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6 Dangers of Automation in Marketing

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The age of automation is here. Whether at the shopping checkout or in the online business world, automation technologies are becoming a standard tool for streamlining workflow and business operations, especially online.

In 2020, the digital marketing and advertising industry was worth over 370-billion dollars in the U.S, with more business owners realizing the full potential of this marketing medium every day.

Automation software may be one of the greatest business development tools invented to date. However, there are some dangers to becoming too dependent on automation; it could be costing you a ton of profit, and, if you are not careful, could cost you your business.

Read on to learn six major dangers of relying on automation systems in digital marketing in 2022.

1. Automated Bidding

Automated bidding is an automated system that sets bids on your ads based on that ad’s likelihood of getting a click and a sales conversion. This automated bidding system can be customized for a specific business or sales goal.

This can save hours of labor for business owners and is very appealing as a set-it-and-forget-it approach to generating leads and sales conversions.

However, things that sound too good to be true often are. While this kind of marketing tactic can reap many benefits to your enterprise, running automated ad campaigns unsupervised is unwise and could actually cost you profit if you get too comfortable utilizing it as a primary marketing tactic.

While AI algorithms are smart, as yet, they are not more intelligent than humans and will not be able to perform in a sales capacity as well as a sales professional.

This is not to say that you should stay away from automated bidding; however, you should be using it as a tool rather than a crutch; marketing still requires human-to-human interaction, even through the internet.

2. Forgetting to Continuously Optimize

While automation provides a lot of stress and time-management relief for business owners, the “set and forget” nature of automation can be a trap for those who tend to get comfortable.

Optimizing your automated systems is a manual process, and the internet will not slow down to let you catch up. Online advertising and marketing is a fluid environment, and you never want to turn your back on the sea. 

Ensure that your automation systems are optimized for the current online climate, including making sure your systems meet the criteria of current search engine algorithms. 

A dedicated development team can build in automated tools and advantages as they construct your systems. But to capitalize on that vast amount of work, ensure you maintain them well and optimize your automation for the best results. Overall, make it a point to design and operate automated systems for the right reasons in your customers’ eyes and not just out of laziness.

Automation will only do what you tell it to, so treat it like an employee that needs to be observed and managed rather than an extra limb that you need not pay attention to; automation is there to make you profit, not cost you exposure.

3. Over Messaging

Automated messaging systems can be a savior for a business owner trying to optimize their customer service and communication. These systems help you build and maintain rapport with your customers and audience; however, sending too many automated messages can have a disastrous impact on your business.

Over messaging can damage your brand in two primary ways:

  1. It has a negative impact on your recipients, damaging your engagement and client relationships
  2. Adversely impacts your app or website

It can take years to build your brand and only seconds to burn your reputation; with automated messaging, quality over quantity is the name of the game, and it is crucial to strike a balance between over and under messaging.

4. Loss of Brand Message

One of the main focuses in the current world of digital marketing is customizing your customer’s experiences. While automation and AI can absolutely help you achieve this, there is a fine line between having automation technologies help you run your business and completely ignoring your customer’s existence.

You are your brand, whether you like it or not. If you let your automated systems do all the communication on your behalf, your customer will eventually feel like they are not seen or appreciated.

One bad review can undo a lot of hard work, so don’t let automated systems’ appeal detach you from your valued customers and clients.

This sensibility doesn’t apply only to customers. You’ve probably heard of creating your “brand as an employer,” which is a marketing strategy designed to attract the best job candidates to your company. Automated software for recruiting is commonly used by businesses to help with this, but in marketing for candidates, it’s critical to apply a human touch to as many of your candidate-facing interactions as possible. Therefore, leveraging your automation for behind-the-scenes efficiencies where the candidate is less likely to notice it.

5. Focusing on Vanity Metrics

No one likes a bragger, and being a bragger that is also embellishing the truth is even less appealing. Vanity metrics are the equivalent of unjustifiable bragging in the digital marketing world.

While celebrating your legitimate wins is a great business practice and is healthy for business development, being disingenuous with your facts and figures is a sure-fire way to get people offside.

Relying on your automated metrics is just as dangerous. You need to be on top of your facts and figures; at this stage, there is no such thing as a reliable, fully automated online business, and putting too much faith in your automated data will turn around and bite you eventually.

6. Automating What Shouldn’t Be Automated

While there are many things automation software can significantly improve in your business and branding, some things should not be automated, even if they can be.

Cyber security

The hackers and thieves never sleep, and they are constantly finding new ways to break through cyber security systems. Manually ensuring your security systems are optimized maximizes the security of your business and protects your customer’s data, such as their personal information.

Customer Engagement

While there are areas of customer engagement, people still want to know they are dealing with a real person or team of people. People are not naive, and they know when they are talking to a bot. 

Although it is tempting to automate as much of your business as possible, people will lose trust if they feel that they cannot connect to a human being on the other side of the monitor, so remember to keep it real, literally!

