As digital marketers here at AdRoll, we have the privileged position of being completely immersed in the marketing space—we’re digital marketers that use a marketing technology product to market to other digital marketers. How meta.

Given our unique position, we’re often asked how we leverage AdRoll’s own product to promote our brand—especially by other B2B marketers.

So we decided to write the ultimate AdRoll case study: “How AdRoll uses AdRoll to promote AdRoll.”

The Problem

B2B marketers have a tough challenge when it comes to advertising. With typically long sales cycles, it can be hard to influence leads throughout the marketing funnel while simultaneously targeting them with the right message at the right time.

Because concerns and needs change as prospects move through a marketing funnel, so too must your messaging. Unfortunately, not many tools enable you to reach users across the full marketing funnel, while also enabling you to create a  segmentation strategy that’s granular enough to target based on specific messaging.

Going into the latter half of the year, we took a step back to evaluate any potential problems with our house campaigns. We found that performance was strong, but there was certainly room for improvement. On top of that, our campaign setup needed a severe revamp, as we had fallen into a practice of launching many disparaging (even flighted) campaigns instead of following a coherent strategy.

We set aside the next couple months and overhauled our entire AdRoll campaign structure.

Our Strategy

Our first step was to actually lay out our marketing funnel in the shape of a progressive customer lifecycle. At any point in time, every lead will fall into one of these lifecycle stages.

For our business, we outlined the following stages: New Prospect, Awareness, Interest, Selection, Activation, and Live.

New Prospect

These are completely cold or unknown prospects within our database. In other words, the very top of our funnel.

For this segment, we’re interested in prospects interacting with our brand. We do this by utilizing our upper funnel content, such as research reports or studies to drive them to our website—and potentially fill out a lead capture form.


These users are unknown leads in our system that have interacted with our brand. These are folks who may have visited our website, but don’t give us enough information to fully qualify them as a lead.

For this segment, we focus on trying to capture the additional information we need in order to turn these prospects into known leads. To try to do this by serving them mid-funnel content (such as our attribution guides), or potentially even driving them to a signup/contact form.

Interest & Selection

These folks are known leads in our database and have entered into an active sales cycle by demonstrating a clear interest in AdRoll.

Because they are qualified as a lead and have familiarity with our brand, we shift our focus to education in this stage. Prior to account signup, we serve these segments additional information like case studies in order to prove AdRoll’s value over our competition.


This segment is comprised of people who have signed up for an account but have yet to launch a campaign. Without a campaign, we can’t add value for our customers.

There are a few disparaging reasons why someone would create an account but not launch a campaign. Two of the most common reasons are that they don’t have ad creative or simply that they get distracted.

We’ve been able to address these issues by offering free custom ad creation via our design squad, as well as serving up ads that bring our customers back into our dashboard to finish their campaign setup.


This last segment is reserved for our live customers.

We use this to inform them of opportunities to improve or expand their campaigns (ie. adding SendRoll). It also offers us another venue to communicate customer marketing opportunities (like sending invites to a customer event in their area).

At the end of the day, your strategy should align each segment with the various stages of your marketing funnel/customer lifecycle. This allows you to send tailored messages to the right people at the right time.

Our Setup

Explaining our strategy is fine and dandy, but some of you want to know how we actually set up these segments and campaigns in AdRoll. Well, we won’t leave you hanging.

Once we had our segment definitions clarified, we used several tools to ensure a clean account setup.

AdRoll<>Marketo Integration

The AdRoll/Marketo Integration sits at the heart of our segmentation strategy. Even though we were able to utilize AdRoll Prospecting to generate net new prospects, we needed to ensure the prospects and customers already in our CRM were separated into their correct segments.

To start, we created our segments in Marketo as static lists by matching our lifecycle definitions to specific lead attributes.

We knew, however, that updating these lists consistently was not something we wanted to add to our to-do list. So we created batch campaign programs in Marketo to do it for us. These batch campaigns refresh the static lists every night, ensuring they’re only composed of the people truly in that lifecycle stage.

We then setup campaigns to target each lifecycle stage Marketo list, which we imported using the integration.

You can find the AdRoll<>Marketo Integration in the Integrations section of AdRoll Labs.  

Enhanced Conversion Tracking

Since we were tracking conversions at different stages of the funnel, we wanted to be sure that we valued our conversions differently.

For example, a content download for us might be worth $X, while an account signup would be $3X and a campaign launch $5X.

To ensure our AdRoll dashboard gave us valuable conversion and ROI data, we layered on enhanced conversion tracking to more accurately depict the value of our marketing program.


In order to deliver targeted and localized messages to each one of our customers, we layered geo-targeting into our life cycle segments. This enabled us to target segments in each location with only the messages most relevant to them.

For example, our prospects in Australia will only see Australia-based content. Our friends over in Germany can be served ads in German, without our US-based prospects having to deal with ads in languages they’re unfamiliar with.


Two Month Snapshot (8/16 – 10/17):

Over the past two months since our complete account overhaul, we’ve seen some pretty impressive performance out of the new campaign structure.

Through September we monitored the performance of our new structure. Encouraged by the results, we scaled the program going into October. `


Since we used mostly similar content, we weren’t surprised to see CTRs remain mostly consistent throughout the period.

We expected a dip as we layered on more Prospecting campaigns in October, but were pleasantly surprised that CTR held mostly steady.

As we get more granular and creative with some of our ads, we expect to be able to raise the bar on this metric.


As AdRoll’s proprietary algorithm, BidIQ, has continued to monitor our new campaign, we can see the performance improvements across our CPM and CPC metrics.

Compared to our old campaign setup, both our CPMs and our CPC have decreased by about 50% and it’s hard to argue with those results.

Conversions & CPA

At the end of the day, like many of our B2B customers, we care about conversions, CPA, and ROI.

At first, conversions and CPA were relatively flat. Did we just put in all that work for nothing? Luckily, our doubts were relieved. After a couple weeks, conversions ticked steadily upward, while CPA dropped and settled into a steady plateau.

Encouraged by these results, we knew the next question we had to test: was the program scalable?

We pushed our retargeting campaign budgets and simultaneously increased our spend on Prospecting. With the confidence of past performance, our new structure continued to deliver the goods: CPA remained flat, but our conversions continued to grow.

Rebuilding an account (that’s taken years to build) from the ground up wasn’t an easy decision. However, by taking a step back and developing a coherent, structured, and full-funnel approach, our business is now reaping the benefits. Our AdRoll strategy now encompasses the full customer lifecycle: attracting new prospects, converting them into customers, and growing their value.