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Deconstructing Obvi's $40M Customer Acquisition Strategy: FB Ads, LP's, Email Marketing & More

If you’ve been active in ecom Twitter or LinkedIn you could not have missed Obvi’s rapid af growth.


Ronak Shah, Ashvin Melwani and Ankit Patel, the co-founders of Obvi, grew their collagen-focused supplement brand to a mc-whopping $40m in revenue in less than 3 years.


In this article, I’ll deconstruct Obvi’s online customer acquisition strategy, especially breaking down their:

  • Facebook and Tiktok ads testing methodology

  • Landing pages for each market segment

  • Email marketing

  • Community building efforts through facebook and their app

  • Product launches to boost LTV


What you read below is not conjecture or theory. These are real facts behind a blockbuster ecom business, and the strategies and tactics they use to scale at breathtaking pace.


The founders take pride in building their company in public and have shared a wealth of knowledge for free through twitter and podcasts.


Not only will I be knitting together everything they’ve shared, but also things they haven’t shared (at least not yet).


Summary of Obvi’s strategy


If you head over to ecom Twitter right now, there’s no shortage of threads that break down highly complex, 27-step strategies for each and every channel. Often over-segmenting and under-delivering.

But Obvi’s growth system is surprisingly simple, which helps them triple-down on the things that really matter.


Before getting into the weeds, I’ll try to summarise their system in a couple paragraphs: Obvi focuses on 3 major customer segments, and targets them with direct response Facebook and Tiktok ads with almost a 50-50 split in images and UGC-style videos that are systematically tested and iterated upon.


Each customer segment gets its own dedicated Landing Page, also heavily tested. All purchases go through a gamified cart to increase AOV, and customers are funnelled into their community, where they help evangelize future customers and keep each other engaged. The community also serves as the bedrock for further customer research to fuel an insane number of product launches (26 of them in 2022!) and hence boost LTV.


Okay, now off to the weeds!


Facebook Ads


We used Foreplay (a must-use for media buyers and creative strategists) to track Obvi’s ads for over a year and what we uncovered was an ads strategy that was equal parts beautiful and consistent.


A real system, not hacks.


As Obvi’s CMO (Ash Melvani) has revealed, their team believes in a simple ad structure (1-campaign!) to consolidate as much data as possible into a few adsets to maximize Facebook’s machine learning capabilities. Let the creative do the targeting. No Facebook pro is going to argue against that strategy in 2023.


So who is Obvi targeting with their creatives? If you sort through their ads in the last 12 months, you’ll find 3 clear cut segments: - Women 30+ interested in weight loss and fitness - Women 30+ interested in improving hair or reversing hair damage - Women 30+ interested in improving skin or reversing skin damage For each of these segments, Obvi uses a mix of image ads, animated video ads, UGC ads and lo-fi explainer ads. (Note: the ads also direct to different landing pages depending on the ad segment, we will dive deeper into that in the landing pages section of this article).


Here’s a creative matrix that shows the types of ads they run and the audience they run the ads to:





Let’s look at some examples of each type of ad for each segment.


Image ads








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Video 2:




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Video 3:




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UGC ads


Fitness goals: https://app.foreplay.co/share/ads/BFm5ppyEJnSAmq1EIL50?user=Khaled%20Bashir


Fitness goals: https://app.foreplay.co/share/ads/BFm5ppyEJnSAmq1EIL50?user=Khaled%20Bashir

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Creative Style


Whether you like or dislike the aesthetics, one thing is pretty clear: their ads (and product packaging) are all designed to stand out.


Lots of contrast. Images and scenes that are ‘unusual’. Distinct colors and elements that scream at you. There’s no scrolling past Obvi’s ads.


Copy


There’s a strong focus on clarity and packing a punch with few but important keywords, and then bolstering them with visual elements that show off authority and social proof.


Testing Strategy


Obvi’s creative testing discipline is probably the most impressive thing about their media buying strategy.


Since they spend several thousands a day (source: Obvi’s founders on podcast), creatives can hit fatigue very fast. But that’s not a problem for the Obvi team as they regularly keep pumping out new ads.


Each test building on the previous one.


For example, check out these image ad tests. Same graphic, different taglines:





Same tagline, different graphics:


The same testing strategy applies to videos as well. Check out these thumbnails: Animated UGC:




Plain UGC:




Here’s another UGC test example where they use the same visual hook, but different text hook: “Best weight loss product”



“Here’s how I lost over 40 pounds”





“I’ve found the secret to reverse aging”



Keeping it lean


Unlike brands like Dr. Squatch, it seems Obvi has decided to keep their creative spending lower and opting to rapid-test image and UGC iterations instead of hi-def shoots that can cost 5-6 figures. Note: this does NOT mean that you should not explore hi-def videos. This is just an observation that at least in the last 12 months, we have not seen Obvi go down that route.


