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Case Study: How Socioh Improved DABA Ad CTR Over 70% In 2 DAYS Using Data

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Table of contents

This is a case study of how an 8-figure celebrity DTC brand used a combination of Socioh’s design & testing capabilities to significantly improve their DABA performance. 

The Beginning

One fine Sunday night I get a message from a well-respected and successful public figure in the DTC world on Twitter. 

We get talking and, next thing you know, I’m working with them to improve their DABA performance. 

Here’s how I used Socioh’s Branded Catalogs to improve the brand’s DABA CTR over 70% IN 2 DAYS.

Note: All data in this post is accurate but creatives and product images have been changed to maintain the anonymity of the brand.

Test 1: The Right Message 

The brand was using a regular catalog feed — pulling the first image from their store, with their product on a plain white background. 

I began by first understanding what messaging worked for the store’s buyers.

As our first test, I replaced the store’s plain ads with Socioh’s Branded Catalogs and set up a  Smart Switch to test 3 different sets of messages — with multiple variations for each message. 

(Don’t worry if specifics around Socioh’s features don’t yet make sense to you — I’ve got visual examples for you below.)

To begin with, not many advertisers even know that they can test messaging on DABA campaigns. And, as far as I’m aware, no other company does this. 

With Socioh, though, you can rotate your messaging as often as you want and record changes in CTR and ROAS. This can help you understand what messages and designs best resonate with your customers.

I started our test by rotating between 3 messages:  Product reviews, PR features, and finally, aggregated social proof. 

TIP: Test 3 messages/designs at any given time to keep results manageable and accurate.

Creative 1: Multi-image PR Rotation

The next creative showed the brand's media/PR coverage. The brand had impressive quotes from reputable publications. I rotated three such snippets across the catalog, and used a 2-image format to showcase multiple lifestyle images.

Reminder: To maintain the anonymity of the brand, these are not their actual creatives and products. However the messaging and designs are consistent with the ones we tested.

Creative 2: Product Reviews 

This template automatically pulled actual product reviews next to each product. This meant unique content across all the product cards. This catalog would run for a day and then switch to creative 2.

Creative 3: Multi-image Aggregated Rotation

For the final image, I took proven messaging that the brand had already tested. Again, I chose a multi-product template, since displaying different product angles tends to work well for lifestyle products.

Each creative was set to ‘switch’ after 2 days, using Socioh’s Smart Loop feature, which allowed me to test each design over a few rounds to factor out ‘off days’ on Meta. 

Test 1 Results

I ran the test for about 10 days (from Dec 18 to Dec 28, 2022). 

Want to guess (before you sneak a peek below!) which creative did the best and the delta between the best and the worst?

Let’s see how you did.

This is what the CTR graph looked like at the end of the 10-day period. The blue line traces the performance of the DABA campaign and the purple traces the account CTR over the same period. This helps track how the campaign trended with relation to the overall account performance.

Do you see the blue valleys? Every 2 days, the CTR dropped. And these drops corresponded with the time the reviews catalog was live — it was evident pretty quickly as to which messaging wasn’t working and which was.

The poor performance of the reviews catalog was a total surprise. Reviews had always performed very well for similar brands in my experience. Just goes to show — test, test, test!

Test 2: Creative Iteration

After reviewing the numbers on the 3 catalogs with the brand, we concluded 2 things:

  • Multiple images for a lifestyle product were performing better (note that the review design had 1 image and review text).
  • The simpler messaging of social proof worked better than individual reviews. People wanted conclusions, and didn’t want to read individual reviews.
    TIP: Don’t make your shoppers work!

The next step was to take these learnings and to try to reproduce them.

The winner from the previous test was the two-image template that showcased aggregated social proof.

So for step 2, my team made 8 different message/USP variations within the same catalog. 

To be clear, this was just one catalog but it had 8 template variations with 8 different value propositions and social proof. Essentially, we combined USPs with social proof. 

We also made 2 variations of the same messaging testing fonts and colors.

Test 2 Results 

CTR jumped 70% over the 2 days post launch (see January 13th-15th in the graph below).

But that wasn’t the end of it (it never is in eCommerce, is it?). If you look at the graph, the campaign CTR dropped again on the 18th.

Why was this? The brand had a new drop — and a majority of ad spend and marketing efforts were reallocated to promote the new arrivals.

Post the new drop, the campaign picked up again on the 20th, but then started dropping again on the 22nd/23rd of January. 

We did some digging on the catalog and noticed that inventory in a lot of the more popular size variants had sold out. 

So what did we do? 

We pruned the catalog to exclude the products that had low inventory (if only all inventory had sold out, Socioh’s scheduled catalog resyncs would have automatically excluded these products!). 

Performance then picked up — and more so as products were restocked.

In Summary

CTR increased by 70% after the first round of catalog creative testing, but then stabilized at an increase of 40%.

Now that we’ve increased the CTR for the brand's DABA ads — and are able to maintain it — the next step is to scale the spend.

We’ll write a postscript when we win that battle!

CTR ↑ 40%

from 1.4 to 2.1.
Sustained for over 4 weeks now.

is a digital advertising platform for eCommerce brands. Our Branded Catalog is the industry leader in dynamic catalog advertising and product feeds.

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