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When you think of milk, you quickly think of Arla. With such as 12,500 affiliated dairy farmers, you can see the brand on various dairy packaging in the supermarkets. Logically, because the Netherlands is a real dairy country. And as a dairy country you would expect everyone to enjoy it. Not really. The Netherlands counts 1.5 million Lactose intolerant residents who cannot enjoy dairy. Until now. Because Arla has the solution: Arla Lactofree! Dairy, but without lactose. And to create awareness in the lactose-intolerant target group, Expand Online was enabled.

Lactofree Arla


The sensitive nature of the subject and the technological limitations posed a major challenge in terms of being able to connect the target group with the right online content. We turned back to the classic field work to come up with a logical strategy. Considering the sensitive nature of the subject, a smart and subtle approach to the target group was essential.

Reaching the relevant target group via the Google display network (GDN) comes with limitations when it involves health. Google does not allow to follow individuals via cookies when it involves sensitive information, which means you cannot target and remarket on such basis. This implies that we don’t have all the behavioural targeting solutions, like affinity targeting, remarketing and Display Select Keyword to our disposal. At the same time, relevant targeting of the target group is essential, because the subject is so sensitive.

Strategy and approach

The campaign is aimed at Dutch people who are (presumably) Lactose-intolerant. By offering relevant information in micro-moments during the Lactose-intolerance journey, we give the target group the feeling that we are providing them with a service, instead of approaching them by way of an aggressive marketing strategy. Micro moments are crucial touchpoints in the Lactose-intolerance journey. At these moments the target group is most receptive to the information or – in this case – products that Arla offers.

The audience targeting in GDN was adjusted to the specific phases of the Lactose-intolerance journey. We did this through smart combination of the available solutions (placement targeting with keyword and topic targeting) and then optimising based on which combinations in which phase of the customer journey reveals the best user interaction.

The points below make the success:

  • What – offering relevant (unique) content:
    The combination of the knowledge of Arla and Google Search (search) data. By combining contextual insights and analyzing online behavior on the website, a basis has been formed of data on which we could revise the content strategy.
  • How – at the right time and place:
    Using contextual targeting and placement targeting to offer the relevant content directly in the micro moment, the public will experience exceptional service.
  • Connecting the dots:
    To connect all these facets together, we created a model that visualizes the customer journey with the most important micro moments, online channels and content.
Lactofree journey


We started the display campaign in March. Since then we have seen a strong increase of 48% (!) in searches for ‘Arla Lactofree’ compared to the first two months of this year, while searches for the general term ‘lactose’ has declined since March. This allows us to conclude that the increase in the search volume for the brand was not related to the search volume for general terms concerning lactose. Since the start, not only the quantity, but also the quality of visits on the website has improved considerably. These figures confirm that we use our campaign to target and support the right audience.