Case Study: Skillshare


Skillshare is a subscription-based platform that offers thousands of online courses in design, photography, fashion, technology, and more.

When Michael and Stephen, the CEO and Growth Marketing Manager at Skillshare, first reached out to me, they had just begun focusing on their marketing efforts and were looking to leverage paid marketing, specifically Facebook advertising campaigns, to drive more free trials and new subscribers for Skillshare.


The Challenge

With a few test campaigns already in place, Stephen was looking to use insights from their existing Facebook ads to create new campaigns that would yield even stronger results. The biggest challenge would be creating scalable ad campaigns, which would allow Skillshare to not only reach their target audience and increase conversions, but also to maintain a low cost-per-acquisition and stay below their target.

I started by testing two main types of audiences, in order to figure out which audience type would give us the most opportunity to generate a high volume of conversions at a low cost:

- Retargeting audiences, including Website Visitors (pixel-based) & Churned Members (list-based)

- Lookalike audiences, including users similar to Skillshare's Facebook fans, Paying Members, etc.

For each audience, we ran a promotion for 3 months of Skillshare membership for only $0.99, which had proven to be our top-performing offer.



We quickly discovered that the retargeting campaigns yielded a much lower cost-per-acquisition (20-25% below target CPA for Website Visitors, and 40-50% below target CPA for Churned Members), compared to the lookalike audiences, which had CPAs 30-100% above the target CPA.

With this insight, I focused our budget and efforts primarily around scaling these two retargeting campaigns. Through rigorous testing of a wide variety of images, ad copy, and promotional offers, I was able to to identify and implement the most effective ads in each campaign.

This ad alone drove over 1,400 new subscribers for Skillshare over 2 months.

This ad alone drove over 1,400 new subscribers for Skillshare over 2 months.


Pairing this constant testing with the insights we were collecting from our campaign data over time, I was able to achieve an average CPA 36% below target across 7 months for the Retargeting: Churned Members campaign, staying below Skillshare's target CPA every single month.

Between October and November, I was also able to increase spend by more than 6x and decrease cost-per-acquisition by more than 30%, generating our strongest monthly results within this campaign.

I also maintained an average CPA at our target level across 7 months for the Retargeting: Site Visitors campaign. 

Across all the Facebook campaigns that I ran for Skillshare over a 7 month time frame, we generated over 7,200 new subscribers at an average CPA below our target.

Through innovative targeting techniques, ad copy testing, and campaign optimization, we were able to expand Skillshare's reach, achieve a strong cost-per-acquisition, and drastically increase volume of new subscribers.

Stephen Yang, Growth Marketing Manager at Skillshare

Stephen Yang, Growth Marketing Manager at Skillshare

What Stephen Says:

We reached out to Sarah to help out with paid acquisition. She was able to dive right in to propose and execute a set of initial tests to prove out which channels were the most effective. Through her thorough analysis, she was able to focus on retargeting through Facebook as the top performing channel that she continuously optimized with a roadmap of tests. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Sarah as someone who can jump right into a project, take the initiative to define clear deliverables, and execute against a number of solutions.”

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