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  • March 1, 2019
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Rakuten Marketing Delivers Campaign Success for JanSport

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JanSport, a provider of backpacks, bags, and accessories, in mid-2017 launched an iconic Disney-themed collection featuring images of the entertainment company’s most beloved characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto. To promote it, JanSport, which is based in Alameda, Calif., partnered with Rakuten Marketing, based in nearby San Mateo, on a series of cross-channel marketing campaigns that yielded big results, highlighted by triple-digit increases in affiliate sales and site revenue growth.

The campaigns, which incorporated search, display, and affiliate strategies, also increased customer awareness and boosted site performance across all channels.

Rakuten Marketing relied on artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and target new customers. The Disney Collection strategy consisted of two key components. The first component was a teaser campaign to raise awareness of the Disney line while gathering data about interested consumers. It featured programmatic prospecting display ads, branded and non-branded paid search ads, and Gmail Sponsored Ads. The teaser ads drove consumers to an email sign-up page and to branded content where they could get a preview and learn more about the new items.

The second component was a launch campaign announcing the availability of the collection. Central to this stage was the data JanSport and Rakuten gathered about people who showed an interest during the teaser campaign. With that data, JanSport and Rakuten increased the launch campaign audience and optimized the launch campaign with more targeted advertising through remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), programmatic retargeting, and affiliate advertising.

Strategically measuring the performance of these campaigns was a priority for JanSport. For that, Rakuten Marketing’s Cadence insights tool helped JanSport better understand how each of the individual touchpoints contributed to the success of the overall campaign. Cadence, which Rakuten launched in 2014, links all of its users’ media channels together, creating a single point of entry where users can track performance across them all.

So how did the campaigns actually do? During the one-day launch event on its website, JanSport’s Disney Collection saw a 711 percent increase in affiliate sales and a 33 percent increase in month-over-month affiliate sales. The JanSport site continued to see elevated affiliate sales even after the campaign had ended.

Also as a result of the campaign, JanSport’s search traffic increased by 90 percent year-over-year. Other notable results included site revenue growth of 120 percent, a 73 percent lower cost per acquisition, and increased return on ad spend (ROAS). And, while they were live, the campaigns contributed more than half of JanSport’s total site revenue.

Rakuten’s online marketing performance strategy “far exceeded our target goals for brand awareness, new customer acquisition, and ROAS in our first-ever partnership with Disney,” says Carolina Gomes, director of e-commerce at JanSport.

JanSport looks to replicate the campaign’s success with the launch of another collection, based on The Incredibles 2, the 2018 animated superhero film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

“We look forward to continued, long-term program success with Rakuten Marketing’s expertise and proven technologies,” Gomes says.

The Disney Collection campaign was so successful that it led to JanSport receiving the 2018 Silver Stevie Award as the Online Marketing Campaign of the Year in the annual American Business Awards competition.

“Our priority is to create top-performing campaigns that drive profitable success for our clients. This includes delivering ads that foster positive brand and customer relationships,” Rakuten Marketing’s CEO, Stuart Simms, said in a statement. “The combination of Rakuten Marketing technology and services enabled JanSport to deliver the right ads to the right consumer at the right time, and in the end ensured JanSport’s customers discovered the exact products they were looking to purchase. JanSport’s success set a precedent for additional Rakuten Marketing clients and is a new standard for launching collections using multichannel strategies.” 

The Payoff

As a result of Rakuten Marketing's campaigns for its Disney Collection launch, JanSport saw the following results:

  • a 711 percent increase in total affiliate sales;
  • a 33 percent increase in month-over-month
  • affiliate sales;
  • a 90 percent increase in site traffic year-over-year;
  • site revenue growth of 120 percent; and
  • a 73 percent lower cost-per-acquisition.

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