In May, Birchbox kicked off a six-week campaign on Facebook and Instagram to generate brand awareness and further its reach to a new potential consumer demographic: multitasking women with only a casual interest in beauty products. Retargeting capabilities allow the brand to adjust the content it presents, based on how visitors consume the video content. The subscription retailer has suspended its TV advertising while the social experiment runs its course.
“We wanted to test a more efficient, targeted way to spend our marketing dollars and effectively communicate our full value proposition to the right people,” said Amanda Tolleson, Interim Chief Marketing Officer at Birchbox “The aim was to use real customers to tell our story and show how Birchbox helped them easily find products that fit into their lives.”
The social advertisements showcase two Birchbox customers: “Modern Day Ninja” Lauren, a police officer juggling her career with three kids, and “Modern Day Virtuoso” Christine, a lawyer. The videos peer into the busy lives of both consumers, who aim to look their best, but don’t always have the time to go out and shop for makeup and beauty products.
The two videos are displayed to non-subscribers on Facebook and Instagram, and then those prospects are served a second series of additional reinforcing messages on Facebook, further educating them on the subscription box retailer. Birchbox filmed one video/photo shoot with Lauren and one with Christine, and from there created more than 100 variations of the content to retarget potential customers on Facebook. The videos are retargeted based on multiple factors: which video the user initially watched and the length of time the video was viewed, taking Birchbox in a more experimental direction than its traditional TV ads.
“This campaign is significant for us in that it’s the first time we’re featuring real customers, the first time we shot a major brand initiative in a square format — specifically for social media and mobile consumption — and the first time we have unique storylines that build through each marketing touchpoint,” said Tolleson in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Facebook uniquely allows us to target people that way and move them through the entire marketing funnel within one efficient channel. We’re excited to see how it stacks up against traditional TV spots.”
All ads will drive users directly to the Birchbox subscribe page. To develop the campaign, Birchbox partnered with VaynerMedia, which led the creative strategy, and The Bindery, which handled production.
Attracting The “Discerning Multitasker”
The Birchbox team conducted a comprehensive market segmentation study to gain a more nuanced understanding of the market opportunity with casual consumers, referred to by Tolleson as the “beauty majority.” Upon identifying several different customer segments based on how they relate to the beauty category, Birchbox narrowed its focus on one particular demographic that it felt represented an enormous opportunity: the “discerning multitasker.”
“We saw that our business model was naturally attracting a different type of beauty consumer — a group of women who have a more casual interest in beauty and were underserved by the industry (which traditionally caters to the higher-spending beauty aficionados),” Tolleson said. “They actually make up the majority of the population and we were getting her to engage with us and change her spending habits.”
When selecting the consumers that would appear in the ads, the Birchbox team felt that Lauren and Christine represented the “discerning multitasker” audience the brand was targeting.
“We love their stories,” Tolleson explained. “They’re amazing, successful, multi-faceted women and Birchbox has helped take them from great to greater. We wanted to show how Birchbox puts beauty in the context of our customer’s everyday life, helping her discover products that best suit her needs.”
Birchbox will evaluate how to expand and evolve the program when the campaign concludes in mid-June.