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Balinea: a 3-year review of a start-up that has “scaled” thanks to video

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Yannick Wittenauer
Published on 2 avril 2020

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In April 2016, the French start-up Balinea, leader in online beauty & wellness booking, decided to test social video in its campaigns to diversify its channel acquisition.

The clear objective: to reconcile branding and performance, i.e. to build its brand and notoriety while maximizing ROI by driving business.

This scale has reached more than 4 million women on social networks.

A DNA test

The search for performance and ROI requires quick… tests.

Ensuring a positive ROI in a video campaign is not possible with « hope marketing », using a unique video: we have therefore developed an engineering approach to multiply video tests before the launch of each campaign.

From April 2016 to May 2019, our team launched some 3,816 video ads across 471 targets, generating 6 million views, 1.5 million visits from the 3 commercials produced for the brand.

With a successful scale from the first campaign.

1/ What’s Scale?

Targeting audiences close to the buyers/visitors of a website (lookalike, re-marketing), is by definition, hyper-effective but very limited… and within the reach of most acquisition levers.

The challenge for a brand to grow and move up the sales ladder is to reach new audiences, those who are not yet familiar with the brand.

To « scale » your business is therefore to increase volume from a wider target, up in the sales funnel, while keeping the performance objectives of the funnel bottom.

And that’s not easy.

Video is one of the few levers that can, by itself, ensure all the stages of the funnel – awareness/intent/conversion – as long as it is conceived and produced with this intention in mind.

This is what’s at stake in the creative phase, which requires associating art and science, asking conversion questions, as well as branding questions.

2/Creation and distribution at the heart of Split tests

All films made for Balinea were split tested – from 60 to nearly 500 combo were tested with real audiences – to determine which creative gave the best target conversions.

Multiple elements of the creative: introduction, call-to-actions, sequences, music, rhythm, etc… Each variant was analyzed according to its performance on predefined KPIs for each platform.

This phase of upstream testing allowed Balinea to validate the expected campaign ROI before launching and to put powerful, optimized and controlled acquisition campaigns online each time.

Balinea has undergone 3 major scale phases, evolving with its degree of maturity/feedback.

> 1st year: Operation Punch which refers to bludgeoning the relatively restricted target with a few variations and a short video.
> 2nd year: YouTube – New challenger
> 3rd year: The scale recipe

Year 1 (2016) – ROI and Branding: Balinea discovers the power of video ads

Video ads campaign marks a turning point in brand presentation to their audience.

1/ Fertile new acquisition channel

Beyond the direct impact on sales, Balinea realizes that video brings a fertile new acquisition channel (halo effect): the CPC of all other paid acquisition channels – Adwords, display, re-marketing, etc. – decreases significantly during (and especially after) the campaign.

A concrete demonstration of an increase in reputation measured by Google… and much more!

2/ Results beyond expectations – the impact of testing

Nevertheless, we knew that this first successful campaign had not allowed us to exploit the full potential of a video campaign because it was focused on a short timeframe – 10 days – and limited by an imposed « video asset;” lack of flexibility/reactivity in post-production.

The video and its corollary of « test strategy » validated by the client, the team could aim higher…

Year 2 (2017/2018) – Balinea replay

1/ On a comparable basis – confirmed results

Following this first campaign in 2017 and 2018, the brand continues to work on a seasonal basis during peak periods: the positive results are confirmed.

In 2018, Balinea decides to produce a new video ad. The production studio is more and more flexible to post-production requests, well beyond the formatting, with variants to be tested – increasingly unavoidable – for each platform.

2/ YouTube performance

Thanks to the new TrueView for Action format, the campaign is a new success with an 83% reduction in cost per acquisition, resulting in a Think With Google best case (French).

Year 3 (2019) – Scale: #BusinessLift objective achieved

1/ VideoRunRun at the heart of the device

For the first time we have total control over the production of the brand’s third opus regarding the 4 key steps of a video campaign:

> Conception
> Production
> Test
> Scale

The video is written and then produced in-house, in a logic of evergreen diffusion with positive ROI objectives.

It illustrates the new positioning of Balinea, which is releasing « Le Grand JE » with a series of big-budget tests on each platform, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

All three prove to be contributors and ROIists.

2/ The results

As many sales were generated in 5 months in 2019 as in 2017 and 2018, maintaining the top funnel KPIs, the cost per acquisition and the proportion of new customers.

The scale works without relying on seasonality – evergreen video – and allows the activation of a new channel of ongoing discovery/acquisition for Balinea… at very – positive – ROI.

Today, video is a strong asset in Balinea’s marketing mix and represents a huge lever on sales. For €1 spent on media, video generates €16 of turnover…

Enough to recover the video’s production AND promotion budget.

3/ Success based on tests… even more tests thanks to technology

The success of the campaign is totally dependent on testing and creative variants:

> 50% of sales were carried out on 2 variants and 80% on 5 variants.
> the worst to best measured on the acquisition cost is 83%, which means that between the best and the worst variant, the CPA varies by 83%!

In other words, the choice of the « right » variants cannot be left to chance, when it comes to making a single video…

The multiple parameters that come into account – in the video itself, on the formats, the specific uses of each platform, targeting, campaign parameters, landing page… – now require the use of technology.

4/ Working “by hand” is clearly no longer possible

Platforms such as Facebook have understood this, and already provides the Dynamic Creative Ads (DCA), which we use for each of our campaigns.

The lack of tools for YouTube led us to develop our own technology – VideoRunRun, an exclusive solution that creates combinations of creatives on granular target audiences in a rigorous and methodical way, and then scale it with confidence.

For the Balinea campaign,in 2019 we created no less than 456 sub-campaigns with the aim of scientifically allocating the budget in order to determine the best creatives combo according to devices and targets.

More generally, the test results confirm the creative potential on YouTube.
First, because the platform calls for creating longer videos that add another layer of branding for the brand through storytelling.

On the other hand, the tests confirm that the first 3 seconds are decisive in the results: for Balinea, we found a 67% difference in the CPA on the only introduction variable!


Each Balinea campaign has been a success and this client’s high ROI requirement coupled with their trust has allowed us to tackle every scale and gain strong insights for 3 years.

VideoRunRun, fully integrated into TrueView formats with Youtube performance, has added a powerful new acquisition channel to Balinea’s highly leveraged marketing mix.

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