Case Studies

Flewd Case Study

Here is the story of Flewd x Activ.

Most case studies are about the amazing results that an agency gets for a brand they worked with. But I think that’s a bit silly. Case studies are the small bits of data that you want to show concerning how amazing your work was with a brand.

That doesn’t actually share any good insights as to working with a specific agency or how your workflow is. So in this case study I plan to share with you the ups and downs since we started working with Michael (founder of Flewd) along with specific examples that should help you understand how we work.

My aim is to go as deep as our partnerships usually go.

This case study will share with you his previous experiences with agencies in the past, as well as what went well when we started together (over 3 years ago) and what we believe is working now.

I won’t lie to you. My goal in you reading this is to make you do 1 of 2 things:

  • Fall in love with how we work with our clients so you feel the need to apply to work with our team
  • Realize that working with us is a terrible idea and we’re not a good fit

I don’t mind what bucket you fit into. I would prefer to filter out the individuals who aren’t a good fit so we can make sure we find the partners we can work with for years. Here’s Flewd’s (and really, Michael’s) “case study”

Before ACTIV

Michael worked with two different agencies before he chose to work with our team. We won’t go into specific revenue numbers, but we will talk about overall customer acquisition costs and the state of the brand.

One previous agency spent over $8,000 without getting one single verifiable purchase with their campaigns. They are a well-known agency and likely promised the world. He ended the relationship after that.

The next agency was seeing strong results up until iOS 14 happened. They were seeing around a $10-$12 CPA and then when iOS 14 hit that ballooned to around $35-$40 dollars. This was not good because of a few things:

  • The AOV was around $30
  • The agency relied heavily on the ‘algorithm’ to help get results instead of understanding marketing fundamentals (improved creative, testing offers, etc)

At this point, Michael was at a point that he was hoping to find a partner that could help him. But I’m sure he was a bit jaded at the time. I remember first meeting Michael and learning about his brand and I was pretty excited about working with him.

I later came to learn he had sharpened his teeth at the likes of L’Oréal among other large companies working on brands. He was very knowledgable about brand, but didn’t have a ton of experience in DTC.

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The analysis

When we first reviewed Flewd, I told Michael that his brand was called a ‘Purple Cow.’ The reason for this is the fact that Flewd was unique, special, and didn’t really fit into a specific category but truly met a need.

The biggest problem Flewd had to figure out and deal with was showing how effective the product was to deal with things like anxiety, insomnia, body aches, etc.

But previous agencies gave poor advice such as:‍

  • Don’t worry about reviews (!!)
  • Don’t get subscription set up (?!!??!!)
  • Don’t think about creating bundles

Most brands will be doing a few things right, but there are some specific levers to pull that can truly transform a DTC business. I will be honest with you, we had some suggestions at the time that we gave that helped that included:

  • Set up a review app such as Okendo to get some reviews on the site. Want to see all of our ‘recommended apps’? Check them out here.
  • Trusted Software Stack
  • Re-work the product detail page
  • Test new creative (video/UGC)

After our proposal call with Michael which proposed a true partnership — we planned to do all things DTC for Michael. This included paid ads, email, sms, user experience. We got the email saying he wanted to partner with us!! Woohoo!!


  • We are a minority-owned business (I (Daniel) am black & my business partner Antonio is Latinx)
  • We came with a unique strategy tailored for Flewd that didn’t feel cookie-cutter + collaborated with Michael so there was buy-in from all parties.
  • We believed in his vision even though he was early on

    So then we threw a junior account person on the account (just kidding!!)

    We then got to work.

The partnership

With any business relationship, it’s very important to ensure trust is built between parties. This is why we meet with our clients on a bi-weekly basis for the first few months of working together. Eventually we move to a monthly pulse with strategic planning sessions on a quarterly basis.

One of my favorite things to do when working with a brand partner is to teach what I know and learn from the partner as well.

This doesn’t sound like it has much to do with ad performance, but it actually has a ton to do with it. When we share our learnings, we end up creating and fostering a better situation for both parties. I learned so much about merchandising and retail as well as what large 9 figures brands do from Michael, and he got to learn the ins and outs of DTC as much as possible.

  • Building a process to get a lot more reviews through the door (this helped build trust)
  • Worked on a cadence to get stability in the ad account through our partnerships with top-tier creators and testing a lot more video creative (previous ads were all static ads)
  • Eventually rolling out landing pages with specific offers that helped 2X the overall AOV
  • Built a creative testing process to ensure we could see consistency in the ad account as we worked to scale the brand
  • Introducing new creative tests that transformed our ability to scale over time
  • Introduced subscriptions to the brand to build stability and consistent sales on a monthly basis
  • BUNDLES!!!!  We had Flewd create bundles and multi-packs on the PDP and it changed everything! (Michael’s words, not ours!!)

