Ecommerce sales have been growing consistently over the past few years, and are expected to account for 15.5% of global retail sales in 2020. Come 2021 this figure is predicted to be 17.5%. Sales are projected to increase from 1.3 trillion in 2014 to 4.5 trillion in 2021 (Statista, 2019), which would equate to threefold growth over a seven year span.
In and amongst all of these big statistics, the bottom line is that the ecommerce landscape is expanding rapidly and we need to ensure that we’re staying ahead of the curve. In a ‘survival of the fittest’ climate, businesses are going to drop off and get left behind as the market evolves and they don’t evolve with it. Just look at the likes of Woolworths and Blockbuster.
With that in mind, continually assessing your advertising and marketing efforts is a core component of becoming - and staying - the fittest. Covering the entire customer journey - from ads to attribution - the four tips below will help you get your ecommerce efforts in the best shape possible.
1. Properly Identify Your Audience
First things first. Who is your audience? Identifying your target market forms the foundations of any marketing strategy. What’s their demographic? Who else are they buying from? What other content are they consuming online? Where are they consuming this content? What is their repeat purchase cycle length? Answering these questions is an essential component in the formulation of your planning and strategy.
With the answers to these questions, you are armed with the necessary knowledge to build your bespoke audience strategy, and make use of campaign features such as in-market audiences, detailed demographics, interest and behaviour based audiences, lookalike audiences and custom audiences, to name but a few.
It is also equally as important to understand who is not buying your product, as this will inform your audience exclusions strategy. Depending on the product, your exclusion list could potentially be of greater importance than your targeted audience, so it is vital that this is not overlooked.
2. Make Full Use of Automation
Are you using automation? If you’re not (and you’re eligible to), then you should be. Much as we like to think we can do a better job than Google’s, Facebook’s and Amazon’s algorithms - and there was a time when we could - those days are long gone.
We always base our strategy on what the data is telling us. So, when we saw just how much automated bidding strategies and smart campaigns could outperform the calculations of us mere mortals, we began to make the switch. When it comes to your Google Shopping campaigns, we can’t ignore the results we have seen from switching from the manual setup to the smart.
Gone are the days of breaking out campaigns by product ID and product level, or device and audience level bidding. Leaving all this to the algorithms, we’re seeing cheaper clicks and stronger conversion rates than before, which is significantly boosting ROAS. In turn, this frees up more of our precious time to spend on other areas of strategy.
Outside of Google, Facebook and Amazon each have their own variations on automation for ecommerce. Facebook leans more towards audience automation with its offering of dynamic ads for broad audiences. Amazon, on the other hand, offers up ‘dynamic bids - up down’ as a bid strategy (effectively eCPC), as well as auto targeted campaigns, which enter the auction in a similar way to Google Shopping campaigns (i.e. the search term matches to attributes within the product feed rather than manually entered keywords).
3. Maximise Your Website
Now you’ve successfully established your target audience, identified the best places and time to market to them, and let the algorithms do their thing, your target user will land on your site and engage with your brand.
All the hard work in locating and priming the user has been done, yet the final goal (the sale) is still a long way off. The next hurdles are ensuring your landing pages are optimised and your overall user experience (UX) is up to scratch.
Regardless of the quality of the audience coming to your site, if your pages and purchase funnels are incoherent, inefficient, incongruous, or all of the above, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. These days, attention spans are lower than ever, and loyalty is fickle in the big wide world of online choice. So, if you’re investing in finding your audience and bringing them in, make sure your website conversion journey doesn’t let you down.
Here are 4 key things to consider when optimising your website for ecommerce:
1) Keep it relevant and typical: Make sure the landing page is relevant to the campaign content and user search intent (If a user is searching for red shoes then absolutely ensure you’re showing them red shoes). Following a typical design for an online shop and checkout helps to reassure users, as they know what to expect and what to do. It makes the whole journey quick and painless, resulting in far more people adding to basket and going on to convert.
