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Kevin Cai

Mandy Cheong
Kevin Chuang


Sara Clayton

Spruce - Online Marketing Plan

"where men discover amazing products"

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Our team of four decided to work with Spruce, a fashion trend iPhone application started by Ted

Hadjisavas and Jon Sutherland, both USC alums who are based in Santa Monica, CA.

The aim this semester was to execute a variety of advertising campaigns

while looking into historical online data analytics. These tactics were implemented to
help our team better understand user engagement for both their website and mobile
presences as well as provide feedback on how the Spruce Team can develop and
refine their marketing and advertising strategies for lead generation, brand
awareness, and new customer acquisition. During the semester, we touched base
with Ted and Jon over three meetings: two in person and once virtually over Google+ Hangouts. Our
plan started o with creating a Buyers Persona before launching Facebook and Google Ads to develop
insights on a target audience. Our second stage moved into using Google Analytics and Flurry data to
define the metrics, cost, and ROI. After two months of testing and learning, we outlined product and
online recommendations to take Spruce into the next large stage of onboarding users and developing a
stronger marketing brand.

What is Spruce?

Spruce is a mobile app that helps men discover

trendy and modern products. The app updates
daily with new products that range from shoes to
sports cars. Spruce allows users to browse items
by giving the product a thumbs up or thumbs
down and save to their personal profile for future
reference. Spruce also allows users to link
directly to the product pages for quick and
impulsive purchases. The app is a very simple

way to discover unique products for young

professionals seeking to stand out with the latest trends in tech and fashion.

When we looked into our competitors, two websites that also have mobile apps came to mind:

Fancy and Touch of Modern. Fancy, predominantly used as a website, shows o a variety of cool
products that appeal to both men and women. Users of the site can Fancy items on the feed and can
even comment on the products that are being shown. Not only does Fancy specialize in curating a feed
of cool gadgets and gizmos, but the website also gains revenue with their own line of subscription boxes
as well as gift cards that people can use to redeem items that are seen on the website. The other
website, Touch of Modern, is more geared towards home dcor and gadgets, but still has the same type
of feel, featuring items daily. Overall, however, Fancy definitely is the most similar competitor to Spruce
in terms of content and organization.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Business Objectives
When we first sat down with Spruce COO Ted Hadjisavas, we learned a couple of important

points right o the bat. The version that Spruce was on at the time catered to both men and women, but
it was made clear that the apps next update would make it so that Spruce would be only for men. Since
Spruce was still in its early stages of development, the team had yet to run any ads, so we did not have
any previous trials or errors to go o of when creating our advertisements, unfortunately. Since the
audience that they had at the time was still fairly small and bound to change with the new update, we
did not have a defined Spruce audience to examine.

Based on our talk, on the other hand, we were able to narrow down the main objectives that

Spruce was aiming for as soon as they released their biggest update. With Spruce, the team is looking
to target men from the ages of 22 to 35 who have a relatively decent-sized disposable income living in
mostly metropolitan areas. These men can be either single or married, but its preferred that they do not
have kids.

In addition to who theyd like to target, the Spruce team also found these insights based on their own

Men are more loyal to labels than women and less concerned with trends and overt logos

Men, on average, purchase big ticket items online and are more comfortable buying more items at

Men are more likely to create a fixed and invariable personal style, sticking with a limited range of

Men dont like to shop -- they like to figure out what they want and then buy it.

With Spruce, we are looking at an app that has a lot of potential to grow within a fairly defined yet large
enough audience of well to-do young professionals who were ok with spending their money on brands
or products that they deem worth buying. Therefore in terms of our objectives, we wanted:

To increase Spruces downloads by at least 50 percent

To increase active users by 50 percent, a percentage of people that would include both current and
new users

To reach at least 40,000 people when it came time to start rolling out Facebook and Google ads for

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Google Analytics. Using a script that has a unique identifier, Spruce is able to retrieve a lot of

information about its users habits on the website through Google Analytics. This platform allows people
who have embedded the script on their sites to see how much trac their website gets, how this trac
and the users were acquired and much more. In terms of Spruce, we used Google Analytics to see how
much of our goals are converted, what people look for and do on the website and how these users find
out about the website in the first place.

