Today I’m going to show you how yoga clothing business ibuyyoga received 4.5x returns on their Facebook advertising campaigns on average across 6 months.
That meant for every 1,000 baht they put into Facebook ads, they were getting 4,500 baht back on average.
And the best part is the founders didn’t even have to be directly involved in the marketing campaigns.
Like many SME owners, ibuyyoga’s founders started out running Facebook ads by themselves.
And they grew a significant customer following by industry standards:
They had a vision to create yoga clothing that fits perfectly for Thai women, after learning that yoga-enthusiasts had to order their outfits and other yoga gear from overseas.
The founders saw a business opportunity through the ill-fitting, foreign-sized clothing. And surely enough, ibuyyoga’s products soon sold like hotcakes in Thailand.
But that was exactly the source of their core problems a few years later:
And like thousands of other businesses that use Facebook marketing, things started going downhill when Facebook started lowering their ads’ reach in late 2019.
That meant it now cost ibuyyoga more money to reach people with their ads. And they didn’t have the time nor know-how to stop their ads from becoming expensive.
ibuyyoga’s founders needed someone who would do all the marketing for them—and do a better job than they did.
That way they could go back to being the founders, and focus on developing their products and company direction.
While that obviously meant hiring an expert agency to outsource the work to, they also had to make sure that their revenue wouldn’t dip if they handed the work over to someone else.
When you do marketing campaigns, it’s either you’re getting more purchases from all the work, or you aren’t. Cut out the ‘what ifs’ and stick to KPIs that are really in line with your business’ needs.
ibuyyoga needed a way to get more sales: not comments, shares, reach or page likes.
But as we’ve learned through the years of serving clients globally, tuning your social media ads for direct purchases doesn’t always result in more sales.
Instead, the key KPI behind ibuyyoga’s success was the amount of messages they were getting in their Facebook Inbox.
Let me explain why. ibuyyoga’s primary audience—Thai women interested in yoga—have probably seen thousands of workout clothes advertised online before.
The audience needed to know how this brand of yoga gear was more worth their money compared to other brands. And that’s where messages came in.
In our experience we have found that for Thailand, messages via Facebook’s Inbox are currently the highest-converting form of communication.
Although messages require more effort, it’s generally worth all the work you put into it.
Of course Facebook ads could already show the audience what the products were all about. But at the end of the day, most people need to ask questions before making their purchase.
All sorts of discussions can happen within messages between you and the customer, from inquiries about product quality to new promotions. Even payment slips are submitted via Inbox after already making a purchase.
The KPIs for ibuyyoga were thus simple: Get more high-quality messages, while decreasing the average cost per message.
Why? If they could get more messages from people who are genuinely interested, at a cheaper cost, then we would actually be spending less to get more.
But how did we actually target these people?
The key lies in targeting audiences at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Here’s how to do it:
One of the most powerful tools in Facebook marketing is the platform’s ability to separate those who already know who you are from those who have never heard of you.
Logically you would focus aggressive promotions on people who already know who you are, because they’re more likely to buy.
Someone who has never seen your products before, on the other hand, would not understand what problem your product can solve for them. So that means lower intent to buy.
This thought process was directly reflected in ibuyyoga’s Facebook ads. We split the ads based on 2 types of audiences:
Here’s the gist of the strategy: We showed Facebook ads with Cold approaches to people who didn’t know about ibuyyoga. And if they still didn’t buy, we hit them with ads that used Remarketing approaches to ensure these people would buy.
The cold ads focused more on an educational angle to inform and persuade the audience why ibuyyoga mattered to them.
Here’s what the best-performing cold ad looked like:
The ad clearly focuses on yoga pants that fit perfectly and make the audience look good—a key pain point in Thai women who’ve so far had to order ill-fitting yoga gear from abroad.
Everything the audience needs to know is also provided in the copy section, from product benefits to pricing.
Cold ads are designed and worded as if you’re meeting the audience for the first time.
It’s like a job application, where people are first expected to send their resumes over and write a killer cover letter that shows you how their skills would benefit your company.
Then if you like their application, you’ll call them in for an interview. That’s where the remarketing starts, because they have to do whatever they can to get you to hire them.
This is where remarketing/re-targeting comes in.
Remarketing ads are designed to convince people who have already seen your product, but aren’t entirely convinced yet.
So discounts, testimonials, or the number of satisfied customers could all be good approaches to try out.
Here’s a remarketing ad promoting ibuyyoga’s clearance sale, shown to people who have already seen the cold ad above:
You can see a couple of key differences in this ad compared to the cold ad.
First, the primary focus is the clearance sale, bolstered with red designs for more urgency.
The copy is also shorter, with little focus on education and a full emphasis on a call to action, asking the audience to buy before stocks run out.
So that’s the difference between cold and remarketing ads done.
Now it’s time for the last crucial part of this strategy: knowing which products to focus more of the ad budget on.
Testing is an invaluable part of any successful digital marketing strategy. Online consumer patterns are changing so sporadically, and there’s no longer any room for a one-size-fits-all approach.
ibuyyoga’s products were the perfect example of this. To yoga fanatics, their exercise clothing and equipment were perfect for Thais who were tired of ill-fitting yoga gear.
But how did we know which of the products would sell more than the others?
That’s where A/B testing came in. This kind of testing is basically a comparison among different ad approaches to determine best practices that make the most money.
Let’s say you think people buy more blue shirts (Option A) than grey shirts (Option B). You place them next to each other at your shop, and people really do end up buying more blue shirts.
Based on that data, you start making blue pants, shoes and bags to see if they’ll sell as well, while you tone down on grey products.
This simple, grade-school analogy is actually the basis of so many successful strategies to-date.
For ibuyyoga, we tested several products’ against each other, to see which ones received the most messages at the least cost, with the most purchases in the end.
The products with the most purchases at the lowest cost per message were given most of the budget, while the under-performing products were allocated less.
The key was we tested different products with the same audience. That’s because a product that doesn’t sell well with young yoga enthusiasts, for instance, could end up being the winning product for mothers who do yoga.
With that being said, here’s what a normal diagram of A/B testing for products looks like:
So now that we’ve played down all of the info above, here are the results of all that work from steps 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3:
Here are the results of our Facebook marketing campaigns on ibuyyoga’s sales so far:
We even helped increase ibuyyoga’s average order value (also known as basket size) by 38%, meaning each buyer now spends more money on average.
But the best part was the founders could finally spend more time developing their products and moving the business forward.
They didn’t have to do the marketing work themselves anymore, plus they gained a strategic partner for digital marketing!
1. Always start with the strategy
The simplest way to develop a sustainable ad strategy is to sync your sales goals with your marketing efforts from day one.
Make your marketing efforts share 1 KPI, and tie everything back to the amount of sales you’re getting.
If the observed KPI doesn’t work, pick another KPI, hypothesize that it will effectively lead to more sales, and test it until you find a winning formula.
Here’s a high-level recap for ibuyyoga’s strategy:
a. Start with a Facebook marketing strategy focused on driving more high buying-intent messages, at the least cost per message.
b. Split the strategy to target the audience at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
c. Conduct A/B testing to learn what your best-selling products are and to manage your budget based on your sales goals.
2. Do it fast, and stick to the plan
Chances are other businesses are probably doing some variation of the strategy you need right now. And the longer you wait, the more market share you’ll lose to them.
In many companies, the bosses and their marketing teams are often surprisingly not all on the same page. And the bigger the company, the worse it gets.
Sticking to the plan by measuring 1 KPI at a time will simplify things and make everything easier for your team to follow, no matter how big the team is.