With over 3 million users all over Europe, PhotoSì is the number 1 mobile app in Italy for printing photos, photobooks, and other photographic products, and one of the top choices among users in other European countries. Like many market leaders, PhotoSì faced a well-known challenge when thinking to scale effectively beyond the duopoly, Google and Facebook:
    1. What acquisition channels should they use to reach their existing audience beyond what the duopoly offered?
    2. How could they keep the cost of acquisitions under control without eroding the bottom-line?
    3. How long would it take for them to effectively scale those new channels? 
    4. Was there a hidden opportunity in promoting their services to a whole new target audience?


With these challenges in mind, PhotoSì approached REPLUG looking for ways to reinforce even further their branding in Italy and strengthen their positioning in Europe.


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After many years of scaling user acquisition activities on Google and Facebook and reaching a well-established mature audience, with a very attractive ROAS, PhotoSì was unsure how to approach their next app growth challenge: reaching beyond the duopoly and expand their user acquisition opportunities effectively.

For this reason, our UA team decided to take a cautious approach when identifying and testing new acquisition channels. REPLUG met several times with the PhotoSì app marketing team, trying to get a clear picture of all the current means used to reach the current audience and analyzing trends in CPIs and CPAs over time. A key factor our UA experts understood from the meetings was that influencer marketing played an important role in acquiring new loyal users on Instagram. 

With this in mind, the team immediately identified TikTok as an alternative performance channel to reach a completely new audience, where competitors were still underperforming, and create a blue ocean opportunity for PhotoSì.

Our team had to lay down a clear plan to ensure we wouldn’t hurt the brand positioning Photosì had by talking to a very different target audience in the same way it approached the established customer base.

REPLUG’s team worked closely with PhotoSì to identify the best creative assets for this new acquisition channel. On top of that, we established a direct communication line with the TikTok account management team that directed efficiently in creating the best setup to scale activities. 

Our focus has been on:

  1. ExploreWe started exploring the opportunity by testing other channels’ creatives to verify our hypothesis and possible reach opportunities.
  2. Influencers – We created a list of micro-influencers that could create original content to be used for both organic and paid interactions.
  3. A/B test creative messages and types – We extensively designed alternative versions of creative assets with the aim of testing what would work best.
  4. Campaign performance optimization – We carefully optimized costs and activities to keep the CPA and ROAS under constant control.
  5. Audience identification – We tested and optimized UA activities for the best subset of audiences available to reach on TikTok.


Our team’s meticulous approach to user acquisition activities combined with continuous research of new and fresh creative assets in collaboration with micro-influencers across different countries has led to incredible results in a very short period of time. 

TikTok proved to be a great alternative to the “mainstream” user acquisition channels to reach beyond PhotoSì existing target audience at a reduced cost. 

In less than 4 weeks, we were able to scale effectively TikTok thanks to: 

  1. Continuous refresh of video assets to avoid ad fatigue
  2. Constant campaign optimization in close collaboration with the TikTok team
  3. Careful research of micro-influencers that match our partner’s product


Specifically, we have seen: 

  • Lower cost of acquisition – The CPI was on average 75% lower than what experienced on Facebook and other channels on both iOS and Android platforms. When comparing the eCPA, we noticed an astonishing 54% lower cost than Facebook.
  • Performance of video creatives – Our UA team decided to test TikTok with existing video creatives used on other platforms, such as Instagram. When switched to TikTok-specific formats, however, we noticed a great improvement in performance and reach. The impression number increased by 363.5%. The number of installs increased by 676.2%, while the CPI decreased by 17.5% and the eCPA decreased by 25.15%. 
  • Different types of text mattered significantly according to audiences – Our team extensively tested several CTAs combined with the video ads. We noticed that, although a longer vs. a shorter text led to a little variation in CPI, the longer version had a significant effect on the eCPA. In particular, for the female audience, the cost to acquire a purchasing user decreased by 62.9%. Moreover, we noted that – unlike other UA channels – the text with a focus on the discount offered didn’t produce any kind of positive effects on CPA, except for a small audience identified with males in possession of an Android device.