Queenly is an online marketplace for formalwear fashion. The company has built an incredibly successful social commerce platform that supports the buying and selling of dresses for any occasion. Beyond its resale model, Queenly also has developed a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) model that provides its retail partners in the U.S. and Canada with real-time data analytics and commerce capabilities.
With such a customer-focused business model that is driven by discovery and interpersonal communication, Queenly has relied heavily on social media for acquisition and retention. In a recent interview with Small Business Xchange, Lacey Nakashima, Head of Marketing at Queenly, shared how the brand has been able to optimize ad performance by harnessing the power of AI via Meta’s Advantage+ app ads.
Small Business Xchange (SBX): How would you describe Queenly’s target audience, not just in terms of demographics but also psychographics and shopping preferences?
Lacey Nakashima: Queenly’s target audience is mostly millennial and Gen Z women who are experiencing a plethora of special occasion events, such as proms, weddings, galas, quinceañeras, cocktail events, military balls, cruise events, and more. They are very tech-savvy and love to look for deals online before buying something brand new. Additionally, they are socially conscious and love being able to shop on sustainable platforms while also winning on discounts. Finally, they are very confident in their own skin and they know what they like to wear and what looks good on them.
SBX: What role does social media play as an acquisition and retention tool for Queenly?
Nakashima: Queenly has an active social media presence across many different platforms. Instagram specifically enables us to engage with our user base on a daily basis. As a dress marketplace, we have a plethora of beautiful images to choose from, and we’ve created a flywheel to highlight new listings that users post for sale on Queenly. Our followers are able to see them and purchase the listing directly on Queenly or using Meta shops. Users will often tag us in their recent purchase for us to re-share to our users. Then after their event is done, they will relist the gown on Queenly again. This cycle not only makes for great content, but also highlights our commitment to sustainability.
SBX: What are some of the unique challenges that Queenly has in creating and optimizing social media ad campaigns? How did these challenges ultimately inspire you to explore the value of artificial intelligence (AI)?
Nakashima: Our top performing campaigns are dynamic product ads (DPAs) and Meta’s Advantage+ app ads, so our main creative is tied to our feed. Queenly relies heavily on user-generated content (UGC) and at first, this revealed itself as a challenge. Users would often leave out details or give minimal descriptions, making our DPA ads lacking in details. We introduced AI to our listing flow to not only streamline the selling process for our users, but also to make our listings more robust and streamlined. We saw an increase in conversion rates and click-through rates (CTRs) after introducing AI to our listing flow.
SBX: When and how did you start using Meta’s Advantage+ app ads? Can you share any key learnings about the tests, specifically about how AI benefited your team and the customer experience?
Nakashima: We initially tested in the summer with the goal to lower our CPA and increase buyer conversions. The test was incredibly successful and was highlighted for Meta’s Spotlight series.
The biggest success was lowering our cost-per-acquisition (CPA). With Advantage+ app ads, we saw 12% lower cost per add-to-wish list and a 12% increase in conversions compared to our usual manual app ads. As a result of the strong performance we saw with our initial tests, we now run Advantage+ app ads as our business-as-usual campaign. Meta is always improving its algorithm and has started utilizing AI to improve targeting. We launched this campaign to be a first-mover with this technology.
SBX: How are you planning to expand and optimize your use of AI to further improve marketing ROI?
Nakashima: After the success of this test, we’ve doubled down on testing. The environment is changing rapidly with the introduction of AI and Queenly is committed to being at the forefront of new technologies to create a better shopping experience for our users and to improve our acquisition costs.
SBX: How are you empowering your team members to use these tools effectively?
Nakashima: Empowering the marketing team involves ensuring proficiency in utilizing AI tools effectively. Queenly prioritizes the development of skills and knowledge within the team to maximize the benefits of AI. The emphasis on leveraging AI for success indicates a commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in marketing. Our success with Advantage+ app ads showcases how the team has adapted and utilized AI to achieve tangible results, laying the foundation for continued success in the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape.