Co-op Group Outperforms Android & iOS CPA Goals With Liftoff Accelerate

The Co-op Group is one of the UK’s largest food retailers, with more than 2,500 stores across the country. As a member-owned business, Co-op maintains close ties with its communities and generates a mixture of value for its members. 

The retailer launched their app in 2019 to improve the value experience for existing members and encourage new membership sign-ups. The app allows members to accumulate points, earn rewards, gain access to Co-op live pre-sales, receive personalized offers, and contribute to local causes. 

The Challenge: Achieving Scale for a UK Retailer App 

To support their omni-channel business, Co-op sought to acquire new members at scale while keeping costs low. With the help of Dentsu, a global integrated marketing agency, they began scaling the app with foundational mobile advertising channels like Google UAC and Apple Search Ads, generating a baseline of acquisition. 

Large audiences for the app remained untapped, but it was clear that cost per acquisition (CPA) would increase significantly by relying on Google and Apple alone. Confident that Liftoff could connect the Co-op with a larger audience at a lower cost, Dentsu, on Co-op’s behalf, introduced in-app programmatic campaigns into the acquisition program. 

The Solution: Reaching New Audiences With Accelerate ML and Creative Studio

After initial testing on both iOS and Android, Co-op launched on iOS with competitive CPA targets from the outset. 

With Accelerate ML, Co-op could optimize their install and acquisition costs to drive quality users to the app while lowering per-user ad spend. With direct paths to top supply inventory, Accelerate’s ML went to work, delivering Co-op’s ads to new audiences—especially mobile gamers in the UK—that Google UAC and Apple Search Ads struggled to reach. 

Liftoff Creative Studio also worked with Dentsu and Co-op to expand their array of ad creatives. By leveraging new ad formats, including Triple-Page Ads and Long-Form Videos (videos longer than 35 seconds), Co-op boosted their app’s appeal to a wider set of users, including highly engaged gamers.

The Co-op Group saw immediate results through the combined benefits of Accelerate ML and Creative Studio. After a short learning phase, aided by a best practice setup, Membership sign-ups increased rapidly at significantly lower CPAs. The iOS campaign reached the final ML CPA model quickly—only five days after launch. The retailer’s Android campaign, launched on the heels of iOS, reached the final ML CPA model within eight days. 

The Results: More Subscribers, Lower CPAs

Working with Liftoff, Co-op saw consistently lower CPAs on both platforms. Liftoff optimized for new members at costs that significantly outperformed KPIs: 

  • Android campaigns averaged 11% under CPA targets month-on-month 
  • iOS averaged 14% under CPA targets month-on-month 

Since expanding their UA efforts beyond Google and Apple, share of acquisition for Co-op has shifted. Liftoff’s share is now 2x that of Google UAC and Apple Search. Encouraged by consistent performance across both platforms, the Co-op Group increased spending with Liftoff by 4x.  

“You’d be daft not to be a Co-op member. Liftoff has enabled us to scale and reach new audiences at pace, capitailzing off of their machine learning technology. Liftoff is a key strategic media partner of ours. We are excited to grow with them and continue to acquire new members for our business.”

Dominic Adams, Performance Marketing Lead, Co-Op Group

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