Social Media Posts and Messages

There are plenty of automation systems for social media engagement; however, this is not an area that should be overlooked. For some, social media marketing is laborious and time-consuming, but the truth is your business needs it.

If you really cannot deal with your business’s social media marketing aspects, then outsource to a professional and reputable social media manager who can optimize your engagement. 

This investment will pay off, so choose a human resource over an automation system. That’s not to say you cannot use systems to automatically post your content at a particular time and date; just don’t rely on automation and AI if you want to see actual results.

Marketing Proposal Templates

If you are a digital marketer or work in a digital marketing team, you want to ensure your marketing proposal template comes directly from you or a team member and includes personalized comments that relate to the specific prospect.

Sending these as an automated proposal may be insulting to your client, and a pitch is much more likely to be successful if it is customized for your potential client.

Conclusion

Marketing automation is a great way to optimize and streamline your business; however, it is just a tool and will not replace your hard work, personal engagement, and attention to business.

Use marketing automation as a complementary utility to grow your business and not as a business model itself; strike that balance. You will definitely reap the rewards of your efforts.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular Hero Blog updates. Our blogs are full of free, priceless information to help you optimize and maximize your online presence and drive your business forward into the digital future. 




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Ultimate Guide to Product Data Feed Management

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Ultimate Guide to Product Data Feed Management

From the early days of simple online catalogs to today’s dynamic, data-driven shopping experiences, the e-commerce landscape has seen a monumental shift, driven by advances in technology and changes in consumer behavior. This transformation has not only expanded the reach of retailers but also heightened the competition and complexity of selling online.

Overview of the E-commerce Landscape

The current e-commerce landscape is a vast, interconnected ecosystem. It is one where businesses of all sizes compete to capture the attention and loyalty of digital consumers. 

Ecommerce spans various channels, including online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. It involves social commerce platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. It is conducted by countless individual online stores powered by platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce

Each of these channels offers unique opportunities and challenges. Each demands a particular approach to engaging with potential customers.

As the digital marketplace continues to grow, so does the importance of maintaining a strong online presence. 

For businesses, this means more than just listing products online. It involves creating comprehensive, engaging, and personalized shopping experiences that resonate with consumers across multiple touchpoints.

The Evolution of Online Shopping and the Role of Data

The evolution of online shopping is a story of technological innovation and changing consumer expectations. 

Initially, online shopping offered a convenient alternative to physical stores, allowing consumers to purchase products from the comfort of their homes. 

Over time, the advent of mobile technology, social media, and advanced data analytics has transformed online shopping into an immersive and interactive experience. 

Today, consumers can receive personalized product recommendations, see targeted ads, use augmented reality to “try on” products, and enjoy seamless omnichannel shopping experiences that blur the lines between online and in-store.

At the heart of this evolution is data. 

Data fuels the algorithms that predict shopping behavior, tailor marketing messages, and optimize the online shopping experience. 

Effective product data feed management plays a crucial role in this ecosystem. It involves not just listing products online but strategically managing and optimizing product information, ensuring it reaches the right audience, at the right time, in the right way. 

This process is vital for improving product visibility, enhancing customer experiences, and ultimately driving sales in a crowded and competitive digital marketplace.

As we delve into the intricacies of product data feed management, it’s important to recognize its significance as the backbone of successful e-commerce strategies. 

By understanding and leveraging the power of data, businesses can navigate the complexities of the digital marketplace and create meaningful connections with their customers.

What is Product Data Feed Management?

The ability to efficiently distribute, update, and optimize product information across multiple online channels is paramount. Product data feed management facilitates this critical function. It is a process that stands at the core of successful online retailing.

Definition and Explanation of Product Feeds

A product feed, fundamentally, is a structured file—often in formats like XML, CSV, or JSON—that contains detailed information about the products in an online store’s catalog. 

This file serves as a digital product list, designed to be ingested by various e-commerce platforms, search engines, social media channels, and comparison shopping websites. 

Product feeds include essential details such as product titles, descriptions, images, prices, stock levels, and more—each attribute meticulously organized to meet the specific requirements of different digital channels.

Product data feed management encompasses the creation, maintenance, and optimization of these product feeds. 

It involves regular updates to ensure accuracy of product information, strategic modifications to enhance product visibility and appeal, and careful adherence to the data standards and specifications of each target platform. 

The goal is to streamline the process of listing and advertising products across the web, ensuring that potential customers encounter consistent, accurate, and engaging product presentations, no matter where they find them.

Importance of Product Data in E-commerce

We cannot overstate the significance of product data in e-commerce. In an online marketplace where consumers rely heavily on product information to make purchasing decisions, the quality and presentation of this data directly impact sales performance. 

High-quality product feeds enable:

  • Improved Visibility: Optimized product data feeds help products to surface in search results and feature prominently in comparison shopping engines, directly influencing discoverability.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Detailed, accurate product descriptions and high-quality images help build consumer trust and reduce the likelihood of returns. They provide the necessary information to aid consumers in making informed purchasing decisions, enhancing the overall shopping experience.
  • Increased Conversion Rates: By ensuring product listings are optimized for relevance and appeal (including SEO-friendly product titles and descriptions, compelling images, and competitive pricing), merchants can significantly improve their chances of converting browsers into buyers.
  • Streamlined Operations: Effective data feed management simplifies the process of listing products on multiple channels, reducing manual effort and minimizing the risk of errors. This efficiency is crucial for businesses scaling their online presence across various platforms.

