ecommerce growth story

232% Increase in eCommerce Revenue via the Ladder Growth Testing Process [Case Study]

A global trendsetter in modern home furniture hired Ladder to take their eCommerce growth to the next level. Started by two friends in Detroit, Michigan, the eCommerce company launched from a successful Kickstarter campaign to a scaling powerhouse in the household consumer space across 50+ countries.

This city-centric eCommerce brand brought on Ladder to double their six-figure monthly recurring revenues (MRR).

*Spoiler Alert*

Their MRR doubled in less than six months.

And the year closed with 232% increase over the year prior. Their six-figure MRR business saw their annual revenue triple.

ecommerce revenue growth via ladder

*NOTE: Due to privacy agreements, we are unable to disclose the name of the company.

How did Ladder 3x annual eCommerce revenue?

This eCommerce brand’s growth strategy started with a Ladder growth audit – a full-funnel analysis across their customer journey, all channels, and all assets.

This growth audit gave us clarity on the weakest links in the chain, as well as the strongest areas of existing traction. It showed us their “growth levers”, true key performance indicators (KPIs).

Our next move then was to attack the KPIs we identified from the deep-dive analysis. Any improvements we could make on the weakest links would have exponential returns on the bottom-line, and strongest areas of traction would be our safest investments for scaling.

Using the process described above, we (Ladder) immediately cut the eCommerce brand’s wasteful spend and optimized all acquisition channels for key conversion events within the first month.

By the third month of the relationship, we had made big improvements in website conversion rate, slashed their cost per conversion, AND begun scaling volume.

increase in conversion rate via ladder growth testing

For twelve months we optimized and scaled – a steady process where we’d prune and grow, prune and grow, prune and grow. We’d tighten their cost per acquisition (CPA) down for maximum return on investment (ROI), then push our acquisition efficiency to its limit, then tighten down the CPA again…rinse and repeat. And their revenue skyrocketed.

eCommerce growth, driven by KPI-focused testing and compounding insights.

Aligning strategy development to KPIs is essential for successful testing that leads to actual commercial growth. Leveraging KPI-focused strategy and a highly organized – and aggressive – testing process we ensured that every experiment maximized ROI. How? Well, the reality is that most experiments fail (good ol’ 80/20 rule), and so at Ladder we have rigorous filters for strategy development.

At Ladder, we “stress test” strategy. Strategy is vetted and proofread across multiple growth strategists of varying experience levels and specializations – where we poke and prod to ensure no stone is left unturned. One of the most crucial results of stress testing is that it ensures every experiment will either succeed in achieving its goal, AND/OR provide a valuable insight should we miss the target. We take that insight and recalibrate. And our next shot is a lot less likely to miss.

We launched over 100+ growth experiments across social pay-per-click advertising (PPC), search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, retargeting segmentation, and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Remember how I said most experiments fail? The industry average success rate is around 15%. Ladder’s success rate is closer to 40% (that’s more than 300% better) – and of the 100+ tests we shipped for this eCommerce brand, 60% validated in successfully improving funnel metrics.

list of growth marketing experiments

What eCommerce growth levers did Ladder pull?

During this eCommerce brand’s growth audit we found a ton of unoptimized spend in their Facebook Ads campaigns, low hanging fruit in their Google AdWords account, and ripe opportunity within their email marketing automation.

Facebook optimization & creating a retargeting engine

Whoever the previous agency was, they certainly weren’t experts in Facebook PPC. They had this eCommerce brand dumping the bulk of their money into video campaigns and then retargeted the video views. There was one main problem with their system – most of the video campaigns showed no sign of traction! Sure the saw great CPMs (cost per 1000 impressions) and really low cost per clicks (CPC), but we looked further down the funnel we saw that all those cheap clicks were not showing any interest in the product. This is why full-funnel analysis is key to sound growth strategy – without it you only have one piece of the puzzle.

We (Ladder) cut all Facebook prospecting campaigns that were not showing traction. Like most advertisers, their Facebook pixel had a conversion attribution window of 1-day view and 28-day clicks. In layman’s terms that mean that is someone saw the ad and converted the next day, that ad would get the credit. If they clicked on the ad and converted a week later (within the 28-day window) the ad would get the credit. So the fact that these previous Facebook campaigns were not seeing ‘add to carts’ even within that 28-day window means those campaigns are not a good investment.

NOTE: Every business is different, and you always want to optimize and make performance calls based on your own unique funnel analysis.

Fixing the prospecting leaks also included doubling down on their best audiences and creatives, and launching strategic tests to new audiences with new formats and new techniques.

We also turned their simple retargeting into a reliable machine. By segmenting our retargeting campaigns we were able to control the budget and bids and optimization, tailoring them to the customer behavior.

This highly efficient retargeting engine was fueled by the now optimized and constantly scaling prospecting campaigns – surging conversion volume cost-effectively.

facebook ads growth over time

SEM audience segmentation and Google Shopping

This eCommerce brand’s SEM activity had plenty of low hanging fruit, but more than that we saw a real opportunity to dominate search intent for their products. At first, we made our tried-and-true updates to their ad groups, keyword bids, and ad copy. But what really took them to the moon – transforming their SEM from nearly non-existent to driving 20% of their annual revenue – was audience segmentation and Google Shopping campaigns.

By segmenting their account into four key audiences, we were able to control the bids and better optimize based on their customer’s journey (much like what we did for their Facebook PPC). The four key audiences were ‘Brand – Prospecting’, ‘Generic – Prospecting’, ‘Brand – Retargeting’, ‘Generic – Retargeting’. Each campaign had a sister/brother campaign in each of these broader audience categories. And each audience had its own bidding prioritization AND bespoke messaging.

Pro Tip: Brand Search Retargeting should have the highest bids, whereas Generic Search Prospecting should have the lowest.

Additionally, we helped them set up a product feed which allows us to leverage Google Shopping campaigns (using the exact same four audiences groups for the campaign structures). Google Shopping can be extremely powerful if you know how to use it – and we made their Shopping campaigns a key revenue driver.

Once we had Google AdWords optimized and scaling to new heights, we doubled down on the channel by expanding to Bing Ads and Quora Ads. Honestly, we revolutionized their search marketing.

sem growth over time

Email marketing automation

This eCommerce brand’s internal team already had a good handle on their email marketing campaigns. They already ran subject line tests and most of their promotional campaigns were really successful. However, we did find some things to improve in their automation systems. Namely, we ramped up their marketing automation to include multi-stage drips for cart abandoners, up-sells to past purchasers, and activation emails to non-converters.

An eCommerce growth story

This eCommerce growth story was carved from over one hundred strategic experiments, each targeted to pull key growth levers – from social media campaigns, to search engine marketing, to email automation and everything in-between. We even scoped out a direct mail strategy, leveraging the audience and creative insights gained throughout the relationship.

Time and again we find that success is tied to sound strategy, rigorous experimentation, and compounding insights. And this is what sets Ladder apart from other growth agencies. Our strategy is based on a deep understanding of funnel analysis and performance marketing, our experiments come from technical expertise and creative problem solving, and our insights are compounding globally as our teams in the US, UK, and Poland feed our proprietary machine-learning fueled tactical database.