OnlineSales.ai Pricing Update: Everything You Need To Know

At OnlineSales.ai, creating a customer-first product is a marathon, not a sprint. Our product strategy is simple: we listen to our customers and only build features that they need to succeed.

This approach helps us develop better features that are easy to use while still keeping our prices competitive.

In fact, we’ve been able to add more than 15 new features over the past year.

Besides launching 15 major features, we made significant improvements to our infrastructure, improving the platform speed by 50%.

We never stopped building features that you need

For those of you who have been with us over the past few years, you’ve seen our product growth firsthand. We started as an easier way to create ad campaigns, and each year we’ve added new powerful features since then.

While there were numerous enhancements we did last year, here are some of the major features we released in 2018:

Track Your Store’s Overall Health with the Hygiene Dashboard

This feature is a first of its kind in the ad-tech industry. It enabled you to track and fix all the critical issues related to your store’s performance, product feed, funnel tracking and profile from a single place. Learn more about this feature.

Dynamically Retarget Your Shoppers with Responsive Display Ads:

We added the ability to create and optimize Responsive Display Ads with Dynamic Remarketing directly from the OnlineSales.ai platform. 😎

Responsive Display ads can fit in just about any ad space, and can be easily created and edited. These ads drastically increase the reach of your Google Display Campaigns. Learn more about this feature.

Fix Your Product Feed Issues With Our All New Product Feed Mapper

We understand the pain that comes along with your products getting disapproved on Google and therefore we worked on a solution that will help you fix all your product feed issues.

With this feature you could auto-correct all your product feed issues on our platform with 1-Click. Learn more about this feature.

Identify New Opportunities with Our Uber Dashboard

We introduced our all new Dashboard V2.0 that gave you smart actionable insights like: quick performance overview of all your channels, popular products and categories, top performing search ad, how you benchmark against the industry and more. Learn more about the uber dashboard.

Create Your Ad Campaigns in 60 seconds with Our Goals Launcher

If you’ve ever used Google Ads or Facebook Ads you know how cumbersome it is to launch a campaign, let alone launch multiple of them.

With our new Goals Launcher you were able to go live with multiple campaigns in literally 60 seconds. We needed just need 1 input from you. What’s that? Your advertising Goal i.e visits, transactions or revenue. That’s it! Learn more.

Avoid Creative Fatigue with our Ad Refresh Optimizer

With this new optimizer you can now avoid ad creative fatigue (over exposure of an ad to the same set of users) by intelligently rotating different products, images and messaging – thereby increasing CTR’s by at least 30%.

Boost Poorly Performing Ad Campaigns with just 1-click.

With this new optimizer, OnlineSales.ai intelligently identified opportunities for you to relaunch campaigns which were draining your ad spend. All the prerequisites of launching a new optimized campaign could be acted with just one click.

Why the new pricing plans?

Our team works very hard balancing the operational and technical needs of the business with a clear focus on customer satisfaction.

As 2019 approaches, we’ve reached an inflection point where a pricing update is necessary to maintain our long-term investment in making OnlineSales.ai the most powerful, user-friendly and intelligent E-commerce marketing solution for you.

As our prices change and new features are added, we want to make sure that you are aware of the upcoming changes.

With that being said, these are our new pricing plans:

You can learn more about our pricing plans here.

Introducing Our New Premium Services

We are excited to announce 6 premium services that our customers requested in the past that will now become a reality starting January 2019.

Ad Creative Suite, Advanced Product Feed Optimizer, Custom Reporting, Tech Support, Phone Support, Performance & Strategy Consulting are separate services that you can add to your plan for a small additional cost.

You can learn more about our premium services here.

Maximizing value for our current & future customers

Our customers will always be at the center of our decision making. We are committed to investing our time and resources in the new product features and capabilities that will help you develop world-class Advertising for your store.

Who’s affected by this change?

Since all these new features will be available for new and existing customers alike, we think it’s only fair that the pricing update will be applicable to all.

Plan on making a change?

If you are still thinking of making a change, we would like to help you transition to your marketing service of choice.

We really hope that the value that we have created over the past few months exceeds the cost of the service. However, if for some reason you feel that these extra benefits don’t justify the price increase for you – please email us on hi@onlinesales.ai or hit us up on chat, and maybe we can work something out.

Common Google Shopping Feed Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Google Shopping is extensively used as a Search Marketing solution to sell products online and is one of the most popular ad formats for retailers to use. At its core, the product feed is the most vital part of the process and E-Commerce retailers need to ensure that they keep the product feed completely up to date and submit only the latest data about their products in order to reach the right customers.

Google Shopping has become a very popular ad format for eCommerce businesses as it drives higher ROI than any other PPC channel, but all that can change if you have low-quality product feed.  

If your product feed does not meet Google’s requirements, you will start seeing a slew of Feed Issues when you upload your product feed on Google Merchant Center. These issues negatively impact the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns and can also lead to account suspensions. 

Therefore, we’ve created a list of the most common Google Shopping Feed mistakes that E-Commerce retailers make and how they can fix them. 

1. Using Incorrect URLs For the Product

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Using Incorrect-URLs

The first thing to do when you create a Google Merchant Center account is to claim a domain. The problem arises when the product feed does not have the correct domain name for your product URLs that match the one you have claimed on GMC.

For instance, when using Shopify, there’s an option to have alternative domain names, which can lead to this error if the original domain name is not correctly entered.

Solution: To avoid this mismatch in the Google Shopping Feed, always ensure you’ve entered the same domain name that you’ve claimed in Google Merchant Center and not the one you’ve changed to. 

2. Product Feed Not Always in Sync

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Product-Feed-Not-Always-In-Sync

It is important for E-Commerce retailers to have an updated product feed to correctly display the in-stock product with the right attributes. Delay in updating key product attributes such as availability, price etc. can lead to businesses losing customers. Also, manually updating these fields is not recommended because it can be time-consuming.

Solution: Google’s schedule feature is a great solution but it has its own limitations i.e. it is only compatible with HTTP, SFTP and FTP. Instead, you can make things easier by using the Content API for Shopping to sync your product feed. It is super efficient and works in real-time.

3. Setting Google Product Category Incorrectly

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Setting Google-Product-Category-Incorrectly

While choosing the category for the products entered in your product feed, Google needs merchants to categorize their products according to their Product Taxonomy. Many retailers end up using their own categorization instead of Google’s taxonomy and this leads to an error.

Solution: The easiest way of fixing this is to ensure that you use the categorization specified by Google in the ‘Google Product Category’ field. Keep in mind that the more detailed the categories are, the better.

Here’s a list of available Google Product Taxonomy.

4. Missing Key Elements from the Product Landing Page

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Missing-Key-Elements-From-Product-Landing-Page

There are certain key elements which Google requires you to have on your product landing page. These include title, description, availability, currency, image, price, and buy button. Without which your product feed will surely be disapproved.

Solution: The solution to this is to simply incorporate these elements in your product landing page. You can check out the complete landing page requirements for Google Shopping Ads here.

Also, make sure that you add a direct link to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and that there are no pop-ups coming in the way of the above listed key elements.

5. Not Configuring Price and Sale Price Separately

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Not Configuring-Price-Sale-Price Separately

It may happen that some of the products you offer are on discount. In this case, retailers need to fill in the sale price attribute instead of updating the price attribute.

You also have to ensure that the Sale Price is correctly displayed on your product landing page. Not configuring this properly can get your product feed disapproved.

Solution: To avoid this, be sure to fill in both the fields i.e. price and sale price when you wish to sell your products at a discounted rate via Google Shopping.

6. Not Creating Country Specific Product Feeds

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Not-Creating-Country-Specific-Product Feeds

If you’re selling your products in multiple countries, it is recommended that you upload country-specific feeds, as this reduces the chances of your product feed getting disapproved.

The benefit of having a multi-country feed is that it provides retailers the flexibility to create country-based rules and retailers can also use these supplemental feeds to add product data for certain countries and languages.

Solution: This error happens because Google needs retailers to localize their data feed as per the target country. To rectify this, each country’s feed should have product descriptions in their language, as well as the prices in their currency.

7. Using Low-Quality Product Images

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Using Low-Quality-Product-Images

The product’s image is one of the most important parts of its page and having missing or incorrect information regarding that can lead to Google Shopping Feed issues. One of the most common feed issues arises when the image URL is empty or broken or if it has promotional logos and texts.

The size of the image is also a concern as the minimum is 250 x 250 pixels for apparel products and anything smaller than that will lead to Google Shopping Feed issues.

Solution: Fixing Google Shopping Feed issues can be tedious, so it is better to test out the image URLs before you put them in the product feed. Make sure they lead to working pages and meet the size and quality standards of Google.

8. Incorrect Product Titles and Descriptions

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Incorrect-Product-Titles-and-Description

The product’s title and description are the most important parts of your product feed since Google makes use of these when matching retailer’s products with customers’ search queries.

Solution: To avoid this, both the fields should be updated using editorial guidelines, which means you should not use block capitals, promotional text, incorrect grammar and extra white spaces in your titles and descriptions.

9. Not Configuring Tax and Shipping Prices

Google-Shopping-Feed-Issues-Not Configuring-Tax-Shipping-Prices

It is mandatory for you to set up your shipping price on GMC if you’re selling in the following countries: Australia, Czechia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

Even then, most of the E-Commerce retailers forget setting up their shipping rules and face the wrath of Google.

It is difficult to correctly estimate tax and shipping prices for each of the products, which is why Google offers multiple ways of setting up your shipping cost: fixed-rate, a percentage of order total or carrier calculated rate.

Solution: The tax and shipping rules can be set up in the Google Merchant Center using these guidelines.

If you wish to offer free shipping to your customers, select ‘fixed rate’ as the shipping option and enter ‘0’ as the value.

Setting up Tax price is mandatory for US and Canada only. Retailers selling in other countries can include the VAT or Service Tax (GST) in their price attribute.

Facing any other Google Shopping Feed issues? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll help you fix it.

We understand fixing Google Shopping Feed issues can be time-consuming and difficult, therefore, we at OnlineSales.ai have rolled out the Product Feed Mapper that fixes all your product feed issues in 1-click. You can contact us via chat or on hi@onlinesales.ai if you want us to optimize your Google Shopping Feed.

7 E-Commerce Personalization Tips to Boost Your Sales

The advent of E-Commerce has completely redefined the marketing landscape and the way in which marketers interact with their target audience.

With new E-Commerce stores opening every day, shoppers have become spoiled for choices and keeping shoppers engaged with your brand has become quite challenging.

You need to use out of the box and well-crafted marketing methods to maximize revenue and ensure your shoppers become your customers.

So, how do you as an E-Commerce business help your customers find the best products they’re looking for?

One of the most effective ways to do that is through E-Commerce Personalization.

What is E-Commerce Personalization?

E-Commerce personalization is all about creating super relevant shopping experiences and interactions for your shoppers based on their browsing behaviour, interests and demographics.

Why is E-Commerce Personalization important?

If used correctly, E-Commerce Personalization can prove to be a strong weapon for online retailers to boost revenue and increase profits.

Here are some other metrics that E-Commerce Personalization can help in improving:

  • Revenue per browsing session
  • Total time spent by the customer on the website
  • Average value of the order placed
  • Average page views
  • Add to cart rate

By personalizing the shopper experience for your website visitors you are showing them the products they’re really interested in, at the price point they’d like to buy and helping them arrive at a decision faster.

Unlike other websites, where the users are overwhelmed with options. If I were to ask you which website would you like to visit, what would your answer be?

How does E-Commerce Personalization work?

E-Commerce Personalization begins with data collection. You should know what your customers are looking for, what their interests are, their budget preferences etc. Only then would you be able to truly personalize their shopping experience.

As stated by BigCommerce, below are the important data collection points for E-Commerce Personalization:

  • Traffic.
  • On-site interactions (category and product page visits).
  • Email.
  • Personal Data.
  • Paid Media Pixels (both social and search).
  • Purchases.
  • Search.
  • Pricing.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what E-Commerce Personalization is and how it can help you grow your business, here are 7 ways you can deliver a truly personalized experience to your shoppers:

1. Send Emails Based on Their Website Behaviour

e-commerce-personalization-website-behaviour-email

Email is the most powerful organic channel when it comes to E-Commerce marketing. The first step any E-Commerce business should take, before starting email marketing is to dynamically segment the website visitors according to their on-site behaviour.

Here are a few buckets you can create to segment your website visitors:

  1. New sign-up
  2. Viewed a product
  3. Added to cart
  4. Abandoned a cart
  5. Added to wishlist
  6. Checkout drop-off
  7. Blog subscriber

This segmentation will allow you to personalize the emails depending on the stage the customer’s currently in and also increases your chances of driving more conversions.

For e.g., Joe adds a product to his cart, but does not complete the checkout process. You can set up a time-based email that reminds Joe to check out the product in next 3 hours and avail an exclusive 10% discount.

Always remember, everyone loves a good mix of deals, especially when they are tailored exclusively for them. But the most important aspect here is the timing of the email. If you delay sending him the email, then he might change his mind.

Here’s an Email Marketing tool for E-Commerce that can help you do just that.

2. Geo-Based Personalization

e-commerce-personalization-geo-personalization

If you’re planning to sell your products worldwide, you should definitely consider optimizing your online store for different geographies. Here’s why:

  • You can communicate in their local language: That way when a French user who doesn’t understand English visits your online store, can read the product descriptions in French and learn more about your product.
  • Product pricing in their currency: The French user really liked what your product has to offer and is interested in buying it. Instead of seeing the product price in Pounds, he sees the pricing in Euros. Eliminating the currency conversion confusion for him and bagging another win for you!
  • Seasonality based offers: To his luck – it was Bastille Day! He sees that you’re running a 15% discount for all your French users. He instantly checks out the product and BAM! You’ve got yourself a new customer. Well done.

Just imagine how many more customers you can convert with Geo-based personalization, which otherwise might’ve just dropped off from your website after being unable to understand your offerings.

3. Personalized Exit Popups

e-commerce-personalization-exit-pop-ups

Joe was really impressed by your email personalization and recommended his friend Samantha to visit your website.

Next week, Samantha decides to visit your website in the pursuit to buy a T-shirt for herself. She selects her favorite brand and browses through different colors and patterns you’re selling.

Samantha really likes the 6th T-shirt she comes across and spends a lot more time on the product page in comparison to others, but thinks she’ll visit other websites before making a decision.

As she’s about to leave your website, she sees a pop-up message giving her a 10% discount on that T-shirt if she buys it in this session. Impressed by the price-point, Samantha buys the product using the exclusive coupon. Win-win for both!

Giving out dynamic offers to your users on the website based on their browsing history, can really be a game-changer. You will surely see a lot more users buying the products than abandoning their carts.

4. Prepare a Curated List of Products

e-commerce-personalization-curated-lists

Amy used to be a frequent buyer at your store, she had browsed through various product categories, added some products to her wish list and even bought from your store a couple times, but she hasn’t visited your website in a while.

One day, she receives an email from your store that showcases her a list of products shortlisted based on her browsing and buying patterns. She really likes the curated set of products and decides to instantly visit your website and buy them.

Amy’s happy that she didn’t have to waste her time browsing through hundreds of products and you’re happy to have successfully won back Amy as a customer.

As an E-Commerce company, if you prepare a curated list of products based on your customer’s browsing and purchase history, they will waste less time browsing and deciding the products they want.

You can also notify them about the curated list through the channel they’re most active on Desktop, Mobile or Email. Focus on simplifying the shopping experience for your customers and you will never stress about not getting enough sales.

5. Special Offers for Loyal Customers

e-commerce-personalization-customer-loyalty

David is one of your most loyal customers, he’s been with you since you started your online store and continues to buy from you frequently. He has also referred a couple of his friends to buy from your website.

When you find someone like David, who’s contributed to your store’s growth from the start and has been an advocate of your brand, it’s only fair to let him know that you value him as a customer.

Create a loyalty program for your store, if you don’t already have one, and reward your repeat customers by giving them exclusive offers, loyalty points, early access to new products. Treat your customers like family and they’ll ensure the family keeps growing.

As a best practice, you should always segment your customers based on the frequency of their purchases. It will allow you to reward the ones that are actively buying from you and reactivate the ones who are starting to slip away.

6. Personalized Product Recommendations on the Products page

e-commerce-personalization-recommended-products

Emily is very particular about her buying preferences and is currently going through the Handbags from her favorite brand, priced between the range of £60 – £100.

You have an extensive catalog and Emily doesn’t have the time to browse through all the handbags you offer. Emily goes to the product page of a handbag she sort of likes and while reading more about the product, she sees the recommended handbags section.

This recommended handbags section is personalized according to her filters and lets her view similar handbags at a glance. Emily really likes one of the handbags she sees in the recommended section and buys it.

By showcasing recommended products that are based on your shopper’s browsing patterns on the products page, you instantly boost your catalog visibility and give your shopper a chance to see more of what they prefer and increase sales.

One of the best ways to influence the purchasing decision of the shoppers on your website is by leveraging customer reviews.

A study by BrightLocal states that 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision.

Integrating customer reviews while displaying product recommendations will help you drive more click-throughs and in-turn more sales for your business.

7. Cross-Sell During Checkout

e-commerce-personalization-cross-sell-check-out

Chris loves the Cowboy boots he sees on your website, he adds them to his cart and proceeds to checkout.

Before completing his checkout, he sees a Cowboy hat and a Jeans that would go perfectly with the boots he’s about to purchase and the Shirt he purchased last week, with a CTA that says – Complete Your Look.

Chris loves the idea and decides to buy the Cowboy Hat, Boots and the Jeans. Leaving your online store with a satisfaction of completing his Cowboy look.

In the end, it’s all about helping your customers buy the products they want, without having them go through your entire catalog.

Make the shopping experience extremely personalized for them and they’ll always keep coming back for more.

That sums up our list of 7 E-Commerce personalization tips that you can use to drive more sales right away. We would love to hear your thoughts on E-Commerce Personalization in the comments section below.

Originally published at blog.ekomi.com on October 24, 2018.

5 Reasons Why Every E-Commerce Business Should Run Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads, since its launch in 2012 have become the toast of the Digital Marketing world.

It is now the go-to advertisement channel for large and small businesses alike. The reason for such meteoric rise of Google Shopping Ads is its format and simplicity.

The details about the features of Google Shopping Ads and how they impact the sales are given below.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping Ads are visual ads on the Google search results page. These are also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

Amazon Sponsored Products comes closest to the Google Shopping Ads with respect to its features. However, Google Shopping Ads are different from Amazon Sponsored Products in the sense that the products listed on Google Shopping Ads can be bought through your personal E-Commerce website. Whereas the products listed on Amazon Sponsored Products are sold through Amazon’s platform only.

Further Reading: Google Shopping vs. Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences

The Cost per Click (CPC) format of the Google Shopping Ads is one of its most appealing features which allows E-Commerce businesses like you to have a strong grip over the Ad Budget and Return on Investment.

Apart from the product image, Google Shopping Ads display the product price, your website name, a headline, availability of stock and discount rate.

Another feature which differentiates Google Shopping Ads from other text-based ads run through Google Adwords is that you do not need to provide Keywords for them.

You can tailor your ads to products and product categories based on the product data submitted to the Google Merchant Center by creating a Product Feed.

The Product Feed includes data about Product ID, Product Description, Price, Stock Availability, Product Category, etc.

Evolution and Impact of Google Shopping Ads on E-Commerce

Launched in 2012, Google Shopping Ads have evolved over the years. From Product Listing Ads to Local Inventory Ads (LIA’s) which were first launched in Google Maps in 2013 to Google Showcase Ads which were launched in 2016-17.

The Local Inventory Ads are displayed only if the search query for your product is made within a specific distance of your brick-and-mortar store.

A search query outside the specified distance will display Google Shopping Ads. If you publish an LIA and a consumer near your brick-and-mortar happens to search for a similar product, your LIA would appear in his search result. The features of LIA are almost similar to the Google Shopping Ads with respect to presentation.

The only difference is, once the shopper clicks on your ad instead of being redirected to your product’s landing page they are redirected to a Google-hosted page for your store, called the local storefront.

Shoppers use the local storefront to view your in-store inventory, find directions, and more. Here’s an example of a Local Inventory Ad:

local-inventory-ads

Source

Showcase Shopping Ads are the latest addition to the Google Shopping Ads family. This ad type allows you to group closely related products together (like the same category) and present them to introduce your brand or business to the consumer.

Such Ads would appear during the search for general terms like Furniture, Menswear, etc. The ad type helps the undecided consumer who is just browsing, to make the purchase decision quickly.

A Google Showcase Ads is displayed as shown below.

showcase-shopping-ads

Source

As per the Q1 2018 Ads Performance Report published by Adthena, 76% of the Retail search ad spend in the USA Market has been on Google Shopping Ads and the figure is 82% for UK Market, which clearly shows the total domination of the Google Shopping Ads in the world of digital advertising.

However, If you are not already convinced of the fact that you should run Google shopping Ads for the rapid growth of your business, the following 5 reasons should definitely do it for you.

5 Reasons Why You Should Run Google Shopping Ads for Your E-Commerce Business

1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Google-Shopping-Ads-reason-picture-worth-thousand-words

You might have heard the above saying before, Google Shopping Ads just proves how true these words are.

For example, If you are looking for a nice white T-Shirt to buy and 2 ads are displayed in front of you. One is a text Ad stating “White Cotton T-Shirts” and the second one is an image of a cool White T-Shirt with design, price and discount displayed alongside it.

Which one would you click?

Obviously, the Ad with the picture.

Google Shopping Ads gives the consumer a direct visual of the product they are searching for and to some extent, this meets the basic need of the consumer of seeing the product before buying it.

Fulfillment of this need makes Google Shopping more effective as compared to the text-based ads.

2. Higher Return on Investment – Sow Less, Reap More

Google-Shopping-Ads-reason-higher-return-on Investment

Google Shopping Ads provide you with the best value for your investment which ultimately means a higher return on your investment.

All the features of Google Shopping Ads like easy management, no keywords, bid placing as per product categories, wider reach, etc which have been mentioned below in detail, play a role in getting the best out of your investments. The point is further illustrated by the following numbers:

As per our Q2 2016 Google Shopping Ads report, the CTR for Google Shopping Ads was 2 times higher than other ad formats, that too at 50% lower CPC (Cost per click).

Fast-forward to 2018 and the trend is still growing steadily, Merkle’s Q1 2018 report states that Google Shopping Ads currently accounts for 60% of total clicks on Google.

You have the facts in front of you, now the choice is yours to make.

3. It’s Not the Quantity but the Quality of Traffic That Drives Sales

Google-Shopping-Ads-reason-relevant-quality-traffic

In Google Shopping Ads, a shopper’s intent is qualified when he clicks on your ad, as he has already seen a visual representation of your product and at the same time has compared your price to competitor products which were displayed alongside.

Only a serious consumer who wishes to buy the product will make an effort to click on your ad after receiving all that information.

Also, the Google Shopping Ads algorithm functions in such a manner that an ad is displayed only when customers are looking for the product which matches the product data provided by you to the Google Merchant Center.

What this means is if you are selling Shoes, then your ads would be displayed to the people who are interested in buying Shoes only and not any other product.

This relevancy based approach of Google Shopping Ads increases the quality of the traffic coming to your website, in-turn driving more sales.

4. Wider Reach – the More, the Merrier

Google-Shopping-Ads-reason-wider-reach

Google handles more than 3.5 billion search queries every day. Yes, that is the reach potential of Google Shopping Ads.

In addition to this, Google has made changes to the algorithm so that the ads appear in search results for broader and more generic terms, for e.g. a search for blue shoes could show your blue colored shoe product in the Ads.

These ads appear on the Google search results page i.e. the reach of your ad will be directly proportional to the number of search term queries related to your product.

The wider reach coupled with the high-quality audience as mentioned earlier is a win-win marketing strategy to increase the sales of your products.

5. Ease of Managing the Ads

Google-Shopping-Ads-reason-ease-of-managing-ads

Creating and managing Google Shopping Ads is easier than any other ad format.

The main reason for this? you do not need to insert any Keywords while setting up the Ad. For setting Google Shopping Ads, you would just have to create a product feed with all the information stated by Google and you’re all set.

Once done, Google will itself extract the Product information from the submitted product feed and accordingly display the ad on the results page of search queries which match the product information.

You just need to efficiently bid on the product categories for best results.

Further Reading: Google Shopping Superchargers for Online Retailers

How Can We Help?

OnlineSales.ai has recently hit the milestone of working with over 5000 eCommerce businesses across the globe and we’d like you to join the celebration!

Shopify and BigCommerce merchants can now use OnlineSales.ai for FREE to manage their Google Shopping Ads.

Just tell us your budget and goals and our AI will take care of everything from campaign launches, feed fixes, bid changes to optimizing your Google Shopping campaigns.

Launch Your First Google Shopping Campaign
& Get $50 in Ad Credits!

Grab the Offer

Track Your Store’s Overall Health with the Hygiene Dashboard

Introducing the all new Hygiene Dashboard that will allow you to track and fix all the critical issues related to your store’s performance, product feed, funnel tracking and profile from a single place.

What does it solve?

Just like your car functions smoothly with the help of various components i.e. a powerful engine, good suspension, a charged battery and tires with excellent grip.

Your online store’s marketing functions smoothly with the help of various components i.e. a good quality product feed, amazing user experience, accurate analytics and ad accounts.

If anything were to go wrong with your car, your car dashboard would tell you precisely which component is malfunctioning so that you can get it repaired.

But do you have a dashboard that communicates the same for the performance of your online store?

This is one of the most common use-cases we’ve come across while collecting feedback from our clients, that it is extremely time-consuming and difficult for them to find the root cause of a sudden performance dip and fix it.

Well, not anymore. We’ve worked on the feedback given by you and designed the Hygiene Dashboard that allows you to do just that.

How does it work?

The Hygiene Dashboard alerts you on the following issues related to your online store:

Product Feed Hygiene

This section will allow you to keep a close check on the feed refresh frequency, approval rates and quality of your Merchandise, Google Shopping and Facebook feed.

Feed refresh frequency: You also have the option to initiate a product feed sync, in case your product feed hasn’t been refreshed for more than 24 hours.

GMC Feed approval rate: It gives you the approval rate of your GMC product feed and also helps you identify the cause of product disapproval.

Feed quality: Product feed quality plays a crucial role in the performance of your Shopping Ads. You can now discover opportunities easily to boost your feed quality on Google.

Performance Hygiene

Here you can quickly check how many performance optimizations by OnlineSales.ai have expired, accepted or rejected by you in the last 7 days.

If you wish to auto-accept the optimizations by OnlineSales.ai, you can turn on the auto-pilot mode on from here.

Pixel Hygiene

This section allows you to check if your funnel tracking and performance pixel have been placed correctly on your website and also gives you an overview on your Add to Cart and Conversion Rates.

You can use this information to optimize your sales funnel and check out experience to drive more conversions.

Ad Accounts Hygiene

To optimize your ads, one of the most important things we require from you is access to your ad accounts. You can use this section to ensure that OnlineSales.ai has proper access to your ad accounts all the time.

Profile Hygiene

You can use this section to get a quick overview of your OnlineSales.ai profile.

It will show you how many users have access to your OS account, your payment status, ad creative availability for Google Display Responsive Ads and your current subscription status for all our products.

Who gets it?

Hygiene Dashboard is available for all OnlineSales.ai customers. Hooray!

Product Updates: September 2018

In September, we’ve worked towards simplifying the onboarding experience for BigCommerce customers and have improved the UX for OnlineSales.ai’s Settings panel to provide our users with better control and transparency.

New Onboarding Experience for BigCommerce

BigCommerce customers can now onboard their store on OnlineSales.ai in under 90 seconds. We’ve streamlined the entire onboarding experience have made it super intuitive.

To complete the onboarding, you just need to link your ad accounts and specify your advertising goal. That’s it!

No Technical Knowledge Required: From the feedback we’d gathered from our BigCommerce clients, we learned that placing the OnlineSales.ai pixel on your BigCommerce website was a cumbersome process and often needed some technical assistance.

In the new onboarding experience, we’ve worked on your feedback and are extremely glad to announce that BigCommerce customers won’t need to place the tracking code anymore.

Yes, you heard that right. The OnlineSales.ai pixel will be placed automatically during the BigCommerce Oauth. Hurray!

Introducing the New and Improved Settings Panel

We’ve improved the UX of our settings panel, which means you can now find what you’re looking for – quickly and easily. We’ve also added a lot of new options to provide you with more control and transparency.

1. Campaign Management

You can use this tab to define your campaign management preferences.

Optimization Preferences: You can now select which optimizations you want us to automatically accept and which optimizations you will manually review.

Channels Managed by OS: We’ve added an easy toggle functionality that will allow you to decide which advertising channels you want OnlineSales.ai to manage.

Preferred Source of Reporting: You can choose to view the data reported by OnlineSales.ai’s pixel or by vendors i.e. Google, Facebook and Amazon.

These settings are only applicable to customers using our email marketing tool.

Creative and Brand Guide: You can specify the logo, header color, button color and button text color to be used in the emails here.

Creative Email Template: You can enter the content and the URL of the social channels you want us to include in the email footer.

Creative Email Verification: You can configure your email preferences in this section like sender email, sender name, daily and weekly email frequency.

2. Integrations

This tab houses all the settings that are necessary for your OnlineSales.ai account to function properly. Please ensure that these settings are properly configured.

Ad Account Access: You can use this section to manage to link or unlink your Google, Facebook and Amazon ad accounts.

Tracking Code Details: Users on a custom platform can follow the details mentioned here to configure the OnlineSales.ai tracking pixel.

Product Catalog Sync: You can configure how you wish to share your product feed with us here. We currently support FTP and HTTP methods. For Shopify and BigCommerce merchants the product feed will be synced automatically.

Product Feed Mapper: You can use our Product Feed Mapper to map the columns in your product feed to OnlineSales.ai system and also fix any product feed related issues with 1-click.

We’ve also added the functionality for you to manually trigger a product feed sync.

Note: OnlineSales.ai syncs your product feed every 24 hours.

Feed Sync Log: You can use this section to check when your Google and Facebook product feed was last synced and scheduled time for the next sync.

Product Feed Summary: This section gives you a quick summary at an overall level of your in and out of stock products.

3. Your Store Details

This tab will help OnlineSales.ai understand your business better.

Store Details: Using this section, you can keep us updated on your latest logo, communication email, search URL template and your advertising category.

Help Us Understand Your Business Better: This section will allow us to better understand your brand guidelines, value proposition and target audience.

User List: You can use this section to manage the access levels of users associated with your store’s OnlineSales.ai account.

4. Billing Details

You can use this tab to manage your subscriptions, view your past invoices and track the balance of your current OS credits.

Create Your Ad Campaigns in 60 seconds with Our Goals Launcher

We’ve made it even simpler for you to launch your campaigns with OnlineSales.ai

What does it Solve?

In our earlier iteration of Goals launcher, you as a customer were asked a lot of manual inputs like selecting the channels you’d like to advertise on, budget split across channels, ad creatives etc.

We realized it was a cumbersome process on your part, especially those who aren’t well acquainted with the digital marketing world.

All that changes with our latest version of Goals Launcher. You can go live with your goals in literally 60 seconds and we need just need 1 input from you. What’s that?

YOUR ADVERTISING GOALS. That’s all. 😎

Making the process of launching goals via the OnlineSales.ai platform much simpler, faster and customer friendly.

How does it Work?

Step 1: Go to Goals on the OnlineSales.ai platform.

Step 2: After entering the Goals tab, Click on the + sign to launch a new goal.

Step 3: Enter your goal name, target geography, monthly recurring budget and the target you’d like to optimize for.

Step 4: Click on configure and our AI will determine the best channels needed to achieve your goals.

 

Step 5: Click on save, then sit back relax and watch our AI work its magic.

 

Who gets it?

The new Goals launcher is available to all the OnlineSales.ai clients. Hooray!

See it in action

5 Reasons Why Your E-Commerce Company Needs Ratings & Reviews

Take control of your reputation and utilize the power of social proof.

Consumers now, more than ever, are looking for ratings and reviews regarding the services and products of companies prior to making purchasing decisions.

Through online reviews, companies can help influence purchasing decisions by promoting and marketing customer feedback.

Especially since 92% of consumers now read online reviews, eCommerce businesses need to rethink their strategies for implementing the proper digital strategy in order to take advantage of the viral effects that customer reviews have.

Generating brand reputation and product value by aligning your feedback with your marketing strategies is the perfect way to convert visitors into loyal customers.

The collection of ratings and reviews can be used as an immensely powerful tool for your business.

This digital feedback acts as an incredible way to increase traffic, improve PPC, and build your online reputation while increasing the confidence of consumers.

Modern shoppers today are well-informed, influential, and expect to have their needs and wants to be met before making purchases.

Through social proof, companies can capture the powerful voices of their customers while surrounding their brand with positivity through efficient experience management.

As consumers become more influential in the future, eCommerce companies need to take advantage of ratings & reviews to start seeing the benefits.

Here are 5 reasons why your business needs to start collecting ratings & reviews.

1. Generate Trust

Today’s shoppers trust the reviews of strangers more than they trust the advertisement from a company.

Valuable brands are taking notice of this trend and are capitalizing on the power of social proof by implementing review-centric marketing strategies.

Since consumers are greatly influenced by other people’s experiences, it is important to collect feedback on the experiences of your past shoppers.

This will create a higher level of trust and value that is associated with your brand.

According to a 2016 study by Brightlocal, a survey found that “84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend.”

This statistic has increased every year since the survey has been conducted and shows no signs of slowing down.

It is undeniable that the impact of reviews on the performance of a company is great, and this is especially true for companies who are highly involved with eCommerce.

2. Strengthen Marketing Efforts

By taking advantage of your customer reviews & ratings, your business can monitor and improve brand awareness, reputation, and loyalty.

As digitization continues to evolve, traditional marketing and advertising strategies will have little impact on the purchasing decisions made by modern shoppers.

Through digital innovation, businesses are now able to connect with customers instantly.  

Conversations between brands and consumers will increasingly become more meaningful and valuable as consumers expectations continue to rise.

Generating conversations through digital word-of-mouth is extremely important for influencing and guiding purchasing decisions.

 

There are many ways to reap the benefits from ratings and reviews through marketing efforts.

A significant advantage of collecting customer reviews and ratings is simply gaining valuable insight into who your customers are and what their specific needs are.

By collecting this important data, businesses will be able to customize and personalize the customer journey across any touchpoint.

The better you know your customers, then the better original and unique content you can provide for them.

Collecting reviews and ratings enables you to gain insight into what user-generated content your audience prefers and provides search engine crawlers with the content needed to properly evaluate a website.

Also, this user-generated content tells the search engine that your site is active, and provides a valuable service to online customers and increases the relevance of your result.

By enhancing your online content through insight-driven data, you can set your website apart from your competitors.

3. To Drive More Revenue

The main goal of any business is to generate revenue by providing a product or service.

By collecting and publishing authentic customer feedback, businesses can help drive higher SEO, generate new customers, and increase sales.

A study by BrightLocal found that 74% of consumers stated that after seeing customer reviews about a product on a landing page, they were willing to take the next step in the customer journey.

Adding value to the customer journey will keep your customers satisfied and coming back for more.

Not only does providing an excellent experience to retain customers, but happy customers are more than likely going to share their positive experiences with others through word-of-mouth.

If your customers are satisfied with the experience and encouraged to leave feedback, you have a great opportunity to take advantage of the situation to develop new customers and earn more revenue.

4. Increase Visibility on Google

Google is extremely important for the collection and advertisement of customer reviews and ratings.

Through numerous platforms and services, Google has innovated the entire digital advertising industry with ease while enabling businesses to reach specific target audiences of millions of people.

Google also provides companies with the opportunity to customize business ads and highlight the most important aspects and information to encourage customers to visit their website.

Since Google provides the opportunity for businesses to showcase customer feedback as an average star rating alongside their ads, businesses are able to increase online visibility and enhance their trust with the customer.

Through both paid and organic search, Google seller ratings, product reviews, seller rating extensions, and rich snippet stars, the possibilities of reaching your target audience through Google are endless.

A Google study determined that seller rating extensions in AdWord Search ads can increase customer traffic, or click-through rates, up to 17%.

Some businesses that have used these extensions for a longer period of time saw only a 10% increase.

Regardless, statistics show that seller ratings improve advertising efforts, increase companies’ online visibility, and enhance companies’ trust with existing and new customers.

 

5. Optimize Strategy

By companies collecting feedback from customers, they are also collecting a vast amount of customer intelligence as well.

Through reviews, businesses can utilize this meaningful and useful information from their own customers to help create more effective strategies.

Gaining this personal insight into the customers’ expectations and preferences will be tremendously valuable for companies looking to become customer-centric.

By integrating customer feedback into the brand and marketing strategies of your business, you will stay ahead of the competition and enhance experience management.

This article is written from one of our partners, eKomi, an expert in gathering customer ratings and reviews for online businesses. If you would like to know more about their solutions, please visit ekomi-us.com.

How to Create Successful Marketing Campaigns for Your Online Store

I still remember my first day in college. I was sitting in class. My professor dramatically walks in and says; know your audience, have a plan, hit the mark and never forget to ask for feedback.

That’s all there is to marketing and all there ever will be.

Sounds easy right?

That’s what I thought when I left that class, a few years later and I’m here to tell you it’s a wee bit more complicated than that.

In this blog, I’ll walk you through 4 key steps you need to master in order to create successful marketing campaigns for your online store.

1. Knowing your audience

A customer profile will help you identify who your customers are, their likes and dislikes. Knowing your audience will allow you to create more targeted ads leading to more conversions

To identify your audience you need to ask yourself these 10 questions:

  • What is my customer’s gender?
  • What is their job role or title? (A question like this could have multiple answers. It’s alright.)
  • What is their net household income?
  • Where are they located?
  • How educated is your target audience?
  • How often do they buy off the internet?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Where do they go to look for products like yours?
  • What are their most used social media channels?
  • What publications or blogs do they read?  

These questions should help you deep dive into your buyers’ persona.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the information in hand. The purpose of this is to gain an overall understanding of who will buy your products.

If you feel like you need to know more about your buyer you could also conduct market research to learn more about your customers.

Market research entails:

  • Conducting interviews
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Distributing flyers

Identifying your audience will allow you to connect with them and convey your message in a better way.

Once you know who they are you can start resolving their pain points which will definitely make it easier to achieve your objectives.

Now, that you know who to talk to, how about we find out what you’d like to say.

2. The Plan

Budgeting

George Washington very wisely said, “We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”

Before you create your objective it is important for you to know what your limitations are.

To know what your budget should look like you can refer to your old campaigns and see what worked for you, Google Analytics will help you track your past data.

Use Google Analytics to assess the most economical digital channel. Identify a channel that will allow you to gain the most impressions and conversions at a low cost.

If your paid promotion strategy is not able to drive the performance you desire, reallocate your budget into a channel that will drive you to your goal.

You shouldn’t be taken aback if your budgets are low. You can always bank on influencer marketing and the go-to organic channel – email to create brand awareness, generate sales and develop relationships with existing as well as new customers.

Create a well-defined budget, it will make the process of creating a well-structured plan far easier.

Pro Tip: The hardest part of any budget is sticking to it.

Objectives. Strategies. Tactics

To make it easier, let’s go ahead and break down planning into:

  • Objective
  • Strategy
  • Tactics

While creating a plan it’s essential that you understand the difference between the three.

An objective is the final result that you want to achieve.

Like driving 500 orders using Facebook ads.  An objective is your final goal.

A strategy is a well thought out idea of how you intend to achieve your objectives.

So, putting out only products that are on sale would be a strategy to speed up the rate of purchase.

Tactics are methods you use to execute the strategy to achieve your goals.

Spending $50 per day and retargeting website visitors is a tactic.

It’s very important to have a clear set of objective and strategies. While you create your objectives ensure that they are concrete and achievable.

It makes no sense to create a goal that surpasses your budget and your teams’ bandwidth.

After you set your objectives straight, reel in your team to create a robust strategy and a few awesome tactics.

The more heads you put into creating tactics the better. Tactics may or may not hit the spot right away so, the more ideas you churn out the better.

You need to be on your toes while your campaign is running.

For e.g., if Facebook is not working for you, experiment on Instagram or Google instead.

3. Hitting the mark

The first question you should ask yourself is do you want to sell a product or an emotion.

I believe that selling an emotion lets you have a deeper connection with your audience. It allows you to create a bond with them.

Notice, subconsciously every brand is selling you an emotion.

Take a look at any Nike commercial, they always compel you to push yourself.

Apple for that matter is a pioneer in this kind of advertising. Do you really want me to elaborate on how using an iPhone makes one feel a cut above the rest?

Take a look at the commercial for the masterclass with Chris Hadfield.

Between the two of us, I took the class *Facepalm*. I just had to, it made me want to go outer-space and experience the same things he did.

If I were to break it down. The whole video is about his experiences, talking to you about how it feels to be in outer space. 

Notice how they talk about the features of the class only for a few seconds towards the end.

At no point in time is he asking you to take the class, rather asks ‘Are you the one who’ll find that one little-fossilized flower on Mars?’. 

Just having said that involves you in the process. It makes you believe you can also be a part of exploring the universe.

It evokes an emotion.

Doesn’t that sound like a heavy task?

To be honest it’s a very difficult task to create such a perfect campaign.

Especially for online marketing where such an elaborate commercial is not everyone’s cup of tea.

To market online you’ll need to use more efficient tactics while imbibing these principles.

And if someone tells you they know what they are doing and is going to give you a definite outcome.

Trust me they are lying. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I have a magical solution to crack this.

All I’ll say are here are a few tips that have helped me achieve some success on different marketing channels:

Google Adwords

Even if it has been a week for you in the marketing world, you know Google is the king of the hill. Google may have cut-throat competition but if you crack it, you’ve completed 50% of the work.

Here’s how it works.

Before placing a bid Google assigns you with a quality score. This score depends on your click-through rate, relevancy and where your ad leads the customers. This score determines the cost of the keyword you’d like to bid for.

Let me inform you it’s very hard to outsmart Google. Here’s a link that should help you explore keywords and slay Google AdWords.

Pro Tip: Google Ads are intent based and that is why if you get through, you’ll get a great response.

Check this out, if you’re looking to automate the entire process of marketing your online store on Google.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook is a great place to advertise your business especially if you sell fashion.

It allows you to display visually appealing creatives to push your product. Facebook has an excellent targeting system, therefore, it is important that you know what interests your target audience.

For e.g., if you sell sporting goods, you’d like to target individuals who have an affinity towards going to the gym, outdoor adventure sports, health and so on. 

To top that off they have this amazing feature where you can target a lookalike audience.

A lookalike audience is a group of people who have the same interests as your current customers so, this helps you tap into a new customer base.

If that wasn’t enough creating ads on Facebook is really easy and Facebook ad manager is very easy to use. Here’s a link to how you can get started.

Facebook also provides you with Instagram ads which are really picking up in the industry. It helps in targeting the mobile-friendly youth.

Content Marketing

Only 1 percent of Internet users actively create new content, while the other 99 percent of the participants simply view it.

Content marketing is when you create, distribute and manage long-form content (videos, podcasts, online courses).

Use content to drive awareness among your potential customers, once they know what their pain points are, use content to discuss how you could help them solve their problems.

This helps create a deeper bond and forms trust with your customer.

Content marketing may seem easy but creating content is only step 1. Make sure you have quality content with the right topics, topics your target audience wants to read about.

Once you’ve met these two parameters of creating content, optimize for SEO and optimize it for your readers.

Optimising your content is necessary, as content marketing is a long-term investment unlike paid marketing but has a higher payoff. 

Don’t be let down if your content marketing strategy does not pick up instantaneously. The wait is worth it as content marketing will help you drive relevant audience to your online store.

Give it time and you’ll definitely reap its benefits.  

Email Marketing

91% of Americans want to receive promotional emails. (MarketingProfs)

It may seem unlikely but email plays a large role in e-commerce marketing.

Use your website to capture email addresses of your visitors.

You can do this by asking them to fill a form before they view content on your site.

Use free ebook downloads, white paper downloads, free service trial and other such offers to help you fill your funnel.  

It is unlikely that the people visiting your site will buy from you on the first go. Doing this allows you to capture more leads that you can nurture later on.

Email marketing is a very cost-effective way to reach out to your customers and also easier in comparison to the other methods.

Organic Social Media

Social media is a no-brainer.

Literally, all your customers are on social media.

Use social media not only to talk about your products but also to create social proofing, which is very important.

Use social channels to inform your users about your product updates, new fashion or to spread your content all over.

The hard bit on social media is identifying who your customers are, their most active channel and how do you approach them.

If you answer these three questions you’ll crack social.

You should check out the list of 7 social networking tools put together by JumpSeller that will help you achieve your social media goals with ease.

4. Don’t forget feedback!

Closely monitoring your online campaigns will help you gather feedback from your customers.

You can find out how well your ads resonate with your audience by simply identifying the right metrics to track.

Track how many impressions you get, how many people click on your ad, track your reach and your conversion rates to get an idea on how your ads are performing.

You can setup heat maps on your website to understand how a customer interacts with your website. It will help you assess how you can modify your ads landing page to perform better.

You can use any E-Commerce marketing platforms to track your performance and analyze how your campaigns perform. 

An effective marketing campaign is creative, well constructed and talks to the audience. Don’t overthink the whole process. successful marketing campaigns are easy to achieve if you just offer something new.

Remember who you are making it for and try to personalize it for them you’ll have a smooth sailing.

Related posts:

Top 10 Instagram Apps & Plugins on Shopify

How to Drive More Repeat Purchases by Calculating LTV

11 CRO Hacks That Will Boost Your eCommerce Sales

5 Ways Cohort Analysis Can Help You Grow Your E-Commerce Store

If you’ve only recently been made aware of cohort analysis, you might be wondering what it is exactly and is its relation to eCommerce.

The thing with eCommerce is that it’s a bit of a dog-eat-dog world. There are so many eCommerce stores out there that no one even knows how many – “between 2 and 3 million” according to pipecandy – while 8 out of 10 eCommerce stores are said to fail.

That’s a grim statistic, but the fine line between success and failure online often comes down to this in 2018: Knowing what your customers want.

This is something that a cohort analysis will help you with. In this article, I’m going to show you its importance in eCommerce and how you can use it. But first …

What is Cohort Analysis?

In eCommerce circles, a cohort is essentially a group of customers who are grouped together by a common characteristic that they’ve shared over a specific period of time.

For instance, it could be a group of customers who shopped with you in the last 12 months.

However, that’s a really broad cohort. Here are more specific examples:

  • Paying customers in June
  • Customers acquired via Facebook ads
  • Trial signups this past month

So what we have here are groups of people who have taken the same action over a specific time period.

And this is what cohort analysis is in a nutshell – it takes a look at a group of customers who have, performed the same or similar activities. Thus, can be clubbed together in a cohort.

When you perform a cohort analysis, you’re no longer looking at all of your customers together and treating them as though they were one.

Instead, you’re breaking them down into different groups so that you can then form patterns and behavioural trends.

Once you’ve identified these patterns and trends, you can start targeting the right people with the right marketing campaigns.

As opposed to targeting everyone with the same campaign, which would ultimately fall on many deaf ears.

Cohort Analysis And its Role in eCommerce

Let’s take a look at 5 ways you can apply cohort analysis to grow your eCommerce store.

1. To show you how fast you’re converting leads into customers

I suppose the dream would be to convert leads into customers super fast. Sadly, it doesn’t always work like that. But how quickly can you convert leads into customers? That’s where cohort analysis come in.

For example, you could create a cohort on Google Analytics called “date of customers first visit,” and check the “customers gained” metric before applying a time span of 12 months.

Cohort Analysts on Google Analytics | Defining Cohort Analysis And Its Importance In eCommerce

Cohort Analysts on Google Analytics | Defining Cohort Analysis And Its Importance In eCommerce

The graph helps to understand the total number of visitor on a given day and the percentage of people who have re-visited over the weeks.

The report will let you know how many customers you gained – month on month – from that initial cohort.

If conversions are slow, you can then use the information you’ve got from your cohort analysis to try to speed things up a bit. This would typically mean changing your marketing campaign. 

2. Helping you hold onto your customers 

Holding onto the customers you already have is important because customer retention can save you money over the long-term.

Studies have shown that loyal customers spend, on average, 67% more than new customers. And it costs a lot less to retain existing customers than it does to go out and find new ones all the time.

To find out how well your customer retention strategy is performing, group a cohort by the month (or even week) you first acquired them.

Then, assess how much revenue that cohort brought in over a 6 month period.

It might be a case that the groups spending habits spike during a particular month, and this might be down to a particular promotional campaign that you introduced at that time.

3. Get insights into what products work better than others

Cohort analysis carried out by first product ordered is a smart idea. Some products work better at creating loyal long-term customers than others.

Once you know what they are, you can focus on the best ones and ditch the under-performing ones.

For example, cohort analysis can show you the products that create one-time buyers. In which case, you don’t need to keep them because it’s returning buyers who are going to make you your money.

Some products are very good at generating long-term customer loyalty. Once you know what these products are, you can start to push them harder onto new customers.

4. Cohort analysis can give you an insight into whether or not you really need a loyalty program

Lots of eCommerce store owners are going crazy for loyalty programs at the moment, largely on the basis that – as mentioned earlier – it costs more to procure new customers than it does to retain already existing ones.

But do you really need a loyalty program? Cohort analysis can give you the answer.

Pro Tip: Cohort Analysis shows you how AOV and spending, change over time.

If the size of your orders doesn’t change over a period of time, and if your AOV also doesn’t drop, you’re good – you don’t need a loyalty program because those crucial repeat sales are flooding in regardless.

Customers are happy with whatever it is you’re doing.

On the other hand, the numbers might change for the worse. In which case, an incentive like a loyalty program is a smart idea.

Now, let’s imagine another scenario. Let’s imagine that your AOV actually goes up as time passes.

What does this tell you?

It tells you that your first order is good and that you’re doing a good job of building trust with your customers over time.

So what should you do? To capitalize on your ascending AOV, you could do a few things. I’d recommend double downing on social proof and run branding activities. Social proof gives your eCommerce store more credibility and encourages more sales.

What’s key is that you get off to the right start with new customers and cohort analysis can give you insights into how to do just that.

5. Cohort analysis can give you a clear picture of your purchase funnel

In 2018, shoppers want an omnichannel shopping experience. This means they want to be able to browse online and buy offline whenever the time suits them.

There can be a number of reasons why a customer adds products to their shopping cart and then abandons it. 

Creating a cohort of customers viewing a product, abandoning their cart, dropping off during check out will help identify the problem they face at each stage of their purchase journey.

You could use this information to target each cohort with different tactics to increase your conversion rate. 

For e.g., If you have a cohort of customers dropping off due to a high shipping cost. You could implement a pop-up that appears each time a customer is about to abandon their cart. This pop-up might, for instance, offer free shipping to convince them to stay in the game.

Alternatively, you might want to install a point of sale card reader to test whether or not your lack of offline payment solution is the reason shoppers are abandoning their carts or dropping off during the checkout.

Cohort analysis is crucial to the success of your online store. It allows you to have an overall understanding of your customers and their individual behaviour.

You can leverage cohort analysis to channelize your efforts as you will obtain a deeper understanding of your customers’ demands. Allowing you to make the right adjustments that will keep them happy.

Related Posts:

Google Analytics for E-Commerce: A Step-by-Step Guide

11 CRO Hacks That Will Boost Your eCommerce Sales

How to Drive More Repeat Purchases by Calculating LTV

New Onboarding Experience for Shopify Customers

With our new onboarding experience, Shopify customers can now onboard their store on OnlineSales.ai in under 2-minutes.

What does it Solve?

  1. Faster and simpler onboarding experience: We’ve streamlined the Shopify onboarding process and have made it super intuitive.

    To complete the onboarding, you just need to link your ad accounts and specify your advertising goal. That’s it!

  1. No Technical Knowledge Required: From the feedback we’d gathered from our Shopify clients, we learned that placing the OnlineSales.ai pixel on your Shopify website was a cumbersome process and often needed some technical assistance.

    In the new onboarding experience, we’ve worked on your feedback and are extremely glad to announce that Shopify customers won’t need to place the tracking code anymore.

    Yes, you heard that right. The OnlineSales.ai pixel will be placed automatically during the Shopify Oauth. Hurray!

  2. Legacy campaign management: We’ve made it extremely easy for you to map your existing campaigns to the OnlineSales.ai platform.

    Once you’ve linked the ad accounts, the existing campaigns from those accounts will be automatically mapped to the OnlineSales.ai platform and you will also start receiving 1-click optimizations for those campaigns. Isn’t that awesome?

How does it Work?

1. OnlineSales.ai will automatically connect to your Shopify store once you install our app from the Shopify app store.

Integration of onlinesales.ai | Shopify onboarding

2. Once the Oauth is successful, you’ll be redirected to the OnlineSales.ai platform and will be asked to link your ad accounts.

Linking accounts to onlinesales.ai | Shopify onboarding

Note: If you want us to manage your existing campaigns, just select the checkbox beside the respective channel.

3. Once that is done, you can proceed to specify your advertising goal.

  • Choose your Geo

  • Enter your monthly budget

  • Define your objective

Setting goalson onlinesales.ai | Shopify onboarding

4. That’s all! Your onboarding is complete. Once you click next, you’ll get a snapshot of what you can expect in the next 4-weeks from OnlineSales.ai

What to expect from onlinesales.ai | Shopify onboarding

Who gets it?

For now, the new onboarding experience is for Shopify customers only. You can get our Shopify Marketing App here.

Note: We’re also working towards implementing the new onboarding experience for BigCommerce customers within the next 2-weeks.

See it in action

Google Analytics for E-Commerce: A Step-by-Step Guide

Working with data is not about having the right reports to analyze, it’s about asking the right questions and then making an informed decision based on data.

It can be analogous to the answer for ‘The Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe and Everything’, computed by ‘Deep Thought’ [in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy], being 42, but, they didn’t know what to do with the answer without knowing what the question was.

Thankfully there are tools to help retailers and marketers answer these questions. Today we’ll be taking a deep dive into Google Analytics, the most popular Analytics tool of them all.

Google Analytics (GA) gives you the ability to make better, fact-based business decisions for your E-commerce Store.

Google Analytics will help you answer questions like:

  1. How does my audience behave before and after purchasing a product for the first time?
  2. Why do most of my visitors bounce off my website or leave my website without purchasing a product or service?
  3. How can I increase sales with the help of the data that Google Analytics provides?
  4. How long are the visitors staying on my website?
  5. How many visitors have actually downloaded my “Guide to Google Analytics” e-book?
  6. How many returning visitors have downloaded different e-books from my website?
  7. Should I completely revamp my website or only make minor fixes?

Let’s move ahead and get some answers, shall we?

Who are my visitors and Where do my visitors come from?

1. Audience

Google analytics for E-Commerce: the Ultimate guide | Audience tab

Audience > Demographics

This report helps you identify the age group and gender of the people visiting your website. With this, you can also identify individuals who are likely to purchase your product. Allowing you to understand who and which product to target.

Let’s assume you sell apparel. The Audience data gives you a breakdown of age groups and their likings towards your designs.

For example, If you have 63% of females and 23% of males visiting your website. The age groups having the highest number of sessions with a low bounce rate may indicate that the age group is engaged on your website.

And say you have high traffic from a particular demographic group, if there are no conversions, you can be sure that your website targeting is inaccurate.

Audience > Interests

As the name suggests, Interest is defined by taking into account a user’s content consumption patterns, social activity, search history, etc.

There are three sub-categories under Interests:

Interests > Affinity Category

It is higher up on the conversion funnel, which means you need to target these visitors (potential customers, if you will) in order to increase your brand awareness.

This category will help you target new users that are relevant to your brand, reduce costs and effectively increase your Return on Ad Spends (ROAS).

Interests > In-Market Segments

They may or may not have visited your website before but are more likely to convert as compared to the users in the ‘Affinity Category’ report. These ‘In-Market Segments’ are segregated by the type of vertical market your average user is affiliated with.

Interests > Other Category

It is, in a way, a granular report on the users that are not included in the above two categories. If you’re selling sports-wear, the ‘Interests Report’ talks to you about the various interests of your consumer.

About how they are interested in Travel/Outdoor Sports/ Health & Fitness Buffs. This data will help you to effectively target interest-based ads, which have a very high relevancy to the consumer.

google-analytics-interest-lists

Audience > Geo

Geo or Geography shows you where the users are coming from [country, region, and city] and what languages do they speak.

E.g. If 85% of the people living in Lyon consume content in French, then it helps you curate content for the ads. Which would drive in traffic and as an effect, improve the relevancy of your website.

Audience > Behavior

Behavior reveals what the user does after landing on your website i.e the actions they take on your website. This report will give you an idea of the way average users interact with your website.

It has three sub-categories:

New vs. Returning

This report helps you understand if you have managed to reach out to other audiences, i.e. New Visitor (acquired by brand awareness campaigns) or, managed to get a conversion from a user who has already visited your website, i.e. Returning Visitor (brand recall).

Frequency & Recency

Allows you to understand how often a repeat visitor comes to your website on an average.

Engagement

It tells you how long visitors stay on your website and how many pages do they view per session. This will give you an insight on if your content needs tweaking or your site needs minor fixes or if it needs a complete revamp (with the help of Conversions Rate Optimization).

Note: Returning visitors are more likely to convert, so do everything in your power to retain new visitors by making them subscribe to a newsletter or fill a form, retarget them, and drive them back to your website.

Audience > Technology

This report gives you an idea about the browsers, operating systems, and ISP’s (Internet Service Providers). It is not widely used for e-commerce businesses but it may have a specific purpose for businesses that develop online tools or add-ons.

Audience > Mobile

This report shows which devices are driving valuable traffic: phones, mobiles, tabs or desktops.

This will also give you a fair idea for optimizations to be done on the website for various devices (page load time, webpage formatting, desktop site loading on your mobile, etc.)

So now that you’ve understood your audience. You know whom to target. What language they speak, Where they come from, and the device they use. Making it easier for you to sell your product or services to them.

The next section will help you understand which channel is converting the most for you and which channel is driving new visitors to your website.

2. Acquisition

 Google Analytics for E-Commerce: The Ultimate Guide | Acquisition Tab

Acquisition > All Traffic

All traffic allows you to deep dive into the total number of visits to your website. A visitor can land onto your web page from different marketing channels.

Google created a hierarchy to track how a user lands on your website and it can be broadly categorized as:

  • Source: The origin of the website traffic. It can be tracked via the utm_source parameter.
  • Medium: Is a category of the traffic source. It can be tracked via the utm_medium parameter.
  • Channel: Is a grouping of different sources within the same medium.

For e.g. If I want to find out how many people have landed on the homepage by reading this blog, I will make a custom tracking URL and add the respective fields that I would like to be tracked.

The URL will look like this: https://onlinesales.ai/?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=google_analytics or https://goo.gl/p29npB (shortened URL). You can add this URL for tracking any click, anywhere. You can embed it on the homepage banners, google ads, social media referrals etc.

Default Channel Grouping shows the sources from which the users have landed on your website.

There are eight default sources:

1. Direct

It’s the number of users who have directly typed in your URL in the search bar and landed on your website.

Source/medium → (direct)/(none).

If you have many users coming as direct traffic with a low bounce rate and/or, purchasing a service or a product, it means that you have a good brand recall.

2. Organic

Indicates the number of users that have landed on the website by ‘searching’ on any search engine.

If you have a good amount of referral tracking, it means that you are being displayed in the top 3 searches of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) and that your SEO game is on point.

google/organic, bing/organic, yahoo/organic.

3. Referral

Any traffic coming on your website via a URL that has been added to any website, blog, forum, social media platform, comments, etc. is nothing but referral traffic.

If you ask your friend to update a status about your website on Facebook, then the people who visit the website by clicking the link mentioned on the status is referral traffic. It will be displayed as ‘facebook/referral’.

onlinesales.ai/referral

4. Paid Search

Users who click on an ad after searching on a search engine, contribute to ‘Paid Search’ traffic. This will show how well your SEM expert is handling the account.

Note: Only restricted to search ads.

google/CPC(Cost Per Click), bing/CPC

5. Display

Shows traffic coming from Display ads (image or video ads on websites). Display ads are majorly used for brand awareness.

If you have high traffic with a higher bounce rate or a lower avg. session duration, it means one of these things:

  • Your ad may be irrelevant
  • The page doesn’t exist (might have to redirect it to the new URL)
  • The product may be out of stock
  • Your pricing may be higher than your competitor

Note: The latter two may apply to all the channels with high Bounce Rate and low Avg. Session Duration

onlinesales.ai/Display

6. Social

Any traffic coming via social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. This traffic determines how good is your brand’s command over your competitors.

If not, you will have to invest more time in social media activities, strategize on making campaigns, curate content which engages users.

If at a point you have hit a plateau for the organic social traffic you’re getting, it may be time to step up your game and move on to advertising on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.

facebook/social, facebook/CPC etc.

7. Email

Traffic originating from newsletters, updates, promotional emails is contributed to the ‘Email’ marketing channel.

OSX-newsletter/email

8. Other

A traffic source whose medium is either tracked by custom tagging parameters, utm_medium, or, is (not set).

Facebook/(not set), onlinesales.ai/blog

All Traffic > Treemaps

It is the hierarchical representation using nested rectangles. Each rectangle represents the secondary metric with is compared to the primary metric, for all marketing channels.

Simply put, it helps you visualize two metrics against each other to get a comprehensive understanding of how they are co-related and how they affect each other.

If you see the image below, even though paid search brings in the third highest traffic, it accounts for a very low pages/session.

google-analytics-treemaps

On the other hand, referral being a very low contributor to the volume of the traffic, it results in higher pages/session or, in other words, higher engagement. This report tells me, in this case, where to pump in or reduce budgets.

All Traffic > Source/Medium

List of all the various sources with their metrics is displayed for analyzing specific marketing channels. The source and medium you add while shortening your links can be used here.

All Traffic > Referrals

List of all the sources of referral traffic coming to your website. If I put a link to your website on a social media platform or as a comment on various websites, the traffic coming via that link will be referral traffic.

Acquisition > AdWords

For this particular report, make sure your Google Analytics account is linked correctly to your AdWords account. If they aren’t linked properly then the data will not populate or it might be skewed.

When linking these two tools, data can flow both ways and gain insights for a campaign and keyword performance using real revenues.

Get additional metrics for AdWords such as Bounce Rate, % New Visits etc. And use remarketing features on Google Analytics to effectively reach customers.

Further Reading: 4 E-Commerce Remarketing Strategies to Optimize ROI

AdWords > Campaigns

Displays the list of your Google AdWords campaigns that are active.

AdWords > Treemaps

As seen earlier, is a hierarchical representation using nested rectangles.

AdWords > Keywords

It is a performance report to find out which keywords have worked for your AdWords campaigns.

AdWords > Search Queries

This is the list of all search queries that have to lead the visitors to your website through Google Search.

AdWords > Hour of Day

It indicates the hourly metrics for the day. It will tell you which hour has the highest visits, or which hour has the lowest engagement etc.

AdWords > Final URLs

List of Final URLs as defined in your AdWords campaigns.

Acquisition > Search Console

The Search Console report provides data about what the users see on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) before clicking and coming to your website.

Search Console > Landing Pages

It helps you identify landing pages which have a high click-through rate (CTR) but have a low QualityScore (QS), these are the pages that are not shown much often after searching on Google.

Search Console > Countries

Tells you which country/region/city has searched and visited your website.

Search Console > Devices

Search queries made through different kinds of devices, such as mobile, desktop, and tablet.

Search Console > Queries

Search queries that are made by the visitor before entering your website.

Acquisition > Social

Displays which social media marketing channels drive in the maximum traffic, along with the e-commerce conversion and goal metrics.

Social > Network Referrals

It gives you a list of all the social networks that have brought in traffic to your website.

Tip: You can scout for discussion/knowledge sharing platforms, such as Quora, or Reddit, and answer or add value to the questions being asked related to your niche.

This can help you potentially gain more engaging traffic. It may also lead to the purchase of your product or service as the users are referred to your website.

Social > Landing Pages

It’s a list of web pages the user has been directed to by clicking a link to your website on a social media platform.

It is the most important page of the user journey on your website, as it is the first page your user sees when they reach your website via any kind of source.

Make sure the top 5 landing pages have a high engagement capability.

Social > Conversions

Shows the number of conversions that have occurred. These conversions include both Goal conversions as well as e-commerce conversions.

Social > Plug-ins

These show how many times the visitor has clicked any social media buttons on your website.

Social > Users Flow

Shows the origin of the user journey. In other words, this flow graph will display the volume of traffic from different marketing channels, countries etc.

Acquisition > Campaigns

Gives you an idea of how your marketing campaigns are performing.

Campaigns > All Campaigns

Gives a list of all the campaigns, AdWords or custom campaigns.

Campaigns > Paid Keywords

It shows you keyword performance of your google ads, for e.g. which keywords have spent the most amount of money whilst not contributing to the total revenue.

Campaigns > Organic Keywords

These are all the keywords, paid and unpaid, that got the user to the website.

Campaigns > Cost Analysis

Shows the performance of non-Google channels provided you have the data that is ready to be uploaded.

Now that you’ve found out through which marketing channel the website traffic has come from, you will definitely be curious to know how the visitors behave on your website and which products, categories, or how many times a specific webpage has been viewed on your website. 

3. Behavior

 Google Analytics for E-Commerce: The Ultimate Guide | Behaviour Tab

With this report, you will be able to understand how the visitors interact with your website and for how long does your website keep them engaged.

Behavior > Behavior Flow

Shows the user journey after landing on a certain webpage of your website. This flow graph will help understand the average user journey for your website and the percentage of drop-offs occurring.

If there are high drop-offs, you may want to check; if the page exists, product availability, or the product price as compared to your competitors. Basically, this flowgraph gives you an idea of the user experience on your website.

P.S. Drop-offs = bounces + exits

With this, you can find out which webpage has resulted in a higher percentage of drop-offs and perform optimizations accordingly.

Behavior > Site Content

Gives you sub-reports on all the web pages on your website, like, how many people have viewed the web pages, or, how many people have exited your webpage without interacting (clicking, scrolling, hovering) with it (also known as Bounce Rate).

Site Content > All Pages

This gives you a list of all the web pages on your website with a breakdown of page views, entrances, exits, page value, etc.

Site Content > Content Drilldown

It groups web pages as page path levels. It is the same as the All Pages report, except, it is represented as a file-folder structure (similar to the way it is on a PC).

Site Content > Landing Pages

Shows the entry web pages of your website (visited through searches and/or referrals). There is a good chance that the most active landing page can have a higher number of sessions as compared to the homepage.

If a landing page has a high bounce rate or low average session duration, it means:

  • That the webpage doesn’t meet the expectations of the website visitors
  • It is not engaging enough to retain your visitors for a longer period

Site Content > Exit Pages

Gives you an exhaustive list of pages that have been exited the most. A low exit rate shows that the users are going to other pages of the website. Basically, an exit is attributed to the final page of the website, after which the user exits the website or navigates to another website.

Note: The main difference between bounce rate and exit rate is that bounce rate refers to the first page a user enters and exit rate refers to the last page.

Behavior > Site Speed

Tells you how much time it takes for each of your web pages to load and compares it with the average page load time. This can have a huge impact on the bounce rate of your website.

Site Speed > Page Timings

It shows the avg. page load time in seconds for all the website pages.

Site Speed > Speed Suggestions

It gives you a fair idea on the number of optimizations to make for that particular webpage. It also provides a page speed score, which, if high, suggests that there is very little scope for improvement and vice versa.

Site Speed > User Timings

This can help you understand what affects the speed of your website.

Note: These timings are user-defined and can be referred to in the developer’s guide to understanding which codes actually slow down your website or you can just enter your website URL on PageSpeed Insights and get detailed reports for optimizations.

Behavior > Site Search

You can enable this option in Admin > View Settings and add a query parameter. The query parameter is a single alphabet that has been assigned by the web development team.

This will give you a list of all the searches performed by the user on your website in order to find a particular product. This can also help in deciding keywords for your search campaigns.

E.g. https://onlinesales.ai/search?w=query%20parameter, in this case, the parameter is ‘w’.

Behavior > Events

Are interactions such as, clicks, video plays, downloads, and clicks, etc. that are tracked independently. It has the following components:

Category

This is a broad category of events under which the events will be grouped. E.g. Videos, E-book Downloads.

Action

This groups all the events under a common action. E.g. Click, Play, Pause.

Label

With these, you can add additional information to the Event. E.g. “Guide to Google Analytics E-book”, where the Category can be “Downloads” and the action can be “Click”.

Value

Assigns a numerical value to the tracked page object. E.g. An event is triggered and displays the value as ‘$1’ after the person has streamed the video for over a minute.

Pro Tip: Instead of going to the developers to embed an event code every time, you should check out the Google Tag Manager and link it to your Google Analytics account.

You can create your own events directly from the GTM tool. Another upside of having a GTM account is that it is way easier to shift to Enhanced E-Commerce [Recommended]

You can check out the Developer’s Guide to implement it for your website.

By now, you know who your visitors are, how did they land on your website, and their behavior on your website.

Now, this is the part that each one of you has waited for, “How much money has my business earned? Which is the best-selling product on my website? How many times has my product been added to the shopping cart, but not purchased?

Conversions

 Google Analytics for E-Commerce: The Ultimate Guide | Conversions Tab

Conversions > Goals

Goals are probably the most self-explanatory tab on this list.

Goals are the measurement of target objectives. Goals can have a monetary value which shows how much is that conversion worth for your business. Once a goal has been met, it is recorded as a conversion and can be viewed as a metric in various other reports.

E.g. submitting a form, purchasing a product, visiting a particular sequence of web pages etc.

There are five types of goals:

1. Destination

A specific webpage that loads. E.g. /thank-you.html. This kind of a goal helps to understand if the user visits a particular web page; it can be a product page, a category page, sale page, add to cart or a thank you page.

Example – If there are 76 pageviews for the thank you page, it means that there have been 76 purchases made from your website. (As the thank you page is loaded only after a product has been purchased)

2. Duration

Is a specific amount of time a user has spent on a specific page. You can also track the number of visits in a specified amount of time.

3. Pages/Screens per session

A specific number of pages or screens viewed. Similar to the duration goal, you can add a condition to track your pages/screens per session.

4. Event

Records an event when it is triggered. E.g. Clicking on the ‘Play’ button for a video.

5. Smart Goals

Are specifically made for AdWords advertisers for which each session via Google ads is given a score, and the best sessions will be translated into Smart Goals.

Goals > Goal URL

Gives a list of Destination goals that you’ve set with the number of goal completions and goal values.

Goals > Reverse Goal Path

As the name suggests, it gives the reverse order in which the goal was completed.

Goals > Goal Flow and Funnel Visualization

Furthermore, you can funnel these goals with a destination goal (it can be a destination page, ‘/thank-you.html’) and can View them under these reports.

