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Why DTC brand Sugarwish is dialing down its social media advertising strategy

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Why DTC brand Sugarwish is dialing down its social media advertising strategy

As social media advertising becomes increasingly expensive and harder to track, personalized gift company Sugarwish is rethinking its social strategy — reducing efforts there and adding channels like earned media and SEO.

The Colorado-based, direct-to-consumer company isn’t alone, as media buyers actively look for ways to diversify their marketing mixes and move away from heavy reliance on Facebook and Instagram, especially, which has been a trend since at least 2020. 

“When we look at the results on social channels from a paid standpoint, we don’t see the results,” said Stephanie Preston, vp of marketing at Sugarwish. “We’re not gaining the traction with the audience that we’re really going after.”

In other words, for the last six months, paid ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter weren’t driving the email and account signups needed for customer retention. It’s unclear how customer retention was impacted, as Preston declined to share further details.

Last year, Sugarwish spent $1.4 million on Facebook and Instagram. So far this year, the DTC company has spent just $501,000 on the social media platforms, per Pathmatics. Also according to Pathmatics, Sugarwish added media spend on desktop video advertising, shelling out $142,000 this year. 

The foundations of Sugarwish’s media mix were built on social media, email marketing and other paid media efforts. But as the company has been diversifying its strategy for the last six months, the DTC company is refocusing on channels like earned media, content creation via its social media marketing agency and Google search, as those channels are yielding results, Preston said.

There’s no doubt that social media advertising costs have increased dramatically over the past few years, said Elijah Schneider, CEO and founder of social marketing agency Modifly.

“We do find brands with concern around social advertising spend saying that it’s not as effective, however we disagree. It is extremely effective…it’s just more expensive,” he said via email. Meaning, as social media continues to be pay-to-play, brands will need to spend big to get in front of their target audience. 

“We strongly support and suggest diversifying media spend as it’s never smart to have all your eggs in 1-2 baskets,” he said. “And it isn’t smart to spread yourself too thin (meaning spending a little on some platforms may just be a waste of money).”

To Schneider’s point, Avery Mencher, project manager and account associate at creative agency Something Different, said many brands see “the juice isn’t worth the squeeze” when it comes to social media ads.

“Despite this fatigue, social media is still the most powerful tool at our disposal to reach many consumers,” Mencher said via email.

For Sugarwish, the plan is to continue social media efforts, just “at a much lower level than we had historically,” Preston said.

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As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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NASA Says Hurricane Didn’t Hurt Artemis I Hardware, Sets New Launch Window

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NASA Says Hurricane Didn’t Hurt Artemis I Hardware, Sets New Launch Window

NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch, stalled by Hurricane Ian, has a new target for takeoff. The launch window for step one of NASA’s bold plan to return humans to the lunar surface now opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27, the space agency said Friday. 

The news comes after the pending storm caused NASA to scrub the latest Artemis I Iaunch, which had been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2. As Hurricane Ian threatened to travel north across Cuba and into Florida, bringing rain and extreme winds to the launch pad’s vicinity, NASA on Monday rolled its monster Space Launch System rocket, and the Orion spacecraft it’ll propel, back indoors to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. 

The hurricane made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, bringing with it a catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding that left dozens of people dead, caused widespread power outages and ripped buildings from their foundations. Hurricane Ian is “likely to rank among the worst in the nation’s history,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday, adding that it will take “months, years, to rebuild.”

Initial inspections Friday to assess potential impacts of the devastating storm to Artemis I flight hardware showed no damage, NASA said. “Facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations,” the agency said in a statement. 

Next up, teams will complete post-storm recovery operations, which will include further inspections and retests of the flight termination system before a more specific launch date can be set. The new November launch window, NASA said, will also give Kennedy employees time to address what their families and homes need post-storm. 

Artemis I is set to send instruments to lunar orbit to gather vital information for Artemis II, a crewed mission targeted for 2024 that will carry astronauts around the moon and hopefully pave the way for Artemis III in 2025. Astronauts on that high-stakes mission will, if all goes according to plan, put boots on the lunar ground, collect samples and study the water ice that’s been confirmed at the moon’s South Pole. 

The hurricane-related Artemis I rollback follows two other launch delays, the first due to an engine problem and the second because of a hydrogen leak.

Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but is still bringing heavy rains and gusty winds to the Mid-Atlantic region and the New England coast.

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