MasterCard Case Study: How to Pursue Small Efforts For Large Scale

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As digital information and technology expand exponentially, brands and agencies are persistently challenged to transform their advertising approaches to take advantage of an evolving ecosystem of autonomous marketing platforms like Twitter. When you are on the frontlines – partnering with brands that go beyond basic practices to become catalysts for discovery, learning, collaboration, and breaking through – you glean thousands of learnings and insights on how to adapt in ways that will help your brand thrive in the rapidly changing digital media environment.

Here is a great example:

In partnership with Ketchum, Adaptly collaborated with MasterCard to develop and execute a social advertising program around Valentine’s Day in Europe. In an effort to create shareable content for the social web, the brand leveraged a variety of Valentine-themed infographics and a Vine that ran on Twitter from February 12-15th.


The engagement rate for this campaign was 62.8% higher than the engagement rates* of several other highly successful campaigns that ran earlier in the year, with an overall average engagement rate* of 6.15%. While these campaigns aren’t isolated efforts, the results demonstrate how effective campaigning on Twitter around events, holidays, and happenings can truly be. Even more importantly this Valentine’s Day campaign was only a small piece of a much larger MasterCard strategy, and because of that, the brand has been able to continually unleash the true potential of digital advertising.

Here’s what others can learn from this example:

Winning Isn’t a One-Day Effort

Valentine’s Day is a one-day event, however tapping into the conversation before and after can be equally, if not more, effective. Knowing that engaging fans before and after Valentine’s Day would be important, Adaptly worked with MasterCard to schedule the campaign accordingly. As predicted, the engagement rate on Sunday was 6.30%, making it the second best preforming day of the four-day campaign. And compared to Saturday’s (Valentine’s Day) engagement rate* of 6.72%, that’s only slightly lower than the “main” event.

Always find ways to learn

By running simple tests, with minimal spend, you can garner insights into the effectiveness of creative before you invest heavily in one message or another. This is where technology comes into play – Adaptly launched all the ads at the same time and Twitter’s system optimized towards the best performing executions. For MasterCard, this meant developing over 20 pieces of creative, and then letting their audience dictate where to spend and where to re-allocate.


While 20 pieces of creative might seem daunting, you can see from the examples above that this doesn’t mean 20 completely different and original ideas. It’s quite the opposite in fact. By tweaking things as simple as copy and color, you can quickly garner insights about what is performing the best, giving you greater confidence in how to spend later.

Overall, the success of this campaign stems from MasterCard’s commitment to holistic strategy that considers the long term over the short term and ultimately creates strategies that serve a larger initiative, rather than a siloed digital effort. And that is something any brand can emulate.

* On Twitter, engagements are anything from clicks, replies, @mentions, favorites or retweets. Engagement rate is how Twitter measures how well a tweet performs. As a benchmark, most Twitter campaigns come in at 1-3% so these figures are much higher than average.