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Website Custom Audiences Enable Online Retailer to Achieve 3% CTR [Case Study]

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

Ad automation software can bring wonderful advantages to in-house marketers; time savings, scaling capabilities and easy analysis of data, both high-level and in-depth, are just the beginning. As a campaign strategy, Website Custom Audiences unite all three of these benefits. With WCAs, you only need to sync customer behavior on your site with your Facebook account once; the data will continue to feed as you receive new visitors. You don’t need to stop there, either — once your best customers have been identified, you can scale using Lookalike Audiences, which Facebook will refresh every seven days. Lastly, you will be able to see impressions, CTRs, purchases, and spend all in one screen, and easily share reporting with team members.

In the Spring, an online retailer launched an in-house WCA campaign accompanied by Lookalike Audiences to expand their reach and user base, driving a combined total of over 27 million impressions across desktop and mobile — and counting.

The Goal

An eCommerce company focused on women’s fashion set out to increase their rate of user acquisition and identify high-value customers.

The Strategy:

The retailer used a pixel to tie its site traffic to Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences feature, then focused on increasing reach with Lookalike Audiences.

The online retailer separated their desktop budget from mobile, allotting far more to the former due to its historically much higher ROI. They selected WCAs because targeting people who have already visited your site is an easy way of improving retention and encouraging new customers to convert. The retailer was interested in learning which of its pages would attract the most valuable visitors, so this campaign was useful for informing its future targeting best practices.
The marketing team chose traditional crowd-pleasers like “sale” and “what’s new” to attract clicks through copy. For images, they focused on dresses because they are an all-year best-seller, but added in items like rompers and swimwear that tend to perform well within seasonal windows. This year, the eCommerce company tried out a new background color for photos and experimented further by displaying the same item on a model from several different angles.
At first, the retailer associated their Website Custom Audiences with category-specific landing pages, but that approach didn’t generate a lot of reach. Once they tied their WCAs to traffic on their new arrivals page, the audience size expanded considerably. The retailer also shifted strategy; a 1-14 day attribution window didn’t produce great results, but increasing the window to include visitors within 1-30 days helped. Building an additional layer of potential customers through WCA Lookalikes was an easy way of scaling the campaign and continuing to boost the user base.

The Results

After struggling with narrow reach through Custom Audiences and Interest targeting, the eCommerce company was able to scale reach and automatically refresh their data through WCAs, which breathed new life into their user acquisition campaign. Alongside Website Custom Audiences, the retailer was also able to update its Lookalike lists without any maintenance.

Tying WCAs to the new arrivals page allowed the online retailer’s in-house team to be worry-free about keeping the products featured in the campaign seasonally appropriate, as the content that they posted to the site was already optimized to answer seasonal demand. Dresses, shoes and jumpsuits were top performers in terms of yield; the highest CTR (3%) came from desktop, justifying spend of 16X more on desktop than mobile. The retailer was also rewarded by experimenting with creative; the multi-shot model images were a success!

Running their user acquisition campaign in-house means that the eCommerce company’s marketing team has immediate access to all this data, as well as valuable metrics around CTRs, average order value, repeat business and social shares. Owning this information will help the online retailer continue to respond and optimize to customer behavior in future campaigns.


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