Search Scrum: Paid Search Marketing Optimization | Round Barn Labs

Round Barn Labs Helps Nextdoor Connect Neighbors in Europe

June 3, 2020

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Paid Marketing
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Tye DeGrange

Round Barn Labs Helps Nextdoor Connect Neighbors in Europe

Nextdoor, a social media company rapidly cementing a reputation as “the neighborhood hub,” has ambitious plans to grow its global footprint. In the 12 years since its founding, Nextdoor has grown into a $2.1 billion business connecting 247,000 neighborhoods around the world. The number of neighborhoods served by Nextdoor has doubled from about 125,000 to a quarter of a million in just two years.

With customer acquisition costs rising in competitive sectors, Nextdoor has been looking for cost-efficient ways to buck the trend and maintain its rapid growth, while expanding into new markets in Europe. The company is seeking new and sustainable approaches to growth marketing that could reliably and intelligently extend their reach into neighborhoods in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. To help meet these goals, they turned to Round Barn Labs – and saw very promising results in a matter of weeks.

Round Barn Labs Helps Nextdoor Connect Neighbors in Europe

Nextdoor, a social media company rapidly cementing a reputation as “the neighborhood hub,” has ambitious plans to grow its global footprint. In the 12 years since its founding, Nextdoor has grown into a $2.1 billion business connecting 247,000 neighborhoods around the world. The number of neighborhoods served by Nextdoor has doubled from about 125,000 to a quarter of a million in just two years.

With customer acquisition costs rising in competitive sectors, Nextdoor has been looking for cost-efficient ways to buck the trend and maintain its rapid growth, while expanding into new markets in Europe. The company is seeking new and sustainable approaches to growth marketing that could reliably and intelligently extend their reach into neighborhoods in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. To help meet these goals, they turned to Round Barn Labs – and saw very promising results in a matter of weeks.


Challenge

Up until recently, Nextdoor had benefited from a very product-centric, viral, and content-driven approach to growth. They’ve used organic, product, and paid (online and offline) marketing to build and scale their business. But as competition has increased, copycats have risen, and media costs have risen as well, making building businesses around multiple growth loops a necessity. As Nextdoor looked to Europe for further expansion, in a time when cost per acquisition is on the rise, they knew they’d have to do something different.

But how best to make this change a reality without plunging money into new hires and unfamiliar strategies? Nextdoor’s in-house team is product savvy, highly analytical, and driven by data. In their search for an external partner to help drive European growth, they found that they aligned very well with RBL’s Always Be Testing (ABT) philosophy. Nextdoor and RBL also share an opportunistic, objective, and counter-intuitive view of customer acquisition. Having worked successfully with RBL on their Real Estate product (case study), Nextdoor approached RBL looking for help to launch and test paid marketing in Europe.

Solution

RBL believed that the best way to improve topline results and separate Nextdoor from the competition would be an aggressive approach to iteration and testing. The goal was to improve on existing offline tests and to create improved value propositions targeted to specific zip codes and neighborhoods. We ran 14 tests over an 11-week period, averaging 1.2 tests per week. In collaboration with the Nextdoor Growth lead in the U.K. and U.S., we planned the launch and management of paid acquisition efforts in Europe. We built out a Marketing Channel Analysis, assessed the existing tech stack, audited tracking, and built out a media plan and forecast to coincide with the launch of Nextdoor in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Solution

RBL believed that the best way to improve topline results and separate Nextdoor from the competition would be an aggressive approach to iteration and testing. The goal was to improve on existing offline tests and to create improved value propositions targeted to specific zip codes and neighborhoods. We ran 14 tests over an 11-week period, averaging 1.2 tests per week. In collaboration with the Nextdoor Growth lead in the U.K. and U.S., we planned the launch and management of paid acquisition efforts in Europe. We built out a Marketing Channel Analysis, assessed the existing tech stack, audited tracking, and built out a media plan and forecast to coincide with the launch of Nextdoor in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

User Experience (UX):

Similar to our work on the Nextdoor Real Estate product, we reviewed and provided recommendations on the best landing page destination and customer entry point with the product. We employ a team of User Experience (UX) professionals that can provide recommendations and wireframes to improve conversion rates, testing methodology, and allow clients to be more efficient with their media spend. While the ND team’s need for improving UX with a well defined and designed mobile focused did not require significant changes, the team was able to ensure a connection between visuals and messaging in ads and in the landing page and app store experience.

Creative Examples:

(these are some examples of similar ads that ran on programmatic display channels and not comprehensive of the messaging or volume that we ran to support Nextdoor Europe campaigns.)

Key Results:

Like all of our tests, we structure each one in the pipeline with the following test framework:

Round Barn Labs was able to come in and quickly set up tests and efficiently acquire neighbors in key European regions, supporting our US and EU team and providing us with an ideal foundational framework for paid marketing in new regions. They got us great results and if they were internal hires we would have promoted them.

— Nick Lisher, Head of EMEA, Nextdoor

Why Does This Matter? How is this different?

RBL provided a multi-disciplinary team able to effectively manage Paid Search Google UAC (Universal App Campaigns) and Paid Social (Facebook & Instagram).

The team collaborated with Nextdoor on weekly morning Zoom calls with the Nextdoor Europe team. We launched the first ever Paid Marketing campaigns in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

RBL took an ABT (Always Be Testing) approach hypothesis of top-line results goal was to improve on existing offline tests & beat competition with improved value propositions targeting catering to interests of specific zip codes, and neighborhoods. RBL tested personal images versus local hot spots e.g. local coffee shops, until landing on the right mix of variables to deliver the most efficient cost per download and cost per neighbor sign up.

Conclusion:

This was a collaboration that yielded significant new customer growth in Europe for Nextdoor and provided for them moving forward. This foundation provided additional validation allowing them to build out a full-time in-house team.

Mary Meeker of Bond Capital outlines Nextdoor’s global impressive growth rate in her 2019 Internet Trends Report.

The RBL team was proud to be part of Nextdoor’s global growth and instrumental to standing up a significant piece of their paid marketing growth loop while benefiting from content & viral growth loops.

This puts Nextdoor in the US and globally in a special position to be able to build multiple growth loops to compound acquisition and retention.

1)  Paid (RBL)   2) Viral  3) User Generated Content

As competition has increased, copycats have risen, and media costs go up, building businesses around multiple growth loops has become a necessity.

Bonus Material

Not only did Nextdoor benefit from an efficient paid marketing campaign to drive significant downloads and Nextdoor neighbors in Europe, they benefited from network effects.

The power of networks are significant. This is something that we have witnessed first hand employed by one of the first display ad networks AdBrite, one of the first affiliate networks, Commission Junction, the first successful consumer marketplace eBay, growing the first digital secondary ticket network Stubhub, supporting the first RV marketplace Outdoorsy, acquisition marketing in-house at Amazon, managing paid marketing for Hired, marketplaces are challenging to build but once they are stood up they are powerful and challenging to unseat by competitors.

It’s fun to help grow unicorns!