« Back to Work


A campaign that targeted one of the busiest groups of people during the most chaotic time of the year.


Cutting through the noise of Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions is never easy. It becomes even more complicated when your target audience is medical school students who already have limited attention and free time for things outside their studies and course work.

Yet, this was our challenge. Our client, ScholarRx, developed USMLE-Rx study tools to help medical students study for the various boards and exams students must pass to graduate.

ScholarRx approached VIA in late October looking to promote their biggest sale of the year, 60% off new subscriptions and subscription extensions. Additionally, they pushed us to beat benchmarks set in the previous Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns and expand their footprint among medical students in North America.

Given the competition for attention during the holiday season, we knew this campaign would be quite the challenge. Our target audience would be hyper-focused on their studies and getting some relaxation during the Thanksgiving holiday season. All the same, we were able to put together an integrated digital marketing campaign that leveraged several different tactics and platforms — but most importantly, delivered the results our client was looking for.

Digital Campaign Planning

The VIA strategy team set out to map the various campaign components to maximize reach and frequency, and ultimately drive conversions within this audience of North American medical students.

Knowing that the campaign offered discounts on both new subscriptions AND subscriptions extensions, we had to reach both new and existing USMLE-Rx customers. We leveraged both Google Ads and Facebook Ads for new customer acquisition, specifically interest targeting, developing lookalike audiences based on current subscribers, and paid search campaigns.

To encourage subscription extensions, we leveraged remarketing campaigns on both Google and Facebook ad platforms and put to use their extensive email list to ensure existing subscribers were aware of the subscription extension promotion.

Ultimately, the campaign consisted of:

1) Paid search

2) Display ads on the Google Display Network

3) Social display ads on Facebook and Instagram

4) Email marketing

Each campaign component included various targeting methods to reach both new and existing customers.


Knowing the competition for ad space and attention we would be faced with during Black Friday, VIA used USMLE-RX's bold colors in conjunction with traditional Thanksgiving colors, and the brand's use of rectangular shapes in ad design. This created ads that helped with quick scanning and readability. We kept design similar to past campaigns but made it more simple and playful with the use of shapes.

VIA’s design team was able to create ads with more concise messages and simple visuals that allowed users to quickly scan the ads' CTAs. The ads were created in multiple sizes for different executions, including:

1) Facebook/Instagram

2) Google Ads

3) Email

Gallery Image  0Gallery Image  1

Campaign Results

The campaign ultimately ran for one week, from November 24th through November 30th, 2021. Results from the campaign were impressive, revenue from the 2021 Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign increased by +35% compared to the 2020 campaign.

In regards to targeting and acquiring North American customers, they made up the majority of campaign traffic and supermajorities of campaign purchases and revenue.

Lastly, the campaign more than paid for itself. It recorded a great return on ad spend (ROAS) of 9.5x!

Black Friday campaigns can be an intimidating prospect, but they don’t have to be. With the right strategy, data, promotional offer, and execution they can cut through the clutter and noise and deliver the results clients ask for!