This is a general announcement we have sent out to all of our brands today following recent updates from Facebook, and additional learnings we have seen over the past couple of days as we continue to stay at the very forefront of the environment for our brand partnerships benefit
We also thought we should make this a blog post for two reasons..
1. This stuff is killer content and deserves to be put out there, so why not.
2. Navigating ios14 has been a battlefield for everyone these past couple of months. In particular, we want to help the smaller brands that may not be able to afford an expert agency that has access to this type of information, and could really do with it to just stay afloat and survive in such times. We know it can help, and hopefully it does!
There are two main points to raise as an initial FYI:
1. IOS adoption has went up significantly with their latest forced IOS 14.6 update causing a higher opt-out rate causing a decrease in performance.
2. Starting June 30th, Facebook have CONFIRMED a positive update will be taking place. Facebook shall be expanding their use of conversion modelling to include it in their 7 day click default attribution setting. The inclusion of these new modelled conversions may result in a noticeable increase in 7-day click conversions, and overall ad account performance. Facebook are continuing to improve their machine learning models and expand their coverage of these new modelled conversions, in order for the platform to have greater transparency, of which has largely been lost of late, impacting our capabilities to scale budgets effectively.
With point 2, we certainly see a light at the end of the tunnel. The next few weeks will be bumpy but hopefully we’ll see a drastic improvement in July as anticipated since March.
In line with the above, we wanted to share what is working right now and shed light on a case study which could be modelled similarly for your brand..
The clients who are performing significantly well right now are releasing either new offers, promotions, collections/product ranges or re-structuring their offer/landing pages/sales process.
One brand of which has already hit $400k this month, due to some revamping and restructuring of offers.
A lot of this is driven by a sale that finishes end of this month.
They also don’t run sales often so the urgency/desire is very much real, and has caused a stir with their audience who want to fully take advantage of this FOMO inducing campaign.
It’s worth us mentioning that a nice portion of these returns have come from our email campaigns we put in place (money is, has been and always will be in the list long term – this is fully owned by you, and is one of the biggest assets a brand can have when software companies take the control away with such things like ios14). A well nurtured email list will always be a good weapon against change. (Of course with $0 attributed marketing spend to any returns seen here is also a huge plus point)
Here is a separate campaign which went out today for a completely different brand, which goes down a ‘secret sale’ avenue, with added benefits for taking part – something this brand has also never done, so causes high intrigue and uptake.
A lot is changing right now and we need to lean into it in every form we can.
– Borders, the world, physical businesses all opening back up
– Weather globally is getting warmer so less time spent online. General market seasonality always seen at this part of the year.
– Money being spent locally again instead of online.
Therefore, creativity will play a huge level of importance this month…
We suggest to find genuine reasons to run sales, promos or campaigns right now to boost conversion rate and sales:
1. Fathers day
2. Summer sales
3. Revenge travel hype
4. Flash sale (72 hours/1 week only)
Evergreen is 100% taking a hit right now. It’ll only get worse before it gets better, so we are encouraging as above, to get creative with your strategies to make the most out of what we can right now, and drive performance to be as high as it can.
*Photo of brand performance for June thus far – can clearly see when the campaigns went live*
We would encourage you to utilise this information as much as possible, and use it to get creative with how your brand could strategise this period.
Extra point of notice:
We have noticed performance drop offs across accounts on 1st June. Since then there has been over a 40% increase of users updating to IOS14.5. Adoption rates are increasing fast as you can see:
Therefore, this really is a time to be thinking different, rather than sitting around hoping to ride the wave.
Your ROAS will continue to be in a downtrend, your marketing budget will be stretched thin, and ultimately you will be leaving opportunity on the table.
We hope this helps, not only to help your brand survive ios14 and the multiple updates Apple are putting out there onto brands, but ultimately we hope this helps your brand thrive, and outpace your competition in such volatile times.
Tesla. We all know the name, and will have our own opinions of a company which is consistently seeking innovation and has carved it’s way as the pioneer of electric vehicle ownership. However, how can your brand see Tesla in such a way that would be of benefit?
With Tesla, something is very different, and it all stems for the C word.
1. Customer Centricity
Everything at Tesla embodies an experience which is customer centric. From the website user design, right through to the ownership after care everything is built around the customer in such a way that majorly disrupts the car industry.
It’s such an integral part of Tesla, and this is why Tesla owners genuinely want Tesla to be successful on every level. Tesla owners want to be a part of the Tesla journey, the Tesla ethos, and see the company be a major success. They are raving fans, rooting for the company to dominate. An extremely high 80% of customers buy or rent another Tesla for their next car after buying their first, and it’s no surprise.
What can you learn from this? Create an experience that is adored, fine tuned to focus on creating loyalty and you will have something truly special; an experience that sticks in the mind of your customer. With this you will have them for life, time and time again.
2. A website that oozes class, and makes the buying process a breeze
Go on the Tesla website and you will see a user experience that is far beyond any capability of it’s competitors. Car sites are traditionally sticky, bulky and difficult to navigate. Check out BMW and you will see how their site homepage is busier than the sale rales at TK Maxx, cluttered with corporate jargon and taking the customer away from what they want to see, and straight into what the company feels is important.
Tesla on the other hand, much like their vehicles is sleek, smooth and crisp. It’s so clean we would eat our breakfast off it.
It creates an experience that mirrors the Tesla ownership experience. Experience here is the important word when thinking of your brand like Tesla; you want to create a feeling of ownership of your product, even before it has been ordered.
The call to action on each slide is an enticing button which is seamless with the web design, taking you on a customer journey which focusses on you beginning your Tesla ownership ride.
Within just TWO clicks from the homepage, you are given the ‘Buy a Tesla’ option.
Now, we don’t know what your product is, however if it is anything smaller or less pricey than an $80,000 electronic vehicle and your customer cannot buy it within just two clicks…
…What are you doing?!
From here, picking out your vehicle and having all of the key questions answered without needing a “questions” section shows just how advanced they are on the market.
Car information, price, savings you’ll be getting, a bar to change your payment method, delivery date, and a customer journey bar at the top to show you that you are only 3 steps away from having your Tesla fully spec’d out, it’s all so clean and is exactly what the customer wants to see.
Tesla have gone for minimal styling here, keeping things light and simple for the customer for something that historically has been such a complex purchase for many.
If Tesla can do this on one of the biggest purchases an individual can make, why isn’t your site following suit?
3. A Digital Only Strategy
In 2020, customers will more often than not, be starting their purchase online. That means that digital provides customers their first impressions of the brand. Tesla stands out right away with a strong digital presence, in a way that is mission focussed and depicts the why behind the brand in such a way it creates legions of fans even from those who have never even sat inside a Tesla cockpit. Instead of being pushed into a sale by a well oiled car salesman wearing a Datejust, they are given information to make their own choices through the omni channel experience online. Such things have been taken to the extreme by Tesla too, in 2019 they shut down all of their physical Tesla showrooms and stores. They are the only car manufacturer to have an online only presence which was a major shift for the market, and one which is radically innovating, going against the grain of the supposed ‘need’ for physical locations for car companies.
When you focus on where the customer is, how they want to shop and why they shop for what they do, you’ll find that the online experience is paramount.
4. A Mission Beyond The Product
Tesla is hugely mission focussed beyond all else. Excusing the pun, the cars themselves are just a vehicle for change. In Tesla’s words their purpose in the world is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Existing for more than profits, making money and selling their new cars and getting them out onto the roads, Tesla has built an identity for carving a strong mission that everyone buys into. It makes their employees more engaged and dedicated to the ultimate cause, which encourages them to deliver a better customer experience because there is a paramount ‘why’ behind everything Tesla stand for.