Conversions > E-Commerce

This report gives you a complete idea of the user’s shopping behavior along with the Marketing report which will be covered right after.

Shopping Behaviour

Shows the journey of the users in terms of the number of sessions. This will give you an overall idea of the purchase behavior on your website namely:

  • The number of sessions that have originated on the website
  • The number of sessions where a product has been viewed
  • Sessions that resulted in adding product(s) to the cart
  • Number of sessions leading to the checkout page
  • The number of sessions that have resulted in a transaction

No. of sessions → Sessions with product views → Sessions with add to carts → Sessions with Checkouts → Sessions with Transactions

This data can further be broken down into the type of users, devices, etc.

Checkout Behaviour

It shows how many sessions made by the visitors have resulted in completing their journey from adding the shipping and billing information, payment for the product/service, reviewing the order, and finally completing the purchase.

Billing & Shipping → Payment → Review → Sessions with Transactions.

You can further break down the data using segments or by metrics such as devices, users etc.

The checkout behavior reports help you understand, how many times a certain product has been added to the cart, bought or how many times has the cart been abandoned. If there are many drop-offs you should look at optimizing your checkout process.

Few reasons for high drop-offs could be:

  1. The checkout process might have too many steps for buying a product on your website (which might be tedious for many users)
  2. The total cost of the purchase might be higher on your website than a competitor’s.
  3. High Shipping costs.

E-Commerce > Product Performance

Shows you the best performing and the highest revenue generating products with additional metrics such as product revenue, average price, quantity, etc.

Under this report, you can click the shopping behavior option right below the explorer tab and get a report of all the products’ shopping behavior. Basically, it is more granular in the sense that you get the shopping behavior for individual products in this report.

E.g. if you want to check out the cart abandonment rate for a pair of jeans that you’re selling, click on ‘Shopping Behaviour’ (right above the graph, next to ‘Summary’) and search for your product.

This will give you a cart-to-detail rate and buy-to-detail rate. These two metrics help you to identify which products have been added to the cart and how many times has the product been removed or abandoned.

Accordingly, you can “promote” certain products. If many users add a product and not buy it, there is a very high chance that the product is out-of-stock or the price is too high.

E-Commerce > Sales Performance

It displays the list of all the product sales along with the product revenue, tax, and shipping. The list is in terms of Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) IDs.

Product List Performance

This shows the performance of the products and the lists they belong to. They can be products that are “Recommended” (cross-selling and up-selling), or by searching them on the website or by any other means and are added to a custom product list.

Note: The revenue values for these reports may vary, as some have the product price, or the price after adding taxes, shipping and discounts.

Marketing

Campaigns: Provides a complete e-commerce report of all the campaigns.

Internal Promotion: Initially to track the clicks on banners to promote products on the homepage marketers used event tracking and going through all the pain of checking code placement; Google now provides e-commerce performance data for banner ads on your website homepage with metrics such as clicks, CTR, transactions.

This will give you valuable insights such as the placement of your banners and how certain placements work and do not work for your website.

Order Coupon: It’s a list of all external promotions (discount coupons) such as a signing-up discount, store credit, users that have not returned after their first purchase etc.

This report will help understand which coupon codes work the most, which coupons generate higher revenue, and what offer can be launched next so that you can get the most out of your promotion.

Product Coupon: It’s a list of all the coupons that are applicable to specific products along with its product revenue, number of unique purchases, and average product revenue.

Affiliate Code: A list displaying all the affiliate websites that drive in sales by applying a coupon code.

E.g. If google refers OnlineSales.ai service to users and asks them to use the “Google1M” coupon to avail a free one month pilot for ad services, the “Google1M” is the affiliate code.

Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels

Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions

Gives a list of assisting marketing channels, i.e. second-last marketing channel before making a purchase.

E.g. If the channel path for the conversion is Facebook → Referral (Quora) → Organic → Conversion, the assisted conversion is attributed to Referral (Quora).

Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths

This report gives unique conversion paths, i.e. journey from brand awareness to a conversion.

E.g. A couple of unique conversion paths:

Facebook → Referral (Quora) → Organic
Paid Search → Instagram → Direct
Organic → Direct → Email

Multi-Channel Funnels > Time Lag

The report shows how many conversions resulted from conversion paths that were anywhere from 0 – 12+ days.

This report helps you understand, how long, on an average, does it take for a user to come on your website and purchase a product and usually how many touch points (marketing channels) does it require before a conversion takes place.

Multi-Channel Funnels > Path Length

Shows the number of interactions a user makes before initiating a session.

Conversions > Attribution

An attribution model is a set of rules which is used to determine how much credit is given to various marketing channels in the user journey.

E.g. If a user finds out about your website via Facebook ads, then after a couple of days, searches for the website on google and comes organically to your website to check out a product; a few days later the same user is shown a google ad and finally, a product is purchased.

facebook/CPC → google/organic → google/CPC

In the default attribution model, i.e., Last-click/Last Interaction will attribute 100% credit to google/CPC for that particular transaction. There are many default attribution models and you can check which one would work for your business under the model comparison tool report.

Attribution >Model Comparison Tool

Through this report, you can compare different attribution models, predefined or custom. This report shows the actual performance of certain neglected marketing channels.

There are seven pre-defined attribution models in Google Analytics:
(Consider the above example to understand the following models)

Last Interaction/Last-click

This is the default attribution model set by Google. In this case, the transaction will be attributed to Google/ CPC.

First Interaction/First-click

This model, as the name suggests, will attribute the transaction to facebook/CPC.

Time Decay

In this, all the channels will get some credit. The channel closest (in terms of time, days) to the transaction will get the highest credit of the ratio.
facebook/CPC, google/organic and Google/CPC will get 20%, 30% and 50% credit respectively.

Linear

Every channel gets equal credit for a transaction i.e. 33.33% each.

Last Non-direct Click (Assisted)

This channel attributes the transaction to the second-last marketing channel. In this kind of attribution model, the transaction will be attributed to google/organic.

Last AdWords Clicks

As the name suggests, the Last AdWords Clicks will always be attributed to the AdWords marketing channel. This option is great if the only paid marketing activity that you do is on AdWords.

Position Based

This attribution model gives the highest credits to the first and last interaction channels and distributes the rest amongst the other marketing channels. In this case, facebook/CPC and Google/CPC will both get 40% credit and the remaining 20% is attributed to google/organic.

This is a very important report because it will help you distribute the budgets fairly amongst your marketing channels in order to receive a better ROI.

Note: Facebook, on its analytics platform, uses the first-click attribution, but Google has a last-click model, which will skew the data if both the reports are compared.

This wraps up our post on Google Analytics for E-Commerce. Hope this guide helped you better understand the Google Analytics interface and make sense of the variety of data available on Google Analytics.

Want us to make an E-Book on Google Analytics for E-Commerce? Just reply with a ‘Yes’ in the comment section.

Related Posts:

Importance of Big Data and Analytics in eCommerce

Stop Wasting Your Money on Google AdWords

Google Shopping Ads 101: How to get started.

Does Your E-Commerce Platform Have these 5 Features?

Amid the rapid growth in the eCommerce industry in the last few years,
E-Commerce Platforms have been silently experiencing cut-throat competition, due to the emergence of new platforms with competitive features.

The role of E-Commerce Platforms in the growth of eCommerce industry cannot be understated, as it is the platforms that act as a backbone for any online store to perform efficiently.

But how competitive is the E-Commerce Platform segment?

The proverb “Adapt or perish” holds extreme relevance for E-Commerce Platforms, considering how fast-paced and innovative E-Commerce Platforms have become.

So, how does an E-Commerce Platform stand out from its competitors?

To answer that question we’ve curated a list of 5 features that your E-Commerce Platform should definitely have.

Note: This list covers the set of features that have not been mastered by the leading platforms yet, but are currently the deciding factors for every merchant who wants to sell online.

1. Easy Customization

Ever wondered how Netflix has dominated the entertainment space? Three reasons – ease of use, simple UI and wide array of choices!

The same mantra can be applied to E-Commerce Platforms. You don’t need to create complex page flows and over-the-top UI to stand out from the rest. In fact, you should be on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Creating a hassle-free flow, providing a variety of options and make it easy for your merchants to customize their store without any technical knowledge. It will go a long way towards ensuring your merchants don’t feel the need to switch to your competitors!

Don’t believe us? Check out how perfectly Shopify and BigCommerce have capitalized on this opportunity. They have tons of apps/plugins in their easy-to-use marketplace. That way, the merchant gets all the essential tools in one place without the need to leave the platform ecosystem.

So if you don’t have an exhaustive app store in place, now is the right time to start building one.

2. Robust Blogging Capabilities

As eCommerce stores devote more and more resources towards Content Marketing, it’s a sin to not provide your merchants a platform to manage their content effectively.

A blog interface is a feature that many E-Commerce Platforms don’t provide out of the box. This is your chance to grab the opportunity and enable your merchants to drive more traffic to their stores through content marketing.

Built on WordPress, WooCommerce is a perfect example of a platform with robust blogging capabilities, which has also enabled them to become the largest E-Commerce Platform in the world by capturing 11% share of the market.

3. Native Marketing Solution

Providing a native marketing solution is as a feature ignored by many E-Commerce Platforms, but it is also a feature that will help you stand out from the competition.

While it’s essential for platforms to provide the resources to start an online store, it’s equally important for them to provide their merchants with the right resources to boost their sales.

That’s where Native Marketing Solutions come into play. They provide the benefit of easy campaign launches and optimizations across different channels. This is a critical feature if you want to provide scalable marketing tools to your merchants.

It can also serve as a USP for your E-Commerce Platform as merchants won’t have to skim through 100 marketing solution, since their E-Commerce Platform is shipped with a native marketing solution.

Adobe’s acquisition of Magento is proof of how important a role content and marketing solutions play in the eCommerce space. It is only a matter of time till Magento leverage Adobe’s content and marketing solutions to bolster their feature set.

You can read about the benefits of native marketing solutions in detail here.

Let AI-powered marketing tools take care of the marketing needs of your merchants so that you and your merchants can focus on what you do the best – growing your business!

4. Mobile Ready Experience

With more and more digital communication and transactions happening through mobile ($2.3 trillion in 2017), merchants are increasingly looking at platforms which provide a mobile-ready experience of their online store.

While you may provide beautiful stores even for mobile, you also need to take care that the User Experience is smooth. There are many companies who specifically work towards creating a mobile app or a mobile version for an eCommerce store, which is proof enough that there’s a high demand for it.

Why not capitalize on the opportunity by providing a mobile-ready experience for all the stores created through your platform?

5. Payment Support

While eWallets are seeing tremendous growth across the globe, it still hasn’t dominated the payments world. Therefore, it’s essential that your platform provides the merchants with a variety of payment options for their store. Especially if you have merchants from different geographies. You need to focus on localization too when it comes to payment methods.

For example, if you want to see success in the Chinese market, you need to provide the option of ‘Alipay’ or in the case of Indian market, you need to enable ‘Cash on delivery’.

Also, make sure your payment methods provide smooth cross-border transactions, as cross-border eCommerce is growing at an explosive rate.

While features like Inventory Management System, Order Management System, Shipping, Customer Service, etc. are important, the features we’ve covered are those which aren’t getting the attention they deserve!

So, incorporate these 5 features into your E-Commerce Platform and stay ahead of the competition, because you don’t want to just survive the competition, you want to win the competition!

Top 10 Instagram Apps & Plugins on Shopify

From Influencer Marketing to building a global reach for products, Instagram really is the playground for brands.

With a whopping 800 million monthly active users, the Instagram community has become a levelling field for many brands to foster user engagement and acquire new followers and market branded products.

As per Statista, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks available today.

As a result, it becomes imperative for brands to market their products efficient on one of the biggest and most engaging platforms today.

From hashtags, contests, giveaways to encourage user-generated content, brands can upscale their customer engagement quotient as well as product sales through Instagram.

While there are a plethora of apps on shopify for Instagram, we’ve made a list of the top 10 apps on Shopify you should install.

In no particular order, here are the top ten Instagram applications that can be integrated with Shopify.

#1 Social Media Stream

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (340 Reviews)

Social Media Stream, as the name suggests, is best for Streaming Instagram Content on Your Website 

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

Social Media Stream allows users to stream content from the brand’s Instagram feed. Moreover, these features are not limited to just Instagram but can be extended to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as well.

Features

As per Sprout Social, 7 out of 10 Instagram hashtags are branded.

Social Media Stream’s focus on hashtag content and user engagement activities through their platform can help gain followers and increase brand engagement.

This app allows Shopify users to maintain their media streaming presence on the website.

What are customers saying about Social Media Stream?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The app is simple and works pretty well. The support is outstanding.
Highly recommended for a “hands off” social media app.”

– Faust Brothers Design

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Top of the Pops! great App would highly recommend and top customer support, could get any better thank you guys!”

– Little Miss Curvy

Pricing:  

Free ($0.00/Month)

You can get this app on Shopify here

#2  Instafeed

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (122 Reviews)

Instafeed is best for promoting your brands content on your Instagram Page

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

One of the most efficient and easy to use Instagram plugins for Shopify stores, Instafeed allows users to creatively integrate Instagram posts, customize and share them with audiences on the website.

Features

Instafeed’s focus on plain text java scripts makes the plugin easy to use and is by far the winning feature that lets Shopify users easily integrate their insta feed with their online store.

Moreover, they can customize the size and structure of how they want to creatively display the insta feed through options of scroll and grid formatting.

What are customers saying about Instafeed?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Spent a bit of time looking for a basic feed and this is by far the best option. The support from Nuno has been brilliant!

– Corruptgrail

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Great app, easy to install. Had downloaded a few others and had issues installing them, with this one it was 123, and it looks great thank guys :)”

– Kl Swimsuits

Pricing:

Free ($0.00/Month)

You can get this app on Shopify here

#3 Showcase

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (208 Reviews)

The Showcase app is best for Creating Shoppable Instagram Galleries

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

According to HootSuite, 70% of users are more likely to make mobile purchases.

Imagine enabling your customers to know more about your brand while engaging them through visuals of purchasable products.

Features

The ‘Shop-Now’ feature of Showcase on Instagram posts is a great CTA to land insta users on a brand’s Shopify store and make conversions.

Moreover, they can tag products in their pictures and help customers identify potential future purchases.

A great and convenient opportunity to encourage sales using visuals and URL integration in Instagram posts.

What are customers saying about Showcase?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Just installed this app on three sites and the clients love it. Intuitive, current & easy to use – highly recommended.”

– Consignment Furniture Nz on Shopify

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The customer service agent, James, was incredibly responsive and helpful in helping to integrate the app to my website! Thank you for your assistance”

– Sarah London on Shopify

Pricing:

Free Trial for first 14 days, then $29.00/Month

You can get this app on Shopify here.

#4 Gleam

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (52 Reviews)

Gleam is an app best for Running Instagram Contests.

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

With Gleam’s widget, brands can run end-to-end Instagram campaigns to foster user rewards and community engagement for their products.

Features

Gleam provides a seamless mobile experience for brands. Moreover, their widget supports 25 languages and its fraud protection feature even flags suspicious content.

All and all, a great option for increasing user engagement, run giveaway campaigns and increase a brand’s social presence and gain loyal customers. Perfect app for increasing a brand’s social media footprint.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Gleam app is love…gleam app is life. It’s just…good. Geeky apparel store”

– TheReaDiverse on Shopify

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Works really well. We’ve made several competitions for our store and seen increased engagement.”

– Lfsoxfordsales on Shopify

Pricing Free:

($0.00/Month)

You can get this app on Shopify here.

App #5 Snapppt

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (621 Reviews)

Snapppt is an app best for creating shoppable Instagram posts.

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

Snapppt for Instagram lets brands create shoppable Instagram posts. Moreover, the app is great for to measuring user insights and turning every image into a subtle sales pitch.

Features

Snapppt can be easily embedded with any website and allows brands to increase their conversion rate.

Using shoppable Instagram images, brands can even track user insights from start to check-out and customize their store based on real-time analysis.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Loving this app so far. Makes it easy for my customers to locate and shop for the items I post on my instagram page. I don’t have a review for their customer service or support, because I have not needed it. It was very easy to download, and set up. And I have zero tech skills. That’s how easy it was.”

– Herringbone and Company 

Pricing:

Free ($0.00/ Month)

You can get this app on Shopify here.

#6 Smile IO

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (2994 Reviews)

Smile is best for consumer engagement via loyalty points, VIP and referral programs

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

Definitely a winner, Smile IO helps brands focus on their customer engagement through rewards programs. The app is great for increasing revenue and repeat-purchases.

A good example of this would be reading how SmileIO helped Inkbox make an 80% increase in repeat purchases.

Features:

The app allows brands to empower customers into marketing user-generated content through referrals and social shares. The seamless app lets brands to reward loyal customers with VIP rewards, schemes, and loyalty points.

The targeted engagements feature aimed at refining customer experience helps increase sales.

Moreover, by encouraging customers into sharing referrals with friends, brands can expand their user base.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“This is the perfect solution for us and our store. So easy to set up and get going. I highly recommend this app for anyone looking for a good way to engage with your customers.”

– Helding

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a very cool app and our customers seem to really enjoy using it. It also integrates well and looks very professional. More importantly, its made the reward system pretty fun to use and feel like a game. Definitely a good way to build customer loyalty and further interaction.

– Pixelcrib

You can get this app on Shopify here

#7 Insta Show

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (75 Reviews)

Insta show is best for displaying Instagram images on your shopify store.

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

Instashow helps you showcase any Instagram images on your website.

Instashow let’s you choose any combination of public usernames, hashtags, locations and photo URLs to display Instagram feed in your Shopify Store. Attract your customers creating a great content.

Features:

Instant Show enables an easy setup with the help of marvelous live code generator which is quick and mobile-friendly and retina ready.

With flexible UI customizations, it also supports 21 languages to design and display insta feeds.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Excellent Instagram feed with great customization options and a super clean layout.”

– Lusso Movements on Shopify

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“SUPER EASY to install! The feed looks amazing, literally improved my entire website with one copy and paste of a widget. And I’ve installed multiple other IG integration apps and either the layout looks terrible or the widget code doesn’t work. Instashow is TOTALLY different!”

– Hollywood Hair God on Shopify

Pricing:

Free Trial for first 7 days, then $4.99/Month

You can get this app on Shopify here

#8 FourSixty

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (114 Reviews)

Best for: Shoppable instagram plugins, scheduling, curating, analytics and more

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

FourSixty’s API can be embedded into shoppable Instagram galleries. Great way to promote #UGC for online stores through email newsletters, product pages, cart page, collections pages, ad campaigns, blog, and more.

Features:

FourSixty’s winning feature is converting User Generated Content (UGC) into Instagram shoppable post.

Not only this, it also allows users to ‘Add to Cart’ directly from a brand’s Instagram picture and acquire the digital rights to use #UGC.

What a brilliant idea to engage customers and embrace them as brand’s real marketers.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“This is a great app that helps me improve my business. People see the posts on my site and buy direct! Did you know that desktop users and laptop users cannot see Instagram’s built-in tags? I didn’t!! Thanks to the team at Foursixty!”

– B K Collectables 

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The Foursixty team is amazing, not only do they have the best shoppable IG feed on the market but they’re pricing is perfect no matter how big or small your business is. The iOS app is top notch for tagging products and our custom feed imbed is converting customers left and right.”

– Diff Eye Wear 

Pricing:

Free Trial for first 21 days, then $50.00 – $300.00/Month

You can get this app on Shopify here

#9 AI-Driven E-Commerce Marketing  by OnlineSales.ai

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (15 Reviews)

This app is best for acquiring new customers through Google, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram and more.

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

Paid marketing is complex, there are various channels to choose from and launching ads through AdWords and Facebook business manager can get overwhelming.

Not to mention the various parameters you need to be aware of like:

  • Who do you target? What time should you advertise?
  • How much do you bid? What budget should you start with?
  • What should your ad copy say? How should your ad creatives look like?

To make this easier, OnlineSales.ai has launched an app on Shopify which helps you advertise without worrying about any of the above parameters.

All of these are taken care by their AI and Machine Learning algorithms, basically you it allows you to focus on your business while the app takes care of the rest.

Just recently Google awarded OnlineSales.ai as the best platform for Google Shopping in the world!

Features

Cross-Channel Marketing: Capture relevant customers regardless of the channel they are on.

Powerful Campaign Management: Launch, optimize and monitor your ad campaigns from a unified interface.

Smarter & Actionable Analytics: Get the true power of AI-Driven Analytics with real-time insights stacked up against your marketing goals.

Grow with Artificial Intelligence: Data without intelligence is history. Stay ahead of the competition with the power of AI.

Dream Ad Creative Suite: Pack a punch with your ad creatives and build custom templates for scale with our Creative Suite

3X Higher Productivity: Features built to effectively increase your team’s productivity.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This App is very useful as a single point for managing paid marketing for multiple channels – Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
Overall automation and AI in tool has improved bidding and keyword optimization for our campaigns.
It gives reporting, campaign launching and automated campaign optimizing. We got an ROI of 7! Very Happy!

– Piyush S, TheStiffCollar.com

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

We sell a vast variety of shoes, and running effective ad campaigns for our entire product line across multiple channels was posing to be a problem much beyond the scope of our small in-house marketing team.

With OnlineSales.ai in control of our performance marketing automation, we’ve seen an unprecedented growth of 5X in return on ad spends (ROAS) in the last 5 months.

– Collar Tales

You can get this app on Shopify here

#10 SocialShopWave

Shopify Store Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (498 Reviews)

This app is best for improving your social sharing and driving new customers to your Shopify store.

How it makes a difference to the brand’s online store?

Usually your shopify store is filled with individual apps to do the following:

  • Social Login
  • Wishlist app
  • Social Reviews
  • Social Sharing
  • Community Feed
  • Automated Emails
  • Notifications
  • & more

You no longer need to download several apps to do these things. SocialShopWave does all of this and more.

This unified approach helps you to see a more holistic picture of what’s working for your store and fix what’s not.

Features

SocialShopWave has a plethora of features designed to help you in these areas:

1. Drive more traffic

SocialShopWave is a complete app for driving social shares and new traffic to your site. Increase social and email shares using 12 unique ways: starting from sharing products, wishlists, and ending with sharing 5-star reviews.

2. Earn your customers trust and sell more

If visitors don’t trust your website, there will be no sale. This all helps increase your visitors trust and increase conversions by displaying verified reviews, showcasing real customers’ Instagram photos, showing how many people love and save items to their wishlists.

3. Accelerate your business growth

Take care of each your visitor by providing convenient and personalized shopping experience: starting by how they sign-up, save favorite items and ending with personalized offers and emails.

What are customers saying?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Highly recommend this App for all its features, not to mention an outstanding customer care support! A turn-key solution found nowhere else! Thank you guys!

– Yellow Dot Bikini

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What can I say? Great app? Check! Great support? Check! It’s been a fantastic app for myself and my store. The support has been amazing. Actually the best I have dealt with. I highly recommend the app to anyone looking for ways to add elements to your store that will be beneficial.

– Shop4truth

You can get this app on Shopify here

Related Posts:

11 CRO Hacks That Will Boost Your eCommerce Sales

Marketplace vs. Your Own Store vs. Social Selling

Google PLA vs. Facebook DPA: The Ultimate E-Commerce Battle

10 Best Practices for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Identify New Opportunities with Our Uber Dashboard

Introducing the new Dashboard V2.0 that will provide you with a quick performance overview of your channels, campaigns, products and how you benchmark against the industry.

What’s New?

A simpler, More Efficient Dashboard

The new Dashboard has a visually pleasing hierarchy along with a simplified break-down of each metric, making it easy for our users to read through multiple data points.

We’ve also categorized channels and metrics by colors, making it easier to associate with one another throughout the platform.

Identify New Opportunities with Detailed Insights

1. Popular Products and Categories

Our new Dashboard showcases your top performing products and categories along with the no. of visits, cart and order quantity data. You can use this data to make an informed decision to optimise your existing campaign or while setting up your next one.

2. Top Google Ads

Find out which Google search ads drive the most engagement in one view.

This data will help you identify your top performing ads and also help you understand which keywords are being searched for and which ad copy is grabbing the most attention.

3. Campaign Depth

This feature will help you understand the multiple layers of your campaign.

Campaign Depth showcases four metrics: Total SKUs, Active Ads, Active Keywords and Optimization Changes.

Total SKUs:

These are the total number of products present in the feed linked to the platform. These will include both in stock and out of stock products.

Active Ads:

These would include all the eligible ads that are a part of an active campaign.

Active Keywords:

These would include all the eligible keywords that are a part of an active campaign.

Optimization Changes:

This number displays the total number of suggestions that were acted upon and implemented by OnlineSales.ai. Suggestions would encompass bid, budget, device, ad scheduling, positive and negative keyword addition etc.

See How Your Catalog Stacks Up Against the Industry

We’ve made it easier for you to track how your product catalog stacks up against the industry benchmark.

You can now monitor the following metrics on the dashboard at a glance.

Feed Quality:

Feed Quality plays a crucial role in the performance of your Shopping campaigns, but it’s a metric that most etailers often overlook and it ends up impacting the success of their Shopping Campaigns.

In our new Dashboard V2.0, we’ve added the Feed Quality metric that will help our customers benchmark their product feed against the industry. This will help them deep-dive and discover new opportunities to optimize their feed and in-turn improve their Shopping Ads performance.

Pricing and Discount Competitiveness:

You can now monitor price and discount competitiveness directly from the OnlineSales.ai dashboard. This will help you in quickly identifying the right price point and discounts to drive the maximum conversions without affecting your profit margins.

Who gets it?

At OnlineSales.ai we believe in spreading the love. Therefore, the new dashboard is accessible to all our customers.

See it in Action

11 CRO Hacks That Will Boost Your eCommerce Sales

What is a Conversion in E-Commerce?

A Conversion for an E-Commerce website can be divided into two categories:

Primary Conversions/Main Conversion: This is a type of conversion which directly affects your bottom line i.e when a user completes a purchase on the website.

Secondary Conversions: A secondary conversion can be of multiple types. These conversions are indirect conversions as they do not directly affect a transaction but can affect it in the future.

Example: newsletter subscription, exit pop up, add to cart, add to wishlist, app install/download etc.

In this blog I’ll be talking on how you can optimize your primary conversions i.e. when a user completes a purchase.

However some of these optimizations can help your secondary conversions as well.

How do you calculate conversion rate?

Conversion rate is the of number people who complete a desired goal on your website divided by total number of visitors.

Overall Conversion Rate:

11 CRO Hacks That Will Boost Your eCommerce Sales

Primary Conversion Rate:

Primary Conversion | 11 CRO Hacks That Will Boost Your eCommerce Sales

Secondary Conversion Rate:

Secondary Conversions | CRO

It is extremely important to know your current conversion rate before you start optimizing.

This gives you a baseline to which you can compare and see if your optimizations did work.

Let’s take a look at 11 conversion rate optimization hacks you can use today to boost your transactions.

CRO Hack #1: Offer Free Shipping

Free Shipping | CRO Hacks

Let’s start with something that all shoppers love.

Yes, free shipping.

Maximum drop offs occur during the checkout process. One key element to checkout process is shipping cost.

Let’s take a look at the following example:

Free Shipping Example | Ajio | CRO Hacks for E-Commerce

Ajio highlights free shipping for its users. This is another nudge to a user to complete his checkout.

Delivery charges creates a negative psyche for a user.

Astound Commerce quotes that

“Free Shipping, Guaranteed on time delivery are the two deciding factors amongst the top 5 when choosing a retailer.”

How Important is Free Shipping?

An extensive survey by Statistic Brain shows the following results:

  • Will not make a purchase without it — 36%
  • I actively seek out free shipping deals — 42%
  • I would like to find it but not required — 12%
  • Has very little effect on my purchase decision — 1%
  • I will make my purchase regardless of shipping costs — 2%
  • Don’t know/not sure — 6%

I understand that not every eCommerce store can provide Free Shipping. It can take a toll on your profit margins.

You can also try the following:

  • Add the shipping price to the price of the products.
  • Offer free shipping for a few select categories.
  • Charge a shipping fee only below a certain order value. Example: Orders above $50 can avail free shipping.
  • Always A/B test to these which of the following methods provide better profit margins for you.

CRO Hack #2: Speed, Speed & More Speed

Website Speed | CRO hacks for E-Commerce

C’mon! We all know how bad the user experience is when website is slow. It gets even worse on mobile.

Yes, website speed does affect CRO.

You might ask how does speed affect Conversion Optimization? How big of a priority is it really?

The slower your website is, the more your UX suffers. Also, the boost in website traffic you drive, the more benefit you’ll receive from performance optimizations.

And the good thing about website speed boost is that it’s not limited to CRO. Fast web page load times also helps user engagement, customer satisfaction as well as search engine rankings.

But how much of an impact does it make really?

OnlineGraduatePrograms research (USA) on the tolerance of website speed has some eye opening results.

40% of mobile shoppers will abandon a site that doesn’t load in 3 seconds.

Amazon.com makes about $67 million in sales each day.

Amazon found that they could potentially lose up to $1.6 BILLION PER YEAR because of a 1 second web page delay.

Speed Affects Google Too:

OVER 3 BILLION GOOGLE SEARCHES ARE DONE IN A DAY. Answering 34,000 questions per second.

But when questions aren’t answered quickly, people ask less.

Google found that slowing search results by just 4/10THS OF A SECONDwould reduce the number of searches by 8 million a day!

CRO Hack #3: Fear of missing out (FOMO)

FOMO | ECommerce CRO Hacks

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is one of the most effective tactics to improve the conversion rate for your website.

FOMO is inbuilt amongst us. Fear of missing out on an event, party, promotion. It’s what keeps us going.

How can you use FOMO in E-Commerce to drive better conversion rate?

Depending on what you sell online and your customer persona you can customize and try the following FOMO practices:

1. FOMO | This Person bought this from XYZ City:

FOMO | ECommerce CRO Hacks

We’ve all seen a message like the one shown above at least once while visiting an online store.

These kind of messages can be shown either synced to an actual purchase on your website or can be aggregated at an overall level and shown.

You can customize the gender, city and product category you want to show a user for added personalization.

2. FOMO | Show Limited Quantities

Showing limited quantities for your products increases FOMO. Expedia.com does this extremely well.

If you see on the bottom right corner, you’ll see in glaring red “In high demand! We have 2 left at

FOMO | ECommerce CRO Hacks

The “In high demand!” message shows how popular the hotel is amongst travellers. The “We have 2 left at” nudges the user to complete his transaction sooner.

3. FOMO | Monetize Your Inventory with Flash Sales

Flash sales are extremely popular. They limit the time a product is available on a discount.

Xiaomi, the smartphone manufacturer sold over 2.11 million handsets in 24 hours to set a new Guinness World Record.

This sale alone bought over $335 million!

Amazon is another great example. They take a hybrid approach between time flash sales and showing limited quantities.

Amazon calls this “Lightning Deals”.

They offer a fixed number of products at a discounted price and for a limited time.

FOMO | Flash Sales | CRO for E-Commerce

CRO Hack #4: Optimize Your Checkout Process

Optimize your checkout process | E-Commerce CRO Hacks

Your users love your website. They’ve added a few products to their carts. They hit the checkout button to make the final purchase.

But something doesn’t feel right. There is a major disconnect once they reach the checkout process.

This is the story for most E-commerce stores.

Abandoned carts continue to be an issue for retailers of all sizes, with the average abandoned cart rate at 69%.

Optimizing your checkout process is critical and here are some quick tips on how you do it.

Checkout Tip 1 | Reorder your form for a progressive flow

Far too often online stores start the checkout process with the billing information.

To the end user this just screams “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY”.

Showing form fields that are perceived less invasive should be shown first. Example: name, email, address followed by the billing details.

Not only does this improve your conversion rate for each step during the checkout but also reduces the chance of customers dropping off at the last step.

Why?

Because users are unlikely to fill all the details they’ve already provided & start the checkout process again.

Checkout Tip 2 | Optimize the Number of Form Fields.

Optimize the Number of Form Fields

Do not blast your shoppers with 10–12 different form fields.

It’s not just bad UX but also unnecessary. One of the best practice to follow here is to only show the required form fields to your customer and nothing else.

You should also break the the number of form fields shown at one time, in multiple steps.

Show just 2–3 form fields at one time. Rest of the form fields can be shown in a similar way as the customer moves on to the next step.

You can also add a progress bar on the top of your form card to let the user know how many steps are left.

This helps the user understand how many steps are left for him to complete. Also if the user is half way through the checkout process they are less likely to drop off as they would have to start the process all over again.

Checkout Tip 3 | Automating Form Field Information.

This is a quick and easy fix to make your form filling less cumbersome.

You can automate a your form fields on the basis of what a user fills in previously.

For example:

For filling the shipping details. Ask the user his/her pincode for delivery first.

On the basis of what pincode the user fills you can then automate the Country and City form fields. This simple “hack” basically reduces two form fields for you.

CRO Hack #5: Turn Browsing into Buying with Remarketing Ads

Remarketing ads for E-Commerce - CRO

Do you know that more than 90% of the people return from an e-commerce without converting from their 1st visit?

On an average more than 49% of the people take at least 2 website visits before making a purchase!

Online Shopping carts are abandoned over 70% of the times.

Remarketing is the holy grail for E-commerce. Remarketing helps you optimize on your conversions outside your website.

Both Google & Facebook offer remarketing through their respective platforms.

Google Dynamic Remarketing and Facebook Dynamic Product Ads are the most popular and effect channels.

Further Reading: 10 Best Practices for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

There are various advantages of retargeting/remarketing:

  • CPC’s are typically a fraction of a cost compared to other channels.
  • Remarketing ads can be highly personalized since you’re targeting only the users who’ve shown an interest in your products.
  • Display remarketing ads have an the most extensive reach all over the web ensuring that no matter where you shopper is you ad will show.
  • Remarketing campaigns have one of the highest conversion rates ensuring a great ROI.

You can also target shoppers by creating a list of emails you’ve captured on your website.

You can upload this email list to Google/Facebook. Once Google/Facebook maps these emails it will target these users with ads of your choice.

If you’re new to advertising or want to scale your advertising campaigns efficiently you should explore the option of using a Tool/Platform.

While there are various tools to do this in the market I recommend using OnlineSales.ai

OnlineSales.ai helps retailers acquire shoppers at better margins through advertising. They aren’t just limited to remarketing and can help retailers advertise across Facebook, Google & Amazon.

CRO Hack #6: Offer the Option of a Guest Checkout

Guest Checkout for E-Commerce - CRO

I’ve mentioned this earlier in this article and I’ll do it again, checkout process accounts for the highest percentage of drop offs.

There are various checkout touchpoints where you can optimize the conversion rate.

One way to optimize and reduce drop offs during the checkout process is to have the option of a guest check out.

What is a Guest Checkout?

A guest checkout allows a user to make a purchase on your website without having to register. To make a purchase all a shopper needs to do is fill the shipping and billing details and they are good to go.

Why is this Important?

We are all registered on more websites than we can remember. The plethora of emails which follows after registering for every website is annoying.

Users do not like to register for every website they have to buy a product from. This is especially true for first time customers.

A guest checkout removes the boring registration process and makes purchasing the product that much easier.

Checking out as a guest is also perceived as less “commitment” for shoppers, as well as removes the potential perception that you’re after private user data.

This is especially true for first time buyers.

CRO Hack #7: Establish Credibility and Social Proof

Establish Social Credibility - E-Commerce CRO

Establishing Credibility is critical is getting people buy from your website. Shoppers just will not purchase something they don’t trust.