Flurry Analytics. Flurry is a platform that specializes in ads, but also has a lot of great analytics

capabilities as well. This platform records how many users have been acquired, how active they are in
the app and can even develop personas for the users that use the app based o of the all of the
information that Flurry has aggregated from all of the other mobile apps that it handles as well.

Mixpanel. Perhaps not as straightforward-analytics focused, Mixpanel hones in the most on

specific user interactions within the app, such as how many users press certain buttons instead of links,
unlike Google Analytics. Though in our case, Mixpanel may not be the most helpful platform to use since
it does not dear directly with user acquisition, it does provide some helpful insight.

Advertising Strategy
Going o of our objectives, we wanted to try a number of dierent ads since we still were trying

to build up our audience and had the freedom to experiment with various types of platforms. Since we
had learned the most about Google and Facebook ads in class, we decided to run ads on both
platforms, and had dierent strategies for each.

Google Ads. Even with guidance, Google Ads was definitely a new frontier for our group. We

hadnt used the platform before, so our first couple of campaigns involved a lot of experimenting. This
included using generic key terms such as fashion and mens fashion, but seeing that this wasnt
working as eectively, we decided to try more specific terms such as warby parker glasses and ray
bans. Though we were receiving plenty of impressions, we wanted to try and refine our Google ads
even more, so when we met with the Spruce team another time, they showed us that they had a list of
recommended keywords from Google Webmasters and, going with that trend, we decided to also use
the keywords that came up on Google Ads to add.

In order to make our ads even more robust, we took advantage of the free phone help that

Google oers to new Google Ads users and were recommended to specify our keywords by adding a
+ sign such as mens+fashions instead of mens fashions, which did help in the case of a couple of
our keywords including mens+gifts (2,868), vintage mens+watches (1,198) and mens
+gadgets (1,150). We also created bid strategies which allowed us to target search page locations for

each of our keywords.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Though the same might not go for other groups, for the Spruce app, Google ads werent very

eective. Not to mention, it gets to be pretty pricey even if you are not getting as many clicks as you
hoped youd get, especially if youre using bid strategies to increase the position of your keywords. For
example, each click for mens + gifts is more expensive than clicks for mens gadgets, which has
been getting more clicks with less impressions. And since these are terms that are used by other
companies, people, brands, etc. enough, the competition is pretty high and its not as easy to define
your audience simply through Google Ads. For all of our Google campaigns, we spent $99.47.

Facebook Ads. The last time we met with the Spruce team, they talked to us about ad

performance and found that Facebook seemed to be the most relevant to Spruces target audience -- a
generation that uses Facebook to stay informed about their friends and the world as well. And since
Facebook allows you to create a variety of dierent types of ads based on what youre targeting, we
thought that there was a lot of room for potential in how to reach the audience we wanted.

Because the ultimate goal for a mobile app is to increase the number of installations, naturally,

we decided to run a mobile ad installations campaign first, targeting men who matched the following

To see if there would be any dierence in terms of performance, we decided to run two dierent

versions of the ads. The one above, which uses a dark background, performed much better than the
other Facebook ad at the bottom, with three iPhones and a bright green background. Though both ads
were launched at the same time, the first Facebook ad reached more than 1,200 people as opposed to
the second ad, which reached less than half that amount of people 545. The CTR for the first add was
also slightly higher, at 1.37 percent as opposed to 0.99 percent.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Seeing that our App Installations campaign was not doing as well as we hoped (with 1,612

impressions and absolutely no downloads), a couple of days later, we decided to try a campaign for
page likes using the ad creative that performed better in our previous campaign. This time, we were
seeing more results and ended up reaching about 2,800 people in our target audience and were able to
get 74 page likes.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Since Spruce puts a lot of emphasis on its content, we also decided to run a post engagement

app that, this time, targeted the following qualities for men:

