Big Barker: The Manual Product Catalog Strategy That Helped Us Profitably Scale Campaigns to Cold Traffic


Big Barker Case Study | Tier 11
Big Barker Case Study | Tier 11

Have you ever had a hard time scaling up your ad campaigns?

Sometimes it feels like you’ve hit a ceiling, and no matter what you do, you just can’t generate any more sales while remaining profitable.

When Big Barker came to us, that was exactly their problem. They had reached a certain level of success with Facebook ads, but they hit a ceiling and they couldn’t seem to get past it.

Fortunately, they came to the right agency. Scaling up is what Tier 11 does.

Big Barker manufactures orthopedic beds for large dogs. They make some of the best dog beds on the market, but unlike eCommerce companies with a large product catalog, Big Barker has only one core product.

And that presents a special challenge when you’re trying to scale up your marketing while remaining profitable.

Nevertheless, we were more than up for the challenge. We met with Big Barker and agreed on a goal: scale up their campaigns while shooting for an account-wide ROAS of 2x.

The first step, as always, was to do a deep-dive analysis of their current campaigns. We needed to find out what was working, what wasn’t, and where they were missing opportunities to grow and scale by reaching more dog owners.

Our Audit Revealed Some Hidden Opportunities

One of the first things we noticed, when auditing their Facebook account, was that Big Barker was using conversion campaigns almost exclusively.

We see this in a lot of accounts. Marketers have a tendency to focus on conversions as the only campaign goal that they optimize for. And this is perfectly understandable, since conversions and sales are what most businesses want.

But one thing we’ve learned in Tier 11 (after spending millions of dollars on Facebook & Instagram advertising) is that using a variety of campaign objectives—like optimizing for traffic and engagement, in addition to conversions—can actually help you to reach different people in your primary demographic audiences.

This is because Facebook will show your ads to different people depending on your campaign goal. So, a campaign with the goal of “Traffic” will reach a different group of people than your “Conversion” campaigns, even if they’re targeting the same interests and demographics.

So, targeting a greater variety of campaign goals is an effective way to increase your reach, helping you to scale bigger and faster.

And we’re able to really maximize this opportunity by leveraging The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™ to implement campaign hygiene.

What Is Campaign Hygiene, And Why Is It Essential to Scaling Up Campaigns?

The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™ is a system we developed to organize Facebook campaigns according to audience types and traffic levels. Using this system helps ensure that every visitor is shown the best possible ad given their location in your marketing funnel.

Here’s what it looks like:

The Ecommerce Ad AmplifierBy implementing this system in Big Barker’s account, we were able to make each of their campaigns much more dialed-in and focused. Now we could measure the performance of every campaign and ad set for very specific audiences—and anytime something wasn’t working, we had much more control over how to fix it.

This is what we mean by “campaign hygiene.”

With an account-wide system like The eComm Ad Amplifier™ in place, it becomes much easier to spot winners and losers and ultimately optimize the performance of the entire account.

In a nutshell, it’s essential to scaling up your campaigns. That’s why it’s always one of the first things we do when taking over an ad account.

At this point, we noticed another opportunity in Big Barker’s campaigns to increase scale by leveraging additional ad types. But one of these in particular, dynamic product catalog ads, presented us with a barrier.

We Ran Into One Big Challenge…

Dynamic product ads (DPAs) are the bread and butter of most eCommerce companies on Facebook. We make heavy use of them in accounts across many different industries, and they are often the best-performing ads for retargeting.

DPAs allow you to display a carousel-type ad with several different products. Here’s an example:

These are some of our favorite ad types on Facebook. They work really well for retargeting, and we’ve even used them to successfully target cold traffic.

Big Barker had never tested a product catalog ad campaign. There was definitely an opportunity there!

…but there was also a challenge.

Big Barker only offers one core product: dog beds. Yes, they offer different colors and styles, but they are all just different variations on the same thing.

As a result, their product catalog looked like this:

Big Barker Facebook CatalogAs you can see, most of the images look the exact same. There’s not a whole lot of product differentiation there. Nothing is super compelling.

So, our challenge became:

How can we successfully leverage catalog ads when we only have one core product?

At this point, a lot of agencies would have given up on product ads. But we knew that would be taking the easy way out.

So instead, we found a way around this problem by taking a unique approach to catalog ads.

Our Unique Product Catalog Ads Strategy

OK, we knew DPAs wouldn’t work. The products and images were just too similar to one another, and if Facebook tried to display multiple products dynamically, it would just look like the same product over and over.

So instead, we created a manual product catalog.

In other words, we manually set up a carousel ad consisting of several different product images and headlines. And instead of using this ad format to feature multiple products, we used it to call out different product and company benefits.

Specifically, we wanted to call attention to the fact that these dog beds…

  • Support your dog’s joints
  • Are big enough for really big dogs
  • Are made in the USA
  • Come with a 10-year warranty
  • Have delighted real dog owners

We used these benefits in lieu of the product name. To give you a better idea, here’s what the ad looked like in the newsfeed:

See how this almost tells a little story?

