Demand for Chinese Goods Is So Strong There’s a Container Shortage

Global demand for Chinese goods has been so strong recently it’s creating a shortage of containers and driving up shipping costs, potentially impeding the nation’s exports in coming months.

Exports have been on a tear since July last year, fueled by pandemic-related purchases like medical masks and work-at-home equipment, including computers. Imports haven’t been growing at nearly the same pace, resulting in a lack of shipping containers returning to China to be refilled and sent out again.

The cost of shipping a 40-foot container to Los Angeles from Shanghai has almost doubled from early June, while the price to send the same box to Rotterdam is now four times higher.

Costly Containers

Cost to ship goods soars on higher demand, shrinking pool of empty boxes

The “soaring prices for China’s outward shipments due to a shortage of shipping capacity will weigh on China’s export growth, despite resilient external demand helped by the holiday season and factory lockdowns throughout Europe,” Serena Zhou, a fixed-income analyst at Mizuho Financial Group Inc. in Hong Kong.

The container shortage probably acted as a brake on exports in December, she wrote. The bottlenecks could also worsen as exporters look to front-load shipments ahead of the usual shutdown for the Lunar New Year, which starts in early February this year.

The repercussions of the shortages are being felt across Asia, with a mid-December report from Japan’s trade promotion agency highlighting soaring freight rates and a lack of boxes in Southeast Asia and India.

South Korean’s biggest shipping line HMM Co. said last Thursday that the shortage of boxes and space on ships would likely continue in the first half of 2021. The company has deployed extra ships to the U.S. routes to help South Korean companies ship their goods, and will add another ship to Europe later this month.

Read more: Container Rates, Demand Propelled by Lofty Consumer Spending

“Limited container availability, port congestion and a global economic recovery in 2021 should keep first-quarter rates higher than 2020 levels,” according to a report this week from Patent 2 Product Intelligence analysts Lee Klaskow and Adam Roszkowski.

— With assistance by James Mayger, and Kyunghee Park

Do Facebook Ads Work?

Do Facebook Ads Work? (110% Yes & Here’s Proof)

Social media has become an integral part of business growth today. If a business does not have a presence on social media, it may lose out on customers. This is why you find even the smallest of brands trying to leverage social advertisements and engagement to boost their reach and conversions — especially on Facebook. But many of these business owners find themselves asking: Do Facebook ads work?

As of the last quarter of 2019, Facebook has more than 2.7 billion monthly Facebook users. With this number of active users, it is clearly THE most popular social networking site in the world. Be it for professional or personal use, the social media channel is widely accepted by a wide range of demographics in the consumer market.

The above graph should give your business a strong reason to run a Facebook ad and expand your brand’s reach.

But the Question is… Do Facebook Ads Really Work?

Understanding how to leverage Facebook ads effectively is now more important than ever. Since it is a part of almost every successful social media marketing strategy, it is vital to know how your Facebook page’s posts can be seen by the ideal audience at the right time.

While the platform gives businesses the opportunity to reach a mass audience, almost 62% of marketers say the channel is simply ‘pay to play’ or in other words, do online advertising, and end up actually missing their target audience.

Do we agree? Absolutely not.

Here’s strong proof that Facebook ads work when executed properly. A Facebook ad campaign that we ran recently generated $103,510 gross sales for the business in just 8 months.

The first thing that is most likely to come to your mind upon seeing the above graph is that we had a big advertising budget. And that’s what made the Facebook ad campaign work.

Wrong.

Here’s a screenshot of the sales generated from the purchases made on the website and the cost per conversion (CPC):

This will help you to reflect on where you’re at and give you a clear and practical sense of what you need to do to achieve your goal. With each new goal, you’ll find that you are building on an ever-expanding repertoire of resources, skills, and experience that fuel your progress even further.

Since we had different ad campaigns with targeting options for different segments of the target market, the results weren’t so surprising.

What worked for us that we focused on understanding our ideal audience. The more we knew about them, the easier it got to launch the right campaign.

In order to increase the chances of getting a higher return on your investment, always know where your customer comes from, what they engage with the most and what triggered their purchase.

Apart from the general demographics, your campaign objective should be to create ads that offer micro and macro conversions based on where the customer is in the sales cycle.

When you make the effort to understand their needs, without being pushy for a sale, you automatically focus on creating advert campaigns that deliver value to the customer.

This results in a higher growth, engagement rate and click-through rate (CTR) on the campaigns. These campaigns might just be about boosting a post your customers are engaging with the most — or about simply promoting your page in their circles.

Simply put, the answer to do Facebook ads work or not, is a resounding YES.

However, before we dig into the different types of Facebook ads and the various ad formats that your business should experiment with, let’s first understand…

How Do Facebook Ads Work?

The explanation is quite simple: while paid search helps your target market find your business, paid social campaigns help your business find potential customers.

Facebook advertising does the latter. Similar to Google Ads, this advertising platform works by letting you reach out to targeted prospects and customers. It targets specific user segments that are more likely to be interested in the products and services offered by your brand. The bottom line is, it gets more sales in the process.

Many businesses new to social media marketing doubt the power of Facebook ads. They continually debate on whether they would work for their market or product. Which is why you need to test the waters yourself before executing an ad campaign. It’s always good to make educational decisions, so why not?

With immense user data about your target customers day-to-day activities, the level of targeting offered by Facebook rivals no other platform. By using their Facebook Ads Manager tool, you will be able to view your ads’ CPR, CPM, CPC, average cost and more.

So, the number one step that you as an advertiser should take is to identify ad campaign objectives.

Do you want to…

  • Drive relevant traffic to your site?
  • Generate more leads?
  • Encourage users to interact with your Facebook page?
  • Secure more sales?
  • Expand your brand’s reach?

The clearer you are about your goal, the better results you will see. You may want to stick to running one ad at a time or experiment with multiple goals to understand what is fetching you the highest return on investment.

The audience segmentation on Facebook Ads Manager lets you define what your ideal customer looks like. Their robust system then displays your ads to users who fall under the demographics you defined. In other words, these users exhibit the type of behavior you have identified.

It all depends on how well you understand your customers, and how effectively you’re able to incorporate the data into the ads.

The various ad formats you can choose from are photo ads, video ads, stories ads, messenger ads, carousel ads, slideshow ads, collection ads and playable ads. For all of these, ensure that you’re using eye-catching images and clear CTAs.

Also, the type of format you choose for your campaigns tend to influence the results you get. You may also want to consider using a professional social media marketing company.

When it comes to answering the question do Facebook ads work, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Your ads are based on factors such as:

  • What your business has to offer
  • The industry you are in
  • The niche you are targeting
  • The campaign goals you have

Let’s take a look at the different types of Facebook ads you can run for your business and what objective they can serve.

1. Page Likes

The very first ad type is the one that will boost your page’s organic reach. The goal of this campaign is to spread awareness about your brand and what you offer. It is to encourage your target audience to follow you on Facebook with a ‘like’ for further updates.

Since it is a micro conversion, most users are happy to interact with this ad type. The high engagement gives marketers a chance to target these prospects the right way. They can run lead nurturing campaigns with relevant content and more.

2. Engagement Ads

These ads help target existing users. They help to generate an activity on your business website or within an app. You could use these ads to highlight new features, new products or simply run an offer that encourages them to engage with your app or website once again.

This type of advertising campaigns are best suited to keep your existing customers engaged. These help them stay connected with the brand and also maintain a loyal community.

3. Post Promotion

We all know how a few posts do better than the others on social media news feed. When you’re driving people to your page, you will notice that they interact with some content more than what you have been posting so far. That’s your opportunity to target more customers from that segment.

Using post engagement ads to boost the reach of your content on Facebook will also get you more likes on the page – a double whammy!

4. Acquisition Ads

One of the primary goals for most businesses and apps is to acquire more users or customers. While engagement ads are targeted at re-engaging existing users, acquisition ads are focused on bringing new users/ customers to your business. These could be…
  1. App install ads
  2. Lead generation ads
  3. Product/service promotion ads.

5. Brand awareness

Sometimes the best way to get more conversions is to let people know more about your brand. Using Facebook ads you can boost the exposure your brand name gets. But this can only be done when you share remarkable content that establishes you as an industry authority.

These campaigns should not be focused on what your brand is all about. Instead, they should highlight why a customer should engage with it.