In the context of today’s online shopping environment, where customer engagement and satisfaction are key drivers of success, the role of data feed management extends beyond mere product listings. 

It is about crafting a narrative for each product that resonates with potential buyers, leveraging data to tell compelling stories that captivate and convert. 

As such, product data feed management is a critical component of any e-commerce strategy, ensuring that products are not just seen but also chosen, liked, and purchased.

Why Product Data Feed Management is Important

In the digital marketplace, where competition is fierce and consumer attention is fleeting, the strategic management of product data feeds emerges as a crucial lever for e-commerce success. 

Its importance is multifaceted, impacting everything from how products are discovered to how they’re evaluated by potential customers.

Impact on Visibility and Sales Across Channels

A well-managed product data feed is instrumental in amplifying a product’s visibility across various online channels. 

Each e-commerce platform, marketplace, and comparison shopping engine has its own unique set of requirements for listing products. By meticulously optimizing product feeds to meet these specifications, businesses ensure that their products are not only listed but also positioned favorably within these channels. 

This optimization can include keyword-rich product titles and descriptions, high-quality images, and competitive pricing information, all tailored to align with the search behaviors and preferences of the target audience.

The direct result of increased visibility is, quite naturally, an uplift in sales. 

Products that are easy to find and presented compellingly are more likely to attract clicks and, subsequently, purchases. 

Furthermore, optimized product feeds contribute to more effective and efficient advertising campaigns. By targeting the right consumers with the most relevant and appealing product information, businesses can significantly improve their return on investment (ROI) in marketing, driving both sales and profitability.

Role in Improving Customer Decision-Making and Satisfaction

Beyond the immediate benefits of visibility and sales, product data feed management plays a vital role in enriching the customer’s shopping experience. 

In an online environment devoid of physical touchpoints, product information is the primary means through which consumers interact with and evaluate offerings. 

Detailed and accurate product feeds help bridge the gap between online browsing and the tangible experience of shopping in a store. They provide customers with the information needed to make informed purchasing decisions, reducing uncertainty and the likelihood of dissatisfaction.

High-quality product data feeds also allow for the personalization of the shopping experience. By leveraging data insights, businesses can tailor product recommendations, ads, and promotions to match the specific interests and preferences of their audience. 

This level of personalization enhances customer engagement and loyalty, as shoppers feel understood and valued by the brand. It also streamlines the shopping process, making it easier and more satisfying for customers to find products that meet their needs and desires.

Moreover, effective management of product data feeds ensures consistency across channels, further improving customer trust and confidence. 

When product information, pricing, and availability are synchronized across all platforms, it creates a cohesive and reliable brand experience. This consistency is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and fostering long-term loyalty.

Optimized product feeds are a powerhouse for e-commerce marketing, offering substantial benefits for ad campaigns and search relevancy. These advantages are pivotal in navigating the competitive landscape of online retail, where the ability to capture consumer attention at the right moment can make the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

Benefits for Ad Campaigns

For advertising campaigns, particularly those running on platforms like Google Shopping, Facebook, and Instagram, the quality and optimization of the product feed directly influence the campaign’s effectiveness. 

A well-optimized product feed ensures that ads are not only displayed but also resonate with the target audience. This optimization includes accurate and enticing product descriptions, high-quality images, and the right use of keywords and categories that align with what potential customers are searching for.

An optimized feed allows for more targeted and personalized ad campaigns. 

By segmenting feeds based on product categories, price ranges, or even customer behaviors, businesses can create tailored ad experiences that speak directly to the interests of different audience segments. 

This targeted approach increases the relevance of ads, improving click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates, thereby maximizing the ROI of advertising budgets. 

Furthermore, dynamic remarketing campaigns, which display products that a visitor has previously viewed or shown interest in, rely heavily on the precision and detail of product feeds to re-engage potential customers effectively.

Data feeds play a pivotal role in the integration and success of paid search campaigns on platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising

Understanding how these feeds interact with paid search platforms can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your advertising efforts, leading to better targeting, higher conversion rates, and improved ROI. 

Here’s an in-depth look at how data feeds work within the context of paid search platforms.

Fundamentals of Data Feeds in Paid Search

At the core of paid search advertising, especially for e-commerce, are product data feeds. 

These feeds serve as the foundation for creating dynamic and highly targeted ads based on the product information stored in your e-commerce platform. 

For platforms like Google Shopping and Microsoft Shopping Campaigns, your product feed is uploaded to their Merchant Center, where it’s used to generate Shopping ads that are displayed across search results and other Google or Microsoft properties.

Structure and Optimization

A product data feed for paid search is typically structured in a CSV, XML, or a Google Sheets format, containing detailed attributes of each product such as title, price, image URL, product ID, and stock status. 

Optimizing these attributes is crucial for the success of your campaigns. 

Effective titles and descriptions that incorporate relevant keywords can improve the visibility of your ads, while high-quality images enhance click-through rates. 

Additionally, accurate pricing and availability information helps to reduce the bounce rate and increase consumer trust.

Dynamic Ad Creation

Paid search platforms utilize the information in your product feed to automatically create ads that are tailored to the search queries of potential customers.

This process involves matching the keywords and product categories in your feed with the terms users are searching for. 

As a result, when someone searches for a product that matches an item in your feed, the platform can dynamically generate an ad that showcases the product, complete with its image, title, and price.

Targeting and Personalization

Data feeds enable sophisticated targeting and personalization options in paid search campaigns. 

By analyzing the data in your feed, these platforms can serve ads to users based on their previous interactions with your website, search history, and purchasing behavior. 

For instance, remarketing campaigns can target users who have viewed specific products on your site but did not make a purchase, showing them ads for those very products as they browse the web or use social media.

Performance Tracking and Optimization

Integrating your product feed with paid search platforms allows for detailed performance tracking at the product level. 

You can see which products are generating clicks, impressions, and conversions, and adjust your feed and campaign settings accordingly. 

This might involve pausing ads for underperforming products, increasing bids for high-value items, or optimizing product titles and descriptions for better performance.

Continuous Updates

To maintain the relevance and effectiveness of your paid search campaigns, it’s vital to keep your product feed updated. 

Changes in product availability, pricing, or promotional offers need to be reflected in your feed in real-time or as close to it as possible. 

Many platforms offer the option to schedule regular feed uploads or enable direct API connections for continuous updates, ensuring that your ads always display the most current information.

Enhancing Search Relevancy

For search engines and online marketplaces, the relevancy of product listings plays a crucial role in visibility. 

Optimized product feeds contribute to higher search relevancy by ensuring that product information is comprehensive, accurate, and keyword-optimized. 

This means that when consumers search for products, the chances of your listings appearing in their search results are significantly increased.

Moreover, detailed and well-structured product feeds help algorithms better understand and categorize your products, making it more likely for them to show up in relevant searches and for related products. 

This alignment with consumer search intent not only boosts visibility but also drives more qualified traffic to your listings—consumers who are actively seeking what you’re offering.

Optimizing product feeds for search relevancy also involves updating feeds regularly to reflect changes in inventory, pricing, and product details. This consistency ensures that search engines and marketplaces have the most current information, further improving the accuracy of search results. 

It reduces the likelihood of customer frustration caused by outdated information, such as discontinued products or incorrect prices, enhancing the overall shopping experience and fostering trust in your brand.

Who Needs to Conduct Product Data Feed Management?

While product data feed management is a universal necessity in e-commerce, the scale and approach can vary significantly based on several factors.

Differentiation by Business Size, Catalog Complexity, and Sales Channels

Small Businesses and Startups: Small businesses, especially those with a limited number of products, may initially manage their product feeds manually or with minimal automation. 

However, even small operations can benefit from basic product data feed management practices to ensure their products are accurately listed across preferred sales channels. 

As they grow, the complexity and time investment required to manage feeds manually can quickly become impractical.

Mid-sized Businesses: For mid-sized businesses with larger catalogs and sales across multiple channels, the complexity of managing product feeds escalates. 

These businesses often deal with dynamic inventories, frequent promotions, and the need to optimize product listings for different platforms. 

At this stage, the efficiency, accuracy, and scalability provided by a dedicated product feed management solution become increasingly critical.

Large Enterprises: Large enterprises with extensive product catalogs, global markets, and sales across numerous channels face significant challenges in maintaining consistency, accuracy, and optimization of product data feeds. 

Advanced product feed management solutions, often customized and integrated with other enterprise systems, are essential to manage the scale and complexity of their operations effectively.

Indications Your Business Needs a Data Feed Management Solution

Expanding Product Catalog: As your product range grows, so does the complexity of managing each product’s data. A solution that can automate updates and optimize listings becomes invaluable.

Increasing Sales Channels: Selling across multiple platforms (e.g., your website, Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping) introduces specific requirements and complexities for each channel. Managing feeds for each platform manually can become overwhelming.

Time and Resource Constraints: If updating product listings is consuming a disproportionate amount of time or if errors are becoming more frequent due to manual updates, it’s time to consider a more streamlined approach.

Marketing and Sales Challenges: If you’re finding it difficult to effectively target or retarget potential customers through ad campaigns due to poor data quality or if you’re unable to leverage dynamic pricing and promotions effectively, a product data feed management solution can offer significant advantages.

International Expansion: Selling in multiple countries requires tailoring product information to different languages, currencies, and cultural nuances. Managing these variations without a robust feed management system can limit your ability to scale globally.

Inventory Management Issues: Difficulty in synchronizing inventory levels across different channels, leading to overselling or stock discrepancies, indicates a need for better feed management.