Major roadblocks and problems we faced:

  • Ad account was hacked October of 2021 as we just were getting in the groove.
  • Dealt with slow times in 2022 (especially April/May/June) and the brand was not hitting overall profitability targets.
  • AOV was extremely low and CPAs were hard to decrease as they were sitting around $30-$35.
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Ad account: We ended up having a new individual set up an ad account and then had to also set up a new URL due to Facebook recognizing the old URL as part of the hack. We had to do a lot of brainstorming to figure it out but thankfully it worked and we were off to the races once that was figured out and fixed.

Slow Times: We had a rough go of it during that time, and so we came together and ended up lowering overall ad spend by 50% month over month. We focused on the main KPI for the brand which was profitability. We finally got to a positive number in July of 2022 and then built upon this over time. I’ll share some of the major factors that helped with this growth including creative strategy, offer building, and other key factors that have helped us grow Flewd over time.

Low AOV: It is very difficult to scale brands at a low AOV unless there is subscription baked in. And even if there is, you need to make sure there is enough capital to handle the lack of profitability during the 3 month or longer payback window. But in reality, Flewd is not a SaaS company and needed to focus on first order profitability. So we worked on building a bundle offer that was different than anything we’ve done for Flewd in the past. We introduced the ‘Sampler Pack’
This is a 12 pack of the most popular soaks which lets people try different types of soaks which also helped dramatically increase the overall AOV. We went from a $30 or so AOV to $65+ site AOV with that change.

Thinking of how to market a unique product: Marketing Fundamentals
One of the most difficult challenges we faced with Flewd was how unique it was. It wasn’t Epsom Salts (even though everyone calls it that) and it’s not a bath bomb. So what is it?
When we started working with Flewd, the main messaging was around Transdermal Absorption, which can be a lot to absorb (pardon my dad joke). Because of this, we realized that we were losing people and needed to simplify. David Ogilvy talks about the levels of awareness that individuals experience.

The transdermal absorption focus was very top of funnel in the problem unaware group. We simply didn’t need to be there yet. That can be helpful for a company that is doing 40-50M+ in revenue where it needs to create a bigger pool of possible customers, but at the stage Flewd was in, we needed to go down one level of awareness.

This is where we started talking about Magnesium Deficiency. Most of us are deficient in Magnesium. You probably know this, but what do you do about it? That’s being problem aware.

Heck, if you’re reading this and aren’t taking Magnesium — then you should get some Flewd soaks. The magnesium is very bioavailable (essentially you’ll get 8x more magnesium than any other source of magnesium!!)

I’ll share some of the creative toward the end of this ‘case study’ but this should be helpful as to understand how to market a brand and grow from the 7 figure to 8 figure mark and maybe even 9 figure mark. We focused on Magnesium deficiency and why Flewd was the best product to help with this.

It’s on the landing pages, in the creative, in the copy. As we continued to focus on this, we struck a chord and started to see consistent growth and better and better results (higher LTV, lower CPAs, and better overall results).

The lesson here is that we need to continually think about where we are marketing in the awareness funnel. It would take a lot more effort to educate people about Transdermal Absorption and we needed to make sure our efforts were profitable stat!

Key changes and adjustments over time

As I said, I hate case studies. I think it’s important to share the good and the bad. We learned a lot over the last couple of years working with Michael and he has been patient as we have figured out our systems, processes, and what works and what doesn’t.

We were providing retention services (Email/SMS) but then agreed that it didn’t make sense to continue in house and brought in a partner on that side. We wanted to focus on the ads, creative, and media buying. And as our agency transformed, we started to see some major results from getting very focused on a few specific things:

  • Testing landing pages to increase AOV and own the customer journey
  • Testing new types of creative to get a better overall new customer acquisition cost
  • Utilizing our favorite tools to help us make better decisions and know how we can scale profitably

Testing Landing Pages
This is the winning landing page that has done very well and has received a large amount of traffic and the conversion rate has held up very well. We continue to iterate and work to get better results from it:

Let’s talk about our philosophy on landing pages. First, you have to have a rock-solid offer. If people don’t understand your offer, if it’s too difficult for it to make sense, or you make them work too hard, the offer is going to flop.