6. Localized ads

While some businesses focus on global brand awareness, there are some that have location specific goals. These campaigns are set using the geographic location of your customers. And target them with tailored offers for high relevance. It could be to encourage a store visit or to avail an offer on product purchase in a specific area.

With localization becoming an integral part of personalized marketing, these ad campaigns are a great way to boost brand recall value as well as conversions.

7. Website Conversions

Even though most brand awareness campaigns result in driving traffic to the website, the website conversion ads are a different ball game. They are super-targeted and specific in nature. In short: they take visitors towards a defined call to action on a particular page of your business website.

In order to get maximum results from these ads, try experimenting with different call-to-actions. Instead of using ‘learn more’, direct your users to a page where they need to sign up for a newsletter or a free trial of a product.

8. Website Clicks

If you’re new to the industry and are just starting to reach out to your customers, website click campaigns are your best bet.

These campaigns focus on one thing: driving traffic to your website. You could direct this traffic to your blog, product page, sales page, etc. The idea is to let the customer discover what you’re offering instead of pushing them towards a conversion right away.

For businesses that have different things to offer, you can make use of carousel ads to send traffic to different links. Similarly, you can also experiment with canvas ads that share the story of your brand with customers and nudges them to visit your website to know more.

9. Event promotions

Interactive content is what performs the best on Facebook. Promoting events and encouraging your target audience to participate is a great way to put forward your value proposition and get a chance to start a conversation without sounding too salesy.

But remember to not to club all your segments into one event promotion. The more targeted you remain, the higher attendance you generate.

10. Offer Promotions

Every business wants a chance to interact with their customer and highlight the value they can deliver. This is why you see many brands running promo offers or special discounts designed to appeal to their target market.

Whether you’re offering something for free, a content upgrade (such as an eBook) or a simple discount coupon for first time purchases, these ad types will work for you. They will help you stand out from the vast volume of content being shared on a user’s feed. The only thing you need to ensure is the look of your ad: it has to be appealing to your ideal customer.

11. Lead Generation Ads

The general approach to online lead generation is to drive users to a landing page via a digital advertisement. And have them fill out a form with their contact details. But things change with the new Facebook leads ads. Now, marketers have the opportunity to decrease the drop off from an ad to a landing page. Which is huge.

If you are still wondering “Do Facebook Ads Work?” then take a look at the screenshot below. 

Facebook lead generation ad campaigns allow you to collect a prospect’s information without forcing them to leave the platform. This has resulted in a boost in lead generation results for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Once you have chosen the goal of your campaign and the ad type you would be running, it is time to focus on how you can maximize the results.

Making Facebook Ads Work

Having run campaigns that have performed well in both the B2B and B2C markets, and experimented with different formats, here are some of the best practices we stand by. Steal these if you want to optimize your ads for maximum results on shoestring budget and if you want to move past your dreading question “do Facebook ads work”. 1. First, Target Your Existing Audience Acquiring a new customer is 10X more costly than engaging an existing one. So why waste your advertising budget on getting clicks from cold traffic? When you can use the same to nurture the lukewarm ones already following you on Facebook? Your existing customers and followers are more likely to respond to an ad positively. Since they already know what you offer, the engagement and participation rates are much higher. Which is much better than targeting new users who don’t know much about you or your product for ecommerce businesses. So aim at getting shares and spreading awareness with the help of word of mouth promotions by leveraging your existing audience. 2. Conduct Split Testing on Ads No two people from your audience segment will respond to the same ad in the way you want. While one might instantly engage with it, the other might just like the post. The rest might share it in their circles. Which is why split testing your ads is important. Regardless of your advertising goals, you should run A/B tests on the following elements to see what your audience responds to the most:
  • Ad headline
  • Ad graphic
  • Ad copy (long form and short form)
  • Ad type (carousel, single image, videos, canvas)
Split testing on Facebook enables you to identify which ad is performing better in your audience segment. This way you can focus on boosting the ad campaign that is getting you maximum conversions. Which is much better than trying to run multiple failed campaigns one after the other.

3. Split Test Ad Targeting

Besides the format and the copy of your ads, another way to test your market is to vary the targeting – even if it’s minimal. Be it the positioning of the ad, the bid you set, the demographics/behavior you add or subtract, make sure you create as many variations as you can. Try to think of every variation there could be within your audience segment. Focus on A/B testing the following:
  • Audience demographics
  • Sociographic and behavioral targeting
  • Bidding strategy
  • Bidding rate
  • Ad placement

Just like the hack above, you’ll be able to identify which ad set gets you maximum conversions and what specific demographic or strategy is making all the difference.

4. Set up A Custom Audience

Yes, Facebook targeting is one of the best when you’re trying to define your audience. But with billions of users, how do you pin-point those who are actually interested in what your business offers?

Installing the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can create a custom audience based on your previous website traffic. This lets you create a lookalike audience on Facebook. Allowing you to automatically reach out to consumers who are more likely to engage with you. In the process, increasing the number of conversions you get on an ad set.

To back up this practice, did you know that most online marketers agree that in this year 2019, audience targeting has been rising up to be one of the best ways to get conversion? Similar to segmenting your email list, create audience segments on Facebook to build content that would fit each of your audience’s interests. The more detailed your audience data is, the higher possibility you have to engage them. And obviously, better engagement means higher chances of conversions.

5. Retarget to Generate Leads

Instead of trying to generate leads on Facebook with a fresh campaign in an all new market, try retargeting your website visitors instead. A website visit is a clear indication that a consumer is interested in what you offer. Why lose the chance to convert him into a lead?

Try offering an upgrade or a special discount to those who have visited your website. What’s more these ad campaigns also improve the brand recall value, improving your conversion and engagement rates drastically.

6. Create a Drip Campaign On Facebook Too

Who says a drip campaign can be set only on emails? You can actually set your retargeting ads in a manner that nurtures your website visitors. And turns them into leads with the help of valuable content.

Create different ad sets, spaced out by a defined time period. Promote different content pieces to a website visitor based on what they have already interacted with or seen. For example, offer ebooks, whitepapers and other content upgrades that are specific to your niche. This way you would avoid looking like a business trying to spam with the same ad.

More variety and higher context leads to higher conversion rates at lower costs. Period.

7. Use Little To No Text on Your Ad Graphic

Ever noticed how even the biggest of businesses like Shopify use high-resolution pictures contextual to their campaign? With zero text on it?

Facebook’s 20% text rule on ad graphics is a well-known rule amongst social media marketers. The lesser the text, the higher is the reach of your ad campaign. So when you’re creating A/B tests, make sure one of your ad sets is using a graphic with no text on it.

8. Create Layers and Layers of Data

If you’re not using a custom audience on Facebook, spend time to create the right audience with layers of intelligent data. Don’t just include obvious demographics of your target market. Because that’s exactly what your competitors are doing.

Look for data similar to what they’re engaging with, their recent milestones, education, job roles, device used, purchase triggers and more.

While broadening your ad campaign targeting increases its reach, it is the narrowed down approach that brings you better conversions.

9. Include Social Proof

One hack that we don’t see a lot of businesses making use is, including social proof in their ad campaigns. If you want customers to believe that you will deliver what you promise, then social proof is necessary. Because there is no better advocate than an existing customer. By simply showing numbers from the results you have helped others achieve can make a big difference.

This could be a simple campaign that lets your audience know the value of using your product or service. You can also use customer testimonials that direct users to your case studies.

10. Emphasize On Customer Emotions

If you want real people to interact with your business, tap into their psychology and trigger emotions that nudge them to take action. Instead of highlighting your product’s value, focus on using a copy that hits the consumer’s emotion. The closer you are to hitting the right nerve, the more likely they are to seek a solution from you!

Conclusion of Does Facebook Advertising Work

Now you know the answer to “do Facebook ads work”? Yes, and there’s absolutely no doubt about it.

If your campaigns haven’t been performing so far, say your ad spend isn’t returning as much ROI as you want, it is time to go back to the whiteboard and relook your advertising strategy. Right from your objectives to who you’re targeting to the approach you’re using — dig deeper into understanding your target customer’s psychology.

But as a thumb’s rule, try to keep your advertisements simple. Be consistent in your messaging and make it easy to convert. The longer the conversion process is, the more likely people are to drop off between Facebook and your landing page.

Last but not the least, remember to stay as creative as possible. Because monotony creates boredom. Boredom kills conversions. And that’s not what you want. That’s what nobody wants.