You click through the carousel and each panel gives you a different benefit, a new reason to choose Big Barker for your dog bed. This narrative form builds confidence in the product (though benefits like “Supports joints”) while reinforcing brand values (like “Made in the USA”).

In essence, it allows you to demonstrate more benefits than you normally would in a standard ad.

You’ll notice we also varied up the product images so it wasn’t just the same picture over and over. We did that by leveraging user-generated content of different dogs lying on the beds. And for variety, we made sure to include all the different colors.

Here’s what our new product catalog looked like:

Much better, right?

And because these are real pictures of real dogs using the product, they come across as very genuine.

As for the copy, we kept that pretty simple and straightforward to keep the focus on the carousel. For one variation, we used a version of the tagline that we’ve been using in a lot of ads with great success:

But, of course, we tested that against different variations, such as including some of their legacy ad copy:

At the end of the day, this innovative approach meant that we were able to run product catalog ads even though the client only really offered one core product.

And as a result, we were able to present that product to prospects in a unique and compelling way.

(Seeing some of your own company in Big Barker’s experience? Get in touch with our team to explore working with us and let’s see where we can scale your business!)

How Do These Ads Fit into The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™?

So far, we’ve focused a lot on our use of manual product ads. But now let’s take a step back and look at the big picture for a moment.

Where do these manual DPAs fit in with the rest of Big Barker’s Facebook advertising?

Generally, we find DPAs to be most effective in Levels 3-5 of The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™. In other words, we don’t usually show these ads to cold traffic (Level 1) or people who have engaged on Facebook but have not yet visited the website (Level 2).

In Big Barker’s case, we used manual DPAs to great effect in Level 3 and Level 4:

Level 3 includes anyone who has triggered what Facebook calls a “View Content” pixel on their website. But in layman’s terms, it just means that the person visited one or more of your product pages.

Level 4 includes anyone who added a product to their cart, but didn’t complete their purchase.

So you may be wondering:

Why do DPAs work so well with these audiences and not Levels 1 and 2?

Keep in mind that DPAs are a very product-focused ad, so they tend to work best when the person has at least some familiarity with the product. And how do we know if the person is familiar with the product?

Because they visited the product page! (Which, again, is Level 3.)

Once a person has reached Level 3 of The eComm Ad Amplifier™, we can safely assume that they’re at least somewhat familiar with the product. And when they reach Level 4, they’re not only familiar with the product—they’re definitely interested in it, because they’ve added it to their shopping cart.

When we hit Level 3 and Level 4 audiences with a DPA, we know they’ll instantly recognize the product. This gives us a great opportunity to remind them about the product and its primary benefits. It’s a chance to tell them, again, how great the product is.

And in Big Barker’s case, because of the strategy we used with their manual DPAs, we were able to remind people of 5-6 important benefits about the company and the product.

One last question you might have is:

What about Level 5? Why didn’t we show the manual DPAs to that audience?

Level 5 includes people who have already made a purchase. For some companies, Level 5 is a highly profitable audience for promoting cross-sells, re-orders, and new products.

But since Big Barker has just one core product, anyone in Level 5 would have already bought that product—so it wouldn’t have made sense to promote it to them again.

What Were the Results?

Remember that our account-wide goal to achieve a 2X ROAS (return on ad spend). And when I say “account-wide,” that means it includes things like retargeting ads—which typically convert better and bring up the overall ROAS in your account.

Using this manual product catalog strategy for Big Barker, we were able to exceed that goal on cold traffic alone.

That’s right, we generated an ROAS over 2.3x on cold traffic:

And when you factor in our other campaigns (like remarketing), we were able to generate even better results for Big Barker and exceed their expectations even more.

Big Takeaway: Innovation + A Strategic Approach Can Work Wonders

There are two big things to take away from this case study:

  • Once you’ve already taken advantage of the low-hanging fruit in your market, the only way to continue scaling up is through a comprehensive strategic approach.
  • Sometimes you have to think outside the box of what normally works to surpass your current limitations.

You really need both to succeed.

The strategic approach gives you a framework for success. Without it, even great ads and targeting will only take you so far.

We’ve mastered this approach through the use of The eCommerce Ad Amplifier™, which is what enables us to help companies scale their campaigns so reliably.

But we also had to get creative. Because Big Barker has only one core product, we weren’t able to leverage DPAs. And that was a big limitation.

The manual product catalog strategy we developed in this account was a huge breakthrough, and enabled us to take their results to the next level.

One of the benefits to working with a dedicated Facebook/Instagram agency like Tier 11 is that you’re working with experts who are intimately familiar with the platform.

We do this stuff all day, every day. We understand the platform and the algorithm. We know what works and what doesn’t. And as a result, we’re able to see and take advantage of opportunities to get creative with ad formats that can be used in a number of flexible ways.

If you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling in your own Facebook/Instagram campaigns, let’s talk! One of our Facebook ad experts will be happy to dig into your account and find some places where we can help you to grow more profitably.

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