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Google Ads for Ecommerce: Prerequisites

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Google Ads for Ecommerce: Prerequisites

In my last article, we talked about whether or not Google Ads was the right move for your ecommerce business. 

Now, if Google Ads is indeed in the cards for your store (or you have successfully run Google Ads already), this article is going to walk you through the prerequisites you need before you can hit the ground running.

Ecommerce Business Planning: 

Must-Haves Before Building a Google Ads Campaign

You are hereby (lovingly) forbidden from building a Google Ads campaign until you have the following six items:

  1. Reasonable Monthly Spend
  2. 90 Days to Prove Concept
  3. An Ecommerce Enabled Website With a Product Feed
  4. Enough Margins to Support a Traffic Campaign
  5. Unique Selling Proposition
  6. No One-Off Products

Let’s explain:

  1. Reasonable Monthly Spend

Think of your monthly budget early on as an investment. 

You are buying data you need to understand what works in your campaign, what doesn’t, and where to make changes—in a reasonable amount of time. 

With that investment, Google will start to build an audience specifically for you that you will capitalize on later. And it will be worth it! You *must* have enough monthly ad spend to accumulate enough accurate data for testing and optimizing down the road.

For context, at Solutions 8, we won’t take a client whose budget is under $2000/month. 

Budget under $2000 per month? Maybe you want to hold off until it’s more feasible. 

Google is a learning algorithm. The first three months are going to be the most “painful” part of your campaigns. Which brings us to our next requirement:

  1. 90 Days to Prove Concept

It bears repeating that Google is a learning machine. And learning takes time.

In fact, we’re asking Google to do some pretty spectacular behavioral analysis.

After you set up your Smart Shopping campaign, Google learns: 

  • When customers interact with your ads
  • How many times users click on your ads
  • What channel those ads are clicked
  • How long it takes for the prospect to come back
  • What channels they come back to
  • Which other products they view

Once Google has all that data, it determines how many other customers follow through the same pattern or similar cycle.  

So, for a 15-day sales cycle (meaning it took 15 days from when a customer first clicked your ad to when they made a purchase), you might have to wait a full month for sales to start coming in. Meaning it will take a full month for Google to begin to gather data for testing and optimizing.

Again, those early days are tough. But by day 90, you should have enough data to tell whether or not the campaign will work long term. 

  1. An Ecommerce Enabled Website With a Product Feed

This one may sound obvious, but here goes:

Your ads will send prospective customers to your site. Therefore, you need an appealing, easy-to-navigate ecommerce website complete with a product feed tool. 

Remember, your “product feed” is much more than a CSV file of product titles, descriptions, GTIN codes, and prices.

For ecommerce businesses, the product feed will make or break your campaign.

When it comes to ecommerce platforms, particularly ones that integrate beautifully with Google Ads, Shopify is our fave.

  1. Enough Margins to Support a Traffic Campaign

Running ads takes money. Can your profit margins support these campaigns? 

See, you can have a 100% profit margin—but if you’re selling $2 items, your campaigns still might not be profitable. 

Unless you have a higher cart value than the original price.

In other words, your products need to be priced highly enough (with the profit margin to support it); otherwise, you’ll rely on customers adding more to their cart than the single advertised product alone (i.e. more bang for your advertising buck).

  1. Unique Selling Proposition

The more heavily saturated your market, the harder it’s going to be to turn a profit from Google Ads. So, what makes you different? 

And *ahem* being the cheapest option isn’t the answer. 

Think about your favorite products: what makes them your favorite? Is it the company’s dependable return policy? The quality of the product? The materials used? 

Your unique selling proposition is key for the success of your campaigns—specifically longevity and return traffic. After all, it’s six times less expensive to sell to an existing customer than a new one.

  1. No One-Off Products

If you have customizable products (think products that are personalized with engravings, birthstone colors, or photos), this isn’t directed at you.

But when it comes to one-offs, Google Ads will not work.

To reiterate, one-offs are products that you can only sell once (like a unique, one-of-a-kind painting). 

And therein lies the problem: 

When you make a sale through Google Ads, it is Google’s job to try to recreate that cycle. It’s a learning machine!

But because single products can only sell once, Google has no way to recreate that process. 

So, Google uses GTINs to identify and categorize products. But when you sell a one-off product (a single GTIN), that code disappears forever (bye, bye, valuable data).

