How can an educational brand with a seasonal business maximize awareness during a winter storm?


Reach as many college students as possible to raise brand awareness and promote deals on textbooks.


Used Promoted Tweets with geo and keyword targeting to connect with relevant students and the conversation around the #PolarVortex to drive sales.


  • 13K post-engagement purchases

  • 23% peak engagement rate

  • $4 CPA

Chegg (@Chegg), the Student Hub, connects students to the people and tools needed to succeed in high school and college through homework help, course selection, eTextbook and textbook options as well as school and scholarship connections. The company is based in Santa Clara, California.

The challenge

As an education brand focused on college students, @Chegg has a highly seasonal business that aligns with the school year. Since students return to class in January, that month is a big one for the brand.

When the #PolarVortex hit the United States in early 2014, @Chegg saw it as an opportunity to align with a trending topic to maximize brand awareness and drive book sales.

The solution

@Chegg used Promoted Tweets with embedded images and a free shipping offer to capture the attention of students affected by winter storms.

To ensure that Promoted Tweets reached the right users, @Chegg used a combination of targeting tactics. “We basically looked at a weather map of the storms to see which states were being hit. Then we geo-targeted Tweets to those areas and used interest categories like ‘college life’ and ‘life stage-college’ to make sure we reached the relevant users,” says Leviticus Williams, Social Media Specialist, Chegg.

When it came to crafting Tweet text, @Chegg knew it had to be relevant to cut through the noise. “We wanted to jump into the weather conversation and broadcast a message to students that was fun but also offered value,” says Leviticus Williams.

Given the popularity of meme-style images among college students, the brand decided to dramatize the snow in a playful manner with pictures in Tweets. To drive engagement and incentivize users, @Chegg offered free shipping on book purchases.

@Chegg monitored Promoted Tweet performance throughout the campaign. As the storm system moved out of some states and into new ones, the brand adjusted geo-targeting accordingly. This helped maintain a consistent and relevant user experience.

“One of the best things about Twitter is that it gives us the ability to scale quickly. We have a highly seasonal business, so if we get the directive to reach a specific audience or change our campaign strategy ‘right now,’ Twitter is an excellent tool to make those changes on the fly.”

Leviticus WilliamsSocial Media Specialist, Chegg

The results

The live and conversational nature of Twitter allowed @Chegg to align with the #PolarVortex conversation to raise brand awareness and drive sales. During the campaign, @Chegg received 13,000 post-engagement purchases from Twitter users.

The brand also surpassed benchmarks with an average engagement rate of 9.17% and a peak engagement rate of 23% on Promoted Tweets. @Chegg had a low CPA of $4.

3 keys to success

  1. Monitor and optimize in real time.

    Constantly monitor campaign performance and adjust depending on what is driving your business goals. As the winter storm moved, @Chegg swapped out states that were no longer affected by the snow, ensuring the Promoted Tweets were only served to relevant users.

  2. Use creativity and humor to capture attention.

    Connect with consumers by humanizing your brand on Twitter. @Chegg knew that the meme-style of online images was popular with college students, so Promoted Tweets included a humorous picture that was likely to resonate with the audience.

  3. Incentivize users with a special offer.

    Encourage users to become followers and engage with your brand through relevant promotions. @Chegg included an offer for free shipping on book in Promoted Tweets to entice students to click through.