Strava promotes internal in-app content with Adzerk’s APIs


Strava, an online network that connects millions of athletes, was looking to drive more user engagement via optimized, targeted internal promotions.

strava internal promotions
strava internal promotions

No current MarTech tools could provide the speed, scale, and customization they needed, and they were wary about inserting app-crashing or obnoxious ads into their product.

So Strava decided to build their own native internal promotions platform. To speed up the process, they integrated with Adzerk to power the decision making, delivery, and reporting of the content.

"Adzerk’s APIs let us easily build a platform for promoting internal content in a user-friendly way. It's a really powerful tool."
Andrew Touchstone, Director of Marketing

What Strava Wanted

In designing their platform, Strava had a few key goals:

  1. To serve content that would increase engagement and upsell paid plans
  2. To have the internal promotions blend in with the standard organic flow of the app
  3. To use optimization tools and targeting to ensure the right promotions get shown to the right person at the right time
  4. To release the product in weeks, not years

Since no current MarTech solution could accomplish these goals, Strava knew they had to design it themselves. But since doing it from scratch could have taken a year, they reached out to Adzerk, whose ad serving APIs could help them build this platform in just weeks.

What Strava built with Adzerk

After integrating Adzerk's APIs into their tech stack, Strava was able to quickly build the native internal promotions solution they wanted.

The platform allowed them to:

  1. Serve promotions that looked like standard organic content and weren't obtrusive
  2. Incorporate user targeting and past behavior to provide tailored content
  3. Upsell paid plans and increase app engagements
  4. Track the performance of all promotions
strava native ads
strava native ads

The results

Strava saw positive results immediately upon launching:

High engagement rates Strava's Adzerk-driven, optimized native promotions had 7x higher click-through-rates (CTR) compared to the content they were running before
Fast response times With Adzerk's average response time of < 200ms, Strava didn't have to worry that the promotions would slow down the app
Launch date Using Adzerk they released this product in just weeks - a 90% reduction in dev time versus trying to build it from scratch

How Adzerk Helped

As the market leader in ad serving APIs, Adzerk's tools made it easy for Strava to build the exact internal promotions platform they wanted. Strava took advantage of these specific Adzerk features to design the product:

  1. Adzerk's Decision API - this API enables Strava to request ads server-side and then get a response in JSON containing details about the promotion to display. Strava then takes this information and inserts it directly into their app, ensuring that the ad blends in and looks like standard organic content.
  2. Engagement optimization algorithm - Using Adzerk's optimization tools, if there are multiple promotions that are eligible to be shown, then the algorithm selects the one most likely to be clicked-on, based on historical performance.

By using Adzerk to launch in weeks instead of years, Strava quickly built an internal promotions platform that drives engagement without annoying their users.

Interested in learning more?

If you're interested in building your own internal promotions platform, please feel free to reach out, and we'll set up a free demo.

"Adzerk is a great partner, and we recommend them to anyone building a custom ad server."
Chief Digital Officer, Bed Bath & Beyond

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