Tiktok Ads


Based on the no. of ‘top ads’ in the tiktok library, Obvi seems to be crushing the Tiktok game.





As further proof of Obvi’s success, it looks like they have cracked the type of creative that helps them scale. If you go through each of their ads, they may start with different visual hooks but they follow the same storyline: 1. State problem you’re trying to fix (damaged hair, loose skin) 2. Introduce Obvi as the solution within the first 3 seconds 3. Educate how Obvi helps (with collagen being the main feature) 4. Show how to consume Obvi easily with coffee, cereal, oatmilk etc. 5. Mention any additional benefits of Obvi while creating your Obvi meal/drink


What mainly varies from video to video is the visual hook and the creator. There’s a huge preference for creator-voiceover instead of the Tiktok-voiceover.


They used a range of hooks to begin the videos, but most start with something related to hair. E.g.: - My secret to healthier hair and nails - I’ve been losing hair with age but I found the fix - This is what I’ve been doing to reduce postpartum hairloss


Who knows, maybe Tiktok is just obsessed with hair?


Video 1:

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Video 2:



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Video 3:



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Campaign Structure


I suspect their Tiktok campaigns are probably structured very similar to their Facebook campaigns as Tiktok also improves when data is aggregated into campaigns and ad groups.


However, Tiktok’s broad targeting is not as sophisticated as Facebook (which makes considering a Facebook has a decade’s worth of headstart in figuring out their targeting), so I expect them to be running a few ‘interest’ and lookalike tests at the same time.


Landing Pages


The scariest thing I experience when auditing ad accounts is clicking on ads and being directed to the brand’s homepage. You’re paying good money for a click. To direct that click to the homepage is probably the most irresponsible thing you can do with your ad money.


When you want to squeeze the most out of every cent you’re paying for a click, you send people to a landing page. And given the number of hyper-specific landing pages Obvi uses, it’s fair to say they’re milking their Meta traffic like Holstein Friesian cows.


Over the last 12 months, we found at least 6 unique pages they send traffic to.


Here are the top 3 that are connected to the most number of ads. Surprise surprise, just like their ads, these 3 landing pages are also segmented to: - Women 30+ interested in weight loss and fitness: bit.ly/41wqH3k


- Women 30+ interested in improving hair or reversing hair damage: bit.ly/3m9v5oF



- Women 30+ interested in improving skin or reversing skin damage: bit.ly/3IHs6LE




LP Testing


Obvi’s iterative ads testing strategy is also applied to their landing pages.


For e.g., here’s a variation of their LP test for the ‘hair’ segment:



Vs




Vs






Testing the copy on the hero section of a page has high potential impact. It’s what primes the fickle social media scrollers. Refocuses their attention.


From the second the page loads, you’re in a tug of war to keep their attention on your page. The tagline needs to be strong enough to prevent them from hitting the ‘back’ button.


And the only way to come up with the best tagline is to constantly AB test it. LP Sections


Now we’ll go through every section of their standard landing page template.


1. All of Obvi’s landing pages begin with a solid hero section:





The hero section is a perfect summary of the page and has all the right elements (nothing more). It’s meant to capture attention and communicate the most important things. 1 benefit statement, social proof and a solid offer.


2. Explaining the key ingredient of the product





Obvi sells a functional product, and it’s important to justify what allows the product to ‘function’, leading to the benefit explained in the hero section.


In their case, the key ingredient is collagen. Including a graph is a great way to add ‘authority’ to this section while clearly showing the issue - that collagen levels drop with age.


3. Competitor comparison - all the ways the product is better






This is where you highlight all the important features of your product, especially the ones that make you better than competitors. Prospects really need to know what makes your product better than others.


General advice given to marketers is ‘features tell, benefits sell’. That’s simply untrue. Different prospects are at different levels of awareness regarding their purchase. So while benefits are perfect for completely unaware or problem-aware prospects, solution-aware prospects actually need to understand what features of your product set it apart from competitors.


Obvi is doing a great job hitting prospects at all awareness levels.


4. “But what about….” - don’t let objections get in the way of conversions!





What holds back people from buying supplements? Most of them taste awful.


Obvi tackles that objection head on in this section.


One additional thing I want to note here, Obvi is only able to make this claim because they researched their audience and figured what holds people back from taking supplements, and then actually developed products that solve for that issue. You cannot make these claims unless your product is actually differentiated (at least not ethically!).