If you are interested in having someone manage your Facebook advertising campaign for your business, please reach out to us with this contact form or call 404-596-7925. Still have more questions about Facebook? Drop them in the comments below and we’ll answer them! 

Steve Jobs Believed 1 Career Choice Separates the Doers from the Dreamers and Leads to Success

Business magnate, investor, and tech pioneer Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, at age 56. He made a big impact in his lifetime, and his legacy lives on.

Jobs is remembered not only for the continued advances in the fields of tech and telecommunications, but also for his inspirational outlook on developing ideas and achieving career goals.

An infographic from Resume.io has captured Jobs’ insightful career advice, as well as those of other successful founders and entrepreneurs, to keep your career moving forward. Jobs once said:

Focus on your next goal

The above statement outlines the importance of setting fresh goals to make sure that you keep up the momentum in your career. If you get distracted by your current achievements, you might lose sight of exciting opportunities and long-term ambitions.

 

Jobs certainly never let the dust settle on his achievements. He had already achieved fame and wealth by 1977, just a year after co-founding Apple. He then continued to seek out and develop new ideas, systems, and products for the next three decades.

It’s absolutely fine to celebrate a single success, of course, but unless you set your sight on a new goal, you could be limiting your longer-term career prospects. What Jobs’s catalog of innovations and accomplishments demonstrated is that goal-setting has to be a dynamic and continuous process, rather than a one-off event.

Ask 'what's next?'

Making sure you’re equipped for future success doesn’t mean that you have to have one definitive end-goal in mind. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Steve Jobs didn’t know back in 1976 that he would end up unveiling the iPhone to the world in 2007.

He was able to continue revolutionizing the world of consumer technology with an ever-expanding portfolio of innovation because he knew how to ask “what’s next?”

Progress is often incremental in nature, and new ideas and developments can grow out of past successes. Jobs’s career is a testament to setting goals that build on the foundational skills and knowledge you achieve and having the foresight to seek out new challenges that keep you moving forward.

 

This is relevant to any career, in any field. You just need to set your sights on the next thing that will motivate you to succeed. You might take stock of what you’ve already done, but focus on where you’re headed next.

Build confidence with achievable goals

Now you need a system to keep you accountable. All-or-nothing goals can feel impossible to accomplish and are a surefire way to sap your confidence. Instead, set incremental goals to build momentum through your career. This is much more practical and achievable than relying on one major goal to define whether your career is a success or failure. Once you’ve identified your big, audacious goal, break it into smaller, more quantifiable goals to make it easier to manage it. Every small goal achieved will contribute to a more sustainable sense of progress. When you’re ready to set a new goal, ask yourself:
  • When do I want to achieve this goal?
  • How long will it take?
  • What resources and skills do I have?
  • What resources and skills do I need?

This will help you to reflect on where you’re at and give you a clear and practical sense of what you need to do to achieve your goal. With each new goal, you’ll find that you are building on an ever-expanding repertoire of resources, skills, and experience that fuel your progress even further.

11 Facebook Case Studies & Success Stories to Inspire You

Although Facebook is one of the older social media networks, it’s still a thriving platform for businesses who want to boost brand awareness.

With over 2.38 billion monthly active users, you can use the platform to spread the word about your business in a number of different ways — from photos or videos to paid advertisements.

Because there are so many marketing options and opportunities on Facebook, It can be hard to tell which strategy is actually best for your brand.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can read case studies to learn about strategies that marketing pros and similar businesses have tried in the past.

A case study will often go over a brand’s marketing challenge, goals, a campaign’s key details, and its results. This gives you a real-life glimpse at what led a marketing team to reach success on Facebook. Case studies also can help you avoid or navigate common challenges that other companies faced when implementing a new Facebook strategy.

To help you in choosing your next Facebook strategy, we’ve compiled a list of 11 great case studies that show how a number of different companies have succeeded on the platform.

Even if your company has a lower budget or sells a different product, we hope these case studies will inspire you and give you creative ideas for your own scalable Facebook strategy.

Download our complete guide to using Facebook for business and marketing for free here.

Facebook Brand Awareness Case Studies:

Pandora

During the 2017 holiday season, the jewelry company Pandora wanted to boost brand awareness in the German market. They also wanted to see if video ads could have the same success as their other Facebook ad formats.

They began this experiment by working with Facebook to adapt a successful TV commercial for the platform. Here’s a look at the original commercial:

The ad was cut down to a 15-second clip which shows a woman receiving a Pandora necklace from her partner. It was also cropped into a square size for mobile users. Pandora then ran the ad targeting German audiences between the ages of 18-50. It appeared in newsfeeds and as an in-stream video ad.

Results: According to the case study, the video campaign lifted brand sentiment during the holiday season, with a 10-point lift in favorability. While Pandora or the case study didn’t disclose how they measured their favorability score, they note that the lift means that more consumers favored Pandora over other jewelers because of the ad.

Financially, the campaign also provided ROI with a 61% lift in purchases and a 42% increase in new buyers.

Takeaways

Video can be memorable, emotional, and persuasive. While the case study notes that Pandora always had success with ads and purchases, the jeweler saw that a video format could boost brand awareness even further.

In just 15 seconds, Pandora was able to tell a short story that their target audience could identify with while also showing off their product. The increase in favorability shows that audiences who saw the ad connected with it and preferred the jeweler over other companies because of the marketing technique.

Part of Pandora’s success might also be due to the video’s platform adaptation. Although they didn’t create a specific video for the Facebook platform, they picked a commercial that had already resonated with TV audiences and tweaked it to grab attention of fast-paced Facebook users. This is a good example of how a company can be resourceful with the content it already has while still catering to their online audiences.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a HubSpot customer, wanted to boost brand awareness and get more ticket purchases to their museum. Since they’d mainly used traditional customer outreach strategies in the past, they wanted to experiment with more ways of reaching audiences on social media.

Because the museum’s social media team recognized how often they personally used Facebook Messenger, they decided to implement a messaging strategy on the Hall of Fame’s official business page.

From the business page, users can click the Get Started button and open a chat with the Hall of Fame. Through the chat, social media managers were able to quickly reply to questions or comments from fans, followers, and prospective visitors. The reps would also send helpful links detailing venue pricing, events, other promotions, and activities in the surrounding area.

Since the Messenger launch, they claim to have raised their audience size by 81% and sales from prospects by 12%. The company claims that this feature was so successful that they even received 54 messages on an Easter Sunday.

Takeaways

Being available to connect with your audiences through Messenger can be beneficial to your business and your brand. While the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame boosted purchases, they also got to interact with their audiences on a personal level. Their availability might have made them look like a more trustworthy, friendly brand that was actually interested in their fanbase rather than just sales.

Facebook Reach Case Study:

Buffer

In early 2016, Buffer started to see a decline in their brand reach and engagement on Facebook due to algorithm changes that favored individuals rather than brands. In an effort to prevent their engagement and reach numbers from dropping even further.

The brand decided to cut their posting frequency by 50%. With less time focused on many posts, they could focus more time on creating fewer, better-quality posts that purely aimed at gaining engagement. For example, instead of posting standard links and quick captions, they began to experiment with different formats such as posts with multi-paragraph captions and videos. After starting the strategy in 2016, they continued it through 2018.

Here’s an example of one an interview that was produced and shared exclusively on Facebook.

The Results: By 2018, Buffer claimed that the average weekly reach nearly tripled from 44,000 at the beginning of the experiment to 120,000. The page’s average daily engagements also doubled from roughly 500 per day to around 1,000.

In 2018, Buffer claimed that their posts reached between 5,000 to 20,000 people, while posts from before the experiment reached less than 2,000.

Although Buffer began the experiment before major Facebook algorithm changes, they updated this case study in 2018 claiming that this strategy has endured platform shifts and is still providing them with high reach and engagement.

Takeaways

It can be easy to overpost on a social network and just hope it works. But constant posts that get no reach or engagement could be wasted your time and money. They might even make your page look desperate.

What Buffer found was that less is more. Rather than spending your time posting whatever you can, you should take time to brainstorm and schedule out interesting posts that speak directly to your customer.

Facebook Video Views Case Studies:

Tomcat

Gearing up for Halloween in 2016, Tomcat, a rodent extermination company, wanted to experiment with a puppet-filled, horror-themed, live video event. The narrative, which was created in part by their marketing agency, told the story of a few oblivious teenage mice that were vacationing in a haunted cabin in the woods. At peak points of the story, audiences were asked to use the comments to choose which mouse puppet would die next or how they would die.

