Digital Advertising Case Study | Ecommerce Wine Sales Increase 350%

The Hess Collection and Angelsmith Leveraged a New Website and Consumer Insights to Achieve Record Breaking Direct To Consumer Sales

I’ll be honest, every digital advertising effort doesn’t always turn out this well.  But this time all the stars aligned and with only 3 days of advertising, we turned what we knew would be a good day into the best single ecommerce sales day in the winery’s history. 

There is always a bit of magic that takes place in digital advertising programs that earn stratospheric results, so I will start with the special sauce: an awesome client. The collaboration with Sarah “Big Brain” Pearson, Nicole “Golden Touch” Carter, and Philip “Give It A Shot” Hansell yielded a digital advertising program that over delivered

How well did it work? Judge for yourself:

Digital Advertising Results - Cyber Monday 2016:

  • Single-biggest ecommerce day in the winery’s history
  • Contributed to the winery’s largest ecommerce revenue month ever
  • Generated nearly 25% of the annual ecommerce revenue goal in a single day
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS):

    • 30X (industry benchmark is 4)
    • Every $1 spent on advertising and agency fees, returned $30 in ecommerce wine sales.
  • Results Compared to Cyber Monday 2015:

    • Revenue:
      • Increased: 350.39%
    • Average order value:
      • Increased: 7.65%
    • Transactions
      • Increased: 318.37%
    • Ecommerce Conversion Rate:
      • Increased: 118.96%


For Cyber Monday, Angelsmith delivered a cross-channel digital advertising campaign that achieved a 350+% increase in ecommerce wine sales for The Hess Collection.   We used email, social media advertising, organic posts and retargeting for the Napa Valley winery.

Strategies & Execution:

  • Revenue Prediction & Advertising Investment

    • Because we know Hess’ website sales conversion rates at each phase of the funnel, have the average click through rates for each channel, and could anticipate the increased advertising costs leading up to and during Cyber Monday, we were able to make an accurate advertising investment recommendation.
    • Rightfully so, most marketing directors are concerned about overspending ad dollars.  But what you really don’t want to do is underspend.  Leaving money on the table is just as bad as spending ad dollars on a channel that doesn’t give you a great return on investment.   On Monday, when we saw the ad budget running low late in the evening, but sales and traffic were trending up, it gave Hess an opportunity to add budget and generate more sales.
    • Knowing all of the above plus the size of our target market and the frequency at which we would need to reach them allowed us to confidently assign the right percentage of the budget to a teaser email and digital advertising campaign in advance of Cyber Monday. 
    • One initial concern was that our teaser campaigns would cannibalize sales leading into Cyber Monday. As a result, we strategically rolled out the communications to both limit the downside and put the full weight of the effort into driving consumers directly to the desired action.
  • Digital Advertising Goal Definition

    • We considered the potential impact of Cyber Monday annual ecommerce sales and allocated the appropriate advertising investment to it.
      • Essentially this is taking an annual digital advertising budget and rethinking it in terms of sales ‘events’ versus a time-dictated spend.   
  • Instituted (Near) Cradle To Grave Digital Advertising Attribution Tracking

    • Knowing how your spend is working on each channel is critical to making better digital advertising investments.   
      • This allowed us to see what was delivering sales in real time and make micro-optimizations that helped us save money, reach more buyers and generate record-breaking ecommerce wine sales.
      • Thorough tracking allowed us to optimize the advertising buy by the hour. As sales were trending upward late in the evening, we were able to confidently shut down creative, targets and placements that were under performing and redirect budget to higher performing ads based on the sales conversions.
  • Integrated digital channel feedback loop. 

    • Each communication touchpoint was designed to support and reinforce the other.
    • While Facebook assisted in 27% of Cyber Monday sales, slightly less than its average annual percentage contribution, the overall digital advertising effort was greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Pricing

    • The Hess Collection direct to consumer (DTC) team created a rock solid wine pricing and shipping strategy.  Without this, the results would not have been as stellar.
  • Targeting

    • Because we were working with a short time frame and an extremely limited  advertising budget, it required us to narrowly define the core target for Cyber Monday and we focused 100% of our effort on the group that was most likely to purchase online.
  • Channels

    • For the digital advertising effort on Cyber Monday, we utilized organic and paid social media, email, Facebook & Instagram advertising and retargeting in a phased approach.


It’s important to note that Hess didn’t roll out of bed on Black Friday and decide to have a Cyber Monday sale that miraculously achieved record-breaking success.  Over the last year they have strategically and carefully built their digital community and Angelsmith has tested various digital advertising tactics to find what works best for them.

Part of the The Hess Collection’s culture is to keep pushing the limits, from growing wine on crazy steep Mount Veeder to setting huge ecommerce sales goals.   And learning is key to making the impossible, possible. 

Digital advertising tests over the course of the year combined with the results of Angelsmith’s consumer insights research, provided a roadmap to Intercept & Influence™ the Hess wine consumer on Cyber Monday.  Because we engineer digital advertising sales tracking into every campaign,we have the confidence to accurately predict where and when marketing communications and digital advertising will be most effective.

As we move into 2017, we will continue optimizing their digital advertising to see how much more we can achieve.   And unless the economy takes a big tumble or luxury wine inexplicably declines in popularity, I don’t believe we’re anywhere near the ceiling on wine ecommerce for The Hess Collection.