How Silver Star used display to reactivate lapsed buyers and inactive subscribers

ROI for the display ad test
lift in email
lift in online channels
increase in sales

Using Display for Reactivation

Since 2014, Data Axle has provided data, technology and agency services to Silver Star Brands, one of America’s largest direct-to-consumer companies, as it continues its transformation from a mail cataloguer into a true multi-channel retailer. Silver Star Brands consists of six brands selling gifts as well as health, wellness, and household products: Miles Kimball, Walter Drake, Easy Comforts, Personalized Things by Exposures, Native Remedies, and As We Change.

As part of Data Axle’s commitment to helping Silver Star Brands achieve their business goals, our insights and analytics team worked to uncover missed revenue.

Silver Star Brands’ target market is women aged 50 and over and they reach 120 million U.S. households. They had traditionally used the display channel to acquire new customers but not to reactivate existing ones.

Data Axle suggested testing display advertising as a means to re-engage Silver Star Brands’ inactive subscribers. The insight from this approach would then be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the display channel and inform future marketing program strategies.

Laying the Right Foundation

Silver Star Brands chose the Miles Kimball brand for a four week test during the holiday season and used the following banner ad that offered 10% off and free shipping to incentivize consumers to re-engage.

The audience selected for the display ad campaign met the following criteria:

  • inactive in the email channel for at least six months
  • subscribed to Miles Kimball’s email program

These criteria yielded an audience size of 647,700 inactive email subscribers who were still part of Miles Kimball’s email program.

Enhanced Data Increases Number of Targets

After the audience was identified, Data Axle reviewed the file and enhanced it with additional online and offline data which resulted in more complete and accurate information for 264,000 records from the initial 647K audience. This process also improved the likelihood of each audience member to be matched to a consumer ID, which would enable Data Axle to target that consumer with display ads. Ultimately, Silver Star Brands’ audience file yielded a 64% overall match rate – a dramatic increase over the 50% industry average. The remaining 36% of the initial audience which were unmatched and thus could not be exposed to the display ad became the control group against which Data Axle would benchmark the performance of the matched segment.

Analysis of Test Results Goes Beyond Traditional Metrics

To enable an in-depth, cross-channel analysis of the effectiveness of display advertising for inactive subscribers, Data Axle’s data science team compared the behavior of the matched audience segment (subscribers who could have seen the display ads) to the behavior of the unmatched audience segment (subscribers who could not have been exposed to the ads.)

This enabled Data Axle to go beyond the traditional ad serving metrics like ad clicks, viewability, revenue generated, and Return-on-Ad-Spend (ROAS) and analyze cross-channel engagement and purchase behavior for both the matched and unmatched audience segments. This allowed Data Axle to provide a complete view of audience response that shed light on key business questions including:

  • Was display advertising effective at driving engagement from the inactive subscriber segment?
  • Did the matched audience segment outperform the unmatched control group?
  • How did the campaign impact sales in other channels (phone, email and web)?
  • What segments performed best online and offline?

We are very encouraged by the results from this integrated cross-channel campaign. We will continue to expand our activities with Data Axle and look forward to optimizing our activation and reactivation programs.”

Kathy Hecht, Chief Marketing Officer at Silver Star Brands


higher sales than the control group across all online and offline channels


increase in sales from those in the test group that had not previously purchased vs. those in the control group


larger than the acquisition segments they had been using for acquisition campaigns


ROI for the display ad test


lift in email engagement


lift in online purchases


The display channel was successful in driving engagement from inactive subscribers that could no longer be reached through email.

This opened up major opportunities for Silver Star Brands to reach subscribers who have been inactive for over 12 months, instead of spending a huge amount of their budget on cold acquisition. For many companies, their inactive segment is twice the size of their mailable audience and converting just a small portion of this group could have a major impact on revenues.

The audience segment that was exposed to the display ad generated significantly more cross-channel purchases than the segment that could not have seen the ad so the proof of concept effectively proved that dynamic 1:1 ad serving drives the best performance for different segments of inactive subscribers.

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