Establishing trust and credibility takes time, but here are some things you can do now to help accelerate that.

Credibility & Social Proof Tip 1: Boost Your Customer Reviews

When looking for a new product, how frequently do you read online reviews before purchasing the product?

Almost every time. That’s because few things establish social proof better than product reviews.

86% of consumers like to read at least 3 reviews before buying.

87% of shoppers said reviews impact their purchase decisions.

Source: Salsify

This question was asked by Socratic while conducting an extensive survey.

eCommerce CRO | Social Credibility

You can do the following things to boost your customer reviews:

Send an automated email asking for a review after a user purchases a product from your website.

Offer a 10% discount coupon on the next order

Credibility & Social Proof Tip 2: Offer Free Refunds

Free refunds helps shoppers take that leap of faith while buying your products.

According to BigCommerce, 68% of American shoppers are influenced by free refunds.

When a shopper is on the fence about making that purchase, free refunds are often the final nudge to making that purchase happen.

Your shoppers are far more likely to buy something that has free refund than not. Free refunds also instills a sense of trust & credibility for someone buying first time from your store.

If it’s not viable to keep free refunds on your entire catalog. You can keep free refunds on select categories too.

It’s also important to explicitly mention your users that you offer free refunds. You can add this message on the product page & during the checkout.

Credibility & Social Proof Tip 3: Have an Easy to Understand Return Policy

Returns can be a nightmare for retailers in terms of cost and logistics. But in E-Commerce Returns are inevitable.

There are various reasons why products are returned. Wrong products shipped, damaged products, products may look different online etc.

How do you fix your returns?

E-Commerce CRO Hacks | Social Credibility

Source: UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper

Along with this have a clear and easy to understand return policy on your store.

Explicitly mention your return policy on product pages.

Credibility & Social Proof Tip 4: Contact Information Visibility

Few things resolve a shoppers query faster than a phone call.

Make your contact information visible across your website. This provides an easy way to for shoppers to contact you if they have any questions regarding your product.

Credibility & Social Proof Tip 5: Security Badges

Online retailers can use badges to establish credibility. Here are a few badges you should consider implementing on your website.

CRO Hack #8: Optimize CTA’s

Optimize CTA's | E-Commerce CRO

CTA’s are essential in the conversion path of your user. There are several ways you can optimize your CTA’s.

Getting the best results for you usually requires a lot of A/B testing.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind while optimizing your CTA’s

CTA Optimization Tip 1: Write benefit driven CTA content.

We’ve all seen CTA’s like these:

  • Sign Up
  • Enter
  • Continue
  • Submit
  • Download

These are boring and does not communicate the benefit the CTA is giving. Always make your CTA content action driven and benefit oriented.

Here are some examples of such CTA’s

  • Download My Free E-Book
  • Get Started for Free
  • Let’s Talk
  • Start Your Free Trial Today
  • Join The Club

When you do write action oriented keywords make sure you don’t go overboard. It’s still a CTA, so don’t write paragraphs.

CTA Optimization Tip 2: CTA Colour

CTA’s are supposed to stand out from the entire websites colour scheme. To do this you need to use a CTA with high contrast.

You should always A/B test CTA colours to see which works best for you.

CTA Optimization Tip 3: Size Matters

Your CTA should stand out from the entire page and content. It’s important to have a good CTA size so that it grabs the users attention.

But don’t go overboard as this can turn out to be more of a distraction and feel obstructive.

You should also explore testing CTA placements, CTA micro interactions, Two CTA’s vs One etc.

CRO Hack #9: Reminder to Wishlist

A great way to engage with “digital window shoppers” i.e. shoppers just browsing on your website is to add a “Wishlist”.

Ajio does this really well. They allow users to save items to their “closet”.

AJIO | Product Description - E-Commerce CRO

H&M calls this “Favorites”.

H&M - Ecommerce CRO Hacks

No matter what you call it. This feature provides shoppers the option of saving something they really like but aren’t ready to buy yet.

This is different to add to cart, add cart required a lot more commitment to purchase something than a wishlist.

You can then target users via email or ads to complete the purchase.

CRO Hack #10: Optimize Product Descriptions

E-Commerce CRO | Optimize Product Descriptions

Product Descriptions are incredibly important. I cannot stress enough how important product descriptions are.

Here are some numbers to back me up:

87% of shoppers rate product content extremely or very important when deciding to buy.

50% have returned an item they bought online because it didn’t match the product description.

Your product descriptions should be able to speak to you customers. They should answer the pain points of your shopper as well.

A great product description is not just witty and good content but also the way it’s been presented. I’m talking about textual formatting.

No one is going to read your product descriptions if you write long essays like this:

E-Commerce CRO - Product Descriptions

Don’t make this mistake of writing long paragraphs in your product descriptions.

Always format your product descriptions in short words, simple sentences and small paragraphs. Use bullet points and symbols wherever possible to highlight specific benefits of your products.

Here’s a checklist you should follow while writing your product description.

Product Description Checklist | E-Commerce CRO

CRO Hack #11: Optimize Your A/B Tests

A/B Testing - eCommerce CRO

A/B Testing in E-Commerce

Even though this is the last “Hack” in this article it’s by no means the least important. In fact this is the important hack.

A/B testing is the backbone for a successful CRO process.

You can optimize conversions with A/B testing CTA’s, landing page content, product descriptions, checkout process and more.

Yet many marketers fail to use split testing correctly.

Yes, you may be using “statistical significance” to determine the success of your A/B tests, but are you using it correctly?

Okay a quick heads up! This might get a bit nerdy for some people.

Nerd Alert | E-commerce CRO

What is Statistical Significance?

According to Investopedia

Statistical significance is used to accept or reject the null hypothesis, which hypothesizes that there is no relationship between measured variables. A data set is statistically significant when the set is large enough to accurately represent the phenomenon or population sample being studied.

A data set is typically deemed to be statistically significant if the probability of the phenomenon being random is less than 1/20, resulting in a p-value of 5%. When the test result exceeds the p-value, the null hypothesis is accepted. When the test result is less than the p-value, the null hypothesis is rejected.

Oversimplifying what this means is whether or not your test variants have actually performed better than the orginal or vice-a-versa.

It tells marketers if there is actually a meaningful difference between your variants.

More often than not, I’ve seen marketers fall prey to “repeated statistical significance.”

Evan Miller has a great article explaining how not to A/B test.

He explains how marketers fall prey to the statistical significance shown on your A/B test tools dashboard.

This is mainly due to a peeking bias.

Which means that the moment marketers see a “statistical significance” or a “probability to beat” they stop the test.

How to fix this?

When you run A/B tests, decide in advance your sample set. Do not “peek” in between looking for statistical significance before your sample set is complete.

Decide your sample size in advance i.e. before you start the test.

What should your sample size be?

A/B Testing formula

Where, δ is the minimum effect you wish to detect in your tests & σ2 is the sample variance you expect.

If you’re not into math as much I am, don’t worry I got you covered. Here’s an online tool which calculates this for you.

An alternative to this type of of A/B testing model is Bayesian A/B testing.

The advantages with Bayesian A/B testing is that you don’t have to collect a pre decided sample size in order to get a meaningful result.

You don’t even need a large amount of data to test if you have meaningful results.

It’s probably best suited for the kind of web testing E-Commerce websites need.

Marketers now-a-days require results fast, and Bayesian methods provide this and more.

Bayesian model is used by A/B testing softwares like VWO, and Google Optimize.

If you’re a retailer who’s just starting out I’d recommend Google Optimize, however for larger eCommerce companies I’d suggest VWO or Optimizely since they provide far more sophistication and features.

Conclusion.

When it comes to CRO, always remember to:

  1. Identify your pain points.
  2. Prioritize the ones that need urgent attention.
  3. Hypothesize your solution.
  4. Optimize.
  5. And most importantly verify.

There are literally hundreds of CRO hacks you can run to optimize your online store.

It’s important to know your stores weakest points and start from there.

You can always start small, test your hypothesis and go on to bigger experiments.

In the eCommerce Industry, your website is the most essential part of your business.

Optimizing it will reward your business not just in the short term but also in the long term.

Did I miss any essential CRO hack? Let me know in the comments!

Seller Monetization Strategies: A Marketplace’s Key To Success

Over the years, e-commerce marketplaces have gained incredible power as platforms that bridge the gap between buyers and sellers. They have changed the way goods and services are found, priced and made available to shoppers.

Maintaining an e-commerce marketplace is like maintaining a complex machine in the most optimized fashion. Advertising dollars can definitely drive traffic to your marketplace but ensuring balanced sales volume spread across a majority of your vendors can become a formidable challenge.

Guess what! On an average, less than 10% of traffic on a multi-vendor marketplace converts to a sale.

That’s right! What this effectively means is that 90% of the audience is window shopping and every marketplace needs to find direct & indirect ways of utilizing this pool of potential intents.

If you really think about it, a marketplace is a perfect confluence of shoppers, intent and merchandise. This opens up a whole new opportunity of creating hooks and engagements that can help increase order values of existing shoppers and push the needle in converting new ones.

Such a strategy leaves all parties happy with your sellers getting more sales, shoppers buying more and your marketplace increasing overall revenues.

From a Seller Monetization & Marketing strategy point of view, this is the core thought that grows into different products and solutions that can be implemented by marketplaces.

Usually, marketplaces generate revenue in the following ways:

  1. Commission on sales from sellers.
  2. Providing value-added services like storage, logistics, payment gateway, etc.
  3. Low paying and generalized ad networks across ad slots on the marketplace.
  4. Listing fees or monthly membership fees from sellers.

To be honest, while the above models have been tried and tested, they don’t really make the best use of the potential data of shoppers, their intent and sellers product coverage that a marketplace has available. While this may add to linear growth and exponentially increase revenues, newer and smarter models need to be adopted.

revenue-growth-realization-gif

One such revenue channel is creating native ad inventory or Sponsored Product Ads on your marketplace itself.

Different kinds of native ads your marketplace should power via such ad inventory are:

  1. Best-Sellers or Top Trending Products
  2. Category-wise Top Selling Products
  3. Featured Recommendations/ Personalization
  4. User-Based Remarketing Products
  5. Complementary or Add-on Products

According to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru : Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues.

When it comes to sellers, what can be seen in recent trends is that an increasing number of sellers are trying to find newer ways to boost sales on marketplaces.

Sellers today understand that simply listing products on a marketplace does not create a lot of visibility for them. Its critical that they have tools which can help them gain visibility in front of relevant shoppers online and drive more ‘purchasing traffic’ to their listings.

Furthermore, in respect to Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Net Margins, many of us in the e-commerce space are well aware that marketplaces usually see high CACs which lead to wafer-thin Net Margins.

Both these metrics play an important role to keep marketplace economics on track. Thus, it is even more essential to find ways to stabilize CAC’s which would translate into better margins.

In such a scenario, implementing a seller monetization solution increases conversion rates not only for returning buyers but also converts new shoppers.

As a result, additional sales from the existing audience brings down CAC’s considerably. And to add a cherry on the cake, this increase in sales volume in turn improves the Net Margins for marketplaces.

increase-sales-volume-stabilize-CAC-idea-gif

A marketplace seller monetization solution should work at two levels:

The first level works within your marketplace where sellers can optimize the traffic already present on your marketplace website.

The second, helps sellers nudge intent driven traffic back to the website.

Native Ads or Sponsored Product Ads

Sellers should be enabled to launch Native Product Ads or Sponsored Product Ads across your marketplace pages and listings to target audiences within your marketplace environment itself.

This will help sellers in increasing their catalog visibility and reaching high intent shoppers from within your marketplaces’ existing pool of traffic.

sponsored-seller-ads-example-image

By doing so, your marketplace creates a new revenue channel which is profitable right from day 1. Here, your marketplace can not just monetize its ad listing space but also optimize it.

Buyers, on the other hand, should receive personalized product recommendations based on what they are looking for, the category they are browsing and their purchase history among other factors. This results in higher conversion rates from the existing pool of traffic on your marketplace.

product-recommendations-example-image

Such a solution not only works as a value-added service to your sellers but also helps shoppers find personalized and relevant products. These Product Ads look and feel exactly like your marketplace’s own organic listings.

Did you know? According to a research by McKinsy, an astounding 35% of Amazon’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine.

Paid Channel Ads on Google and Facebook

Enabling sellers to launch campaigns on paid CPC channels is the second level at which a seller monetization solution should work.

Here, marketing automation should take care of generating keywords, creating ad copies, deciding placements, setting bids, the frequency of ads, etc. On the other hand, AI-driven insights should ideally help optimize ad spends, targetings, etc. Thus delivering great returns for every penny of ad spend.

And when all of this can be done in just a few clicks, even the sellers who are new to digital marketing can take up this solution with ease.

Seller sponsored ads across Google + Facebook helps sellers and your marketplace to drive new relevant traffic from paid channels back to your marketplace website.

This essentially increases the sellers’ reach beyond your marketplaces native traffic to a wider intent driven audience online.

Your marketplace thus has an entire seller base which shoulders its marketing costs while driving new shoppers to the website.

seller-base-shoulders-marketing-costs-realization-gif

Providing a seller monetization solution necessitates creating additional experience such as campaign/ad manager platform for the add-on services provided to the seller.

Ideally, a great monetization solution should already have such a platform or interface as a part and parcel of its offering. Such an experience works best from within your marketplaces seller center because:

  1. It ensures a seamless experience for the sellers.
  2. Ease of handling for non-tech-savvy sellers.
  3. No additional effort required from the marketplace to build a custom experience.

Did you know? 23% of sellers list seamless seller center experience and availability of add-on tools as deciding factors for listing on marketplaces.

In a nutshell, apart from just increasing sales, a seller monetization solution can provide your marketplace with the following benefits:

  1. Drive newer intent based traffic from paid channels back to your marketplace without additional marketing costs.
  2. Increase conversion rates for new shoppers as well as repeat buyers.
  3. This increase in conversion rates drives more revenue further increasing your marketplaces margins.
  4. Serves as an additional and important marketplace offering to the sellers.
  5. Increase in seller revenues as a result of higher conversion rates from highly intent driven shoppers.
  6. Overall, seller longevity is improved for your marketplace.
  7. For the buyer, personalized ads make their experience a lot more immersive.
  8. Cross-channel targeting ensures increased Share-of-Voice capture from potential shoppers.
  9. Up-selling and cross-selling powered by the native ads solutions results in a greater buyer Lifetime Value (LTV).

all-of-the-above-gif

Now, when it comes to actually selecting and implementing a seller monetization solution, a solution which is automated, AI-powered and self-serve allows your marketplace to implement and power additional revenue channels in just a few clicks.

Barring a few last mile integrations, your marketplace need not flex much muscle as all the heavy lifting is done by the solution. Thus, a solution which empowers your marketplace and your sellers, requiring only minimal effort from your marketplace team, is the right pick here!

How can we help?

Monetize by OnlineSales.ai, a complete e-commerce marketing solution can be natively integrated with any marketplace within 2-3 weeks. It’s an AI-driven solution for marketplaces globally to offer seamless cross-channel marketing solutions to its sellers on a single platform.

To learn more about Monetize and how it can help your sellers, write to us on hi@onlinesales.ai.

Interested in Implementing a Seller Monetization and Marketing Solution?

Schedule a Demo

How E-Commerce Platforms Can Stand Out from the Competition

With most businesses preferring SaaS-based e-commerce platforms to set up their online store rather than opting for an on-premise solution, the E-Commerce Platform market has become extremely competitive.

In order to thrive in this fast-paced, hyper-competitive market, E-Commerce Platforms today have moved beyond the single purpose of just enabling businesses to sell products online.

The top e-commerce platforms today include all core business functions, accessible from a single unified interface. Use of such e-commerce platforms improves cross-team collaboration, reduces the setup cost and allows businesses to scale faster.

Most E-Commerce Platforms drive the following functions in a unified manner:

  • Order and inventory management
  • Payment gateway integration
  • Analytics and reporting
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Website Design
  • Shipping
  • Hosting

While all these functions are surely important in setting up a successful store, there’s one crucial function that every e-commerce platform has conveniently ignored.

A complete marketing solution that is natively integrated within the e-commerce platform. No store is complete without the right tools to help them attract more shoppers and grow their sales.

The Top Features to Look for in the Marketing Solution:

Cross-Channel Support:

The current eCommerce user journey spans across multiple channels and devices. Therefore, it is crucial that the marketing solution you choose to integrate with supports multiple advertising channels like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and Email.

Quick Campaign Launches:

Launching campaigns across different channels is often a cumbersome process, where you need to define the ad groups, ad sets, ad copy, targeting, ad creative and the list goes on.

You would not want your merchants to go through these hassles. Hence, you should look for a marketing solution that automates all the mundane processes and allows your merchants to launch their campaigns in 2-3 clicks.

One-Click Optimizations:

Your merchants are business-oriented people and they might not be familiar with the nuances of optimizing a campaign day-in, day-out on Google, Facebook, Instagram and Amazon.

What you ideally need is a solution that gives your merchants 1-click suggestions to optimize their ad campaigns and identify growth opportunities. Or even better if it can do all the optimizations automatically.

Smart Reports:

Lastly, your merchants should have 100% transparency on the performance of their ad campaigns. Therefore, you should ensure that the marketing solution you chose to integrate with offers actionable insights and has the ability to share customized reports with key stakeholders of their organization.

It is ideal to partner with a solution that can do all of this in a native and automated manner to make it super easy and simple for your merchants to launch marketing campaigns.

Here’s How E-Commerce Platforms Benefit by Offering a Natively Integrated Marketing Solution:

1. Seamless Marketing Experience for Your Users

Any business who signs up on your e-commerce platform has a natural progression to explore different ways of driving traffic to its freshly minted store.

By offering a natively integrated marketing solution within your platform, you will enable your users to market their new store across different channels with ease.

Plus, your merchants will now be able to carry out their entire marketing operations from within your e-commerce platform – translating to increased engagement rates.

2. Improved Customer Retention

Providing your merchants with a seamless integration of automation, marketing and sales will help them drive higher ROIs for their stores and effectively reduce your churn. It’s not easy to let go the comfort of a 1-Window interface that manages your store and your marketing.

Remember – a happy customer never leaves, but instead brings more business. 😉

3. It Gives You a Competitive Edge

Offering a natively integrated marketing solution gives you a competitive edge, as none of the other e-commerce platforms are currently offering it. Even if they are, it’s not seamlessly native and incredibly simple to use.

By partnering with a solution that can provide you with all the features stated above, your platform now has 4-5 more services it can offer a merchant without investing or building any of it.

And honestly, we’ve never encountered a customer that has decided not to opt for a service that provides a complete solution and offers exclusive features.

4. Increase in Overall Revenue Per Store

There are two ways to look at it.

At a Merchant Level:
As your merchants drive more sales through marketing campaigns, you could make additional revenue if your eCommerce platform works on a commission-based model per sale.

At Platform Level:
You can charge your merchants a small fee for providing a natively integrated marketing solution. Fees can be as low as $15 per merchant per month and this in turn can significantly increase profitability at a yearly level.

How Can We Help?

Monetize by OnlineSales.ai, a complete e-commerce marketing solution can be natively integrated with any e-commerce platform within 1-week. It’s an AI-driven solution for eCommerce Platforms globally to offer seamless marketing solutions across different channels to its merchants on a single platform.

To learn more about Monetize and how it can help your merchants, write to us on hi@onlinesales.ai.

Interested in Offering a Natively Integrated Marketing Solution to Your Merchants?

Schedule a Demo

Dynamically Retarget Your Shoppers with Responsive Display Ads

We’ve added the ability to create and optimize Responsive Display Ads with Dynamic Remarketing directly from the OnlineSales.ai platform. 😎

What does it solve?

In our previous version, the users had very little control while designing their Google Display strategy, but all that changes with our latest update.

Google Display campaigns can now be launched end-to-end from the platform. You now have the option to:

  • Segment your audience: You can run a remarketing campaign for cart abandoners, new sign-ups, viewers, past buyers or create a new audience set altogether.
  • Specify the location: You can narrow down your ads at region, city or country level.
  • Select the devices: You control on which devices you want to remarket your audience. Desktop, mobile, tablet or all of them.
  • Design your ads: Using our Ad Creative Suite, you can quickly edit and enhance how your ads look.
  • Write your ad copy: You can add a short and long headline, description for your ads, the link to your landing page and the right call-to-action from the platform itself.

We’ve kept the experience of launching the Google Display strategy consistent so there’s no learning curve for you and you can get started right away.

This update also includes 1-click optimization support for Dynamic Remarketing ads, so you don’t have to worry about manually optimizing your campaigns. 😉

How does it work?

Step 1: In the Goals menu, after you’ve entered your target revenue and spend, select Google Display as your advertising channel.

Launch DRM campaigns from the platform | Google Display Strategy tab

Step 2: Click on Google Display Strategy > Custom Strategies > Add New Strategy  and give your DRM strategy a name. For e.g. Belts DRM Strategy

Step 3: In ‘search for brand and category’ field, type in an asterisk sign then the brand or category you want. You can also type in your entire company name to select all your brand and categories.

Launch DRM campaigns from the platform | Adding an asterisk to select category

 

Step 4: On creating your category, select your preferred target Audience, Geo and Device.

Step 5: To create your Ad click on the image icon under the ‘Ads’ column. Let’s call our DRM Ad creative ‘Belts DRM Ads’.

NOTE: Don’t forget to follow the aspect ratio which is (1.9:1) for your landscape image and (1:1) for your square image.

Step 6: Add the required images and data i.e. Short Headline, Long Headline, Description, Business Name and Website URL.           

Launch DRM campaigns from the platform | Add your Images and enter the required data

Step 7: Don’t forget to hit Save. (The Targeting Parameters are mapped automatically, but you can always edit them later.)

Launch DRM campaigns from the platform | Don’t forget to hit Save.

Step 8: Once your ad is created, go back to your strategy and click on the page icon under the category column to activate your strategy.

Launch DRM campaigns from the platform | Click on the icon to activate your strategy

Who gets it?

All our customers who are subscribed to the Google channel can now launch Responsive Display Ads with Dynamic Remarketing. 😀

See it in action:

Related posts:

Google Shopping Ads 101: How to get started.

Google Dynamic Remarketing (DRM):A Must for E-Commerce

Fix Your Product Feed Issues With Our All New Product Feed Mapper

You can now auto-correct all your product feed issues on the OnlineSales.ai platform with 1-Click.

What does it solve?

A product feed is the core of any eCommerce store. It’s how Sales channels like Google, Facebook, Product comparison engines and Marketplaces learn about your product and showcase it to your buyers.

Although, if you’ve ever tried Google Shopping, I’m sure you might have experienced the wrath of Google disapproving your product feed.

Your product feed could be disapproved due to multiple reasons: price mismatch, lack of unique identifiers (GTIN, MPN etc), wrong product category, incorrect images, incorrect product URLs, wrong targeting, missing tax and shipping rules and the list goes on.

We understand the pain that comes along with your products getting disapproved and therefore we’ve worked on a solution that will help you fix all your product feed issues.

Easily map your product feed:

Once you’ve uploaded your product feed on OnlineSales.ai, you can use our product feed mapper to quickly map the required and optional fields from the source feed.

Autocorrect your product feed issues:

You don’t have to worry about getting your product feed disapproved due to incorrect GTIN, Age groups, Gender and Tax etc.

OnlineSales.ai will now auto-correct all your feed issues automatically and map it to the respective field.

How does it work?

Step 1: Go to Settings > Merchandise Connect

Note: Please ensure that you’ve uploaded your product feed before using the product feed mapper.

Step 2: You will see a list of required/optional columns on the left-hand side and fields from your product feed on the right-hand side. Using our smart search you can easily map the columns from your product feed to OnlineSales.ai.

In case there are any issues in the mapped field, for e.g. incorrect GTIN for a product, the OnlineSales.ai platform will trigger a notification like the one shown below.

Just click ‘Fix it’ and the issues will be resolved automatically during the next product feed sync.

Who gets it?

All our customers who are built on BigCommerce, Magento, CS-Cart and custom platforms can leverage our Product Feed Mapper to resolve their product feed issues.

Note: For Shopify users, the product feed is automatically mapped with the required details and a 24/7 feed sync ensures that there are no issues.

See it in action:

Google PLA vs. Facebook DPA: The Ultimate E-Commerce Battle

Within today’s retail advertising landscape, Google and Facebook are the leading platforms for paid advertising.

In this post, we look at both Google Product Ads and Facebook Dynamic Ads and provide a thorough picture to help you decide where you should invest your advertising budget.

By understanding the reach, metrics and success rate of these platforms, you can identify which out of Google Product Listed Ads (PLA) and Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) best suits your product and business growth.

Let’s first take a brief look at these individually:

What are Google Product Listing Ads (PLA)?

Google’s Paid Shopping Ads program or Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) comprises of Shopping data feed, the Google Merchant Center dashboard and the PLAs campaign section of Google AdWords.

Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) appears on top of Google’s search engine whenever anyone searches for a relevant keyword for that product.

By aiming to catalogue products based on categories, Product Listing Ads (PLAs) serve as an important tactic in getting brands & retailers visibility on the web.

Depending on the type of keyword or product you are searching, Google displays relevant products on your screen.

The results are mostly intent based, driven by keywords.

These ads appear on the top of your screen, these visual ads consist of:

  • The Product
  • Price
  • Clickable link
  • Offers/Promotions if any
  • Your brand name
  • Delivery Type

Google PLA vs. FAcebook DPA | Example of Google PLA

Search Results for Leather Boots (above) and Cameras (below) displays the following PLAs on Google Search Engine.

Google PLA vs. FAcebook DPA | Example of Google Product Listing Ads(PLA)

In March 2018, Google introduced its new ‘Shopping Actions’ feature.

Partnering with giants like Target, Walmart, and now Amazon, Google aims to provide a single space to retailers with the help of a universal check-out for customers.

As opposed to a PPC model, Google PLAs under the new feature now operate on a Pay per Sale (PPS) model. This feature makes a lot of sense to retailers trying to break through to consumers in a competitive space.

What are Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)?

Google PLA vs. Facebook DPA | Example of a Facebook Dynamic Product Ad (DPA)

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads or DPAs advertise your product or service automatically lifting the images and data from your feed. It displays it to customers who have expressed interest in your website, app or anywhere else on the web.

With Facebook Dynamic Product Ads each ad is specially formatted for your shoppers according to the keywords they search.

As the name suggests, Facebook’s Dynamic Ads, compared to Google are more dynamic, with active Call to Actions.

The Shop Now features on personalized Facebook ads serve as a tremendous CTA for driving traffic and making conversions. Not only this, the button is customizable.

Facebook is also doing away with its redundant metrics identified as outdated or infrequently used commencing July 2018.

As a result, the Facebook platform will be more optimized for measuring business outcomes or providing actionable insights on creative, audience and optimization strategies.

Some of the relatable matrices are:

  • Engagement Rate
  • Cost Per Thousand People Reached (CPM)
  • Cost Per Transaction
  • Return on Ad Spendings (ROAS)

Google PLA vs. Facebook DPA | Example of a Facebook Dynamic Product Ad (DPA)

Google PLA vs. Facebook DPA

Let’s take a look at how Google and Facebook Ads differ from each other on some important metrics:

Google PLA vs. Facebook DPA | Comparison Table

End Target and Product Goal:

Although both Google and Facebook Ads eventually land users to the product’s landing page where sales transpire.

Being a search engine, Google’s target is always ‘hard conversions’.

If your goal is only to sell a product, it makes sense to invest in Google’s Shopping Ads.

Whereas Facebook Ads have a plethora of use cases from awareness, knowledge sharing, to branding and marketing.

If your end goal is to ‘spread the word’ about your product, get downloads on your latest E-Book or get more page visits, likes, shares etc., without a doubt, go with Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for your products.

It has more room to play around and lets you go beyond ‘just making a sale’ with customers.

Intent Vs/ Experience Model:

Google Ads are more intent based. Meaning, someone coming across your ad, was actively looking for that product.

This is the biggest difference between the architecture of the two campaigns. The search results for Google PLA depend upon the keywords entered in the search engine, according to which results or ads are displaced.

On the other hand, Facebook ads appear based on the past search or behaviour of a user, meaning they are experience based.

For instance, someone who has visited your website to buy a T-shirt but bounces, you know they are potential buyers. So, you run a campaign to increase their chances of coming back after they see a dynamic Ad in their Facebook feeds.

The Visual Factor:

A major chunk of advertising for both focuses on visuals.

For Google, this is only restricted to one (the best one) product image with a white background, which it automatically pics from the campaign’s data feed.

Both PLAs and DPAs focus on imagery to capture consumer attention. Along with the content and product information details vis-à-vis text, both Google and Facebook focus on image quality and appeal.

The platforms follow different protocols when it comes to making information in a standardized format.

As per Google’s technical requirements, 100×100 px for normal images and 250 X 250 px for apparel is required. Product catalogue pictures are only allowed with a white background with no overlays.

On the other hand, a visually powerful Facebook supports dynamic and creative ads. It allows users to choose up to 3 images and supports text overlays as well as lifestyle photography.

What is more noteworthy is that Facebook allows you to get creative with all the images by allowing you to put overlay text.

As a result, Facebook is a more relevant ‘marketing’ channel for your products where you can display ads with images, texts, overlays, offers, etc.

Whereas, Google is purely a shopping channel which fosters hard conversions by solely listing products with high-quality images.

Both eventually take you to the product’s landing page, where the buyer makes the decision to buy a product or service.

But in both cases, it is rudiment that you improve your AdWords landing page experience, to make the campaign a successful experience for the shopper.

Technical Requirements:

Google’s reputation as THE platform for searching products stems from its policies and strict adherence to its AdWords guidelines.

With over 20 attributes required to register products and only accepting data feeds in the form of Txt and HTML, Google Ads also restricts its space to 4 GB.

Facebook accepts Txt, HTML, CSV, and TSV while offering more space (8GB) and demanding fewer attributes as compared to Google.

The Verdict

When we look at the design of these platforms, it is evident that Google is a search engine, while Facebook a social platform.

However, both are the top choices when it comes to paid advertising currently.

Google AdWords is great for targeted advertising, while Facebook is great for marketing, branding and in general, raising awareness about your products or services.

In Google, someone who is entering the keyword, looking for specific products, is more likely to make a purchase.

While on Facebook, someone who has previously shown interest in your website, product or service, will be more likely to sign up, shop now or like your page after coming across your dynamic ad.

Facebook is for a broad segmented audience. Creating ads to drive people to your landing page can involve a blog post or a small video, driving to the website, gaining awareness.

With Facebook DPA, you can target a whole category segment such as sports, lifestyle, apparel, insurance etc. and direct them to your educational page first to eventually make them convert into a customer.

Google, on the other hand, is for specific products and categories, as opposed to entire segments.

As per WordStream, 64.6% of people click on Google ads when they are looking to buy an item online in 2016. A well-orchestrated digital product shopping ad through Google’s channel has a high chance of making a sale.

Depending on the spend and the projected ROI from both channels, you should use both Google PLA and Facebook DPA for your campaigns.

While you can also submit same data feeds to Google and Facebook, it is always advisable to tailor your product ads for both channels to gain maximum retail exposure for your products.

Related Posts:

Google Shopping Vs Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences

Stop Wasting Your Money on Google AdWords

7 Features Your Next E-Commerce Marketing Platform Should Have

Marketplace vs. Your Own Store vs. Social Selling

7 Features Your Next E-Commerce Marketing Platform Should Have

The E-Commerce industry is growing by the minute. With over 2 million eCommerce stores in the world battling it out to grab a shopper’s attention, E-Commerce Marketing has become more crucial than ever!

When it comes to marketing, the general trend that I’ve seen is that most E-Commerce Business often opt for an Agency.

This is primarily for two reasons, the expertise an agency can bring, and time saved from creating and executing your marketing campaigns.

While agencies offer these benefits, they are not without some critical disadvantages like:

  • Big-Budget: Hiring an agency can be pricey. Most agencies charge you a percentage of your ad spend and this translates into quite a chunk of the profits you make.
  • Low Priority: A lesser known secret in the industry, should you have a limited marketing budget, most agencies could find it difficult to allocate dedicated resources to your account. As a result, your project may be assigned to inexperienced staff members.
  • Lack of a Targeted approach: No one knows your business better than you do. Given time, you may be able to educate the agency’s people about what you do, but there is no guarantee that they will develop a true feel for your business. Consequently, you could end up wasting thousands of dollars on an ad campaign that misses the mark.

To tackle these shortcomings eCommerce businesses have started adopting marketing platforms.

What is an E-Commerce Marketing Platform?

An E-commerce marketing platform is a SaaS tool enabling retailers to drive more shoppers by leveraging data, smart automations & actionable analytics.

In short, a marketing platform that allows you to keep your costs low, gives you complete transparency over your campaigns as well as follows your brand guidelines and vision.

If you own an E-Commerce store with huge marketing spends (upwards of $100K/month) an agency might better suit you.

While there are many marketing platforms that can help in automating your email campaigns, optimizing your ads and improving your SEO, most of them are not tailored for E-Commerce. Leaving the eTailers with one true question:

Which Marketing Platform should you choose?

I have compiled a list of 7 key features that you should look for in your next E-Commerce Marketing platform.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross Channel Marketing | E-Commerce Marketing Platform

The first challenge that comes when selecting a marketing platform is that most of them are specific to a certain marketing channel such as Google, Facebook, Bing or Amazon.

While you can launch channel specific campaigns by using multiple marketing platforms it will be no different than logging into Google AdWords or Facebook Power Editor as you’d still be switching between different interfaces.

Having cross-channel marketing in your platform enables you to be with your customer from their inbox to social networks to the web, and across devices as well.

Your customers move seamlessly through these channels and expect you to be with them. Cross Channel marketing provides you this integrated experience.

How’s it better?

You can create and launch all your ad campaigns from a single unified-interface.

Even if you’re starting with a single channel for e.g. Facebook, you will always have the flexibility, in case you wish to scale and reach out to audiences on different channels.

Consider this scenario: You’re running a Dynamic Product Ads campaign on Facebook.

John is your potential customer and he clicks on your ad, adds the product to his cart but for some reason he does not make the purchase.

Now you’re running a remarketing campaign for cart abandoners on Google.

John sees your ad after 2 days on Google, and decides to make the purchase.

In this scenario it is unlikely that you will understand which channel is effective for you since both Google & Facebook will attribute the conversion to themselves.

However, if you’re using an E-Commerce marketing platform with Cross-channel marketing, you can track these micro-interactions of the user and see exactly which campaigns work and which don’t.

This knowledge is essential for you, as it helps you to decide which campaigns you need to invest your budgets in and which you don’t.

Performance Optimizations

Performance Optimizations | E-Commerce Marketing Platform

You’ve made 183 different Google Ad Campaigns or you’ve made a similar amount of Facebook ad campaigns.

You’ve targeted multiple interests and tested out various creatives and landing page combinations.

Over time, your campaigns have grown to quite an unwieldy mess.

Maybe you use power editor, but you know that if you have more than 100 ads in a campaign, the sorting doesn’t work.

Maybe you’re an AdWords veteran trying your hand at Facebook ads but finding that the same optimization flow doesn’t quite work.

It’s not about title, copy, and image combos.

The point is, Performance Optimizations is THE most critical aspect of making your marketing campaign a successful one.

But optimizing your campaigns is the most tedious and complex task.

Why complex and tedious? Because there are a few optimizations which are mundane and require a lot of time.

Whereas some optimizations require you to re-invent the wheel and find the gems that will improve performance among all the ‘dirty’ raw data.

If you’re working with an agency all your performance optimizations are dependent on, the experience of the individual/team handling your account, data at hand, & their intuitions.