And then they use facebook and tiktok ads (probably in middle-funnel) to show their products can be turned into delicious meals with step-by-step video recipes.


This is a brilliant way to go from customer research to innovation to ridiculously effective marketing.


5. Don’t forget to tell them about all the other benefits




To make an airtight case for your product, don’t forget to inform prospects about all the other benefits. Obvi uses visuals + short text to make it easy to consume all benefits.


6. Don’t forget about secondary features too!




The same applies to all secondary features.


You’ll never lose a customer for ‘over-communicating’.


7. Social proof is one of the most important pillars of persuasion





If it works for others like you, it’ll work for you. Not only does Obvi show off a massive amount of social proof (4000+ Reviews) but also highlights specific ones with the customer’s age (and even their weight on the fat loss LP) to show more relatability to prospects.


Also, using UGC images adds a touch of authenticity that polished headshots don’t.


8. Money-back guarantee is a no-brainer





It’s impossible to miss their 30 day money back guarantee. This is a pretty standard practice in DTC, but unfortunately too many brands fail to highlight their guarantee on LP’s.


9. Increase AOV with multiple offers





Obvi has some juicy offers and they do a great job of increasing the perceived value of their offers by bundling items together. This is a great way to increase AOV. Some customers are willing to spend more. Give them that option. You’ll do them and yourself a favor.


10. Addressing remaining objections with FAQ’s





The only thing left to do at the end of a solid LP is addressing all remaining objections to sales e.g. is the product dairy free? Is it safe for diabetics? Obvi answers every imaginable objection in their FAQ section.


A great way to build a comprehensive section like this is to deep dive into your customer support queries and go through at least 300-500 tickets, and noting down every single sales related question that’s asked.


***


That concludes a full analysis of Obvi’s preferred format for most LP’s.


Note that all sections are written and designed to be easily scannable. There’s a focus on clear copy over clever copy (which is 100% the preferred style for DTC direct response) and all visual elements are designed to first and foremost stand out.


Are the LP’s too long? Look, we’ve all heard the argument ‘people nowadays have the attention span of a goldfish’ and ‘most traffic doesn’t even scroll past the hero section!’ Well guess what, most traffic doesn’t even buy. Don’t let the looky-loos murk your data.


Focus on the 5-10% of the traffic that actually are interested in buying your product. Watch what they’re doing, closely. What you’ll find is pretty wide attention spans and deep scroll depths.


You can bet they are not just scanning what’s on your website, but what others are saying about you elsewhere on the internet.


In my opinion, a LP can never be long enough. Simple as that. Have a bias for overcommunicating and ruthlessly test everything you suspect can have a high impact.


Increasing AOV


Cart


AOV is one of the strongest profit levers. With the cost of advertising not slowing down any time soon, DTC brands need to ensure a high conversion rate and AOV from the traffic they’re driving.


Obvi does a great job leveraging a gamified cart to maximize AOV.




There’s a lot happening in that cart. Let’s highlight each one by one.





Given the sophistication of Obvi’s cart, I suspect it’s custom-coded.


But you could create something similar with apps like Rebuy (another incredible tool. You should definitely check it out!).


By gamifying offers, Obvi adds an extra incentive to spend more but receive better value (from the customer’s perspective).


The cart also lets you easily add items and toggle between different items to get you to the next ‘level’ offer and unlock additional gifts.


Unsurprisingly, the cross-sell widget is also available on their checkout page:



Quiz


Obvi sells several different products - collagen protein powder, collagen capsules, energy and sleep supplements etc.

To help guide customers to the right products for their needs, Obvi uses a quiz that anyone can start from their nav bar:



Here are all the questions used in their quiz (powered by Octane).
















That’s a total of 9 questions! Do they need that many questions to generate the final answer? Nope. In fact, if you’ve built quizzes in the past, you may notice a few questions in there that don’t seem to affect the logic of the answer (at least in any easy way).


But the questions they ask add a layer of legitimacy to the final result.


Unfortunately many marketers (falsely) believe that adding more questions to a quiz or form reduces its revenue driving impact. Although you may notice submission rates drop, it does not necessarily result in a drop in revenue. Even if fewer prospects answer all the questions, the quality of the cohort is a lot higher (which means potential for greater revenue!).


Build Your Own Bundle


This is a rare find on a DTC site!





But what an incredible way to increase AOV.





One of the most impressive things about Obvi’s product variations are the flavors. Rather than restrict their bundles to specific flavors, Obvi lets you pick and choose your favorite ones and still get 25% Off (I’m going for Caramel Machiato, Strawberry Milkshake and Marshmallow Cereal).


Better yet, the bundle offer applies to all their products, not just the Super Collagen Protein Powder:



This is probably the best ‘bundle builder’ I’ve ever come across. Hands down. The offer is simple, and they’ve made it dead-easy to add products.


Email Marketing


Obvi offers a standard 20% Off discount in exchange for joining their email list





I didn’t track this, but I expect the offer and the popup are probably regularly tested to see if they can get these metrics up: a) Subscription rate b) Subscription to purchase rate c) 3-month or 6-month LTV of subscribers Upon entering you their email list, you’re immediately greeted by this welcome email:

Not gonna lie, I was very happy to see the phrase ‘Welcome To The Obvious Choice’ instead of the generic ‘Welcome To The Family’ message that’s on 80% of all welcome emails I’ve ever opened (c’mon DTC brands, you can do better). It’s a subtle difference, but one that has a big impact.


Here are the rest of the emails from their welcome flow: Email 2:



Email 3:



Here’s how to create a welcome email sequence like Obvi: Email 1: Welcome people to your brand with a fun statement (Welcome to the obvious choice) Present the offer you promised on the popup (20% off) Show off your main value prop (incredible-tasting collagen)

3 reasons why they should buy (money-back guarantee, made in USA, high quality ingredients) Invite to join Facebook community


Email 2:


Offer reminder

Introduce all the bestsellers (4 of them!)

Also mention the benefits of each product Invite user to take the quiz and find their perfect match


Email 3:


Money-back guarantee

Social proof

Final reminder for offer


Browse Abandonment Email


It seems I was able to trigger a browse abandonment email for the Collagen capsules





This isn’t a boiler plate browse abandon flow! Usually browse abandon flows contain generic text and a dynamic element to display the product that was viewed.


But here, the Collagenic Burn product gets its own unique browse abandonment flow.


This product is also heavily advertised. This makes me think that they probably have a unique browse abandonment email for each of their best-sellers.


That’s an easy hack with a great ROI!


Cart Abandonment Emails


Email 1:



Email 2:





I never received a 3rd abandoned cart email from Obvi, but that could be due to ‘smart sending’ being activated and me receiving a campaign on the same day.


I haven’t been subscribed long enough to accurately calculate how many email campaigns they do every month, but right now the frequency seems to be about 2 every week.

Community


Community is kind of a buzzword in DTC ecom nowadays, but Obvi is probably one of the few brands that gets it right.


Their facebook group is BUZZING. Over 20 posts per day from group members (not Obvi team members).


The community shares everything from recipes, to weight loss progress, to simple good mornings and selfies.


You can check out their group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/449746745682146


here’s Obvi is leveraging their community: a) Answering questions Responses from other customers are perceived as more trustworthy than responses from…well…the brand. In fact, sometimes customers are actually better qualified to answer the questions because they may have gone through the issue that OP is asking about. Also, customers probably end up getting a faster response than they would by contacting customer support.

b) Engagement Keeping customers engaged and using the product as everyone shares their journey, so you feel part of something bigger than yourself (I guess that’s the literal definition of a community?)


There’s a sense of camaraderie all over the group. Customers share their progress and goals with each other. Lift each other up. Keep each other going.




c) Announcements & LIVEs


No better place to announce a product launch than in a group full of raving fans. Obvi uses the group product launches, important updates like changes to their loyalty program and LIVEs which are used to answer questions and also hype up new products.





d) Sales announcements


Another incredible way to increase your sales at an insane ROI, announce them in the community group. In fact, you can give them early access to add a sense of urgency.



e) Customer research


Probably the most impactful activity that drives up long term sales, Obvi uses customer research to constantly improve their products and services.


As the founders proudly admit, one of the biggest levers for increasing their LTV is product launches. In 2022, they launched 26 new products, many of them being different flavors of their multi-collagen protein. But every flavor was researched. They asked their community what flavors they want to see next, and their community answered.


In Ash and Ronak’s own words, many of the requests were for flavors they would never anywhere near their own taste receptors. But the brand isn’t about the founders. It’s about the customers first. So they gave the customers what they demanded!






Conclusion


If you’re in ecommerce, you certainly have your work cut out for you. However, I hope this brief has helped you see how Obvi’s simple but disciplined approach helped them crush the ecom game despite the difficult macroeconomic conditions that are causing many DTC businesses to fold.


Obvi competes in one of the most saturated markets and despite that, they’ve experienced phenomenal growth.


Here’s my take away from Obvi’s online strategy: Keep testing high-impact touch points. Double-down on what works, Ignore everything else.





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