Do you produce handmade products? 

Consider creating multiples of the same product-type (ceramic bowls, for example) and simply acknowledge that they might vary slightly in design due to the nature of handmade products.

Your first sale is always your most expensive in Google Ads. You don’t want every sale to be your first.

Now, assuming you have all six must-haves in order, here are five important—but not imperative—items to consider:

  1. Multiple SKUs
  2.  Product Financing
  3. Strong Lifetime Value
  4. Lifestyle Imagery
  5. Existing Purchase Traffic

Let’s explain:

  1. Multiple SKUs

Multiple SKUs for “like” products are ideal.

Here’s what we mean:

If a customer says, I need Product A.

And you not only have Product A—but you have 10,000 versions of it (different colors or designs), your customer is much more likely to purchase more than one; thus your average cart value will increase. 

  1.  Product Financing

New product financing payment options, like Affirm and QuadPay, have made it so customers can make smaller payments over several weeks as opposed to one large payment up front. 

These options have led to a big jump in purchases and cart value, particularly among higher-priced product sellers. The best part? You get paid the full amount upfront!

Add product financing options to your site if you can.

  1. Strong Lifetime Value

Knowing what your real-time value is per customer and how many purchases they make within a year on average allows you to set lower targets for your ROAS goal and higher targets for your CPAs. This means you can scale quickly and grow your business faster. 

For example, if you have an average cart value of $100 but customers generally purchase three times over 12 months, your average cart value becomes $300.

  1. Lifestyle Imagery

We’ll touch on this more soon, but lifestyle imagery (i.e. images of your product “in action” and being used by real-life people) allows your customers to really visualize themselves using your product.

  1. Existing Purchase Traffic

If you have existing traffic (from social media or email lists, for example), Google uses this information to identify what those people look like and find matches in their own ecosystem/user base. 

In other words, instead of starting from scratch, existing traffic gives Google some notes to get going.

Ecommerce Business Planning: Offer Design

Who’s your customer? 

Can you describe your product to a stranger?

…Did I lose you for a minute there? 

Look, this is the part where we make you backtrack a little bit (in order to launch full speed ahead). 

And it’s easy for most businesses to skip this “offer design” section because they assume this box has been done and dusted for a long time.

But before spending precious dollars on advertising online, let’s make sure you can define: 

  1. Your target audience
  2. How your product makes customers feel 
  3. And what makes your unique brand stand out amongst the competition

Here’s how:

✔️ Define Your Customer Avatar 

Use this worksheet to identify your customer avatar (and who is NOT your customer avatar). The questions in the worksheet help you get in the mind of the customer. 

✔️  DigitalMarketer’s “Before and After Grid”
Once you’ve defined your customer avatar(s), it’s time to consider the transformation they make when purchasing your product. After all, customers don’t buy products—they buy feelings, results, and solutions.  

DigitalMarketer has a phenomenal “before and after” worksheet that you can download here

Make a copy and fill it out with your customers in mind, including: 

  • What your customer has (or doesn’t have) before buying your product—and what they gain once they do.
  • How they feel before your product—and how they feel after
  • What an average day looks like before your product—and an average day after  

✔️ Brand Development

How does your company make people feel? 

If marketing is what makes people buy, brand is what makes people stay–even if there are other products available.

And if you do all the things above, you’ll have the perfect foundation for a strong brand. 

Next, Optimize Your Existing Products

Let’s make sure your products and offers are as value-driven as possible. There are three ways to achieve this:

  1. Increase Actual Value

We’re not talking about raising the price of your products here.

Instead, we’re talking about how you can get customers to buy more from you. There are several ways to achieve this:

Bundles! If you have two products that usually go together, offer a bundle for a discounted price. You increase the value the customer receives but you also increase your profitability.

Sure, the price is “discounted,” but you’re saving money on shipping and fulfillment while increasing your cart value. 

Subscriptions! For consumable products (or any other products that can be purchased consistently) consider offering a subscription-based model, which ensures recurring purchases. 

We have seen first-hand that some subscription models have the same cost-per-acquisition as a one-off purchase.

One-click upsell!

When a customer is checking out, offer products that can be easily added to their cart with one click.

  1. Increase Perceived Value

Don’t underestimate the power of descriptions and images. 