How to Do Product Data Feed Management

Effective product data feed management is a multifaceted process, requiring attention to detail, strategic planning, and the right tools. Here’s a comprehensive approach to managing your product data feeds efficiently and effectively.

1. Assess Your Current Data Feed Status

  • Audit Your Product Data: Begin by evaluating the quality and completeness of your current product data. Identify gaps, inaccuracies, or areas lacking optimization, such as missing product descriptions, poor-quality images, or inadequate use of keywords.
  • Understand Channel Requirements: Each sales channel has its own set of requirements for product feeds. Familiarize yourself with these specifications to ensure your product data aligns with each channel’s format, data fields, and quality standards.

2. Optimize Your Product Data

  • Enhance Product Titles and Descriptions: Make them descriptive and keyword-rich to improve search visibility and relevancy. Tailor content to match the search behavior of your target audience.
  • Improve Image Quality: Use high-resolution images and ensure they accurately represent the product. Consider multiple angles and use cases to provide a comprehensive visual overview.
  • Standardize and Enrich Data: Ensure consistent use of categories, types, and attributes across your product range. Add any missing information that could enhance the listing, such as dimensions, materials, or special features
  • Map Your Product Attributes to Channel Specifications: Create a mapping document that aligns your product attributes with the requirements of each sales channel. This ensures that critical product information is translated correctly and efficiently into each channel’s specific format, minimizing the risk of errors and omissions.
  • Utilize High-Quality Data Sources: Ensure your product information is being pulled from high-quality, reliable sources within your organization. This might involve integrating with your ERP or inventory management system to access the most up-to-date and accurate product data.
  • Implement Rich Media: Beyond standard images, consider incorporating videos, 360-degree views, and other rich media into your product feeds. This can significantly improve engagement and conversion rates by providing a more immersive product experience.
  • Optimize for Mobile: Given the increasing prevalence of mobile shopping, ensure your product feeds are optimized for mobile platforms. This includes mobile-friendly images, concise and impactful product titles, and descriptions that are easy to read on smaller screens.
  • Adopt Schema Markup: Utilize schema markup for your online store’s pages to help search engines better understand and display your product information in search results, potentially increasing visibility and click-through rates.
  • Ensure Cross-Channel Consistency: Regularly review your product feeds across all channels to ensure information is consistent and up-to-date. Discrepancies in pricing, availability, or product details can erode customer trust and hurt your brand’s reputation.
  • Regularly Refresh Promotional Content: Update your product feeds to reflect current promotions, seasonal offers, or limited-time discounts. This keeps your listings fresh and encourages repeat visits and purchases.
  • Implement Dynamic Pricing: Where possible, use dynamic pricing strategies within your product feeds to remain competitive. Adjust prices based on market demand, competitor pricing, and inventory levels to optimize sales and margins.

3. Select the Right Product Feed Management Tool

  • Evaluate Features and Compatibility: Choose a tool that not only offers feed creation and optimization features but also integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform and preferred sales channels.
  • Consider Scalability: The tool should be able to grow with your business, handling an increasing number of products and complexity without performance issues.
  • Look for Automation Capabilities: To save time and reduce errors, opt for a solution that automates routine tasks like feed updates and inventory management.

4. Implement Feed Management Best Practices

  • Regularly Update Your Feeds: Ensure your product feeds are refreshed frequently to reflect inventory changes, price updates, and any modifications to product details.
  • Monitor Feed Performance: Use analytics to track how your products are performing across different channels. Identify trends, such as top-performing products or channels, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Test and Optimize: Continuously experiment with different aspects of your product data (e.g., titles, descriptions, images) to see what resonates best with your audience and leads to higher conversion rates.
  • Conduct Competitive Analysis: Regularly review your competitors’ product listings on key channels to identify trends and strategies that may be effective. This could include promotional tactics, use of specific keywords, or presentation styles. Understanding what works for competitors can offer valuable insights to refine your own product feed strategy.
  • Engage in Continuous Learning: Stay informed about the latest trends and best practices in e-commerce and product data management. Participating in webinars, following industry blogs, and joining professional groups can provide ongoing education and insights into how to manage your product feeds more effectively.

5. Stay Compliant and Up-to-Date

  • Keep Abreast of Channel Updates: Sales channels often update their feed requirements and algorithms. Stay informed about these changes to ensure your feeds remain compliant and optimized.
  • Adapt to Market Trends: Be responsive to shifts in consumer behavior and market trends. Update your product data to highlight relevant features or benefits that meet evolving customer needs.

Product Data Feed Management Tools and Services.

There are many companies who offer some form software that aids the potentially laborious process of product data management. Some only work for certain marketplaces, others are limited to certain ecommerce platforms like shopify or woocommerce.

Amongst them you should be able to find a suitable partner to manage your product data feed though.

Feedonomics (https://feedonomics.com/) offers a leading full-service data feed management platform that optimizes and syndicates product data across a wide range of digital marketing channels and marketplaces. 

