Driving Conversions on a Budget: Eat24’s All Natural Ad Enhancement
Hi, we’re Eat24. If you already know us – hey sexy, welcome back, looking good. If you’re new, let’s catch you up: Eat24 is the Internet’s favorite food delivery app and website. The first rule of Eat24 Club used to be “don’t talk about Eat24 Club,” but that turned out to be a terrible marketing strategy.
Anyway, we like to do things differently around here. Very differently. When it comes to spreading our brand message, we usually take the road less travelled. This is one road we want to share with you, a road that took us where no marketing team has gone before. Well, at least not without clearing their browser history afterward.
The Problem: Conversion Rate. Want Bigger?
When we start a new marketing campaign, one of our main goals is to maximize ROI without dipping into our hair gel fund (because priorities). Since Eat24 is a privately held company that has accepted exactly $0 in VC funding to date, we don’t really like throwing piles of cash at huge traditional media campaigns. We prefer to be smart with our money, which is why we have to come up with creative and unique marketing strategies to fit our budget and brand. It’s an eternal quest to find the perfect ad platform with really high traffic, and dirt cheap inventory. Basically, a unicorn.
The Solution: Porn, the Internet’s Unicorn
PORN. Porn is the answer!
Honestly, we should’ve seen this one coming. Some of our heaviest users and biggest fans on social media just happen to be porn stars. Like, actual real-life porn stars. Tera Patrick, Daisy Lynn, Andy San Dimas and Tara Lynn Foxx to name a few. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. They enjoy a life without pants and are constantly working up a huge appetite. Eat24 and porn stars are a match made in sexy heaven! They use us in just the way we like to be used, and we always leave them full and satisfied. Observe:
So this got us thinking about porn websites. Are they a good place for us to advertise? Will we hit our target audience? Can we afford it? And why is everyone always shaking their head at us when we bring it up?
We decided to seriously look into it and what we found was boobs. A lot of them. But, we also found an advertising gold mine. We always assumed that a lot of people love porn, but when you look at the numbers, the proof is in the hot tub full of pudding. A whopping 30% of ALL web traffic is dedicated to adult sites. In fact, by the time you’re done reading this sentence, about 197,806 people have looked at porn on the Internet (including you. We see that incognito tab).
So where does America like to spend its time on the Internet? We took a closer look at the top websites by traffic in the United States. Leading the charts are Google, Facebook and YouTube. Duh. No news there. Moving down the list, we couldn’t help but notice that many of the top 100 sites in the US are pornographic. If the Internet was a pie, porn’s slice would be the girth-y.
Considering these numbers, you’d think it’d be pretty expensive to shove your brand message in the face of such a large, captive audience. Right? It probably costs an arm and a third leg, right? Wrong!
We compared our average CPM across major ad publishers such as Google, Twitter and Facebook and found we could get more impressions via porn sites than the big three combined, and at roughly 1/10th of the cost (!) High traffic sites with cheap ad space?? Did we just see a unicorn?
If you ever take two seconds out of your naughty time to glance at the ads on porn sites, you’ll notice that 99% of them are for more porn. It’s a world where no one besides male enhancement pills and adult friend finders have dared to go. Not a single mainstream brand advertising there. We could be that 1%.
The evidence was in. Porn advertising is an untapped market, and our mission was clear:
Tap. Dat. Ass.
Strategy: Me So Horngry
Our challenge with designing banner ads for porn sites was our competition, porn itself. We needed to create something eye catching enough to make someone stop what they’re doing (watching porn) and say, “You know what? Yes. I AM going to be hungry in 3-5 minutes. I better order delivery.” Not an easy task.
As Sun Tzu said, “know your enemy.” So we rolled up our sleeves (or in some cases, removed our clothes entirely) and conducted countless hours of research over long sleepless nights to familiarize ourselves with the ads we would be competing against.
At first glance, you can barely differentiate the ad content from the site content. Almost all of the existing banners were just more porn. The rest were for male enhancement pills, tips on how to please a woman, and finding hot local singles near you. The one thing they all had in common was crappiness. It was like a teenage boy travelled back to 1996 to create banner ads in MS Paint.
P.S. This is a real ad
Even if we wanted to look to our big brand marketing peers for inspiration (which we obviously don’t because Hi we’re here writing a case study about pornography. Welcome. So nice of you to join us), we couldn’t. In all the porn site banner ads we saw, not a single non-adult brand was to be found. Not one. We were in uncharted waters. Clearly it was our responsibility to be the trailblazers, which is perfect because we love to blaze.
What followed was probably the longest and most excited brainstorming session we’ve ever had. Our dirty little minds, which are typically restrained by “society” and its “morals” were suddenly free to wander into the x-rated corners of our brains. Not only were dick jokes accepted, they were encouraged! We couldn’t write our ideas down fast enough.
