On the way to scalability

How Project A helped KRY set the foundations to scale global performance marketing

By Anastasia Albert

KRY is one of Project A’s biggest portfolio companies with over 300 employees working on reimagining the healthcare industry. With the KRY app, you can have a doctor consultation by video and get medical advice, prescriptions and sick notes. Over one million patients across Europe have used the app to get medical help. The company operates in Sweden, Norway, UK, France and has just launched in Germany.

Project A was asked to help the team become more efficient with performance marketing in their core market Sweden, thereby accelerating growth and setting the foundation for scalability across markets. Here is what we did and what can similarly be applied by high-growth companies.

“For me as VP of Marketing, it was important to understand where we stand in terms of our performance marketing channels and what we need to work on. Project A helped a lot in that regard.”

— Neil Bridgeman, VP Marketing KRY

Improving the efficiency of your performance marketing accounts

We started off by conducting audits for each channel and by discussing and prioritizing the findings with the team. Here are some of the things we did to improve efficiency across performance marketing channels:

  • Eliminated money burning keywords and put a cap on competitors for Apple Search Ads (ASA).
  • Introduced best practices for Google Search and Google App campaigns (e.g. smart bidding).
  • Reduced complexity for Facebook and Instagram campaigns (lean structure).
  • Set up correct audience structures to be excluded by partners like Facebook / Snapchat.
  • Refocused campaigns outside of Stockholm to acquire new customers on Snapchat.
  • Introduced retargeting based on specific landing pages on the website.
  • Introduced new creative concepts to advertise for more medical symptoms.
  • Separated awareness campaigns from pure performance campaigns.

The result was that we were able to lower the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) considerably and achieved the best performance on the Google accounts since we started working on the project.

“In the first phase, Project A did an incredible job in improving efficiency after a thorough audit and understanding of the current state of Kry’s marketing efforts. This helped lay the foundation for further scalability and bring performance marketing inhouse.”

— Sumitra Balakrishnan, Global Performance Marketing Director KRY

Documenting existing knowledge

Yes, it probably sounds quite obvious to document existing knowledge. However, the truth is that you rarely do it when you are in high growth mode. So for us, the challenge was to gather existing knowledge on accounts, events and different apps and write everything down.

This will make your life so much easier and facilitate the onboarding of new people. It will also free your team from having to answer the same questions over and over again instead of just referring to a file with all the answers.

Simplifying structures and introducing best practices

There are many ways to set up your account and campaign structures and every agency has their own way of doing it. However, there are best practices that you should stick to and implement across markets to make scaling easier. And while you may or may not use what Google suggests in terms of account structure (see below), your account structure should be informed by the nature of your company and by your future strategy while taking all markets into account. Here’s what we changed during our restructuring:

  • New account structure for Google (e.g. MCC level, separating Google App and Search campaigns).
  • Consolidated the Facebook targeting and focused on new potential users with more universal messages to avoid audience overlap and increase reach.
  • Introduced a new structure for Google App campaigns that included a lot more symptoms in different ad groups.
  • Reduced complexity by using Google Ads instead of DV360 to run YouTube ads (also in a separate Google account).

Here is an account structure that Google suggests using. We consider this to be a bit too complex for smaller startups, but it’s the best way to go if you want to scale your company:

Standardizing: Creating consistent campaign naming conventions

KRY uses different agencies for different markets, which is a good approach to get new markets up and running fast since you are using local expertise. Most agencies have their own preferred campaign naming conventions, which they use across different clients.

However, if you want your analytics team to be able to do analyses across markets, and if you want to eventually bring your performance channels in-house, it makes sense to standardize those naming conventions.

Here’s the process that we followed:

  • Establish your own campaign naming conventions that will work for at least a year and will account for your future planned channels, campaigns, products etc.
  • Get feedback from all stakeholders, especially all local marketing managers who will work with those naming conventions.
  • Introduce a tool that will help you enforce the naming conventions.
    We used a tool that would allow teams to easily pick market, channel, platform etc. without making any mistakes. It was essentially a campaign naming assistant, UTM and Adjust link builder in one tool. However, you can also just use Google sheets with a formula that provides the correct output.
  • In a formal session, introduce your tool to all stakeholders and show them how to use it.
  • Stick to your naming conventions and, if necessary, change / adapt them once a year.

Setting up a creative production process that scales

Your performance marketing is only as good as your creatives and ideally, you quickly understand what works and iterate on it. In order to be able to scale, we changed the creative production process to reduce the time from briefing to go-live of the creative and the number of feedback loops given. Here is what the new process looked like:

The most important part now is that KRY’s creative team gets feedback on how their creatives are doing in terms of customer acquisition and what works and what doesn’t. This helps them to get into a production mode that is much more performance-driven. At the same time, they still control branding while reducing the number of feedback loops given with a master production file that they deliver to the agency (Twigeo).

Going forward, the creative Director at KRY wants to establish a creative library that can be used to come up with new ads for performance marketing.

Improving your tracking framework

When we started to work with KRY, we did encounter some challenges with the existing tracking framework and partner integrations. This is not least due to the fact that KRY has a complex set up where they are mobile-first while still using the website to generate leads through valuable medical content. For companies looking to scale, we would like to suggest the following:

  • Update existing tracking concepts and create a framework to increase the percentage of tracked conversions for core partners.
  • Standardize settings of tracked events.
  • Lobby for the inclusion of more events to be used by marketing channels.
  • Collaborate with different teams and partners to find a suitable solution for all involved.

Making the most out of your agency relations

When relying on agencies, you want to make the most of your relationship and get the best results possible. We started off by asking the agencies what worked and didn’t work in the collaboration with KRY and what their biggest challenges were in delivering the best performance. The survey results were very helpful in determining what we need to tackle first. Here are some of the things we did to improve agency collaboration:

  • Clarified the KPIs, goals and budgets that are used to evaluate the agency.
  • Standardized reporting across agencies and markets.
  • Improved daily collaboration with weekly update calls, set priorities, documented tasks to be done and the tracked progress of ongoing tasks.
  • Set up a new improved creative production process (see above).
  • Connected the agencies to partners like Google, Adjust etc. to support them with more insights.
  • Organized workshops to come up with new ideas on what to test and eliminated roadblocks.

This truly helped us bring agency relations to the next level. The attention on KRY as a client increased considerably and we were able to generate new ideas to level up performance.

Getting help from partners

Once you have a considerable performance marketing budget to spend, you can and should get help from your advertising partners like Google, Facebook and others. They usually have an interest in helping you, since, if what you are doing works, you will be able to scale your channels even more. When Project A started working with KRY, some of the partnerships were already established, while others (e.g. Snapchat, Facebook) were not.

We reached out to all advertising partners and established regular catch-ups and consultation sessions to get the most out of our performance channels.

Furthermore, we organized a creative workshop with the EMEA Creative Director of Snapchat for all designers working at KRY as well as multiple workshops with mobile tracking provider Adjust in order to foster deeper understanding of the platform.

KRY is now in close contact and collaboration with all advertising partners and they benefit from valuable support and access to new product betas or brand lift studies.

In-housing your performance marketing

By doing all the above we also set the foundation for in-housing performance marketing at KRY. While it’s a great strategy to collaborate with local agencies when starting a new market, in the long run, you will only be able to scale performance and achieve maximum efficiency if you run your performance marketing in-house.

This will not only allow your team to apply learnings across markets, as you will have channel specialists working across markets, it will also make sure that you really work with your business goals in mind and react to changes in strategy much more quickly.

“Having the expertise of Project A helped us taking the next step from startup to scale up.”

— Johannes Schildt, Founder & CEO KRY

To conclude, it’s not one big thing you will do in order to scale, but the addition of many, many small things that will make the difference in how smoothly you can make that hockey stick work. Happy scaling!