Customer story

How Thrive Digital Used RightMetric's Insights to Win $10+ Million of Incremental Media Spend in Under 8 Months

In under 10 years, Thrive Digital grew to be Canada’s largest independent performance media agency; serving clients like Snapchat, Uber, Asana, and Coinbase.

Read on to learn how Research-as-a-Service helped them unlock their next phase of growth.

Vancouver, BC, Canada




The Advertising Underdog

Thrive came from humble beginnings as a boutique media shop from Vancouver, BC in the early 2010s, all the way to being Canada’s largest independent performance media agency 10 years later.

Thrive is famous for being a small firm that wins pitches and RFPs against the big holding company agencies like WPP, Omni, etc.

As the “decade of paid” came to a close in the late 20-teens, Thrive’s team noticed clients and prospects asking for something new…


Going From First-Party Mastery →
a Holistic View of Clients’ Digital Landscape

Clients were asking for audience insights and competitor intelligence to inform their paid media strategy.

Questions were starting to pour in from clients during pitches, QBRs, and strategy sessions:

  • How does our media mix stack up to our competitors?
  • Is our budget keeping pace with brand XYZ?
  • Can we trust the performance benchmarks the platforms are giving us?
  • How are we updating our targeting strategy in a post-cookie, post-lookalike environment?
  • How can we make our creative better resonate with our audience?
  • How are we discovering new audience segment?

Traditionally, Thrive’s team had completely mastered the art and science of leveraging client’s first party data (just check out their Data & Measurement page—it’s beefy, and they back it up in practice).

But these new questions were coming out of left field from clients, and it was tough to know where to start with insights based on third party data.

Which data providers can we rely on?

Which tools would provide real ROI?

Even if we have the tools, how can we use them to inform clients’ strategy?

The challenges were real and many.

Top Challenges For Agencies Looking to Leverage Insights

Data Cost
Labour Cost
Methodology Gap

So, the challenges for Thrive to leverage insights were:

  • Data Cost: High quality tools cost thousands, and you need 10+ to get the right coverage
  • Labour Cost: Software can’t derive insights alone. You need smart (and therefore expensive) strategists and researcher to interpret the results
  • Methodology Gap: Having data is one thing. But how to derive useful insights?

Thanks to a personal connection between Thrive’s founder & chairperson, Jonathan Becker and RightMetric’s CEO, Charlie Grinnell the two teams formed a partnership to up-level Thrive’s insights practice to world class in under a year.

(Fun fact: Jon taught a university-level class on marketing and Charlie was one of his students before going on to lead marketing functions at Red Bull, Arc’teryx, and Aritzia)



Thrive didn’t feel ready to start an in-house insights function from scratch. 

The investments in tools, team, and time would have easily been in the mid to high six figures per year. Hefty, even for a successful and efficient agency like Thrive.

Enter RightMetric.

With a Research-as-a-Service model, Thrive could partner with RightMetric to leverage insights for their clients in a way that:

  • Was customized to thrive clients’ audience & competitive landscape
  • On-demand, with quick turnarounds on custom research whenever they needed it
  • Cost effective, roughly 10x lower cost than a DIY approach to insights
graph mockup - rightmetric

On your audience & competitors

Leveraging reliable, 
pre-vetted data from the world’s best marketing intelligence data providers.

graph mockup - rightmetric

Fast, & only when 
you need it

Speed matters immensely with insights, and they’re often needed last-minute. With RaaS, that’s no problem.


Unique subscription model

That scales up and down with your needs, for less than the cost of a single employee.



Let’s talk about how RaaS can make your life so much easier!

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In practice, this meant that Thrive’s senior strategists (account managers) were able to ask RightMetric for a customized report full of audience and competitor insights for any Thrive client on very short notice..

..all without investing in expensive software, and no time spent on desk research—all that was handled by RightMetric after a 15 minute briefing call / Slack message whenever the team needed insights for a client.

Research was typically requested around these use cases:

1. QBRs
2. Strategy discussions
3. New business pitches

The commonality in all these scenarios was Thrive’s team coming to the conversation armed with data and insights that no other agency was able to provide, and that often clients/ prospects were not even aware of themselves. 

For example:

A. Benchmarking key competitors’ ad spend across all digital channels to inform media mix
B. Deconstructing top competitors’ ad funnels to identify opportunities to improve strategy
C. Analyzing ad creative & messaging across the industry at scale to uncover opportunities and inspiration 

Examples of The Research 

The insights have provided some incredible opportunities in sales and QBR situations

Philip Ware
Director of Strategy at Thrive Digital

$10+ Million In Incremental Spend Under Management In Under One Year

With Research-as-a-Service, Thrive’s team was able to request customized, data backed insights on their clients’ audience and competitive landscape on very tight turnarounds (days, not weeks or months).

The results?

Example 1: With a global, $350 million market cap toy brand — Through excellent past performance + leveraging insights, Thrive won the client’s paid search business (an account with 7-figure monthly ad spend)

Example 2: With a fast growing DTC swimwear brand — The data uncovered their competitor set was generating great results with Tiktok ads. The insights were enough to convince the brand to try it. Thrive opened up the channel and the brand saw a huge conversion lift.

Partnering with RightMetric has been pivotal in improving our client's media strategies

Gemma Philpott
Associate Director of Strategy
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