Case Study

River Street Events achieve outstanding results with improved email design, continuous testing and optimization


River Street Events was established in 2013. They manage the highly successful and renowned portfolio of BBC Good Food Shows and BBC Gardeners’ World Live. These shows have a 24 year heritage and are regarded as some of the most successful consumer events in the UK.


  • Increase engagement with their emails.

The Challenge

River Street Events operate in a competitive market with many other events and experiences competing for share of pocket. Email is a key channel for driving ticket sales. The marketing team had noticed a decline in email performance over time, and on moving to Adestra, were determined to turn this around.

The Solution

River Street Events worked with Adestra on three key initiatives:

  1. A suite of new mobile responsive templates
  2. Streamlining data processes to make campaign processes more efficient and allow greater segmentation and targeting
  3. A program of continuous testing and optimization

River Street worked with Adestra’s Digital Design team to create a suite of new mobile responsive templates for their promotional campaigns and newsletters. These templates needed to:

  • Deliver a great user experience across devices (mobile responsive)
  • Meet BBC Good Food brand guidelines
  • Accommodate commercial advertising space in a non-intrusive way

A modular approach was used for the templates which allowed River Street considerable flexibility to match the content for each campaign to the most appropriate layout to optimize engagement.

An automated data integration with their customer database was set up ensuring that the latest data was available in MessageFocus for accurate targeting. A feedback loop passed relevant data back.

The final key initiative was a program of continuous testing and optimization to improve open, click-through and conversion rates. Areas of focus included:

  • Day of send testing to improve open rates
  • Subject line testing to improve open rates
  • Video content to improve click rates
  • Heat map analysis to improve click rates
  • Ticket offer: landing page vs booking page to improve conversion

The Result

The River Street team gained a number of insights from their continuous testing program. They identified days of the week and types of communication that performed better for different events. Using these learnings, they were able to optimize their campaign schedule.

Great results were seen from the video content testing, with a 400% increase in click-through rates compared to campaigns without video content. Landing page testing enabled them to optimize their order process.

Looking at the results overall and comparing the performance of the Autumn events to the previous year, both open and click-through rates improved across the shows. In particular, BBC Good Food Scotland saw:

  • 16% increase in open rates
  • 23% increase in click-through rates

The commercial impact of this increase in engagement is significant, with every click worth on average £6.29 in ticket sales.

What’s next?

The River Street team plan to work with Adestra to improve their data capture process, initially asking for email only and then taking sign-ups to a preference center to capture key information. They plan to extend their automated thank you email for ticket bookers to a multi-stage welcome program that helps visitors get the most from the event.

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