Here’s the thing: online shoppers are at a disadvantage because they can’t tangibly see and feel products like they would in a physical store. However, this can be a big opportunity for you to stand out.

Give your viewer a full virtual experience of your product: describe the benefits of your products, not just the features. Show your product in action with lifestyle imagery, so users can visualize themselves using it. Explanation of the product in a clear, easy to understand way.

Perceived value is more valuable than the actual value. 

The perceived value is the reason they buy.

  1.  Fringe Benefits

Similarly, consider any additional creative ways you can add value (and perceived value) to your products. This can be in the form of additional content (think product demos, how-to videos, and tutorials), building a community around your product via social media and forum, or early access.

Ascension Models and Value Optimization

Once you start pulling in more customers and sales, here are a few ways to optimize your growth:

✔️ Never stop selling
It has been proven (with science!) that humans are in a different state of mind when they make a purchase than when they evaluate whether they want to purchase.

Customers are likely to buy another product immediately after purchasing something else because they are in a “buying” state. 

Take advantage of that buying window!

Give customers multiple opportunities to ascend and add products based off of their initial purchase.

✔️ Order bumps

This is along the same vein, but it bears repeating:

Order bumps are options to add additional products to your cart and they work.

A great way to do this is through the Frequently Bought Together app on Shopify

✔️ Build your email list / email marketing
When it comes to eCommerce, email has the potential to bring in more money than any other marketing channel. 

Truthfully, you don’t want to spend a lot on paid traffic forever (a la Google Ads)! And email marketing is one of the most affordable marketing channels available.

Need to pull in more email addresses from your audience?

Capture contact details using value-driven content that is applicable to your offer (e.g. how-tos, guides, checklists).

Check out Digital Marketer’s Guide to Email Marketing (for ecommerce)

✔️  Repeat and/or recurring customers
It is more expensive to acquire new customers than to sell to current customers. Capitalize on this.

✔️ Build social proof
Customers buy from brands they trust. Social proof has the power to bring in new customers—so be sure to continue building social proof and showcase it on your site.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for testimonials and reviews.

Finally: Choosing a Product / Niche

As a precursor, we want to make this clear: be true to your brand. Protect your brand. Don’t change lanes simply because of a flimsy trend. 

That said, you can make some pretty savvy and informed decisions by doing some research on the recent market trends—and when possible, use this information to optimize the products you offer to meet these trending needs.  

Here’s how:

✔️ Rising Retail Categories
Think with Google’s Rising Retail Categories is one of the industry’s best kept secrets. You can use this interactive tool to “understand fast-rising retail categories in Google Search, the locations where they’re growing, and the queries associated with them.”

✔️  Google Trends
Make use of Google Trends; this is a great way to identify trends from a volume/search perspective.

Got Your Prerequisites Locked In? 

Impressive.

Next time I pop in, we’ll talk about setting up your foundation (i.e. your website!) to ensure the highest likelihood of success with your campaigns.

This will include website CRO best practices, product preparation, media, and live chat features. 

But if you’re feeling eager, you can check out this Google Ads Mastery Workshop that has you covered.

Or, you can check out my entire step-by-step guide to Google Ads for eCommerce here.


1640964800 903 Google Ads for Ecommerce Prerequisites

Kasim Aslam

Kasim Aslam is the founder and CEO of Solutions 8, one of the world’s top ranked Google Ads agencies.

Recipient of the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s 2017 TIM Award for Person of the Year, Kasim was also named one of the Top 50 Digital Marketing Thought Leaders in the United States by The University of Missouri in 2020.

Kasim was hand-selected as the Traffic Coach for DigitalMarketer.com’s ELITE coaching program by their executive team. He is also the co-host of the long-running podcast, Perpetual Traffic.

His book, The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing, was featured as one of the Top 100 Digital Marketing Books of All Time by Book Authority.

Kasim helped launch the National Association of Child Helplines (NAACH) and worked with the United States Army, Intel, as well as a Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit, a 54,000 member PPO, the largest privately owned bank in the United States, and an Academy Award-contending documentary.

He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and two sons.