On the other end of this, Tesla owners are a part of something. A movement for change, for the better.
If your product or brand doesn’t have a central purpose aside from selling, you may be at the mercy of brands that can have people buy into a ‘why’.
On this Normal case study we are going to go DEEP on the process for achieving multi 6 figure results within a 60 day period directly from Facebook and Instagram advertising. If you have a fashion brand yourself or are in the e-commerce industry in general, you may want to take note…
It goes without saying that 2020 is going to be another tough year for brands that rest on their laurels. We all know that brands are popping up left, right and centre, and the competition is fierce. An edge on your market is forever key, with constant evolution and innovation now a necessity.
In fashion, trends last as long as the sun in the U.K! The needs and wants of customers will change each season, and the desire for top quality products that also meet the financial needs of a customer is a constant moving bar. If you’ve been in the space for a long time, you’ll know that you can be the ‘next big thing’ one month with sales coming in by the bucket load, a PR’s dream and every influencer and her dog wanting your jumpsuit, yet the very next month have cobwebs in the stock room.
For sustainable success in fashion eCommerce you need an overall strategy that complements the Facebook environment, and in this hot topic we are going to break down the scalable and sustainable system we integrate into the fashion brands we partner with closely.
This is what will be covered:
• How to use new collections and new item launches in the most effective way
• How to use sales and flash sales to boost your overall sales and profitability
• How to use ‘signalling’ as part of your overall strategy to boost sales by 10X
• Our proven formula behind selling ‘collections’ instead of singular products
In addition to these points, we will also dive deeper (For the nerds reading this, like us) into the specific points that are Facebook marketing related.
1. THE STRATEGY
Something we noticed is that when most fashion brand owners launch a new collection, they more often than not have the same strategy that simultaneously takes effect in line with every season. It goes a little something like this:
They put their entire new collection on the website, throw up some ads saying ‘AW20 collection launched’ and send people to their site via the usual; Instagram post, Instagram story post, chuck a few influencers in the mix to push it….
…then wait for the sales to come.
This works, to a certain degree. Especially if your collection is good.
By splitting up your collection into multiple parts you can drip feed your audience with several new styles every week or 2 weeks and especially keep your warm audiences engaged and coming back.
We’ve seen this work magically. When collections are drip fed into smaller collections and have a ‘staggered’ approach, you maintain a key behaviour from your customers: Hype.
Besides new items, as a brand owner you always have to deal with items that are not selling or slower weeks when you don’t have any new item launches. You also have to take into account when people are buying, and when they aren’t buying.
Take this part of the year for example; Dry January.
This isn’t just the alcohol free month, ohhhh noooooo. It’s dry AF for the shops, the stores, and of course, most brands just like yours.
So instead of marking down everything at the end of a season or hoping it will sell out at full price, introduce flash sales in the weeks that you don’t have any new item launches or when you anticipate slow sales. A good ‘CLEARANCE’ produces a good amount of FOMO.
By using flash sales and suggesting these to a few of our fashion clients, we were able to generate one week of over $100k in sales at a 10X ROAS, for a brand which has a relatively small following of 40k on Instagram.
Even though we were giving discounts on products, this still brought in more than enough profit which exceeded their break even point, and of course the ripple effect of new customers that did their first ever purchase with the brand, is great for the long term.
2. THE NORMAL COMPANY HACK TO RUNNING SUCCESSFUL FLASH SALES AND NEW LINE LAUNCHES
It’s simple: Just putting your new products on the website and creating an ad saying ‘new products in’ or ‘SALE NOW LIVE’ is not the best action plan. This is also an off the cuff knee jerk reaction often when thing’s aren’t going so well, and it often comes off that way too.
So, with this being said, something we found very successful is the drip feed of these events, and the pre-hype around them.
The way we do this is we build a high amount of anticipation for new item launches and flash sales by notifying everyone in the warm audiences (and some cold) what will happen, ahead of time.