2) Think mobile: Mobile is by far outstripping desktop in the ecommerce world when it comes to share of traffic, with many ecommerce sites regularly seeing between 65- 90% of their traffic on mobile. However, conversion rates are often lower than those on the larger screens. But demand is there, and if you can make the journey frictionless on mobile, you’ll see the returns. Make sure when you’re designing your website and checkout you’re looking at it from a mobile-first point of view. For starters, here are some top tips to consider when thinking about mobile optimisation.
3) Add product reviews: Product reviews play a huge part in convincing users to buy that product. The trust built from other people rating your products is inestimable. If you don’t have product reviews, start building on them. There are plenty of third party tools out there to seamlessly integrate with your system and collate reviews from recent customers.
4) Images for the win: You can’t touch and feel products online, so pictures of the pproducts are really important to resonate with users and build that ‘I want it’ response. You don’t need to go overboard, but a few clear pictures of the front and back, as well as the product ‘in situ’ can help users visualise using/wearing the product, and make them more likely to convert.
In the event that the right users are landing on your site but are not converting, there are multiple steps you can take to understand why, and implement the necessary improvements to fix the issue. Our conversion and analytics team are friendly, and always available for a chat - you can get in touch with them here >>>
4. Don’t Ignore Attribution
You’ve ticked off all of the above and the consumer has made a purchase - hooray! But when it comes to reporting, out of your Facebook, display, YouTube, shopping and search ads, which channel takes credit for the sale? Where do you attribute the value?
Much as we may wish the consumer path to purchase were made up of a smooth, single channel journey, we know this to be far from true. Now more than ever, users are engaging with touchpoints across a range of different channels and devices on their route from research through to transaction.
This is where attribution comes into play and where advertisers benefit from taking a holistic approach to their strategy and reporting, to understand the influence of each touchpoint, and more importantly, how the last click before conversion is rarely wholly responsible.
Below are five tips to consider when tackling ecommerce attribution:
1) Avoid last click reporting in Google Ads. This one is a no-brainer. Attributing conversions on a last click model is an outdated and siloed approach to optimisation and reporting. It bases itself on the assumption that users begin their research with a search, click an ad, and make a purchase seamlessly all within the same session. We all know this isn’t what happens.
To combat this, make use of the most suitable non-last click attribution model (based on your product offering) within Google Ads to better understand the performance and impact of your campaigns. If you’re running automated campaigns, this more accurate conversion data will feed into the optimisations made and help deliver the best results.
2) Make use of the model comparison tool in Analytics. Use this to understand the impact of your paid media (and other channels) on sales looking at a range of attribution models aside from GA’s default last non-direct click, such as first interaction, linear, time decay or position based.
Another tool to assist with attribution reporting in GA is the new Attribution tool, which for the first time looks at a data driven model (similar to that used within Google Ads) as opposed to position based.
The tool is still in beta and very much in its infancy, but it’s worth enabling the report to build up your data set, so when it undoubtedly develops, you’ll have a strong starting point and historic data to look back on.
3) Use user based custom segments in Analytics. By applying a user-based custom segment in Analytics, you are able to see if your paid media played any role in a transaction rather than just reporting on a last non-direct basis. This provides visibility into the role of your paid channels at all stages of the funnel, and is based on the user rather than the session.
4) Take advantage of tools such as Amazon Attribution and Facebook Attribution to provide you with greater visibility on the impact each of your paid channels have on each other. Facebook Attribution focuses on analysing user behaviour before conversion and how each touchpoint contributes to a conversion, while the Amazon Attribution tool helps advertisers understand the impact of their off-Amazon digital marketing efforts on key Amazon metrics.
5) Utilise Search Ads 360. If the financial support is there, the best way to understand the consumer’s full path to purchase is through SA360. Doing so will allow you to effectively manage all of your campaigns in one place, across multiple different channels and devices. You’ll soon be aware of the full user journey and able to fairly attribute conversions where the credit is due, illustrating the true impact of all online channels.
Clearly, there’s a lot to think about when looking to enhance your ecommerce performance. And it’s better that no stone is left unturned along the way; ad execution needs to be on point (don’t leave automation behind), but so too does your website and understanding of how each of your channels is performing. Only with such a holistic view of your marketing efforts will you be able to achieve your potential in ecommerce.
If all this feels overwhelming, or leaves you with one or two burning questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Just pop us a message here >>>