How PensionBee reduced ad costs and boosted acquisitions with creative data insights

Here’s how the fast growing scale-up decreased their Meta CPA from £130 to £88 for a specific campaign and used Automated Creative’s insights to shape their TV ad.

Faced with a growing cost per acquisition whilst increasing paid ad spend, PensionBee needed an adtech rethink. They partnered with Automated Creative to  understand why their ads worked and radically improve their paid media effectiveness. 

Since 2015, PensionBee has been helping people in the UK combine pensions from previous jobs, to consolidate, contribute, and manage online. The brand’s messaging had focused on pension simplicity and seen impressive levels of growth. Inspired by Automated Creative’s work with KFC, CMO Jasper Martens turned to AC for a reinvention of their performance advertising.

The challenge

The challenge for PensionBee was to bring down their CPA and tell the brand specifically what made an effective direct response ad on Meta.

The brief was to not just to understand which ads worked, but most importantly why. Up to that point, they had used a manual and expensive linear production model that didn’t give them insight into what made their ads work. It was time to access the new levels of performance and consumer insight that automation combined with human creativity can bring. 

The solution

Automated Creative started out by understanding the brands’ digital strategy, auditing their visual and written messaging, as well working with the internal media team to ensure the campaign was set up for success. The team built a data strategy to ensure that the intelligence captured during the campaign would be usable to the business - outside of Meta. 

Then a team of designers, animators, strategists and developers worked with Automated Creative’s proprietary CREATOR platform to generate all ads in all sizes and formats in minutes. The ongoing campaign plays out through a series of ‘Sprints’ that tests different hypotheses about the audiences.

This was a significant shift from how brands use set-and-forget DCO practices that give brands a ‘least worst’ result. Combining dynamic ad tech with human creativity allowed PensionBee surpass the time limitations of a manual approach and go beyond what a tech-only solution provides.

The message ‘PensionBee combines your pensions’ had been a core part of PensionBee marketing for years. However, the data proved that this didn’t drive conversion for the brand. When the team tested messaging that addressed consumer anxiety around losing track of pensions - the cost of new customer acquisition plummeted. This was an “aha moment” for Jasper, “we knew this, we just didn’t think of putting that in an ad.” 

This was just the beginning of a journey of unexpected learnings for the brand. Through subsequent sprints, PensionBee decoded the best performing visual cues, refined their messaging and hit new levels of high performance. Or as Jasper puts it “[The work] led to us declaring our love for Automated Creative.”

While the performance campaign on Meta was running, PensionBee were filming their latest TV Ad

 

The data was so compelling that the brand modified visual elements and re-recorded the voice over to include the best performing messaging themes. Jasper says: “You shouldn’t stop at your digital efficiencies. You should apply these learnings to your other channels.”

Results

After multiple consecutive in-flight optimisations, PensionBee’s CPA (for the Facebook campaigns within these specific sprints)  decreased from £130 to £88.

Moreover, the insights delivered through the campaign allowed Automated Creative to show PensionBee the DNA of a top performing ad.

This means that all subsequent campaigns can be built on the intelligence of the last, allowing PensionBee to stop guessing and keep growing.

 


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