Plainspoken Digital

Making Data Beautiful: How We Used Data Science to Sell Makeup


Prior to Plainspoken’s engagement, Hanalei’s paid social media practice was returning less than one dollar for every dollar spent. After six months of working with Plainspoken, Hanalei ads were returning more than $2.20 for every dollar spent. Here’s how we did it:

We understood the target consumer behavior by conducting a comprehensive data audit. The Plainspoken consultant team sat down at the favorite local bar on Oahu and began poring through years of client data: sales numbers, customer attributes, channel performance.

We sliced and diced and augmented the data. We identified key facts. We found trends. We surprised Hanalei when we let them know that their customers were not who they expected (they were older, and a neglected 10% were driving 80% of sales.) And we presented all this clearly, with actionable insights.

We completely revamped Hanalei’s ads practice through smart targeting, honest client communication, and smart inferences based on signals provided by the data audit.

What the client thought: Hanalei was thrilled. They overcame their distrust of consultants and decided to hire Plainspoken on a trial basis, providing only a few thousand dollars budget for us to test our mettle. It was a paltry budget but we brought brains and determination, staying up as long as it took and testing creative hypotheses.

What we did to start: We started by recombining old assets with some new content in unanticipated ways, incorporating them into our brand new ad creative, and targeting the ads with a tight & closely monitored ad budget.

How our targeting strategy was different from past agencies: Plainspoken takes a deliberate, iterative approach to digital ads – we started by matching the results of our data audit with Facebook’s targeting configurations for consumer behavior. Past agencies were paid to run ads – Plainspoken was paid to develop a strategy to truly reach the target consumer.


Plainspoken pulled no punches in understanding the data and staying close and dirty controlling the ads performance. We were willing to listen closer to deeper signals and try more sophisticated ideas than any firm Hanalei had ever worked with.

With only $5,000 of investment we skyrocketed Hanalei’s digital ads program into profitability, something no typical agency would even try to accomplish. Hanalei has decided to invest tens of thousands of additional dollars into digital advertising managed by Plainspoken for a simple reason: we bring the brains and dedication to understand the customer, the funnel, and the real time ads performance like no other agency, and it drives results.


Do you want $2 back on every dollar invested? Hire Plainspoken when agencies can’t cut it. We can.

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