Header Sponsor: Attest
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Welcome to the first day of May, or as it’s also known by thousands of Facebook Advertisers feeling the disorientation of iOS14.5, May Day, May Day!
We’ll be providing ongoing insights into the technical and strategic ramifications of Apple’s bold decision, but ultimately we’re confident that great products and great marketers (who read DTC religiously) will come out on top.
Speaking of great products, you’re in luck because today we’re dropping the first installment of our DTC Diagnostic on SNEAKERS, focused on the Facebook Ads of Vessi, Atoms, and Cariuma.
You’ll also find:
📦 How Bloom & Wild used Attest’s consumer data survey to boost Valentine’s Day sales 4x.
📦 Three helpful tips to boost landing page conversions (plus a special offer from the Landing Page Dude himself).
📦 Why UGC ads account for 60-80% of all our top-performing ads, and how to optimize them for maximum scale.
Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom, for the cutest reason to share DTC of all time 🐶.
From recycled and vegan to water-proof and carbon neutral, the DTC shoe category has a LOT of unique selling propositions.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll dissect different strategic elements of each brand including:
- Facebook ads
- Email strategy
- Website analysis
- Google strategy
Today, we’re focusing on Facebook ads with the help of the Pilothouse Facebook media team!
Let’s Jump/Run In:
👟 Atoms - Launched in 2018, the Brooklyn-based brand creates simple and comfortable shoes with one style for $129. Unlike 99% of shoe brands, Atoms offers quarter sizes.
We’re big believers in testing lots of FB ads. Currently, Atoms has over 300 different ads running. 😱
Right off the bat, we noticed numerous ads are in video format, but with no video content. Instead, it’s a still image with text.
“There’s a good chance they’re retargeting people who watch a certain percentage of the video. Or it might just be for the click-throughs.”
Atoms has reviews from Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and Esquire, which could be used on a rotating banner in the bottom right-hand corner. The combination of still images and motion is killer.
A second option is replacing the PR reviews with customer reviews. Any brand can try this!
Framed ads have been one of the Pilothouse team’s favorites formats over the last six months.
“It’s super effective because it allows you to pack a lot more content into one image.”
Notice how small the text is. It’s an intentional move as users are naturally drawn to try and read it.
Similar to other ads, this is in video format but with a still image. Add a motion element to complete this ad.
In the first ad, you’ve got an on-brand and highly stylized review from “Alex S.”
The second ad is a screenshot from Twitter. While it’s technically not “on-brand,” it’s much more believable than the first review.
“It’s built-in credibility and social proof. You’ve got a picture, face, date, and quote. No one is going to doubt that testimonial.”
Try both styles for your own brand!
This well-formatted ad makes users eager to swipe right.
Atoms utilizes multiple reviews from well-known publications while testing various headlines on each slide. Further, the formatting of the ad makes users want to swipe all the way through.
We’d suggest adding a discount code on the final slide as a reward to those who swiped. 😎💰
For brands with multiple SKUs or colors, carousels are one of the most useful ad formats.
This is Atom's only carousel. We’d suggest testing a few more.
Fighting Sticker Shock:
With a price tag of $129, potential customers may experience sticker shock.
This ad acknowledges those feelings while providing multiple reasons why it’s worth the price. A genius combination.
Further, Atoms introduces a level of exclusivity. Not everyone can afford them and that’s a good thing. People want what they can’t have.
👟 Vessi - Launched in 2018, the Vancouver-based brand creates waterproof sneakers made for any type of environment. The company has three shoes ranging from $135–155.
Light Pink Ads:
The brand sports light pink across numerous ads which is a little confusing since their main colors are teal, white, and grey.
We always revert to data, so if these ads are crushing, keep’em going, but for long-term brand recognition it could have negative effects.
Focusing on USPs:
Vessi’s main USP (unique selling proposition) is waterproof shoes. If you’re scrolling on Facebook the ad on the left catches your attention and communicates this much faster than the ad on the right.
While the wavy lines are supposed to demonstrate water, it’s difficult to communicate – especially with someone who’s never heard of the brand.
We’d suggest Vessi continues testing literal approaches like the ad on the left.
Similar to the Atoms ad we mentioned earlier, you can pack a ton of content into a small amount of space with this format.
Vessi took it a step further and added motion – nice play.
Our only dig is the pink background. The white font makes it challenging to read their USPs.
