September 3, 2013, 1:40 PM

Rivet & Sway hopes more retailers don’t start using Facebook Exchange

The eyeglasses retailer gets a better return there than with Google AdWords.

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Online women’s eyeglass retailer Rivet & Sway has been using Facebook Exchange since the ad-bidding system’s 2012 launch. But it was only when the social network began bringing ads that retarget consumers based on their off-Facebook activities to users' news feeds—the page a Facebook user sees when logging on to the social network—that results took off, says John Lusk, the retailer’s chief marketing officer.

Facebook Exchange, or FBX, lets ad brokers use cookies on consumers’ computers to target consumers with ads based on their off-Facebook browsing. For instance, Rivet & Sway uses Facebook Exchange to target shoppers who visit its site but then click away without making a purchase.

Once the brand’s ads began appearing in the news feed, they began to attract a lot of clicks—at roughly one-third the cost of Google AdWords clicks, Lusk says.

As more retailers begin using FBX, the cost will undoubtedly rise, he says. “I give us another six to nine months before the cost per click goes up,” he says. “I hope other companies don’t figure it out.”

But even if FBX cost-per-click prices rise, FBX will continue to be an effective tool, he says, because the average conversion rate for those shoppers who click from FBX ads is nearly 20% higher than those who click on Google AdWords ads—and higher than every other channel save organic search and e-mail. Lusk declined to disclose the actual conversion rate, or detail how much the retailer pays for ads on Facebook and Google.

One key to Rivet & Sway’s business is its home try-on offer—it sends three pairs of frames to a shopper’s home for free to enable the consumer to see how the frames look on her face. And in June the retailer began focusing many of its FBX ads on the offer. That increased the number of home try-on orders fivefold from June to August compared to the previous three-month period.

“The home try-on is a qualified lead,” says Lusk. “It gets shoppers into the conversion funnel.”

That’s evident as the retailer’s revenue growth during the same period rose roughly 300%. FBX, Lusk says, is responsible for some of that growth. He declines to reveal revenue figures.

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