The Last Line

42% Revenue Growth 158% Increased Spend 30.8% Increased Transactions

The Last Line: How We Restructured DPA Retargeting Stacks To Improve CPA and ROAS

The jewelry company based in Los Angeles, CA set out to disrupt the fine jewelry industry by launching a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand in July of 2017. The Last Line is a bit more accessibly priced than traditional fine jewelry companies, offering celebrity jewelry designs like diamond-encrusted safety-pin earrings and rainbow tennis necklaces.

🔒Challenge

When The Last Line came to the agency, they were already spending a lot of money on Facebook with fairly modest results. They passed their first-year sales goal in under six months, however they felt as if they still could do better and wanted to see if they were maximizing every low-hanging-fruit they were able to monetize through Facebook advertising.

The results form the basis of this case study.

There are some really important lessons to be learned here. Like how a small tweak to your ads can cause a BIG improvement in performance. Or the power of testing many different timeframes. Or how an increase in the efficiency of your retargeting ads can help you to grow faster more profitably to cold traffic.

Of course, a lot of work went into optimizing this brand’s account—much more than we can put in this article. But if we had to pick the handful of changes that produced the most sizeable results, we would whittle it down to these three big changes that really helped us to turn things around.

🛠Tweak #1: How We Restructured the Add-to-Cart DPAs to Improve Return On Ad Spend by 5x

Previously, this jewelry brand was spending about $300/day on add-to-cart DPAs. And in our analysis, their results were hovering right around average.

In other words, there was definitely an opportunity to improve.

But before we get into the details of exactly what we did, let’s take a moment to make sure we’re all on the same page about the type of ads we’re talking about here.

What Are Add-to-Cart DPAs?

DPA stands for dynamic product ad. These ads allow you to display a carousel in the newsfeed that showcases a handful of different products. And the ads are dynamic, which means Facebook will automatically promote your most relevant items based on each individual user.

Facebook-Dynamic-Product-Ads

DPAs are some of the most effective ads for eCommerce out there. We find them to be particularly effective for retargeting people who have already visited the website.

And in “Big Change #1,” we’re referring specifically to add-to-cart DPAs. In other words, these ads are being displayed to shopping cart abandoners—people who added a product to their shopping cart and then left without completing their purchase.

If you’re familiar with The Loyalty Multiplier Formula™, add-to-cart DPAs fit into Level 4:

Loyalty Multiplier Formula (FINAL) lev 4

Where “Add-to-Cart” DPAs fit into The Loyalty Multiplier Formula™

What we tweaked:

The first change we made was to restructure the way those DPAs were being displayed. And we started by testing different time & date ranges. We showed the ads to 3-day visitors, 7-day visitors, 30-day visitors, and everything in between.

We soon learned that most purchases occurred within about 21 days. After that, the cost per acquisition (CPA) really jumped.

So we used that information to help focus our DPAs during that first profitable 21-day period.

Then we tested new ad creative.

In the past, The Last Line offered a lot of discounts in their ads. And the discount was usually the ad’s primary hook.

Here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 2.04.02 PM

Original discount-focused ad

We wanted to move away from that strategy for 3 reasons:

  • We thought we could improve conversions without it.
  • A higher price-point could help give us better ROAS.
  • We didn’t want to train the audience to expect a discount.

So we rewrote the ads to be emotionally driven, focusing more on the novelty and the scarcity angles.

Here’s an examples of the new ads we wrote:

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 1.48.22 AM

What were the results?

Originally, they were generating sales at a $87 CPA (cost per acquisition) and a 2x ROAS (return on ad spend).

So in other words, they spent $87 to generate a sale, and for every $1 they spent in Facebook they generated $2 in revenue:

After implementing our changes, we improved the CPA from $87 to $18.12 and the ROAS from 2x to 9.8x.

That’s just about a five-fold improvement, all from refining our message and showing our ads at the optimal time.

🛠Tweak #2: How We Optimized "View Content" DPAs to Reduce CPA by 43% and Increase ROAS by 69%

The next place where we focused our attention was on TLL’s “View Content” DPAs.

Previously, TLL was spending about $240/day on these ads with average results. We knew there was an opportunity for improvement there, too.

What Are “View Content” DPAs?

We’ve already discussed DPAs. But in “Big Change #2,” we’re targeting a different audience with these dynamic product ads.

Instead of displaying them to shopping cart abandoners, here we’re retargeting people who viewed product pages but did NOT add a product to their cart.

Once again, DPAs are a great ad type for this situation because Facebook automatically shows the products that the user are the most interest in.

Going back to The Loyalty Multiplier Formula™, this would be level 3 traffic:

Loyalty Multiplier Formula (FINAL) lev 3

Where “View Content” DPAs fit into The Loyalty Multiplier Formula™

What we tweaked:

Since we had already learned that most purchases happen historically within the first 21 days, we applied that same learning to these ads and saw an immediate boost as a result.

We also decided to write new ads that spoke more directly to this audience.

In the past, TLL was showing the same 10% discount ad that they used for their add-to-cart audience:

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 2.04.02 PM

Original discount-focused ad

As mentioned above, we wanted to get away from offering too many discounts. So we rewrote the ad to speak to the audience:

srm-thelastline

New benefit-driven ad

What were the results?

Previously, TLL was getting a 1.48x ROAS on these ads with a $62 CPA.

By simply adjusting the delivery settings and re-writing the copy, we improved that to a 2.5x ROAS with a $35 CPA.

🛠Tweak #3: How We Implemented "Thank-You Videos" and Winback Ads To Generate Recurring Purchases From Existing Customers

The third big change we made was to take advantage of winback ads.

p.s. If you sell any sort of reusable item s that are purchased regularly—like supplements, skincare products, toothpaste, water filters, etc.—then winback/restock ads can be a VERY Effect way to increase Life Time Value by reminding your existing customers that it’s time to stock up again.

In The Loyalty Multiplier Formula™, restock ads would be included in level 5 traffic:

Loyalty Multiplier Formula (FINAL) lev 5

Where Thank-You videos and Winback Ads fit into The Loyalty Multiplier Formula™

This is a grossly underrated low-hanging fruit, but winback ads do still require some finesse to get right. Effective winback ads require careful placement and timing.

If your product lifecycle is typically 45 days, for example, you don’t necessarily want to wait 45 days before remarketing to them. Instead, you want to reach them out 1-2 weeks before it is time to buy again, and you want to soften that touch by showing a Thank-you Video after the first purchase.

The Thank-You Videos are not a hard sell, but a token of gratitude. But it is more than that. It is meant to follow up with your new customers by expressing you want to take a step further into the relationship, and most importantly, they set yourself up for leverage, making customers primed and ready for when you do want to remarket to them.

What were the results?

What’s crazy is that these Thank-You Video ads were one of The Last Line’s most profitable. They generated 4x ROAS at a $36 CPA.

Remember that it’s usually easier to sell to existing customers than to strangers because they’ve already spent the time getting to know about your brand. And if you have a product that runs out and needs to be purchased again regularly, reminding them when it’s time to come back is a great way to generate repeat sales.

Another nice thing about these winback campaigns is that they will linearly scale up with the rest of your brand’s sales. The more new customers you generate, the more winback sales you’ll get as a result.

👍How These Improvements Helped Us To Increase Cold Traffic By 300%

The 3 big changes described above helped us to get much more efficient with The Last line’s ad spend. We got more dollars earned per store visitor through smarter retargeting.

And that meant we could put more of their budget toward cold traffic.

Running ads to cold traffic can be really difficult without a good retargeting system in place. But when you have dialed-in retargeting ads waiting to re-engage and convert your visitors into customers, then spending money on cold traffic starts to make a lot more sense.

Because of the improvements we made above, we were able to increase The Last Line’s cold traffic by as much as 300% with an 12% better ROAS.

And that extra traffic benefitted their ad campaigns as a whole. Now that we were getting more people through the funnel, our frequency dropped as our reach increased. In other words, instead of hammering a smaller audience 30 times each with the same retargeting ads, we were retargeting a much larger audience with a lower frequency of around 6x.

This meant that the overall CPA and ROAS improved, too.

🤦‍♂️In Hindsight, We Could Have Done These Things Even Better…

We don’t want you to get the impression that we always do everything right here at Swipe Right.

Yes, we’re very good at Facebook & Instagram ads. As good as anyone else you will be able to find anywhere in the world.

But we’re human, and like everyone else we make mistakes and always have room for improvement. We think it’s important to be honest about that so that we always stay open to what we can do better next time.

If we could go back in time and start these campaigns over, here are a couple things we would have done differently.

#1: We would have consolidated more of our data.

Early on with TLL, we moved some of their ads into separate campaigns. For example, we moved the Add-to-Cart DPAs into their own campaign separate from the “View Content” DPAs.

There are pros and cons to this approach. The big benefit to separating things out is that it’s easier to see what’s happening, what’s working, and what’s not—because your data is all separated.

But the downside is that your data is all separated. In other words, your data becomes more fragmented and the Facebook algorithm can’t optimize for conversions as efficiently as it could if your data was all combined together in one place.

#2: We would have been more patient with poor-performing ads.

As a media buyer, we’re always looking to improve from good to great, from great to amazing.

As a result, we probably made some changes too quickly. Anytime a campaign starting to show poor performance, we had a tendency to quickly make changes in an attempt to fix things. (Because we didn’t want to go over the edge of that cliff, AKA let our campaigns dip below break-even.)

That might sound like a reasonable reaction, but in hindsight we should have been more patient and given those poor-performing campaigns a week or even 10 days before making any knee-jerk reactions.

Because the truth is that in many cases, the drops in performance we were seeing weren’t happening at the ad level. And that leads us to point #3…

#3: We would have made an agreement with the client’s optimization team.

The Last Line’s team works hard on their website, making frequent changes and tests to the landing and product pages.

Of course their goal is to improve performance. But when you’re doing this kind of conversion rate optimization (CRO), long-term improvement often comes at the cost of a short-term dip in performance.

In other words: anytime we noticed a campaign’s performance start to go south, it might have been because of a change they’d made to the landing page. Which means that there really was no reason for us to change the ads.

Today, we make a point to get on the same page with all our clients’ web teams and make an agreement to keep open communication anytime they are making a change to the website. This way we’ll know that a change in performance is due to the website (not the ads), and we can make sure that their website optimization and paid advertising are on the same page.

👊Conclusion: Small Tweaks Compounds To Big Improvements

Reading this case study, you might be surprised at just how small some of our changes were. In some cases, all we did was tweak the copy and adjust the date range for our DPA ads.

And yet the results were HUGE—in some cases creating a five-fold improvement in ROAS and CPA.

But of course, there’s a lot more work that goes into these optimizations than meets the eye.

It’s like that old parable about “knowing where to tap.” It goes something like this:

In a manufacturing plant, a valuable piece of machinery breaks. The plant can’t operate without it, so the owner calls in a repairman right away.

The repairman shows up and carefully inspects the machine. Then he takes out a little hammer and gently taps the machine in one very specific location. Immediately the machine starts working again.

A few days later, the repairman’s bill arrives for $500.

Furious, the owner calls the repairman. “How can you charge so much?” he asks. “All you did was tap the side of the machine! I want to see an itemized version of this bill.”

So a few days later, a new bill arrives. It says:

              Tapping with hammer…$1

              Knowing where to tap…$499

And this principle can apply to a Facebook campaign, too.

In some cases, all it takes to skyrocket your performance is a handful of small tweaks to your campaigns.

But knowing which tweaks to make, and where…

That’s where the real value—and the real challenge—lies.

That’s why we put so much emphasis on recruiting, training, and retaining the absolute best Facebook & Instagram media buyers in the world. And now you can chat with one of them — we’ll put you in touch with a Facebook expert who can figure out exactly “where to tap” in your campaigns to help you finally scale up your business at a profit.

Please Note: The results on this case study were produced in partnership with Slicedbread Agency based in California.

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