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Bushy eyebrows and $50k per day on Facebook ads: How a small beauty brand blew up

Wunderbrow_ANCHOR

If you’re female, aged anywhere between 25 and 60, and based in the UK or perhaps the US, it’s entirely likely you may have been targeted on Facebook by an eyebrow product called Wunderbrow of late.

If not there, perhaps you’ve read an online editorial about it, spotted it on the London Underground, seen it in various print magazines, or even watched it on television. You may additionally have noticed it popping to the top of the best-seller lists in its category on Amazon.

Riding the crest of a key beauty trend for prominent eyebrows (driven largely by celebrities like Cara Delevingne and her own bushy pair) this small, relatively unknown brand has been steadily and consistently maximising paid media in a bid to drive user acquisition for just over a year.

Head over to Forbes to read the full story about how a $50,000 per day Facebook spend, coupled with savvy native advertising, has helped it grow 30-fold as a business in just over a year.

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business data mobile technology

Knowing people: how understanding audience through tech is changing fashion

MatchesFashion.com now sees 85% of its business taking place online
MatchesFashion.com now sees 85% of its business taking place online

In the fiercely competitive retail fashion world, the winners will be those who really understand their customers and can tailor messages to reach them in the moments that matter. That was the key message from a panel discussion at Advertising Week Europe in London this week, where speakers discussed the merging of the online and offline worlds, the increasing role of the smartphone as a bridge between the two, and how best to serve such omni-shoppers.

Ulric Jerome, CEO of Matchesfashion.com, said that 85% of the luxury retailer’s turnover now comes from online – and 42% of that from mobile. This compares to 100% of sales from physical retail just five years ago.

Those figures are particularly high for the luxury sector, which on average sees just 6% of sales from e-commerce, but statistics from McKinsey show that 75% of luxury purchases globally today – even if then taking place in store – are influenced by at least one digital touchpoint. That means that three quarters of all luxury consumers take note of what they see, do and hear about your brand online along their path to purchase.

MatchesFashion.com added that bringing in a heavy focus on customer service and personalisation via technology in the physical store has also helped upselling. Sales assistants guide purchases via an iPad-based clienteling app, which has resulted in some of its 12 doors in London putting more than 50% of sales through these devices.

“What the customer wants, regardless of the channel, is the opportunity to have more choice. When they walk into the store they can only see 10-15% of inventory but through technology we can bring the entire inventory to their doorstep,” Jerome explained.

Ulric Jerome of MatchesFashion.com, Josie Roscop of River Island, Eileen Naughton of Google, and Rachel Arthur of Fashion & Mash
Ulric Jerome of MatchesFashion.com, Josie Roscop of River Island, Eileen Naughton of Google, and Rachel Arthur of Fashion & Mash

Josie Roscop, customer director at River Island, meanwhile talked about a willingness to test and learn to see what works for shoppers. She is currently testing with Google’s Local Inventory Ads for instance. “That sort of service is great for the customer. We should then have more data to understand how mobile is influencing store purchases and plan our marketing activity around some of that information.”

She added that the big challenge was to integrate the data generated across touchpoints to build a single customer view (SCV). Such insights drawn from a SCV can then help craft personalised experiences for online audiences that can be carried over into offline conversations when they walk into store. “For us it’s about thinking about customers first, and channels and product second, so we’re making decisions based on what we know customers want and need.”

The ability to measure each of such touchpoints along the customer journey is also vital. Eileen Naughton, Google’s managing director of the UK and Ireland, said that tools like Google’s Store Visits can help identify how online investment translates into footfall and sales. This is a tool that tracks the number of clicks on search ads that result in an in-store visit over the following 30 days.

With the help of Google’s audience solutions, retailers then have insight into whether people searching are new prospects or loyal customers, whether they are first time visitors to the website or app, or returning. This means retailers now have the ability to target audiences with greater precision by defining bidding and creative according to their relationship with the searcher.

Said Naughton: “If you know search, you know people. [Consumers] expect personalisation and relevance, and now you can provide personalised results to their searches.” She predicted that by 2016 a quarter of all UK Google search traffic will be audience targeted in some way – and some players will have up to 70-80% of their search investment containing a form of this data layer.

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data film

Which UK Christmas ad really grabbed us? You might be surprised

Marksandspencer

Christmas ads used to be all about selling product. Brands and retailers would dust off the Rat Pack Christmas album, add in some sparkly frocks and set the scene at a dinner party, office party or some other kind of party and there it was. Today though, those Christmas ads are spectaculars that have to build brand awareness, do some social/environmental good and set social media buzzing.

