The Science Behind Scaling A Subscription Box

Educational Subscription Box

How combining creative testing and expanded audiences increased subscriptions by 130%.

The Story

Subscription boxes have started to become a dime a dozen. Yet this box stood out amongst many of the others as they provided a unique way to have fun and learn at the same time.

By delivering boxes monthly that were educational, creative, convenient, and fun, this brand sought to inspire a passion for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

While they had received a wide array of fantastic press and even some celebrity endorsements, this brand was still struggling to scale their Facebook advertising.

One of the major problems they faced was turnover of their in-house marketing staff, which prohibited them from getting up to speed on the fast moving Facebook ads ecosystem.

This is a problem we see all too often with many in-house teams; the struggle to find or keep good marketing talent delays progress and keeps brands from establishing a solid foundation for their Facebook acquisition strategy.

With this brand struggling to have steady and sufficient resources in house, plus their need to get the basics in the right place in order to scale, they came to us for help.

The Goal

  • Drive increased subscriptions
  • Identify new expanded audiences to target
  • Scale monthly ad spend while maintaining costs

Our Process

There were a number of methods we had seen succeed with other subscription boxes and similar products, so we tested those out right away.

The first was using video and testing the new ways that Facebook was promoting it, as well as trying different forms of creative within the video to see what worked best.

Consumers like variety, so we started with videos that focused on multiple boxes and projects instead of just one. This gives potential customers the needed information about what many of these boxes offer and helps propel these consumers further down the funnel.

We also knew that compelling images – and more specifically, thumbnails for video – are what get people to stop scrolling and look at your ad. Because of this, we tested various thumbnail images at the start of the video.

We used a couple compelling images to see which one captured people the most: a completed science project built from one of the boxes (such as a rocket about to launch), or an action shot of putting together the project. These thumbnails weren’t actually still images cut from the video, but rather images created separately to showcase what that video would be about.

By assigning a specific and potentially more compelling thumbnail image at the start of the video, we were able to use what we’d learned through creative testing of link image ads and apply it to video ads.

At the same time, Facebook began offering a square video format, which gave us another variable to test against landscape formatted videos.

We were one of the first agencies to test those formats against each other, and for this brand, we found square video performed better since it’s much easier to translate across devices and channels such as Instagram. Since most Facebook users access the site through their mobile devices, this brand developed creative with the mobile user in mind, which helped propel the success of square video.

We also worked to keep costs keep steady as they scaled. By testing more and broader audience categories for this brand, including science keywords, home school, etc. we increased their loyal customer base and offset any added costs due to scaling.

Facebook has been giving preferred delivery to larger audience targeting, so this strategy gave our client an added bonus as they expanded their audience targeting.

With having a great product that is received a ton of press and praise, this brand was set to do fairly well on their own. 

But combining their awesome subscription boxes with creative testing and targeting new and different audiences, this brand was able to establish the perfect foundation to scale their company and grow their customer base.

The Results


Increase in New Subscriptions


Increase in Conversion Rate


Increase in Scale

The Feedback

“Our strategy always includes testing new Facebook products, innovative audiences, and fresh creative in order to find winning pairings. We do this because it continually allows us to find new audience segments so we can scale a brand efficiently and increase their ROAS” – Mike Zappulla, Director of Ad Optimization, OrionCKB

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