Influencer Giveaways: Your Most Valuable Black Friday Email List Is the One You’ll Build 30 Days Before November

Common Thread Collective

by Common Thread Collective Collaborator

Sep. 15 2019

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) bearing down, we know three things…

  1. Conversion rates are about to explode 📈
  2. Likewise with customer acquisition costs 😨
  3. And, so too is the value of an email address 💰

In fact, 56% of the annual value of email — the amount of revenue a single address generates — is realized in Nov. and Dec. More to the point, emails acquired in Oct. have the highest three-month value of any period of the year.

Why? Because 89% of BFCM purchases are made by customers who open an email before the holidays.

So we came up with a plan unlike any other we know of to collect a whole lot of email addresses at just the right time. It goes like this:

The best way to make it rain pre-BFCM emails is through an influencer giveaway funnel that you must be ready to launch within the next 30 days or — when Nov. hits — it’ll already be too late. Here’s how…

Want the full slide deck to launch your influencer giveaway? No problem… just give us your email addresses and we’ll send it over. (How’s that for meta?)

Influencer Giveaways With Facebook Ads: The Strategy

Here’s the core of the idea:

The most profitable way to utilize influencers on paid social is to amplify giveaways with purchase-optimized ads.

Done right, you’ll generate:

  • Large volumes of cheap traffic
  • Massive email list growth
  • ROAS from the start
  • Far higher ROAS over time

We’ve tested this strategy with major success on our brand, Slick Products. We’re also running it on our other 4x400 brands as well as across Common Thread Collective’s clients in preparation for the holidays.

In the example we’ll follow … the (1) customer is a dirt bike rider, ATV rider, or off-road enthusiast. The (2) product is Slick’s Ultimate Wash Kit. And the (3) influencer is supercross star, Austin Forkner (aka, Farm Boy).

We’ve worked with a host of different ecommerce influencers, including Austin Forkner, Adam Cianciarulo, and Ricky Carmichael. (Not only is Carmichael one of the greatest motocross riders of all time, he’s actually a partner in our company.) The big-picture data I’ll show you later includes those campaigns and a few others.

Once you pick your product and players, you’ll follow a three-step process.

  1. Start with your giveaway content: organic social posts promoting a combination of something exclusive from the influencer and free product
  2. From there, you’ll send visitors to a landing page that’s got an email capture up at the top and bottom
  3. Then, enter them into an automated email flow

Influencer giveaway on Instagram funnel

That’s a very simple, very standard way to do a giveaway. But, in case you haven’t done one before, let’s walk through it step by step.

After setting the foundation, we’ll get into how to scale it for the holiday season.

1. Giveaway influencer content

The content starts organic.

Austin posts on his social pages that he’s giving away two things: (1) a signed jersey and (2) Slick Products’ Ultimate Wash Kit, which is our very best product.

(That kit is everything you would need to wash your off-road vehicles and car wrapped up into one bundle.)

2. Giveaway landing page

In response, someone enters the giveaway.

Three things are crucial at this stage.

First, a signed Austin Forkner jersey matters to Austin Forkner fans. It’s something of value that he alone can provide. That's the hook.

Second, he’s going to talk about and endorse our product, which his team really does use. This is crucial: the influencer must endorse the product, even if it's in a soft-sell kind of way. 

From there, the user enters by clicking through, hitting the landing page (with email capture right on top), submitting their email (entering the giveaway), and getting sent a quick confirmation on page.

Influencer giveaway landing page

Third, we hit them with a bunch of product info on the landing page itself and in the emails that follow.

If you’re an Austin Forkner fan, you likely ride something off-road, which means we have a product for you – a product to which the influencer and landing page have now introduced you.

3. Giveaway email sequence

From there, we initiate an automated email sequence.

The first email is “thank you for entering.”

Amazingly, people really want to know that they entered. These emails always get opened at extraordinarily high rates. Knowing this is key to understanding the value of this strategy.

The rest of sequence follows this path:

Influencer giveaway email sequence

The (Expected) Results: Traffic and Email List Growth

The spikes below are from people entering these types of giveaways via — wait for it — organic social traffic.

Influencer giveaway organic social traffic

It’s hard to use organic social to drive traffic. So, we were thrilled.

Two more key metrics to note are that the…

  • Landing page for the giveaway converted email addresses at 75%
  • And the email flow that followed got an overall open rate of 40%

But, when you add paid spend, it gets crazy.

If I want to capture email addresses with Facebook Ads, the my first thought would normally be to turn run lead gen ads. It’s the obvious thing to do: “Okay, we want to generate email addresses? Let’s bid for email addresses.”

Of course, you could optimize for emails in Facebook (or even for website clicks that send to that landing page) — unleashing even higher volumes of super cheap visitors.

However, I’m not primarily interested in email addresses nor traffic.

I’m primarily interested in revenue …

The (Unexpected) Results: ROAS and ‘Dollar Dollar Bills’

What you want to do is to take people’s interest in your pre-BFCM influencer giveaway and turn it into real dollars. That’s the goal.

