How I Amplitude Series

How Influencers & Data-Driven Marketing Created a Breakthrough

In this episode of "How I Amplitude," Sleep Cycle’s marketing team shared the story of one influencer campaign, the "Joy of Jay." Get a rare glimpse into how the Sleep Cycle team uncovered insights and poured fuel onto a TikTok campaign that shot into viral history.

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“To be truly able to make data-driven decisions... you need to set up a framework of what success looks like beforehand.”

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Cecilia Eyem
Sleep Cycle
Head of Marketing

Understanding Sleep Cycle’s landscape

Sleep Cycle had successfully established a medium-to-large-sized recurring annual revenue within the health and fitness space. Its freemium subscription-based business model is a critical element of this success, and the company maintained this momentum for a decade.

But the brand hit a growth plateau and looked towards ways to scale more aggressively through moonshots - big, risky campaigns that have the potential for outsized results.

Understanding Sleep Cycle’s landscape

Meet Jay in the ‘Joy of Jay’

The ‘Joy of Jay’ campaign is a prime example of a Sleep Cycle moonshot. Jay, the creator of the ‘Joy of Jay’ video, is a TikTok influencer who creates content around mental strength and an improved mindset. Sleep Cycle negotiated an initial trial post with Jay with the right to boost the material for a year.

Hitting a moonshot is a numbers game, so prices for the trial post are often negotiated to maximize the number of posts.

Here's what their rough workflow looked like to optimize their TikTok campaign:

  • Jay produced the content following a brief created by Sleep Cycle. He was given the creative freedom to explore the app and find whatever features he found beneficial, such as those that help with falling asleep and waking up. Jay’s take was to discuss the smart alarm that wakes users with gradual light.
  • Once published, the Sleep Cycle team gave the post about one week before adding it to their TikTok ad campaigns to get as much engagement as possible. However, the TikTok algorithm doesn’t typically give new creatives a fighting chance. If the creative shows good initial signs, brands might need to reallocate budgets to give it the best shot.
  • In Jay's case, the team had to redistribute the budget from the evergreen ad groups to the challenger ad groups and even separate Jay’s ad from another strong creative for the budget to be spent.

Sleep Cycle’s team has numerous formulas they assess because they work with several influencers. Each creative is typically allocated a percentage of events (like app installs).

From there, the team assessed whether a moonshot creative was overtaking evergreen ad campaigns. Jay’s content performed strongly during the first month after launch, followed by some fatigue.

The entire time, the team analyzed the performance of all of the events and engagements in Amplitude. Including which action was taken by users after converting from the "Joy of Jay" campaign.

Jay’s campaign achieved remarkable results through a heavy and rapid push, an increased budget, and aggressive promotion. To confirm these results lead to action though, you need to compare baseline outcomes from before the campaign launched, and also assess seasonality influences by looking at the prior year’s data, too.

However, a key learning from the moonshot initiative is that you can only have one moonshot creative running at a time, as other creatives get ignored by the algorithm.

Meet Jay in the ‘Joy of Jay’

Creative testing and UGC strategies

Creative testing is an essential element of Sleep Cycle’s growth strategy and is primarily used to decide influencer marketing tactics. Sleep Cycle leverages user-generated content (UGC) from current users sharing their own experience with the app on socials and through online reviews. Any positive UGC is beneficial, but they see the most success when it’s produced by professional influencers.

Of course, everyone must find the right influencers to work with. Sleep Cycle has performed rigorous testing to identify online creators and influencers using the app with which their audience will resonate. The marketing team uses solid data to find influencers, ensuring influencer partnerships are more likely to yield tangible results and drive meaningful conversions.

Sleep Cycle pulled reports to measure organic uplift, gathering all data on influencer partnerships within one space and promoting transparency.

Creative testing and UGC strategies

Measuring creative performance

The strategy for TikTok differs slightly from other campaigns as Sleep Cycle tests evergreen ads in tandem with a challenger group testing strategy. As a routine, they do a weekly creative rotation to prevent creative fatigue, which triggers the algorithm to explore new creatives and filter out overused ones.

The benefits of creatives are evaluated based on a combination of spend impressions, CPM, CPC, CTR, and MMP data. This enables Sleep Cycle to compare conversion performance between influencers and, where necessary, reallocate budgets to more profitable areas.

Measuring creative performance

Measuring success based on insights

When discussing moonshots, the Sleep Cycle marketing team refers to what is broadly successful in each step of the user journey. This begins with ad interaction and inflow into the app, conversion, and return on investment (ROI).

However, it’s difficult to gauge the success of a creative using SKAdNetwork (SKAN) data alone. So Sleep Cycle combines that with probabilistic event data pulled from Amplitude via their MMP data provider. This covers events recorded with a user flow on the day and at the time they occur. Assessing this data can help measure relative changes and explain performance on an overall and creative level.

Measuring success based on insights

Navigating sustainable growth

The landscape of sleep-tracking apps is competitive. However, by arming themselves with robust tools and enforcing data and communications collaboration, Sleep Cycle’s team has positioned the app as a market leader.

Prioritizing data transparency and shared ownership of campaigns alongside creative excellence has steered Sleep Cycle on a smooth course for sustained expansion.

As Sleep Cycle continues its journey of growth and innovation, one thing is clear—the path to success lies in leveraging data insights from interactive platforms like Amplitude and staying true to overarching goals.

Navigating sustainable growth

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