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)
In the dynamic creative we put the following:
• 3 Copy Versions
• 5 Images/Videos
• 3 Headlines
• Product Page URL/Homepage URL/Top Performing Collection URL
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.
Any questions, feel free to drop us a line!
Written by Myles Broom, with help from the wizard; Cameron James.