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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

Streaming


By Emily Sullivan

Netflix, the streaming giant known for binge-watching and award-winning originals, sent shockwaves through the industry in 2022 by announcing an ad-supported tier. This move was likely fueled by a desire to reach new audiences, combat rising subscription costs, and potentially even fend off competition from other OTT platforms. These ads could lead to strong growth potential with advertisers eager to tap into Netflix’s massive user base. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how Netflix works, it’s important to know that Netflix is an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform, meaning it delivers streaming content directly over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite providers. It’s one of the most popular OTT platforms globally, but in the ad supported video on demand (AVOD) space, Netflix is a relative newcomer. Understanding this new facet of Netflix is crucial for marketers looking to capitalize on this advertising opportunity.

Interested in learning more about Netflix and its advertising offerings? You came to the right place. In this post, we’ll cover the foundational elements of Netflix ads including ad types, specs, advertising best practices, and more. 

Why Did Netflix Start Offering Ads?

In November 2022, Netflix introduced an ad-supported tier. This move marked a significant shift, as Netflix was previously known for its commitment to an ad-free experience. The decision likely stemmed from a desire to tap into new revenue streams. With consumers increasingly cost-conscious, an ad-supported tier provided a way to attract budget-minded viewers while still offering a premium ad-free option, similar to established AVOD providers like Hulu and Peacock.

Initially, the launch was off to a slower start, with few people signing up for the ad supported tier and Netflix failing to meet guarantees, but things are quickly turning around and savvy advertisers are taking notice. Netflix boasts a massive user base, with roughly 270 million paid subscribers – a household name with immense reach. In fact, 40% of new Netflix sign-ups are choosing the ad-supported tier, translating to a total of 40 million users. Netflix’s ad platform presents a unique opportunity for marketers looking to reach a large and engaged audience.

“Our goal isn’t just to offer the same products and tools the industry has come to expect — although we’ve made a lot of progress on that front over the last year. It’s to build something bigger and better than what exists today. We want to shape the future of advertising on Netflix and help marketers tap into the amazing fandom generated by our must-watch shows and movies.”

Amy ReinhardPresident, Advertising at Netflix

How to Start Advertising on Netflix

So, you’re interested in capitalizing on Netflix’s massive audience? Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways to buy ads on their platform:

1. Netflix Ads Manager

This platform, powered by Microsoft, allows you to directly purchase ad space on Netflix. However, be prepared to meet their minimum spending requirements, which can be substantial and offer little room for negotiation.

2. Partnering with an Agency

While the minimum spend might be high for direct buys, streaming agencies like Tinuiti can be a valuable asset. They can not only help you navigate the intricacies of Netflix advertising, but also:

  • Consolidate Streaming Data: The streaming landscape is fragmented, with viewers spread across multiple platforms. Agencies can collect data from these various platforms and turn it into a unified, actionable strategy for your advertising campaign.
  • Expertise and Negotiation: Agencies bring a wealth of experience to the table. They can leverage their knowledge of the advertising landscape and potentially negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf.

3. Ad Tech Partners

Companies like Microsoft offer ad tech solutions that provide technical capabilities to streamline your advertising efforts. These partners typically take a more hands-off approach compared to agencies, focusing on the technical aspects of ad delivery and optimization.

The best option depends on your budget, experience level, and campaign goals. If you’re a large brand with a significant budget and an in-house marketing team, going directly through Netflix Ads Manager might be a good fit. However, for most businesses, partnering with an agency or ad tech provider can offer valuable support and expertise.

Ad Types & Specs for Netflix Ads

Now that you understand the different avenues for buying ads on Netflix, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of ad formats and specifications:

Netflix Ad Types

Example of a Netflix Ad Featuring Smartfood and Love is Blind

Currently, Netflix offers two main ad types, pre-roll ads and mid-roll ads. Netflix notes that users can expect to see a few short ads per hour and that they aim to place ads during natural plot breaks for a more seamless experience.   

Let’s take a look at each option… 

  • Pre-roll Ads: These commercials play before a program or movie begins, similar to traditional linear TV advertising.
  • Mid-roll Ads: These ads appear in the middle of a program, typically inserted during natural breaks in the content.

During paused playback, ad breaks are displayed on the progress bar. As an ad break begins, the upper-right corner reveals the number of ads included in that break.

While Netflix advertising is fairly new, the platform has made a few important announcements to look out for in 2024. Netflix plans to introduce a new binge ad format for global advertisers, offering viewers an ad-free fourth episode after watching three consecutive episodes. Additionally, QR code integration in U.S. advertising will launch early in the year. Sponsorship opportunities, including Title, Moment, and Live Sponsorships, are also now available in the U.S. and will expand globally in 2024.