We run ads building up anticipation for new products or for the upcoming sale and what we see is that people engage with these ads extremely well. What we find is a ton of comments tagging their friends to notify them too, a lot of inboxes as to ‘what might be coming’ and the organic reach on posts getting a nice perk up too.
We run a mix of video views, engagement and conversion ads in this stage depending if it’s a new product or a flash-sale. It’s paramount that the creatives and copy is on point for this to be put to best use, so always having this pre-planned and created a month or two in advance is almost essential. Get some sexy content, and be prepared for a blow up!
Now, when the sale starts or the new items come in, we would have in turn built up some hefty audiences to target and put into our ‘sale funnel’.
One of our campaigns saw a 24 hour period reach the same sales volumes as an entire month before we were working with the brand.
Something to keep in mind in fashion overall from an ad and strategy perspective is that you want to try and focus on selling the collection/brand instead of selling a single product. Unless you have massive volume behind the products and can replenish stock at the click of a finger.
When you focus on your specific products it’s easy to get people to buy that product, of course. But, if you don’t have the volume to back the sales you will quickly have to stop scaling. This has happened on occasion with some of our smaller brands who unfortunately didn’t have the capacity to keep the fuel on the fire, and therefore stunted their own growth and capacity for scale.
A secondary note here, is that the average order value will also rise as people are shopping an entire sale and will add a few more things to their basket as they are in a ‘sales frenzy’ state of mind, rather than just going on your site to grab the dress they’ve had their eye on that just got a price slash.
3. NAILING THE FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM ADS
Firstly, we would like to just raise a little piece of value around how to positively impact your CPM. Of course, when running effective campaigns this is a key metric for any brand, and so the impetus on this is high for us.
What we noticed on this particular brand account before we ran the large campaign, is that when the brand themselves accelerated their posting schedule to 5-7 times a day following a prior conversation we had with them around frequency of social media activity, the CPM came down a TON!
We compared this client (posting multiple times a day for 30 days) to clients posting 3-5 times a week and the CPM compared to them selling in the same niche, same audiences and similar price range was up to 50-60% lower.
The big thing to note about posting multiple times a day is that you’re also engaging a much bigger part of your audience organically. People engage on Facebook and Instagram which feeds the warm audiences in your funnel.
The Normal Company tip: POST, POST, POST. Go H.A.M!
So, what we have identified is that the absolute best practice in the fashion space is to post multiple times a day. Focus on delivering value here too.
Make these posts have the sole focus of building a community around your brand; get people commenting, build relationships, and form a connection between you and them. Get some style files posted, raise some questions and raise some eyebrows.
There’s no right or wrong way here, but more so about making things non-sale related and making sure the frequency is of a very high level.
If you think you’re posting a lot already, post more. Trust us on this.
4. CREATIVE IS THE VARIABLE
This was highlighted a little above, however to go a little deeper here the most important element to being successful on Facebook and Instagram at the moment is the creative. It’s the number 1 variable between success and failure, and rightly so.
…Would you buy from a brand which had poor creative? No.
That’s because a creative has to resonate with you or it won’t get a sale from you.
We see it all the time, the difference in running an account at a 2x return or a 5x return has most of the time nothing to do with audiences, ‘hacking’ the algorithm, manual bidding or anything like that. It’s almost always down to the creative that goes hand in hand with our process.
If you’re on board with us already, you would have definitely have had this conversation with us on a strategy call!
For this particular fashion brands’ account we had a lot of good creative to work with. They were very forthcoming with us and always have been when it comes to giving us a plethora of top quality videos, images, GIF’s and everything in between. Our dropbox is constantly replenished with bountiful content!
Anything we need, they were able to produce it and at a quick turnaround rate.
Speed is king.
With this large volume of content at our disposal we had from the brand, we created different videos for different steps of the funnel, all based around where the buyer was in their customer journey.