We wanted to make a connection between the pleasure you feel when eating a bacon double cheeseburger, and the pleasure of having sex. Everyone knows nothing makes people want to order food more than pictures of food, but we had to be careful with our dish selection. The sight of a seductive salmon skin roll next to a naughty nurse video might enhance the whole experience, while a hearty plate of chicken tikka masala might turn you off entirely, except in certain fetish categories. We need food that puts you in the mood.
So we started by hitting one of our favorite stock photo sites and typing “Food and sex” into the search bar. What we got were 6 (SIX!) pages of women doing very provocative things to bananas.
Since we are not a banana delivery service, we had to dig a little deeper. It was time to ask ourselves the hard, throbbing questions:
How can we compete with a 15-inch shlong?
How can we compete with girl-on-girl action?
How can we compete with self-love videos?
The answer to all of these questions is: we can’t. And more importantly, we shouldn’t. We’re trying to catch eyeballs and drive clicks. Our ads should not blend in with their surroundings, they should stand out.
We unleashed our inner horndogs and turned our ideas into pixels. As for images, we got sexy stuff, delicious stuff, weird stuff, and WTF stuff. Then we whipped out some appropriate tag lines… blended, buttered, tenderized, and simmered until thick and tender. Enjoy.
The Monkey on our Back:
Everything was set. All our ads were perfectly composed; bright, shiny, and appropriately dirty. We couldn’t wait to unleash them upon unsuspecting porn enthusiasts across the country. If we clicked the “Upload” button any harder, we would’ve broken some furniture. But then this happened:
OK, we didn’t see this one coming. Monkey not permitted? This cute little guy!? He was our favorite! We called our porn ad publisher’s tech support hotline to try and figure out why they didn’t like our monkey. They didn’t really give us a detailed answer, but let’s just say that the association of animals and sexual activities is frowned upon in most places.
That part makes sense, but we were still a bit confused. Funny story: during our research, we came across several banners featuring a horse with extremely large genitalia advertising a pill that results in the customer being hung like said animal (see above).
So horses are OK, but monkeys are not. Cats and dogs are also a no-no (we checked). What about other members of the animal kingdom? Lemurs? Sloths? Those goldfish you win at carnivals? We plan to launch a full-scale investigation with our next porn campaign, but until then, consider this our official findings on the matter:
Where Should We Stick It?
Finally, with Monkeygate 2013 behind us, our ads were all approved. It was time to decide on their placement. We did a little AB testing with the locations we assumed would get the most traffic. The first place we stuck it was right on the homepage.
We also stuck it on video landing pages.
Our test quickly revealed that five times as many people clicked our banner when it was placed next to the video itself. FIVE times! We assume this is due to the fact that people landing on the homepage of a porn site only have one thing on their minds, and it’s not double stuffed burritos. They want to get down and dirty ASAP. Once users find a video that really butters their biscuit, they stay for a while. Even if their focus is on what’s happening in the larger screen, subliminally, they’re thinking about sandwiches. Plus, after they’re done with the video, they’ve worked up an appetite. It’s the perfect time to remind them to wash their hands and order a large pizza with extra bacon for delivery.
Long Hard Results
No matter what metric you want to use to define success, our campaign kicked ass all the way across the board. Impressions? Our porn banner ads saw three times the impressions of ads we ran on Google, Twitter and Facebook combined. Click through? Tens of thousands of horngry Americans clicked our ads. Yeah, but did they convert? Psshhh, please. We saw a huge spike in orders and app downloads during the time our ads were live, especially late at night when that insatiable desire for DP (double pepperoni) is at its most intense.
Did we mention the cost? We did? Well, it bears repeating. We were able to achieve the stellar metrics mentioned above all for the low low price of 90% less than what the big guys charge per 1,000 impressions. That’s right, we saved 90%. Nine zero.
With such a low CPM, we were able to maintain a firm and healthy budget for weeks. On other platforms (especially Facebook), we blew through our media spend in a matter of minutes (never happened to us before baby, we swear).
The general consensus is that it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than retain existing ones, but of course, that’s just another convention flipped right on its ass by porn. Of the total traffic generated by our ads, over 90% were first-time visitors to Eat24.com. We were reaching an almost entirely new market. Our porn banners were generating new customers cheaply. And guess what? They were coming back too (they always come back). New customer retention on porn banners was four times higher than that of our Facebook ads.
Was It Good For You?
What about good ol’ qualitative feedback? To be honest, we didn’t think we’d get much response because we didn’t think anyone would be willing to admit that they saw our ads, or where they saw them. We love being wrong!