Netflix also offers live opportunities including WWE Raw (launching January 2025), which will air live on Netflix 52 weeks of the year, and the NFL Christmas games which Netflix just secured the rights to. These live events provide advertisers the opportunity to reach ad and ad-free members of Netflix in a live environment with traditional ad formats.

Last but not least, Netflix recently announced they are adding Pause Ads to their suite of custom ad units. This is currently in beta and is expected to be rolled out to the general marketplace in H2 2024.

Netflix Ad Specs

When it comes to advertising specs, it’s important to follow Netflix’s guidelines which include the following… 

  • Supported Lengths: Netflix accepts ads in 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60-second durations.
  • File Format: Ads must be submitted in MP4 or MOV format.
  • Aspect Ratio & Resolution: Maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of either 1920×1080 HD or 1280×720 HD.
  • QR Codes on the Horizon: Netflix is preparing to support QR code integration within commercials, allowing viewers to seamlessly access additional information or promotions.

Hot Tip: Stay tuned for updates, as Netflix is constantly evolving its ad platform.

Why Advertise on Netflix?

Advertising on Netflix offers several unique advantages for advertisers including… 

  • Massive Reach – Netflix boasts a massive subscriber base worldwide (globally, there were around 270 million Netflix subscribers in Q1 2024), providing advertisers with access to a vast and diverse audience. These viewers are often highly engaged, spending significant time on the platform consuming content. In fact, Over 70% of Netflix’s ad-supported members watch for more than 10 hours a month – which is 15 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor according to Nielsen.
  • Targeting – Netflix collects extensive data on user preferences and behavior, enabling precise targeting of advertisements based on demographics, interests, viewing history, and more. This targeted approach increases the relevance and effectiveness of ads, maximizing ROI for advertisers (more on this below).
  • Global Reach and Localization – With a presence in numerous countries around the world, Netflix offers advertisers the opportunity to reach audiences on a global scale. Additionally, the platform’s localization capabilities enable tailored advertising campaigns to resonate with specific regional or cultural audiences.
  • Unskippable Ads – Unlike some streaming advertising platforms, Netflix ads are unskippable, guaranteeing your message reaches viewers.
  • Positive User Experience – Netflix prioritizes a positive user experience, so it’s unlikely viewers will see the same ad twice in a single episode. However, there’s a chance you might encounter the same ad later during your viewing session. It’s also important to note that children’s profiles maintain their ad-free experience.
  • Ad Delivery & Blocking – Since ads are delivered server-side, ad blockers are ineffective on Netflix. Additionally, playback automatically pauses if you minimize the window while an ad is playing, ensuring your message is seen.

Best Practices When Advertising on Netflix

When advertising on Netflix, it’s essential to understand the platform’s unique capabilities and audience targeting options to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns. Check out a few best practices you need to consider… 

Explore Audience Targeting Capabilities

Netflix offers several audience targeting capabilities for advertisers on their ad-supported tier. These capabilities focus on three main areas: demographics, viewing habits, and content context. Here’s a breakdown:

Demographics:

  • Age: Advertisers can target users by age groups, like 18-34, 35+, etc.
  • Gender: Ads can be shown to specific genders (male or female).
  • Location: Targeting can be set by country or even state (in the U.S.).

Viewing Habits:

  • Genre: This lets advertisers target users based on the genres they watch, like comedy, drama, action, etc.

Content Context:

  • Top 10: Ads can be placed before or after shows and movies on Netflix’s daily Top 10 list, ensuring high visibility.

Advertisers also have the option to choose where they don’t want their ads to appear. For example, they can avoid showing ads on programs with mature themes or content that may not align with their brand values.

By using a combination of these targeting options, advertisers can reach a more precise audience interested in their product or service. This increases the ad’s relevance to viewers and potentially improves the ad campaign’s effectiveness.

It’s also important to note that Netflix now has the ability to target advertiser first party data. The platform currently has two approved DMPs: Liveramp or Adobe. Advertisers who work with either of these DMPs can upload first party data for targeting or suppression.

It’s important to note that Netflix’s ad targeting is still evolving. While it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced options found on other platforms, they are working on expanding their capabilities.