If you’re not running effective Facebook funnels at the moment, one key thing we would advise here is to refresh the content every 2-3 weeks if possible, especially on the high performing campaigns! Keep it fuelled, and you’ll keep growing.
The last thing you ever want to see is ad fatigue due to creatives becoming dead.
If you don’t focus on this creative part, you’re not going to be successful with Facebook ads at scale. You NEED creative, and you need it almost on tap.
If you don’t, there’s someone in your space that will be doing this and guess what?
They’ll be bigger than you and take your customers.
This is a big statement, yes.
So, how did we come to this conclusion?
Since dynamic creative appeared we’ve been working on a system of using this in all our creative testing.
The system we used to use was as follows:
• Campaign with 4 ad sets – all ad sets had 1x CPA as minimum budget (around 10% of the account spend for the campaign total)
• The ad set targeted the best performing audience, most of the time a 1% LLA works well for us.
• Every ad set had 3-5 ads and we would split out all of the videos, images, carousels and collections ads in a solid distribution.
5. CREATIVE TESTING THE NORMAL WAY 2.0
We warned you we would go a little nerdy here, and it’s about to be so.
With dynamic creative, we have tried to simplify this process a bit. We now use the following process:
We create a dynamic creative campaign with again the best performing audience (1% LLA or Customer List)
We test this again at minimum 1x CPA and let it run to 3x CPA so we can see what the winning combination is. We then take the winning post ID from the dynamic creative and see how this performs on it’s own. We also turn this winning combination into a collection ad to see how this performs.
At the same time we create a dynamic creative version around the best product or best image/video combination to see if we can optimise this one further.
The winners out of this test we move into the scaling campaign.
If we don’t need new creative in that campaign because performance is good, we put the creative in a PPE campaign for engagement and build out the creative library.
Don’t stop this process, just rinse and repeat, and keep it in an evolution cycle.
The type of creative that worked best for this particular brand were high quality HD video ads (both normal and collection) and carousel ads. (Also note your video ads need to be the right format for Facebook / Instagram placements).
So, with this being said we would clearly recommend you get some epic video content produced. It’s worth doing this, and doing this well, as with the right Facebook strategy in place you can really scale to the moon.
Your investment into content can be paid back 100X over with the likes of our system in place. It’s often the main thing we need from you!
6. A DIFFERENT TACTIC TO PLAY
There are a couple of other things we’ve tested that have produced wild scale for a couple of fashion brands, and this brand in particular reaped the reward by having the following in place:
A simple CBO going out to cold audiences.
We put different products/collections in different CBO’s and used a strong variety of audiences in each separate CBO.
When we found a clear winning audience within a performing campaign we would put this into its own campaign with 6 duplicates to see how it performed on its own.
We saw that big audiences performed better and created a structure where we would spend 40% of our budget on small lookalikes, 40% of budget on bigger lookalikes of up to 10% and audiences of up to around 20 million people, and finally we would allocate 20% of the budget on broad audiences specifically.
We will mention it again in case you missed it: The key for this campaign working so incredibly was the fact that we could cycle through creatives and have a fresh load of files at our fingertips.
For retargeting something we were really successful with in this account is targeting the email list in a separate campaign, split into different audience segments.
Aside from this, what we also did was retargeted the bottom of the funnel audience twice over. We created 2 campaigns targeting the same audience of people that added to cart.
We were getting around $1.50 add to carts so these audiences were massively effective.
Campaign A – Conversion Campaign with DPA ad targeting the add to carts, we kept the segments big enough (3 day and 4-10 days) as we saw performance was best in bigger audiences.
Campaign B – This was a simple reach focussed campaign with strong creative video ads, targeting the exact same audiences as campaign A with a 100% overlap to hit them with a different piece of content. This worked like clockwork.
This strategy worked extremely well and delivered a 10x+ ROI on both campaigns.
If you held on here right until the end, you’re serious about 2020!
We hope this was of value, as these exact strategies and hacks entailed are what we used to grow a fashion brand to $308K in sales on one campaign alone.
The mad rush that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday is upon us. We are prepping our ‘Normal’ brands for some huge revenue busting figures come the end of it all. It’s expected to be a year bigger and better than last year, which heaved in a record of $6.2 BILLION in the US market in online sales alone.
But, with every brand scrapping for the attention of the end consumer, will your brand REALLY hit those targets you set out to?
Here’s our Normal Company essential tips to soak the most out of the shopper frenzy..
1: Start Hyping NOW
A Black Friday promotion when done correctly, creates FOMO and drives impulse buys better than any other time of year. However, the brands that really win at this game are the ones that give their followers, email lists and previous customers a little heads up.
Why does this work?
It’s the simple hype strategy, with the edge of the first mover advantage.
Remember, you are battling with 1000’s of other stores for those credit card details come the start of the weekend, and if you leave it too late, you are susceptible to being pushed out of the way by the stores that capture your customer’s attention first. If you can get in early, and create some hype about what is to come, you already have your customer’s attention, and are wetting their appetite by letting them browse the site, already anticipating making the purchase once the discounts become available.
Who does this well?
Maniere De Voir as you can see here, have been hyping their massive 70% off promotion since the 17th November. This would have generated some huge intrigue and anticipation, allowing their loyal fans to essentially know what they are going to be in for, ahead of time. This has been done in such a way, it is similar to an event. A ‘save the date’ hype strategy which will have their customers on the edge of their sofa, with their wallets ready.
You can bet that their revenue figures will hit some very interesting numbers after BFCM.
2. Have Instant Offers
Black Friday is all about discounts and deals, and you’ll be dealing with seasoned shoppers who want to get the best deals and products for their money. So with this in mind, you need to place your deal in full view; from the moment people land on your site, add items to their cart and even after they’ve checked out.
The key here really is a key principle of success here at The Normal Company; make it easy.
Make things as easy as possible for customers to buy from you. Ramp up that conversion rate by eliminating as many barriers of sale as possible and guess what? You will get more sales.
When people have to search for deals or codes, especially during a big rush such as Black Friday, this creates a barrier which is most definitely unwanted for you, as the customer might end up going to a competitor if they cannot find a good enough promotion. So, you’ll need to give people instant access to discount codes, and make them easy to see. Spam that thing all over your social media, bang it on the front page of your site, and put it on every page as a banner. Promote it like a Kardashian, and break the internet. Don’t hold back.
Click on their site and you are not going to miss their 30% discount offer. As a shopper lands on their site, there will not be a single person that will be missing this, and so this will get them into buying mode instantly.
3. Anticipating things to BLOW UP? Get your customer service ready.
As an online shopper, you expect good, fast and reliable customer service. Especially at this ripe time of year when a ton of online sales are gifting; customers want to get it right first time when buying for someone other than themselves. LivePerson did a study revealing that 83% of online shoppers actively seek out help while they shop online.
If you have a scarcity of customer service on your website it will only fill your shoppers with doubt and make them uneasy about completing a purchase. At this peak part of the season when you are wanting some big revenue pumps, you need to be prepared for an influx of customer enquiries and questions. Be on hand, and invest into your site to ensure that you have everything a customer would need in order to have their questions answered, and fast.
You need to have your live chat, FAQ’s, size guides, customer support lines and returns policy as accessible as your offers for Black Friday. If any of these integral parts is unavailable before a sale, it’s most likely to be unavailable after a sale, and thus will create doubt, and leave you without the sale.
ASOS are killin’ the game when it comes to fashion e-commerce, and we are constantly reviewing why, in order for our brands to be ahead of the market. One key factor in ASOS’s rapid expansion and growth, is that their ASOS Stylists Live Chat is always on hand. If you have specific requirements such as particular sizing or needing any form of advice, you literally feel as though you are in a store, speaking with a genuine stylist.
Shore this stuff up, and get maximum ROI and conversion rates.