DTC 28: 📦 Best practices on Amazon Ads, Snapchat SMS, and QA
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Alexa, play The Best by Tina Turner… 

This week we asked the Pilothouse team for best practices to share with our readers, and they came through with tips for Amazon Ads, negotiating iOS 14, and QA-ing your content. 

We love 👏  to 👏 see 👏  it 👏 

New here? Welcome! You’re in good company (the best, even 😅) with fellow DTC newcomers from Beginning Boutique, The Breakfast People, Kate Somerville, Flavourly, Banza, Shiseido, and Olipop (who we just ordered a variety pack from 🎉). 

If a pal forwarded this to you, be sure to subscribe here, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 

Now pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and immerse yourself in simply the “best practises” for these key areas of focus.  

📦 Tips to enhance your Amazon store
📦 Why YOU (yes you!) need a QA strategy

📦 Our latest updates on the iOS14 situation

📦 Dylan Carpenter’s tips for local businesses entering the world of Facebook Ads

📦 An SMS strategy for Snapchat that Van Oakes blew our minds with in the DTC+ Workshop 

📦 A Pilothouse-vetted reading list 

Stick around to the end for our follow up conversation on brand experience design with Partner’s Jesse Campbell. 

Pilothouse Best Practices: Improving Your Amazon Sponsored Ads and Brand Store 

We asked the Pilothouse Amazon team the biggest mistake they see brands make when building landing pages and running ads. As usual, they delivered huge value and even shared a little secret with us – shhh 🤫 

The Problem: Most sponsored brand ads on Amazon use extremely generic headlines like “Check out our great X” or “Save money on a new X.” Users click on the ad (hopefully) and it leads to an even more generic Amazon store page. The Pilothouse team told us that 99% of sellers on Amazon create sponsored brand ads and store pages that aren’t specific enough. It not only doesn’t convert well but makes for a horrible customer experience. 

Let’s say your company sells vitamins. Most sellers would develop a boring and general headline like “Best vitamins for staying healthy” or “Most complete multivitamins.” 


The Solution: Get specific. 

Utilize data from your Facebook ads to determine a distinct angle. 

This could mean targeting certain types of customers or focusing on key value propositions. Once that’s determined, bid on specific keywords that align with that angle and create a headline. For example, Smarty Pants vitamins targeted pregnant women with the headline “Premium Vitamins from Bump to Birth”.

The final step is creating a page that links to your ads. Think of this as a landing page similar to the one you’d create for a Facebook campaign. With the majority of store pages looking unappealing, it’s important to communicate your brand through colors, pictures, copy, and even videos. The customer experience should be similar to your website. 

For this example, SmartyPants vitamins have built a landing page that focuses solely on why pregnant women should buy their products.  The copy, pictures, and value props are all targeted to this specific audience.  As a male, I can’t provide any insight as to whether pregnant women enjoy this brand, but from a marketer’s perspective, they’re crushing it. 

🤫 Now for the Secret:  At some point in 2021, Amazon will begin featuring brand stores more prominently within search results. This is a big deal considering more than 60% of all searches begin on Amazon. With this update, it’ll be even more important to have kick-ass store pages. We’ll keep you updated on when this officially rolls out, but for now, make sure your sponsored ads and pages are in tip-top shape. 

Pilothouse Best Practices: QA

Pilothouse Quality Assurance Specialist Logan Simonson joined our team a few months ago to ensure that every word that goes out to readers, clients, and customers is dialled in.

It’s really one of those positions that you don’t know you need until you have it. Everyone makes mistakes, he makes sure we catch them.

We asked Logan (known linguistics legend, dotter of i’s crosser of t’s) to create a resource for DTC brands, so they could build a Q/A process for themselves.

Share with your team and let us know how it goes!

Sponsored Content: #paid presents BANKNOTES

BANKNOTES by #paid is your online source for the latest news and insights on eCommerce, consumer brands, and the creator economy. 

