While 1-800-Flowers.com isn’t new to sinking cash into Facebook ads, the e-retailer is particularly sweet on the social network's mobile promos for Valentine's Day this year. For the past two weeks, the Carle Place, N.Y.-based delivery service has been running the mobile versions of Sponsored Stories and Facebook Offers, as well as mobile app install ads.
"It’s very clear that our customers are migrating to mobile," said Amit Shah, 1-800-Flowers' vp of mobile and social media. "And that’s not a surprise anymore. What excites us is that customers are more than ever before not afraid to engage and transact with our mobile e-commerce site, across iPhone, Android and BlackBerry users."
His team seems to have made a sizable ad spend on desktops and laptops, too. An exclusive, national 1-800-Flowers ad buy will appear on Facebook’s log-out page on Tuesday, while Facebook Exchange and Facebook Offers ads will be served through Wednesday. Though Shah wouldn't divulge spending figures, the log-out page alone has been reported to cost $700,000 per day. Facebook doesn't comment on ad pricing.
At any rate, for both mobile and online, the promos will pitch a 20 percent discount to consumers. The ads are targeting 1-800-Flowers’ Facebook fans, their friends on the social site and past customers for the retailer. As for past customers, Facebook says that without leaking personally identifiable data from 1-800-Flowers to Facebook or vice versa, it can match the brand’s email list against the email addresses in the site's profiles’ database for the purpose of ad targeting. (Users are required to give an email address when registering on Facebook.)
Amit said he believes Facebook ads deepen relationships with consumers when compared to other paid digital platforms. "When you see a Sponsored Stories ad in your news feed, it brings engagement for the user that’s very natural compared to a banner ad on another site that can aggravate the user," he said. "Facebook is more native to the users’ expectations."
Not all brands are as bullish on Facebook ads, most notably General Motors. Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said e-commerce firms have an inherent advantage on Facebook over an automotive or a consumer packaged-goods brand because they can more accurately track ROI. To his point, 1-800-Flowers' Facebook ads are pixeled so traffic and sales on the brand site can be traced back.
"If you are a direct-response marketer and have the resources to test," Wieser said, "you can do A/B splits constantly to see what works versus what doesn’t work in a pretty clear way."
Meanwhile, 1-800-Flowers has also been using Promoted Tweets on Twitter and display ads on major publishing networks while purchasing radio and print promotions for the Feb. 14 holiday. "Valentine’s Day is between madness and insanity for our brand," Shah quipped.