Prior to the video event, Tomcat also rolled out movie posters with the event date, an image of the scared mouse puppets, and a headline saying, “Spoiler: They all die!”

Results: It turns out that a lot of people enjoy killing rodents. The live video got over 2.3 million unique views, and 21% of them actively participated. As an added bonus, the video also boosted Tomcat’s Facebook fanbase by 58% and earned them a Cyber Lion at the 2017 Cannes Lions awards.

Here’s a hilarious sizzle reel that shows a few clips from the video and a few key stats:

Takeaways

This example shows how creative content marketing can help even the most logistical businesses gain engagement. While pest control can be a dry topic for a video, the brand highlighted it in a creative and funny way.

This study also highlights how interactivity can provide huge bonuses when it comes to views and engagement. Even though many of the viewers knew all the rats would die, many still participated just because it was fun.

Not only might this peak brand interest from people who hadn’t thought that deeply about pest control, but interactivity can also help a video algorithmically. As more people comment, share, and react to a live video, there’s more likelihood that it will get prioritized and displayed in the feeds of others.

HubSpot

In 2017, HubSpot’s social media team embarked on an experiment where they pivoted their video goals from lead generation to audience engagement. Prior to this shift, HubSpot had regularly posted Facebook videos that were created to generate leads. As part of the new strategy, the team brainstormed a list of headlines and topics that they thought their social media audience would actually like, rather than just topics that would generate sales.

Along with this pivot, they also experimented with other video elements including video design, formatting, and size.

Results: After they started to launch the audience-friendly videos, they saw monthly video views jump from 50,000 to 1 million in mid-2017.

Takeaways

Creating content that caters to your fanbase’s interests and the social platform it’s posted on can be much more effective than content that seeks out leads.

While videos with the pure goal of selling a product can fall flat with views and engagement, creative videos that intrigue and inform your audiences about a topic they relate to can be a much more effective way to gain and keep your audience. Once the audience trusts you and consumes your content regularly, they might even trust and gain interest in your products.

Facebook App Installs Case Study:

FoxNext Games

FoxNext Games, a video game company owned by 20th Century Fox, wanted to improve the level of app installs for one of its newest releases, Marvel Strike Force. While FoxNext had previously advertised other games with Facebook video ads, they wanted to test out the swipe-able photo carousel post format. Each photo, designed like a playing card, highlighted a different element of the game.

The add offered a call-to-action button that said “Install Now” and lead to the app store where it could be downloaded. FoxNext launched it on both Facebook and Instagram. To see if the carousel was more efficient than video campaigns, they compared two ads that advertised the same game with each format.

Results: According to Facebook, the photo ads delivered a 6% higher return on ad spend, 14% more revenue, 61% more installs, and 33% lower cost per app install.

Takeaways
If your product is visual, a carousel can be a great way to show off different elements of it. This case study also shows how designing ads around your audience’s interest can help each post stand out to them. In this scenario, FoxNext needed to advertise a game about superheroes. They knew that their fanbase was interested in gaming, adventure, and comic books, so they created carousels that felt more like playing cards to expand on the game’s visual narrative.

Facebook Lead Gen Case Study:

Major Impact Media

In 2019, Major Impact Media released a case study about a real-estate client that wanted to generate more leads. Prior to working with Major Impact, the Minneapolis, Minnesota brokerage hired another firm to build out an online lead generation funnel that had garnered them no leads in the two months it was active. They turned to Major Impact looking for a process where they could regularly be generating online leads.

As part of the lead generation process, the marketing and brokerage firms made a series of Facebook ads with the lead generation objective set. Major Impact also helped the company build a CRM that could capture these leads as they came in.

Results: Within a day, they received eight leads for $2.45 each. In the next 90 days, the marketing firm claimed the ads generated over 370 local leads at the average cost of $6.77 each. Each lead gave the company their name, email, and phone number.

Although these results sound like a promising improvement, readers of this case study should keep in mind that no number of qualified leads or ROI was disclosed. While the study states that leads were gained, it’s unclear which of them lead to actual sales — if any.

Takeaways

This shows how Facebook ad targeting can be helpful when you’re seeking out leads from a specific audience in a local area. The Minneapolis brokerage’s original marketing and social media strategies weren’t succeeding because they were looking for a very specific audience of prospective buyers in the immediate area.

Ad targeting allowed their posts to be placed on the news feeds of people in the area who might be searching for real estate or have interests related to buying a home. This, in turn, might have caused them more success in gaining leads.

Note: Nike can be viewed as a case study from the past. Most of their Facebook pages are not updated anymore. They have gone on another marketing path.

Facebook Engagement Case Study:

Hawkers

When the eyewear brand Hawkers partnered up with Spanish clothing brand El Ganso for a joint line of sunglasses, Hawkers’ marketing team wanted to see which Facebook ad format would garner the most engagement. Between March and April of 2017, they launched a combination of standard ads and collection ads on Facebook.

While their standard ads had a photo, a caption and a call-to-action linking to their site, the collection ads offered a header image or video, followed by smaller images of sunglasses from the line underneath.

To A/B test ad effectiveness of the different ad types, Hawkers showed half of its audience standard photo ads while the other half were presented with the collection format. The company also used Facebook’s Audience Lookalike feature to target the ads their audiences and similar users in Spain.

Results: The collection ad boosted engagement by 86%. The collection ads also saw a 51% higher rate of return than the other ads.

Takeaways

This study shows how an ad that shows off different elements of your product or service could be more engaging to your audience. With collection ads, audiences can see a bunch of products as well as a main image or video about the sunglass line. With a standard single photo or video, the number of products you show might be limited. While some users might not respond well to one image or video, they might engage if they see a number of different products or styles they like.

Facebook Conversion Case Study:

Femibion from Merck

Femibion, a German family-planning brand owned by Merck Consumer Health, wanted to generate leads by offering audiences a free baby planning book called “Femibion BabyPlanung.” The company worked with Facebook to launch a multistage campaign with a combination of traditional image and link ads with carousel ads.

The campaign began with a cheeky series of carousel ads that featured tasteful pictures of “baby-making places,” or locations where women might conceive a child. The later ads were a more standard format that displayed an image of the book and a call-to-action.

When the first ads launched in December 2016, they were targeted to female audiences in Germany. In 2017, during the later stages of the campaign, the standard ads were retargeted to women who had previously interacted with the carousel ads. With this strategy, people who already showed interest would see more ads for the free product offer. This could cause them to remember the offer or click when they saw it a second time.

Results: By the time the promotion ended in April 2017, ads saw a 35% increase in conversion rate. The company had also generated 10,000 leads and decreased their sample distribution cost by two times.

Takeaways

This case study shows how a company successfully brought leads through the funnel. By targeting women in Germany for their first series of creative “baby-making” ads, they gained attention from a broad audience. Then, by focusing their next round of ads on women who’d already shown some type of interest in their product, they reminded those audiences of the offer which may have enabled those people to convert to leads.

Facebook Product Sales Case Study

Samsung

In an effort to boost sales from its Latin American audiences, Samsung promoted the 2015 Argentina launch of the Galaxy S6 smartphone with a one-month Facebook campaign.

The campaign featured three videos that highlighted the phone’s design, camera, and long battery life respectively.

One video was released each week and all of them were targeted to men and women in Argentina. In the fourth week of the campaign, Samsung launched more traditional video and photo ads about the product. These ads were specifically targeted to people who’d engaged with the videos and their lookalike audiences.

Results: Samsung received 500% ROI from the month-long campaign and a 7% increase in new customers.

Takeaways

Like Femibion, Samsung tested a multiple ad strategy where the targeting got more specific as the promotions continued. They too saw the benefit of targeting ads to users who already showed interest in the first rounds of advertisements. This strategy definitely seems like one that could be effective when trying to gain more qualified leads.

Facebook Store Visits Case Study:

Church's Chicken

The world’s third-largest chicken restaurant, Church’s Chicken, wanted to see if they could use Facebook to increase in-restaurant traffic. From February to October of 2017, the chain ran a series of ads with the “Store Traffic” ad objectives. Rather than giving customers a link to a purchasing or order page, these ads offer users a call-to-action that says “Get Directions.” The dynamic store-traffic ad also gives users the store information for the restaurant closest to them.

