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From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards

Social Selling, Deluxe Edition

Entered in Retail & E-Commerce

About this entry

Established in 1849 in Dublin, Ireland, Brown Thomas (BT) is synonymous with luxury and sophistication. Now part of Selfridges Group, Brown Thomas stores provide elegant shopping experience through four iconic retail destinations nationwide, with over 70% of all sales in-store generated by returning customers who can enjoy exclusive benefits as part of the BT Loyalty Card scheme.

Bringing this unique experience online, has been transactional since 2013, growing rapidly to become an important driver of revenue (around 5% of total sales).

For the second half of 2017, Brown Thomas set us two targets: to increase traffic from Social by 10% and drive sales. Our revenue target was very ambitious: ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) of 7:1. In other words, to deliver €7 in revenue for every €1 spent on social advertising. While ROAS of 4:1 is pretty achievable for conversion-driving channels like AdWords, such expectations set out for Paid Social were rather unheard of!

Shopping at Brown Thomas is nearly a theatrical experience: the luxurious interiors, the attentive staff, the exclusive brands make every customer feel special. We decided to reflect that experience on social – by carefully mapping out each stage of the customer journey and investing in immersive creative, we set out to convince them on Facebook and Instagram to buy designer goods from the comfort of their sofa.

This is the story of how our campaigns generated ROAS of up to 34:1 (!)

Why does this entry deserve to win?

In order to meet these objectives and drive business results for Brown Thomas, we implemented a number of smart targeting tactics and innovations on Facebook and Instagram, including:

The Full-Funnel Approach - Bringing THAT luxe experience on social:

For a high-end brand like Brown Thomas, it was important that our social ads were reflecting that luxurious experience as closely as possible. By activating creative ad formats at each stage of the conversion funnel, we designed an immersive user experience, including:

> Insta-ready Slideshow Ads in a square format driving awareness;

> Insta Story Ads, reaching fashion-aware Millennials, driving engagement.

> Canvas Ads serving as a digital catalogue and showcasing BT's exclusive brands and driving interest;

> Collection Ads feat. inspirational creative and product details and driving consideration;

> Dynamic Product Ads driving conversions;

Granular Custom Audience Collection, Segmentation and Remarketing Strategy

BT customers remain one of the most loyal shoppers in Ireland – Returning Visitors drive over 70% of transactions and 73% of revenue. A vital part of our targeting strategy was remarketing to Custom Audiences based on the user relationship with Brown Thomas – these included:

> Collecting Custom Audiences at every stage of their path to purchase: Instagram Engagers, Canvas and Collection Openers, Video Viewers, Web Visitors, Cart Abandoners, High-Value Converters;

> Turning engagement into sales by remarketing to these users with conversion-focused ads;

> upselling to existing customers captured in BT's CRM databases;

> Targeting Offline Buyers to drive sales in-store;

Dynamic Product Ads Strategy

To ensure that we reconnect with shoppers and convince them to complete the transaction, we activated Dynamic Product Ads (DPA). Based on the retailer's product feed, DPAs automatically promote the right product and up-to-date pricing to people who have viewed it on BT's website or elsewhere on the Internet.

Innovations within DPAs included:

> Scale – our DPA ads cover all products available in BT's online catalogue;

> Product Feed segmentation (brands, categories)

> Ad copy - customising messaging to individual users;

> Offer incentives to Cart Abandoners;

> Creative customisation (intro-cards, special offers);

> "Stolen Revenue" – targeting users viewing products at competitors' websites;

> "Forgotten Revenue" – remarketing to users who viewed a product 90 days ago but haven't purchased.

Offline Sales Tracking

Shopping in-store consists of 95% of overall sales, so it was important for us to demonstrate how much of that revenue was driven by social. In March this year, the dream has become a reality thanks to Facebook's offline events tracking. By uploading data from BT sales reports to Facebook and cross-referencing these sales against people who clicked on our ads, we were able to attribute these offline conversions to specific campaigns, and even ads!


Our objective was to increase traffic by 10% from Social. According to Google Analytics, traffic from Social has almost tripled – and most importantly, these users were visiting the website with a credit card in hand!

> Sessions: +272% Year-on-Year

> Transactions: +312% Y-o-Y

> Revenue: +297% Y-o-Y

Closing the ROPO Gap

With Offline Events tracking and reporting in place, the challenge of ROPO was no longer our concern. Once we're able to accurately track revenue from our ads, we discovered that for every €1 that users spend on the website, additional €10 are being spent in-store! This was a real "Iceberg Moment": we were now able to unearth thousands of euros in revenue which otherwise wouldn't be attributed to Paid Social!


Our revenue target was set incredibly high… and we still have beat it, three times over!

The average ROAS for the entire campaign was 25:1 – that is, for every €1 spent on Paid Social, we generated €25 in revenue for Brown Thomas! Our best-performing month generated ROAS of 34:1, when Paid Social was an important driver of revenue during the Summer Sale in July.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Wolfgang Digital, Brown Thomas


Entry Credits