Test Your Ad Creative

Just like any other marketing campaign, testing your ad creative on Netflix is vital for optimizing performance. Here are some key reasons to test your ads:

  • Discover What Works: Testing allows you to compare different ad variations and identify which elements resonate most with your target audience. This could involve testing variations in messaging, visuals, calls to action, or even ad length.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Testing provides valuable data and insights. You can track metrics like click-through rates, completion rates, and brand recall to see which ad versions generate the best results. Don’t rely on guesswork. Testing helps you move beyond assumptions and identify what truly connects with viewers.
  • Meet Audience Expectations: Netflix viewers anticipate premium content, including ads. Testing ad creative ensures that your commercials meet these expectations by delivering high-quality, engaging content that resonates with the audience.
  • Optimize Performance: Testing allows you to refine your ad creative to achieve optimal performance. By experimenting with different elements such as messaging, visuals, and calls to action, you can identify the most effective combinations that drive engagement and conversion.
  • Enhance Relevance: Testing helps ensure that your ad creative remains relevant to your target audience. By continuously testing and refining your approach, you can adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends, ensuring that your ads stay impactful and resonant.
  • Maximize ROI: Effective testing enables you to make data-driven decisions that maximize ROI. By identifying and scaling the best-performing ad creative, you can allocate your advertising budget more efficiently and achieve greater results.

Measure and Analyze Your Results

Netflix doesn’t offer 1:1 conversion measurement for ad buyers (yet) – but they do have brand awareness and lift studies they offer advertisers so keep this in mind when measuring and analyzing your results. 

The platform did recently announce that this summer, Netflix will expand its buying capabilities to include The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite who will join Microsoft as the main programmatic partners for advertisers.

Starting in the second half of 2024, Netflix just announced that the following third party measurement partners (partnering to measure and verify the impact of advertiser campaigns) will also be added: Affinity Solutions, iSpotTV, NCSolutions, Videoamp, DCM and TVision.

They also announced Netflix will launch an in-house advertising technology platform, by the end of 2025. This will give advertisers new ways to buy, new insights to leverage, and new ways to measure impact. 

Is Netflix Advertising Right For Your Brand?

Overall, Netflix advertising offers the unparalleled reach of a massive, highly-engaged audience. This can be a strategic choice for brands seeking broad awareness and brand association with premium content.

If you’re interested in exploring advertising opportunities on Netflix for your brand, consider reaching out to the Tinuiti team. Our expertise can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of advertising on the platform, maximizing your campaign’s effectiveness and ROI. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your brand on one of the world’s largest streaming platforms—connect with Tinuiti today to get started.

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

The bar has been set by the industry leaders in UX and Merchandising, and our customers have stated their claim clearly – “to grow our market share, we must have an enterprise search experience that drives conversions.

Optimizely offers baseline search experiences within our commerce platform, which are designed to help companies get started with organizing and delivering SKUs to customers. These experiences utilize out-of-the-box algorithms and methods for sorting, categorizing, and customizing.

While Optimizely provides a foundation for search experiences, we knew there were users ready to take their search capabilities to the next level. This is where the Xngage and HawkSearch partnership promises to redefine how you approach search-driven experiences within Optimizely Configured Commerce. Our highly experienced partner Xngage has developed a seamless integration connector, a best-in-class accelerator for harnessing the power of HawkSearch.

The powerful partner in search

HawkSearch is known for its expertise in search-driven engagement, AI-powered product discovery, and no-code customizations. With a strong history of serving B2B customers with enterprise-level search solutions, it was a perfect choice to make HawkSearch directly available within Optimizely’s platform.

The expertise of Xngage made this connector a reality enabling Optimizely’s Configured Commerce customers to:

  • Easily plug directly into the HawkSearch service to share your products and their relevant data.
  • Utilize powerful unit of measure conversions, ensuring your customers can find exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Customize sorting and facets to deliver highly relevant results to customers.
  • Craft a personalized user experience with features like auto-complete and the new ‘instant engage’.

Customers can further explore HawkSearch’s capabilities in this on demand webinar and recap, which highlights the benefits and use cases of the Xngage connector for HawkSearch.

A powerful partner in digital growth

Xngage complements Optimizely perfectly, as they deliver robust solutions in the realm of digital content and commerce experiences. The development of the Xngage connector to HawkSearch is a part of their broader mission to empower manufacturers and distributors to serve their customers digitally. This alignment seamlessly fits with Optimizely, making our partnership with Xngage an ideal choice. 