Their service emphasizes improving feed quality for better ad performance and e-commerce success.

Adsmurai (https://www.adsmurai.com/) provides advanced marketing technology solutions with a focus on optimizing social media advertising campaigns. 

They offer tools for creative management, campaign automation, and performance analysis across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

FeedSpark (https://www.feedspark.com/) specializes in data feed optimization and management, helping businesses improve their online presence and sales through better product visibility across shopping channels and search engines.

ShoppingIQ (https://www.shoppingiq.com/) offers a technology platform geared towards optimizing e-commerce operations, particularly in managing and optimizing product feeds for shopping comparison engines and marketplaces to enhance ROI.

DataFeedWatch (https://www.datafeedwatch.com/) is a comprehensive data feed management tool designed to help merchants and agencies optimize and customize their product feeds for over 1000 shopping channels and marketplaces to improve campaign performance.

WakeupData (https://www.wakeupdata.com/) provides a powerful feed management platform that allows e-commerce businesses to transform, optimize, and automate their product data feeds to increase sales and performance across multiple marketing channels.

Channable (https://www.channable.com/) offers an e-commerce tool for feed management, PPC automation, and order synchronization, helping online retailers and marketers streamline their sales and advertising operations across various platforms.

Feedoptimise (https://www.feedoptimise.com/) provides services for managing and optimizing product feeds for e-commerce businesses, focusing on maximizing product visibility and performance across shopping channels and marketplaces.

SellerApp (https://www.sellerapp.com/) specializes in e-commerce analytics and intelligence, offering tools and services that help sellers optimize their presence and sales on platforms like Amazon with data-driven insights and strategies.

Scale Insights (https://scaleinsights.com/) is platform focused around Amazon PPC which helps their customers scale and automate their advertising campaigns on the mega successful ecomerce marketplace.

Arthy (https://www.getarthy.com/) is another Amazon focused tool. It’s broader than just feeds offering functionality around managing reviews, inventory etc.

Adverso (https://adverso.io/) is a platform to manage, optimize and track your Amazon campaigns smoothly with a solution designed for Amazon teams & agencies

ExportFeed (https://www.exportfeed.com/) specializes in creating and managing product feeds for e-commerce businesses, ensuring their products are listed across multiple shopping channels and marketplaces efficiently.

Lengow (https://www.lengow.com/) provides an e-commerce automation platform that helps merchants optimize their product listings and manage their sales across various online channels, including marketplaces, comparison shopping engines, and affiliate platforms.

Rithum (https://www.rithum.com/) came about from the combination of CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor and claim to be a company providing end-to-end platform and network capabilities that create more durable, sustainable, e-commerce businesses to the leading brands, retailers, and suppliers of the world.

Baselinker (https://baselinker.com/) offers an integrated e-commerce platform that connects online stores with marketplaces, couriers, and sales support tools, automating sales processes and order management to increase efficiency.

Versafeed (https://www.versafeed.com/) provides a managed service for optimizing and managing product data feeds, focusing on enhancing product visibility and performance on search engines and shopping channels.

GoDataFeed (https://www.godatafeed.com/) offers a cloud-based feed management platform designed to simplify and automate the process of syndicating product data across a multitude of shopping channels, improving reach and efficiency.

AdNabu (https://www.adnabu.com/) specializes in Google Ads automation, offering software solutions that help e-commerce businesses optimize their Google Shopping campaigns for better performance and higher returns.

Relayter (https://www.relayter.com/) Simplify your marketing production for promotions and products. Automate creative work and streamline content workflows.

Adcore (https://www.adcore.com/technologies/feeditor/) provides a suite of marketing automation tools designed to help advertisers streamline their digital advertising efforts, with a focus on simplifying campaign management and optimization. Feeditor is there feed management tool.

Productsup (https://www.productsup.com/) offers a leading cloud-based platform for product content integration, syndication, and feed management, empowering businesses to manage and optimize their product data across various e-commerce channels.



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Advanced Google Ads Techniques To Master In 2024

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Advanced Google Ads Techniques To Master In 2024

We’re nearly halfway through 2024, and already we PPC heroes have experienced a plethora of changes to get our heads around. How can we cut through the noise and focus on the specific tactics that will make an impact for the better?

Today we’ll take a look at a few advanced Google Ads techniques tips and tricks to master in 2024 – everything from making account management easier to tailoring your messaging at scale, and making your campaigns as effective and efficient as possible.

1. Auto-apply (some) recommendations

Fighting those pesky ‘optimization score’ reminders can be time-consuming – especially when they’re not always applicable. With targets to hit and maintain for Google’s partnership and support, it’s important to keep our optimization scores high at 80% or above.

Google’s optimization recommendations are split into the following categories:

  • Ads and assets
  • Automated campaigns
  • Bidding and budgets
  • Keywords and targeting
  • Repairs
  • Measurement

Each of these will have a unique score that will affect your overall optimization total for each of your accounts. Repairs are usually critical fixes, while minor keyword tweaks may come further down the priority list. (You can dismiss recommendations if they’re irrelevant, but I recommend reading the details behind each of them before rejecting them.)

