching.

RESULTS Specsavers' first web conversion campaign was a huge success and overachieved on all KPIs!

30% below the target CPA

5x below the CPA ceiling

We also took a key creative learning from the use of the “Video Reply” function, which was the most TikTok native version of all the different assets and delivered 23%.

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