Furthering their goal of digital growth, Xngage offers a range of holistic and complementary professional services, including:

  • User research & user experience design (UX)
  • Enterprise architecture & ERP integration
  • Product information management (PIM)
  • Ecommerce Implementations, and digital growth services.

To learn more about this highly experienced digital commerce partner visit Xngage.com.

The future of the partnership

This partnership is just the beginning. Xngage and HawkSearch are committed to working hand in hand to empower you with the tools and insights you need to elevate your ecommerce site. Stay tuned for future blogs, webinars, and resources that will help you make the most of this transformative alliance.

The future of ecommerce search has never looked more promising, and we’re excited to have you on this journey with us.

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

With the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers have unprecedented opportunities to expand their reach, streamline their operations, and enhance profitability. Amidst this digital revolution, adopting Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is pivotal in optimizing production processes, quality control, and resource management.

As the lines between traditional brick-and-mortar sales and online commerce continue to blur, manufacturers increasingly realize the need to adapt and thrive in this new digital landscape. This article explores the top 3 strategies manufacturers can employ to succeed in e-commerce.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is specialized application software designed to solve the tasks of synchronization, coordination, analysis, and optimization of production output within any production. MES systems belong to the class of shop floor-level management systems but can also be used for integrated production management at the enterprise as a whole.

MES collects and analyzes production processes, product demand, and inventory data. This allows manufacturers to adapt more quickly to changes in the market, reconfigure production to meet current requirements, and closely monitor trends. As a result, manufacturers can more easily predict and meet customer needs, which helps increase online sales.

MES helps in maintaining accurate inventory records and managing inventory turnover. This avoids overstock or shortages, which can affect a company’s ability to meet online demand and maintain customer service levels.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enhance transparency and automate operations, reducing human errors and operational costs. Integrating Manufacturing CRM streamlines customer data, allowing manufacturers to tailor products, respond to market changes, and offer competitive prices in online stores. The synergy between MES and CRM creates an agile manufacturing environment, optimizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Content Marketing

Kapost’s research shows that companies in the B2B segment that blog get 67% more leads on average than companies that don’t. However, it’s worth remembering that content marketing requires a lot of resources to prepare and regularity in publishing it. This content can be, for example, brand identity and E-commerce logo, articles and videos, webinars, research, and interviews.

The content should help solve a specific problem to create the image of an expert and thus influence the decisions of potential customers. The topics discussed should not be chosen randomly. A little research in Google Trends will help select the main topic, discussion areas in the video, phrases, and words that should be included in the article. Publishing content based on such a prepared analysis allows you to achieve high positions in search engines. It provides a good user experience for customers looking for answers to product/service questions, comprehensively covering the subject matter.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are free traffic, increased user confidence, and the creation of an expert image.

Content marketing is a form of promotion that requires patience and time. Its effects will also depend on the quality of thecontent itself, its optimization, and promotion methods. No specific terms can be specified here.

YouTube channels as a form of content marketing

You can discuss your production process and show and test products on your YouTube channel. If someone is looking for information about a product and is unsure which brand to choose, they will likely find your video and maybe make a purchase. Remember to choose a title that matches the search query and prepare a video description with product links. You can send out an email to announce when new videos are released. Whenever you have particularly compelling videos, you could also promote them via texting notifications to drive even more traffic.

Utilize user-generated content and social media

Not utilizing the content that your users generate is a huge issue. This is because it’s not easy to refresh an e-commerce website and keep it alive. But photos and videos taken by real customers are great for this purpose.

Adding a “widget” that connects your online store’s website to its official social media accounts brings significant benefits. These include revitalizing your social media accounts, increasing your credibility as a manufacturer, inspiring other customers to buy, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Snapchat Planets

Snapchat’s “Planets” feature provides a unique and interactive way to engage with your e-commerce store’s audience. Here are some creative ideas on how to leverage Snapchat Planets to create engaging content:

  • Virtual Store Tours: Use the AR feature to create a virtual tour of your store. Each planet can represent different sections or categories of your store. For instance, one planet could showcase your latest collection, another could highlight bestsellers, and another could offer exclusive deals.
  • Product Launches: Announce new product launches by creating a cosmic journey. Users can travel from one planet to another, each unveiling a new product with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of excitement and discovery around new arrivals.
  • Interactive Shopping Experience: Create interactive shopping experiences where users can explore products in a fun and engaging way. For example, users can navigate through different planets to find hidden discounts or special offers, making shopping more interactive and rewarding.
  • Customer Rewards and Loyalty Programs: Develop a loyalty program where users earn points or rewards by exploring different planets. Each planet can offer unique rewards, such as discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to new collections. This gamifies the shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.
  • Themed Campaigns: Align your marketing campaigns with planetary themes. For instance, during holiday seasons, you can create a holiday-themed planet where users can find special holiday deals, gift ideas, and festive content.

