Sustainable Scaling Strategy


Sleep Cycle is an alarm clock that wakes you up when you’re at your lightest phase of sleep, leaving you feeling fresh in the morning. With over 40 million users and excellent customer reviews, they have managed to survive 10 years (and counting!) in the highly competitive app industry. We love working with data, and we’re excited to work with Sleep Cycle’s 10 years of compiled customer data. This data provided us with insights on what types of users typically convert from their free version to the premium version.

We were tasked with scaling Sleep Cycle’s user growth in a sustainable & profitable fashion. This was particularly interesting to work with, due to the fact that Sleep Cycle has a great understanding of what types of users they are looking for, as well as how much they are willing to spend per new user acquisition. 

The conversion rate from free to premium was already quite high, in double digits for  organic traffic. Our task was to maintain, and therefore increase the free to premium conversion rate on paid traffic. 

Main Challenge

Our main challenge was increasing user acquisition, given the budget parameters we were allocated.
We started testing whether it was possible to increase user acquisition, whilst:

1. Maintaining the same conversion rate as organic traffic

2. Staying on budget for cost per acquisition

How did we overcome it?

We started experimenting with audiences, lookalikes and creative materials.The initial tests we performed for Sleep Cycle turned out successful, this is to say we managed to increase user growth while maintaining the conversion rate and stayed on budget.
In order to continue growing efficiently at scale, we experimented, and iterated continuously in three areas:

Audiences: In following with the double diamond methodology, We brainstormed internally, drew inspiration from some of our previous success-stories and thus come up with a wide variety of audiences to test. As we tested, we scaled and tweaked the successful audiences until we reached perfection.

Lookalikes: Thanks to the significant amount of user data Sleep Cycle already had, we were able to replicate and find similar types of users on Facebook and in the App Store.

Creatives: We held workshops within our design team, and set up hypotheses and testing plans for different kinds of creative materials. Social proof concepts had proven to be successful, therefore we tested a variety of testimonials continuously.

In order not to fully deplete a market at once, moving forward we will be rotating market focus to secure sustainable global growth.


We managed to reach the sweet spot of increased user growth, a decreased cost per acquisition and an increased quality of users per month.

An average month over month traffic growth of 10%

An average month over month cost decrease per trial by 15%

Quality of users increased up to over 40% in some markets.

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