Case Study: Jim Crimella, ShineOn
ShineOn is a global marketplace for unique and creative products crowdsourced from talented designers and artists all over the world, then produced, assembled, and shipped from their U.S. factory. If you’re interested in learning more about these beautiful personalized products, visit ShineOn.com.
Like most eCommerce brands, ShineOn depends on digital advertising to find new customers and introduce them to their brand—and spends roughly $50,000 a day during their busy seasons advertising on networks like Google, Facebook, and others. When a payment fails, the ad networks can shut them down for days.
“I’ve spent years of my life refreshing my phone every five minutes to make sure my ads were still up,” said Jim Crimella, media buyer and Director of Internal Brands at ShineOn. “One time, while waiting in a line at Disney World with my family, I had to make a mad dash to the hotel to find out why my ads went down.”
30 Minutes Every Day For Six Years
Every day for six years, Crimella started the day with the same 30-minute phone call, first to his credit card provider, CapitalOne, and then they would conference into his bank, Bank of America. His $100,000 spending limit was the highest limit CapitalOne offered, but it wasn’t enough to keep his ads running so every morning he called to pay down the card so his business could keep advertising.
“The way most credit cards work just doesn’t meet the needs of digital advertisers,” said Crimella. “If I paid my balance on Monday it would take until Wednesday for my payment to post. In other words, I didn’t have the ability to spend on that card until Thursday morning so I went two days before I could use that card again, even though I was paying off my balance every single day.”
This isn’t uncommon, which is why many advertisers get creative to keep the ad networks up and running. Crimella was juggling four credit cards and a PayPal account to keep the ad networks happy and paid. “And my business was doing well,” he says. “I had cash flow and a healthy, growing business.”
“I tried for six years to convince the bank and CapitalOne to do something to fix this for me,” he added. “I was spending between $4 million and $11 million every year and Bank of America just didn’t care about me. I’d sometimes spend 20 minutes on hold with them and still made no headway over the years. It never got any better, and … their on-hold music didn’t change during that entire time.”
Crimella muses that unless you’re doing over a billion dollars a year, the big banks, like Bank of America, just don’t care about your business. He said, “I knew their customer service people by name and where they lived—I would talk about the weather with the rep from CapitalOne while we waited on hold for the bank to manually process my card payment. None of that mattered. I still had to spend the day checking my phone every five minutes to make sure my ads were running.”
Virtual Cards Fit the Modern Economy
“The way we run our ads is pretty complicated because of the way Facebook's algorithm works,” he said. “We run one product, one pixel, and one URL for every ad. If you want to run 10 products, you need to do that for each one of them or you run the risk of topping out your spending limit and bringing the whole thing down.”
Like a lot of advertisers, Crimella was applying for employee cards to get more than 10 ad accounts on a card, but, he says, “The virtual card model offered by dash.fi is so much easier. I need the ability to dial the spending limit back during our slower seasons and ramp it up when I need it. This is the modern economy. The sales cycle can feel like a rollercoaster throughout the year, and the card I use for advertising needs to accommodate that.”
This is true for most online brands. A sudden ramp in spend during a busy season is often interpreted as “suspicious activity” by card providers who will then shut the card down. In reality, during a busy holiday season an online advertiser can max out their monthly ad spend limit in a weekend. Because traditional credit card providers just don’t understand digital advertising, they unwittingly make it difficult for online brands to succeed.
“The virtual cards offered by dash.fi just work,” says Crimella. “From the perspective of a media buyer, dash.fi makes my life easier. It’s very straightforward. They really kick butt at what they do. I never have to worry about hitting a limit”
Advertisers need an easy-to-use solution that keeps ads running without hitting arbitrary limits that handicap their ability to scale ad spend; and profits. “Prior to using dash.fi I had three or four backup cards in case my primary card hit the limit on a weekend,” said Crimella. “Now, with dash.fi, I know that I have plenty of budget which reduces a lot of stress. Not too long ago, dash.fi noticed my spending go up and reached out to see if I needed my limit temporarily increased rather than shutting down my card. In my opinion, these guys are hitting it out of the park.”
Dash.fi Has Become Kind Of An Afterthought
“I can’t think of a better compliment to give them,” added Crimella. “I don’t think about whether or not my phone is going to work during the day, it just does. I don’t worry about dash.fi either. It just works.”
Right now ShineOn uses their dash.fi card exclusively for advertising, but they are going to start using it to pay for shipping as well as other business expenses.
“You might not need dash.fi when you first start out, but a stable card that isn’t going to fail really helps build a sustainable business,” he says. “I can either spend my time doing financial juggling or I can build a better business—dash.fi helps me do that.”
If you’d like to make spending limits and whether or not your ad networks are working like they’re supposed to be an “afterthought,” visit dash.fi.