Gran Fondo Isle of Man, sponsored by brands such as Santander, is one of only two true competitive cycling events staged in the British Isles.

Whether racing to win or riding to finish, Gran Fondo Isle of Man is an actual test of legs and lungs – one that rewards competitors with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. They conquer the very leafy lanes and windswept moors that have helped forge the Island’s cycling champion, Mark Cavendish.

Our Mission

In 2021, Digital Willow was tasked with running a native and video campaign for the Isle of Man Gran Fondo event. This campaign was a twenty-day burst with high intensity activity. Our goal was to drive users to the website, so they signed up for the event

From the success of the first campaign, we are pleased to say they have come back in 2022 to run a bigger campaign with various channels, including social media, for a longer duration in which we have taken lessons from the 2021 campaign and applied them to the latest campaign.

Digital Willow approach

With just twenty days until the event, we needed entries fast. We knew that using two channels would provide reach and engagement; Native advertising (content seeding) and Video advertising on YouTube.

The audience we needed to reach was cycling enthusiasts. Using YouTube, we planned our targeting around channels that are fitness related. We ensured we were only shown in front of videos about cycling.

For the content seeding activity, we only showed advertising in articles related to cycling and fitness.


  • We were able to drive over 3,000 users to the website; this was an increase of 410% compared to a period where they were similar activity. The traffic we were driving to the website made up 40% of the total number of users.
  • From the advertising run, we generated over 1,833 conversions. A conversion, in this instance, was either a user visiting the landing page or filling out the signup form. 
  • As well as driving users to the website, we saw success in raising awareness of the event on the Isle of Man and the UK, and our ads served over half a million impressions
  • For the content seeding activity, we were shown on websites such as MSN, Metro, and The Independent, to name a few, without paying the hefty fee of £10,000 fee by going to these publishers directly. It was such a cost-effective format; we only paid £0.58 for a click!


Could you be getting more conversions? Get in touch with us and see how we could increase it for you.