Do you know where your customers are searching? Here’s a hint: It’s probably not on your website. According Survata, only 15% of US consumers start their product search directly on a retailer’s website. That means 85% of consumers are starting their product journey on other channels: marketplaces, search engines and social channels.
Your challenge — and your opportunity — is how to reach that 85%.
So, where exactly are shoppers starting their buying journey?
Nearly half of those American consumers are starting at Amazon. Amazon’s vast selection of hundreds of millions of items, along with the lock-in effects of Prime, means that, for many consumers, “shopping” really means “shopping on Amazon.” With Amazon only just launching to Australia last year and only recently launching Prime here in the last few months, expect to see this kind of behaviour start to impact Aussie search.
The second biggest destination is search engines, which of course means Google.
One thing search engines have in common with leading marketplaces like Amazon and eBay is a very strong mobile presence and penetration.
The increasing consumer shift to a mobile-first retail landscape accelerates this trend for channels like Amazon and Google – the limited amount of real estate on mobile devices means more consumers will go through these major aggregators rather than direct to a series of websites.
The third primary destination for consumers is social channels. And while these consumers may not be explicitly shopping every time they log in, they’re certainly spending time there and they’re often inspired to act. Facebook now has over 2 billion active monthly users, and Instagram has over 300 million daily active users.
Even if those users are at the very top of the buying funnel, there’s clearly an opportunity to engage with potential customers through strategic and targeted campaigns. Your goal: Increase your visibility, so the 85% of consumers are able to find your products and start shopping before they ever get to your website.
Product Advertising on the Big Three
Succeeding at digital marketing means succeeding at product advertising. Many marketers are surprised at just how prolific product advertising has become over the last several years. But it makes sense: Product ads are everywhere. Consumers can’t help but engage with them.
While Amazon, Google and Facebook are far from your only options for product advertising (eBay has some great promotional tools), they are certainly the biggest, and best practices with their programs apply across many channels.
|Google Shopping (aka Product Listing Ads)||Facebook / Instagram Dynamic Ads||Amazon Sponsored Products|
|•Drives traffic to website
•Driven by search queries
|•Drives traffic to website
•Driven by retargeting or audience
|•Drives traffic to your product listings on Amazon
•3rd party sellers or brands selling wholesale (1P) are eligible
Product Advertising Success
Successful product advertising comes down to three key pillars:
Use great, channel-specific content
First, take a hard look at your product ads and look for opportunities to improve the quality of your product data. Are your ads as compelling as the offers on your website? Is your data in line with the requirements and display of that particular channel?
Quick content checklist:
- Optimise your titles
- Use high-quality images
- Leverage video when possible
- Include relevant promotions
Test, test again, then keep testing
You should never get to a point where you cease testing. It’s your beginning, your middle and your end. Consumer behaviour evolves constantly and interest in your specific products can ebb and flow on a month-to-month basis. You’ll always find new opportunities to optimise and improve your ads.
In advertising, your goal is to stand out from the competition and capture the click. But how do you stand out? Test images, keywords or titles from one campaign against another to find the best combinations for each channel. Is one image consistently performing better than another for a specific product with the same title? The key is to isolate the metric that you’re testing and gather the most reliable data.
Manage and personalise your ad spend on a very granular level
Are you measuring the performance of your ads at the most granular level possible? Digital advertising can be measured across multiple dimensions: query, device, ad type, time of day, day of week, location and more.
One very important way to see significant gains in your ad performance is to match user intent to your products. Or, to put it another way, map your ads to “the buying funnel.” Ads at the top of the funnel aren’t worth the same as ads at the bottom, and you shouldn’t spend the same amount at every phase.
Look at the simple buying funnel below with possible shopper search terms. Would you bid the same amount for “running shoes” as you would for a specific brand name, size and model? Of course not. Those searches indicate a shopper very close to a transaction.
We’ll dive into the topic of personalisation more in the next Digital Marketing Success installment.
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