Whereas a marketing platform optimizes your campaigns solely on your data history, industry benchmarks and your goals.

More importantly, it is devoid of any human bias.

There are hundreds of tools and platforms in the market that help you automate these tedious tasks and save time. But what you need is a platform which learns on its own and executes smart performance optimizations.

How’s it better?

You may be thinking, I don’t run marketing campaigns on a scale for which I require crazy AI-driven automation tools. This is where most marketers make a mistake.

For example, when you’re running an ad campaign, an average marketer spends over 45 mins every day just optimizing bids and adding negative keywords on Google AdWords alone.

This translates into, 15.2 days in a year!

15 days is huge, and this isn’t even considering optimizations on Facebook, A/B testing, creating new campaigns according to seasonality, special offers, promotions etc.

The numbers can pile up very quickly if we consider the above variables.

And if you do not optimize your campaigns regularly you’re not only wasting time but also money.

Having automated optimizations in your platform enables you to work smarter and leave all the heavy lifting to the machine.

Creative Automation

Ad Creatives are the face for any marketing campaign.

When it comes to E-Commerce Marketing, creatives can make or break a sale.

Images are the first thing people notice about your ad. Hence it takes time choosing and curating the images you put there.

Also remember, your photos will be competing with pictures of babies and someone’s fancy dinner on Facebook.

While making your creatives you should, focus on the things that make your business stand out.

Your ad creative should be able grab your audience’s attention as they scroll through Facebook.

But creating hundreds or even thousands of creatives at different format requirements for Facebook and Google at scale is extremely hard.

You need a dedicated design team, and even then, it can be a time consuming process.

If you ever want to try out an experiment on new creatives, A/B test or create new campaigns your design dependencies only increase.

Top E-Commerce marketing platforms can now help reduce or completely remove your design dependencies.

Thanks to product feed integration, E-Commerce Marketing platforms can now pull product images and other relevant information such as Product Title, Price and Discounts from your feed directly.

Couple that with a powerful image editor and you can design professional looking creatives yourself within minutes.

Effectively saving time by avoiding all the back and forth which usually happens when you work with your designer or a creative agency.

How’s it better?

Creative Automation gives advertisers freedom and peace of mind.

You have the option to design creatives from scratch or load existing templates and make changes.

You can then directly apply your creatives or save them as templates to later apply to different feeds.

This eliminates the effects of multiple shareholders and fragmented processes.

Campaign managers can fully own and manage the process and quickly act on their insights with necessary revisions.

Finally, it brings advertisers one step closer to delivering fully customized creatives at scale.

Product Feed Optimization

Product catalog is the heart of any E-Commerce store and therefore it makes perfect sense that your next E-Commerce Marketing platform should have the ability to optimize your product catalog day in, day out automatically.

There are various parameters and requirements of a product feed.

  1. Id
  2. Title
  3. Description
  4. Link
  5. Image Link
  6. Mobile Link
  7. Additional Image Link
  8. Availability
  9. Availability Date
  10. Expiration Date
  11. Price
  12. Sale Price
  13. Sale Price Effective Date
  14. Unit Pricing Measure
  15. Unit Pricing Base Measure
  16. Installment
  17. Loyalty Points
  18. Google Product Category
  19. Product Type
  20. Brand
  21. Is Bundle
  22. Age Group
  23. Color
  24. Gender
  25. Material
  26. Pattern
  27. Size
  28. Size Type
  29. Promotion Id
  30. Shipping
  31. Shipping Label
  32. Shipping Weight
  33. And more….

Yes, there are way too many parameters.

But optimizing these is crucial for your shopping campaigns.

Why?

In a recent test done by Search Engine Land, by just optimizing product feed titles and descriptions they got an incredible 88% increase in CTR.

Let that just sync in.

88% boost in a campaign CTR is HUGE.

Imagine what you can do by optimizing your product feed even more.

But let’s be honest. It is humanly impossible to optimize these parameters of your eCommerce product feed.

And to make it even harder, is Google’s Merchant Center. Sure, it’s an incredible tool, and essential to every eCommerce business trying to grow sales online.

But optimizing your product feed there is a daunting task.

First you have to figure out how to export your products in a very specific format. Which as we saw with the 50+ parameters required to upload your feed is no small task. Then you have to upload that feed, set your budgets, launch, analyze, optimize, etc. etc. etc.

By the time you’ve launched your campaign, your feed is out of date.

Google also requires all advertisers to update their product feed at least once every 30 days to keep in-stock and out-of-stock products up to date.

For most e-commerce businesses, 30 days between updating their data feed is an eternity.

Companies that have products going in and out of stock frequently should be updating their feeds much more frequently.

Hence it is essential that your marketing platform has a product feed optimizer.

How is it better?

Product feed optimizers essentially make it easier to manage your Google Shopping data feed and other shopping engines like eBay or Bing Product ads.

They do this by automating a lot of the manual work that goes into updating it.

With product feed optimizer tools you can stay carefree about, out of stocks issues, incorrect product prices, 404 landing pages etc.

Your E-Commerce marketing platform will stay in constant sync with your website inventory through the product feed, ensuring the smoothest ad experience for users.

Not just this but a handful tools nowadays are also able to remove any elongated titles and descriptions, pixelated product images, prohibited products etc. before uploading the feed to GMC.

Using a product feed optimizer also ensures better searchability and conversion rates.

Customized Reporting

Customized Reporting | E-Commerce Marketing Platform

You’ve set up your perfect ad campaign.

It’s time to enjoy your favorite burrito and… get back to work.

Setting up and running ad campaigns is only half work done.

Having a customized report for your Google or Facebook campaigns is crucial for marketers to track the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

Customized reporting allows marketers to deep dive into channel level insights, see what’s working and fix what’s not.

But reporting can be extremely time consuming. You need to clean irrelevant data, slice and dice through your excel sheets to get relevant data you can use for your campaigns.

Customized reporting saves the trouble of you doing mundane tasks and automates this process for you.

Sure, each channel does offer their own version of customized reporting.

Currently Google AdWords allows users to write a custom script to extract the exact data they need.

This requires a fair bit of Google scripting language prowess. You can find online courses on how to do this, but this requires practice until you start writing good scripts.

Then there is Facebook. Currently, Facebook does not allow the use of scripts to extract custom data from your ad campaigns.

Sure, you can save customized reports but you don’t have the same flexibility of a script extracting your data.

On top of this, it is a time-consuming process to export data from different channels instead of one single place.

Having customized reporting in you next eCommerce marketing platform will save you tons of time.

How is it better?

Reporting is also essential for your weekly scrums or stakeholder meetings.

Talking to a few Business Analysts here, I asked them how much time it takes them to generate a report on a daily basis.

Adrian Gahlot, a seasoned Facebook and AdWords professional says,

“It takes at least an hour to get the customized reports from Facebook, Google AdWords & Analytics every day. “

“It doesn’t stop there, if the data and metrics across these channels doesn’t match it takes another couple of hours trying to solve that problem.”

With customized reporting built in your eCommerce marketing platform you can automate this process.

This is incredibly useful as it saves essential time of a marketer.

Email (Re)Marketing

E-mail Marketing | E-Commerce Marketing Platform

If there is one organic channel that has proved its worth in gold when it comes to marketing it has to be E-Mail.

This statistic from a recent research by Omnisend reinstates the importance of Email marketing in E-Commerce.

“Email drips can drive 69% more orders on your cart recovery, 90% more orders on your customer reactivation, and 93% more orders on your welcome campaigns.”

Gone are the days of traditional email marketing where one-size-fits-all approach was followed. Most email marketing platforms now let you segregate your customers based on their website behavior and send personalized emails.

Now let’s go a step higher and imagine:

If you could select a segment of shoppers who haven’t bought from you in a while and send them a personalized email with an offer at a time they’re most likely to respond?

This is the kind of personalization that E-Commerce Marketing Platforms can now provide and give you a solid chance on winning back lost customers + retaining the loyal ones.

Hence it is crucial to have Email Marketing for E-Commerce.

An Awesome Customer Support

E-Commerce Marketing Platforms | Awesome Customer Support

No matter how easy a platform looks, there’s always an off-chance that your day was tiring and you can’t figure out how a particular feature works.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have someone who can assist, guide and co-own your marketing performance?

A platform that offers an extensive knowledge base to figure out your frequent doubts.

Combine this with a dedicated customer support team to walk the line with the customer, one step at a time, always helps.

After all, your eCommerce business should scale without you having to scale your time for understanding how a feature works.

Also, do keep in mind that the platform you select may not be in the same time zone as you.

In such cases look for round the clock or 24-hour support in your marketing platform.

An awesome customer support goes a long way in running your marketing campaigns smoothly.

Over to You

Choosing an E-commerce marketing platform is a tough ask. You have to balance multiple requirements, evaluate dozens of options and pick something that fits the perfect zone of cost, complexity, and ease of use.

I hope this has given you some insight into the most important features of an eCommerce platform, and what to consider when you are choosing one.

Do you consider any additional factors equally important? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, I’d absolutely love to hear from you.

Editor’s Note:

We’re super excited to announce that OnlineSales.ai has been selected in the Top 60 E-Commerce Marketing Blogs by Feedspot.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for making this possible.

Importance of Big Data and Analytics in eCommerce

Is Big Data just a passing trend or is it here to stay? With online commerce just 9% of the overall US Retail share, is Big Data even relevant for Retail businesses? Is my business Big Data ready? What does it mean to have a Big data mindset?

In this article I’ll take a closer look at these questions and more.

The Relevance of Big Data

Let’s take a closer look at companies by valuation in 2008 – The list is largely dominated by Oil, Telcos and FMCG companies.

Microsoft is the lone ‘digital’ warrior making it to the Top 10. Valuation based on Data is irrelevant, still.

Moving on to 2017, data first companies including Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook (and Apple or Microsoft with their ever increasing data revenue), are consistently ruling the Top 10 list.

With top retailers including Amazon, Alibaba and Tencent shaping up the future of retail, it is time for the entire retail chain to catch up.

What it Means to be Big Data Ready?

This scene from Moneyball truly sums up the way decision-making still happens in Retail.

Too many times, consumer eyeballs and mindspace – the premium retail inventory, are fed with irrelevant product recommendations from retailers based on intuition, stale data points, and copying what a successful competitor is doing.

The reason retailers fail in their targeting strategy is either because they have not yet embraced the datafirst approach, or, they are not making best use of their data infrastructure.

So, how do we as a business get Big Data ready?

It starts with recognizing data as an asset! Today’s technology enables us to collect data for every step of the retail transaction, starting with the first click that generated that visit on the website, to the Lifetime value (LTV) attributed to each consumer and product.

Further Reading: Calculate Your Customer LTV to Drive Repeat Purchases

Each of these data points can provide incredibly powerful and real-time insights into marketing, and selling both online and offline.

The success or the failure of the data-first approach depends on the quality of data that is collected and consumed.

AI-driven eCommerce marketing platforms like OnlineSales.ai help you get Big Data ready for all your marketing needs.

A few tips to find the right platform here:

A customer profile is essentially a detailed description of your target demographic that includes:

Look for a platform that has direct API integrations with popular commerce engines including Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and KartRocket.

You can then choose your preferred engine and have ready and immediate integrations, all from one place.

Find a platform that automates smart feeds creation and quickly maps your product E-Commerce with prominent shopping engines including Google, Facebook and Amazon.

A platform where you can define your business goals and one which provides you with a data-driven engine with intelligent options for audience selection, merchandising preferences and device options is highly recommended to ensure there’s no manual labour and errors to be spent on.

Make sure to place a tracking pixel. Find a platform with a proprietary tracking technology that’ll enable real-time cohort analytics for the recency-frequency of website visitors, product movement by audiences and cities, order seasonality and conversion rates split by funnel.

Trust me, you’ll need these numbers (a lot!)

Try to find a platform that enables integration of online marketing data with offline sales CRM data, ensuring an end-to-end view for the customer buying funnel.

The Behavior of Big Data – A Mix of Correlation and Causation

Big Data challenges the traditional approach in retail decision making – smaller dataset hypothesis, applied to the larger population. This approach is primarily based on analysing for causation.

The Big Data approach is to turn this philosophy on its head, and expand the sample set to n=all (or as close as possible).

The computing power has improved drastically where even large petabyte datasets can be analysed in a matter of seconds. With humongous amounts of data being processed, proving causation can be time-consuming and expensive in terms of lost opportunities.

Considering the nature of retail sales, with the Big Data approach, correlation is a highly effective technique that can drive incremental sales.

As an example, if the analytics prove that a particular brand of watches are regularly purchased by young females in California during a particular time of day, smart platforms like OnlineSales will raise its head and automatically adjust bids on those watches for that time and only that audience and geo.

Taking it a step further, platforms like OnlineSales deploys self-learning algorithms that help identify for newer combinations for best performing products and audience segments. (it’s a different story that OnlineSales is one of its kind ;))

Causation is very equally relevant as we analyse for cohorts of data.

If we are analysing for the conversion funnel on the website, it becomes extremely critical that any drop in conversion rates along the funnel be analysed thoroughly for the cause.

For example, the conversion rate between the add-to-cart and cart checkout for a client had dropped by 50%.

On further analysis it was identified that the drop was caused by moving the coupon code share at the start of the cart to just before checkout now.

The variables are endless but must be investigated and fixed immediately to ensure zero funnel leaks.

Power of Probability

Inherent to any large and complex problem is that the outcomes cannot always be predicted with a 100% accuracy.

When datasets are small, various dimensions can be sliced and diced to arrive at a concrete hypothesis, that can then be applied to alternate situations.

However, in case of retail marketing, the complexity increases significantly when we consider all the moving parts – volume of products, type of ad copies and formats, customer segments split by demographics, geographies and interests, devices to be targeted, timings and preferred days of the week et al.

As a retailer, I can keep waiting for the magic combination of product-ideal ad copy-customer, however the chances of hitting the bull’s eye will always be thin.

Big Data, combined with strong machine learning algorithms, allows you to arrive at a possibly winning combination within a certain probability range (let’s say > 85% probability).

The power of machine learning is such that ad copies can be analysed for the best performing images, titles, descriptions, colour backgrounds across millions of combinations of products and customers.

With customer segment experimentations across demographics, interests and geographies, it is possible to arrive at the next set of ‘Hero’ customer segments with 90-95% accuracy.

The Risks with Big Data

With great power comes great responsibility, and with massive data, comes massive responsibility for data collectors to ensure that the privacy and integrity of the data is maintained. Let’s take a closer look at the risks involved.

Data Privacy

When we are collecting data for any retailer, there are enough data points available that can link the purchase history to any individual – Names, Email IDs, CC information etc.

While 3rd party payment gateways allow the freedom to not maintain any CC/payment information on records at the retailer.

For any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to be maintained on records, it is critical that proper data security guidelines are followed, and that the data is encrypted.

Additionally, strong policies must be in place to ensure data is not shared across third parties, unless with prior consent from customers and vendors.

Data Dictatorship

While data analytics can be invaluable in driving decisions, check points should be introduced to ensure there are no runaway scenarios.

Machine learning, with all the power built in, is still susceptible to break at those corner scenarios, and with the scale, the penalties can be significant.

Another gap to be careful about is to ensure the organization doesn’t become a slave for data and data only.

There have been instances in the past where data analysis has given a certain suggestion, however common sense dictates something else.

Let’s just say that although 95% of the airplane is on auto mode, that critical 5% is still human intelligence keeping us safe.

Big data is here to stay, and it is time that retailers take it seriously enough for their businesses to thrive and push to the next level.

The dynamic nature of the retail business dictates that organizations invest in technology and remain open for experimentation.

The entire supply chain is getting overhauled, with retail marketing taking a leadership position embracing data and driving significant value for retailers.

The possibilities on how we can leverage your data for improving marketing efficiencies are endless. Reach out to the OnlineSales team to dig deeper and solve.

Key Takeaways

  • Big data + Machine Learning = Winning Combination
  • With great power comes great responsibility, and with massive data, comes massive responsibility
  • Don’t rely only on data. Listen to logic.

This article is part of a full series eBook: The Ultimate Guide on Starting Your E-Commerce Store. To read the full eBook click here

Editor’s Note:

We’re super excited to announce that OnlineSales.ai has been selected in the Top 60 E-Commerce Marketing Blogs by Feedspot.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for making this possible.

How to Drive More Repeat Purchases by Calculating LTV

One of the most important steps in setting up an E-Commerce business nowadays is having a very clear idea of where exactly the target audience lies, and making sure all marketing efforts and budgets are directed only towards attracting, engaging, and finally maintaining that audience.

Whenever you want to market a product, the biggest mistake you could make is thinking that your product is for everyone.

If you want to succeed in the development of your business, you will have to define your ideal customers in as much detail as possible.

There are many reasons for online retailers to be optimistic about the future of online retail. A few of the reasons for online shopping becoming the preferred method include:

Importance of Target Audience:

Identifying a target audience is of prime importance to a budding business. Not having a clear picture of the buyer you are trying to hit translates directly to wastage of marketing and advertising resources, which otherwise would have resulted in positive exposure for the brand.

Basic SEO skills and a decent content strategy can win you as many as 100,000 random hits right away, but they would value less significant when compared with 500 qualified hits from users who are actually looking for your product or services.

This saves your time and effort into reaching out to a broader audience, and only looking out for potential customers. As a result, you can generate the same revenue with lesser resources, if you know what your target audience is looking for.

Here’s how to identify your target customers:

1. Create a customer profile

A customer profile is essentially a detailed description of your target demographic that includes:

Age

Do your potential customers mostly fit into a Millennial age bracket? Or are they more often middle-aged or seniors? This is important, because customers in different age groups will respond differently to how your product is designed and marketed.

Gender

Remember how men are from Mars and women are from Venus? Generally speaking, their needs and goals are often strikingly different. If you promote your business in a way that fails to address these differences, you could end up attracting few people of either gender.

Income level

Knowing how much disposable income your customers possess should directly influence your marketing strategies. Low-income families may be drawn to products or services that help them save money. Customers in high-income brackets may respond more favorably to marketing that stresses on luxury and exclusivity.

Location

The United States is a big country (let’s set aside world domination for now). Broadly speaking, the buying habits of urban residents often differ from those of people living in rural areas. Where people reside and the types of communities they live in influence their purchasing habits and preferences.

Other key characteristics include marital status, occupation or industry, families with (or without) children, ethnic groups, and hobbies and interests.

2. Conduct market research

You can learn about your target audience through primary and secondary market research.

Primary research involves learning about customer buying habits through direct contact, such as:

Surveys

Distribute surveys to existing and potential customers via paper, email, or a web-based service like Zoomerang or SurveyMonkey.

Interviews

Talk to people you trust and whose purchasing habits dovetail with your small business. At trade shows, for example, stand in a high-traffic area and ask people to answer a few short questions.

Focus groups

Get feedback from a small group of consumers who fit your customer profile through Q&A sessions and group discussions.
As part of your primary research, do you ever ask customers to fill out any forms when they purchase your product or service?

If so, they may be open to answering questions about their age, where they live, and specific purchasing preferences. Invite them to share information on a voluntary basis.

From these, you can assemble an initial customer profile.

There are also numerous mobile apps to help you collect important demographic data.

3. Reassess your offering and profile

With a comprehensive customer profile in place, the next step is to look at your products or services in a fresh light.

Given what you know about the target audience, ask yourself.

Which features and benefits are most likely to attract new buyers? Which may be of less interest or even actively discourage new customers?

Be honest with yourself. This analysis can lead to valuable modifications to your offering and yield new business.

You’ll also want to reassess your target audiences periodically. Every six months or once a year, conduct additional primary research and keep refining your customer profile accordingly.

As the marketplace shifts and evolves, your ideal clientele may change with it.

Get ahead of the curve to consistently reach your ideal buyers, and you’ll find yourself a step ahead of your competition.

One of the chief metrics that will help you evaluate and associate value to your customers is the Lifetime Value metrics.

The underestimated importance of LTV

The lifetime value (or LTV) of your customers is probably one of the easiest of your metrics to calculate, but many overlook its importance.

With inbound marketing automation in place, most of the information is gathered for you and delivered with a nice little bow.

It’s what you do with that information that sets you apart from your competitors.

So, why is the LTV so important? Many people throw around the term “ROI” or Return On Investment without actually knowing what it means.

ROI is an oversimplified concept that’s actually asking for a ratio of how much you get back versus how much you invested.

The key concept missing from most marketers’ perspectives on ROI is that, although we know intuitively that the goal is to develop lasting relationships with consumers, it’s not a metric that most E-Commerce marketers track, and therefore isn’t a metric that they can work on improving.

If you’re trying to calculate your “ROI” but just modeling the individual sales you get from your investment instead of looking at the value of customers you acquire and nurture, you’re missing out on the big picture.

When calculated correctly, you’ll know how much your customers spend, how often they spend it, and what kind of programs and perks inspire those buyers to become regular customers.

In other words, you can use the metrics to make your customers happy.

Done right, knowing what kinds of customers have the highest LTV can help you determine where your company should invest for growth.

Also, tracking this metric and the influencing variables helps you figure out how to affect those variables and improve this key metric.

How to Calculate E-Commerce LTV?

While this metric may be the simplest to calculate, it’s also one that may involve more variables than you’re used to.

There are multiple ways that companies use to calculate LTV, but on the most basic level you should focus on a formula with variables that you know how to influence, so that this metric becomes actionable for you.

Your basic formula is the following:

(Average Order Value) x (Number of Repeat Sales) x (Average Retention Time)

The infographic from KISSmetrics regarding the LTV of a Starbucks customer breaks down every step of the formula. The first step shows how to average your first variable, the average sale.

The next step shows you the number of visits per week, or the number of repeat sales.

When these averages are plugged into the formula and a time supplied, we can see the lifetime value of that customer for the particular time given.

In the case of this infographic, the time value supplied is one week.

The infographic also shows the massive importance of measuring and optimizing for LTV.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many Starbucks branches? Or why they have free wi-fi and comfy couches?

It’s because the Starbucks marketers know that they’re not trying to sell a $5.90 cup of coffee — they’re trying to acquire and maintain a $15k customer. That simple math trick changes a lot about how you approach your marketing.

Why Should You Care About Customer Lifetime Value In Your Marketing Plan?

Customer Lifetime Value is an overlooked, underappreciated metric. Being involved with business, I’m sure you’ve heard that repeat customers spend, on average, 67% more than new customers.

What’s worse for you marketers out there is that those new customers, who don’t spend as much, also cost up to five times more to acquire than bringing in a repeat customer.

In essence, the more you increase your CLV through your marketing, the less you spend on acquiring new customers = the more money you make.

Sounds good, right?

That’s exactly why you should care about cool abbreviations like LTV and CLV marketing. Your marketing efforts should focus more on retaining and growing your current customer base, as opposed to acquiring new customers.

That’s easy in theory. But how does one actually implement CLV marketing in their marketing strategy?

First, you must calculate your business’ CLV.

How To Calculate Your CLV

There are a million different ways to calculate this important metric. It seems everyone with a big name in the business world has their own formula.

CLV is calculated by taking 3 simple stats across a few customers and plugging them into an equation:

– Average order value

– Average purchases per week (or month, year, etc.)

– Value per week (or month, year, etc.)

You simply need to take a handful of customers (the example used five), take how much they spent on their order and the average over a set amount of time (like a week), then multiply those together to get their average spend for that amount of time.

From there it’s simply a matter of plugging those numbers into the equations (along with figuring out some constants to plug-in as well).

Customer Lifetime Value is an important metric to look at when considering where to invest your marketing dollars. It’s easier to invest in the people who are already buying from you than to get strangers to notice you – and more rewarding, too!

Once you’ve calculated your CLV using the formulae provided above, figure out those key customers worth their weight in gold and go after them relentlessly. Don’t drive them away, of course – just treat them extra nice.

Key Takeaways

  • Know your customer, wear their shoes to know what their requirements are. Understand them to identify them.
  • Map your consumer through primary and secondary market research
  • Don’t forget LTV and CLV – loyalty is where the money lies.

This article is part of a full series eBook: The Ultimate Guide on Starting Your E-Commerce Store. To read the full eBook click here

Marketplace vs. Your Own Store vs. Social Selling

As you embark on your E-Commerce journey, many avenues keep calling out for your attention and they all seem equally tempting. At times it might make sense to do them all, but a learned approach is always better than basing your business on hearsay.

There are multiple ways for you to grow your E-Commerce Business. You can sell your products in many ways, each having its own unique approach and follow through:

  • Marketplaces
  • Your Own Store
  • Social Selling

What are Marketplaces?

Have you ever walked into a shopping mall? Have you ever gone through tens and hundreds of stores across multiple floors and picked 1 product from 5 different stores and waited patiently in 5 check out lines?

Now imagine that same concept but in the online space, where you can actually search for what you are looking for, browse through hundreds of products, and finally make 1 payment for all these products from multiple stores. That is an online marketplace.

Marketplaces are online destinations where thousands of brands and sellers create online stores/pages and let shoppers buy from the ease and comfort of their homes. The shopper selects multiple products from various categories, pays for it at one go, and the product is delivered to the shopper.

You as a seller need to provide crisp text about your products like product name, summary, key features etc., attractive photographs and maybe even a video especially if you are in the fashion category, and the marketplace will upload all of this on their site under your Seller Name.

More so, each of your products will get tagged under categories, thereby showing up when people visit those categories as well.

So shoppers can come to a seller’s products either by searching for the product or visiting the category page, or by clicking on sponsored ads on the marketplace, (if the marketplace allows their sellers to advertise internally).

Within this there are variations – for example, the marketplace may handle shipping and logistics for you, and all you need to do is ship them the products and they will handle everything else.

Alternatively, you can choose to store and ship your own products and the marketplace sends you orders which you process for delivery. The packaging of the shipment can either be of the marketplace or you can ask for your own packaging and branding as well.

For every order, the marketplace would take a commission which is usually a percentage of the sale price of the goods. The marketplaces also run regular sales and offers, and you as a seller have the option of taking part in them to boost your sales. Some of the most famous global marketplaces include Amazon, Alibaba, Asos, Flipkart, eBay and Etsy.

Your Own Store

Don’t we all love our own store and brand? The joy of creating one is immense and the long term value is highly effective. The steps to have your own store begins with choosing the platform or the solution you would like to use to set it up.

Either you can use existing plug and play solutions like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, CS Cart, etc. or if you have a development team to build a custom store you can choose software like OpenCart, Magento or PrestaShop to launch your own E-Commerce store.

Most of these solutions also have integrations with shipping and payment partners which can be easily set up. Alternatively, the E-Commerce seller can integrate their own shipping and payment partners.

Typically most of these E-Commerce platforms either charge a fixed fee depending on your site traffic, or take a percentage of your sales. You have the choice of using your own branding and packaging when you ship your products out, adding to your brand build. However, the onus of driving traffic to your store would depend on you and how well you can market it.

If you are working on a limited budget, it becomes critical that you choose the right marketing channel to advertise your brand and products. Factors like product descriptions and photos remain the same as when you work with a marketplace.

Social Selling

Bruce loved cars and everything that went with it. He wanted to restore them, remodel them and wanted to make a business out of it. He decided to write about this and created a WordPress blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter handle and a LinkedIn page.

He would regularly post his musings on these asking people to write in and ask him for help. More so, he started becoming a part of online groups and pages which was filled with auto enthusiasts and it became one big grease oil party!

People started recognising him and started writing to him with all kinds of auto queries, and he would solve them, call them over to his garage and his business started growing from there! This is Social Selling.

The concept where you align knowledge and experience and present it in front of relevant audiences not just to sell but to educate, build relationships and grow, is Social Selling.

Easier said than done, though slowly but substantially the concept of Social Selling is growing across verticals and geographies.

It’s not just about how affordable your product is or how soon you can ship it out, but it now goes beyond that where you, your product and your brand become an unified voice and they tell a story and make friends that eventually fuel sales back to your business.

Platforms like Facebook now even allow you to set up a store there itself and sell from within Facebook. With Facebook having acquired Instagram, selling through IG has also picked up massively in these past two years since they opened the channel to E-Commerce.

Now that we know the different avenues of selling, lets dig deeper on what works and what doesn’t for each of these.

Marketplaces

Marketplaces




Merits Points to consider
Massive reach to E-Commerce Shoppers. Not much control over where and how your products are showcased.
Can sell products across any category. Since MPs function across categories, niche products may not get the exposure they need.
MPs handle everything from marketing, billing, logistics etc. MPs take a commission of anything between 5-35% of the sale amount which might make it very expensive to operate for the E-Commerce Seller.
Any E-Commerce Seller can start selling even if they are not a big brand. Since MPs are consumer facing, an E-Commerce Seller doesn’t really interact with the consumer to build his brand.
MPs organize regular sales, events which boost sales. MPs may expect certain pricing for the products keeping other seller rates of the same product category in mind, which may not be profitable for our seller.

Your Own Store






Merits Points to consider
You get to build your own brand and own the consumer. Expensive and difficult to create a new brand and drive traffic to the store.
Cheaper to sell since there are no middlemen involved. Shipping and logistics costs might be expensive since you won't have the advantage of scale.
You can control the whole consumer experience from the website to the communication to the packaging and branding. Will need a dedicated team to handle all functions seamlessly.
Faster consumer feedback cycles. Tougher to retain consumers since you only sell a limited number of products.
You can decide how many units of which product you want to sell. You will require your own warehouse to stock and store + handle customer support

Social Selling





Merits Points to consider
You get to build your own brand and are directly in contact with the customer. Difficult to create traction in the sea of Social Selling.
Easier chances of your products getting virality. Dissatisfied consumers can very easily push your popularity down.
You can sell to any part of the world now. You have to handle everything from billing to logistics to customer support.
Easy to set-up and launch. Difficult to manage all the functions individually.

Regardless of which option you choose from above, it’s still important to build your own brand – be it as an E-Commerce Store or as a Product Brand.

Investing in your brand is more than just money and starts from the name of your brand, to the colour themes you use, to the website flow, to how your communication goes out and finally the various types of marketing you end up choosing.

Pay attention to the details and each small building block adds to your brand. The Starbucks green or the Nike Swoosh are all aspects of branding which we remember regardless of where we are.

Once you have designed and implemented what you want your brand to stand for, try dabbling in small marketing experiments.

Be it a Facebook campaign for one product, or discounting a certain category to see if it picks up, or even combining two different types of products like buy a mobile phone and get the case free and so on.

Depending on what your profit margins are, your marketing spends can be anything between 1% – 10% of your overall sales.

There is no right way here but each E-Commerce seller needs to tweak and adapt this to their line of business and find their fit.

Key Takeaways

  • Know what best suits you – marketplace, your own store or social selling.
  • Regardless of where you sell, aim to create your own identity.
  • Once you identify what you stand for, adapt and try having small market experiences.

This article is part of a full series eBook: The Ultimate Guide on Starting Your E-Commerce Store. To read the full eBook click here

 

Top 9 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing for E-Commerce Stores

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: Creating Valuable, Personal Touches – At Scale”

– David Newman, Founder – Do It! Marketing

In Spite of availability of various channels, Email still remains one of the most effective and cost-efficient tool of Marketing for E-Commerce Businesses.

But, like every E-Commerce Marketing channel, it comes with a set of good and bad practices.

I’ve listed down few Do’s and DON’Ts of Email Marketing for E-Commerce Businesses, which can help you achieve good success rate in your email campaigns –

DO’s of  Email Marketing for E-Commerce Stores

  1. Personalize:

Here are few points for personalization you should strongly consider while drafting an Email for your campaign-

  • Killer subject line: No matter how amazing your content is, your customers won’t open your email if the subject line doesn’t interest them.
  • Spacing, Sizing & Breaking: Use appropriate spacing between your words and appropriate breaking down of paragraphs. It shouldn’t be too wide or too cramped. Font size should be easily readable, else your audience might lose interest in reading the mail.
  • Call to Action: The point of any Email Marketing campaign is to get response, and to get response, you need to include a strong eye-catching CTA tab.
  • Visual elements: Add images/gifs/emojis wherever deemed appropriate across the email. People have a better memory of visual elements, so use that to your advantage and make your email more attractive. Don’t overdo it, of course!
  • Personal Touch: Use your customers names in your emails to add a personal touch. People are more receptive of messages (or emails) if it includes their name.
  • Appropriate Pixels: Your customers may lose interest in your email if they have to scroll horizontally. Hence, you should set your email at appropriate pixels (not more than 600 for desktop and 320 for mobile)
  • Avoid spam trigger words: While it’s difficult to avoid all the spam trigger words, considering there are so many of them, try to keep it at minimal or none. Here is the list of spam trigger words you should avoid using in your subject line.
  1. Make it more about the prospects:

An average customer or prospect receiving your mail doesn’t give much thought about what your product/service can do. He/She cares more about how they can benefit from it.

Hence, you should stress more on what your product does and how your prospects can benefit from it, instead of how your product works. Keep the working of the product for later stages when the contact has established a good connection between both of you.

Instead of writing “Check this HP Notebook with 8 GB RAM,  Core i7 7th Gen, 1TB storage which is ranked #1 on XYZ gaming forum!” , write something like “Are you a Gamer? Then you should check this top-ranking HP Notebook – made especially for gamers!”

  1. Dominate the holidays/festivals:

Holidays, while a good time to increase your sales is also the time when your customers are bombarded with promotional emails from other sites too. The challenge for you is to stand out from the herd. How do you do that? Here’s how –

Avoid the hard-sell: Holidays are the time when people themselves look forward to buying things online.

Hence, it’s okay to slow down your marketing campaigns at this time and rather focus on ‘interacting’ with the customers.

What does this mean? It means avoiding the hard-sell by sending them wishes using attractive layouts and subtly giving them relevant offers.

(For example – “Wish you a Merry Christmas Jennifer! We’ve missed you. You can check our newly launched collection of Denim Jackets for your perfect Christmas moments here!”)

Plan early: This is often overlooked.

You should plan your holiday campaigns at least 4 months before the holidays.

This ensures you create content which stands out. Tracking your data from previous holiday campaigns also helps you analyze key improvement areas.

  1. Maintain hygienic Email lists:

Customer’s preferences & interests are just like the Digital World – they change rapidly! It can take years, months or even weeks for customers to change their preferences.

The customers who’ve signed up for your emails today might not be interested in receiving them after few weeks.

Therefore, you should clean your lists regularly by subtracting names, based on various engagement metrics like bounced emails and unsubscribes.

Email Campaigns cost you time and money, hence you should only engage with those who choose to engage with you. Removing unengaged customers will give you higher conversion rates, better ROIs and fewer spam traps.

  1. Keep a casual & user-friendly tone:

People expect to hear from humans, not machines. Using an overly-formal or overly-technical tone in your email might just put off your readers. Normally, humans are in a casual mood while reading something (in this case, your emails). Hence don’t hesitate to use a casual and friendly tone in your email. Even though it is an automated email, you don’t have to make it obvious. You’re sending Emails to humans after all!

  1. Look beyond open rates & bounce rates:

Open rates & bounce rates, though critical, shouldn’t be the only determinants of your Email Marketing results.

Instead of focusing on open rates, focus more on Click-Through Rates (CTRs), which determines how many customers actually landed on the product page. A lot of customers open Emails without actually going through it fully.

Don’t let bounce rates discourage you from your future campaigns. Instead, work towards having a better List Growth Rate. As the name suggests, this means increasing the number of relevant prospects.

Also, don’t forget that your current list might keep getting ‘unhygienic’, hence it is essential to keep expanding your list at a decent rate.