To save time on manual campaign management, you can ask Google to auto-apply some of these tweaks for you – with a thorough ‘auto-applied recommendations’  history as well as optional email alerts. 

I recommend adding these four as must-have auto-optimizations:

  1. Removing redundant keywords (keywords that have a close match within the same ad group and bidding strategy that performs better)
  2. Removing non-serving keywords (keywords with no impressions over a set period)*
  3. Updating keywords bids to meet ‘top of page’ bids etc. (You can still set an upper limit on this)
  4. Use optimized ad rotation (to show the best-performing ads more often instead of all ads within the same ad group equally, despite performance)

*As of June 2024, Google will automatically pause low-activity keywords: “Positive keywords in search ads campaigns are considered low-activity if they were created over 13 months ago and have zero impressions over the past 13 months.”

To opt-in to certain auto-applied recommendations:

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon 
  2. Click Recommendations.

At the upper right-hand corner, click Auto-apply, and select which recommendations to auto-apply.

2. Drive personalization through audiences

One way to drive personalization via search ads is by leveraging Google’s audiences. While marketers of yesteryear used to rely on keywords and geotargeting, today Google has a multitude of interested audiences to exploit across search, performance max, display, video, and demand gen campaigns. Don’t forget, audiences can be applied with both the observation setting and the targeting setting. Consider adding audiences to the observation setting first, adjusting to targeting once you have sufficient data.

By applying the following audience types to your campaigns and ad groups, you can double down on efforts to reach your target audiences through search.

Custom audiences

Create your own custom audience based on signals such as interests, behaviors, website viewing history (by URL), and app history. Think competitor brands or products, industry-related websites and apps, and recent relevant Google searches.

You could use custom audiences to personalize your ad copy on campaigns where you’re targeting customers of your competitors. For example, by encouraging them to ‘switch’ to your brand, product, or service, rather than treating them like a first-time purchaser. You could focus on the benefits of your product or service over the one they currently have, rather than focusing your ad copy on educating the audience from scratch.

In-market audiences

In-market audiences are a must-have in 2024. Curated by Google, these audiences actively research a specific product or service and are actively considering their options ahead of purchasing. 

While there isn’t a master list of in-market audiences (because many of these are hidden!), head to the Audiences tab on your current Google Ads campaigns. Click “Edit Audience Segments”, then the Browse tab, and navigate to In-Market Audiences. You can look at all available groupings by industry, and add the most relevant ones to your campaigns. You can also use this function to type in keywords under the Search tab, and type in relevant keywords to find relevant in-market audience suggestions to apply.

Knowing these audiences are already convinced of the benefits of the general product or service you’re advertising, you can use your ad copy to highlight the USPs of your brand.

RLSAs

While the use of RLSAs (remarketing lists for search ads) has dropped since their arrival in 2013, they still have a place in an effective PPC strategy in 2024. By creating an RLSA, you can personalize your ad copy at scale.

The use of RLSAs is particularly applicable for brands with lengthier sales cycles, or longer customer consideration and comparison stages. Your brand could be 1 of 5 that a consumer is considering buying a hot tub from – it’s uncommon that a hot tub is an impulse purchase decision. A user may use Google to search multiple times for generic hot tub terms, and may whittle this down to certain brands based on their needs. Once a user who is actively looking for a hot tub has visited your website without converting, upon their next Google search, your ad may contain a coupon code, a complimentary gift item, or other differentiating ad copy to encourage them to purchase through your website.

It’s important with RLSAs to ensure that you have separate ad groups or campaigns. Also to separate RLSA audiences from other custom, in-market or demographic-based audiences.

Remember to test all new audiences by adding them as ‘observation’ audiences, before switching to the ‘targeting’ setting.

3. Harness your data

One of the more critical elements of a top-performing PPC campaign is data. You can have the best keywords, ad copy, and landing page in the world, but you need the right data to meet your goals.

A big data piece for 2024 is the perfection of conversion tracking, conversion events, and key events. With enhanced conversions also forcing their way to the fore, Google is no longer letting a lack of data confuse the attribution story.

At one time it was best practice to aim for a single conversion goal across all campaigns. In 2024, it’s important to measure a mixture of lighter conversion events too. For example, measuring PDF downloads and highly engaged video views on the path to a lead form submission. Or tracking customers who have abandoned their carts. Not only do these signals give you a clearer picture of the path to conversion, but these lighter goals can better guide Google’s machine learning and automated bidding strategy efforts.

Not only is conversion tracking crucial to success, but your conversion settings are key. Review the conversions list on your Google Ads account and check each goal for whether it’s a primary or secondary, or account default conversion setting. Having multiple account-default primary conversion goals will make it harder for Google to auto-optimize conversion-based bidding strategies. Choose one or two must-haves to keep as your primary conversion goal, and set the rest to secondary conversion goals.

