DTC 92: 📦 🥊 Combo Campaigns
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Will Ahmed, the founder of Whoop – a fitness tracker – recently posted what the inside of a Whoop looks like.

It’s a note to all the copycats out there…

Amazon engineers currently…

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Helix Sleep, Yala Jewellery, Daybreak Seaweed, The Oodie, Pip & Nut, Dash Water, and Mela. 👋

In this newsletter you’ll find:

🤑 Optimizing your campaign structures.

🌎 Growing a cultural brand with Omsom's Emily Chan.

🙅‍♂️ What NOT to do with Google ads.

🦷 Brightening those pearly whites with Spotlight Oral Care.

🚨Last week: 1 new referral = access to our influencer course!

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

Facebook Campaign structure

Tips from the Pilothouse Facebook team on prospecting VS. retargeting:

A typical Facebook campaign structure usually sits around 70% prospecting (cold TOF) and 30% retargeting (warm BOF). Most Media Buyers split campaigns out by prospecting and retargeting, but we started doing things differently about a year ago…

🤑 A useful scaling trick is the “Combo Campaign.”

Try putting BOTH your TOF prospecting PLUS your BOF retargeting ad sets in the SAME campaign.

We find that by doing this, our campaigns have more longevity and stability. If PROS is having an off day, RTG may pick up to maintain the performance you’re looking for.

It’s our go-to strategy for scaling through the iOS apocalypse and if you aren’t doing it, yah might wanna try. ;)

NOTE: The retargeting ad set will obviously get sales faster. As the “Combo Campaign” collects conversion data, your prospecting ad sets eventually start to scale. It’s an investment, but we think it’s a good one.

🧐 Structure Tip:

This is what your first Combo might look like:


Prospecting TOF
1x Open prospecting
1x Top interest prospecting
1x Top lookalike

Retargeting BOF
1x Site visitors
1x Top engagers retargeting

The Pilothouse Facebook team often runs one ad set with Instagram and Facebook Engagers going back 7 days, excluding site traffic.

Then, another retargeting ad set with website visitors, view content, and add to cart audiences stacked together going back 14 or 30 days with exclusions on purchase.


If the data privacy changes with iOS 14.5 and Google Chrome weren’t enough, Apple’s come out with another update that has marketers hitting the panic button:

Email open rates are going away in iOS 15. 😱

And as consumers request more control over their privacy, we can only expect Google and other service providers will follow suit.

But don’t worry, open rate has always been a vanity metric anyway.

Here's why—it doesn’t indicate true engagement, making it unreliable to tie back to your business goals.

So what do you do when open rates follow third-party data out the door and businesses focus on what Klaviyo calls Customer-First Data™?

Measure the things that will show the actual impact of your marketing efforts.

👉 Here are the metrics you really want to measure—straight from Klaviyo CMO Kady Srinivasan, herself!

Brand Spotlight

They say your toothpaste and oral products are approved by dentists… but what dentists?

Created by sisters Dr. Lisa and Dr. Vanessa Creaven, meet Spotlight Oral Care, the dental company that has taken TikTok by storm. 🦷✨

If you’re an avid TikTok scroller like we are, you’ve seen the DIY teeth whitening disasters (we see you charcoal, lemon, BLEACH)...

Spotlight’s teeth whitening pen has clinical, science-backed credentials and is cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and only contains the best clean, active ingredients. 🔥

Not convinced yet? Checkout their TikTok for rave reviews and responses to oral care queries. They’re absolutely CRUSHING on TikTok, so take notes!

Brushing alone isn’t going to fix your stains and yellowing. As a DTC reader, you can get 30% off here using the code below. 👇

🚨 Code = DTC30


What NOT to do with Google Ads:

We asked The Pilothouse Google team the biggest mistakes brands make when running Google Ads.

Avoid these! 👇👇👇

💰 Focusing too much on target cost per acquisition (CPA) or target return on ad spend (ROAS).

This leads to campaigns that are only at the bottom of the funnel and only interacting with those ready to buy.

Without TOF activity, your BOF will eventually dry up. Business growth requires a balance of top of funnel, middle of funnel, and bottom of funnel campaigns.

For top of funnel campaigns, think about expanding your keywords.

If it’s not possible or if the keyword bid costs for your industry make it prohibitively expensive, then utilize non-search platforms such as the Display and Discovery networks to reach people who could be interested in your business.

While Google has a wide range of pre-defined, in-market, and affinity audiences, utilizing the power of custom audiences can often be a better way to go.

Building custom audiences around your top converting keywords and competitors to help maximize the potential of non-search campaigns.

🎯 Not testing cold prospecting campaigns on the GDN:

The Google Display Network is arguably one of the most difficult channels for running profitable ads to a cold audience.

But with such a massive variety of ad types and bid strategies, and with ads that reach 98% of the accessible web, it’s borderline foolish not to test.

Display prospecting can drive up to 40% of account revenue.

⏰ Not spending enough time on Google Landing Pages:

Landing pages not only get people to convert, but they’re also part of Google’s ad rank at auction time.

Make sure your landing page matches the search term that brought them there and clearly understand the customer journey once they’ve landed on the page.

Is it a product detail page, a pre-sell page, or a lead gathering page?

Understand the type of traffic you’re targeting with your ads (prospecting, retargeting, etc.) and how you can meet their expectations.

Including social proof and testimonials can be HUGE. Make sure you get some on your pages.

🤖 Full reliance on manual or automatic bidding:

Manual bids are good to start off, but generally, it’s better to let the AI bidding kick in when enough conversions have come through.