  1.      Establish Rapport first:

It’s essential that a customer feels comfortable and familiar with your brand before deciding to buy from you. Don’t hard sell your products/services as soon as the customer signs up. It may be tempting to sell to your customers quickly because they’ve signed up with you, but remember that selling is about establishing a comfort level first. You’re more likely to receive better clicks and opens if you’re familiar to your audience.

  1. Make Unsubscribing Easy:

While this is a part of personalizing, it deserves a special point. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your customers will mark you as spam if they get frustrated trying to find an option of unsubscribing. The only thing worse than automatically ending up in the spam folder is your customers personally marking you as spam.

  1. Send effective Welcome emails:

This is the most crucial part of your Email Campaigns, as this establishes a tone between you and your customers. Your Welcome Mails should be sent immediately after the customer signs up, as your brand is still on top of their minds. It should be a personalized mail (as mentioned in point [1]), and it should mention what the customers can expect from your emails and how they can get in touch with you.

  1.  Make it little playful:

There is a reason why games are so addictive. Factors like rewards and achievements makes games fun. So why not use this in Email? Did I just hear you say “How”? Here’s how – by offering rewards to your customers regularly.

For example, review sites like TripAdvisor & Zomato are a hit among customers, because they make customer experience on their site ‘playful’, by rewarding and recognising users contribution to their site.

Badges like ‘Top contributor’ raises excitement among the audience.

As far as Emails are concerned, you must have seen Emails from Starbucks where they talk about offering ‘star points’ for buying their products.

The more stars you correct, the more benefits you can reap at Starbuck outlets. This makes people excited to receive Email for Starbucks because they engage their audience in a ‘playful’ manner.

DON’Ts of Email Marketing for E-Commerce Stores

  1. Send Email Blasts:

Again, starting with the most obvious yet commonly committed mistake. Many businesses, especially E-Commerce companies, are infamous for shooting out Emails to their customers as well as the prospects every single day (sometimes, even multiple times a day).

This practice will instantly make your prospects term your company as ‘annoying’. Also, your emails might just end up in the spam folder if you adopt this practice.

Your customers will forget about you if you don’t send them Emails for a long time, and they might get annoyed by your emails if you send them too frequently. Hence, find a balance and make a ‘Email Calendar’ and send them Emails at regular intervals.

  1. Make your subject line sound like they’ve won a lottery:

E-Commerce Stores are so prone to committing this mistake, it deserves a special point.

While its good to send offers and promotional mail to your customers and prospects, making it sound like they’ve won a lottery makes them wary of even opening your mail.

Too much excitement in your Email subject makes you suspicious in the eyes of your customers (and ending up in spam folder).

Instead of writing the subject as “Congratulations! YOU JUST WON BRAND NEW ADIDAS SHOES!’, write something on the lines of “Here’s how you can win brand new Adidas Shoes from us!”

  1. Send Emails to the unsubscribed contacts:

While thankfully, in my experience, most of the E-Commerce businesses respect the contacts who have unsubscribed, some of them still keep sending them emails in a bid to win them back. This small practice can prove to be a huge tint on your brand reputation. Expect that few contacts will choose to unsubscribe from your mail list and don’t bother them with your emails. This can even prevent them from reconsidering to subscribing to your emails.

  1. Send Emails just for the heck of it:

In spite of this being obvious, many E-Commerce businesses send Emails with no clear goal in mind. Before sending out Emails, make sure what your objectives are and frame the content accordingly.

The mail should be relevant both to your company and your customers. Don’t be known as the brand whose emails people term as “Why should I waste my time opening this mail? This is the fifth time I am receiving this kind of pointless mail!”

  1. Overdo the Caps, Punctuations & Emojis:

There might be certain channels where playing around with emojis, caps and punctuations might be acceptable, but Email isn’t one of them. While it’s understood that you should keep the tone casual and that you want to emphasize on something, such ‘text plays’ give out the feeling of desperation to your customers. Let your content writing skills do the talking, not the ‘fancy’ texts. No one is pleased to receive emails like – “This is CrAzY!!!!!! Avail discounts with these coupons!!! <insert few emojis>

  1. Ignore Mobile Experience:

With more and more E-Commerce transactions (projected to reach 669 billion U.S. dollars in 2018) and Email opens (54% in 2017)  happening through mobiles, chances are high that your mail would be read on mobile by your customers. Make sure your Emails give a mobile-friendly experience too. Use texts, images, GIFs which are well-suited to mobiles. What looks good on Laptop might not look good on mobile. Send few test emails to check your Email’s mobile-compatibility.

  1. Send out a false message:

While you might get initial clicks and traffic, sending out a misleading mail to your customers is a sure-shot way of losing them quickly.

Don’t write “40% off on Men’s clothing” if you’re offering that discount only on winter wear!

The customer will lose his/her trust from your brand if he/she feels misled. You don’t want that to happen, right? Customer Trust is fragile, treat it like that!

  1. Send repetitive emails:

Receiving a mail with coupon code for 10% discount is nice. Receiving 10 emails with coupon code for 10% discount is lazy and unattractive (not to forget, you might just trigger the spam filter). Think about it, why would someone open your mail if he/she received the same mail 2 days back? Be creative with your promotional campaigns. If you send a “Get 40% discount” mail this week, send a “Buy 2 get 1 free” mail the next week. Repetition kills interest!

  1.  Treat your VIP Customers like regular customers:

Customers who always open and click your mail deserve extra attention (read: better engagement). Keep rewarding them regularly with various offers and discounts. They are the biggest determinants of your Email Campaigns success. Going an extra mile and showing them extra attention will improve your retention ability, which pays off in the long run.

  1.  Forget replenishing customers:

This is one strategy which is largely underused by E-Commerce Stores. Replenishing means reminding your customers to buy your services/products again because they might have run out of it.

For example – Let’s say you order a mid-sized coffee powder from site XYZ. The coffee of this quantity lasts for a month generally.

So, after a month, XYZ should send you an Email reminding you to order the same coffee (bonus points if you also include other sizes & brands available!).

This strategy gives you recurring interest of your customers, and thus, recurring revenue.

There you go! These were the DOs and DON’Ts of Email Marketing for E-Commerce Businesses.

Keep doing A/B tests regularly to chalk out good strategies, especially when you’re a rookie in Email Marketing. In the end, the combination of right content, right tool, right customers and right practices will ensure that your Email Marketing success rates are high!

Reach out to us to know how you can achieve Marketing Success for your E-Commerce Store by using our platform!

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OnlineSales.ai Named BigCommerce Certified Partner

Today, we are excited to announce our partnership with BigCommerce.

OnlineSales.ai has been named a BigCommerce Certified Technology Partner, providing more than 50,000 BigCommerce customers access to OnlineSales.ai’s e-commerce marketing platform.

Beginning today, BigCommerce customers can integrate OnlineSales.ai’s App through the BigCommerce App Marketplace.

Ashish Mehta, CEO & Co-founder, at OnlineSales.ai

“OnlineSales.ai is a first of its kind AI-driven e-commerce marketing platform for global e-commerce businesses that converges acquisition and retention marketing. We offer a sophisticated, yet simple platform that ecommerce business owners can use to amplify their revenue, growth and profits. The OnlineSales.ai app available to BigCommerce merchants will feature cross-channel marketing capabilities across Google, Facebook and Amazon; 1-Click actionability; intuitive analytics; real-time optimizations and more.”

Russell Klein, chief development officer at BigCommerce

“Our partnership with OnlineSales.ai further illustrates our commitment to providing merchants access to the highest-caliber technologies and service providers available in the industry,” “OnlineSales.ai shares our desire to help merchants sell more and grow faster to maximize success, and we look forward to working together to mutually support customers.”

BigCommerce Certified Technology Partners are selected for offering best-in-class technologies, value and superior customer service. For more information, visit https://www.bigcommerce.com/apps/performance-marketing-with-onlinesales/

Features Included in the App

Cross-Channel Platform

Advertise across Google, Facebook, Bing, Amazon, and more from within a single platform.

Learn More

Powerful Campaign Management

Craft your cross-channel campaign strategy with ease and speed using our intuitive Goals launcher.

Optimize Ads with 1-Click

AI-Driven Optimisations across Bid, Budget, Ad Quality, Product Catalog, Seasonality & more!

Smarter & Actionable Analytics

Get the true power of AI-Driven Analytics with real-time insights stacked up against your goals.

Design Ad Creatives at Scale

Pack a punch with your ad creatives and build custom templates at scale with our Ad Creative Suite.

Smart Product Feeds

Stay carefree about your products going out of stock, incorrect product prices and 404 errors with Smart Feed Optimizations.

 

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The Inside Story: ChessBazaar Masterstroke with Exporter Vikramjit Singh

About ChessBazaar

ChessBazaar is one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of chess boards in the World. They primarily deal with Chess Equipment that are completely handmade and are known for their exclusive designs and finish.

ChessBazaar was started in the year 2007 &  has been growing by leaps and bounds since then. Unlike other chess suppliers, ChessBazaar is not country-specific and ship items all over the globe.

Today The Inside Story talks The Founder of ChessBazaar, Vikramjit Singh, speaks of realising his entrepreneurial dreams!

What were the core inspirations behind ChessBazaar?

The biggest inspiration for starting ChessBazaar was to start a sustainable online business which was boundless in scope but provided me complete freedom as the owner of the business.

The first sale. What went through your mind?

We received our first sale in 2007 and I decided at that moment that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

A typical day at ChessBazaar?

My day at ChessBazaar starts at 10 am with answering the emails. Then there is a round of office and warehouse followed by meetings till lunch. Post lunch I review our daily/weekly performance, discuss other sales metrics and plan strategies. The day ends at 5.30 to 6 pm after dispatching of orders.

The highlight of your day?

The highlight of my day is reading the comments, reviews and emails from our customers as this is the time which gives me ideas on how to improve our products and services even better.

What sets ChessBazaar apart? What are the USPs and differentiators in such a dynamic, competitive industry?

Chessbazaar deals in handmade artisan chess sets and our supply chain management are our biggest asset and USP. We also take pride in being the fastest product delivery company in the industry.

The website has a wonderful plethora of customers sharing their ChessBazaar experiences. Any best customer stories that you and Team ChessBazaar like?

We recently started video reviews from customers and I love watching customer videos on product unboxing as it gives a first-hand account of our strengths and weaknesses.

It is also very satisfying to see people playing with our chess sets and spending quality time with their loved ones.

In today’s fast-paced life these are the moments which are hard to find and I am sure people will cherish these moments throughout their lives.

Tell us about the ChessBazaar team.

We are a small team of 16 people with key personnel being:

  • Gurpreet Singh, General Manager with specialization in SEO – he is responsible for overall performance of our sales
  • Ram Prakash, Sr. Operations Executive who is responsible for day to day operations of ChessBazaar including stock and dispatch
  • Saurabh Sharma, the Team Leader, responsible for critical data at ChessBazaar

ChessBazaar Team

Are there any environmental initiatives/non-profit benefits/tie-ups that the team stands by?

Sure, we strongly care about the environment. All our suppliers have to issue us proper sales receipts for each sale thereby making their purchase of wood/inputs accountable. Check out our website to learn more.

Being one of the leading global exporters of Chess equipment, what are the challenges you usually face, and how do you go about fixing this?

Being an exporter in India has numerous challenges. The main challenge is to deliver the parcel in the time-frame as promised to our buyer, especially more when our main customer base is in developed countries with very high aspirations.

What have marketing initiatives played key roles in the growth of ChessBazaar?

There are many marketing initiatives that we were pioneers with and now this is the norm in the chess industry. Like we were the first company who introduced free worldwide shipping and now almost all of our competitors are doing the same. We love to keep on experimenting when it comes to idea implementation.

Majority of our focus is on Digital marketing, but we have seen a great boost to our brand by advertising in print media. Definitely, we will be expanding our marketing areas to some of the chess events as well which we are working on presently.

What value does digital marketing with OnlineSales.ai bring to the table to fuel organic growth for ChessBazaar?

We’ve been growing 30% Year on Year and the credit goes to Online Sales. OnlineSales.ai has played such a fantastic job as it exceeds our expectations and our targets. These guys are very proactive and can give the best solutions according to our goals. Very impressed with their professionalism and commitment.

What are your future growth plans for ChessBazaar?

As chess as a game is growing by leaps and bounds in each and every country, there is immense potential in the chess set industry in future. More and more people all around the globe love to have wooden chess set either in their study or for playing purposes.

We’re now planning to go beyond chess by introducing wooden puzzle games, kids toys etc. We are also planning to open exclusive offline retail stores soon.

OnlineSales.ai stands by ChessBazaar in reaching the heights it aims at, and imparting diligent performance marketing to see it through. We are encouraged by watching our clients deriving true value out of our platform and efforts, and The Inside Story celebrates just that.

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E-Commerce Startups: Are You Making These 8 Disastrous Mistakes?

Updated: 5th February, 2019

1995: “I want to invest in a business!”

2018: “I want to launch my own startup!”

The word ‘startup’ has truly gained a cult status in India over the past few years. It’s for good reason that web-series like ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘TVF Pitchers’ struck a chord with the youth.

Contrary to social media and e-publishers celebrating a bombardment of news stories and web-series showcasing a glamorous run for startups, the ground reality is very different.

The Indian startup scenario remains that only a few end in quick exits and million dollar acquisitions. When it comes to digital startups, most of the novice businesses that stand or sink tend to be predominantly from the E-Commerce industry.

According to a study by IBM in 2017, 90% of the Indian start-ups fail within 5 years of conception.

This fast-paced industry has its shares of challenges and pitfalls, right from selling products to the wrong persona, to not paying enough attention to its HR policies.

Here are the Top 8 reasons why a lot of E-Commerce businesses in India register slow growth rates, or worse, cease operations within a few early years of starting shop.

The Need for Innovation

‘Make sure your business idea is unique and innovative. If not, then make sure you’re doing something better than the existing players’ is the core mantra of the business world. Doing the same things as your closest competitors won’t attract you new customers, nor your competitors’ most loyal customers.

Adrian Gahlot, one of our seasoned Business Analysts says, “Lots of new guys in the E-Commerce sector sell products which they have no expertise around. Be an expert in what you sell. For example, when you buy headphones from a Flipkart or a HeadphoneZone, you know the difference across the buying experience.

Flipkart hardly provides enough product information, while HeadphoneZone provides detailed technical specifications along with a guided buying guide, which makes shopping there a more wholesome experience.”

How to avoid this pitfall:

Know your hero category inside out. First understand what you’re trying to sell and whom you’re trying to sell it to. Sell the product(s) on your site only if you know that there’s a void, and hence a demand for it in the industry, and not just because it’s a lucrative business and everyone is doing it.

The Perils of Ambition and Ambiguity

Instead of focusing on their core operations right from the early stages, online retail houses tend to focus on everything but their core business. Acquisitions and takeovers are often unplanned and become underproductive, with lack of proactive direction. Remember how Snapdeal, during an acquisition spree acquired GoJavas (a logistics firm) and FreeCharge (a payment merchant), and failed to integrate these businesses well within Snapdeal’s own ecosystem? At a time when E-Commerce companies are running on losses in order to survive cut-throat competition, such poorly-thought out acquisitions add fuel to the fire.

How to avoid this pitfall:

Hunt for investors, acquisitions and partnerships only when you are ready for wider, more wholesome growth, and after planning deep integrations in your ecosystem. Consider outsourcing services that you have no expertise or knowledge about. Execute a growth plan with a structure to expect efficiency and long-term success.

Raising Strong Sellers

In their quest to focus on customers, online marketplaces often tend to ignore their sellers. Successful marketplaces around the world run almost entirely by the efficiency of its sellers. Sellers often complain about poor management and engagement from marketplaces in India, propelling them to turn to sites like eBay and Amazon, both known around the globe for their excellent Seller record.

Events like OnePlus Co-Founder openly calling out on Flipkart for claiming to offer the Amazon-exclusive OnePlus3 for under ₹20,000 doesn’t help a Flipkart’s reputation will sellers either.

How to avoid this pitfall:

Don’t direct all your engagement services only to your customers. Treat your seller like you’d treat your customers. Seller experience can make or mar your marketplace impression. Remember that one bad seller experience can prevent hundreds of potential sellers from selling on your Marketplace, not to mention the bane of a bad review from a customer in the process.

Quality Control is not Optional

You’re not going to set yourself up for success if your goal is just to acquire a transaction from a customer. E-Commerce (or any other business for that matter) thrives only if the customer continues to be satisfied with your products and comes back time and again. Engaging with your customers is as important as selling to them. Odd cases like customers receiving bricks inside cellphone boxes are just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to retailers without any quality control.

How to avoid this pitfall:

As mentioned on point (3), you need to focus on your sellers too. Sometimes, sellers notoriously sell products of inferior quality to the customers against heavy discounts. You can start by investing in an efficient SaaS OMS system to keep track on the product life cycle. You could consider outsourcing the allied services like Customer Support, Tech Support, Inventory Management, etc., so that you can turn your focus on quality control, especially during the early stages of your business.

Misplacing Priorities

Imagine you’re buying yourself a bar of chocolate. What would you ask yourself at the store? — A) How it tastes and how much it costs? Or B) Is it made in India or not? You’d pick Option A, right?

Well, few E-Commerce business owners would like you to think otherwise. At a time when American bigwigs like Amazon and Uber were growing at excellent rates in India, their Indian counterparts’ founders talked extensively about the ‘Indianness’ of their companies and requested favorable policies from the Indian Government to battle their ‘foreign’ rivals.

Wondering why such outlooks can be harmful to your business, so much so that it can stop your growth altogether? Well, statistics prove that narrowed outlooks tend to lower your investors’ confidence in you.

How to avoid this pitfall:

Your customer cares only about three things from you — quality, pricing and service. Master these 3 elements and you’ll achieve long-term growth. Don’t prioritize other practices which could hamper your investor’s and customer’s confidence in your brand.

(Please) spend a lot of time building your UI and UX

While one continues to criticize the dull Amazon UI, there is no doubt that it is built with incredibly efficient functionalities (read strong back-end support). On the other hand, Indian sites while being really attractive, report a lot of lags and bugs, thus ruining the shopping experience for the customer.

How to avoid this pitfall:

Just one critical tip — listen to your customer. Listen to their suggestions and grievances about your app/site experience. Feedback surveys or behavior tracking can be used to analyse how happy your customer really is.

Your Team is Your Primary Stakeholder

“People are not your most important assets, the right people are”, says Gowri Shankar from Merkle-Sokrati’s Human Resources team. He revealed what kind of HR practices spell doom for E-Commerce stores:

There are two aspects to Human Resources — Talent Acquisition and Talent Retention. Many a times, E-Commerce stores focus only on Talent Acquisition, which is actually the easier part. Talent Retention is what determines how motivated your employees really are, which in turn determines their productivity and loyalty towards your brand. This brings us to question whether your employees are reactive vs. being proactive.

Offering huge hikes to someone thinking of leaving your company is a temporary fix (i.e. being reactive), whereas providing adequate monetary as well as non-monetary benefits to your employees would ensure he/she doesn’t have to consider a job shift at all, and they are driven together towards your defined company goals (i.e. being proactive).

Finally, another important factor which E-Commerce businesses ignore when it comes to HR practices is ironically, the ‘human’ part! No amount of talent or skills mentioned in your hire’s résumé would make him/her deliver if he/she isn’t the right fit for your company’s values and culture.

You’ll be just fine if your candidate possesses only 90% of the required skills, but a learning attitude and easy adaption to a positive work culture are not negotiable. To all E-Commerce businesses I’d like to say — hire attitude and train skill — make that your mantra. The other way around just won’t work!”

How to avoid this pitfall:

As an E-Commerce business owner, it’s tempting to completely overlook employee affairs and focus instead on sales. Be aware and build a smart and experienced HR team and let them handle talent while you scale.

Marketing Woes 101

E-Commerce Marketing looks simplistic from afar — You showcase a great product to people on Facebook and they’ll definitely make a purchase as soon as it catches their eye? We really wouldn’t be here if a transaction came that easy.

E-Commerce requires a relentlessly strategic, volume-based marketing game plan to takeoff and thrive. Don’t let the unapologetically long flurry of jargon like Analytics, SEO, PPC, Shopping, Remarketing, Engagement throw you off your idea.

Even though speed is the name of the game in E-Commerce, getting relevant channels right is more vital than spreading your budgets thin across all media to reach and keep your ideal customer.

If you are bootstrapped and have a minimal marketing budget, scaling would be a serious challenge sooner than later.

How to avoid this pitfall:

It’s essential for E-Commerce stores to find growth partners to scale marketing campaigns, so that you can continue to focus on the core of your business.

Online Retail Marketing can be ruthlessly competitive and multi-dimensional, demanding a large team of experts or better still, marketing automation.

Fill your funnel continuously — right from brand discovery to customer loyalty, it’s your performance strategy that’ll either drive or break your ROI inflow. Choose a growth investor carefully, and have them commit their funds to your vision, and not just to your business plan.

There’s really no harm in aiming to be the next eBay or Amazon. However, the trick is not to overlook the fact that these corporations were pioneers and started building their product categories and presence over two decades ago.

Read up on them, there’s enough lit available on how their early detection of failures led to unparalleled success.

They steadily created layers of infrastructure and logistics, hired the right people, and continually proved to new-to-the-internet hesitant online buyers that they’re in good hands, and getting them slowly but surely habituated to a convenient alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Identify and acknowledge loose ends in time to keep your startup from the brink. E-Commerce startups may be twenty to a dozen here, but there’s clearly an enormous scope to create bold, reliable, valued brands.

With a curious and digital-ready market like India where disposable incomes are growing by the day, the scope of opportunities is promising and quite frankly, limitless.

The E-Commerce industry in India is estimated to grow by 1200% to $200 billion by 2026.

A piece of the pie is yours for the taking, granted you focus on your policies, differentiators and strategies, instead of losing sleep over competitors or chasing under-planned sales.

If you’ve tried once and not succeeded, build bridges with your learnings. Tell us your story and we’d love to learn from you!

Related Posts:

Here’s Why AI in Performance Marketing is Here to Scale

To Budget or Not to Budget — The AI Perspective

OnlineSales.ai’s Top 10 E-Commerce Marketing Stories of 2017

The online advertising industry saw dozens of exciting developments this year, but 2017 also brought with it new challenges to be overcome.

It’s been an exciting year for our OnlineSales.ai Blog too! We’ve grown our community of blog subscribers i.e E-tailers and Digital marketers by over 300%! I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making this possible.

2018 is almost here and I’ve handpicked a list of 10 stories of 2017 you should read to kickstart your Q1 of 2018!

1. Google Shopping Vs Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences

Google Shopping vs Amazon Sponsored Products | OnlineSales.ai Blog

 

When it comes to search, Google Shopping has been THE PREFERRED option for product based, high intent, visual search advertising…until now.

Amazon, the global E-Commerce behemoth, has now entered the ring with Amazon Sponsored Products. While still in its relative infancy, Amazon has a few tricks up its sleeves which can pose a serious challenge to Google Shopping’s dominance… or can it? Find out how they stack up against each other.

2. How to Beat The Amazon Black Friday Sale

How Big Is The Black Friday Sale?

Source: Adobe Digital Insights data.

Source: Adobe Digital Insights data.

Now, the billion dollar question – how much did Amazon make out of this?

Since Amazon is secretive with the numbers, Internetretailer.com took a dig and estimated that 40% of the total sales was accredited to Amazon from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

The sheer numbers send out a shiver down the spine of smaller retailers. So what’s in stock for other retailers? How do we compete with the beast and win?

With the help of our experience in serving 1000+ retailers successfully, We’ve compiled & curated a strategy for you.

This strategy explains everything you need to know to beat The Amazon Black Friday Sale. Read more

3. Amazon Sponsored Products: The Essential Guide

Amazon Sponsored Products

We’ve compiled an exhaustive guide for E-tailers looking to utilize Amazons take on Google Shopping Ads i.e Amazon Sponsored Products.

Know what Amazon Sponsored Products are, should you use them, are they worth it and more in our Essential Guide! Read more

4. How to Beat The Amazon Diwali Sale!

Amazon Diwali Sale | OnlineSales.ai Blog

This one’s for our Indian E-tailers.

Every Quarter Amazon & Flipkart, the E-Commerce giants of India start a grand sale. They offer massive discounts and have Ad campaigns running on full throttle.

Just to give you an overview, here are some quick stats from their respective sales:

Amazon Diwali Sale

Needless to say, whenever Amazon or Flipkart have a sale, small E-Commerce stores feel the heat.

What you can do though, is follow this 3 week road map to help you tackle the Diwali sale.

5. Here’s Why AI in Performance Marketing is Here to Scale

AI in Performance Marketing

There is no denying the rise of AI or Machine Learning, if you will, in Performance Marketing and that it is not only here to stay, but to scale beyond our current imagination.

It’s better to be aware and ready for the changes that Artificial Intelligence is going to bring in our lives as Marketers.

The Journey: From Traditional Marketing to Performance Marketing to Machine Learning and what’s to come in 2018! Read more

6. Gmail Sponsored Promotions: How to Run a Successful GSP Campaign

Gmail Sponsored Promotions

Let’s talk about the common mistakes that most advertisers make before or after they launch a campaign.

  1. Do you invest your marketing budgets on channels for the entire marketing funnel or just the one which gives only last click conversions?
  2. Are you giving importance to Assisted Conversions?
  3. Do you compare the numbers across different marketing channels?

If the answer is No (and yes for the last point) then you are definitely at the right place, reading the right blog. Most often we don’t give much importance to channels that works best in driving awareness and consideration in consumers. We push our budgets to channels which help us achieve a good amount of last click conversions.

This is the reason why channels like Programmatic, Content and Gmail Sponsored Promotions are still the unexplored areas of the digital world. You need to look beyond last click conversions if you intend to scale your campaigns or brand.

When was the last time you logged into Gmail to check your mail? I did it 15 mins ago and guess what, so did million people.

If you are not yet utilizing Gmail Sponsored Promotions or if you’re losing money using it this is the blog for you! GSP has improved a lot since its inception and will only continue to do so in 2018. Continue reading to know how to run a Successful GSP Campaign

7. Recipe for Powerful YouTube Performance Marketing

Youtube Performance Marketing

YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet.

Youtube garners more than 30 million visitors per day. 5 billion videos are watched every day and on an average, a view session lasts more than 40 mins.

Now as an E-commerce marketer how do you utilize YouTube as a platform to reach out to the right set of people who go on to install your app as well as make a purchase?

Learn how you can utilize the second largest search engine in the world in performance marketing

8. Why You Should Not Ignore Bing Product Ads

You might not have realized it, but Bing reaches a phenomenal number of people on a monthly basis and is a powerful search engine in its own right.

Here are some amazing stats that back up that statement (Source)

Bing-product-ads-stat1

Bing-product-ads-stat2

Of our extensive managed services clients who were advertising on both Google and Bing, we saw nearly 36% lower CAC on Bing Product Ads.

Continue reading on why you should not Ignore Bing Ads

9. 5 Ways to Prevent Your SaaS Customers from Churning

Customer Churn Fixes

 

One of the most painful aspects of a SaaS product is the fast churn of its customer base. Customers tend to onboard easily, fail to adopt the product long enough to engage, and end the journey too quickly; this results in the SaaS business losing a lot of money while weakening its reputability.

In this blog, I’ll be recommending 5 ways that’ll prevent your loyal customers from calling it quits on your product. Continue reading

10. How Cash on Delivery Fuelled E-Commerce Growth in India

Cash on delivery india

Remember the emergence of E-Commerce blossoming in India, and the early nervousness of making payments online?

Even though there has been a significant rise in online payments over the last few years since, Cash on Delivery (COD) continues to remain the most preferred mode of payment for consumers in India.

Continue reading to know how cash on delivery fuelled E-Commerce growth in India

It’s been a great year for us at OnlineSales.ai. We competed against 1,100 Agencies, Platforms and Companies to win the coveted award for Shopping Innovation. We’d like mention a special thank you to Pipa Bella who let us document this case study which won us the award.

From myself and everyone here at the OnlineSales.ai blog, Happy New Year!

Google Attribution Modelling: Everything You Need To Know

What is an Attribution Model?

According to Google

An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths.

Alright! So this particular “search term” is very much “in market” these days in the marketing world and it’s quite fascinating to know the concepts behind it. I was awestruck when I first heard about this a couple of years ago.

There are a lot of articles out there which explains the attribution model concept and are really informative. This is my attempt to present my learning so far in a slightly different format for all of us.

For all those who are aware of this, Just try and answer the simple situation that I have presented here and test your knowledge on this 🙂

Let’s get started with the situation!

Mr.Modi, Google searched for “Buy Nike shoes” in Gujarat on day 1 of December. Saw your paid ad along with the organic listings. However, he finds the “up to 60% off” text on your paid ad more lucrative and hence clicked on that ad, visited the website, browsed a couple of products but didn’t find anything exciting, so he left the website.

A few days later, he sees another ad in Delhi white tweeting about the current affairs. Again he clicks the ad, visited the website but didn’t make any purchase.

A few days later, he had to visit Washington for some official work and made a Google search again, this time he clicks on the organic listing, likes few items on the website and initiates the payment process.

However, he was not able to complete it due to the poor internet connection in the hotel.

Finally, after making so many attempts to make the purchase, he had remembered the web address and on one fine Sunday on 17th of December post finishing up the Yoga seminar of Mr.Dev, he sat on his chair at home, typed in the URL in the browser, visited your site and finally made the purchase 🙂

Now, Mr.Modi is happy with the purchase, but how do we (Marketers/E-tailers) decide the channel that should get the credit for this purchase?

For all those who are aware of the Attribution, can go ahead and answer this.

Attribution Model | Last Click | Last Adword Click | First Click | Liner | Time Decay | Data Driven

Everyone else, read through this and it will clear all your doubts 🙂

Last Click Attribution Model

In the Last Click attribution model, the last touchpoint—in this case, the Direct channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.

Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model

In the Last Non-Direct Click attribution model, all direct traffic is ignored, and 100% of the credit for the sale goes to the last channel that the customer clicked through from before converting—in this case, the Twitter Paid channel.

Last AdWords Click Attribution Model

In the Last AdWords Click attribution model, the last AdWords click—in this case, the first and only click to the Paid Search channel —would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.

First Click Attribution Model

In the First Click attribution model, the first touchpoint—in this case, the Paid Search channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.

Linear Attribution Model

In the Linear attribution model, each touchpoint in the conversion path—in this case, the Paid Search, Twitter paid, Organic, and Direct channels—would share equal credit (25% each) for the sale.

Time Decay Attribution Model

In the Time Decay attribution model, the touchpoints closest in time to the sale or conversion get most of the credit. In this particular sale, the Direct and Organic channels would receive the most credit because the customer interacted with them within a few days of conversion.

The Twitter channel would receive less credit than either the Direct or Organic channels. Since the Paid Search interaction occurred two week earlier, this channel would receive significantly less credit.

Position Based Attribution Model

In the Position Based attribution model, 40% credit is assigned to each the first and last interaction, and the remaining 20% credit is distributed evenly to the middle interactions. In this example, the Paid Search and Direct channels would each receive 40% credit, while the Twitter paid and Organic channels would each receive 10% credit.

So, the final numbers would something like this.

Attribution Model | Last Click | Last Adword Click | First Click | Liner | Time Decay | Data Driven

Are we missing something?? Yeah! You are right 🙂

In the above calculation, we missed Data-Driven Attribution Modeling.

Data-Driven Attribution Modeling:

Google has recently introduced this model and the absolute beauty of this model is that it’s different for each client, unlike all other attribution models.

Data-Driven Attribution Modeling understands the user’s data for your campaigns and allocates value on the basis of the channel that has the highest probability of completing the conversion.

Little complicated, right? Let me try and see if I can simplify it for you.

Let’s say you own a Premium bus transport company in Maharashtra, and you use conversion tracking to track when customers purchase tickets on your website.

In particular, you have one conversion action to track purchases of a Mumbai-Pune Volvo tickets. Customers often clicks a few of your ads before deciding to purchase a ticket.

Your data-driven attribution model finds that customers who click your “Volvo to Pune” ad first, and then later click “Book Pune Volvo” are more likely to purchase a ticket than users who only click on “Book Pune Volvo.”

So the model redistributes credit in favor of the “Volvo to Pune” ad and its associated keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

Requirement for Data-Driven Attribution Modeling

You need to have at least 15,000 clicks and 600 conversions in the last 30 days in your AdWords account to enable this. The learning from this model is used by the automation bidding for optimizing the campaigns.

Now, when you look at your reports, you have a complete information about which ads are most valuable to your business. Hope I was able to clear few of your doubts regarding the various attributions models.

In the next post, I’ll try and cover “Google Attribution” – The Product that Google has launched after acquiring “Adometry” and some of the insights from the same basis my experience.

Do share your thoughts and suggestions 🙂

OnlineSales.ai’s approach to attribution

Traditional E-Commerce sales closely follow the marketing funnel
Awareness → Consideration → Purchase → Loyalty.

Combination of customer engagement channels including Website, Mobile App, Organic, Paid Search, Social, Display and Re-engagement, play a pivotal role in fulfilling every step of the marketing funnel.

Given the complex nature for the E-Commerce transaction, OnlineSales E-Commerce Marketing Platform implements the multivariate cross-channel attribution framework.

Rather than the archaic attribution models – last-click, first-click – every channel click is given a weightage according to the contribution to the funnel.

The rounded approach ensures that the platform can deliver on multiple goals – the Top-line (first-time customer visits), Bottom-line (Transactions at highest ROI), App Installs, Engagement and LTV.

Interested in how OnlineSales.ai can help you with Attribution?

Schedule a Demo

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5 Best Practices For Brand Campaigns on Google AdWords

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Why One Dimensional Marketing Campaigns Are Killing Your Online Jewelry Sales

iPhone X is launched on Oct 27, retailing at $999. Long queues outside Apple retailers, online pre-orders is the usual order of the day for any iPhone launch. Tiffany’s recently launched the men’s Rose Gold Diamond ring, retailing at $1150.

Last reported, there were no queues at Tiffany’s, or the internet wasn’t buzzing with pre-orders for the ring either. Let’s get to the point, at the same price points, Tiffany has to sell differently than how Apple sells.

Restricting this discussion to online sales, the goal for electronics is straightforward – sell as close as possible to +ve ROI!. When selling Jewelry, while ROI is a significant consideration, having a single goal can be hazardous for business.

Let’s find out why, and, a possible approach to selling Jewelry online.

Unlike electronics, when buying jewelry online, there are various considerations

  • The make – metal, stone, cuts, design
  • Occasion
  • Store brand reputation
  • Prices and Discounts
  • The opinion of family & friends

Considering the complex nature of jewelry marketing and sales, it is impractical to measure success on a singular scale. Rather, successful online marketing campaigns are based on multiple strategies, closely aligned with the buying intent and the product behaviour.

A smart marketing strategy will be a combination as below:

Product Type

Buyer Intent

Product USP

Marketing goal

Trending

High

In vogue, fast moving High ROI
Best Sellers

Medium to High

Well known, brand identity

Consistent cost-per-transaction, LTV
New Arrivals

Low to Medium

Hustlers, growth agents

Funnel metrics – page visits, time on page, add-to-carts, purchases and returns
Show Stoppers

Low

Aspirational

Time spent on product page, spillage, LTV
Affordable Luxury

Medium

Crowd pleasers

ROI
Occassions

High

Functional

ROI

 

The marketing strategies – keyword / targeting mix, Ad copy content, bids and budgets – are a function of the above goals.

As an example, long tail keywords work great for affordable luxury products, while an aggressive bidding strategy for top trending keywords (e.g. $11/click for “Diamond ring”), works considering the LTV goal.