The ads ran on desktop and mobile newsfeeds and were targeted at people living near a Church’s Chicken who were also interested in “quick-serve restaurants.” The study also noted that third-party data was used to target customers who were “big spenders” at these types of restaurants.

To measure the results, the team compared data from Facebook’s store-reporting feature with data from all of its locations.

Results: The ads resulted in over 592,000 store visits with an 800% ROI. Each visit cost the company an average of $1.14. The ROI of the campaign was four times the team’s return goal.

Takeaways

If you don’t have an ecommerce business, Facebook ads can still be helpful for you if they’re strategized properly. In this example, Church’s ads targeted locals who like quick-serve restaurants and served them a dynamic ad with text that notified them of a restaurant in their direct area. This type of targeting and ad strategy could be helpful to small businesses or hyperlocal businesses that want to gain foot traffic or awareness from the prospective customers closest to them.

Navigating Case Studies

If you’re a marketer that wants to execute proven Facebook strategies, case studies will be incredibly helpful for you. If the case studies on the list above didn’t answer one of your burning Facebook questions, there are plenty of other resources and success stories online.

As you look for a great case study to model your next campaign strategy, look for stories that seem credible and don’t feel too vague. The best case studies will clearly go over a company’s mission, challenge or mission, process, and results.

Because many of the case studies you’ll find are from big businesses, you might also want to look at strategies that you can implement on a smaller scale. For example, while you may not be able to create a full commercial at the production quality of Pandora, you might still be able to make a lower-budget video that still conveys a strong message to your audience.

If you’re interested in starting a paid campaign, check out this helpful how-to post. If you just want to take advantage of free options, we also have some great information on Facebook Live and Facebook for Business.

11 Amazing Facebook Marketing Case Studies

Even though Facebook still seems to be first on the mind of many people thinking about social media marketing – Facebook is not easy to master. But there are multiple Facebook marketing case studies out there that prove that success can still be found with Facebook. Sure, you can buy visibility fairly cheap, you can shout your offers at a (hopefully) targeted audience. But to get your share of Facebook’s marketing and branding superpowers you have to understand how the social network Facebook works. You need to figure out what your target audience likes – and you have to find the trigger to make them engage with your updates.

Before you read on - we have various resources that show you exactly how to use social networks to gain massive traffic and leads. For instance, check out the following:

FREE Step-by-Step Twitter Marketing Guide
FREE Pinterest Marketing Ebook

If you are not going to spend thousands of dollars on advertising that gets even harder – and the more important, it is to understand how it all works.

A wider reach for a post on a Facebook fanpage may become harder to get, but there are still some formats and types of updates on Facebook that can reach far.

While many Facebook users complain that their reach dropped, most of them do not (yet) utilize the fairly new features that Facebook offers that will not only help to increase engagement but also help to uphold or even grow the reach. And I am not talking all about advertising.

No matter what you do on Facebook, a key goal for your marketing updates should be engagement. And that is for more than one reason:

  • Engagement is an important factor that decides how well your posts is received by the Facebook algorithm.
  • Engagement also helps to build a relationship and convert more leads and customers.

Brands who are looking for Facebook marketing success need to be aware of what works and what their audience may like. There are some types of posts that on average fare far better than others – and successful brands consider this.

Video by far outperforms all other types of Facebook post formats. In fact, videos get 59% more engagement than any other types of post. Video even performs better than photos.

But there is another type of post or rather a place to post that can outperform what you have been doing on Facebook in the past: Facebook groups.

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Marketers view private community groups as one of the major trends in social marketing. That should be reason enough for you to take a closer look at Facebook groups if you have not done so in the past. We added some Facebook marketing case studies to this list that feature Facebook groups as the main focus.

But you don’t have to take my word for the possibilities you have with your Facebook marketing. There are more than enough examples of brands that are hitting it big-time on Facebook.

Please keep in mind that the benefits of using Facebook in your marketing strategy are not all about website traffic. A Facebook marketing strategy can also be about engaging with your target audience, increasing customer loyalty, lead generation, and interacting with your customer base. And Facebook is still one of the best social media platforms to achieve all of that.

Here are 11 examples of brands that win big with their Facebook marketing. Even if your situation is different, your budget not even worth mentioning and your existing fanbase a fraction of the brands in question – you can still learn from these amazing Facebook marketing case studies how to leverage the Facebook audience!

1. Starbucks – Case Study for Facebook Groups

The first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte was sold in a test campaign in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, and Washington, D.C. in 2003. It was an instant success. In the fall of 2004, the drink was rolled out nationwide. It is said that Starbucks made more than 1.4 billion $ just off this drink.

The pumpkin spice latte remains a seasonal drink to this day – and is eagerly awaited for fall 2020.

But what has Pumpkin Spice Latte to do with Facebook marketing? A lot.

In 2018 Starbucks launched a Facebook group for Pumpkin Spice Latte. The group is called “Leaf Rakers Society.” It is a group to celebrate fall – remember, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is a seasonal drink that can only be bought at Starbucks in fall…

The number one reason for Starbucks’ social media team for starting this group may have been the shift in the algorithm on Facebook. That shift meant that brands needed to focus on engagement and meaningful interaction instead of just posting. And for many brands that meant a new strategy that focused more on the Facebook group than on Facebook fanpages. For Starbucks this group had more benefits:
  • for their seasonal drink, this group kept the love and excitement alive all-year-long.
  • They do not post, they do not have to be active. The group members keep the group alive.
  • They do not have to spend a dime in advertising – the popular topic allows them to do brand building based on member activity.
  • They can build anticipation for the re-release of their famous drink every year by simply recommending new fall- and pumpkin-spice-lovers to the group – even from other social networks like Twitter.
  • Listening to their customers who keep talking about beveryge recepies and Starbucks products they get valuable insights into what their audience loves or hates, how they can improve – and maybe even get new ideas for the nest super product to sell
  • All considered, the Facebook group for pumpkin spice latte lovers seems to do the trick for Starbucks.

2. Tomcat – Facebook Video Case Study

Facebook video and Facebook live video may sound a little intimidating and scary. So much may go wrong. And if it goes wrong everybody can see it.

But with a little creativity and some additional boost, there are awesome marketing results on the line.

So how about Halloween, mice, and a horror movie that develops as the audience comments on the video? This is an extraordinary example of creative content marketing utilizing one of the major trends in social media.

Tomcat is a company that focuses on rodent extermination. For Halloween 2016 they created a live video event featuring some mice in a haunted cabin. At some points in the story, the audience was asked how the story should develop: Which of the mice should die next and how should it be killed.

The video got 2.3 million unique views and an insane amount of 21% of viewers actively participated. the fanbase of the Tomcat Facebook page grew by 58%.

3. BuzzFeed -Facebook Live dance battle

This is another example of how brands can use Facebook live to engage with their audience and build brand awareness.

You probably all know BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed used Facebook live to host an interactive dance battle called “Dance Craze Battle: Live” that asked the audience to vote on the performance of the dancers via the comments.

But they asked for even more engagement.

Instead of following a predefined schedule and guideline for the moves to be performed, they asked the audience to suggest dance moves that the dancers had to perform. And the audience complied, making the dancers perform things like “the crying college student.”

Between rounds, Buzzfeed took the opportunity to talk to the contestants and make their team more human.

In the second round of the battle, the viewers could see how the dancers performed their suggestions.

The engagement on the live videos helped keep the audience interested.

4. Hubspot – Facebook group example

In March 2020 the inbound marketing company Hubspot created a Facebook group for Marketers called Marketer to Marketer.

As with the Starbucks Facebook group for fall lovers, the Hubspot group is NOT a group to market Hubspot products. It is also not a Hubspot support group.

In fact, the group description explicitly states that the group is not monitored by the Hubspot support team.

Hubspot answers the why to the Facebook Group themselves: To build a community around their target group (=marketers.) Plus, since the reach for Facebook posts steadily declines they needed a new way of increasing engagement around their brand and product.

The impact of the group? Hubspot has close to 2 Mio followers on their Facebook fanpage. The group has just over 3200 members. The difference is too large to measure the impact of the group on Facebook engagement, reach or traffic.

However, they get direct access to members from their target group. They can interact and engage and earn valuable insights into the questions and topics on the mind of their marketing audience.

The Hubspot Facebook group is still very young but it already turned into a self-sustaining community. But it still needs ongoing promotion to keep it growing and prospering.