I’ve found that the best offers are usually centered around offering a starter kit, free gift, or a discount based on volume. Every brand is different. For Flewd, the 12-soak sampler pack checks a few boxes:

  • High AOV ($79)
  • Unit economics work (profitable $$$)
  • Great way for new customers to try different types

The thing is, if you aren’t thinking deeply about what a new customer wants, you may miss out on understanding how to craft an ideal offer.

We tested long-form landing pages for Flewd, and they simply didn’t perform better than a shorter-form landing page with a clear and concise offer. We also tested different options on the LP such as three options at different price points. In the end, we just kept seeing that one sampler pack offer was the clear winner.

This goes to show that following ‘best practices’ is just not a great idea. For more on this, I would check out No Best Practices, Alex is a genius and she has some really insightful resources in her newsletter & blog.

Testing New Creatives

We tested a lot of types of creative throughout the last couple of years. One of the lessons I’ve learned being in DTC for the last 7 years 👀 is that tactics are great short-term solutions.

You really have to focus on marketing fundamentals to make sure you are not just getting sucked into the next best tactic. You can follow tactics that are proven to work (we do this!) but you have to base all of it off of strategy and marketing fundamentals

We found that UGC did very well for us for a long time, but if your ad account is all UGC (which ours was for Flewd for a bit) then you may see a decline in results. Our focus has been to diversify our creative variety.

So we test a lot of stuff. We test a lot of weird stuff too.

Like Memes.

Now, memes won’t always work. But they’re working as of this writing (March 2024). We don’t care about tactics as much as what we can test with solid marketing fundamentals that will help get a better new customer acquisition cost.

We’ve been challenged by Michael (we like working with him because he’s so damn smart) by thinking differently and staying close to the brand, but also he’s been great because we’re able to test weird and interesting ideas.

What have we tested in the last few months?

  • GIFs
  • Videos (UGC, branded, etc)
  • Memes
  • Static (branded, lifestyle, Us vs Them, etc)
  • Landing Pages, Listicles, Editorials

The key to seeing consistent growth is continuing to expand and learn and work on creating entertaining yet AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) type creative that can help carry individuals through the process of purchasing the product.

When we first started on the ad account, we were testing just a few creative at a time. Now? We have a much more robust creative testing and iteration process. For example, we are testing around 350 different creative assets for May. As we scale spend, that will continue to grow and expand.

Anyone who says that you don’t need to continue to grow and test more creative to scale is not being honest. This is a must. You don’t need to test thousands at a time (unless you’re spending tens of millions a month), but you definitely need to be testing.

The main factor we think about: how do we find major winners? How do we ‘unseat’ the winning creatives. That’s our goal every single week

Utilizing our favorite tools
This has changed over time, but some of my favorite tools that we have implemented for Flewd include using
Okendo, an ad tool called Atria, Motion (creative analysis), as well as looking at the data through Triple Whale.

Tools are great, but they don’t make or break an ad account. I have seen plenty of people scale up brands using Google Analytics. Some of these tools are just more convenient to look at the data.

The Future of the Flewdiverse
Flewd is a unique example because we enjoyed working together so much that we now are in a more in-depth partnership with Michael and Flewd and it is now part of our portfolio brands in a holding company of health & wellness brands.

This is not the case for all of our partner brands, but it’s been fun to see the growth of Flewd and see it expand from 10k months to very healthy revenue months. Flewd has not only surpassed being at 7 figures, but is continually expanding from the 8 figure mark over time.

I think it’s really important to note the type of person that Michael is. He has been such a joy to partner with and knows his numbers, is organized, and willing to invest in the right things as we have worked together.

He’s been willing to be flexible at times, has been honest in what he needs from the team, and he also has pushed back at times (and we have done the same). He also trusts our team to make decisions where we are experts in, and we trust him to make decisions where he is an expert in.

Partnering with ACTIV

I think this is very important for a strong partnership. If you think you know better than us when it comes to running ads, then you’re probably not a good fit to work with us. But if you’re willing to help us understand your business, brand, customers, and metrics, then we may be a good fit working together.

Before we started working with Flewd, we were focused on many different types of brands. Now, we believe that the future of our agency needs to focus on a few elements:

  • Health & Wellness brand
  • Making a positive impact in the world
  • Founders are passionate about the brand
  • Founders are looking for a true partnership.

If that sounds like you, we would love to chat about working together and see if you could be the next amazing case study. You can go here to apply to work with us, and we can connect.