FlashStock Technology Inc.

FlipBelt + Shutterstock Custom

FlipBelt's snug and comfortable running belts are the best way to carry phones, keys, gels, cards and personal items when running, working out, or travel. Customers and fans call the original tubular belt a “modern fanny pack,” securing all of your essential items while you’re on-the-go.

Targeting women of all ages who run and are interested in health and fitness, it makes sense for FlipBelt to spend 80% of their marketing budgets on Facebook and Instagram advertising solutions. Using the recommended Facebook approach to advertising, FlipBelt uses a lot of images to generate reach and clicks through the funnel, leading to e-commerce conversions.

Dwight Houser, FlipBelt’s marketing director, manages customer acquisition and direct response marketing for the company in 14 countries, with products in over 3,500 retail locations.

Having a lean mentality, FlipBelt has 12 employees total, including warehouse and shipping. It’s really important for Dwight, marketing team of one, to work with the right strategic partners to scale marketing campaigns at FlipBelt.


One of the biggest challenges that Dwight faced in marketing was keeping Facebook ad content fresh. When content gets stale, Facebook CPMs are affected. One of the best ways to keep CPMs low is to refresh your content. However, Dwight had a hard time getting enough quality content to run his campaigns.

“Any time we need a content and creative refresh, it’s a huge ordeal. When we have a team that runs as lean as we do, the commitment isn’t just the money that we need for photographers, but the time spent in planning and execution. I’d have to take shortcuts on creative, or try to recycle the same images over and over and try to present them in a different way. There’s only so much of that you can do.”
- Dwight Houser, Marketing Director

For a while, there wasn’t enough creative refreshes happening. Dwight would have to find local photographers for shoots. Everyone on the team wanted to join and give creative input, which took too much time.

Then, Dwight turned to influencers to produce more content. Although he was getting more quantity, there was a lack of control over the creative direction and the quality was amateur at best. Sometimes, the cost per usable image was higher than full-production shoots, so this option wasn’t a good solution long-term for core brand content used in Facebook ads.

The other alternative was to photoshop a belt on a stock image. This usually required over 6 hours of Dwight’s time to make it look as real as possible. But, because the photos were widely available, customers would quickly know that it was fake.

Dwight needed a solution that would eliminate the majority of his time spent on the planning and execution of content creation. He needed a solution that would provide enough quality custom images for his Facebook ad campaigns.


Dwight was invited by his Facebook Account Manager to the Facebook Direct Response Holiday Bootcamp, where Shutterstock Custom was presenting.

After learning about the Shutterstock Custom solution, Dwight realized there was an easier way to create quality content at scale for FlipBelt. Shutterstock Custom's business model made sense for FlipBelt’s team, which needed to produce results at a very high rate.

There were big upcoming product launches and Dwight foresaw the need for more localized content. Shutterstock Custom's vast creative network was a good option for him and the executive team.


When the platform was first implemented, Shutterstock Custom went through a visual calibration with FlipBelt to better understand their brand guidelines - their look and feel. We wanted to make sure that every image they would receive from the platform would be of the highest quality possible.

Then, Dwight worked with his dedicated CSM, Raheem, to submit their first creative brief to the platform. He asked himself “what don’t we have?” The first campaigns were generic so he could build a library of product images for FlipBelt.

Afterwards, the content briefs became more specific. After having done local photoshoots for their Reflective PT Belt with no success, Dwight used Shutterstock Custom to create nighttime content that resulted in high-quality photos of the product.

Dwight then experimented with different locations. Having access to over 200 markets around the world, he felt it was a good idea to shoot their Water Bottles at the beach or desert. This was something he didn’t have access to in the past with local freelancers.

Currently, photos are used almost 100% on social channels. Dwight uses some images for organic posting on Instagram, but uses most of the content for Facebook paid campaigns. After looking at the content performance and seeing a lift in ad metrics, he plans on using Shutterstock Custom photos to make the website content more aspirational. This also means using images in pamphlets for events, and even in backdrops for tradeshows.


After running his first brief, Dwight ran an analysis on his old photoshoots to determine cost per usable images. He applied the same logic to images he created using the Shutterstock Custom platform. Not only was time spent on overall planning and execution of photoshoots virtually removed from his content creation process, but the quality of images was much greater than previous efforts with cost per usable images significantly reduced.

“With Shutterstock Custom, we were able to reduce our cost per usable image by 32%. That’s a pretty substantial decrease when you’re creating hundreds of images a year.”  
- Dwight Houser, Marketing Director

Knowing that refreshing creative was one of his biggest challenges, Dwight ran a split test in Q4 2016 to determine the value of high-quality content created using Shutterstock Custom. Shutterstock Custom photos were used for 4 of the top 6 performing ads during that quarter, while only 1 of 6 of the bottom performing ads used a Shutterstock Custom image.

“The biggest benefits of using Shutterstock Custom was the time I gained back by not having to plan and execute shoots, and the overall cost savings on custom images. It was a huge help for my team.”
- Dwight Houser, Marketing Director

Learn how Shutterstock Custom can help you globally scale content creation by requesting a demo.