How Dollar Shave Club cut injected ads

Like many eCommerce platforms, subscription grooming business Dollar Shave Club (DSC) wasn’t even aware of the problem of ad injections. Ad injections is where a company’s page is hijacked by surreptitiously inserted ads. And because that happens on a consumer's web browser, the company is unaware of what’s happening.

“It was not something that was on our radar until we started to engage with Namogoo, says Tsega Dinka, VP of digital product at DSC. The software business specialises in preventing customer journey hijacking and approached the eCommerce business about the issue. 

It subsequently found 25% of traffic coming to the site was being served with injected ads. 

“Some examples we saw were a bit shocking, such as ads that were covering the purchase buttons, ads that were not on-brand and sometimes blatant competitors whose ads were sitting next to our product details pages,” says Dinka. 

By running Namogoo’s software and disabling the injected ads, DSC saw a 5.5% increase in conversation rates. “For us that is quantifiable. Because as a subscription business, every conversation has a clear lifetime value attached to it.” 

The problem can occur when downloading a browser extension or by using public Wi-Fi, he notes. “It’s interesting to learn it doesn’t happen to people who are not tech savvy. The fact they are infected is a reflection of them being more active online.”

New opportunities

At the moment DSC is just using the software in the US, its biggest market. “By having it in US we are getting 90% of the benefit.” Although it is looking into rolling it out into other markets, including the UK, there are maintenance and software costs to consider. DSC launched in the UK more than two years ago and first came to market in the US in 2012.  

Since launch, the company has taken a learn and adapt approach to technology. It has gone used a series of different analytics suites, from Google to Adobe 4 and also recently swapped to Adyen as its single payment processor, which has more scale in Europe. 

But most of its systems are bespoke, from the back-end subscription engine to the front-end experience. It was originally using an off-the-shelf solution but found that was too limiting for its particular needs. 

“There are areas where it does make sense to take something off the shelf, and I think Namogoo is a good example of that…There is definitely value in using third-party software that is specialised solutions.”

Native mobile is next on the company’s investment list. Currently the majority of its transactions happen on the web. But Dinka says there is potential to explore a lot more around new payments or location-based triggers from handheld devices. 

“Most people may not have their computers in the bathroom but they may have their phone… So if they suddenly realise they are running low on soap, there could be an opportunity to use our mobile app to bridge that moment. That is an untapped area from a digital standpoint.”