One of the key factor of success for any jewelry marketing is strategy is to base the decision making on analytics and data. When marketing the Show Stoppers, it is critical for the business to monitor spillage, where possibly other lower priced are getting bought.

Equally important is to deploy a channel mix to gain maximum leverage from the marketing strategy. As an example, for marketing Best Sellers, you will deploy Google Search, Google Shopping and Facebook newsfeeds – ensuring you are acquiring new customers at a consistent CPT.

For New Arrivals, you will test with Youtube DRM, Google Adwords Customer Match with Ecommerce Client Data Insights & 6 Best Practices, with a bit of lookalikes thrown in – to ensure you are testing for new product behaviour against your proven audience.

As a Jeweler, you want to be selling a story! Our goal at OnlineSales.ai is to enable Jewelers enhance their online brand by helping deliver on thought through marketing strategies, combining the power of data analytics and AI.

Reach out to us on how we can help.

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To Budget or Not to Budget – The AI Perspective

Why AI is the Future of Marketing

To Budget or Not to Budget – The AI Perspective

Read-on if your marketing budget decisions give an impression of being based on Roulette wheel outcome. Read-on if your monthly marketing budgets are “locked” by channels. Read-on if you think AI is super cool and will help you deliver ROI against your spends. AI skeptics Read-on!

Budgeting Decisions can be extremely complex when we consider multiple moving parts of the marketing engine – channels/sub-channels, Ad types, campaigns types, categories of products, transaction volumes, attribution models.

Faced with this complexity, it is common today to have marketing budgets finalized at the start of each month. No real surprise that these digital marketing strategy sessions reflect the age-old “media planning” sessions.

AI, driven by intelligent machine learning algorithms, can fill in the gap by delivering a highly agile and rewarding experience for your marketing team. Successful machine learning algorithms rely on capturing and analysing data on multiple axis.

Continuing with the budgeting decision making example, platforms will deploy basic optimization techniques like Hill Climb and Random Search algorithms when the dataset is fairly linear. A typical scenario will be for an algorithm deciding on the best performing ad copies based on the combination of ad placement, images, titles, descriptions and landing pages.

Hill climbs have an inherent weakness where the algorithm breaks on a local maxima. Any smart platform will minimize the impact by implementing the random restart technique.

As the complexity increases e.g. when we start adding multiple channels, campaigns, attribution models in the mix, platforms switch to more advanced optimization techniques including Annealing and Genetic algorithm.

Where Hill climb relies on the one-to-one comparison technique, Annealing allows for probability of success even for a relatively lower scoring combination. To elaborate, let’s consider we have 50 different campaigns with 5 ad sets each. There is a success score assigned to each moving component of the campaign and ad set – audience age, gender, education, interests, website behaviour etc.

With the Hill climb algorithm the individual component scores will be added and the campaign budgets will be decided by basic arm-wrestling elimination technique.

Here the “losing” campaign has no chance of getting a larger budget. With Annealing though, the loser still has a chance for a success or a higher budget as long as it can be within the winning probability

P = exp(-c/t) > r

Where
c = the change in the evaluation function
t = the current temperature
r = a random number between 0 and 1

The success of AI platforms is based on their ability to self-learn and improve on any of the assumptions and variables. With ever increasing computational ability, AI algorithms can drive real-time budgeting.

Budgets are at the core of any marketing success, and it will be useful for you to take a real-time decision to invest in an AI-Driven E-Commerce Marketing platform. You still reading? Go get one! 🙂

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Google Shopping Vs Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences

Google Shopping Campaigns are fast becoming one of the most effective channels for advertisers and profitable channels for google. This is proven by the fact that nowadays marketers spend over 25% of their Google advertising budgets Google Shopping alone!

Source: Onlinesales.ai Shopping Campaigns Trends

 

Google Market share Desktop Google’s search market share for desktop is 79.43% while Bing’s is 7.27%.

 

Google Market share Mobile

On mobile Google’s market share is 96.12% while Bing’s is just 0.85%.

And with Bing not putting up as much fight as expected, Google Shopping has been THE PREFERRED option for product based, high intent, visual search advertising…until now.

Amazon, the global E-Commerce behemoth, has now entered the ring with Amazon Sponsored Products.

While still in its relative infancy, Amazon has a few tricks up its sleeves which can pose a serious challenge to Google Shopping’s dominance… or can it? Let’s find out how they stack up against each other.

1] The Basics

First thing’s first. What are these two channels all about?

Google:

Google Shopping ads are a form of visual search ads from Google. Each advert shows the most relevant product from various competing advertisers to the user’s search query. The shopping ad shows rich details like:

  • Product Image
  • Name
  • Price
  • Store Name
  • User Ratings
  • Additional Information like Coupon Codes, Discounts etc.

Google Shopping Ad Preview | Bluetooth Headphone Google Shopping Ad Preview

What you need to get started:

  • Google Merchant Center (GMC) Account with a regularly updated Product Catalog
  • Verification from Google that you indeed own the website
  • Google Adwords Account for creating Shopping Campaigns for advertising the products from your GMC Product Catalog

Further Reading: How to setup & optimize Shopping Campaigns

Amazon

For the uninitiated, Amazon Sponsored Products is amazon’s version of Product Based Ads.

 

It too shows relevant product matching the user’s search query with rich product details like Product Image, Name, Price, Store Name, User Ratings & additional information like sale price, prime delivery and user ratings.

To get started with Amazon Sponsored Products you need a professional seller account with Amazon. Amazon charges a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 for your Professional selling plan.

This is mandatory for Amazon Sponsored Products. Is it worth the money? How to setup your professional account? What are the Average CPC’s? Checkout our Essential Guide to Amazon Sponsored Products for more details

Both channels are easier to set-up & get started with. Google Shopping is purely a marketing channel to drive relevant & high quality customers to your website.

Amazon is an alternative to having your own website, handling the delivery logistics & creating brand awareness on your own. Although, on Amazon, you are exposed to a more intent-heavy audience.

Winner: We will call it a Tie since both serve a slightly different purpose.

2] Geographic Reach:

Geographical Reach | Google Shopping vs Amazon Sponsored Products

Google Shopping is available in following 36 countries:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK, and the US (source)

Amazon Sponsored Products are available in following 10 countries:

Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK, US (source) Winner: Google Shopping

3] Traffic Quality:

Traffic Quality | Google Shopping vs Amazon Sponsored Products

Google:

Google search queries dwarf any other of its competitors across devices. Google has 1.2+ Trillion searches every year.

Although google has the sheer volume of traffic, it is a mix of those audiences.

The searchers intent are at different stages of a purchase funnel.

Also not all of this traffic is looking to purchase any product. They may just be researching or “looking for something” (googling as we have come to verbalize it now).

Amazon

A user on amazon is almost always likely to be looking for buying something.

They may be evaluating their options or looking for a better deal but they certainly are in the purchase funnel.

The purchase intent is higher as compared to that on Google. According to a study link 50% of folks start their product search on amazon now.

The sheer number of searches on Google dwarf Amazon. However, when it comes to traffic quality, Amazon is the clear winner. Winner: Amazon

4] Competition:

Competition

Google:

Google has been in online advertising business since the 2000s whilst Amazon started Sponsored Products in 2012.

As a marketing channel, Google Shopping is easier to get started with as long as you have a website.

This has allowed businesses of all sizes to set-up advertising campaigns on Google Adwords.

This has also enabled Ad Tech companies, like OnlineSales.ai, to create large scale marketing campaigns targeting the entire product catalog of millions of products on Google Shopping.

Ad Tech companies like us can optimise these campaigns for the best ROI for every marketing dollar spent. Google dominates every other channel in % of Ad revenues.

It makes more money from ads any other company on the planet.

Alphabet (Google’s Parent Company), is estimated to make $73.8 billion dollars in 2017 in ad sales.

This is after subtracting for traffic acquisition costs etc. Source – eMarketer To put that into perspective Google represents a staggering 33% of the world’s 223.7 billion digital ad revenue.

How much is Facebook? It’s near $40 billion less than Google at a $36 billion. But this is the very reason that Google Shopping has become so competitive.

Which is great for Google, but not so much for marketers, who have to keep shelling out more advertising dollars per click.

Amazon:

Amazon on the other hand is no slouch, having over 2 million+ sellers on its marketplace.

In 2014, over 2 billion products were sold on Amazon Marketplaces. The number is far greater today.

Amazon is a relatively new and un-crowded channel. Which means less competition.

Which means lower operational cost…well at least for now 🙂

The average CPC’s on Amazon are far lower than Google and Facebook, with Average winning CPC’s not exceeding even $1.

You can learn more about the winning CPC’s from 2012 to 2016 here.

The winning CPC’s are segmented on the basis of all the product categories on Amazon. Bottom line, Amazon is far less competitive than Google which is better for E-Tailers like yourself.

Winner: Amazon Sponsored Products

5] Running Costs:

Running Costs | Google Shopping vs Amazon Sponsored Products Both Amazon Sponsored Products & Google Shopping Campaigns work on Cost Per Click (CPC) models.

Meaning you get charged only when someone clicks on your ad and not otherwise.

Whilst Google Shopping has the best CPC amongst most of its competitor channels like (Google Text Search, Google Display, Facebook), it is Amazon which has much lower CPCs amongst the two.

This is due to the relatively lower competition on Amazon as an advertising channel. Also, to win the Buy Box on Amazon, you need to be highly competitive about your price positioning.

This means lower margins and hence lower spend appetite during bidding. This in turn drives the CPCs down.

Google CPC’s by Category

Product CTR Conv Rate AOV ROAS CPC
Apparel 0.78% 3.67% $40.61 565% $0.26
Appliances 1.43% 1.62% $230.78 567% $0.66
Art Supplies 1.62% 1.66% $78.45 412% $0.32
Automotive 1.41% 1.50% $169.95 750% $0.34
Babies & Kids 0.89% 1.42% $188.13 707% $0.38
Beauty & Cosmetics 1.05% 2.79% $47.80 289% $0.46
Books, music & Gifts 1.37% 2.22% $68.42 483% $0.31
Cosmestics 1.90% 2.49% $30.75 383% $0.20
Electronics 1.49% 1.95% $79.10 381% $0.41
Food & Grocery 1.47% 1.43% $179.80 619% $0.42
Footwear 1.17% 2.18% $119.04 627% $0.41
Health & Fitness 1.36% 2.44% $111.11 446% $0.61
Home 1.98% 3.76% $49.44 226% $0.82
Home & Furniture 0.89% 1.51% $233.55 614% $0.57
Luggage & Travel 0.91% 1.08% $549.70 369% $1.61
Medical 1.35% 1.75% $277.51 693% $0.70
Office 1.10% 2.31% $151.21 376% $0.93
Other 1.55% 3.13% $69.66 396% $0.55
Outdoor 1.60% 2.91% $113.61 911% $0.36
Pet Supplies 1.29% 6.35% $36.50 440% $0.53
Sports & Outdoors 1.49% 1.97% $135.71 623% $0.43
Tools 1.23% 1.15% $277.91 827% $0.39
Toys 1.03% 0.75% $240.12 349% $0.51
Watches & Jewelry 0.85% 0.61% $1,190.31 993% $0.73
Grand Total 1.20% 2.46% $91.70 542% $0.42

Amazon Sponsored Products CPC’s by Category

Amazon CPC's Amazon Cpc's

Source: CPC Strategy

Winner: Amazon Sponsored Products

6] The Control:

Costs | OnlineSales.ai Blog On Google Shopping, Google’s internal algorithms match the user’s search query to the relevant product from your product catalog.

The algorithm primary looks at the product title, description, product_type, google product category for finding a match.

This means, by modifying your product title or description, you can control what user search queries your products will appear for.

You can further use negative keywords to control irrelevant matches.

Onlinesales.ai’s Award Winning shopping campaign optimization algorithm does this automatically for every SKU.

Further Reading: OnlineSales.ai Wins The 2017 Google Global Award for Shopping Innovation

Amazon gives you the best control in this regard. In Campaigns with type “Manual Campaigns”, you can decide which keywords trigger ads for which products and group them in the same ad-group.

While campaigns with type “Automated Campaigns”, are similar to Google Shopping campaigns, where Amazon’s algorithms decide which product to match to which search query.

However, having a relevant keyword and the right bid is only half the story when it comes to getting your products shown in Sponsored Products Results.

Amazon puts a good deal of emphasis on your product price, your ratings-positive as well as negative, your shipping costs, return percentage and many more to determine if you win the buy box or not. That is if your ad is shown or not.

Winner: Amazon Sponsored Products, but it’s complicated 🙂

7] Insights & Measurements:

Insights and Measurement | Google vs Amazon In terms of metrics, both Google Shopping and Amazon Sponsored Products give you pretty much the same basic set. Metrics given are:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Conversions
  • Revenue
  • CTRs
  • CVRs

All the above metrics are given at a Keyword, Product, Ad, Adgroup & Campaign level.

But Google allows performance tracking pixels like Google Adwords, Google Analytics or even 3rd party trackers like Omniture, Mixpanel or OnlineSale.ai’s Tag Manager.

Which means, you can customize pretty much any kind of user information, behavioral or attributes, like pages visited, time spent on site, products seen, shopping carts created and abandoned, products purchased etc.

This helps you track your marketing funnel with far more richer set of data-points and optimize your marketing strategy accordingly.

For Amazon Sponsored Products, you will have to rely on the metrics that Amazon provides.

Winner: Google Shopping, due to its flexibility.

8] Optimizations:

Optimization | Google vs Amazon Amazon Sponsored Products allows you to apply a CPC bid for each keyword & ad-group.

Depending upon your campaign structure, 1 product per adgroup or multiple, this allows you to bid on a single product or a set of products.

What criteria to us to modify the bids is left totally upto you. In addition, you can add positive as well as negative keywords to control what search queries match which products.

But the optimization options end pretty much here. On the other hand, Google Shopping Campaigns give much more optimization options in addition to the ones mentioned above.

With Google Shopping Campaigns you also get:

  • Ad Scheduling
  • Device optimization
  • Location optimization
  • Rule based performance optimizations
  • Audience based optimizations (Remarketing Lists)

Further Reading: Take Google Shopping to the Next Level : Image Optimization in E-Commerce

Winner: Google Shopping

9] Recapturing Lost Audience:

Audience Recapture | OnlineSales.ai Blog Remarketing is a great way to recall the audience that has walked away from your online store without making a purchase.

Remarketing is also the preferred way to keep making them come to your online store regularly and turn them into long term customers.

Some of the largest E-Commerce players derive 30-50% of the paid marketing transactions from Remarketing campaigns.

DRM’s are a boon. They target users who have visited the site, browsed products, added to cart etc with the exact same products they either viewed or added to cart.

This makes DRM’s Ads highly appropriate and relevant. Google Shopping let’s you target your store’s audience using Remarketing Lists (RLSA) where you can bid a slightly higher amount for people who have already visited your store.

Further Reading: 4 E-Commerce Remarketing Strategies to Optimize ROI

Further Reading: Dynamic Remarketing (DRM) – A Must for E-Commerce

In addition you can also segment them & bid differentially based on many criteria like product preferences, price affinities and stage in the purchase funnel.

E-Book: The Holy Grail of Dynamic Remarketing Strategies

E-Book: Google Shopping Superchargers for Online Retailers Amazon Sponsored Products does not give you remarketing options.

Winner: Google Shopping

10] Branding & Awareness:

Branding and Awareness | Google Shopping vs Amazon Sponsored Products

Google Shopping Ads show your store name right below the product image & name on Google Search Results Page (SERP). It drives relevant, intent driven audience to your website.

Even if the user doesn’t end up purchasing, he has a high chance of remembering your store brand name and may visit at a later date. This creates awareness about your brand in the user’s mind.

On Amazon, the product brand is clearly visible in the ad but the seller name i.e. your name is not!

Even on the product details page, it is buried under the huge amount of data whon on the page. It is much harder to create awareness about your store on amazon this way.

Winner: Google Shopping

Verdict:

Both these channels address slightly different use cases when it comes to marketing.

While Google Shopping is a pure Marketing channel for your brand/website, Amazon Sponsored Products provides marketing options only if you have a store on Amazon.

So, if you are looking to build a brand and open yourselves to various marketing channels to drive high quality, high intent traffic to it, Google Shopping should be at the top of your list.

But if you are just starting up, don’t want to deal with logistics and shipping too much, but rather concentrate on selling your products where the most high intent buyers are present then there can be no better option than Amazon Sponsored Products.

Further Reading:

 

How to Beat The Amazon Black Friday Sale

Millions of shoppers are anxiously waiting for one of the biggest days during the holiday season. Yes, The Black Friday Sale and Cyber Monday Sale.

Extravagant and mouth watering deals across product categories see shoppers flocking to online stores scouting for the best possible deals.

But Just How Big Is The Black Friday Sale?

Source: Adobe Digital Insights data.

Source: Adobe Digital Insights data.

Now, the billion dollar question – how much did Amazon make out of this?

Since Amazon is secretive with the numbers, Internetretailer.com took a dig and estimated that 40% of the total sales was accredited to Amazon from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

The sheer numbers send out a shiver down the spine of smaller retailers.

So what’s in stock for other retailers? How do we compete with the beast and win?

With the help of our experience in serving 1000+ retailers successfully, I’ve compiled & curated a strategy for you.

This strategy explains everything you need to know to beat The Amazon Black Friday Sale.

I’ll be going in depth with a week-by-week strategy that’s sure to bring you success.

Here we go…

Jump to a Section

Take Advantage of Your Existing Customers

Black Friday Sale | Existing Customer

Your existing customers are of utmost importance and easier to convert than new audiences.

For obvious reasons: they are well aware of your Website, Products, Customer experience, Quality of goods etc.

Since Amazon deals with millions of customers it’s far stretched to say that they know their customers better than anyone else.

One of the top 5 influencing factors to choosing a retailer is ‘past experience with the retailer’, according to Astound Commerce.

Hence, as rather smaller merchants the customer base we possess is limited but the likelihood of customers coming back to us is high too.

As E-Tailers this is an opportunity to encash on.

Begin with segmenting this customer data to granular levels and start nurturing them at least 2 weeks before the big day.

Further Reading: 6 Best Practices for Google Adwords Customer Match with Ecommerce Client Data.

Email Marketing

Black Friday Sale | Email Marketing

According to Custora, email campaigns beat both Search and Social Campaigns hands down!

Around 27% orders on Black Friday and overall 23% during the week (Thanksgiving to Cyber monday) were attributed to Email campaigns.

Paid search contributing 17% overall while Social a distant 2%.

How to begin: Three weeks to Black Friday Sale

Starting early is the key as people begin short listing websites, products before hand so that they aren’t in a state of dilemma when the big day arrives.

Most of them are planning just like you are. Three weeks is adequate time, when utilised correctly.

Track Data

Collect Data Around Your Existing Customers Like:

  • Products purchased
  • Frequency of purchase
  • AOV (average order value)
  • Product category
  • Location
  • Device etc.

You should also leverage previous customer data from last year (Focus around the Sale period)

  • Top trending products
  • Discounts
  • Coupons
  • Categories
  • Email templates etc.

Once you have this data, create tightly theme customer segments that can be sent personalized emails.

If for whatever reason you don’t have this data, don’t fret. Here are some Customer Behaviour stats from the previous year.

Source: Sales Monday

What Are People Buying Online?

Stats Source : Statistic Brain

The above stats are not as conclusive as your own data since they are generalized across verticals & several websites. It’s best to take them with a grain of salt.

Two Weeks To Black Friday

Start rounding up your customers segments with emails informing them about the upcoming sale.

Be clear with the discounts that you will be offering and across what categories.

Personalize the emails as if the categories/products are handpicked based on their preferences.

Keep the messaging crisp with a firm call to action. (Save the date, Add to wish list etc)

CTA’s are one of the most important parts in conversions. They should change throughout the customer journey.

CTA’s Throughout Customer Journey

Black Friday Sale | Customer Funnel

BigCommerce has an extensive article understanding the 12 must have Ecommerce Call-to-Actions.

You may use tools that track user behavior on your website and shoot out highly personalized emails based on products viewed, suggested products, add to cart etc.

Example – A user browsed a study table on your website. He/She should receive an email with the exact table he browsed along with the recommended products.

These recommended products could also contain a chair or a night lamp OR a set of similar tables.

Pro Tip : Optimize ROI Based On Shopping Cart Audience Clusters

Further Reading: 5 Amazingly Productive E-Commerce Purchase Funnel Boosters

A week to Black Friday

Send countdown mailers to get your customers feel anticipation and excitement.

3 days before the big day, reveal all the products on discount and send them personalized discount codes which could be an additional 10%-15% OFF above the discount offered to new customers.

Incentivise them further by referrer program to help them earn bonus or coupons.

This way you may have some newer customers added to your existing base.

Make your existing customers feel extra special by having the Sale opened to them a day in advance. (A marketing stratagem)

[Mandatory] – Have automated cart abandoned emails setup during the Sale to push users to complete the last step in their journey.

[Mandatory] – Since the emails are sent to your prime customer base, having the customer name in the subject line makes it ever more personalized and special.

In our own experience first names in the subject line outperform generic subject lines upto 2 times!

Paid Search Campaigns | Black Friday 

Paid Search Campaigns | Black Friday Sale

Paid Search campaigns can be an expensive affair. Every E-Commerce store is trying to get a piece of the “Black Friday Sale” cake.

CPC’s can skyrocket, and your overall campaign costs can become a burden.

But that’s why you’re here, to get the right approach for your Paid Campaigns during Black Friday Sale

Paid Search Campaigns that are highly recommended are –

Remarketing campaigns are evergreen campaigns, more on them later.

Google Brand campaigns 

Brand Campaigns include keywords of your brand and possible misspells.

This will ensure that anyone searching for your brand is able to see your site above any organic listings.

Brand Ads help communicate all the information about the upcoming sale which are unable to be picked up organically.

Most importantly, there are high possibilities that our competitors could end up bidding on our brand keywords which we most certainly need to tackle.

In case you already have Brand campaigns enabled for the account, make sure all eligible keywords have more than 90% Search impression share.

Pro Tip:5 Best Practices For Brand Campaigns on Google AdWords

How to Juice up these ads

Countdown Timer Ads – These ads would highlight the days remaining until the deal or SALE expires which can induce sense of urgency and anticipation.

Ensure that Ads communicate all necessary information around the upcoming sale. (Products on sale, discounts available, USPs etc)

Make use of all possible Ad extensions like – sitelinks,callouts, structured snippets, message, call, review etc.

Further Reading:Google’s Expanded Text Ads: 5 Things You Should Know.

Search Remarketing Campaigns

Paid Search Campaigns | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Target your existing customers on Google Search by uploading either their email IDs or phone numbers to create a remarketing audience.

Run generic search keywords around products you sell since this is a remarketed audience and will have lower CPC’s.

For Example: If you own a furniture E-Commerce store for which you can have campaigns for generic keywords like buy wooden beds online, best deals on study tables, black friday deals on furniture etc.

Dynamic Remarketing Campaigns (DRM)

 

Dynamic Remarketing Campaigns | Black Friday Sale

Some of the largest E-Commerce players derive 30-50% of the paid marketing transactions from Remarketing campaigns.

DRM’s are a boon. They target users who have visited the site, browsed products, added to cart etc with the exact same products they either viewed or added to cart. This makes DRM’s Ads highly appropriate and relevant.

How To Juice Up These Ads

Target the most recent website visitors for DRM since your brand is fresh in their minds (Preferable last 7 day visitors)

Use Smart lists from Google Analytics which can be created based on multiple parameters like location, device, browser, referrer, session duration etc.

What are Smart Lists?

A Smart List is a type of remarketing list that Google creates for you based on your conversion data in Google Analytics.

Google’s machine learning determines which users are most likely to convert in subsequent sessions.

The model is typically updated daily to reflect the latest data to which Analytics has access, and users are automatically added to or removed from the audience based on that model.

Signals, including location, device, browser, referrer, session duration, and page depth to identify users for the audience

The Criteria for setting up Smart Lists are:

  • 10,000 daily pageviews on your site
  • 500 monthly transactions

Don’t fret if you don’t have the above pageviews or monthly transactions. Google will use similar websites like yours and make these lists.

It’s not as relevant as the one made from your own data but it still works really well.

You can find more information on smart lists on Google here.

Here’s How You Can Set Smart Lists for Your Own Website:

Go to your Google Analytics Dashboard. Select the “Admin” gear at the bottom left corner.

 

Navigate to the “Property” you want to create the Smart List for.

OnlineSales.ai Blog | Google Analytics Property

Once you’re in the Property column, click Audience Definitions > Audiences.

OnlineSales.ai Blog | Amazon Black Friday Sale?

Hit “+New Audience” using the red button, then select the account you want to set this up for.

New Audience | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Choose from the Pre-configured audience definitions: 

  • Smart List
  • All Users
  • New Users
  • Returning Users
  • Users who completed a transaction

Smart List: Let Google manage the audience for you.

We want to go for Smart List” i.e. let Google manage the audience for you.

When you select Smart List, you’ll then be able to see roughly how many users you’ve had pass through that site over the last 7 days.

This will help you when determining your membership duration, as you need to make sure you’ve got at least 10,000 users in the list for it to use your own data.

Name your audience appropriately and hit “Save,” and you’re all set!

This list will then appear in your AdWords shared library. You can also use it in any of your Google display remarketing campaigns.

Pro Tip: You may want to be more aggressive to iOS users than to android. These can be used for Search remarketing campaigns.

Further Reading : Remarketing with Analytics

Cross-sell/up-sell products based on what categories or products users have browsed, added to cart etc for DRM

Google provides multiple ad templates for DRM, choose ad templates that display price along with the discount “%” or discount price.

You may also design your own HTML5 templates using Google Web designer Beta which is a free tool.

Lastly, let’s not forget the underrated Bing platform that contributes to 33% of the overall market share in the US.

The strategies shared above for Google can be applied as is to Bing campaigns too.

Social Media Campaigns

Social Media Campaigns | Amazon Black Friday Sale

Facebook & Instagram can be a great mode to create a buzz around the Brand offerings as well as the upcoming sale.

The level of competition is fairly lower as most of the bigger brands are heavily vested in Google.

How to begin: Two weeks to Black Friday

Page Post campaigns

Start boosting your organic posts to a larger and newer audience. (Exclude your past buyers).

These posts could be talking about your Brand, the products and the upcoming Black Friday sale.

Page boost campaigns have one of the lowest CPCs and help attain maximum reach.

Website Click Campaigns

Website Click Campaigns | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Image Source : Facebook

Create Posts which drive traffic to your website.

The link which directs the user can be a custom made landing page instead of a generic home page.

The advantage of these campaigns is that you can track a lot more user activity and behaviour on your website than on FB.

You can optimize your landing page to have a better Conversion Rate (CRO) than a typical Facebook post.

Further Reading: 7 Pro Tips to Improve Your AdWords Landing Page Experience

Carousel Ads

The idea behind carousel ads is to show more in a single advert.

This Ad format is a huge hit as the carousel format allows you to showcase up to ten images or videos within a single advert, each with its own link.

Carousel Ads | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Image Source : Facebook

Run these ads on website click objective and ad delivery optimized for link clicks.

The campaigns will have relatively higher CPCs than Page post campaigns, however they are great in projecting a wide collection of categories and products.

A carousel ad can showcase a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 ad creatives.

Canvas Ads

With Facebook Canvas adverts, people can watch engaging videos and photos, swipe through carousels, tilt to pan and engage with lifestyle images with tagged products – all in a single advert.

Canvas Ads | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Image Source : Facebook

 

They won’t just view your brand or story, they’ll become part of it.

A Week to Black Friday

Pause all your page post campaigns and website click campaigns. Create new carousel ads with website conversion as the objective and ad delivery optimized for Add to carts.

How to Juice up these ads

Exclude Audience network as a placement from all campaigns. This placement tends to bring in a lot of irrelevant traffic.

The Carousel Ad format can be exploited in different ways, for example:

Say you own an apparel store. You can have a 5-10 link carousel Ads having:

  • Different product categories (shirts, trousers, shoes, accessories)
  • Carousel based on occasion (activewear, casual wear, formal wear, party wear)
  • Based on product types (t-shirts, polos, henley etc)

Split the ad sets based on device type as mobile and desktop have completely different CPCs.

This will enable you to have better control over budgets as Desktop CPCs would be at least 2X of mobile.

2 Days To Black Friday

You’ve worked hard and diligently till now. This is THE MOST CRUCIAL time of our strategy.

It’s time to go all guns blazing!

 

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads | OnlineSales.ai Blog

 

Facebook Dynamic Remarketing Ads allow you to target users who have visited your website, added to cart, abandoned cart or purchased from your website with the exact same products.

Needless to say these are highly relevant and targeted ads.

How To Spice Up These Ads

Optimize the Ad delivery of the ads to “Add to Carts” rather than conversions.

Cross sell/Up sell to past buyers.

Pro Tip: Keep the lookback period for website visitors and “Add to Carts” fairly small (last 14 days at max)

Use Ad Overlays which create urgency like displaying discount % on products, expiry date of an offer or coupon etc.

Facebook Ad Overlays

These Ad templates help in inducing urgency. Ads with overlays perform far better than without.

Further Reading: Facebook has a step-by-step guide on the different ways implement your overlay ads.

Collection Ads

Collection Ads | Black Friday Sale

 

With the help of the Collection Ad format customers can discover & browse products easily from their mobile phones.

These Adverts are new and eye catching. They also feel natural for the user.

You can read more about Collection Adverts by Facebook here

Website Optimizations for Black Friday Sale

Preparing your website for Black Friday is one of the most crucial aspects of having a successful campaign.

Your website is the “Sales Person” for all your potential buyers.

If your Salesperson isn’t presentable (Website Aesthetics), Adaptable (Mobile Friendly) or worse freezes (Website Load) etc you’re never going to make a sale.

 Aesthetics

Website Aesthetics | OnlineSales.ai Blog

 

All your website should speak about is Black Friday Sales and Discount offers.

Flashy banners and Sale banners are the flavour of the season. Cover the website with attractive and flashy sale banners clearly indicating the exclusive and mega offers.

You can try various ways to show this. Brainstorm with your marketing team to make something quirky & fun.

Create variations of the same offerings, see what’s working & what’s not.

 

Website Aesthetics | OnlineSales.ai Blog

If your website doesn’t reflect this then don’t expect users to convert, the whole idea or concept of Black Friday revolves around lavish discounts and offers.

 

Sustainable Loads

Sustainable Loads | Black Friday Sale

Another crucial aspect is to ensure that your website can take up loads of traffic surges during the Sale period.

There will be tons of users exploring products and the last thing you need is your website lagging/crashing and shooing them away.

Before the Sale period (At least 2 weeks earlier) start testing your website to see the maximum load capacity it can take.

Use the following tools to test Maximum Load Capacity – Smartmeter.io, Load Impact.

Have all the required code changes done to keep the website intact and healthy.

Mobile, Mobile & Mobile!

Mobile | E-Commerce | Black Friday Sale

 

This is a no brainer really. Mobile purchases are growing day by day and it there are no signs of it slowing down.

Additionally, do not neglect having an omni-channel presence i.e. your website should be easily accessible and user friendly when browsed through mobile and tablets.

Major website like eBay, Walmart, Target see approximately 70% of their traffic through mobile devices, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

According to PayPal, Black Friday demonstrated the enormous growth of mobile shopping and its popularity with consumers.

Cyber Monday resulted in similar activity, with PayPal seeing over 50% year-on-year growth in mobile payments.

Source: IBM Digital

Customer Service

Customer Service | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Integrate 24×7 chat with your website. Have a dedicated 24×7 chat and call support to tend to requests from potential customers.

A few happy clients can make a huge difference. When they feel loved they will not only appreciate it but spread it too.

Users will be researching, comparing, exploring products across various websites.

Customers will be coming in through our search, social and email campaigns.

Each user might come through a slightly different promotion or an offer. If your customer’s query isn’t solved from the product description itself, they are not going to write an email to you.

They will move onto the next website, simple.

Hence, having a chat or call support will make a huge difference during their buying cycle.

Sounds painful? – Pain is temporary, glory is forever.

Just kidding, but do make sure you have an expert manning the chat and call support who is well aware of website offering, inventory, logistics and has dealt with customer service previously.

If the right information is provided in the right way at the right time, you will end up converting him/her easily.

There is a reason they say – “Strike the iron when it’s hot”

Free Shipping & Better Delivery Times

Amazon Black Friday | Customer Service

Source: Statista

Why? – Free 2-day delivery and same day delivery!

Astound Commerce quotes that

“Free Shipping, Guaranteed on time delivery are the two deciding factors amongst the top 5 when choosing a retailer.”

How Important is Free Shipping? An extensive survey by Statistic Brain shows the following results:

  • Will not make a purchase without it – 36%
  • I actively seek out free shipping deals – 42%
  • I would like to find it but not required – 12%
  • Has very little effect on my purchase decision – 1%
  • I will make my purchase regardless of shipping costs – 2%
  • Don’t know/not sure – 6%

If Free Shipping Takes a Toll on Your Profit Margins, try:

  • Adding the shipping directly to the price of the products. (Another marketing stratagem)
  • Offer free shipping for a selected few products and for a limited duration.
  • Charge a shipping fee only below a certain threshold (Order above $25 are eligible for free shipping)
  • You may A/B amongst these to see where the profits are better.

Hassle-free OR Extended Returns

Goes without saying. You need to have all your cards on the table, going all in is the key and providing returns is a part of it.

Providing no returns will make us lose any potential customers who have shown interest. Moreover our existing customers would most certainly need this.

What if you don’t provide returns?

Simple, customers have the option to chose Amazon or any other website.

Project Yourself as a Professional

Sounds confusing? Well, Amazon has a plethora of products all thanks to the infinite number of sellers they have accumulated over the years and their relentless and undying focus towards customer service.

But! They are not experts when it comes to showcasing products. This is where you get to show off!

For Example:

I was looking for a riding jacket from Alpinestar and all I did was login to my Amazon account.

I started to browse, after exploring the jackets for a good 15-20 mins I narrowed down to Alpinestars Men’s T-Jaws Waterproof Jacket.

Alpinestar | OnlineSales.ai Blog

To my surprise, the size mentioned Medium but apart from chest dimensions there was no size guide, only a single product image. (Screenshot below)

Alpinestar | OnlineSales.ai Blog

After that, I searched for the exact product on Google and bumped into a website called Motardinn. (Check their product presentation)

OnlineSales.ai | Blog

OnlineSales.ai | Blog

Professional E-commerce Product Description

 

Professional Product Description | Amazon Black Friday Sale

 

All the information around size, product description & features are not only mentioned clearly but in complete depth with an approx 2 minutes product feature video.

This is where you can create a much better experience and beat a giant hands down.

Not everything is about customer reviews. 🙂

Conclusion

Remember that your existing customer base is extremely vital.

Opportunities always exist, you need to be smart to capitalize and know how to position yourself in the market.

Taking Amazon or any other giant is not an uphill task when you have prepared, planned and executed these strategies perfectly.

Uphill task | Amazon Black Friday Sale

 

In the end, the competition isn’t Amazon but you yourself.

Related Articles:

 

 

OnlineSales.ai Wins The Google Global Award for Shopping Innovation

OnlineSales.ai has won the prestigious Google Global Premier Partner Award for Shopping Innovation at the Google Premier Partner Summit in New York last month.

We were awarded the award for delivering influential growth, based on the Shopping Campaign we created for one of our clients, Pipa Bella.

Having won the Google Shopping Innovation Award for Asia Pacific, we are honoured to win the Award Globally!