🎥 Not tapping into YouTube’s potential

Like Facebook, people spend considerable amounts of time watching videos on YouTube – the ability to retarget previous site visitors and reach the right audiences on YT is considerable.

If you’re using the normal skippable in-stream video ads, then people have to wait 5 seconds before they can skip.

There’s SO much you can cram into 5 seconds, particularly when compared to static ads on Google’s Display and Discovery platforms.

Get those first 5 seconds down, and your view rates and click rates will soar.

📊 Not setting up conversion tracking correctly

It’s insane how many accounts out there are double-counting or at least inflating conversions in some way or another due to poor tracking.

This severely skews the efficacy of every automated bidding strategy, as Google will assume it is converting at a much higher rate than it actually is, and will not optimize your ads as effectively.

Setup one main Google Ads (website) conversion action that has the “Include in Conversions” setting on “Yes” (make that your account default)

Then, if required, set up other conversion actions but make sure the ‘Include in Conversions’ is set to No.

You can always override this at the campaign level if you want to focus a top-of-funnel campaign on email signups, as opposed to the main conversion action which is for website purchases.

If you want to learn more about the above strategies, reach out to Pilothouse Google.


🚀 Boost your marketing with UGC!

UGC is the best type of content for breaking through the noise on your marketing channels. But how do DTC brands manage high-performing UGC campaigns at scale?

Enter: minisocial.

minisocial scales your micro influencer strategy while generating hundreds of beautiful, fully-licensed UGC assets for you to use across all of your brand’s marketing channels.

Imperfect Foods, Native, and Olipop use minisocial to create share-worthy, fully-licensed content at scale on their social media accounts, acquisition channels, email campaigns, and even their website.

Don't take our word for it, check out minisocial case studies here.👀

Want to give it a try? DTC Newsletter readers get 15% off their first campaign, just mention this ad.

👉 Learn more here, or schedule a free strategy call.


This week on the pod, we brought on Emily Chan, Marketing Director at Omsom, to talk about this fiery CPG brand’s growth journey. 🔥

Omsom is on a mission to provide bright, authentic, and “downright rowdy” Asian flavors to kitchens across America with delicious, convenient meal starter kits.

Since they launched in May 2020, they’ve experienced explosive success – thanks to an authentic brand story, organic marketing, amazing products, and maybe a touch of good timing (remember when we all became Quarantine Chefs?).

Here’s how this proud, loud brand is going mainstream while maintaining their cultural integrity.

‍The Takeaways: 👇

💥 Omsom’s most impactful growth strategies:

Four words: Killer organic content marketing.

In fact, 90% of Omsom’s growth has been organic.

Over the last year, they’ve focused their growth efforts on sharing content via social media (Instagram and TikTok) and their blog.

Some of the content that’s worked well for them:

  1. “Vibe Checks:” Relatable memes about Asian food and culture.
  2. “Real Talks:” Grittier, authentic, behind-the-scenes look at the business, supply chain, and culture.
  3. Educational pieces: Dispelling myths and tropes that affect BIPOC communities like the grocery “ethnic aisle” or xenophobic origin stories for MSG.

Sharing valuable, relatable, and educational content is one of the secrets of Omsom’s success.

We dig it. 👏

🤳 How Omsom got over 250K views on their first TikTok post:

Omsom’s very first TikTok video absolutely exploded. 🤯

“We got really lucky for our first TikTok. It was our founding story, Kim and Vanessa talking about how they founded the brand with some stitches of childhood photos… Immediately we had, like, 242K views.”

Due to the random nature of TikTok, it’s been hard to match the success of that first video…

But it just goes to show that nailing your founder story early-on is a key factor in the growth of your brand!

💰 Tips to boosting AOV:

Increasing AOV was one of Omsom’s biggest challenges when they launched. At the time, they had only one product line, and the highest price point was $25.

Here’s how they’ve steadily increased their AOV since then 🚀:

  • Slightly discounted bundles.
  • Samples of products in “Try ’em All” sets.
  • Upsells in-cart, post-purchase (Shopify’s co-op app), and email flows.

They also continue to analyze what their customers are buying together, and then use that data to strategically add more offers.

👉 Listen to the full pod with Emily Chan of Omsom here!

Quick Hits

🤑 Say goodbye to “where’s my order?” inquiries. Bring your tracking experience into the 21st century and boost profits with Route for Merchants.

📈 Introducing Facebook graph API v12.0 and marketing API v12.0.

👥 Survey reveals that UGC can drive improved trust and loyalty for eCommerce brands.

🧠 “We're going back to the drawing board:” DTC brands brace for more anti-tracking headaches.

🎧 YouTube launches first podcast, exploring how online creators have found success.

👍 Instagram is developing a new 'Montage' feature to convert stories to reels, plus new 'Favorites' listing.

🛍 Walmart teams up with Ford to test self-driving deliveries.

💬 Login Connect with Messenger now generally available to verified businesses.

🕵️‍♀️ The 'Facebook Files' investigation highlights key concerns in the platform's approach.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🌎 Omsom’s Emily Chan shares the secret behind 90% of their growth and it’s NOT paid ads

🛍 Building the future of online marketplaces with Matt Hayes, Co-Founder of The Fascination.

👩‍💻 Nestle's Orchid Bertelsen on strategies that scale across 30+ brands (and the metaverse).

🤑 How this DTC brand grew 1000% in one year with David Gaylord, CEO of Bushbalm.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Kelsey Hess, and Rebecca Knight.

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