5. Real Estate – a Local Facebook Marketing Case Study

Looking at the other case studies, you may get the impression that you have to be a global player with a huge budget to utilize Facebook marketing. That is why I added this case study about a real estate company that wanted to increase local leads.

For this they used lead generation ads – this type of ad on Facebook already includes a contact form for which you can choose the questions to add.

The agency case study tells that the campaign generated 370 local leads in 90 days. Each lead cost 6,77$ on average.

Before you jump on the Facebook advertising train, please note that the case study does not disclose any ROI or value for the lead. I have no proof whatsoever that any dollar was ever earned with these leads.

And that is a major problem with lead generation on Facebook and you need to measure your results carefully: Leads need to make you money otherwise you will be on a straight path to bankruptcy as you pay for each lead in hard money.

6. Nike

Sure, Nike has a corporate page on Facebook. But Nike has so much more. They have specialized Fanpages for various sports like basketball, football, running, tennis, etc. Also, Nike has some pages for activity like the Nike+ Run Club. They have Nike Women. Plus they have several accounts for various products.

Why are they splitting up their marketing power this way?

Because it lets them target their audience much better. They can provide more value to the people. The sports channels give you news from your favorite sports without annoying half the audience with news from sports they are not interested in.

I have been part of the running initiative a while back when Nike had Women’s runs in various cities including my home town Berlin. These runs were perfectly organized inbound marketing campaigns that encouraged the participants to share photos and videos from the event all over social media. Nike even provided several on-location photo booths to make sure there where thousands of branded photos being passed around social media. And sure I was a fan of the related Fanpage eager awaiting updates on the next run.

With all these accounts – what is Nike talking about all day? What is their content strategy? Not their products – or not only their products. Nike products have a minor role in all this branding effort. No need to be overly promotional. A large number of updates is about news from sports or athletes that still builds brand awareness.

Note: Nike can be viewed as a case study from the past. Most of their Facebook pages are not updated anymore. They have gone on another marketing path.

7. TOMS One-For-One Strategy

The One-For-One Strategy is incorporated into TOMS: For each pair of shoes someone buys at TOMS, they will give another pair to someone in need. The same goes for eyewear. For a bag, TOMS will finance one secure birth for a mother and child. This strategy gives a lot of possibilities for stories to tell – each product in itself is a call-to-action to do something good. And this type of marketing campaign works on Facebook. They can announce new partnerships and products – people will like them and allow leveraging the good deed that is always included.

8. State Bicycle

Maybe it is because I am into sports myself – I love how State Bicycle work their Facebook page: Sure they have product updates. They also have announcements for races and news from the biking world.

What really gets their engagement going is their content strategy of photo contests, photo shoots and photos they share.

If you want to learn more about this Facebook marketing case study, you can find >more details in this report.

9. Tough Mudder

I am not so sure whether I first heard about Tough Mudder from friends – or if I first saw an ad from them on Facebook. Maybe it is because I know people who participated, or because Jonathan may take part one day. But they surely caught my attention on Facebook. Tough Mudder is an obstacle course challenge that takes place all over the world. And they rock Facebook. They are using several country accounts besides the main Facebook Fanpage. They post a mixture of videos, images, and articles around the tough mudder races. Of course, they have the huge advantage of video footage directly from the challenges. And these videos surely get a ton of engagement – who does not admire those tough mudders?

Also, they use Facebook advertising – as said before, I saw those ads multiple times. And maybe one day I will dare to go for one of the challenges… Let me first finish the Berlin Marathon in September 🙂

ToughMudder also uses Facebook video and Facebook live to cover its events. Since the Corona pandemic, there have not been any ToughMudder events but you can find some of the past videos.

They not only cover events but also live stream bootcamps.

10. FitBit – Facebook marketing case study

This is more an example of a content marketing strategy with the aid of Facebook. FitBit mainly shares their own blog posts on their Facebook fanpage. And they manage to get high engagement. Nothing going viral but solid likes and shares.

How they do it?

They do not concentrate on their products. They share posts from the FitBit blog that cover everything fitness and healthy living related. And that topic simply rocks on Facebook.

Plus they are responsive in the comments.

Whenever a fan shares a story or personal experience in the comments, FitBit is there to comment and appreciate the openness.

That kind of interaction scores high with fans.

11. Always #LikeAGirl

I can still remember seeing this campaign for the first time. And it lured me in – as thousands and millions of others.

Always offers sanitary products for women, and in 2014 they decided to change the meaning of #likeagirl. At the center of their campaign was this powerful video.

The campaign achieved what it was meant to achieve: it connected the brand „Always“ with millions of teenage girls and young female adults with a strong message that empowered them and made them proud to be #LikeAGirl.

Final Words about Facebook marketing case studies

While Facebook isn’t up front on the list of hottest marketing trends, there are still thousands of brands successful on Facebook. And not all of them base their success solely on the size of their advertising budget. They succeed because they understand how Facebook works – and what their audience on Facebook wants and likes.

The biggest trend – and probably your biggest chance for marketing success without breaking the bank – currently are Facebook groups and Facebook video or rather Facebook live. That is why we added some Facebook marketing case studies that focus on Facebook groups and Facebook videos.

Before you jump into Facebook marketing and spend thousands on advertising because you read somewhere that Facebook marketing can only be successful if you pay for it – take a close look at some of these case studies and figure out what really makes them successful. It is the content they use, the engagement they drive, and fit between their updates and their target audience. Once, you understood what works for others figure out which marketing tactics resonate with your audience!

That is what Facebook marketing success is based on!

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Walmart turns four stores into e-commerce laboratories as online sales surge

Key Points

  • Walmart is turning four of its stores into laboratories that test ways to turn the company’s huge physical footprint into a more powerful edge for e-commerce.
  • At the stores, employees will use digital tools, store design features and different strategies that could speed up restocking shelves and fulfilling online orders.
  • Even before the pandemic fueled e-commerce growth, the big-box retailer had made moves to align its online and e-commerce strategies — such as merging separate teams of buyers.

Walmart is turning four of its stores into laboratories that test ways to turn the retailer’s huge physical footprint into a more powerful edge for e-commerce.

The big-box giant said Thursday that it’s designating two stores near its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and two others that will be announced later. It said the stores and their employees will try out approaches that better blend the brick-and-mortar and digital sides of the business and improve the experience for customers.

Walmart, like other retailers, has seen more of its sales shift online during the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart’s e-commerce sales nearly doubled in the second quarter ended July 31. Yet even before the global health crisis, the company focused on using its numerous stores as an advantage over Amazon and other competitors.

For this new effort, employees will use digital tools, store design features and different strategies that could speed up restocking shelves and fulfilling online orders. They will test an app that uses artificial intelligence to scan multiple boxes in the back room rather than one at a time as they move them to the store floor. They will use new store signage and handheld devices to cut down the time it takes to pick an online order. And product and technology teams will be based at the stores to accelerate the pace of prototyping.

Walmart will also try to better sync up its apparel assortment at the test stores. Some apparel is not currently listed online. If the store and the website have the same shirts or sweaters, customers have more ways to get those goods — such as retrieving them through curbside pickup or having them shipped to the home.

The company said it will tinker with the checkout area, too, testing designs, hardware and software that make customers’ purchases faster, easier and more contact-free.

John Crecelius, Walmart’s senior vice president of associate product and next generation stores in the U.S., said in a post on the company’s website that simple changes can pay off. For example, he said, the percentage of times that employees picking an online order find the item on their first attempt has gone up by 20% in some of its tricky merchandise categories when it’s added the signage and handheld devices. The signage was inspired by airport terminals, with a letter and a number.

He said Walmart will announce more ways it will use its stores to drive online growth.

Walmart has more than 4,700 stores in the U.S. More than 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of one of its stores. That can make them convenient hubs for fulfilling online orders for curbside pickup or delivery.

How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace

Walmart is one of the world’s largest retailers. And with more and more consumers shopping online these days, getting your products on Walmart.com can be a major benefit. The process for selling on Walmart Marketplace differs from selling your products in physical Walmart stores. But this gives sellers the option to reach tons of online buyers.

You can sell a huge variety of products on Walmart.com. Walmart sellers also enjoy the freedom to manage their own shop policies, products, and fulfillment. But third-party sellers require approval from Walmart and must meet rigorous qualifications before using the platform.

