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Case Study: Engineering & Maintaining Virality

Updated: Aug 7, 2019


As the owner of a Digital Advertising Agency that speaks with a variety of E-commerce business owners every week, one of the most common questions we are asked is “how can we get our product to go Viral.’’  Many owners believe that Virality is the key to success, and although this assumption is only partially true, it’s virtually impossible to engineer a Viral Campaign without massive budgets (not to mention, it’s not possible to force Virality at any budget-level). Further to this, a business must have the appropriate systems & processes in place to handle the influx of incoming orders as a result of Virality.


This post will outline how Adjust Media worked with one of its longest standing clients, Tango Charlie Apparel, to both Engineer & Maintain Virality both on a Macro [process] & Micro [advertising] level.


As a result of these efforts, Revenue has increased 250% M.o.M.


Background


TCA is a veteran owned Crossfit Apparel retailer based in Rochester, NY. At its core, the business sells American-made, high quality Tees & Tanks with a humorous approach to Crossfit. The business relies heavily on paid traffic, specifically through Facebook & Instagram advertising.


Between 2017-2018, TCA had experienced steady growth. The business grew from averaging roughly $15k top-line revenue/month to about $40k with similar ad-spend.

Within this timeframe internal processes were refined, such as warehousing, fulfillment, organic management, customer retention funnels, positioning & release schedules. The business was in a good place for a small operation, but both TCA & Adjust Media understood the potential and knew that we would have to collaborate to bring it to the next level.


Approach


In January 2019, we decided to commit to a platonic shift in strategy. The vision was the following: Every month, release 4-5 new designs that would be limited in stock. We would focus on our warm audiences via ads & track how quickly each unit sold out. The application of this strategy would bring forth the following benefits:


1️⃣Force an internal commitment to innovation through normalization. When TCA’s customers become accustomed to monthly releases, it would force the internal team to stick to an innovation schedule.

2️⃣Limit risk with small order quantities, knowing there is a large discrepancy between supply and demand.

3️⃣Increase TCA customer LTV by having new products every month. Even if a customer isn’t inclined to buy this month’s design, they will likely purchase next month or the month after.

4️⃣Allow for incremental revenue, month over month, with limited ad-spend.

5️⃣Help determine which products should be offered within the core-range as non-limited releases. If a product sells out in record time, re-stock and add it to the core offering. This is how we begin “engineering’’ virality.


As you’ll see in the executional section below, this strategic approach was well received and TCA benefited greatly from the implementation.


Execution


Keep in mind that the following scaling methods were executed using both Facebook & Instagram Paid Advertising.


With a dedication to launching new products every month, it was just a matter of time until a design became an outlier and over-indexed in sales. From the chart below, you’ll notice that TCA’s revenue increased M.o.M. since January, but it wasn’t until April, their 3rd release and 15th design, until that outlier was found… and it was a game changer.



Utilizing Facebook and Instagram, with a combination of Business Strategies, we scaled the design both vertically (within Ads-Manager) and horizontally (new product offerings).


Vertical Scaling


During the launch of this product, Adjust Media focused on targeting warm audiences only. We started with the following list of warm audiences, utilizing 1 Carousal post, showcasing both the Men’s & Women’s product, and distributing 1 Post ID to take advantage of accumulated engagement. Please see the below screenshots for detailed audience list & ad.



The methodology implemented consisted of starting each audience at $15/D and scaling by 20% daily, until CPA’s climbed above $12. At the $12 threshold, the ad-set was shut off and the Post ID was than distributed into our proven cold-audience campaigns. We ran the same Post ID here until performance climbed above the $15 CPA threshold, at which point the ad was shut off. Over the course of 50 days, we were able to successfully spend over $12k on this post with an average $12.97 CPA and a 2.6x return [not including any un-attributed sales, which accounted for an additional 30%].




Horizontal Scaling


Playing off the success of the above ad, we decided to scale out Horizontally by adding a Men’s Crewneck & Women’s Crop Hoodie to the lineup. This strategic shift effectively gave the campaign some stronger legs, allowing TCA to sell more units to existing customers and reach new customers with a previously proven product design. This Horizontal scaling strategy successfully enabled Adjust Media to support another ~$6k in ad-spend, garnering over 12k IG likes, with an efficient average $15 CPA, despite the product price being 30% higher.



The advertising process was similar to the original push, start advertising to warm audiences until we reach a $12 CPA threshold & eventually integrate the ad within cold until the $15 CPA threshold. It is important to note that this secondary push did experience diminishing returns quicker than the original advertising activity. To reduce the friction of high CPA’s, Adjust Media put together 3 different ad-formats with existing assets to keep the ads fresh – Carousal, a Slideshow and a Collage.


It is important to note that TCA wouldn’t have been able to scale out Horizontally without refining their ongoing business-processes. They built relationships with local suppliers that allowed for quick turnaround times so stock was never an issue.


The overall campaign lasted roughly 8 weeks, in which we spent ~$20,000, gained over 20,000 post likes, 8,000 IG Followers, 2,000 FB Followers, moved over 6,000 units for an eCPA of $3.33. Within those 8 weeks, TCA also sold over $225,000 top-line-revenue, which is a drastic increase Y.o.Y.


Final Thoughts


Virality cannot be forced, but it can be fabricated & supported. Without TCA’s dedication to innovation, this success story would not have occurred. Even throughout the flurry of orders, TCA continued to release new products every month. We believe it’s a law of averages – the more designs/products that are launched, the higher the chance that a business will identify an outlier.


At Adjust Media, we find this to be true across all of our clients. The difference maker is the frequency of these releases. TCA was able to fabricate their viral product within 3 months due to the strict release schedule (5/month), whereas it may take a year for another business to identify theirs if they only release 1 product a month. We expect to fabricate at least 1 more viral design by the end of 2019.  


It is very difficult to maintain a release schedule like TCA does. There has to be an internal commitment to innovation and appropriate processes set up. Ultimately, an emphasis on releasing new products benefit all parties as long as it is executed properly.


At Adjust Media, we specialize in advertising new releases and maintaining momentum after that release. If you want to get in touch with us for a free advertising consultation, click here!


Always be Adjusting,

Uri W.

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