Dive into podcasts and interviews with industry experts like Dave Gerhardt, Marc Lafleur, and Lindsay McCormick. Find articles on brands like Redbull, Glossier, and EM Cosmetics and how they built their empires with influencer marketing. If you're a brand, a creator, or just interested in all things e-commerce and influencer marketing, bookmark BANKNOTES today!  


iOS 14 Update: Action Items + Performance Strategies 

iOS 14 isn’t the most glamorous topic (Thank you, Apple) but it’s crucial we keep you up-to-date. Over the past month, we’ve spent lots of time gathering information and talking with our Facebook experts at Pilothouse. 

If you’re familiar with the beast that is iOS14, skip down to “Performance strategies to deploy” for our latest advice. If not, stick around for the full run down.  

First, a reminder of the changes taking place: 

Apple will be forcing all mobile apps in its store to present a popup to users which will give them the option to opt-out of traditional tracking methods used by Facebook and Google.

Keep in mind, the determining factor will be the number of iOS14 users that opt-in or opt-out. Since it hasn’t launched, this is yet to be determined by anyone.

Here’s what we know will be affected (Facebook only)  

  • Default attribution window in Facebook is changing from a 28-day click, 1-day view to 7-day click, 1-day view (in the new default view, any purchases that happen on day 8-28 after clicking a Facebook ad will no longer show in Facebook Ads Manager).
  • Optimization events will be limited to 8 events
  • Opted-out iOS14 users will be sharing fewer data points with Facebook.
  • Exclusion audiences will become less effective (ie. purchasers will still see ads).

Other items that COULD be affected: 

  • Attribution confusion for users who opted-out. Facebook will be moving to a predictive model of attribution (potentially less accurate).
  • Reporting on Facebook may look worse, even if the performance doesn’t actually change on the backend.
  • Without a real-time stream of iOS user data, it could affect the ad platform’s algorithm and its ability to target users the way it currently does.

Action items we suggest taking: 

  • Verify domains and/or SDKs have been updated.
  • Ensure the Facebook pixel and account settings comply.
  • Establish performance benchmarks pre-release.
  • Update automated rules to use the new attribution window settings.
  • Pre-select & prioritize the 8 optimization events. 

Performance strategies to deploy: 

  • Preemptively adjusting attribution windows to the new default.
  • Broadening audience targeting, in order to rely less on custom audiences.
  • Developing creative strategies that take into account the less precise targeting.
  • Working with FB reps to build personalized campaign strategies based on specific account impacts.

iOS 14 is a lot to understand. Take a deep breath and know that we’ll continue supporting you with updates and clarifications in the newsletter and on our Twitter

Resources to explore: 

Podcast Value Bomb: The Brick and Mortar Opportunity with Dylan Carpenter

This week on the pod we have Dylan Carpenter, host of the podcast Rich Ad Poor Ad and Founder/CEO of agency Koality Media.  Dylan’s worked with Fortune 500 companies and spent over $15 million on Facebook/IG ads.

Today, he’s here to chat about the brick and mortar opportunity, what local businesses can be doing to grow, and what’s happening in the ad space. 

💣 Local campaigns vs. eCommerce campaigns 

When running campaigns on a local level, Dylan recommends being highly targeted. 

Break up a lot of audiences based on job titles, basic interests, demographics. Find people most likely to convert and swap out creative every other week to find the angle that sticks. 

For nationwide eCommerce campaigns, flip the script and go broad with minimal targeting (maybe some age range).

💣 It all comes down to creative 

Regardless of whether he’s running a broad campaign for eCommerce, or a highlight-specific campaign for a local business – it all comes down to creative. For both types of campaigns, Dylan relies on interchanging creatives like crazy to appeal to different prospects. 

Dylan recommends focusing your energy on testing angles rather than audiences. Use the same creative testing out different hooks to find the perfect match. 

