Case: How a fitness center managed to pump up sales despite a tight budget thanks to video ads

Tatyana Lipina, who is an official Yandex Expert Trainer, talks about how performance-video ads on Yandex.Direct helped a fitness center in Kazan bring in new customers.

Our subject for this case study is the Akimbo fitness center. The center is huge, with an area of 10,000 square meters that includes space for personal and group lessons, rooms for various sports, a sauna, and spacious locker rooms. The center frequently launches promotions that allow customers to buy a club card for a reduced price if they sign up for a long-term membership.

Akimbo’s main competition is another large fitness club that’s a 15-minute walk away with a similar pricing structure. One of their main goals is to win over customers who are in the process of choosing a fitness center in that part of the city.


  • Find new ways to increase membership sales while sticking to a limited advertising budget.
  • Raise awareness among members of the target audience about current promotions and specials and bring new customers to the fitness center.


To solve these tasks, we used video ads, which are a Yandex.Direct pay-per-click format that resonates with viewers on an emotional level and increases conversions. We decided to add video ads to Akimbo’s overall campaigns, as these types of clips do would not burn through their ad budget and could be prepared and launched quickly. Additionally, video ads allowed Akimbo to target the right users.

Fighting for customers’ attention: the solution

Step 1. Planning and general settings

Tasks during the test period:

  1. Place video ads using the customer’s video materials
  2. Evaluate how well the tool performed.

We decided to target a broad range of keywords: from “fitness” and “training programs” to “lose weight.” We did not use any negative keywords.

At first, we used a manual bid management strategy, which we later switched to automatic.

Step 2. Preparing video content

The customer prepared a series of video clips, including promotion announcements and brand/image videos. Here is an example of one:

Step 3. Creating video ads

The Yandex.Direct Ad Builder is a useful tool for this. In just a few minutes, you can upload finished video clips, and add headings, text, and links to your site.

It only took 2-3 hours for Akimbo’s ads to pass moderation. This quick turnaround was a plus for them considering that their promotions change frequently and clips need to be updated on a regular basis.

Results: clicks, click-through rate, and coverage

Two months after launching the video ads, we observed some interesting results.

During the testing period, the video ads were served approximately 90,000 times and got 3,555 clicks (according to Yandex.Direct statistics):

Video ads got the most click-throughs: site visits from Yandex.Direct sources increased by 80% thanks to the video campaigns. The average CTR was 4%, and it went all the way up to 8% at one point.

Advertising  campaigns on Yandex.Direct Impressions Clicks
Without video 1,313,636 4,424
With video 1,402,558 7,979
Growth + 7% + 80%

Yandex.Direct data from Nov. 22, 2018 through Jan. 22, 2019

Cost of a click

The click cost decreased significantly when the click-through rate was high. Switching to an automatic strategy allowed our client to maximize the number of clicks they got for a price between 5.4-7 rubles per click.


The majority of ads (77%) were served on desktops. Bids for mobile impressions were adjusted downwards to account for the fact that the site was not completely optimized for viewing on mobile.

Audience segmentation

The greatest share of video ads were served to users older than 25. As Yandex.Direct data shows, the 25-34 audience segment was the clear leader.


Video ads display on Yandex Video Network sites, which turned out to be ideal for zoning in on Akimbo’s target audience.

Post-click activity

Over the course of two months, we tested dozens of creatives, displayed Akimbo’s ads 90,000 times, and got 3,555 clicks. All the while, the budget for this period did not exceed 15,000 rubles a month. Here are the conclusions we reached:

  • It makes sense to use the customer’s video material to create ads, as they pass moderation quickly.
  • By using behavioral targeting, we managed to display ads to the right niche audience on popular sites.
  • Impressive promotional and brand clips sparked interest among target audience: ad traffic from Yandex.Direct increase by 80% thanks to the high click-through rate.
  • The low entry-price threshold and PPC model using an automatic strategy allowed our client to save money.

Membership sales at the fitness center increased from November to December, followed by an expected small decline in January. The video ads definitely played a major part in sales growth. The number of conversions for the Request goal increased by 40% in comparison with the previous period. When combined with the increase in traffic, this resulted in an increase in goal fulfillment of 55%. Most requests are made by phone. The video ad campaign significantly increased the number of customer requests despite seasonal fluctuations in demand: all other traffic source figures held steady or declined.

Yandex.Direct video ads using the pay-for-performance model give customers a lot of options for developing solid campaigns. In particular, clients who manage specific segments of their audience can target their campaigns at a deeper level thanks to video. To attract users between 18-30 years of age who are constantly on the move and glued to their phones, we optimized Akimbo’s site and raised their bid adjustment for mobile. Additionally, we kept our client’s competition in mind and tested the segment by location first.

Video ads are worth using as an effective tool to draw in your target audience. Akimbo agrees and has continued to use them following the successful completion of the test period.