Video Advertising – How Grammarly Used it for Rapid Growth

Posted on September 3, 2019

Growth through paid advertising is hard.

Advertising channels are more saturated than ever. How do we cut through the noise? And, how do we develop paid advertising programs that deliver a fantastic return on profit?

We talk to Shanik Patel, who runs consumer growth for Grammarly, the app that helps to make all of us look smarter.

In this episode, we dive into how Grammarly has scaled quickly through paid advertising, with one of their biggest levers being video.

We talk:

– How a big part of Grammarly’s success was because of first-mover advantage on Youtube.
– The model Grammarly uses to measure the impact of paid marketing on brand awareness
– What Shanik has learned about video marketing that you can use for your own company.


Time Stamped Notes

[2:30] We play the new hit quiz ‘To Grammarly or Not to Grammarly’

[7:35] Shanik talks us through Grammarly’s approach to video advertising. They first began video advertising in 2015.

Today, they have videos across the consumer funnel with differing goals, from direct response to creating awareness.

A lot of their best videos show the value of using the Grammarly product with tailored messaging for different user groups, e.g., students, professionals.

[11:30] Grammarly uses Youtube to test messaging for different audiences. They’ll leverage the targeting options available on Youtube to figure out what message is resonating with what audience.

[13:25] Shanik talks us through how they measure the impact of their paid advertising across both direct response and brand awareness.

Direct response is easy because they can measure the return on ad spend.

For brand awareness, they look at several different metrics as it can be a little fuzzier to gauge the impact:

a. They use a multiplier to show the effect paid advertising has across other channels.

b. They set target CPM goals at the segment level

c. They look at engagement metrics, like how long people viewed their video for, did people click on their ads.

d. They’re able to look at some brand lift metrics like how more likely is someone to search for a Grammarly branded term after seeing their ad.

[17:30] Grammarly uses Youtube mobile as a branding channel because it hasn’t worked for direct response. They measure the impact of that channel using the metrics above.

[21:45] Video advertising has been such a great tactic for Grammarly because they were one of the first brands to use Youtube for direct response advertising.

Other things that worked great were:

a. A rigorous testing approach so they could identify the messages that best resonated with different audiences.
b. Creating high-quality video for those audiences
c. Measuring video correctly so you can see impact beyond direct response metrics.

[26:05] To be successful at video advertising, Shanik recommends starting narrow, identifying what works, and continuing to scale your efforts.

The first video Shanik advertised wasn’t created for paid marketing. It was a basic video that explained the product. After testing it, and the results were positive, Shanik began to scale out the program.

[29:45] Grammarly, like all brands, runs into challenges where individual channels become less effective over time.

To counter that they continually test new potential platforms for paid advertising. Possible platforms need to have an audience, great targeting options, ability to measure, cost efficiency, and ad units that allow Grammarly to show their value prop.

[32:15] Shanik goes through the different factors that have helped them be more successful advertising in its core channels – Google & Facebook.


– Shanik on LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn / Medium
– Scott on Twitter / Linked / Medium