The initial feedback came from our client rep Jen (Hi Jen!) at Traffic Junky who emailed us a love note after uploading our banners to their platform:
“I just wanted to say that your ads on our network are AMAZING! I love them. I hope yours do REALLY well because they’re my favorite that I’ve seen so far.”
Once the banners went live, of course Reddit was the first to notice them. Our ads caught the attention of a Redditor (conducting his own research for scholarly purposes, obviously) who was brave enough to share his discovery with the Advertising subreddit. A flurry of upvotes and witty comments landed the Eat24 porn ads on the front page of /r/Advertising. Yeah baby! We’re Reddit famous!
A few of our Twitter friends noticed too.
Even Buzzfeed had the balls to mention our ads (they took the screenshots “for a friend”):
So yeah. Success, we haz it.
NSFWhat We Learned
If you love sex, food, and colorful charts – you’ve come to the right section of this case study! We’re only a few weeks into our adventures in advertising on adult sites, and we’ve discovered a few things we never knew about people and their porn and eating habits. What we found might surprise you (Or maybe it’ll turn you on). Among the surprising, weird and sensual findings we’ll show you are:
- Chicago is the horniest city in the United States.
- New Yorkers watch a lot of porn on their lunch break.
- 24-hour blow-up doll delivery is a billion dollar idea.
Let’s just dive right in, shall we? When we took a look at the cumulative click-through rate across all our ads broken down by city, we found that Chicago is by far the horngriest (horny + hungry). Good job, guys! Try not to hurt yourselves. This could mean that Chicago watches more porn, but a recent Pornhub study suggests otherwise. Maybe, more so than the rest of the country, Chicago just prefers a post-fap fajita over a cigarette.
Another interesting phenomenon we discovered is that New Yorkers like to get naughty at noon. Compared to other cities, the click-through rate and orders at lunchtime in New York were more than double that of any other city. This explains why they’re always so eager to end our mid-day conference calls.
Almost as shocking as New York’s desire for afternoon delights is Houston’s appetite for a morning quickie. Our banners served in the Houston area saw a surprisingly high click-through rate during or just before breakfast time. Those Texans really know how to start the day off right.
If you’re seeking horny night owls (whoops, sorry owls) look no further than Baltimore and Washington D.C., where the highest click-through rate and spike in orders occurred between midnight and 2 AM. Take it easy you guys. Try to get some sleep.
Now that we know when different cities like to enjoy their adult alone time, what about their top horny food preferences? And no, fish tacos did not make the list, but nice try. According to our database, these are the most ordered items in each city after a user clicks one of our ads:
Perhaps it’s not too surprising that “Fuck Pants” was the most popular banner overall. People couldn’t seem to stop clicking it. We think they were just trying to get a closer look at the panties. Next in line was “BLT,” but it’s hard to say if it was the bacon or the “BDSM” that made this ad so clickable.
“Wash Your Hands” saw decent clicks, but almost no conversions. A quick analysis of our customer support chat logs revealed that most people who came to Eat24 after clicking this ad were expecting to find a blow-up doll delivery service. So… FYI Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, if you’re looking for a new startup idea, the market for 24-hour online sex toy ordering is wide open.
So maybe dolls and sandwich innuendo don’t necessarily make people hungry, but you know what does? Sexy videos, apparently! We assumed that most porn viewers would be single (for obvious reasons), and thus their orders would be pretty small: a burger, a personal pizza, one carton of chicken chow mein, whatever. We figured the average order total for our incoming porn customers would be low. Nope! They spent even more than our site average. What’s going on?! We had to look deeper. Turns out that over 90% of porn watchers were ordering a complete meal – appetizer (foreplay), main course, drink (to rehydrate), and dessert. Apparently porn increases metabolism. Or maybe these people aren’t alone. Maybe they’re all having mini-orgies and we’re the caterer. Either way… SWEET!
So what did we learn? America, y’all are a bunch of horny toads (sorry toads), and we love you for it. We didn’t even think it was possible to love you any more than we already do. Wrong again.
Has the campaign been successful? Fuck yes! We gained all sorts of practical wisdom, such as the fact that porn-viewing might be an acceptable replacement for cardio, and if the object of your desire lives in Seattle, the way in to his or her pants is Pad Thai.
There were business benefits to be had as well. Not only did we drive tons of clicks and app downloads, we were able to reach a whole new market affordably and efficiently.
Our porn ads are still running, which means more satisfied Eat24 customers every day. If this is you, welcome to #NoPantsNation! We think you’ll feel right at home.
If you read this entire thing (TL;DR) and you still haven’t tried the #1 online food ordering service among horngry people nationwide, what are you waiting for?! Tap Dat App, baby!