Location: United States

Ages: 21-40 (21 since the post involves alcohol)

Interests: Tesla Motors, Warby Parker

Unlike the other two campaigns, where the reach was about 140,000 people, the reach here was

760,000 people which helped us reach 5,593 people with a 1.549 percent CTR who engaged with the
Facebook post in a number of ways including: 71 website links, 14 post likes and even four page likes.
Though our page like campaign performed fairly well, so far, this post engagement campaign was the
most successful of the three, and it makes sense. In addition to getting people to download the app,
Spruce is also about showcasing really cool products, so why not maximize the reach of who these
products are shown to using Facebook ads? If people see something cool or novel on their newsfeed,
theyll most likely become curious and, to the hope of the advertisers, want to learn more about the
product and the company.

For Spruce, Facebook ads are definitely more eective because even though they may not have

the same reach as Google ads, the CTR is definitely higher and the ability to define the people we want
seeing these ads is critical to our success. For all of our Facebook campaigns, we spent $90.34.

With the analytics platforms that we had permission to use, we were able to gain valuable insight

based on users behaviors. To stay consistent, the timeframe of the data presented will start on March
30, 2014 (when we started our campaigns) to May 3, 2014.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Google Analytics. When it comes to the website, the number of sessions completed on

desktop operating systems was pretty split.

On the other hand, we knew that either the correct demographic was finding us or that our

Facebook ads were working since over 75 percent of the sessions were completed on iOS, opposed to
Android with about 23 percent of the sessions.

Most users, about 83 percent of them, are new when they come to the website, but also tend to

browse as well, with an average 2.47 pages per session. We also examined the various Conversion
Goals that had already been set up by the Spruce Team and found that though nearly 80 percent of new
users clicked on products and interacted with the site, only about 0.74 percent of these same users click
the big blue download button on the homepage, which tells us that some tests might need to be run to
increase the conversion for this goal.

In terms of how users are acquired, we found that nearly half, or 47 percent of our audience, had

come across Spruce via organic search or, in other words, Google.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing

Social channels, which were dominated by Twitter before we started running ads, now have

Facebook slightly overtaking Twitter, with 49 percent of the sessions compared to Twitters 40 percent.

Regarding the content on the site, we found that there were clear winners in terms of what was

clicked. The homepage, predictably, received 21 percent of pageviews (out of 4,037 total), but
interestingly enough, a couple of products nearly matched the percentage of pageviews that the recent
and popular pages have. Interestingly enough, the Etched Globe Spirits Decanter that we based a
Facebook ad upon was one of these products, receiving 3.34 percent of the pageviews.

Flurry. With Flurry, were able to look into the analytics of the actual mobile application, instead

of just the website. We found that in April, the month that we ran most of our campaigns, that we gained
about 50 percent, or 188, more new users. In correlation to the amount of new users acquired, the
number of active users also shot up to approximately 53 percent, or 252 of the users.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing


Because Flurry tracks more than 100 million users across more than 50,000 applications, Flurry

aggregates the data and is able to reveal powerful insight about users that help with targeting audiences
in the future. Beginning with user interests, social networking, photo & video as well as games dominate
the top categories in terms of the other types of apps that Spruce users have.

As for the personas that Flurry comes up with, social influencers made up 44 percent of Spruce,

which is very important since thats a lot about what Spruce is about -- catering to men who are loyal to
their brands and like to show o the brands that they own and wear. The other top categories for
personas (in order) include: casual & social gamers, business professionals, catalog shoppers and music
lovers. Out of these four personas, business professionals and catalog shoppers are very key because,
to reiterate, they also represent the target audience that Flurry wants to target: professionals with
disposable income and people who like to flip through catalogs especially with the intent to purchase

Mixpanel. Though we were more focused on user acquisition when it came to Spruce, we still

used their Mixpanel information to learn more about their users behaviors within the app. As it turned
out, because Mixpanel is focused more on user events, it did not give us a whole lot of information in
terms of who are audience is and it does not necessarily help with any mobile advertising since its
simply an analytics app.