And they have to be emotionally engaging. So I was particularly interested in ICM Unlimited’s webcam survey that tracked consumer reaction to the ads from the UK’s big high street retailers.

They used webcams as part of a survey to capture emotions on faces during a screening of six festive ads. ICM Unlimited found that The Art of Christmas from M&S came top, just beating Sainsbury’s Mog ad as the most emotionally engaging ad. M&S was higher up the emotional engagement scale than any of the other ads tested using ‘facial coding’ and also beat Tesco, John Lewis, Asda and Boots.

ICM Unlimited and CrowdEmotion rated six ads based on a score for happiness, surprise, puzzlement, disgust, fear and sadness. Emotional engagement for the ads was compared against explicit appreciation – did audiences say that they enjoyed the ad? Based on the results, retailers fell into in one of four categories: Love It, Hate It, Needs Work or Guilty Pleasures.

Tom Wormald, director at ICM Unlimited, said: “In surveys, people claim they don’t respond to – or are not influenced by – TV advertising. But using a webcam we can prove we go on an emotional rollercoaster when watching commercials, meaning the ads are influencing our attitudes and behaviours in ways we often don’t even realise.

“The M&S ad sat firmly in our ‘Guilty Pleasures’ category because although people claimed not to like it, the emotional response shows that it brings a lot of ‘happiness’. Sainsbury’s triggered a positive ‘puzzlement’ response driven by curiosity about the storyline. A fast-paced but disjointed narrative from Boots registered a sense of ‘fear’ – it made people feel uncertain. We even detected a sense of ‘disgust’ in responses to some ads, possibly because viewers might feel manipulated by some parts of an advert.”

This is what ICM said about each one:

M&S – The Art of Christmas: Winner in ‘emotional engagement’ – happiness everywhere

This came up top as the most emotionally engaging advert, filled with extravagant visuals and using Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk as the soundtrack. Upbeat and colourful, peppered with images of gift giving, feasting and excitement, this ad closes nostalgically with fleeting images of Morecambe & Wise. The ad really takes off with shots of children waking then jumping excitedly on beds. Here the facial expressions were all about happiness – 133% higher than the norm of the ads tested.

Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity: Curiosity and the cat make this a favourite

High explicit appreciation and emotional engagement contributed to the success of this ad. Viewers experienced ‘fear’ at the start because when people see cute animals their protective instincts kick in – and that translates into fear of danger. But the ad’s humour quickly produces high scores for ‘happiness’, some 85% above the ad norm when Mog is spun around on a ceiling fan in the kitchen. The Sainsbury’s story created a strong sense of ‘puzzlement’ and curiosity too – scoring 150% higher for these emotions than the John Lewis ad.

Tesco finest Range – Flirt: Puzzlement and disgust

The sight of an awkward young man trying to impress a confident older woman with his tastes in desserts, cheese and wine also brought mixed emotions. There was ‘puzzlement’ about whether the flirty son would be put in his place. The young man’s insistence on seeking the older woman’s attention created a sense of ‘disgust’. But ‘happiness’ peaks when the young man’s mother arrives to put him down by showing her son some boys-sized pyjamas.

John Lewis – Man on The Moon: Experience the full range of emotions

This is the ad everyone wanted to hate (low explicit appreciation scores), but secretly loved (sound emotional engagement scores). Featuring a young girl making contact with the Man on the Moon, the ad is unusual and resulted in higher ‘surprise’ scores (40% more than Sainsbury’s Mog the Cat). It also registered ‘disgust’, with viewers possibly rejecting the ad for its use of feelings of guilt and pathos towards the elderly. Man on the Moon also scored 22% more ‘sadness’ compared to Mog the Cat.

Asda – Because it’s Christmas: Cute Pug dog with antlers hits the high point

Asda’s ad performed poorly on ‘explicit appreciation’ and ‘emotional engagement’. Despite the upbeat soundtrack and visuals, viewers felt the ad lacked a clear narrative. But there were some high points with ‘happiness’ surging to 60% above the norm when the cute Pug dog with antlers appears.

Boots – Discover More: Peaks of fear and disgust sprinkled with some happiness

Viewers saw the Boots ad as lacking a narrative. There were small peaks of ‘fear’, possibly due to a sense of disorientation as the ad moved quickly from scene to scene. Viewers also registered spikes of ‘disgust’, probably due to the heavy emphasis on product placement and limited human interaction, which can leave audiences feeling manipulated. Near the end there are small peaks of ‘happiness’ as a woman finally makes eye contact and waves to viewers.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday