Wicked Weasel: How We Went from Unable to Advertise on Facebook to Averaging a 3x ROAS


There are all kinds of challenges that can come up when you’re advertising on Facebook.

Many of our clients have had trouble scaling up their campaigns, so they turn to us to help them reach more people while maintaining a profit. (In many cases, we can achieve this while improving their profitability.)

But in this case study, we had to deal primarily with a different kind of problem: Facebook compliance.

Facebook is understandably protective of their platform, and they don’t want companies promoting inappropriate images to users. This isn’t an issue for most advertisers, but when you’re a business like Wicked Weasel—whose entire brand identity is wrapped up in a certain sexual image—it can present a special challenge.

Here’s how we solved it.

Wicked Weasel Had One Big Problem…

When Wicked Weasel came on board, it’s fair to say they were having trouble with their Facebook ads.

Their branding had historically been very risqué, involving revealing images that violated Facebook’s advertising policies. To make matters worse, they had been under the impression that they could use these images in their Facebook ads. (This is actually way more common than you would think! After all, how can you blame businesses for thinking their products — sexy or not — would be in violation if they don’t hurt or offend anyone?)

As a result, we had very little image or video assets that we could actually use on Facebook.

So, when they came to us and gave us the goal of getting their ads accepted and achieving a 1.5x ROAS, we knew it would be a challenge.

But these are the kind of challenges we thrive on, and we were more than willing to take this one on.

The Benefit of Having a Facebook Partner Manager

Step one was simply getting their ads to be Facebook-compliant. But that was going to be difficult, because as we mentioned, we had practically no images or videos that Facebook would allow.

So the first thing we did was to enlist the help of our Facebook Partner Manager to coach Wicked Weasel on how to create policy-compliant assets…without sacrificing their brand image.

We did it by encouraging them to concentrate on more “lifestyle” assets rather than the overtly sexual model close-ups they had been using in the past.

Here’s an example of one of their new, Facebook-compliant ad images:

Wicked Weasel Facebook Compliant adIt still projects the image they want, but we zoomed the picture out so it’s not quite so explicitly sexual. This also allows us to show the models more in context. Instead of simply focusing 100% on the swimsuit itself, we can show the swimsuit being used in its intended environment—beaches, pools, and other tropical paradises.

(Struggling with making your business Facebook-friendly? Let us help. Click below to tell us more about your brand and advertising goals!)

The Ad Strategy We Used to Maximize Clicks

For this kind of product—swimsuits and bikinis—you don’t need a lot of copy. It’s primarily a visual product, so mainly people want to see what it looks like.

That’s why we kept the copy short, letting the image be the focus of the ad.

As for what we actually said in the copy, we stuck to a simple yet effective formula:

A new twist on a classic bestseller.

This is a great product hook because in just a couple words you can quickly communicate 2 very powerful marketing messages:

  • This is something new. (Promises novelty.)
  • This is a best-seller. (Indicates social proof.)

Here are some examples:

“Our classic, best-selling bikini, with a new twist.”

Wicked Weasel Case Study Ad Example“Our best-selling collection, now with new colors and fresh design.”

Wicked Weasel Ad Example 3“Our best-selling collection, with a new attitude.”

Wicked Weasel Lifestyle Facebook Ad“Our classic, best-selling bikini, with a new twist.”

Wicked Weasel Lifestyle Facebook AdNotice how this copy, even though it’s short, leaves a little bit of mystery in the reader’s mind.

When the ad promises “a new twist,” “a new color,” or “a new attitude,” the reader naturally wonders:

What is the new twist/color/attitude?

And they’ll want to click the ad to find out.

The Targeting Strategy We Used to Move Prospects Down the Funnel

When deciding on a structure for Wicked Weasel’s new campaigns, we turned to The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™ to provide more targeted messaging for prospects at different levels in the customer journey.

If you aren’t familiar with The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™, here’s an overview:

The idea is simple, but very powerful on a platform with detailed tracking abilities (like Facebook).

Each of the 5 Levels of The eComm Ad Amplifier™ corresponds to an increasing degree of engagement with the company and its products:

Level 1 is cold traffic—people who have not yet heard about you.

Level 2 traffic includes people who have engaged with you on Facebook, but not yet visited your product page.

Level 3 traffic includes people who have viewed your product page, but not yet added a product to their cart.

Level 4 traffic includes people who have added a product to their cart, but not yet completed a purchase.

Level 5 traffic includes customers (people who have completed at least one purchase).

Generally speaking, the higher the traffic Level, the more engaged and interested the person is in your product or service. And we can use this information to show more targeted messages in our Facebook ads.

For Wicked Weasel, we used a short, strong hook to grab people’s attention at Level 1. Our goal wasn’t necessarily to sell the product right off the bat (although some people do buy right away). Instead, we wanted to make sure the person saw the ad and engaged with it.

This way when we followed up again with the next ad, the person recognized the brand and was more likely to pay attention to the ad. At these later stages (Levels 2, 3, and 4), we used copy that focused more on the product- and company-specific benefits to explain to people why they should buy.

It’s a strategy that follows the time-tested AIDA formula. AIDA stands for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

The Level 1 ad grabs the user’s attention. Then the Level 2-4 ads generate interest and desire. Combine that with a strong call-to-action on the website, and you’ve got a formula for a successful ad campaign.

What Were the Results?

When Wicked Weasel came to us, they couldn’t get their risqué ads approved…but they didn’t want to compromise their brand identity, either.

Fortunately, by focusing on more lifestyle-focused images we were able to help them get the best of both worlds.

And by leveraging The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™ to display more targeted messaging based on each prospect’s location in the funnel, we were able to blow their goals out of the water:

Instead of generating a 1.5x ROAS, we hit 3x consistently—delivering their ads with twice the profitability that they were hoping for.

Even more importantly, we helped them to unlock a huge marketing channel that had previously been unavailable to them. Now the sky’s the limit for Wicked Weasel.

Don’t Let a Non-Compliant Image Cause You to Miss Out on Facebook Ads

In today’s marketing world, Facebook advertising presents a HUGE opportunity for advertisers to reach billions of people around the world.

And as we’ve proven time and time again, it can work in a wide variety of industries.

But what do you do if your brand image isn’t family-friendly enough for Facebook’s tastes?

Does that mean you have to miss out on this massive online opportunity?

Fortunately, no. As you learned in this case study, it’s often possible to tweak your image and message to comply with Facebook’s policies—while still remaining true to your brand identity.

Part of the reason we were so successful in coaching Wicked Weasel’s team was the invaluable input from our Facebook Partner Manager. Having a contact in Facebook who can give you their insight into issues like this is a big benefit to trusting an Certified Facebook Partner agency like Tier 11 with your Facebook strategy.

If you’d like to give that kind of benefit for your own company, let’s talk about it!. One of our certified Facebook experts will be happy to sit down with you and learn how we can help solve the unique challenges in your business.

Want To Accelerate Your Growth
With Facebook & Instagram?

We’ve helped hundreds of businesses like yours scale on Facebook.
Here are the key things that separate the big winners from the ones who never scale.

Not Ready to Apply?

We’re still here to help! Get our free guide
“The CMO’s 2022 Guide to Picking the RIGHT Marketing Agency”