Case Studies

How The Ridge Used Tactical Media Buying to hit $300 Million in Wallet Sales

Supal Desai
April 4, 2023
“If you don’t have Northbeam, you just don’t know what happens between your spend and the revenue generated. There’s immense business value in understanding the steps between, as well as having the accurate data and clean UI needed to see how the whole marketing mix plays together.” 
– Connor MacDonald, CMO, The Ridge 

The Ridge launched with a simple goal: make wallets better. Two kickstarters, nine years, and 3 million wallets later, the now well-known company is applying the same innovative design to even more everyday items – and with the help of a new attribution tool. Knowing that expansion would mean more data and more complex customer journeys, the company knew it needed to move on from the limited platform analytics to stay on top of consumer behaviors.

In-Platform Biases and Customer Journey Blind Spots

As a premium accessories brand, The Ridge often struggled with one very specific problem: unsustainably high customer acquisition costs (CAC). They simply didn’t have enough insights to understand what was happening between spend and conversion. 

“Google Analytics (GA) is a good starter tool because it’s simple and easy to use, but that also means it’s rigid,” said Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge. “For example, Google prioritizes its own search function, so we saw our GA display performance lose attribution to branded search, which created holes in our reports that made it difficult to know which campaign or which customer path was having the greatest impact.”  

Moreover, The Ridge’s marketing team faced issues with in-platform data, like Facebook Analytics, where they saw as much as a 70% discrepancy between it and GA. Without baseline first-party data to measure against, it’s impossible to determine where ad platforms overstate their own performance metrics.

The Flexibility of Custom Labeling Lead = Profitability

Once The Ridge integrated Northbeam, its first order of business was to improve their CAC. They started by using the Automatic Label Rules to organize their data and to quickly identify which top-of-funnel efforts were driving the most awareness with new customers. 

“Custom labeling makes it possible to instill your intent in your various campaigns and structure your reporting in a very intricate way,” explained MacDonald. “We created landing page labels, and labels based on things like ad concepts rather than targeting or platform, which gave an unbiased view into interest and helped quickly identify where it made the most sense to pause or increase spend.” 

Northbeam’s deep ML capabilities enable it to learn and automatically apply labels to future content as well – a feature The Ridge was quick to leverage. Once labeling and reporting was on autopilot, the company was able to understand which awareness tactics captured the highest-intent audiences. By doubling down on these tactics, it boosted performance across the rest of the marketing funnel.

“Most people are looking at campaign performance within the various platforms they use,” added MacDonald. “That can be useful, but you can’t overstate the value in an intricate and unbiased view of all channels in one place. When you have both a top level and granular view at the same time, you can actually understand the nuances in your customer journeys and make really lucrative decisions.”

Onward and Upward (Post iOS14.5)

Using Northbeam’s custom labeling and proprietary attribution models deeper insights into  customer journeys, audience cohorts, and media spend for The Ridge. The company improved ROAS by +24% and MER by +15% across all channels. As far as CAC goes, they improved their spend efficiency by 24%. 

Not only that, but as the competition floundered in the wake of iOS14.5, The Ridge increased marketing spend +147% in 2021, increasing site visits +205% and ultimately growing revenue +239% year over year.  

“We went from looking at Northbeam once a week to every day after the iOS update,” said MacDonald. “The first-party data focus gives us the accurate baseline we need, and we’re able to continuously give credit to the channels that created the intent rather than the ones that captured the conversion.” 

Today, The Ridge is exploring additional functionality within the Northbeam platform to continue optimizing its ad buying strategies. This includes taking a deep dive into accrual vs. cash spend reporting in order to better understand how much new customer revenue is attributable to day-1 spend–this has helped us distill exactly what we want to be getting and making that replicable. 

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