Testing UGC should be a top priority for any brand, but especially Vessi.
Some people might not believe the shoes are 100% water-proof and will need social proof to push them over the edge.
Vessi only has two UGC ads, but this one is killer.
A woman pretends like her dog is peeing on her shoes, but it’s not a big deal because Vessi shoes can handle any liquid.
It’s funny, features a dog, and reinforces the brand’s main USP.
Notice the headline “Your Dog Will Thank You.” A well put-together ad from start to finish. 👊
Test more UGC, Vessi!
We’re big fans of the five star emojis, but the reviews don’t match the tone of the creative.
The image is clearly from a photoshoot, which is great but there’s no authenticity to it. No one believes that the people in this image wrote those reviews.
Try switching the creative with a piece of UGC to better align and add a human element to the brand.
Final Thoughts: When running Facebook ads, your copy should target users at different stages of the funnel.
The Pilothouse team notes “Vessi has a lot of top-of-funnel copy so we’re curious what they’re doing for retargeting. You should have specific copy for top of funnel, middle of funnel, and bottom of funnel ads.”
We’d suggest testing TOF and MOF retargeting copy throughout.
👟 Cariuma - Pronounced “Cari-Uma,” the Brazilian-based company launched in 2018 creates sustainable and stylish shoes.
The brand has numerous types of shoes ranging from $89–120. Sustainability is a big USP and the brand's flagship green color theme helps drive this proposition in a bold way.
Shop Now CTA:
Every ad features a “Shop Now” CTA. This communicates two things:
- They’re willing to pay more for traffic since “Shop Now” is a higher-intent CTA.
- They’re only interested in qualified traffic. “Shop Now” will likely disqualify those who aren’t ready to shop.
Our team recommends testing a lower intent CTA like “Learn More” for those who are interested, but not ready to shop.
While Atoms set a tone of exclusivity, Cariuma makes an effort to include everyone by featuring Afterpay, an installment plan program.
If your brand offers Afterpay or a similar service, test it in FB ads.
While Cariuma has been around for 3.5 years, most people still don’t recognize the brand. “Unless you're Nike, it doesn’t make sense to lead with the name.”
The information hierarchy should begin with USPs such as “Lighter Than Air” or “Eco-Conscious Comfort,” then featuring “Cariuma” at the bottom.
New brands should rely on USPs rather than name recognition since it’s usually extremely low.
Micro-targeting specific audiences such as “Morning Brew Readers” is a fantastic idea.
For targeted ads, it’s important to go beyond the copy and add a logo or recognizable mark.
Adding the Morning Brew logo will increase the chances of engagement and recognition.
Final Thoughts: Cariuma has super clean ads, but there’s no sign of faces or UGC anywhere. It’s a huge miss and something we highly recommend adding to any brand's Facebook ads.
“We’d like to see these brands test pricing in TOF copy. Test how ads perform when you show the price upfront and then back it up with USP’s”
If someone clicks on the ad, you know they’re interested in potentially purchasing. It’s a great way of attracting more qualified clicks PLUS it determines which of your audience has serious purchase intent.
That’s all the Facebook analysis. Our next review will cover each brand's email strategy!
Not selling red roses resulted in 4x Valentine's Day sales growth for DTC flowers brand Bloom & Wild.
But why ditch the flower of love?
Valentine’s Day 2021 was Bloom & Wild’s most successful to date. The DTC flowers brand boosted sales 4x and secured 51% more press coverage.
And it all came down to one crucial piece of consumer insight – red roses are a cliched Valentine’s gift.
On the back of this insight, Bloom & Wild made the radical decision to not sell any red roses for Valentine’s Day.
“Our ambition was to be the most talked-about flower brand on Valentine’s Day in the press and on social,” said Charlotte Langley, Brand & Communications Director at Bloom & Wild.
“The survey that we ran on Attest really helped give us confidence in the decision to stop selling red roses. But also, with strong stats like that, we were confident that we’d have a compelling story to take to the press that would help us on that goal to being the most talked about brand.”
They achieved impressive media coverage, with thirty articles that specifically mentioned the campaign (not just their bouquets, which generally enjoy attention at the time of year). Overall, coverage was up by 51% year-on-year.
The success of the No Red Roses campaign has reinforced Bloom & Wild’s commitment to putting consumer insight behind their business decisions. Staying in regular contact with their audience allows them to both validate their own ideas and find fresh inspiration.
iOS 14.5 & Facebook State of the Union
It's happening! iOS 14.5 has officially launched. We're all in the same boat, but here's what we know now and what we're testing to learn more:
Here’s what we know:
Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt hasn’t been pushed to Facebook for most people yet.
It doesn’t show up immediately when you update to iOS 14.5, and will likely be rolled out over the next three to four weeks in batches as iOS applications start to comply and enable the prompt with updates.
Here’s what you’re going to see:
- Facebook is auto opting people OUT when they update their iOS (not auto opt-in) – This is the official stance, however, we have seen and heard of examples from users who haven’t seen the prompt but have updated to iOS 14.5 and are still opted in for ads.
- Attribution has changed to 7-day click – 28-day click is gone and 1-day view is going to be “modelled.” Until Apple enforces the ATT prompt, advertisers may still be able to access data for all existing attribution windows (28-day click & 1-day view, 7-day click & 1-day view, 1-day click) with the Comparing Windows feature. Note that the Comparing Windows feature will be removed once Apple enforces their ATT prompt and the only way to access old attribution models will be through the API. Currently, many advertisers are only able to access 7-day click attribution data.
- Offsite conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of ad impressions – Translation: you’ll no longer have delayed attribution. All purchases are now attributed to the day of purchase, instead of at the time of the first engagement/click. All of your reporting in Ads Manager will be reported on the day of conversion (this will also affect historical data). This will help your data line up with Shopify more closely, but it requires a shift in mindset. Now you need to make sure you’re hitting your ROAS targets on the day. All conversions are showing up when the conversion actually happens and will not be credited to the first touch.
- Custom audiences will start to shrink over time – Exclusions will be less accurate, so look out for past purchasers in your prospecting campaigns.
Our team has seen that Android is outperforming iOS (almost) across the board. This is only the case in U.S. campaigns – worldwide, iOS still performs better. This is noteworthy, but considering the massive 60% market share that iOS enjoys in the U.S., shifting focus away from Apple towards Android is not a viable solution. Our experience has shown and continues to show at scale that targeting all will still outperform at scale but we will be monitoring closely.
Check Google Analytics to see what ratio of your audience has updated to 14.5 so far – this will help in projecting the iOS 14.5 adoption rate of your particular audience.
At Pilothouse we’re in full testing mode. Here are a couple of things we’re doing to monitor iOS 14.5 impacts:
Trio Split Testing by Device
- Three campaigns all in an A/B grouping to ensure no overlap.
- An iOS-only campaign, Android-only campaign, and a both-devices campaign.
- All TOF fully open, CBO with one ad set per campaign. All the same top five ads that have been scaling in our main campaigns over the last few weeks. Social proof wiped from all.
Monitoring within iOS
- A/B test with the same structure as above, but targeting iOS versions 14.4 and under (versus 14.5 and up). Building a campaign for each, including a control of all iOS targeting, same as above.
- This way we can track performance changes over time. CPMs can signal competition rates. It could point to opportunities – building out and targeting specific segmented pockets – or show that open consolidation is still best.
- Additionally, we can monitor audience sizes to determine iOS adoption rates over time.
- Worst case, it doesn’t convert – but we can track CPM changes day over day and/or CPC changes.
Different Attribution Targeting
- We're testing campaign optimizing towards 1-day click against 7-day click
iOS 14.5 Checklist
- Your domain has to be verified, or you won’t be able to run ads.
- You should confirm your eight events – it will default to a standard prioritization but you should review to confirm it matches your business objectives. You’ll be able to define these in Events Manager using Aggregated Event Management. If a user opts out of tracking, we will only see purchase (highest priority event) reported in ads manager. But we’ll only see these events if optimizing for 1-day click (with or without 1-day view). For example, if I am a user who opts out and I make a purchase, you will still see the purchase event fire, but you will not see ATC and I/C events. Potentially, this makes your retargeting pools smaller.
- Double-check your rules. If you didn’t update your rules (previous to the change-over) to this new attribution window, they may not work as intended.
- Execute CAPI integration (recommended, not required) – if you are a Shopify customer this can be done directly in Shopify. CAPI tracks server to server and will help ensure as much data as possible to feed the algorithm.
Other strategies & suggestions:
- Record historical 7-day metrics and Google Analytics last-click revenue.
- Acquire synced email list of purchases.
