E-Tailer Frank & Oak Invests In Video, Mobile App Install Ads To Reach More Millennial Males

EthanSongMontreal-based Frank & Oak, a menswear ecommerce company named by Fast Company as one of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015,” thinks video and mobile should be the first entry points into its acquisition funnel.

Founded in 2012, the company has more than 1.6 million active users (most of them young males ages 28-32) and recently raised $15 million to pursue brick-and-mortar expansion in its top market, the US.

“In the beginning, most of our traffic and all of our sign-ups came from the desktop, but one of the challenges a lot of retailers are facing is this massive shift to mobile, whether it’s native apps or just mobile web,” said Ethan Song, the brand’s co-founder and CEO. More than 50% of Frank & Oak’s traffic is mobile.

Mobile email is especially pertinent to Frank & Oak, since it doesn’t operate like a traditional e-tailer.

Once a user signs up, they can select their size and preferences; Frank & Oak curates customized lists of relevant products it emails to members. For $30 a year, customers can join the premium Hunt Club and receive special bonuses and perks like free shipping. 

“We now have 225,000 downloads of our mobile applications, which is a strong indication of intent,” Song said. “We focus more on app downloads than conversions because we found that once you get a customer to install your app, they’re in your world. They can interact with the brand, read messages. To us, an app download is the equivalent of a sign-up.”

He said Facebook’s mobile app install ads have been a big driver for new member acquisition, since Frank & Oak can enable quick account sign-ups directly within the app.

The brand is admittedly newer to video advertising, which is why it wants to ramp up its investment in the format.

“We’re looking at video as first entry to our landing page,” Song said. “It should increase your sign-up rate and improve your conversions. We think there’s a lot of value for us in the next few months looking at video on mobile, and geotargeted mobile ads.”

Consequently, Frank & Oak is embarking on a video ad campaign, and has selected as its buying partner a fellow Canadian company – video demand-side platform SourceKnowledge (which hooks into AdX, LiveRail and BrightRoll as well as mobile RTB exchanges like Smaato).

foFrank & Oak will kick off its campaign initially with 15- and 30-second pre-rolls on YouTube featuring new spring fashions.

Working with SourceKnowledge, the brand will embed dynamic creative with a call to action to “shop now" through its programmatic video buys across desktop, mobile and tablet.

The brand was looking for a way to bring direct-response and brand advertising together, according to Patrick Hopf, SourceKnowledge’s co-founder and president.

Since ecommerce companies typically like to measure pre- and post-click conversions and, ultimately, determine lifetime value for each customer, it was important to factor in cost-per-engagement metrics in addition to factors like cost per click or CPM, he said.

Frank & Oak’s CEO said investing in business intelligence and augmenting homegrown tools with external partners’ offerings is critical when determining the right mix of media investments.

Because Frank & Oak is a gated ecommerce platform, meaning you need to sign up or authenticate using Facebook or Google logins, the brand can bridge a gap between the user, their style preferences and future curated products to recommend.

“The main issue for us is, once you start spreading your marketing budget across multiple partners, and they’re measuring success with slightly different variations, then you have a very hard time understanding the true source and where you should allocate more budget,” he said.

“Attribution for ad spend – that’s where it gets a little complicated. That’s one area we’re really focused on – better understanding the customer life cycle."

 

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