How Cameo Used Funnel-Stage Targeting to Drive Repeat Purchases

Marty Pesis is Director of Marketing at Cameo, a Chicago-based startup that’s gone viral. Cameo’s platform allows users to buy personalized video shoutouts from celebrities – everyone from Gilbert Gottfried to Heidi Montag.

Marty shared how his team built a paid social program using funnel-stage targeting at our October 30, 2019 Here’s How Startup Marketing Conference.

If you’re looking for the quick takeaways, here are our top three from his presentation

  1. Break your funnel into stages and create your value props around each stage.
  2. Find leaky parts in the funnel and focus on shoring up those weak points.
  3. Test a solution to improve conversions and use funnel-stage reporting to track your progress.

Want to know exactly how he did it? Keep reading for a complete transcript of his presentation.

Cameo is a marketplace where you can book personalized video shoutouts from your favorite people. We've got a website, we've got about 20,000 celebrities, and you can ask them to record videos for you.

You can send either a video or a text message to them saying, “Hey, it's my friend's birthday,” or, “My friend’s graduating.” They’ll send a personalized shoutout video to you, usually within two to four days.

We are a two-sided marketplace. I am responsible, as the Director of Marketing, for the demand side of the marketplace. The supply side is all of our talent – all of the celebrities that we sign up.

We have an entire talent team and that team is responsible for bringing more celebrities onto the platform. They can be very vertically focused at times. There are different categories, whether it's athletes, actors, or social media influencers.

There are also tons of different categories on the demand side that are getting people like you to come purchase Cameo videos.

Two things in my role that I'm really always looking for:

  1. Profitable scalable ways to acquire customers. I'd say the second word is probably more important there. We are always looking for a profitable way to acquire customers. When I started about a year ago, we did an advertisement on a parenting blog. It went really well. We acquired profitable customers. But when it came time to do more of that, it became difficult for me to go find either very similar parenting blogs or hope that they could reach more of their audience. Their audience was only so big. Scalability is a really big, important piece of this.
  2. Reasons for customers to come back and purchase more Cameos. I'm going to speak mostly to this challenge today, but that would say these are the two biggest things that I focused on in my role at Cameo.


For a very long time, we relied on our built-in network of influencers to get our message out. We had this growth model:

  • Get more talent on the platform.
  • Those talents then promote their audience.
  • Our business grows.

That's really the lever that we pulled for a long time.

We have a couple other built-in benefits that I want to highlight here before talking about our challenge.

Our product is viral in nature. When you receive a Cameo video, oftentimes people end up sharing them – actually, 80 percent of Cameo videos get shared.

Imagine receiving a video from your favorite celebrity or favorite star. A lot of people will post that on their Instagram,  on Twitter, or even just in a text chain with some of their friends. There's a lot of sharing.

On the talent side, once they come on the platform, they share with their large networks. Both sides of the platform have built-in virality.

The final piece is that the celebrity angle is always really powerful for PR.

With these three items, we actually have top-of-funnel awareness and demand generation pretty locked down.

So our challenge becomes a little bit lower in the funnel: how do we get people who are aware of Cameo to convert and people who have converted to convert again?


Repeat purchases are our biggest challenge. What we quickly learned is that built-in virality is a double-edged sword.

Let's say you receive a Cameo video.  Then, you share it with your friends. One of the downsides is that now not only have you checked the box that you've received a Cameo, but everyone in your group text has now seen Cameo.

Now that the box is checked, we need to figure out ways for more people to come back and make a purchase.

This is where paid social comes in, and this is how we use funnel-stage targeting.

We really try to understand where people are in the funnel – all the way from “Never heard of Cameo, never seen Cameo” to “Made multiple purchases.” We try to target people specifically, depending on their stage and where they are.

1: Break the funnel into stages

The very first thing to do is to just break our funnel into stages. We landed on eight different stages – zero to seven – and one thing I will say right away is that it's important to keep it simple.

We started with probably 20 different stages. We broke it down to eight, but I would definitely recommend thinking about this: you only want to sell to the next stage of the funnel. You don't want to bump people from stage one to stage seven. This is relevant in both B2C and B2B.

For example, if we're targeting stage zero people, these are people who have never heard of Cameo and never seen an ad before. We don't want to serve them use cases. We just want to generate intrigue.

