Space NK Case Study: Building success in a saturated market.

Space NK wanted to develop and grow their presence in the saturated cosmetic US market, through paid search and display activity.


What was achieved?


A solid foundation of efficient performance, which provided us with a platform to expand product exposure dramatically in order to support Space NK’s ambitions in a very competitive US market. Paired with an in-depth understanding of the market, this allowed us to procure outstanding year on year growth.


Key Achievement


Researching behavioural insights into the US beauty market allowed us to tactically distribute our budget to create growth and excellent year-on-year results:

  • 438% increase in profit levels
  • 14.5% decrease in cost per click
  • 77.5% improvement in conversion rate



For an additional 25% investment, a 438% increase in year-on-year profit was achieved.


How did we do it?


There were three key steps to our process. It involved optimising the paid search framework behind the existing activity, before gaining granular industry insight into the market, and finally expanding product exposure significantly.



Step 1: Building a solid foundation for growth


Following a full restructure in line with our strict best-practice principles, a solid foundation of efficient performance was produced. This meant that we could expand Space NK’s international campaigns with confidence of scalability. This restructure led to great results over the course of the year; CPCs fell by almost 15% through increased CTR and improved quality scores despite increased competition.


As is the case with our UK activity, our end objective in the US was to reach 100% product coverage across their ever-changing range. In the knowledge that we were implementing the correct approach to the restructures, we were able to expand quickly brand by brand.


Step 2: Tactical product exposure


We placed focus on brands with little or no competition in the ad space, which allowed us to produce a profitable ROI whilst building brand association.  


More competitive, best-selling brands were obviously still important from a volume perspective, and we continued to be active on these terms whilst positioning Space NK outside the top 3 to retain profitable exposure.


This meant costs were kept low whilst we were actively driving momentum for Space NK and their associated brands. Subsequently, our conversion rate rose by 75% year on year (2012 against 2013) with a substantial increase in sales.


Step 3: Understanding the market


The beauty market is saturated in both the UK and the US, although the latter is a notably different landscape. We observed that profit figures fluctuated significantly week on week, and upon further research we discovered that this trend could be attributed to bi-monthly pay days - at the beginning and the middle of each month - which is typical practice in the US.


We took advantage of this behaviour by upweighting bids on best-selling products and keywords - which usually would not be profitable - as conversion rates increased in line with paydays.



As a result of this three-part process, we produced a 438% increase in profit, 15% decrease in CPCs and 77% increase in conversion rate. This provided Space NK with a profitable foundation to build upon, and a model that could be implemented in other new markets to support wider growth in the future.

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