4. Stop working on your Google Ads in isolation

One of the most valuable traits of a top-performing PPC manager is their knowledge of where PPC fits within the marketing funnel and wider marketing mix. Traditionally, PPC tactics have been assigned a bottom-of-funnel or lower-funnel position in the marketing mix. 

In 2024, we need to adapt our thinking. Google Ads is no longer a BOF-only strategy. In fact, Google Ads can generate upper-funnel, mid-funnel, and lower-funnel results with the right strategy, campaign type, and goal tracking in place. 

Not only that but Google Ads can support a multitude of cross-channel activities. You can use Google Ads to:

  • Drive brand awareness and consideration on YouTube and other video partner platforms
  • Capture brand demand generated from activity on social platforms such as Meta, TikTok, or Snapchat
  • Similarly, capture brand demand generated from offline or traditional channels such as TV advertising, billboards, or print media
  • Remarket to website traffic (from all sources) to generate conversions
  • Boost brand loyalty, cross-sell, and up-sell opportunities using current customer data

This is another reason why data-driven attribution is a must-have in 2024. Today, Google Ads can influence multiple customer touchpoints. Last-click attribution is no longer an effective, representative, or scientific way of measuring the success of Google Ads activity.

5. Perfect your exclusions

For peak efficiency, exclusions are a must-have throughout your account. Particularly with the increased push for automated campaigns and campaign management that we’re experiencing. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re only running search or performance max activity. Exclusions are almost always a part of an efficient campaign structure. The exclusions on your account might include negative keywords, specific audience exclusions (such as remarketing and already-converted audiences), brand exclusions, geotargeting exclusions, or placement exclusions.

Common negative keywords to consider may include:

  • Free
  • Jobs
  • Download
  • Cheap
  • How to
  • YouTube
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Sample
  • Guide
  • Logo
  • Resource
  • DIY

Without exclusions, you may find your ads are appearing to the wrong audiences, next to questionable or harmful content, or even that your ads are being triggered by irrelevant search terms entirely. 

Summary 

In 2024, there is a lot of noise in PPC advertising. By getting to grips with the above fundamentals of a healthy Google Ads account – targeting, personalization, data, simpler campaign management techniques, and adding relevant exclusions – you’ll be able to successfully navigate the complexities of managing your accounts at an advanced level.



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Advertisers: How Netflix is Coming for You

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Someone watching Netflix on a TV on their wall

If you haven’t yet looked at Netflix as an outlet for your advertising budgets, you soon will.

Even if you haven’t, that the video-on-demand streaming platform is venturing ever deeper into ads as a revenue source won’t be news. If you have an individual or household subscription, you may well have been alerted to a change in your service, with Netflix switching you from your current, ad-free plan to a cheaper tier that will include commercial breaks.

As a marketer, that should have screamed opportunity, or at the very least it will have got you asking questions.

Netflix answered many of those at Upfront 2024, the company’s second presentation to current and potential advertisers. The event left us with little doubt about how far they’ve come and how much further they intend to go.

Advertisers How Netflix is Coming for You

End-to-End is the New Black for Netflix

The company already creates the content and owns the infrastructure on which it appears. Next up is the ad tech and sales side. This will allow it to provide a bespoke offering to those in our business, including ad commissioning, formatting, and targeting, all under one roof.

Netflix is already a player. In the next year (or two, or less) they intend to become a serious one.

Netflix’s Numbers are Impressive

A reported 40 million subscribers are now on the ad-supported plan. In those markets where the tier has already been rolled out, 40% of new sign-ups are plumping for the ad-added option.

Apparently over 50% of advertised-to viewers watch more than 20 hours per month. That’s a handy little figure for those holding the purse strings to have in their pockets.

Netflix Going after Google?

Perhaps not yet. Or at least not directly

The media giant has committed to competing for a greater share of your brand’s marketing budget. At this, however, stage its sights seem set on legacy media, rather than the Mountain View behemoth.

The supplementary Upfront material mentions “linear TV” several times, pointing out how favorably its own audiences compare.

Netflix viewers are supposedly twice as likely to respond to advertising, have a higher attention span, and have a higher household income than those taking their TV via the traditional format.

And in the near-to-medium term Google is going to be more of an ally than an opponent. This was their announcement:

What that means is from this summer you will be able to purchase Netflix inventory via Google’s Display & Video 360 programmatic platforms. Other buying options will include The Trade Desk and Magnite, all of whom join Netflix’s primary programmatic partner, Microsoft.

Bigger Things on the Horizon

Less loudly trumpeted by Google is that Netflix does not intend to outsource its advertising tech for long. It will be launching its own platform by the end of next year.

“Bringing our ad tech in-house will allow us to power the ads plan with the same level of excellence that’s made Netflix the leader in streaming technology today,” said Amy Reinhard, Netflix President of Advertising.

“We’re being incredibly strategic about how we present ads,” she continued, “because we want our members to have a phenomenal experience. We conduct deep consumer research to make sure we stay ahead of the competition, bringing opportunities that are better for members and better for brands.”

Netflix might not be part of your plans, but you’re very much part of their theirs.



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