Since its founding in 2019, astrology app Sanctuary has not only grown its user base but its Instagram following, amassing 1.4 million followers on the platform in that time. That’s helped to attract the attention of brands like Google, Pizza Hut and Spotify, among others, that have partnered with the app to create branded astrology content in Sanctuary’s signature illustrated style for social channels, newsletters, websites and more.
“Brands have really taken note of this interest in astrology that is very widespread among millennial and Gen Z consumers,” said Ross Clark, CEO of Sanctuary, adding that the Sanctuary audience skews heavily female without providing exact figures. “They want to engage and connect with that interest.”
This year, brands like McCormick, Venmo, Away, Benjamin Moore and Le Creuset have worked with Sanctuary to create custom branded content — including matching paint colors, spending habits or cookware to specific astrological signs — that’s then posted on Sanctuary’s Instagram page. The same in-house team, which has roughly 10 people, works on the brand’s content for its social channels as well as on branded content with partners.
Doing so helps maintain its signature voice and visual style, which Clark said is key to the success of its brand partnerships. Last year, Sanctuary secured eight brand partnerships and grew that to 20 partnerships this year — representing a 140% YOY growth.
“We find that brands really want to lean into our voice and illustrated style, lean into the playfulness that we bring to the content in the partnership,” said Clark. “We have ideation sessions with brands where we’re working through ideas. We have an initial conversation to figure out what product or message they want and we’ll come back with a couple ideas in our format.”
The brand partnerships are part of the company’s overall marketing strategy, which is mostly focused on organic content rather than paid advertising placements. It’s unclear how many paid subscribers or users the app has as Clark said Sanctuary does not share subscriber or user figures. Subscribers pay for personalized astrology readings and the cost varies by the length of the reading with 10 and 15 minute readings the most popular.
“By selectively partnering with brands and clients whose audiences overlap in part with our own, we’re able to expand the reach of both brands,” said Clark. “We also custom tailor both content and deployment to maximize reach for campaigns to mutually benefit both our channel and our client’s channel growth.”
Working with well-known brands can “give them more legitimacy” and “helps them stand out as a true brand from all of the astrology meme accounts,” explained an influencer agency exec who works with brands to help them tap into millennial and Gen-Z audiences. They spoke to Digiday anonymously so as to protect those relationships.
Even so, the exec believes the partnerships are likely a “bigger benefit to the brand side to look like they’re in with what Gen Z is interested in.”
Noah Mallin, chief strategy officer at IMGN Media, echoed that sentiment. “Astrology content is huge for Gen-Z and is highly shareable,” said Mallin. “It’s smart [for brands to partner with them] because they are getting into a space that gets a lot of repeat users and has less brand clutter.”
Magna research: The do’s and don’ts of native and repurposed advertising on TikTok
Advertisers on TikTok need to follow a few best practices if they're going to succeed on the platform, such as always thinking vertically, and being comfortable with the creator's style they work with.
Covid and the case for labor movements: The Return podcast, episode 3
In the third episode of Digiday podcast The Return, Fitzco sees its first positive case of Covid-19. While the team is disappointed, there are no active plans of turning back the clock to pandemic lockdown.
How contraceptive brands are increasing online advertising since SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade
Contraceptive brands such as Plan B, Favor and Phexxi have in some cases doubled or even quadrupled their online advertising to reach consumers.
SponsoredConsumers expect brands to be authentic in their DE&I commitments
Sponsored by Amazon Ads With consumers looking to brands to take stances on global and social issues that impact their lives, it’s hard to argue the important role brands play in our society. With this great opportunity also comes great responsibility, and consumers are paying attention. New research commissioned by Amazon Ads with Environics Research […]
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: ‘A very nervous bunch of CMOs’: How the ripple effects of the current uncertainty is affecting the ad industry
Ad agency execs and pitch consultants say that, overall, marketers seem to be cautious, pulling back on budgets and focusing on project work rather than agency-of-record pitches.
‘Lack of commercial incentive’: Google’s third-party cookie delay is a flip to procrastinators
Barely a week has passed since the announcement that the third-party cookie's execution has been stayed further and there's already evidence that ad execs are using it as an excuse to slow down preparation plans.