At this point, since the app is still fairly new, the only events that are worth tracking are the ones

relating to buying items, such as clicked buy and clicked buy on Spruce screen. These two events
show us just how much (or how little) people are seriously considering buying through the mobile

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing


Product Recommendations
While Spruce is still in its infancy and has a promising future, there are several key areas of

improvement. One of the biggest problems we encountered through our experience with Spruce was a
lack of engagement with its users. After brainstorming and talking to the founders, we concluded that
this was mostly due to a lack of push notifications. Spruce should be reminding users that cool products
were updated or that there are special deals available in the app. The nature of the app - an easy way to
kill time - means users will be engaged for short bursts at a time. The key is to have the users coming
back for multiple bursts throughout the day, every day. We believe that push notifications will be the key
to achieving that level of consistent engagement.

Our next product recommendation also revolves around the nature of the app. Spruce is

designed to help men discover modern gadgets/clothing and is structured in a way where users browse
individual items very quickly. Through our own experience using the app, there were many instances
where we were stuck on automatic and kept pressing thumbs up (or down) without much care or
thought. This allowed us to get to the next item but takes away from the value that Spruce provides
(feedback from other individuals regarding a product). This mindless browsing made us miss out on
some really cool products which led us to huge problem - there is no way to view previous products
unless they were saved to your profile. As previously mentioned, users will get lazy and browse very fast,
which makes them susceptible to skipping products they may have purchased. By simply adding a
feature to allow users to return to items, Spruce would be solving a huge problem.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing


Our other recommendations revolve around small logistics within the app. Spruce still has very

unclear icons - a problem that Professor Soni has already brought up in class. The save button has been
improved dramatically but the percentage of thumbs up to thumbs down is presented in an odd circular
icon. It is unclear which portion is thumbs up and which is thumbs down. In addition, the color scheme
is very colorful and looks like it would resonate more with young school children than with working men.
Another problem that we faced while using the app arose when we actually got very engaged within the
app. We would achieve Rockstar status - meaning we went through all available products - way too
fast. Spruce needs to either increase its product selection, begin recycling products, or both. Finally,
there were the technical issues that most small startups face such as broken links and days where no
new products were added.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing


Online Recommendations
Due to time and monetary constraints, we were unable to fully explore and experiment with the

vast count of marketing strategies available, many of which would have helped determine what would be
ultimately most eective for the application. However, from what we have collected over this semester,
two things seem to have provided the most response: Facebook and alcohol. We recommend mainly
sticking with social media platform advertising and following up with content oftentimes consisting of
alcohol-related products in the short term, as they have provided the most results.

Additionally, Spruce needs to determine what metrics will be used to judged success. What

impacts the applications bottom line are links to the individual web pages in the Spruce application, and
this is determined by the actual interest of the users themselves along with the quality of the products
presented by Spruce. However, in order to target our market more specifically, it should be established
where marketers should user top-of-the-funnel brand engagement metrics (i.e; views, likes, shares, time
spent) or bottom funnel ones (i.e., sale, download, signups, etc.) This would allow for a more clear, and
eective communication between the Founders, and the Team, in deciding the next steps.

A few more dimensions of online advertising we recommend executing in the short-term are

listed below, followed by long-term recommendations, which might require more time and eort in

Short-Term Recommendations

Native Advertising. Consumers look at native ads 52% more than traditional banner ads. These

sort of ads are less intrusive, integrating its content into a users regular browsing-flow more personally
and naturally. This thereby enables digital marketers to engage with consumers more eectively.

Sponsored stories and in-feed units should not be limited to Facebook. Other social media platforms
should also be experimented with to help determine eectiveness. This includes, but is not limited to,
platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and even targeted LinkedIn members.