If you want your products to reach a wider audience, here’s what you need to know about selling on Walmart Marketplace.

What is Walmart Marketplace?

Walmart Marketplace is an ecommerce platform from Walmart. The retail giant partners with various sellers and brands to bring tons of products together on Walmart.com. It’s a similar concept to Amazon and other online marketplaces. But since you’re selling under the Walmart umbrella, third party sellers must apply and be approved beforehand.

The main benefit of selling on Walmart Marketplace is the reach. Walmart has a wide base of customers in various locations and demographics. In fact, 265 million customers shop at Walmart stores and online each week. And there are more than 100 million unique visitors to Walmart.com each month. So businesses in various niches can benefit from selling on their online marketplace. Generally, shoppers tend to be fairly price-conscious and practical-minded. So affordable items and things like household essentials tend to do better than unique or expensive items with high price tags in the Walmart market.

Walmart Marketplace does not collect any setup, listing, or monthly fees from sellers. Instead, they charge what they call a “reasonable referral fee” for each product sold. The rates for these fees vary by category. For example, the referral fee for apparel and accessories is 15 percent. The fee for consumer electronics is 8 percent. And the fee for jewelry is 20 percent. All referral fees fall somewhere between 8 and 20 percent. Even if you sell products in multiple categories, each fee is calculated separately. And they are taken out automatically. So you don’t need to calculate expenses or plan for specific payments in your product listings.

How Do I Get Approved to Sell on Walmart.com?

Selling on Walmart.com is similar to selling on other marketplace sites. You apply as a seller — then you have the ability to upload products and manage the product listings of your shop on your own. But Walmart Marketplace only accepts reputable sellers with a strong history of meeting customer expectations. Before you can start selling, you need to fill out the online application. As part of the onboarding process, you will need some basic contact information about your business along with your tax ID, EIN, and product category info. Walmart recommends setting aside about 15 minutes to complete the application. The company doesn’t outline many specific qualifications for marketplace sellers. You simply need a U.S. address and products that fit into one of Walmart’s many categories. However, the company looks to partner with established businesses. So having positive reviews, quality products, fast shipping such as one or two-day shipping and fulfillment can help you get approved. Once you’ve submitted your application, Walmart will alert you when your shop has been approved. Then you can set up your seller account and sign a Retailer Agreement contract. You’ll also need to complete your profile, connect a payment account, integrate your product catalog, and test orders. From there, you can request a final review from Walmart and launch your marketplace shop. This is not the process for selling in Walmart stores. That process requires patents, certifications, and rigorous vendor requirements. And instead of selling products direct to consumers online, you sell them to Walmart stores. They are then the ones responsible for getting them to customers. If you want to sell your products in physical retail locations, you need to complete that process separately.

What Can I Sell on Walmart Marketplace?

You can sell nearly anything on Walmart Marketplace. Items simply need to fit into one of Walmart’s categories. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Home and furniture
  • Patio and Garden
  • Household Essentials
  • Pharmacy and Health
  • Personal Care Products
  • Office Supplies
  • Toys
  • Baby
  • Sporting Goods
  • Beauty
  • Auto
  • Entertainment
  • Video Games
  • Electronics
  • Arts and Crafts

There’s also a category for “everything else.” So nearly anything that might be of interest to Walmart’s extensive customer base is able to be sold on the company’s website.

Sellers add information about their product catalog during the application and setup process. So once you’re approved, you don’t need to continue getting new products approved. You simply integrate the Walmart Marketplace with your inventory management system. There are no SKU minimums or maximums. So you can use a fixed threshold method to limit what’s available or just include your entire catalog. If you have items in your spreadsheet that are out of stock, those items won’t be listed on Walmart.com.

Like other marketplaces, Walmart.com also allows third party sellers to list items that are also sold by others. The platform uses product identifiers like UPC and GTIN to match items that are already for sale. Then those listings are presented together to buyers on Walmart.com. Usually, those with the lowest prices appear in results first. But other factors like reviews are also taken into account.

Since these product identifiers are a big part of listing on Walmart Marketplace, it’s not the ideal place for selling handmade, vintage, or one-of-a-kind items. There’s also a list of prohibited items, including alcohol, artifacts, unauthorized reproductions or collectibles, drug paraphernalia, expired food, products with tampered packaging, tobacco, and firearms. Basically, any items that are deemed to be unsafe, illegal, or potentially offensive may be prohibited. And Walmart may take down listings that fall into these categories.

What Products Sell the Best on Walmart.com?

The products that sell the best on Walmart Marketplace include household essentials and electronics. An Instant Pot pressure cooker was the top-selling item in 2019. And other items like baby wipes and paper towels were among the top sellers. Popular electronics like TVs and smartphones tend to do well in the year they’re released.
This doesn’t mean you can or should only sell these items. But Walmart shoppers tend to look for practical items that are affordably priced. If you sell products that fit into any of Walmart’s categories, they may sell well as long as you can price them competitively.
In fact, small businesses that are just getting started selling on Walmart Marketplace may actually find it easier to sell products with slightly less demand. There’s likely to be less competition for the buy box and top tier listings. So it may be easier to get your products seen by customers.

What Can I Do on Walmart Seller Central?

Walmart Seller Center is the online portal that sellers can use to manage products, add listings, and fulfill orders. Once you’ve been approved as a seller, you simply log in with your credentials to access all of your seller profile.
When adding products, you can use the Walmart API to integrate your product spreadsheet or connect with your inventory management system. The Walmart Seller Center outlines what information is required under each product category. There are also templates you can use when listing. These give you the basic outline of what information you need to add for each listing.
Seller Center also includes details on sold products so you can fulfill orders quickly. You’re responsible for setting your own shipping times and policies. Then Walmart Marketplace keeps track of how successful you are when it comes to fulfillment. So if your orders regularly ship and arrive on time, you’ll receive a high rating. If you don’t stay in compliance with your own policies, you can see that you have room for improvement.
There are also options for responding to customer inquiries and sharing information about orders and shipping. So if customers have questions about a product or want to know the status of their fulfillment services, you’ll receive a notification so you can respond quickly. You also have the option to reach out to new customers if there’s an issue or if you want to share updates about their orders.
In addition, Walmart Connect Center provides details about how much you’ve earned from sales once fees have been taken out. Walmart Marketplace takes these referral fees out automatically. So you don’t need to calculate or plan for these expenses. The earnings that appear in your dashboard should already have these fees taken out.

How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace: Overview of the Process

With the approval process in hand, it’s up to you to manage your item setup, orders, and customer service on Walmart Marketplace. Here are some of the activities you’ll need to handle regularly to keep your shop up and running as a seller.

1. Add New Products

In addition to adding products when you first sign up on Walmart as a seller, you need to continue managing them as you run your shop. When you add new products to your inventory list, you need to add titles and descriptions to give customers the information they need. There are also other details that may need to be added, as outlined below.

2. Update Inventory

Walmart allows third party sellers to integrate their inventory management system or spreadsheets to automate this process. So by updating your inventory list, you can quickly add new products to your shop. Aside from adding new products, you also need to update the amount of inventory you have available as a seller. When products sell, you need to keep track of those transactions in your spreadsheet or management platform. Then those changes should appear on Walmart.com. For example, if you run out of a product or a specific variety, those products should no longer appear on the website. You can also do this manually through Walmart Seller Center.

3. Set Prices

Each product also needs a price. Consider your own costs and the costs of other products to make your listings as competitive as possible. Pricing is very important on Walmart Marketplace. So carefully analyze your costs and research your competition before finalizing your listings.

4. Include Photos

Each product also needs at least have one image, but you can add more if you wish. This gives customers a look at your products’ style and function so they can make an informed decision. This part is pretty similar to that of other online marketplaces. You start in Walmart Seller Central as you’re adding products. Then you can upload images from your computer or select them from a URL.

5. Fulfill Orders

Walmart Marketplace sellers are responsible for their own fulfillment. So sellers need to create and maintain a process for getting products out quickly. You can set Walmart fulfillment policies, including shipping dates and predicted shipping times. Then it’s up to you to keep up with them. Generally, Walmart sellers need to have an established fulfillment process before being approved. So you simply need to keep up with your policies and keep your customers happy with each purchase on Walmart.