By leveraging Snapchat Planets, you can transform your e-commerce store’s content into a captivating and interactive experience that keeps your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more.

Use newsletters to captivate your target audience

Newsletters can strengthen the connection with the consumer and demonstrate that shopping with you is safe and profitable. Remember that the more personalized the message, the more effective it will be. It should contain a call to action (CTA), such as a button that redirects to products.

Don’t forget to put a box to check for consent to process personal data when subscribing to the newsletter. Also, add an option to unsubscribe from the newsletter in each email.

A regular email account is not adapted for the newsletter, so do not use your everyday email address. This way, you risk being blacklisted by spam filters. The benefits of newsletters are optimizing advertising costs, increasing loyal audiences from different channels, and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Print and PDF Channel

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In the digital landscape, the significance of Print and PDF channels cannot be underestimated for manufacturers engaging in e- commerce. The tactile experience of print offers unique psychological advantages, enhancing comprehension and retention, which are vital for technical manuals and complex product details. PDFs merge this benefit with digital accessibility, ensuring wide reach while maintaining format integrity. This dual-channel approach not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also bolsters marketing efforts, making technical content more engaging and understandable. Utilizing catalog software further streamlines the integration of Print and PDF channels into e-commerce strategies, enhancing product presentation and distribution efficiency.

Contextual advertising: Google Ads

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If you want the advertising you invest in to have an immediate effect, it’s worth turning to Google Ads. Google displays paid ads in search results and on Google’s network of partners (on-site ads in the form of banners).

You bid when you search for a keyword for which advertisers have set up a campaign. The search engine determines who will appear in the search results and at what position. When assigning bids, the quality of the landing page, the quality of the ads, and the stated maximum bid per click are all considered.

To start setting up your campaign, simply login to your Google Ads account. Using the service is free, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials on creating a campaign. However, you may find that it won’t generate valuable traffic if you don’t set it up optimally. Your budget will be wasted on clicks that won’t lead to conversions. This is why most companies resort to the help of agencies, including specialized agencies.

There is probably no industry in which Google Ads campaigns cannot be used. However, advertising can be moderately profitable if there is a lot of competition in the industry and margins are low.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are large audience reach, the ability to get the target audience as accurately as possible, and very detailed statistics on results.

The effect of launching a campaign should appear almost immediately. A properly set up campaign will increase traffic to the website. By systematically optimizing the campaign, you can achieve much better results.

You also can use paid Facebook Ads post promotion. It is important to pinpoint your target group, but how do you do it? A popular way is to draw up a customer portrait, that is, to make a collective image of your customer.

This considers age, gender, income level, location, interests and hobbies, and online behavior. Such a person will display a group interested in your services or goods.

Implement personalized product selections

Recommended product block and cross-selling are very powerful internet marketing strategies. In addition to the recommended product block, which shows the analogs of the product being viewed, it is worth paying attention to the website’s functionality.

As a rule, the products in the “You may also like” block are selected based on the pages previously viewed by the customer, his previous purchases on the website, as well as what was purchased by other customers with similar tastes. If this functionality is implemented technically sound, it can lead to additional items added to the shopping cart. “You may also like” block partly acts as an alternative to the advice of a specialist or consultant.

With blocks for cross-selling related products is a similar situation. Usually, in them are placed products from the same product line, collection, or simply those that perfectly match the product being viewed. You can use AI-powered live chats to proactively engage in customer conversations and suggest products based on their behavior.

Conclusion

E-commerce for manufacturers is a vast field, and in this article, we have presented the most popular and most effective forms of selling online. Remember, no effective e-commerce strategy exists. Each industry and business will have specifics. Try combining the above mentioned e-commerce strategies to maximize your chances of success and increase your profits.

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