Mobile Advertising. Many of these ads will not only appear on laptop and PC screens, but also

on cell phones. Aside of sitting at the computer, people spend most of their time outside connected to
the world through their cell phone. Not unknown is that it is largely due to the cell phones mobility.
Whether theyre waiting in line or at dinner with their friends, people have been known to be on their
phones, even creating heated discussions regarding the value of connecting online versus connecting
with the person in front of you.

This attests to the necessity of mobile advertising, whether it is in Banner Ads, along with Native

Ads, as many people on mobile are likely checking some sort of social media.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing


Eective Tracking. If a user is accessing the app on his phone, he should be redirected to the

app store directly when the linked is clicked. However, if the user is using his computer when he sees
the ad, the ad should redirect the user to the website. This can be implemented through either HTML or
Javascript redirect capabilities. This may help with conversion goals, and would enable us to further
observe the sources of the likes, the engagement with the downloads, and so forth.

A/B Testing. Ideally, we would also have access to source code, where we would make changes

to the website and app itself, A/B Testing with dierent color schemes and other text content and types.

In addition to experimenting with color schemes, we recommend adding the word Free in the CTA
button, changing Download from the App Store to Download free from the App Store.

Content. In the short- term, we recommend that the content of these ads revolve around unique

and appealing alcohol-related products. We believe that the due to the demography of these males, they
are likely to spend time outside of the oce, with a drink in hand to kill o steam. The data collected by
the Etched Globe Spirits Decanter shows the success of such an approach, and pursuing it may allow
for increased engagement.

Long-Term Recommendations

Native Advertising. In the long-term, we recommend expanding our strategies to educational

and news websites that these young, well-to-do men may visit. This includes, Forbes, Mergers and
Inquisitions, Business Insider, and others of the like. Perhaps being featured on sites like TechCrunch (a
news website focused on IT companies) as a new application would also feed to inspire the growing
Tech industry, potentially attracting these users who are known have growing disposable income.

Video Advertising. An eective and successful ad, whether it appears while a requested item of

mobile content or web page is buering, or even simply uploaded to youtube, could help promote the
App and its capabilities.

Fashion Blogs. Spruce may also be interested in being featured on a mens fashion blog for

publicity, or even consider creating its own. With this blog, they may provide tips on how to dress well,
supply updates on the coolest gadgets, and so forth, with items they choose to feature on the app. This
may help interest and retain customers in the long-term.

Greater Facebook Integration. We also recommend further utilizing facebook by allowing

friends and family to be notified (either through email or push notification) of either an upcoming birthday,
or any other form of celebration (e.g. Mothers Day) for gift ideas and options. For example, a few weeks
before Johns birthday, an email will be sent to Johns Dad, reminding him of Johns birthday, and
displaying an item that John recently saved. Johns Dad can then purchase that item for John with the
link provided by Spruce, or access the saved items on Johns Spruce account, to select another gift
for his son. This will remind users to continually visit the site and browse through products, as it begins
to tie in familial and personal interests.

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing


Ulterior Name. Though this may seem a bit dramatic, extensive and prevalent use of the word

Spruce on the internet makes it dicult to locate, and thus makes the App, harder to download and
use. The company itself is not even present on the second Google search page, let alone the first. We
recommend changing the name to something more unique, perhaps even creating a presently nonexistent word to promote the Application. This may help drive conversion rates, as it may be less of a
hassle to find.

Founders should bear in mind that if a product is not consistent in providing value to its present

customers, as noted in Product Recommendations, it will be dicult to retain these customers despite
the executed and recommended online marketing strategies. Whether it is in clearer icons, or
consistently adding new products, the App should not fall into a slump or fail to update, as it could risk
discouraging users from staying active and engaged. Without stability, there will be no confidence, or
loyalty, in the product. With an app so promising, it would be a shame for it to shut down. Stay strong
and Fight On!

ITP 476: Online Interactive Marketing