6. Manage Returns

You also need a return policy for those customers who may not be satisfied with their purchases. When customers are dissatisfied or want to exchange their order for something else, they can reach out to you. Then you can use the Walmart Seller Center to communicate with them and facilitate returns, refunds, and exchanges. Just make sure that your actions are consistent with your return policy so customers remain satisfied with their experience. This is key for good customer service, which will get you better reviews and more visibility from Walmart as a seller.

7. Communicate with Customers

Even when customers don’t want to send back their purchases, communication is essential. You can use the Walmart Seller Center to reach out to customers with order information or requests for reviews. Customers can also reach out to you with questions or concerns about your products or shipping times. So responding to them quickly can help you create a positive experience and keep your ratings and visibility up. Make sure to have all of your contact information such as your email address and phone numbers up to date.

Best Practices When Selling on Walmart.com

Once you have the basics covered, it’s time to increase your sales. The following tips can help you get the most out of Walmart Marketplace as a seller:

  • Price competitively – Price is king for many Walmart shoppers. When you are a seller it impacts how your products appear in search results as well. The Walmart “Buy Box” is the first listing that shows up for a specific product. While other factors are taken into account as well, it seems that price plays the biggest role in determining who gets the Buy Box. So research both product and shipping prices before setting yours to ensure you end up in the Buy Box more often.
  • Start small – Selling on Walmart Marketplace can lead to a big influx in sales quickly. That’s great for businesses that can fulfill those orders. But if you run a smaller operation, it can overwhelming. For those who are unsure about their ability to handle the extra workload, start with just a few products. You can upload listings manually to start before adding your full inventory list and arranging your fulfillment centers. This gives you a chance to get used to the platform without being overwhelmed and potentially falling behind. As you grow, find the right fulfillment centers if you can’t do it yourself. And keep your shipping, whether it is one or two-day shipping a priority.
  • Choose an ecommerce management platform that integrates with Walmart – You can upload products directly to Walmart Marketplace or use a spreadsheet with your inventory list. However, the process may be easier if you use a platform that integrates with Walmart directly. These include Shopify CED Commerce, GeekSeller, M2E, and a variety of other tools you can use as a seller.
  • Include extra images – Online buyers like to see their products from multiple angles. Go above and beyond when uploading photos. Include shots that show different views, uses, and scales. And make sure images meet Walmart’s quality standards.
  • Consider your SEO – As with any product listing, relevant keywords are essential. Include searchable terms like the product name, brand, and use in the title, tags, and description. Include enough information in the description to answer customer questions. But as a seller, you should cut out fluff so your keywords and important information stand out.
  • Choose the Right Product Categories – In addition to searching, customers can also browse for products on Walmart Marketplace. If you choose the most relevant categories, shoppers are more likely to find what you have to offer. Some sellers try to stand out by varying their categories. But this can negatively impact your visibility. The more clear you are, the easier it is for the Walmart algorithm to give your products the visibility they need which can include a place in the Buy Box.
  • Offer free two-day shipping – Today’s customers want fast shipping. And they don’t want to pay for it. Walmart.com specifies which products qualify for free two-day or next-day shipping. So customers often prioritize these items. To get your products under this tag, you need to be a seller for at least 90 days. And you must have fulfilled at least 100 orders over the past month. Walmart tracks how often your products are shipped on time or early. So you must have a 95 percent success rate and meet other qualifications when it makes this consideration. With consistent shipping methods that meet these requirements, you can meet the Walmart fulfillment requirements to get listed higher in the rankings.
  • Generate positive reviews – Reviews are also considered when determining where products fall under customer searches. You can’t always control what a customer might share about your business on your Walmart store. But you can focus on providing quality customer service and answering inquiries quickly. Additionally, you might send out quick messages to happy customers to remind them to leave reviews after they’ve completed purchases.
  • Respond to Customer Inquiries Quickly – Another way to improve customer satisfaction is to answer their questions promptly. If they reach out to you about a product or ask about shipping delays, quick responses can keep them happy and informed. To accomplish this, sign in to Seller Center regularly to find updates and keep clients informed. Customer support is key in ecommerce if you want good reviews and increase your customer base. Keep track of contact information such as an email address to deliver personalized messages.
  • Advertise – Like other online marketplace platforms, you can advertise on Walmart Marketplace to improve visibility. As a seller, you can sponsor products to ensure they appear higher in search results. This represents another cost. But it’s a cost per click structure. So you can set your own budget and pay for actual results and bring visibility to your products with performance ads.

Marketplace Seller vs. Walmart Supplier

A marketplace seller is a business that sells directly on Walmart.com. You’re responsible for managing your listings, fulfillment, and customer service. So you have more control over the process. This is fairly similar to other online marketplaces.

A Walmart supplier is a company that sells products to Walmart. You can sell these items in retail stores, online, or both. But Walmart purchases these items from brands and then sells them using their own processes. The approval process of a supplier requires working with the Walmart team directly. So it tends to be more time consuming and has more requirements.

Will My Products Be Sold in Walmart Stores?

No, not unless you get separately approved to sell in stores. Marketplace (Walmart.com) is different from the physical store. If you get your products into the physical stores, you can also sell them online if Walmart chooses to list them there. But signing up for Marketplace does not mean that your products will also be sold on store shelves.

The process of selling your products in stores is different. One option is to attend an OPEN Call event. The company usually holds one each year to vet potential suppliers. You can also apply online. Then you need to work with Walmart to complete your application and supply products.

Is Selling on the Walmart Marketplace Worth It?

If you meet the qualifications as a seller on Walmart Marketplace, it’s likely worth the time investment and fees to get your products in front of so many shoppers. Shoppers are likely to already be on Walmart.com for other items. So if you can provide additional value, your shop may be very successful. You can get tons of traffic and control your own listings and fulfillment much as you can on other sites. But you don’t need to worry about any payments aside from those automatic fees when you actually make a sale. So it can be fairly affordable when you compare it to other selling methods.

However, companies that sell specialty items or who don’t have the necessary inventory management and fulfillment processes in place may struggle to thrive on Walmart.com. The website isn’t popular with shoppers looking for expensive goods or one-of-a-kind products. So if your items are not priced competitively and popular with practical-minded Walmart shoppers, it may not be worthwhile. Other ecommerce marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and even Amazon tend to be less rigorous and time-consuming. So if you’re new to marketplaces and don’t have tons of inventory to promote, starting smaller may be a safer bet.

9. “Hey, you’ll never guess who I saw at dinner last night!”

I can’t believe this one made the list: name-dropping. I was having lunch with a friend on the Walmart buying team and mentioned writing this blog. When I asked what would be helpful to include, she practically screamed, “Name-dropping!” She then shared some awkward stories we won’t detail here. It seems that more than a few supplier meetings at the Walmart Home Office have begun with, “Hey, you’ll never guess who I saw at dinner last night!” Let me guess. . .a Walmart executive? Simply put, seeing Doug McMillon in Bentonville, AR, is like seeing Buzz Lightyear in Disneyland. People who work there experience it all the time, and it won’t help you get on the ride any faster. Instead of name-dropping, try news-dropping. If Walmart has announced a new program or strategy, bring ideas to the table of how you can support it through your business to grow sales. Conclusion: Let the First Time be the Last Time What not to ask the Walmart BuyerWhether it’s being too excited or being unprepared, it happens to everyone. The Walmart buying team is very forgiving when they hear something on this list; they just don’t want it happening in every meeting. The suppliers’ success contributes to Walmart’s success, so your buyer is there to support you through each step. Want to go into that meeting exceeding your buyer’s expectations? It helps to chat with someone who’s been there! Click here to bounce a few ideas off the Patent 2 Product team of experts. We’ve got some insight that will turn that meeting or line review into a better experience.

9 Things a Walmart Buyer Does NOT Want to Hear

The advisors at Patent 2 Product have sat on both sides of Walmart Buyer/Supplier meeting tables. Contact us about helping you prep for that first meeting or next line review). You’ve just finished the meeting with your Walmart Buyer. They walk you to the front lobby, shake hands, and you peel off your visitor’s sticker. As your team walks through the parking lot, how many times has one of you turned to the others and said: “Wow. I wasn’t expecting that.” “Is that new, or has it always been our responsibility?” “When I asked that last question, did you guys see the buyers look at each other?” It happens. We’ve all been in meetings where we wish we could turn back time ten seconds and remain silent. Unfortunately, there’s no supplier academy to tell you what not to ask in your buyer meeting! After talking with leaders who have participated in these meetings, here are their top picks for what your Walmart Buyer does not want to hear: