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Selling Wine Through Facebook Requires the Tenacity for Testing of a Sadistic High School Geometry Teacher Giving Surprise Quizzes

Expert Editorial

Remember that teacher in high school who relentlessly surprised the class with random, mid-week quizzes? The secret to success of selling wine through Facebook comes down to channeling that bit of her personality that loved testing. But unlike finally acing that class, Facebook advertising is a constantly moving target with a bunch of ‘gotchas’.

Although the majority of the advertising we manage on Facebook is outside of the wine industry, we help a number of wineries, both large and small, use the social giant to help sell more wine and drive tasting room traffic. It works for a variety of different sized wineries because it is very inexpensive and totally scalable.

When we first started working with wine clients, the common refrain was that you couldn’t sell wine through Facebook. This just didn’t add up to us, and it’s proved to be entirely and completely false.

Part of the issue with selling wine through Facebook is the complexity of digital sales attributions. Many brands and most wineries fail to set up tracking in advance of campaigns. And without it, you have very limited insight into which channels were responsible for revenue. What should be fairly straightforward can get super convoluted, attributions get lost and each platform calculates things differently. Few wineries have the in-house resources to set that up, and many just don’t have the experience to get it right. It’s not surprising that there is a belief that wine can’t be sold through Facebook.

Below, I will share what we’ve learned from one particular campaign for a Napa winery, The Hess Collection.

Overview & Strategy

Angelsmith created an integrated, cross channel campaign for the Napa Valley winery using Facebook advertising email marketing, organic posts and detailed retargeting ads.

For this particular campaign our primary strategies included:

  • Focus on selling to the winery’s existing community
  • Utilize only the Facebook ad and Facebook audience network
  • Execute a tiered campaign including teaser posts, announcement posts and general awareness posts through organic and paid Facebook & Instagram posts

Goals

  • Increase e-commerce wine sales
  • Convert social brand advocates into buyers
  • Increase the per transaction value

How Much to Invest?

In order to predict the sales outcome, we gathered the information that we knew. That included:

  • Sales goal based on available inventory
  • Website sales conversion rates at each phase of the funnel
  • Average click through rates for the wine industry on the Facebook advertising network
  • Advertising costs for that specific ad period

With this information we were able to recommend an initial Facebook advertising investment. And it’s way, way less than what you might expect. For every advertising dollar spent, that investment generated approximately $1,400 in revenue.

Real Time Investment Tracking – How to Know If It’s Working

To track our efforts in near real time, we used four tools, the Facebook pixel, URL campaign builders, landing pages, and Google Tag manager. The Facebook pixel is a tracking code that is placed on every page of your website that helps you properly attribute sales and other actions that originated from Facebook. The pixel, when properly configured and implemented, will show you how traffic from the social giant is either directly responsible for or is assisting your online wine sales.

For this particular campaign, Facebook was directly responsible for assisting with approximately 67% of total sales.

Pricing

The Hess Collection direct to consumer (DTC) team is very adept at creating wine pricing and shipping strategies that appeal to their affluent consumer.

Targeting

One of the best features of the Facebook platform, is the ability to pinpoint your exact consumer and serve up ads specifically where and when you need them delivered. We were able to maximize a small advertising budget because we can narrowly define the core consumers.

Other Results

  • Despite that fact that we only focused our advertising on existing page fans and those on the email database, new visitors to the website generated slightly more revenue than returning visitors.
  • Even though new visitors overall generated more income, the e-commerce sales conversion rate for returning visitors was 19.39% vs. new visitors was 9.46%. Facebook is one of the few social media platforms where brands benefit from recommendations, likes, and engagement. Those actions help propel the advertising past the initial group of consumers to a much wider net. For this campaign, approximately 8% of those reached through advertising commented, liked, or shared the ad.

SUMMARY

Over the last year The Hess Collection has strategically and carefully built its Facebook community and Angelsmith tests various digital advertising tactics to find what works best for them.

In our experience, Facebook advertising can work on its own, but it will over deliver with a strategic integrated feedback loop designed to support and reinforce each channel.

From growing wine on the mountainous terrain of Mount Veeder to establishing aggressive e-commerce sales goals, The Hess Collection’s company culture is to make the impossible possible. And the only way to push the limits is to test, test, test.

I believe we’ve barely touched the surface of what Facebook advertising can do for wine sales.

Testing takes time, patience and determination to get it right. But if you consider the low cost of Facebook advertising and the potential return on investment, it’s well worth the effort.

Carin OliverExpert Editorial
by Carin Oliver, CEO, Angelsmith, Inc.

Carin is the CEO of award-winning digital advertising agency Angelsmith. She developed Intercept & Influence™, a proprietary work process that maps how consumers use digital channels along their path to purchase. She is dedicated to understanding how affluent Americans make purchase decisions in wine, health & fitness, and restaurants.  With more than 20 years of marketing experience, she loves to share her knowledge.

Although never a high school geometry teacher, Carin is a great lover of test, iterate, and test again. 

You can find her in her Sausalito office with her husband and partner, Eric and their intrepid digital marketing team.

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