Given the scale of the market and ASOS’ relatively small presence in Russia at the time, our objective was to rapidly boost brand awareness among the identified target audience - Females, aged 18-29 and living in either Moscow or St Petersburg.
The more specific objective was to acquire 65K new fans on VK (Russia’s most-used social platform) via biddable fan acquisition activity within 4 months, at a specified (and tight) maximum cost per fan.
It was also expected that the rapid growth in the number of ASOS fans on VK would boost traffic to the website and overall sales in Russia.
After 3 months, Forward3D had met the phase 1 target and delivered just over 65K fans at a cost of £0.66 per fan, which far outperformed the client’s expectations.
In the second phase, the big integration of social media into ASOS’ wider digital marketing goals, the results were also strong.
Brand traffic from Yandex (Russia’s most popular search engine) increased by 75% over the same period, no doubt aided by the increased brand awareness from our social activity. Furthermore, assisted conversions measured from VK increased by 53% and assisted revenue also grew by 29%.
The combination of wide scale fan acquisition and commercial campaigns on VK placed ASOS in the minds of these new fans when shopping, and this was seen in the knock on impact in search behaviour that we observed.
Lastly, a short commercial campaign test, which ran for just over a week, delivered 41 direct transactions at 50% higher ROI and conversion rate than was seen in PPC search campaigns over that same period.
Social is often classed as simply a branding channel in other markets, and yet we have consistently seen its direct selling potential in Russia.
Given the client’s expectations for a rapid increase in the number of fans, and consequent incremental increases in traffic and sales from social channels, a two-phase approach was suggested which separated these goals:
For both stages, we continually measured, audited and optimised our activity to ensure that we were delivering the strongest possible results.
For the first phase, a wide variety of targeting methods and tools were tested including VK cost per click (CPC) biddable advanced targeting options (these allowed us to advertise directly on the newsfeeds of individuals) and the Paid Post Marketplace options, which allowed us to advertise on relevant groups and communities. We also ran the results from our testing through analysis software to ensure that we were using the most effective methodology.
VK CPC biddable advanced targeting: We tested around 15 different fan acquisition campaigns weekly. As a part of our campaign optimization we also tested different image variations and ad copies, a mixture of ad formats such as large image, image+text and a “join us” button, together with a mixture of 3 types of targeting. These included using competitors, the most popular brands sold on ASOS and other fashion related targeting.
Paid Post Marketplace: We identified the most popular and relevant VK Groups (interest-based communities / discussion boards), analysed the audience and their individual interests, created tailored posts based on this research and then promoted them within selected groups using VK’s paid post marketplace tool.
For the second phase, Forward3D worked closely with the client to ensure that commercial campaigns run through Forward3D on VK were closely aligned with the client’s on-site content, promotions and margin targets.
Lastly, while working on the VK project, the Forward3D team remained dynamic and co-operative to ensure cross-channel support between the social and SEO teams.
Search is often the default channel for consumers when they reach the stage of being ready to make a quick purchase, and we see this via audience signals of intent.
For advertisers however, it can sometimes be too late at this stage to influence that consumer’s purchase, particularly if you’re operating in a new market and awareness of the brand’s offering is not as high as regional competitors.
Focusing on the earlier stages of the sales funnel therefore, to build awareness and help to place your brand in the minds of consumers before they actually go to make that purchase can be very effective when used in combination with wider search campaigns.
On average, Russians spend 10+ hours on social networks every month (second in the world), which represents a huge commercial opportunity for advertisers wanting to reach a Russian audience.
Having already launched a local website and a social media page on VK, ASOS wanted to scale their online presence in this region. Forward3D helped ASOS turn social media not only into a key customer acquisition channel, but one that had a positive impact on search too.
Forward3D managed to deliver 65K fans at a ‘cost per fan’ (CPF) which far outperformed the client’s expectations.
Aided by the brand’s activity on VK aimed at increasing brand awareness, site traffic from Yandex increased by 75%.
Assisted conversions from VK increased by 53% and assisted revenue grew by 29%.
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