💣 Tips for local businesses

  • Take advantage of leads – get those email addresses. 
  • Be patient. If you’re new to the world of Facebook ads, it can take a few months to get things up and running.
  • Start out with three months of aggressive posting and commenting to build up a solid organic front. That way if you bring on a team to manage ad buys they can scale content that’s already performing on your socials.
  • Killer creative is essential.
  • Dylan recommends starting with $1500 a month of ad buying budget for 3-4 months to get the ball rolling and get a proof of concept.

💣 The algorithm is smart

Dylan recommends going more generic with 30-day exclusions on retargeting. He used to try to hack the algorithm with 1-, 7-, 14-, and 30-day exclusions on retargeting but this practice stopped killing. The more audiences he added in, and the more he told Facebook what to do, the worse his results were. 

He’s had more luck moving away from granularity and sticking with 30-day exclusions for retargeting, which gives Facebook a bigger pool to work with (plus the CPMs are lower!). 

💣 A chatbox restaurant hack 

Are you marketing restaurants? Try this strategy out (and report back).

Start with a lead-generating offer, then initiate a follow-up sequence. 

Dylan uses chatbots to share offers such as free appetizers, drinks or desserts to collect leads. The offer is claimed via chatbot, who then documents that lead in a spreadsheet. 

When the customer visits the restaurant to redeem the offer, their server clicks a button in the chatbot which then tracks that customer, and initiates sequences to reward them for their customer loyalty! 

How to build your offer? Just ask! Start with a sample size of 100 customers. Ask them what brought them in, and what would inspire them to come in if they hadn’t before. Take your top two responses and test those offers! 

A final tip? Everyone should have an email list. Whether you’re an agency or a personal brand you 👏  need 👏  a 👏   list 👏 . 

Take a listen to the full pod for Dylan’s plans for 2021, angel investing, his response to iOS 14, his crypto tips, and the wildest gift he’s received 🐢.

👀 Watch here
🎧 Listen here 

Snapchat: Growing Your SMS List with Van Oakes

Last week Van Oakes joined the DTC+ workshop to break down specific tactics for growing revenue through Snapchat ads. Van has spent close to $10M on Snapchat and won Snap Star of the year in both 2019 and 2020. 

In case you’re unfamiliar with Snapchat, here’s a rundown:

  • 300 million active daily users
  • 22% of social media users are on the platform 
  • 61% female demographic
  • 60% of snap users consume with sound on 
  • 33% will open snaps from brands they’ve never heard of 
  • Users open their app 30+ times a day 

A feature that’s extremely undervalued within Snapchat is the SMS tool and its ability to help grow your list. Van has grown his list to 700K people within 2 years because of the feature. 

How it works: 

Within Snapchat there’s a type of ad that allows users to “Swipe Up” and learn more. It usually leads to a website, landing page, or product page.  

Instead of directing to a website or landing page, there’s an option to populate a predetermined text for users to send. It’s perfect for any type of promotion or giveaway. 

Here’s an example of the user experience: 

  • Step 1: Users receive your Snapchat ad and are encouraged to swipe up.
  • Step 2: They swipe up and are presented with “I want a coupon for $20 off.” The message automatically populates within their text message app.
  • Step 3: The users hit send and receive a coupon code for $20 off.

Here’s how to set it up:  

  1. Within “select your objective,” click “engagement.” 
  2. Then click “single image or video,” and select “text” as well. 
  3. Next, enter your targeting information.
  4. Then, enter all your creative. 
  5. On the same page as creative, select “text” for your “attachment” and “CTA.”  
  6. The final step is entering a phone number. Check out different SMS platforms. 
  7. And finally, you’ll enter the message you want users to send (“I want a coupon for $20 off”). 

Growing your SMS list creates further ownership of your audience. With text message open rates at 95% and with users rarely changing their phone number, it makes a lot of sense to invest in this strategy. 

Check out the whole course (and all our other course content) for just $1!

Look for more Snapchat tips on our Twitter!

Bonus Podcast: Part Two of our Brand Experience Discussion 

Due to a scheduling snafu, we were lucky enough to chat with Jesse Campbell twice! 

Jesse is a designer and founder of Partner, specializing in design and branding for eCommerce and digital products and partnering with top 1000 Shopify Companies. 

In this pod, we delve into Jesse’s expertise in the cannabis industry (a helpful listen for anyone working with a restricted industry) and unpack brand transparency and the many different ways brands can activate transparency to build trust. 

Listen to the full pod for: 

📦 Shortcuts to help determine your brand identity 

📦 Why you need a two-pronged brand story 

📦 Trust and transparency to determine brand differentiation, and the many facets of transparency 

📦 Experiences and opinions on the rollout of legal cannabis in Canada, and transitioning from grey to white market industry

📦 Predictions for a personalization forward future for eCommerce

🎧 Listen here

👀 Watch here 

Written by @sadie__evans

DTC+ Courses

With Snapchat in the books (and in DTC+) we’re excited to return to our roots with our next Challenge. 

Build a Presell Page Challenge 👀

Presell page strategy is a fundamental aspect of DTC marketing and something that Pilothouse has built a lot of expertise around. 

Suitable for all audiences who buy traffic and would like to increase their conversions.

Join DTC+ for a dollar and check out our past courses, join our group and stick around for this challenge, because it’s going to be a doozie.

Start your $1 DTC+ trial for access to all our previous course content. 

The Influencer Flywheel Challenge, Sleep Better With Facebook’s Automated Rules, and the Stand Out with Snapchat Challenge are all up and available.

Start learning today!

Quick Hits 🥊

🙌 LinkedIn Launches on-demand courses for advertisers. It’s a much-needed move due to the number of user complaints and frustrations with the ad platform. The goal is to help advertisers see more success and achieve better leads with the help of these videos. 

💥 Jesse Campbell and why it’s crucial to “satisfy your customer’s instincts.” Check out this clip.  

📝 13 copywriting tips and tricks from the industries best. 

📲 Facebook released its emerging trends report that includes a global overview with 14 separate reports highlighting specific countries. Topics range from eCommerce and augmented reality to the convenience gap and FB marketing. 

🛍 Tik Tok creators are making big money off Amazon recommendations.

⛳️ New brand feature: Robin Golf makes premium golf clubs without the Callaway or Taylormade price. “Designed for performance. Developed for fun,” the company wants to make the game more approachable for the new or casual player. Their 9-club set costs $699 making them $300-$600 cheaper than their competitors. 

🛒 Walmart’s head of eCommerce, Marc Lore, is leaving the company after 5 years.   

📱eCommerce platform Tradeswell raises $15.5 million in series A funding. The company focuses on improving businesses’ net margins over driving more clicks/purchases.

 😂 Sea Shanties have become the latest trend on Tik Tok. Google taught us “Sea shanties are old fishing songs that were sung by sailors at sea to help get them through troubled waters.” We dare you to listen to this song and not have your spirits lifted like a mighty gust of wind just hit your sails. 

🐦 Twitter released a planning guide for Tweeting in 2021. The 108 page guide includes tips, prompts, and templates for how to Tweet. 

🤔 As the DTC world continues to explode, growth marketing agencies who support DTC brands are exploring options to build their own brands in-house. 

🌙 Moonshot: A large percentage of new DTC brands have a sustainability aspect connected to their business. Consumers, especially Gen Z, are demanding accountability in this area and as a result, it’s becoming standard practice. While many brands use it as a second or third-tier value proposition, more are beginning to lead with it. Cracker company Moonshot is the newest example. Enjoying delicious crackers is secondary and solving the climate crisis is first. It’s an aggressive move, not leading with value props such as taste, especially when your product is a cracker. Moonshot combats the challenges of this approach with an Instagram post like this one

👨‍💻Neville Medhora’s thoughts on platforms such as copy.ai using artificial intelligence to generate marketing copy. Watch here.

📺 Live streaming platform Twitch announced record numbers with 17 billion hours watched in 2020. An 83% increase compared to 2019. 

Follow us on Twitter for more quick hits! 

Written by @tschreiber2

Get Exclusive Digital Marketing Content From DTC

By signing up you agree to our terms of use