2: Create value props for each funnel stage

We think about what is the best way to generate intrigue and how to create value props at each funnel stage.

For the stage zero people that we target, we focus a lot on a reaction video. We get a lot of reaction videos submitted to us – people freaking out, being really excited that their favorite celebrity is talking to them.

I think that's the perfect way to generate intrigue. It's just enough information. People want to know, “Why is that person so excited? What are they freaking out about?” But it's not so much product education that they know the answer and they're ready to purchase.

3: Find leaky parts of the funnel

Once you've mapped out all these different stages and created value props for each funnel stage, the next challenge becomes to find the leaky parts of the funnel and focus on those areas.

For us, it's stage five: people who have made one purchase. We try to figure out ways to get them to come back and make a second or third purchase.

4: Think of a solution and test it on specific use cases

We came up with a hypothesis that if we show past converters new ways to use Cameo, that's how we can get them to come back and purchase again.

In my experience, I get an “Aha!" moment from people when I first tell them about Cameo. They have that, “Oh, what a good idea!” response.

The second time I get that “Aha!" moment, it's not until I share a unique use case that people haven't heard of yet.

My personal favorite would be salesperson follow-up.

Say you have a meeting with somebody in person or maybe over the phone. And then –we've all done this – you send the email: “Great to meet you. I feel like there are so many synergies here. I’m really excited to talk about the next steps.” Whatever it may be.

Instead, you can use Cameo. It's the same message but from a celebrity. Imagine Flavor Flav sending that exact same message. I'm sure your email is very exciting, but you could probably make it a little bit more hype.

Once we did this, we started to develop a large batch of ads highlighting all of our different use cases. Then, we started to get those out of the market.

We do a lot of ads around encouragement, congratulations, and rotating apologies. I always think about these from a marketer’s perspective to make sure that they're very different from one another.

For example, an encouragement ad. The message is, “Are you feeling down in the dumps?" or "Do you have a friend who needs two words of encouragement?” Boom. Enter our solution.

Cameo for congratulations. “Do you have a friend graduating college?" or "Do you have a sibling who's getting married?”

We're really just trying to hit people at that moment of need and present our solution.

The same goes for roasting and apologies. Roasting is one of my favorite uses of Cameo.

5: Use funnel-stage reporting to analyze your results

One of the big values of this is, when it comes down to reporting, being able to report and actually look at how each of these different ads are doing for each different funnel stage.

What's really nice about this type of reporting is that you can actually see if your hypotheses are true. We wanted to put a bunch of use-case ads out to these audiences and see if it moved the needle.

To start this, we took all of our ads and showed them to all of our funnel stages. We wanted to make sure that that was accurate – that use cases were performing better for our purchasers.

We divided all of our ad creative into four different buckets: general, seasonal, announced, and use cases. For the general ads – product education, industry-driven ads – we focus those in the top of the funnel. So, zero is the top and seven is the bottom of the funnel.

Seasonal is really big for us: Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and the holiday season in December. We show those ads to the entire funnel.

But for use-case ads, we end up showing those to people who've already purchased and are pretty familiar with Cameo.


First of all, we had a significant increase in repurchase rate, which is our main operating metric as a business right now.

Number two is that we learned how our consumers like to use the platform.

Putting all these ads out there and seeing all the different ways people interact – which ones get more interaction which ones get more engagement – taught us a lot about how people want to use the platform.

With that, we can segment prospects and customers based on use cases that they're interested in. Now, we know that this group of people is really interested in fantasy football ads. This one is more of a self-purchaser.

We can tailor all of our marketing collateral to them based on that information. That would be ads, landing page, emails – all these things are becoming much more relevant.

One thing I just wanted to note here is that personalization is great, but we just focus on segmentation right now.

I know everyone wants to get to one-to-one personalization, but I think a good place to start is segmenting the audience. You don't need to create 100 different segments – even a couple, three, or five works. It'll continue to build, but I would think segmentation over personalization when you're getting started.

Our current status is that we are hitting our LTV capital, which is my number one operating metric. We’re looking forward to a big holiday season.

This is our second holiday season. We're a pretty young company, so hopefully this will get a lot of people to use the product for a second and third time.