- Ensure attribution is set up for your accounts.
- Keep an eye on retargeting audiences to see if they’re shrinking.
- Split test 1-day VS. 7-day attribution window.
- Split campaigns by device/os.
We’re all in the same boat. Right now we’re testing like crazy and will get back to you when we have more data to share!
Say Hello to Higher Conversions
Landing Page Dude has had the privilege of working with some of Shopify’s largest merchants over the last few years.
They’re offering DTC Newsletter readers a FREE 3D product with every landing page ordered – schedule a call and claim yours today.
Here are three valuable tips to help your DTC brand sell more products!
#1 Offer a Buy Now & Pay Later Solution
The buy now pay later industry is growing rapidly. According to Shopify, using apps like Affirm, Sezzle, and AfterPay can increase average order value (AOV) by 58% and lift checkout conversion rates by a beefy 30%.
BNPL isn’t just for big ticket products like refrigerators and mattresses. Buy now pay later is being used more and more for everyday purchases like clothing, kitchenware, and electronics.
#2 Use Interactive Product Experiences
Using AR and 3D products can help you increase online sales significantly. According to Shopify’s data, the conversion rate on product pages with AR/3D content have been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 250%.
Khalifa Knives found that visitors who interacted with their 3D model were 32% more likely to add a product to their cart and 18% more likely to place an order.
Pandemic mania has turned customers into savvy shoppers who want to be able to interact with a brand's product; from textures and structure to design and feel.
#3 Use a One-Click Checkout
Fill carts, not forms!
A seamless checkout experience is essential for fast conversions and an optimal shopping experience. Using solutions like Shop Pay can increase your checkout speed by 4x!
According to a Shopify study of 10,000 merchants with Shop Pay enabled; checkout-to-order rate was 1.72x times higher than those going through regular checkouts.
Why? Because a seamless and fast shopping experience is what customers want. Not filling out forms and having to run downstairs to grab a credit card.
Looking for Higher Conversions?
DTC Newsletter readers get a FREE 3D product with every landing page ordered – just mention this ad. Get started by scheduling a free intro/strategy call.
Stop, drop, and listen to our UGC-focused episode of All Killer No Filler.
Spoiler alert: 60-80% of Pilothouse’s top-performing creatives on any given account are UGC. 🤯
One key takeaway from the pod?
It’s essential to test your UGC content across your funnel. UGC might work for just one part of the funnel.
🎧 You can hear Nate’s full breakdown of his UGC testing strategy on the pod, along with:
- The number one thing that people get wrong when acquiring UGC.
- Tips for nurturing relationships with influencers.
- How to optimize UGC for multiple platforms.
- Why you shouldn’t assume you know what style of UGC you need.
M & A
🛒 Amazon’s sales surge 44% as it smashes earnings expectations.
💿 Panasonic buys Blue Yonder for $7.1B.
👟 Allbirds is preparing to go public. The brand was last valued at $1.7B.
🧘♀️ Unilever to acquire Joe Rogan partly owned, holistic wellness and lifestyle company, Onnit.
🚗 Lyft sells self-driving unit to Toyota’s Woven Planet for $550M.
💵 Expense-splitting app Splitwise raises $20M Series A.
🤑 Shopify shares soared 11.4% Wednesday after company exceeded Q1 expectations.
🩳 With Coke acquisition in the balance, Bodyarmor attacks with $25m summer campaign.
💻 Verizon explores sales of Yahoo and AOL.
💸 Twitter tumbled 13% Friday morning after sharing lacklustre revenue forecast.
👍🏻 Facebook posts better than expected Q1 earnings as ad revenue soars.
🍎 Apple reports biggest-ever quarterly haul, revenue soars 54%.
📺 Streaming startup Atmosphere TV raises $25M Series B.
Share This Newsletter
Felt cute, might DTC later.
I mean, just look at this sweet lid and sweet fur pal!
Share this newsletter and stack up sweet swag (and unbeatable industry brownie points with your peers). 👊
Just copy and paste your unique link and send it to them via email, SMS, messenger, sky writing, cave painting, whatevs.
Your Unique Link: %RHREFLINK%
Share DTC Directly Via:
DTC 51 was brought to you by: Thomas Schreiber, Eric Dyck, and Sadie Evans
Rate this Newsletter
How’d You Like this Week’s Newsletter?
Don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings.