Facebook has grown to become a vital part of the digital marketing mix for brands and has proven itself as a powerful direct response channel for marketers, driving significant sales, revenue, and ROI. For eco-friendly jewelry retailer, Alex and Ani, Facebook has contributed greatly to its growth over the past several years. The company is in a “hyper-growth” mode – exploding from less than 30 employees in 2010 to almost 1,000 by the end of 2013 and witnessing growth of 3,569% with sales exceeding $200 million.
In 2013, Alex and Ani began to really focus on and refine its Facebook advertising efforts. Marketers have embraced social media as a way to grow brand awareness and engagement, but still, many have struggled to monetize this channel. Vice President of Digital Strategy at Alex and Ani, Ryan Bonifacino, and his team turned to eBay Enterprise to ultimately help them drive sales and achieve higher ROI through Facebook ads.
The eBay Enterprise team offered strategic guidance on how to best maximize Alex and Ani’s paid social efforts on Facebook. eBay Enterprise recommended that Alex and Ani run a test through Skai Social, an advanced technology platform to automate the creation, management, and optimization of highly-targeted social marketing campaigns. After seeing the results of testing scenarios through Skai Social, the team at Alex and Ani discovered that Facebook could be a scalable, revenue generating channel.
Sophisticated Targeting to Engage New and Existing Customers
For Bonifacino, it was important to not only engage existing customers via Facebook ads, but also tap into new audiences. To achieve this, Tara Siegel, Supervisor of Paid Search and Delivery Operations at eBay Enterprise, knew it was crucial to take advantage of the more sophisticated targeting features offered through Skai Social and Facebook. By leveraging Custom Audiences, the team could find the brand’s offline audiences among people who are on Facebook. To amplify this further, the team layered on Lookalike Audiences – thus combining the information on Alex and Ani’s existing customers with Facebook data on demographics, location, and interests to reach a completely new audience who shared much in common with the retailer’s existing customers.
In addition to these more granular targeting tactics, Siegel and team also utilized Unpublished Page Post Ads to create customized messaging for specific target audiences. The advantage of this ad type is that these posts are solely used for advertising purposes and are not published on the brand’s official Facebook page, thus allowing Alex and Ani to maintain a streamlined voice on its page.
Through Skai Social’s Demand-Driven Campaigns (DDC), the eBay Enterprise team could automatically create and manage product-specific advertising on Facebook based on Alex and Ani’s product feed. This dynamic ad creation enabled product-specific ads to launch quickly, while prioritizing top-performing products based on demand and performance signals – both improving performance and better optimizing spend.
Peak Holiday Shopping Season Drives Unprecedented Gains for Facebook Campaigns
Shortly after coming on the Skai platform in late June 2013, Alex and Ani began to see positive performance from its Facebook ads, and this performance would continue to skyrocket into the peak end-of-year shopping season.
From the period between Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday 2013, Facebook ads drove a staggering $1.6 million dollars in revenue. On Thanksgiving alone, Facebook ads generated more revenue than the retailer’s paid search campaigns through Google with an impressive 73.14% higher Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) on Facebook – all while spending less on the channel. On one peak day in 2013, Alex and Ani drove more revenue through Facebook than they did during 2012 entirely! During this time, the biggest challenge for the Alex and Ani team was keeping up with the pace of the high demand.
For the eBay Enterprise team, Skai’s platform ensures optimal results for clients. “Because we specialize in search for commerce driven brands like Alex and Ani, we utilize cross-channel teams that enable us to rapidly move funds between media like Google and Facebook,” said Jorie Waterman, Head of Performance Channel Delivery. “This approach lets us get the most effective ROI and efficiency out of our clients’ media dollars. With Skai’s tightly linked, highly advanced paid search and paid social advertising platforms, our team can always drive the best possible results.”
When comparing performance of Facebook ads for the 6 months before launching on Skai Social to the 6 months after, Alex and Ani and the eBay Enterprise team noted significant performance gains. Over this time period, ROI increased 80% while revenue saw an unprecedented increase of 44x. Additionally, average order value (AOV) rose from approximately $14 to over $75 – an increase of 434%. These gains are attributed to the adoption of more sophisticated and relevant targeting recommended by the eBay Enterprise team and as well as the ability to efficiently scale afforded by the Skai Social platform.
“The strategies and best practices championed by the eBay Enterprise team helped drive insights that refined our Facebook advertising program, making it a driving force for our direct response goals,” said Bonifacino. “The Skai Social platform, coupled with our team at eBay Enterprise, gave us the horsepower that allowed Alex and Ani to come out of the gate strong during the second half of 2013, and we plan to continue to scale our investment in Facebook advertising as a result of the performance we have seen.”
To download the PDF of this case study, click here.