How Book App Increases Downloads with Content Recommendation

This case study shows how 'Blinkist' - an app with digestible book recaps - increases downloads with content recommendation via Outbrain.
content recommendation

This case study first appeared in the ebook “The Global Guide to Native Advertising Technology 2018” 


Blinkist uses Native Discovery with Outbrain to be recommended on premium publisher websites and to generate downloads of the app.

Summary

Blinkist is an app that condenses more than 2,000 nonfiction books into digestible recaps that take 15 minutes to read or listen to, empowering people to learn the essential ideas from the best books in a chosen field.

With Blinkist Magazine, the company has also created a content hub for learning, productivity and knowledge which is also used to convert readers.

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For the distribution of this content, Blinkist uses Native Discovery and content recommendation with Outbrain to be recommended on premium publisher websites and to generate downloads of the app. The campaign is “always on” which means it is ongoing and won’t be turned off.

The campaign can achieve a maximum of 50,000 downloads per month. In terms of time-on-site and CPC, this campaign can also exceed distribution via Search and Social.

Blinkist has built a marketing strategy that leverages its own online magazine, Blinkist Magazine.

Mission

Blinkist has built a marketing strategy that leverages its own online magazine, Blinkist Magazine, which draws on content about learning, productivity and knowledge to raise awareness of Blinkist’s offering and drive subscriptions.

Blinkist works with Outbrain’s Native Discovery as a primary channel to reach qualified users and optimize for two types of conversions: app downloads and subscriptions.

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KPIs

Obviously, Blinkist’s main goals and targets are app downloads and subscriptions.

The marketing team use the mobile app tracking solution Adjust which provides a comprehensive view of app activities linked to the marketing campaign. It also allows optimizations directly inside the Outbrain dashboard.

Target audience

The campaign targets users that are interested in personal growth, learning and knowledge. Due to the availability as an app, there is also a strong focus on mobile users.

The recommendations that Outbrain distributes on its network lead to these articles on the Blinkist website.

Strategic approach

Blinkist’s online magazine focuses on content about learning, productivity and knowledge to raise awareness of its offering and drive subscriptions. Articles revolve around current trends (e.g. Bitcoins or #MeToo), evergreen content and also articles about the app itself.

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Some of the most successful stories have been: “5 Books that Will Change Your Life” and “The Reading Habits of Highly Successful People”. The recommendations that Outbrain distributes on its network lead to these articles on the Blinkist website.

Platforms

Since Blinkist’s main goal is to drive app downloads, the focus of this campaign is purely on mobile devices (iOS & Android).

Since the beginning, the campaign has been “always on” and generates an increasing number of new users.

Content distribution and promotion efforts

The native recommendations are shown on some of the largest premium publishers worldwide that belong to Outbrain’s network: CNN, The Washington Post, Spiegel Online, Bild, The Guardian, Le Figaro, El País among others.

Blinkist Screenshot_2

Since the beginning, the campaign has been “always on” and generates an increasing number of new users.

RELATED: 5 Global Native Advertising Trends 2018

While Outbrain’s algorithms do a good job in targeting people who are interested in Blinkist’s content, manual optimizations are also done constantly, e.g. by A/B testing of headlines and pictures, focusing on the best performing sources and, of course, the selection of the distributed content.

Blinkist can also measure a conversion rate of 20% from Outbrain users who clicked on the App Store link.

Results

  • In partnership with Outbrain, Blinkist generates up to 50,000 downloads per month.
  • Ongoing optimizations and a qualified audience ensure a 50% higher time-on-site than Search and a 50% lower CPC than Social.
  • Since the beginning of the campaign, the team has been able to scale up significantly and now they are achieving 25 times more downloads as compared to the first month.
  • Blinkist can also measure a conversion rate of 20% from Outbrain users who clicked on the App Store link.
  • The traffic has a higher view-attribution rate than other channels. This means those who have read an Outbrain article tend to have a stronger impression of Blinkist than if they were exposed to a typical app install campaign, and will be more likely to convert.

For the marketing team, it is key to not only focus on Facebook and Google, but also explore alternatives.

Learnings

Paid distribution of content marketing proved to be a great way to promote apps. Additionally, the performance-driven nature of Blinkist’s marketing strategy favours channels with high engagement. This is where native advertising comes into play.

For the marketing team, it is key to not only focus on Facebook and Google, but also explore alternatives. Blinkist sees Native Discovery as a very valuable contribution to the marketing mix and the results prove that there is a lot of potential for any marketers with performance goals.

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