To do that, we took the organic posts and turned them into purchase-optimized ads.

By optimized, I want to be very clear – I’m not saying bid for a custom conversion email capture on the landing page. I’m saying optimize for purchase, just like you would with your evergreen, product-focused ads.

We plugged the same content and copy from Austin’s organic post, the same landing page, and triggered the same exact email flow. Except, this time, we put ad dollars behind it.

Purchase optimized ad to amplify the giveaway

The hypothesis? Generate far cheaper traffic than we usually could with conversion-optimized bidding, while converting just enough traffic for the value of the cheap clicks to pan out in a healthy ROAS. If we could do that, we could scale the spend and collect gobs of email addresses along the way.

Your usual purchase-optimized traffic is the cornerstone of ecommerce paid social ad strategy. It's important, and you can make a lot of money by doing it well. But, it isn't successful because it provides the cheapest traffic.

Why is influencer-giveaway traffic so much cheaper? Because the customer doesn’t know I’m conversion optimizing. They just see: “Win a free signed jersey” and the click-through rate skyrockets. That’s that.

Cheap clicks? Check. But what about the conversion rate? The hope was that I could subsidize the traffic and email addresses by getting enough ROAS to justify the spend.

This highlights the problem with lead gen bidding: it sounds awesome in theory (“I’m going to collect a bunch of email addresses and then within 10-15 automated emails… convert them.") but for a variety of reasons, it's usually incredibly hard to convert those people.

The reason? You’re getting all kinds of email addresses from all kinds of places. You’re not necessarily getting people interested in purchasing your product; you’re getting people interested in giving you an email address. That's fundamentally how the optimization algorithm works.

Instead, by optimizing the audience for purchase, we’ve taken all of the people Facebook says are most likely to buy products... and collected their email addresses.

We don’t just have email addresses.
We have purchased optimized email addresses.

So did it work? Here's the data (and note that these are all Prospecting-only audiences and uses click-only attribution):

For Forkner, we ended up paying $0.69 per email address. Across multiple campaigns — run with the same strategy — we average $0.75. At the same time, we also hit an average Prospecting ROAS of 1.72.

Influencer giveaway results

Those emails and ROAS make these kinds of campaigns valuable over the long term and the short term. But there’s another reason influencer giveaways pay off in the lead up to Black Friday…

Why You Must Be Ready to Launch Your Influencer Giveaway Funnel within the Next 30 Days

By way of comparison to the rest of this account, our CPC was about 40% cheaper than the evergreen ads running over the same time period.

Neither cost will not hold once BFCM hits.

On top of that, I’m collecting nearly 10X email addresses per dollar spent than if I were just collecting email addresses through my website pop-up. At its height, we ended up doubling our email addresses in two weeks.

For BFCM, you want even more.

Email lists growth through influencer giveaways

While Facebook is only going to track revenue for 28 days, you’re gonna track it for a lot longer.

November, December, and beyond.

Naturally, having a big email list full of purchase optimized addresses — people who have had a great first touchpoint with your product — is valuable.

Based on the data we covered up top… that value compounds over the holidays, but only when those emails are collected prior to Nov.

We know this thanks to macro trends and because, at Common Thread Collective, we pay close attention to a metric we call the Delayed Attribution Multiplier (DAM) when we analyze an ad account's ROAS.

What's a Delayed Attribution Multiplier? Facebook shows you purchase and revenue data in 1, 7, and 28 day increments after somebody clicks your ad. But of course, a media buyer can't just wait 28 days to make decisions about which ads are working and which aren't.

This is one of the fundamental challenges of media-buying: on day one, you have to try to project the total value ads that accumulates over 28 days (and beyond).

To do that, we ask ourselves, “What number do I multiply my one-day ROAS by to get my 28-day ROAS?” Every account is different, and usually Slick runs a DAM of about 1.25. (We take the one-day ROAS and multiply it by 1.25 to project a total ROAS.)

But when we ran the the influencer giveaways we got an average delayed attribution multiplier of three, meaning we were...

3Xing the value of the ads over 28 days (during an off-season).

On a one-day click — if you’re looking at an ad buyer and seeing 0.6 ROAS — you’re going: “Oh my god this is a failure. Andrew is an idiot. What a stupid idea.” Over seven days (at 0.9) you’re probably thinking the same thing.

But, over the full 28 days and beyond, the ROAS turns.

ROAS on influencer giveaways based on delayed attribution

The reason, very simply, is that people buy later because of the emails. A few buy right away, but most buy over time.

Facebook tracks those purchases up to 28 days. The problem with the “up to 28 days” limit is that there’s still more value after 28 days.

What we have, ultimately, is a way to grow your email list when it matters most: the lead up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

At the same time, you’ll build an owned audience from a serious influencer in your space. That piles on brand affinity and social proof. And it means you can reach out to that audience for free when the holidays descend… at the very time everyone else is paying higher acquisition costs for less valuable traffic.

Strapped for time but still want a pre-BFCM influencer funnel?

Then let us build and scale it for you. Drop your email, and let’s get started.

Common Thread Collective

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