How to test ecommerce campaigns purposely with Colby Flood

In this episode, Colby Flood, founder of Brighter Click, will discuss how to test ecommerce campaigns with a purpose.

You'll learn

  • How to design an effective ecommerce ABM campaign
  • What are the key components of an effective ABM campaign
  • What data companies should collect to craft the right messaging for their ABM campaigns

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Anna Shutko:

Hello Colby. And welcome to the show.

Colby Flood:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Anna Shutko:

Yes. We are super, super happy to have you on the Marketing Analytics Show. And again, this time, we have a really, really interesting topic, which is all about testing eCommerce campaigns with a purpose and a structure, and who doesn’t love purposes and structures. So my first question to you Colby is, what are the components of an eCommerce campaign planning process, and more specifically, the process you’ve created? So what kind of components marketers should pay attention to when they’re just getting started with their eCommerce campaign planning?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So we’ve created a process for working with clients, and I’d say the first thing you should definitely do is understand the account data as it is. If you have an account that’s already existing, take the time to go in there, audit the account and understand what the current bottlenecks in your campaign or in your account are, so you can really know what you need to be focusing your time, energy, and attention on when you’re going into taking over that account.

The next thing I’d say is clearly understanding the business goals, right? If you’re working with a client, understand their goals, not just their ROA goal, but are they looking to, maybe, sell a certain collection or a certain product more than another, right? So clearly understand the client’s goals and what they’re wanting to achieve in their account.

The thing we do is really focus on tracking and attribution. I’m sure you hear that all the time now after 2021, with everything that happened with Apple. We have an iOS 14.5 checklist, and also just a general tracking checklist we like to look at. So is conversion API set up? Are aggregated events properly set up? Is the domain verified? We actually do something as well where we connect, let’s say, Shopify or eCommerce to the Facebook offline event through Zapier so that we can try to recapture some of those lost purchases from opted-out Apple users or from the seven-day-click one-day-view people that purchase outside of that time window.

So we set up that Zapier connection. Making sure we have their Google analytics permission and their Shopify or their store access. And then we really start going into the actual planning process. We have an onboarding document, which I think we can talk a little bit about later in the call. But we go through that onboarding document and make sure that we have all the business’s key information, understand their buyer personas, and really start going into planning out what’s the quickest wins we can get in the account, and based on where the account data is, is it high data? Is it low data? What are actual campaign structures need to be for the campaign?

Anna Shutko:

All right. Fantastic. I really, really love this structure. And now, we’re going to start going deeper into each and every element of it pretty much. So we had a brief discussion before, and you’ve mentioned that there are such account types as low data accounts and season or high data accounts. Can you please elaborate a bit more on what these actually are and how should the campaigns be planned for each of these two account types?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, of course. That’s a good question. So we try to, I’m don’t want to say categorize, we try and structure out or have themes for everything that we do. And one of those is, where the account is, where the business is, right? Because you can’t treat an account with a website as 250,000 add to carts a month the same as you do with one that has 1000 add to carts a month. The campaigns won’t perform the same. So we like to try and create a breakpoint which we call low data and seasoned data accounts, and use that to determine how we’re going to set up our initial testing methods or initial campaign structures.

We can look at it in terms of page views. It depends, though, based on the website conversion rate, if you will, because page views don’t always turn into add-to-cart and purchases. So we like to say, accounts that have at the bare minimum below 1.5 to 2000 add to carts on the 28-day-view window, we’re going to categorize those as lower data accounts. And if they do have above that, they would be seasoned data. Now there may be some marketers that are working with very large companies that say, “Hey, that’s too small.” But we like to categorize it that way.

And then we set up our campaign structures based on that. So if it’s a low data account, we want to make sure that we start out the first week to two weeks of that account, focusing on the top-of-funnel, focusing on building out engagement video view campaigns. So we can start warming up audiences and creating those middle-of-funnel audiences to retarget the video views, the ad engages, and the website visitors.

If it’s a seasoned data account, it’s going to have pixel data that is already there, so we can start retargeting. So within the first week to two weeks, we can already go ahead and open up the middle-of-funnel, which would be the softer actions like the website visitors, the ad engages, and potentially even go ahead and start running bottom-of-funnel retargeting as well. So I think the clear breakpoint we use is, how soon can we efficiently and effectively start retargeting so that we’re not just spending money to retarget, but actually getting a good return on it?

Anna Shutko:

All right. Fantastic. I really, really love this categorization. And now, let’s dive deeper into each and every element of the eCommerce campaign. So we’re going to talk about the audience structures and the messaging themes. And I really want to start with the audience structure, and more importantly, the audience testing. So can you please elaborate on how you actually test the audiences for the eCommerce campaigns?

Colby Flood:

Yes, of course. So looking at testing audiences, we like to have as few variables as possible, right? So if we understand that we can create four to five, five to six audiences or ad sets that are going to be the same buyer persona. And what do I mean by that? We know we can use the same type of messaging, the same type of creative copy, things like that. We want to build out one to two campaigns with those audiences and show them the same or very similar ads, so we can eliminate as many variables as possible. And we can clearly prove that it’s because of the audience or because of the actual ad set that it performed better. The ads performed better. Right?

And we’ll generally let those run for about three to five days, depending on performance, of course. We’ll cut it off sooner if needed. But we’ll let those run for three to five days and look to see what audiences we can either combine after that based on audience overlap or begin to run on their own in an ABO campaign. So that’s the strategy that we use for actually testing our audiences.

Anna Shutko:

All right. Great. I really love the point that you mentioned about eliminating the variables. I also think that it does help you get much clearer data than if you were to test with a completely different set of attributes. And now, let’s talk about the messaging themes a little bit. So how can you develop your messaging themes, first of all, that can help you bring clearer results, and then also the ones that can actually resonate with the audiences you’ve tested?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, of course. So I’ll actually answer this in two parts. One is, how can we find those messaging themes? And then two will be kind of some of the themes that we use. Just kind of give away a little bit of insight there. How do we find messaging themes? Listening. We find that the best way to write copy is to listen to the end-user, to listen to the purchaser, right? So we have some strategies that we use to actually understand what the customer’s saying.

And going on Amazon, looking at maybe the brand’s competitor’s products, right? And looking at the Amazon reviews, both positive and negative, looking at Google reviews, looking at our actual clients’ websites and their Facebook reviews, so we can see what their customers are saying, looking at their competitors’ ad library. Because it’s always good to go on Facebook and see what their competitors are running and see if you can look at two to three of them and find trends within their copy, right? Looking at their competitor’s websites.

Social listening tools. Things like or Reddit. Those are all great ways to really get a clear understanding of what the end-user or what the purchaser actually cares about. And then ultimately, testing and measuring as well. So when you have the opportunity to work with many different clients, you can test messaging themes. And then we try to, when I say structure a theme, we try to create categories within messaging that work well. Right?

So when we look at messaging purposes or themes, we’re talking about things like product quality, things like made in the USA, or whatever the country origin or place you’re selling is if that’s where it’s made. Founder stories perform well. Testimonials, scarcity, the brand mission, or the core values behind the actual brand, product features, and customer benefits over features are just a few of the thousand-foot view messaging purposes and themes that we use when we’re testing copy.

Anna Shutko:

Fantastic. I really love how you mention the listening element here. I think it is also really, really key. And you’ve also mentioned monitoring competitors and basically gathering as much data as possible to build very reliably and solid messaging that can actually resonate with the audience. Super good points. And now, I wanted to ask more about the copy structure. So now that you’ve developed the messaging and you understand which audience this messaging is to be targeted towards, how can you actually create a really, really good copy? So what are some of the copy structures that you’ve seen success within your eCommerce accounts?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So we’ve tested, we’ve looked to see what’s the purpose of the messaging. Now we want to see how can we structure it to best resonate with our audience, right? So we have things like straight-to-the-point copy, right? So 15 words or less. Putting it as clearly as possible. We have things like listicles, which is where you have the copy, the one to two lines of copy at the top, and then you have your bullet point list, oftentimes with emojis, because that tends to work best. Following that up with one to two sentences summarizing the call to action.

Listicles always tend to perform well. Mid-form explainer copy. We clarify mid form is anywhere from three to five, three to six sentences of copy, often with line breaks within it. Testimonials, right? But the way that we like to do testimonials is not just having the testimonial. I have spent some time also working in organic social and used a structure for testimonials where we would have the one to two-sentence testimonial and then have a clear line break. So there’s actually a clear space in between the copy. And then you’re going to have one to two sentences in the brand’s voice summarizing what was talked about in the testimonial and wrapping that into either your mission or your call to action. That tends to perform very well.

And then long-form copy. Long-form copy can work. Most times, it really depends on the strength of the copywriter and the overall strength of the message that you’re resonating. But those are just a few of the copy structures that we tend to use.

Anna Shutko:

All right. Great. And now, let’s talk about the measurement part, which is probably my favorite part of any kind of show. And you’ve mentioned a lot about the copy structures and the messaging and the audiences and testing. So in order to make sense of all of this data that you collect about an eCommerce campaign, what kind of metrics should marketers pay attention to when they’re starting to analyze these campaigns?

Colby Flood:

This is the million-dollar question, right? This is the…

Anna Shutko:


Colby Flood:

This is the one that matters. So the first thing that I would say before we actually look at the metrics is, to understand that there’s a full-funnel. Take a step back and understand that you can see if it is your ad level or your Facebook ads manager that is causing the problem, or if it is the website level or both, potentially. Right? And ideally, this comes in when you’re taking on a client and you audit that and look for that opportunity ahead of time.

But if we’re breaking it down and looking at the ad level, let’s look at your click through rate, and let’s look at your calls per click, and your CPM. And one metric that I’m going to throw in there with that is not frequency, although it is a direct variable for it, it’s your first-time impression ratio. Right? So one key thing we can often see is creative fatigue or ad fatigue. And how do we measure that? Normally when your click through rate begins to trend down and your costs per click and your CPM begin to trend up, you can go and look at your first-time impression ratio.

And if your first-time impression ratio is beginning to get around 50% to 70%, you can assume that you’re starting to see the audience or creative fatigue, and you’re going to need to refresh what you’re running. Normally we like to start bottom-up. Right? So start with your ad, refresh that, and then worry about your ad set. But look at your click through rate, your cost per click, and your CPM. Also, of course, look at your ROA.

Now, post IOS 14.5, this can be a little bit more difficult. I would highly suggest making sure you’re taking advantage of your offline event sets and looking at your total purchase ROA, not just your website ROAS, because that will include your offline events. And then ultimately, look at your total CPA as well. You may have some clients that are ROAS-focused. You may have some clients that are CPA-focused. That can depend on what client you’re working with.

And then lastly, for the ad level, look at your relevant scores for your ads. Right? So break it down into the three; your engagement, your quality, and your conversion rankings. And one thing you can actually use as a predecessor to the website, audit, or metrics is the relevant scores. If you have a good engagement score, a good quality score on your ad, but a poor conversion score, you can assume or deduce that it might be a website opportunity. Right?

So after you’ve checked your ad level, if your CTR is 1% or higher, if your CPC is a dollar or less, if your CPM is between $7 and $15, if your first-time impression ratio is 80% or higher, you know that your ad level is mostly performing well. Right? You can always test new audiences to negate the traffic quality question. But let’s go to your website level. What is your landing page view percentage? That’s the first bottleneck. If your landing page view percentage is not 75% to 80%, if you’re losing a high portion of your traffic and it’s actually coming from conversion campaigns, well, there’s your first bottleneck, and you need to go use something like Google PageSpeed Insights, or a website tester to understand if your load speed is slow.

Next, you’re going to look at your add-to-cart percentage. Is your add to cart percentage below 5% to 7%? Ideally, that’s the minimum that it’s going to be at. If it is, you might need to either use your in-house team to look at the website or suggest a contractor or company that does optimizations for the website. Same thing, what is your purchase percentage? Is that 3% to 5% or higher? If not, you may need to look at the actual shopping journey and you can understand that by the add to cart, to purchase drop-off. Right?

So if you’re losing, the industry average, I believe, is about 67% of people abandoning carts. If you’re much, much higher than that, you may need to look at the checkout process. So really just understanding that it’s a full-funnel, and looking at the ad level and the website level and not just being fixated on being a Facebook marketer and only worrying about the Facebook side. Coach your clients and talk with your clients about the website opportunities as well. Even if you don’t provide that, educate them on the opportunity. Because the end goal is not just to provide them with good Facebook ads, it’s to provide them with good experience and good results for their business as well.

Anna Shutko:

All right. Awesome Colby. So you’ve basically answered the million-dollar question here. And I have an additional one for you. So you’ve talked a little bit about the optimization process here, alongside the metrics. Do you have any other tips on what marketers can do to tweak their eCommerce campaigns based on the results they’ve analyzed to achieve even better ROI?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, that’s a great question. Do one thing at a time, I think, would be my quickest and most concise answer. Don’t try to change a lot of things because you can’t prove causation to positive or negative if there are a lot of variables in the situation. So focus on changing one small thing at a time. We like to use the 30 days, 14 days, seven days, and three days, and also the today view in the account. And actually, we use Supermetrics to Google Sheets and we have that preset up so that we can see trends in the account. Right?

So you want to understand not just how is my account performing today or yesterday, but am I trending in the right direction, or am I trending in the wrong direction? Okay? And from there, you really need to, just like we talked about, understand, is it an ad level issue or is it a website level issue, and what do I need to work on? As a Facebook marketer, what can I take ownership of? If I think it’s a website issue, I need to connect with a client, and let them know that it might be a website issue, but I’m going to test some additional audiences just to validate if it is, or if it’s an audience quality opportunity. Right? If it is on the ad level, how can I understand?

Don’t look at the whole account. Sometimes, I tell our media buyers, that can overwhelm you at times. Look at it piece by piece. Go campaign by campaign, ad set by ad set, and one level of the funnel at a time. Understand, is my top of funnel causing low ROAS? Does my top of the funnel have bad performance? And is it driving bad retargeting to the middle and bottom of the funnel? If we think our top of the funnel’s doing well, let’s look at our middle of the funnel. What is going on with our audience sizes in the middle of the funnel? Do we need to build out some additional video view campaigns to increase those? And how can we improve our bottom of the funnel as well? Is it our messaging? Are we not running relevant messaging at different levels of the funnel?

So try to look at it on the ad account and the website level, and then take your ad account piece by piece, one level of the funnel at a time.

Anna Shutko:

All right. These are really, really solid tips. And I know you are a pro with data when it comes to measuring and optimizing campaigns. But I also know you take it one step further when you ask your soon-to-be clients to fill out a form during their onboarding process to collect all the relevant information about their accounts. So can you please tell us more about this? What kind of data do you collect from your customers when they fill out this form?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, that’s a great question. I would consider this actually one of the most important parts of the entire partnership with a client, which is the onboarding phase. Right? If you bypass the important information in onboarding, you can get three to four weeks into the project and realize you might be way off in left field when you should be somewhere else. Right? So have a proper onboarding form. What does that look like? We like to walk through the client’s key messaging in their USPs. What do they feel like is their strongest messaging and their unique selling propositions?

We like to understand what are their top products and product categories. And that ties in with some of their business goals as well. Right? They may want high ROAs, but they may want to push a certain type of product. What are the offers that they provide? And more importantly, what is their stance as a company on discounts and offers? Some companies are very fore running offers. Some companies are very hesitant to run offers. They don’t want discounts to be associated with their branding.

What are their key business and account objectives? We understand as Facebook marketers, we need high ROAs, we need low CPAs. But for example, we work with a bike retailer that sells e-bikes. They really want to focus on pushing their high inventory products. When they have a million-dollar-plus inventory of one single bike, they want to focus on how Facebook ads can get that specific bike or specific bike brand pushed out to the public.

What is the account budget and how likely are they to want to scale their account if we see, or when we see good results? What is their indirect and direct competition? And this really helps when you’re actually doing account research, so you can understand what the competitors or what the complimentary products doing. Right? Any brand don’ts. And what I mean by that is, what are the things that we know we should avoid in terms of messaging and creatives? This is so important, A) to make sure that you are properly representing their business and their brand because you do not want to put anything out in paid media that directly goes against how they operate as a business or what their viewpoints or beliefs are. And B) it helps you as a marketer because this is going to minimize so many revisions or emails back and forth for things that may need to be changed because you put that in clear writing proactively ahead of time.

And hopefully, the business you’re working with has a brand Bible or a brand guide that they can send over to you or send over to you for that. How do they like to communicate? We always say at Brighter Click, ROAs, CPA, when you’re working with a marketing agency, that’s expected. That is a meets expectations to provide good performance on your ads. We like to look at communication and communication led through education as our core offering or as to how we go above and beyond.

So we want to understand how they like to see reporting. Do they like to see the Google Sheets from Supermetrics? Do they like to see written-out explanations instead of actual data on Google Sheets? Are they open us to referring them to partner agencies for opportunities if we see that? Like with their website, like we talked about earlier. Any questions they’ve had about paid ads in the past. Right? So things that they’ve wondered just about paid ads so that we can help educate them on that.

And then also looking at how they like to communicate for their reporting. I know we talked about it, are we looking at the spreadsheet? Are we looking at the data? But do they prefer Zoom calls biweekly? Do they prefer just emails? Do they prefer the Slack channel? What is the best communication method to keep them up to date as we are going along in the project? Okay? Do they have a good partner or internal team for website optimization? This is very good to know ahead of time because there are definitely going to be website optimizations. No website is perfect. Right? So we want to know if they have an internal team. What is their turnaround time like? And if they don’t have a good partner, how we could connect them with one?

Lastly, we want to look at their buyer personas. What do they see as their top buying audiences? And we have a clear breakdown to understand what magazines they’re reading, what podcasts they’re listening to, and all the key things to understand a buyer persona. And any existing audiences or creatives that they may have, they can send over to us, so we can get a good idea of what we’re working within their account.

Anna Shutko:

Fantastic Colby. This is a really, really comprehensive list. And I’m pretty sure everyone who’s listening to this episode has already learned a lot from you. But if they would love to connect with you and if they would love to learn more, where can they find you?

Colby Flood:

Yeah, I’d be glad to connect with new people. I appreciate you asking. So on LinkedIn, you can find me at @colby-flood. You can go to or you can email me at We’re actually very inclined to create new partnerships with other marketers and other agencies for the referral partnership program that we have. So please, if you have any questions, reach out to me through email. I’d be glad to connect.

Anna Shutko:

Awesome. Thank you so much, Colby. Thank you so much for coming to the show.

Colby Flood:

I appreciate you having me. Thank you so much for this.

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