DTC 66 : 📦 👩‍💻 Add this to your email flows
May 21, 2023
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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Welcome to DTC 66.

The USA’s iconic Route 66, AKA "The Mother Highway," is the backbone of America’s original direct-to-consumer infrastructure. It paved the way to mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, hotels, and more!

Ah, simpler times. 😢

If you’re new to the DTC Newsletter, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from TeePublic, Blys, Phocus, Unreal, Näak, and Ancient Nutrition.

In this newsletter, you’ll find:

✨ Tips for converting your 1x1 feed ads into top-performing story ads.

💬 How Princess Polly earned millions in added sales revenue through an SMS flow.

📺 Four DTC Disruptors on how they use digital best practices to succeed on TV.

🔥Tips for Facebook and Email that you can implement today!

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss out. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Creative - Part 1

Creating Effective Ads for Stories

If you’re an agency or a brand owner, you should be adapting your 1x1 Facebook and Instagram Ads for 9x16 placements.

If you’re using automatic placements in Facebook ad campaigns and don’t provide story-specific creative, Facebook will take your 1x1 creative and put it in a story ad.

Facebook has taken measures to make this type of ad non-disruptive, like pulling copy and a color code to fill the ad space.  

However, when people see 1x1 creative in a story-sized placement, they immediately register it as an ad and are likely to swipe past.

Take these two ads for example. One is a 1x1 ad converted to 9x16. The other was created specifically for story format:

Feed VS. story ads offer different experiences. A feed ad is comparable to a billboard, whereas a story ad is a multidimensional interaction.

Different experiences require different creatives.

But don’t reinvent the wheel. Modify your existing 1x1 creatives to fit a 9x16 format.

Here’s an example of a 1x1 and 9x16 from Breda, using the same creative. Perfectly executed. 🚀


Princess Polly Earns Millions in Sales with SMS Marketing

You might have heard of Princess Polly, the fast-growing Australian fashion brand now captivating audiences worldwide (and especially on social media).

Princess Polly wanted to add a more personal touch to their marketing efforts as they grew, hoping to delight consumers by providing the ultimate shopping experience.

To capture the attention of new and loyal customers alike, Princess Polly turned to SMS marketing.

It worked.

SMS marketing offered Princess Polly a level of personalization that other channels just couldn’t reach.

Using Yotpo SMS, the brand was able to create perfectly tailored buyer journeys for every customer across the globe, strengthening relationships for powerful results like these:

  • 64x total ROI since launch, including 10x higher ROI from loyalty members.
  • 50% of loyalty members with SMS subscriptions.
  • 84% CVR on welcome flows with special discount codes.
  • Millions in added sales revenue.

That’s just a taste of the benefits brands can expect from a next-level SMS strategy.

👉 Click here to learn about Princess Polly’s most successful SMS campaigns, and get their tips for building (and growing) your own SMS channel today.

Creative – Part 2

Tip for converting your 1x1 to 9x16 creative:

  • You’ll have extra room at the top and bottom when converting to a story size. Activate that extra space with gifs, additional copy, stickers etc.
  • Story ads require the user to swipe up. There's an automatic reminder from Instagram, but you can leverage the extra room to add a CTA like "Swipe Up to Save," "Get Your Promo Code," or "Learn More." Story ads that emphasize the call to action perform better 89% of the time.
  • Our team is a huge fan of swipe-up effects in stories. Take a video and make it feel like it’s being swiped up – as though there’s a layer behind the video you’re watching inviting you to click on the screen and swipe up.
  • Consider stories an opportunity to go deeper with your storytelling – review how the product is made, compare color SKUs, or try out polls to engage users.
  • TIP: The Pilothouse team has had success creating ads that make it look like the user is breaking through the glass to unlock a promo. Each tap to the next story slide breaks more glass until a promo code is revealed!

Craft an experience with your ads that’s native and doesn’t disrupt the story swiping experience.

Need more story examples? Check out IG’s bank here!


This week on the pod we have DTC legend and founder of Beardbrand, Eric Bandholz.

Eric pioneered the urban beardsman market with a number of critical DTC plays, including incredible content marketing and deep customer identification and connection. Plus, he was building in public way before it was cool.

✅ Eric’s advice to DTC brand builders:  

"Address the elephant in the room that is Amazon."

Acknowledge the reality that Amazon is the major player – the equivalent to Walmart in the 90s – pushing mom and pop shops like your brand out of the way.

"In order to succeed, you have to do the things that Amazon can’t do.

Don’t try to beat Amazon at their own game – you’re probably going to lose. The key is to recognize Amazon’s weak points and lean into those strategies.

They don’t have beautiful packaging or a unique user experience full of content, videos, and photography.

Cater your business to people who don’t want the Amazon experience and you’ll carve out a niche business with lots of opportunity.

🎧 Listen to the entire pod here!


4 DTC Disruptors Use Digital Best Practices to Succeed on TV

Marketers are seeing CPMs skyrocket on social and digital channels. As their campaigns start to lose effectiveness, they're turning to TV to drive acquisition at scale using a modern, data-driven approach.

Learn how four top DTC brands – Roman, Made In, Ibotta, and Rothy’s – are leading the way on TV using the same best practices and metrics (CPV, CAC, ROAS) as digital.

You’ll learn specific lessons and strategies on how:

  • 🍳 Made In tested into premium networks at a fraction of the price, resulting in huge traffic spikes and impressive KPIs.
  • 🧑‍⚕️ Roman improved efficiency and reached a 66% incremental audience on streaming TV.
  • 🛒 Ibotta used a measurement-first approach to achieve a high rate of acquisition at a reasonable CPI.
  • 🥿 Rothy’s optimized their linear and streaming TV strategy to reach both their target audience and the audience that drove the most conversions.

👉 Read each case study to uncover a specific tactic you can apply to your linear and streaming TV strategy.


Evergreen promotion going stale on Facebook?

Change up your promo code to keep things fresh and to add a sense of urgency.

Consumers know that codes like WELCOME10 will likely be there again if they leave the page.

That gives consumers a window of opportunity to reconsider, and that’s a bad thing.

If you change your code to something more specific like SummerSale10, consumers think that the sale is only on for a limited time.

Make sure your code adds a sense of urgency!

Email Creative

Add a socials email to your flow!

Encourage social follows at the end of a welcome series. If a user gets to the end of your welcome flow and still hasn’t converted, this can help loop them into another medium/channel.

Further, use a social-focused email with older list members who haven’t engaged or purchased. They might prefer interacting with you on a different channel.

Quick Hits

👀 parcelLab: Shopify’s Kristen LaFrance on all things DTC retention (can’t miss!).

🛒 Screenshots of Shopify’s new advertising network. More to come on this!

🚀 What DTC brands gain from marketplaces.

🤳🏻 Instagram encourages eCommerce biz on their platform to use Drops feature.

🗣 Facebook tests public comments display on Facebook Stories.

🤔 Google audience expansion VS. optimized targeting: the difference explained.

🛒 Shop Pay becomes first Shopify product to extend beyond Shopify merchants.

🎥 AdAge: How lo-fi video ads can produce impressive results.

🎞 Instagram launches reel ads in all regions.


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🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🚽 Goodwipes Co-Founder Sam Nebel Chats Influencer Strategies.

😅 How iOS 14.5 Will Affect Google and Facebook Ads.

🛒 Olipop's Eli Weiss Goes Deep on Customer Experience.

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Eric Dyck, and Sadie Evans.

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