The athletic retailer works with StitcherAds to serve up ads based on what consumers are looking at—on FinishLine.com and other retail sites.

Finish Line Inc. had long struggled to find prospective customers on Facebook, says Evan Whipkey, the retailer’s integrated marketing strategist.

The retailer, No. 114 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000, had been using Facebook’s Lookalike Audience tool, which lets brands show ads to consumers who share traits with their existing customer base. However, the process was cumbersome because the retailer had to manually create ads that it hoped would appeal to groups of consumers based on their interests.

Finish Line needed a more robust, automated solution, which last year led it to turn to StitcherAds’ advertising management platform. The platform enabled the retailer to automate its prospecting campaign using Facebook’s dynamic ads. Those ads enable a retailer or brand to automatically serve shoppers ads based on the products a consumer looked at on the merchant’s site or app.

To do so, the retailer broke its catalog into product sets organized by category and subcategory, such as shoes and basketball shoes. It then uploaded those sets to the StitcherAds platform, which the vendor used to create dynamic ad campaigns that constantly test to find the ideal combination of image and copy.

To find new customers, Finish Line also used Facebook’s broad audience tool, in which the social network creates an audience based on consumers who Facebook’s data suggests will be interested in a merchant’s products—for instance, if they’ve bought a particular brand or product type on another site—as well as those who’ve viewed products in the retailer’s catalog.

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In effect, the tool enables Finish Line to simultaneously run a prospecting and retargeting campaign using the same automated tools, Whipkey says. The approach has been remarkably effective. From February to April of this year, it delivered a 9.5 times return on ad spend. And compared with other static prospecting campaigns, such as its previous Lookalike Audience efforts, it is driving 49 times more sales and delivered an 83% decrease in the cost of sale.

Those results stem from the ability for retailers like Finish Line to use on-Facebook and off-Facebook signals that it gathers from merchants that advertise with Facebook and have the Facebook Pixel and/or App Events. Both features enable the social network to gather consumer information on retailers’ websites and apps, respectively, says Conor Ryan, StitcherAds’ co-founder and head of U.S. For instance, Finish Line can draw on data that Facebook gathers to target a consumer who looked at a pair of red Air Jordan basketball shoes on Nike.com with its own ad featuring the shoes.

“You’re not starting your targeting from scratch,” Ryan says. “You’re leveraging the data that Facebook has.”

StitcherAds offers a self-service model that starts at $1,000 a month and a fully managed program in which retailers pay a fixed share of their ad spend.

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