Best Practices

How Finish Line Thrives on Facebook & Instagram

Retailers in today’s market fall into three categories: strugglers, survivors, and thrivers.

A BDO study defines strugglers as unprofitable; survivors as stable and breaking even; and thrivers as those who are profitable and experiencing robust growth. As they entered 2019, only 37% of retailers categorized themselves as “thrivers.”

How are these profitable businesses setting themselves apart from the competition?

A major differentiator is the adoption of new technology. Facebook & Instagram are continuously developing a suite of retail-specific advertising products. Thrivers use tools like these to stay ahead of the game.

Earlier this year, we released “The State of Facebook & Instagram,” a report featuring dozens of interviews from retail marketing leaders. We learned that many retailers either lack awareness of Facebook’s retail-specific tools or don’t have the proper structure to effectively implement them.

So, what does a forward-thinking, successful Facebook & Instagram strategy look like?

We partnered with Finish Line for a webinar to outline how they are overcoming retail’s top challenges on Facebook & Instagram. Here’s what Alyssa Baumann, Account Director at StitcherAds, and Anna Gooding, Digital Paid Channel Manager at Finish Line, had to say during the event.


1. Scaling thumb-stopping creative.

To overcome challenges with scaling effective creative, leverage your product feed, said Alyssa. “It already contains ample data about your merchandise that you can use to elevate your dynamic ads.”

Using the product feed to overlay promotions, offers, logos, and other on-brand elements can go a long way. Customizing these elements with branded colors and fonts enables retailers to create visually-pleasing experiences at scale.

“Fueling our ads with feed-based creative has given us the ability to create content that resonates much more strongly with our consumers,” said Finish Line’s Anna. “When we implement our brand fonts and colors in ad overlays, we stay in line with our narrative.”


2. Bridging the online-to-offline gap.

In a 2018 Iterable study, 75% of marketers reported that personalized messaging is the biggest challenge in omnichannel marketing.

Retailers are increasingly tapping into Facebook’s Offline Conversions and Store Sales Optimization to effectively drive online-to-offline sales. This requires setup, but there are things you can do right now to drive personalization.

Alyssa walked through how to create the ideal omnichannel ad. Carousel ads that include a map card communicate to the user that they have options to buy. Map cards contain the store address, store opening hours, and a “Get Directions” CTA.

effective facebook ad

Why is this so valuable? Anna explained: “A significant portion of our sales do take place in-store, so when our target audience is nearby a Finish Line location, we want to show them ads that encourage them to interact with our brand in person.”


3. Freeing up more time to innovate and experiment with new tools.

Working with a small team can feel like a barrier to success. There’s only so much you can do with a limited amount of human-power. This tends to put innovation on the back-burner.

“A model of managed service to self-serve is something we’ve seen works really well for retail brands,” said Alyssa.

Retailers that tap specialists to completely set up and manage their Facebook & Instagram campaigns can help uncover best practices. Once the best practices are in place, specialists can train the in-house team to efficiently manage activity in-house.

Anna said this strategy has been incredibly beneficial. “It’s almost like having an extension of our team that can provide guidance. We can bounce ideas off them, get technical support, and then go back in-house and execute in a way that makes the most sense for us.”


4. Effectively measuring results that matter.

In a Nielsen study released last year, only 26% of marketers reported high confidence in their ability to measure the ROI on their digital media.

Last year, Facebook launched its Test and Learn solution to help advertisers measure results accurately and inexpensively. For those who want to determine how their ads are performing, this is a good solution.

When it comes to attribution, it’s important to keep in mind that no two businesses are the same, Alyssa noted. “Brands need to figure out the metrics that are important to them and then create custom measurement and reporting to get better insight into performance.”

For example, with offline measurement, it’s crucial to take into account consideration period for different products, the price point, or how far people are willing to travel to buy certain products.

Anna followed up by sharing that her team uses custom metrics within the StitcherAds platform to track footfall into their stores as a result of Facebook & Instagram ads. “We’ve developed a model that provides us with pretty good insight into how many people visited a Finish Line store after seeing one of our ads.”


Did you miss “Overcoming Retail’s Top Challenges on Facebook & Instagram?” You can still catch the replay to glean additional insights from StitcherAds & Finish Line.