Pipa Bella used OnlineSales.ai’s platform to get the following results:

Pipa Bella | Google Global Shopping Innovation Award

View Award Winning Case Study

View Case Study

Read about our success story here to know what we did to achieve those crazy numbers with a minimal budget and under 6 months!

What are Google Global Premier Partner Awards?

Google Global Premier Awards recognizes and celebrates top-performing Google Premier Partners for their contributions to digital marketing, product innovation and client growth.

Each award recognises Premier Partner agencies and professionals who have used Google’s products and/or other digital strategies and platforms, to not only achieve marketing excellence, but also generate outstanding results for their clients.

Our Journey

This awesome journey is in continuation of winning in the same category in India, then in APAC and now globally!

The Google Premier Partner Competition is divided into a 2 major parts.

  • Regional Competition
  • Global Competition

The first part of the competition is regional and covers the following 4 regions: EMEA, Asia Pacific, North America and Central & South America.

OnlineSales.ai represented APAC at the Global Awards, having won the Google APAC award.

OnlineSales.ai competed against 1,100 Agencies, Platforms and Companies to win the coveted award for Shopping Innovation

The Shopping Innovation Award helps us validate our journey of becoming a dominant leader in E-Commerce Marketing and Analytics.

 

“These awards highlight the exceptional platform and best-in-class performance that OnlineSales.ai provides to our clients,” said OnlineSales.ai CEO Ashish Mehta. “We are honored to be recognized in the Google Premier Partner program with this award, and congratulate our teams for everything they do to get our clients the results they want – more customers.”

Shopping Innovation Award | Global Winner

“It’s been exciting to see all the submissions from such remarkable digital talent from across the globe. We’re delighted to celebrate the Premier Google Partners who have won the Awards so deservedly.” said Todd Rowe, Global Managing Director – Channel Sales, Google Marketing Solutions

Our Platform has been conceptualized to be an AI-Driven SaaS offering the intelligence, personalization & scale to retailers in their pursuit of acquisition & retention marketing across channels.

Google has been an amazing partner to us in this journey & we’d be adding another incredible Google trophy – and the highest Google Partner honor one could dream of – to our kitty.

Learn More about OnlineSales.ai’s Award-Winning Solution

Learn More

Most Powerful Extension for E-Commerce Now Comes to Magento!

OnlineSales.ai is super excited to announce its 1st extension on Magento Marketplace – Product Ads With OnlineSales.ai

200,000+ retailers on Magento can now enjoy enterprise-class marketing automation to achieve amazing ROI & marketing efficiencies.

This extension is your gateway to an AI-Driven Marketing Solution for Product Ads on Google, Facebook & Bing all from one place!

Magento Extension

Our extension does all the heavy-lifting for you in the background while you focus on what you do best, creating experiences to win those micro-moments with your customers. Every. Single. Day.

Install the Magento Extension to Unlock Better ROI for Your Ad Spend:

Magento Extension

 

Jump to Section

 

Where can I find the Extension?

Click here to Install

Once you install, follow the following steps to Activate it.

 

Product Ads with OnlineSales.ai

 

How to get Started?

 

Install the extension

  • Install the extension
  • Go to the extension’s page in Admin Panel @ System > Configuration > OnlineSales.ai Extensions > Product Ads
  • Hit “Get Started for Free” & follow the onscreen instructions. That’s it!
  • Once the onboarding is complete, you are all set to launch your first marketing campaigns.

If you have any difficulties signing-up, please contact hi@onlinesales.ai

Full Features

Cross-Channel Marketing Campaign Management:

Magento Extension | Cross Channel

  • Launch Product Ads campaigns across Google Shopping, Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, Bing
  • Shopping based on your Business Goals
  • Stay up-to-date with the Performance of your marketing campaigns with Projected and Actuals
  • Make edits to launched Goals: Pause, Activate, Re-allocate budgets & a lot more

Actionable Suggestions:

 

Magento Extension | Actionable Suggestions

 

  • AI-Driven analytics for dollar-level insights, Real-Time & intelligent suggestions for optimized performance.
  • Automatically Identifies Trending Products: OnlineSales.ai auto discovers catalog changes such as new products, popular and fast-moving products, seasonal and discounted items.
  • Your Products deserve to stand out from the crowd: OnlineSales.ai’s Product Enhancers optimize product images to yield the best click-throughs
  • 1-Click Marketing across Google Shopping, Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, Bing Shopping
  • Optimizations for Performance, Budget Allocation, Ad Quality, Product Catalog, Audience Targeting & Seasonality across Google Shopping, Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, Bing Shopping

Intuitive Analytics & Smart Insights:

 

Magento Extension | Insights

 

  • Effortless Analytics That Show Your Marketing Dollars at Work
  • One place to get Marketing insights across Google Shopping, Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, Bing Shopping
  • Insights across Marketing Channels, Merchandise, Audience, & Seasonality
  • View Insights by Filters or as Pre-created Boards
  • Built for collaboration: Share, Download, Schedule Insights or Mark-them-as-Favorite
  • OnlineSales.ai will make you smarter and more efficient with humanised insights.

Real-Time Updates & Collaboration:

 

Magento Extension | Real Time Updates

 

  • Real-Time performance tracking across Google Shopping, Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, Bing Shopping via Watchlist
  • View Suggestions, Insights, Settings – at a glance
  • Share insights with just 1-click

P.S. We Won The 2017 Google Shopping Innovation Award!

 

Magento Extension | Shopping Innovation Awards Winners|

 

Related Posts:

OnlineSales.ai Launches RevX – a Monetization Platform for E-Commerce Marketplaces

Amazon Sponsored Products: The Essential Guide

So, you’re a seller on Amazon. You sell shoes. (or clothes or kitchenware etc.)

You have created a product catalog that people would love to buy. The pricing is competitive.

The shipping is all set. (Fulfilled by Amazon/Fulfilled by Merchant).

You think, “Any moment now, I will be swamped with orders that I can barely keep up with.” You tell yourself, “I am ready!”

Days pass, months pass, and the big orders never come. They’ve just plateaued. You are desperately hoping to turn this around. Sounds familiar? Then read on…

Amazon Sponsored Products

 

You are not alone. Many Amazon sellers go through these exact same concerns. Just like you, they are lost in a pool of sellers and hope to turn this around to ramp up their sales, and earn higher profits.

How? Well, the solution has been staring right at you all the time while you browsed through Amazon – Amazon Sponsored Products! All your questions and concerns will be solved here!

What Are Amazon Sponsored Products?

Amazon Sponsored Products is Amazon’s take on Product Based, Pay Per Click (PPC)  Product Ads. They are ads similar to Google Shopping Ads, Bing Shopping Ads and Facebook Dynamic Product Ads.

We have all seen and mostly clicked on these Product Ads at least once.

Here are some examples of Product Ads from Google, Bing and Facebook to refresh your memory:

Each channel has a slightly different take on displaying these ads.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Google PLA

 

Google shows you these ads on top of the search results. These ads are in a carousel view where each Product card displays the product name, price and the website sponsoring the ad.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Bing PLA

 

Bing shows it’s product ads on the top right side of the screen instead of mixing it with the search results.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Facebook DPA

 

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads are displayed in a carousel view. All the products displayed in the carousel are from the same merchant site, unlike Google which shows the customer a variety of similar products from different merchant sites.

No matter how these product ads are shown on each platform they are the most successful ad type when it comes to E-Commerce.

However, when it comes to product searches, Amazon clearly leads the way!

(Source: Hubspot)

This really is an advantage you should be utilizing as an Amazon Seller! When someone searches for a product in the Amazon search box, the most relevant product listings are shown.

Amazon shows these product listings, sponsored or otherwise, to a customer’s searched term. (also called search query or keyword).

Organic results have:

  • An Image
  • A Title
  • Price & Seller Ratings.

You may have noticed, some of the listings have a small “Sponsored” icon on top. These are Amazon Sponsored Products.

Amazon Sponsored Products | Screenshot

 

Amazon Sponsored Products are shown in two different places.

  1. Search Results Page
  2. Product Listing Page

Search Results Page

These Ads are shown at the right-side of Search Results.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products

Product Page

Amazon Sponsored Products shown on Product Pages are shown below a product description and above user reviews.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products

Why should you use Amazon Sponsored Products?

Boost Sales for All Your Products

Amazon Sponsored Products gives you an opportunity to have your products listed higher up & ahead of your competitors.

It gives you much higher visibility and increases your chance to get in front of your audience. It’s also a sureshot way to beat your high-performing competitors in organic search.

Seasonality

With the help of Amazon Sponsored Products, you can promote specific products from your catalog for increased searches during Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.

End-of-Season Sale, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Bank Holidays and similar high-purchase days are also a great time to promote your products. Taking advantage of increased shopping interest during these dates can really help boost your sales.

You can also use Amazon Sponsored Products to quickly get rid of inventory at the end of a season.

New Products

It can be tough work to promote and gain visibility for newly-added products in your catalog. Amazon Sponsored Products provides a quick and effective way to fix this.

Sponsored Products impact a seller’s overall Marketplace presence by providing an acceleration program for newer products.

Are Amazon Sponsored Products Worth It?

Amazon Sponsored Products | ROI

 

Amazon charges a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 for your Professional selling plan. This is mandatory for Amazon Sponsored Products.

Is the subscription cost plus the CPC costs for ads worth it? Is the ROI justified?

Think of it this way, if you plan to sell fewer than 40 items a month, the Individual plan may be best for you. There is no monthly subscription fee. Instead, Individuals pay $0.99 per item

However, if you do sell 40 items or more a month the Professional Plan is well worth it (40 items × $0.99 =  $39.66). As far as the Ad costs go, the average CPC on Amazon is substantially low compared to Google, Bing etc.

The low Cost Per Click along with the fact that more than 44% of buyers search for products on Amazon first, this isn’t an opportunity you want to miss out on.

When done right, Amazon Sponsored Products give great ROI and are well worth it.

Categories Eligible for Amazon Sponsored Products

Product Category Types of Products Conditions Allowed Approval Required
Amazon Sponsored Products Amazon Device Accessories Amazon Device Accessories New, Refurbished, Used No
Amazon Sponsored Products Guide | Eligible Categories Kindle Devices Accessories Kindle Devices Accessories Used only No
Amazon Sponsored Products Automotive & Powersports Parts, Tools & Equipment, Accessories New, Refurbished, Used, Collectible Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only. Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Baby Products (Excluding Apparel) Nursery, Feeding, Gear New only No, but may be required for holiday selling. Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Books Books, Calendars, Card Decks, Sheet Music, Magazines, Journals, Other Publications New, used No, but all media items must ship within two business days of the date the order confirmation is made available to you.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Business Products (B2B) Business-relevant products across multiple categories. Special pricing features to target business customers. New, Refurbished, Used Available to Professional sellers only.
Learn more
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Camera & Photo Cameras, Camcorders, Telescopes New, Refurbished, Used No
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Cell Phones Phones New, Used, Refurbished, Unlocked No, but must meet certain requirements (Seller Central sign-in required)
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Clothing & Accessories Outerwear, Athletic Wear, Innerwear, Belts, Wallets New only Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Collectible Coins Graded collectible coins minted by governments, US Mint packaged product, gold coins, silver coins, platinum coins, palladium coins Collectible Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only. Contact us 
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Electronics (Accessories) Audio, Video, Camera, Photo, Cell Phone, Car Electronics, Computer, and Office Accessories New, Refurbished, Used No, but may be required for specific products
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Electronics (Consumer) TVs, CD Players, Car Audio, GPS New, Refurbished, Used New, Refurbished, Used
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Fine Art Paintings, Drawings, Mixed Media (Two-Dimensional), Limited Edition Prints and Photographs Collectible Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only. Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Grocery & Gourmet Food Beverages, Breakfast, Canned Goods, Household Supplies, Snacks, Meat, Seafood, Chocolate, Desserts, Gift Baskets New only Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
Contact usLearn about selling local grocery/perishable items with AmazonFresh here.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Handmade Handmade and Hand-altered Products New only For more information, see the Handmade page.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Health & Personal Care First Aid, Nutrition. See also Beauty. New only No. Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Historical & Advertising Collectibles Vintage collectibles related to historical people, places, or events and promotional materials related to consumer brands. Collectible Currently not accepting new sellers.
Contact us to be notified when this category begins accepting new sellers
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Home & Garden Kitchen, Dining, Pet Supplies, Furniture, Décor, Bedding, Bath, Craft, Hobby, Home Appliances, Storage, Patio, Lawn, Garden, Pool Supplies, Landscaping, Snow Removal, Generators New, Refurbished, Used, Collectible No
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Industrial & Scientific Lab Equipment & Supplies, Industrial Materials, Power Transmission, Electronic Components, Sanitation, Janitorial New only Sellers must conduct proper research to ensure that their Industrial & Scientific product listings comply with applicable local, state, federal, and international laws and regulations.
Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Jewelry Earrings, Necklaces, Rings, Bracelets (see also Watches) New only Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only. Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Luggage & Travel Accessories Luggage, Bags, Backpacks, Briefcases, Umbrellas, Travel Accessories New only Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only. Contact us
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Music CDs, Cassettes, Vinyl, and other sound recordings New, Used, Collectible Currently not accepting new sellers.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Musical Instruments Guitars, Orchestra, Recording Equipment New, Refurbished, Used, Collectible No
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Office Products Supplies, Furniture, Printers, Calculators New, Refurbished, Used, Collectible No
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Outdoors  Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Sports Apparel, Cycling, and Action Sports New, Refurbished, Used  No
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Personal Computers Desktops, Laptops, Drives, Storage New, Refurbished, Used

No

Amazon Sponsored Products Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Professional Services Professional Services such as Assembly, Handyman, Electrical, Plumbing, House Cleaning and more Professionals only  Approval required. Available to service professionals only.
Learn more about selling professional services here.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses Shoes, Boots, Sandals, Slippers, Handbags, Sunglasses, Eyewear Frames  New only Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Software & Computer Games Business, Media Education, Utility, Security, Children’s Software and PC Games New, Used No, but may be required for specific products
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Sports Exercise & Fitness, Hunting Accessories, Team Sports, Licensed/Fan Shop, Athletic Apparel, Boating & Fishing, and Game Room New, Refurbished, Used, Collectible No
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Sports Collectibles Trading Cards, Game-Used and Autographed Items  Collectible Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Tools & Home Improvement Hand & Power Tools, Plumbing, Electrical, Building Materials, Appliance Parts New, Refurbished, Used No
  Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Toys & Games Infant and Preschool, Learning and Exploration Toys, Ride-ons, Action Figures, Dolls, Board Games, Arts, Crafts, Hobbies, Furniture New, Collectible No, but may be required for holiday selling
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Video, DVD & Blu-Ray  Movies, TV New, Used, Collectible Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
To apply to sell in this category, Contact us. All media items must ship within two business days of the date the order confirmation is made available to you.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Video Games & Video Game Consoles Game Consoles, Console Games, Accessories New, Used, Collectible No, but may be required for specific products
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Watches  All Watches  New only Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
Amazon Sponsored Products | Eligible Categories Wine Wine produced in the U.S. and abroad New, Collectible  Approval required. Available to Professional sellers only.
For more information and licensing requirements, see the Contact us form.

Amazon Sponsored Products Pricing

How much does it cost?

Amazon Sponsored Ads and Headline Search Ads use a cost-per-click, auction-based pricing model.

You set the maximum amount that you are willing to pay when a shopper clicks on your ad. The more competitive your bid is, the more likely it is that your ad will be displayed. You’ll only be charged when your ad is displayed and is clicked on.

The cost of advertising on Amazon is relatively cheap in comparison to other ad services like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.

Further Reading: Google Shopping Vs Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences

Below are the average winning CPC bids by category on Sponsored Products from April 2012 to July 2016 from CPC Strategy:

Amazon Sponsored Products | Stats

Amazon Sponsored Products | OnlineSales.ai

Source

How Do I Pay for My Ads?

When you advertise, Amazon charges for the number of clicks you receive on your ads. Your seller invoice will indicate that charges are for the cost of advertising.

You can find these charges in the Selling Fees section of your invoice. By default, your advertising fees are deducted from your selling account balance.

The total advertising fee is deducted from your seller account during an invoice period.

In the event that your seller account does not have enough funds to cover the cost of advertising, the remaining balance will be charged to the credit card you used to register for Selling on Amazon.

If Amazon can not charge your credit card after multiple attempts, your advertising account will be placed into payment failure.

You do have the option to switch your payment method to directly deduct from a credit card. Each time your credit card is charged, you receive an invoice.

The invoice date is your monthly invoice date, or the date when your credit level changes.

Your Credit Card is Charged When:

You accumulate your first $1.00 worth of clicks. (This transaction is used for validation of your credit card.)

More on pricing related FAQs can be found on Amazon here.

How Does The Daily Budget Work?

You set a maximum daily amount that you are willing to spend on promoting your ads. For Sponsored Products, the amount you enter is the average daily amount you are willing to spend over a calendar month.

For example, if you set your daily budget at $100, you may receive up to $3,100 worth of clicks in that calendar month (assuming a full 31-day month).

How To Get Started with Amazon Sponsored Products?

It is not difficult to get started with Amazon Sponsored Products and you just have to follow these steps. But if you want to maximize & optimize the performance of your Sponsored Product Campaigns, you need to develop a bit of expertise in Performance Marketing [or tie up with someone who provides this readily (e.g. OnlineSales.ai at your service!)]

Step 1: Upgrade to a Professional Seller Account.

  • Go to your Seller Account.
  • Under the Settings heading, click the Account Info” link.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Upgrade Account

 

  • On the Seller Account Information page, go to the Selling Plan section and click the “Modify Plan” button.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Upgrade Account

 

  • On the next page, click the “Upgrade” button.
  • Review the information on the next page and click the “Proceed to Upgrade” button to accept the terms and switch your plan.

After clicking the “Proceed to Upgrade” button, you will be returned to your Seller Account Information page and see a message indicating that the upgrade process has begun.

Your subscription to the new selling plan will begin immediately, and additional links to Professional seller tools will appear on your Seller Account page.

Some billing features may take up to 30 minutes to become effective. After you upgrade to a Professional Seller Account, Amazon no longer charges 0.99 cents per item sold via ads.

Step 2: Define your Marketing Campaign Goals

A Marketing Campaign is a set of marketing objectives, run for a specific period of time – one-time or recurring at a certain budget.

Example: You may want to sell romantic gifts, chocolates & flowers for Valentine’s Day, or you may be wanting to clear your last year’s iPhone 7 stock now that the new iPhones are launched.

Decide whether you are willing to spend $1000 for this, as long as it generates Sales worth $5000 or more.

You can set-up your Sponsored Product Campaigns in SellerCentral > Advertising > Campaign Manager.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Create a Campaign

 

Give your campaign a name, a daily budget, start & end dates.

Step 3: Create an Ad Group

An Adgroup is a group of products that you want to market and keywords that these products should show up for.

Your Ad Group name usually describes the products you will select below.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Products

 

Consider grouping products that fall within the same category or price point.

You can create more ad groups after you save this campaign.

Step 4: Choose The Products You Want To Advertise

Now that your goals are defined, select which products you want to market. It could be specific products.

Example: iPhone 7, 7s or product categories of all the smartphones in your catalog.

 

Amazon Sponsored Products | Products

 

Within the Campaign Manager you’d be required to select each & every product that you want to promote.

Step 5: Add keywords to match these products

Now we come to the business size of the story. ‘Keywords’ are what people search on Amazon when they are looking for certain products.

Example: “Red t-shirts”, “iPhone 7”, “Purple handbag”.

This is where Amazon Sponsored Products Ads differs from Google Shopping & Bing Shopping.

While Google & Bing Shopping campaigns rely on your product feed to match a customer’s search query to a specific product in your product catalog, Amazon Sponsored Products give that control and flexibility to you.

You can choose which keywords match which products and which keywords should not be matched (negative keywords).

Amazon Sponsored Products | Screenshot

Now give a bid to each keyword. A bid is a maximum $ amount you are willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad.

This is also called PPC (Pay Per Click) bid. If your ad is shown, but no-one clicks on it, you won’t be charged.

Match Types

There Are 3 Match Types You Should Know:

  1. Broad Match
  2. Phrase Match
  3. Exact Match

Broad Match

Broad Match allows your ad to show when someone searches for that keyword or a variation of it.

The broad match keyword “bicycle bell” can cause your ad to show if someone searches for variations like “bicycle bells,” “buy a bell for a bicycle,” and “bell reviews for bikes.”

This keyword allows you to reach the maximum number people. However, it usually reduces your conversion rate as your ad will be shown for any related keyword for “bicycle bell”.

This match is best used initially to identify and analyse what people are searching for. You can then determine which keywords you’d want to include.

Phrase Match

Phrase match setting allows shows your ad only when the search includes the exact phrase of your keyword or close variations of the exact phrase of your keyword.

Your Ads are also shown with additional words before or after the given keyword

For example, when you add “bicycle bell” as a phrase match keyword, your ad only shows when someone’s search includes “buy a bicycle bell” or “types of bicycle bell” etc.

Exact Match

Exact match is a match type which shows your ad only when the exact keyword is searched by a customer.

This type of Keyword Match has the highest relevance but also restricts your reach to your audiences.

Note: Keywords can only be added in specific type of Campaigns called Manual Campaigns.

Amazon also supports Automatic Campaigns where it decides which of your products are shown (if at all) to which of the user search queries.

Automated Campaigns are similar to Google Shopping & Bing Shopping Campaigns.

Step 6: Optimize the performance of your Marketing Campaigns

Ah! Performance Optimizations – The holy grail of all Marketing Campaigns. Here, you need a bit of PPC expertise to determine;

  • Which keywords should go with what products?
  • How to tackle inventory changes?
  • Which keywords should not go with certain products – negative keywords
  • What optimum bids to set-up that gets your products in front of potential customers without costing you more money that needed.
  • Which products to advertise, which ones to not

This is where performance optimization platforms like the 1-click Marketing for Amazon from OnlineSales.ai comes into full power.

Some key features of the 1-Click Marketing for Amazon Sponsored Products are:

  • Helps you launch your marketing campaigns, for your desired products/categories with just 1-click.
  • Performance focussed merchandise selection, algorithms and Industry benchmarks select the best products to market to achieve your business objective.
  • Automatically figures out which products should be clubbed together, what keywords they should match for and what bid to set for each.
  • AI-Driven optimisation algorithms ensure you always get the best ROI for every dollar spent.

Amazon Sponsored Products | OnlineSales.ai

 

Sounds exciting? Come! Have a test drive here! Or Learn more about 1-click Marketing for Amazon here.

Get Started with Amazon Sponsored Products Now!

Get Started Now

OnlineSales.ai’s 1-Click Marketing Platform Helps E-Tailers Globally Acquire, Engage and Monetize their customers

Related Posts

How to Beat The Amazon Diwali Sale!

How to Beat The Amazon Black Friday Sale!

Google Shopping Vs Amazon Sponsored Products: 10 Key Differences

 

How to Beat The Amazon Diwali Sale!

Every Quarter Amazon & Flipkart, the E-Commerce giants of India start a grand sale. This quarter it’s called “Amazon Diwali Sale” and “Big Billion Day” respectively.

Regardless of what it’s called these E-Commerce giants go all in against each other. They offer massive discounts and have Ad campaigns running on full throttle.

Just to give you an overview, here are some quick stats from their respective sales:

Amazon Diwali Sales

Needless to say, whenever Amazon or Flipkart have a sale, small E-Commerce stores feel the heat. 

Here’s what happens , your top three metrics i.e CPC (Cost-per-click) & CPT(Cost-per-transaction) Shoot up but CTR (Click-Through-Rate) shoots down.

Amazon/Flipkart start a Diwali Sale, your store sales go down. Trying to win against these E-Commerce giants is next to impossible. You can’t possibly outbid them and doing so will only hurt you.

If you do choose to outbid them, your battle will look something like “David vs Goliath”.

Amazon Diwali Sale

You can’t sustain the huge discounts either. So then what do you do?

 What you can do though, is follow this 3 week road map I’ve made to help you tackle the Diwali sale.

Week 1 (21 Days to Diwali): Brand Intro to New Audience

Facebook + Instagram

Getting new Audiences during Diwali would be a costly affair(as CPC’s would be on higher side).

Instead focus on getting newer audience on Facebook & Instagram (Avoid Google Ads).

Use brand awareness campaigns such as page post boost (Fb), Event boosts (Fb) & Stories (Instagram) to engage with newer audiences.

On Facebook, use lookalikes of engagement audience.

Amazon Diwali Sale - Facebook engagement

Pro Tip: Here are some of the Most Recommended Branding Activities on Facebook

Channel: Google

Start stuffing your google search re-marketing campaigns with Diwali gifting tags.

It will help you to re-target the new audiences from Facebook & Google.

Pro Tip: Here are 4 E-Commerce Remarketing Strategies to Optimize ROI

Use GDN (Google Display Network) to generate curiosity about your brand in in-market segments.

Combine keyword targeting to target specific product categories to respective websites.

For Example: Target men’s grooming products to menxp.com using keywords such as “men’s grooming styles”

Pro Tip: Use these Best Practices For Brand Campaigns on Google AdWords

Don’t do any diwali special shopping ads during this week. Trust me, you can’t compete with Amazon on this!

One way round this can be using keywords stuffing like “Discounted Diwali Gifts” into the product description.

If you’re looking to optimize your product feed you should definitely take our Free Shopping Audit. It’s a 65+ Checkpoint Google Shopping Audit to Help Optimize Your Product Feed and More.

Week 2(14 Days to Diwali): Getting newer audiences to take action

Facebook +Instagram

Start Canvas ads to engage your expanded audience sets. Use call to actions & land them at your Diwali collection page.

Start optimizing your Facebook conversion campaigns for “Add to Basket”. It would help the conversion funnel opening to increase.

Go ALL IN on re-marketing to all your audiences with category pages. Do A/B Testing of different ad types i.e. carousals, banner & collection.

Run extensive page post boosts to keep your name ringing (only on re-marketing).

Google

Pause all new audience category/competitor specific campaigns or scale down them.

Scale up on all RLSA search campaigns heavily. Put bids on accelerated mode. You can learn more on how to get the best of RLSA here

Start DRM (Dynamic Re-marketing) & bid 30% higher than new audience GDN bids. DRM’s are a must for E-Commerce! Here’s why!

Start Diwali special Shopping ads with only the best selling products. Aagain target only re-marketing, trust me no one will buy your product in this placement.

You ask why? Check this screenshot! These giants offer massive discounts and have high budgets because they are in the volume business.

 

Amazon Diwali Sale

Do you see anyone except the E-Commerce goliaths ? Let me know in comments below

Week 3 (Diwali): Conversions! End of story!

Amazon Diwali Sale

Facebook +Instagram

Put DPA on high budgets. Apply sale price column to improve the conversion rate with the sale prices.

Use “Purchase” as the only optimization objective. Scale down all non conversion campaigns.

Trust me, pause them! Pause all new audience campaigns (If the campaign has performed really well, keep it.)

Use newer creatives with same products if the campaigns have good history. Apply discount coupons in the Ad Text.

Stop the A/B test, you know what is working for you. Scale up on what’s working.

Google

Keep shopping RLSA as the first priority. Introduce new products only if the products are really good  (Good= low price +highest quality).

Keep DRM (Dynamic Remarketing) active till day before Diwali & pause on Diwali day. This does not apply if you provide same day/next day delivery.

Google search is your bible. Use higher bids on search RLSA across campaigns. (No Brainer)

Post Diwali: The big scale down

Facebook +Instagram

Put DPA rolling. Pause all other campaigns for atleast 2–3 days post Diwali.

Use your shopify back-end to gather purchase email id data & get it mapped and analyze it. What worked & what didn’t.

Use this tribal knowledge next Diwali.

Google

Keep Brand campaigns active. Scale down all except search re-marketing.

Keep max conversion keywords active. Pause all non performing ones.

If you enjoyed this article, hit that share button. Would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

If you need any help in selling more this Diwali, drop me an email on abhishek.patil@onlinesales.ai, I would love to help you out.

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Here’s Why AI in Performance Marketing is Here to Scale

“Anything that seems rote or mechanical, there is no reason for humans to do – it’s all going to go to AI.”

-Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder, Hubspot

There has been a lot of conversation and exchange of opinions on Artificial Intelligence especially in the wake of recent exchange of fury going on between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, two of the biggest industry stalwarts against each other.

The lines have been drawn and many have started feeling the pressure of taking sides in what is being deemed as the decisive clash between humans and machines.

Ok, these dramatic spoils of war could be an after effect of you know what. You’ll have to excuse me for the ongoing GoT hangover. There is no war that we are facing as marketers.

Well, not yet.

Having said that, there is no denying the rise of AI or Machine Learning, if you will, in Performance Marketing and that it is not only here to stay, but to scale beyond our current imagination.

It’s better to be aware and ready for the changes that Artificial Intelligence is going to bring in our lives as Marketers.

Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Performance Marketing

The Groundwork: How Performance Marketing Came to be into Its Own

Google led the way to revolutionize the traditional ways of marketing and advertising with its introduction of online real-time bidding for ad space in SERPs.

Google’s efforts gave birth to what has now come to be known as Performance Marketing.

It brought in a very basic and immensely powerful paradigm shift and changed the game for advertisers, forever.

Around the same time, Amazon also revolutionized the retail commerce and converted it into e-commerce.

Do you remember what was it that ticked for Amazon to begin with? Product Recommendations, or Recommended Reads in its initial days.

Yup, you read it right. It has now moved to rocking AI-powered Dynamic Pricing.

Well, Google may have been one of the first players but certainly not the last.

But what is notable here is its unmatched dominance and the expansion into businesses like self-driven cars and Google glasses even after about 20 years of its existence.

And it seems like that’s going to be the case in our near future too with powerful data available to its platforms.

The Journey: From Traditional Marketing to Performance Marketing to Machine Learning

Advertisers are now fighting it out for a temporary and virtual ad space provided by Google instead of traditional ad real estate.

Instead of betting their full budgets on a campaign and then waiting for the value afterwards, advertisers now started seeking and getting values beforehand and during the campaigns.

Earlier, a failed campaign was a lost cause, often with colossal financials losses. So much so that some brands could never come out of it and be doomed if the campaign failed.

Google brought in on-going optimization in marketing and ad spends and an unprecedented control over it.

Credible data and analytics led decision making brought in accountability and made marketing RoI a reality.

This was a win-win for everyone involved : marketers and advertisers, publishers and even the audience.

Machine learning based programmatic buying is now leading the way for transcending Performance marketing into future with chatbots, lookalike audience modeling, real-time personalization, predictive analytics and anticipatory design etc.

Present Scenario: The World of Chatbots, Siri, Cortana and Voice Search

If you have watched 2015 science fantasy film, Ex Machina, you would remember how the owner of the tech-giant who made world’s biggest search engine, uses the massive data its search engine provides to choose the protagonist for his AI experiments.

Yes, that not-so-subtle reference to the power of massive data available to the world’s most powerful search engine.

The key was the process of analytics-led selection, decision making and personalization according to the preferences. Preferences, not even known to or recognized by the protagonist himself.

Well, at least that part is no longer a science fiction but very much the reality of performance today. And don’t mistake reference to the power of data available to the world’s largest search engine.

You might remember the first instance of Facebook’s primal chatbot to respond to audience queries on business pages, just about a couple of years ago. Now, Facebook is using AI to analyze footage collected by satellites and its own special aircrafts to map all human life on the planet.

What Facebook intends to do with this data about all humankind? Well, does Facebook’s Free Basics campaign ring a bell? Oh yes, this is the dream close to Mr Zuckerberg’s heart and he is not giving up on it. Now we get the point of his stance.

We all have experienced and are very well acquainted with voice-based searches, chatbots for various purposes, speech recognition (Google Voice Search, Siri, Cortana etc), content curation, product recommendations, clickbait headlines (listicles anyone?), ad targeting and heck even dynamic pricing.

Yes, all of it is machine-learning, all of it. And it is here not to just stay, but to scale.

Why it’s Here to Scale?

-Jeremy Waite, Evangelist at IBM Watson

Even though, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Automation and Bots etc. have been the crazily trending buzzwords recently across the world, and the buzz just refuses to die down, much is still left to be known.

There is significant amount of speculation because either the information available is inadequate or half-baked. Then there are counterpoints to confuse the situation further.

Let’s check some of these questions that keep cropping up in discussions of AI:

  • Will AI take our jobs away?
  • Will humans be controlled by robots very soon?
  • How do I upgrade my skills to safeguard myself against the impending onslaught of Aritificial Intelligence?
  • Is Machine Learning here to stay?

And the list continues. Each of these questions are full blown topics worthy of separate deep discussions by subject matter experts.

However, what we can certainly say is that, going by the looks of it, AI is not just here to stay for good but here to scale. AI is the future of Marketing

Let’s consider some telling statistics

Source: Emailmonday

Stat Source: Heinz, Reachforce and research partners.

Source: Nucleus Research

Some of the simple and subtle yet profound reasons that I personally feel are indicating that AI in Marketing is here to scale could include:

  • We’re already living in an analytics-dependent world
  • Our habits of using smart technologies have already shaped up way beyond our control
  • We’re seeking more contentment, we seek automation of mundane life
  • The world is busier than ever, we need our bots and virtual assistant to survive
  • Scale is what we need to succeed in today’s world; AI is what we need to scale
  • AI is shaping up our behaviors and consumptions patterns like never before

We could find tons of surveys and reports and statistics screaming to us that AI in Marketing is here to stay. And similarly, for the opposite too.

It doesn’t matter which side are we on. Only the future knows what it plans for us.

We can just look for the signs to gauge how the future is going to pan out and right now.

All signs are leading to the conclusion that AI in Marketing is here to scale, and the best we could do it to be ready and embrace it.

Machines are learning, learning fast and learning at scale.

It’s time we learn to harness the power of this immense learning, machine or otherwise.

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Rev Up – Sep 2017

Leaving Money on the Table?
A typical ecommerce marketplace converts under 5% of all its visitors to sales. This means more than 95% of any marketplace’s traffic is not generating revenue. Don’t you want to change that?
Read More

 

Bench-Press the Image to Stand Out
As marketplaces work closely with their sellers to ensure they get the most bang for their buck, sometimes you dont need to reinvent the wheel but just add a better tyre to it. Image optimization in eCommerce is exactly that.

 

Hey Joe, What’s your Name?
eCommerce Marketplaces are constantly looking for ways to interact and engage with their consumers and potential shoppers. The effort is across marketing, customer relationship, cold reach outs, offline advertising and so on. But what really works?

The lure for a consumer is a mixed bag of product/service need, brand, variety, price points, discounts, promotions and future gratifications.
But the question that stems from all this is, what actually is pushing just a user or an impression to become a shopper?
The generic answer – there is never one factor but a mixed bag of many signals that together beam the right light. However, every beam always has a source and that honestly would be Magna for any marketer.
As many companies and services fight for consumer share of mind, they all seem to have a pretty similar trend.
The trend is big stars, large outdoor campaigns, constant retargeting when it comes to online and mind numbing discounts across ecommerce.
So while all these numbers may add up to a sliver of profitability or a hope of it in the next couple of years or the so called massive market share to show competition and potential investors, the question that begs to be answered is what really is the end user trusting and using that brand for.
There are a few brands that stand out and have been there for years and consumers across the world have an almost blanket like belief in their service quality and product build.
They too are constantly trying to reignite and capture audience moments in every possible way that cements the core their brand stands for.
What about the hundreds of new brands that are entering every year trying to showcase their wares as the best or the fastest or the cheapest or the strongest and so on – what are they truly standing for?
For ecommerce is it only price and discounting which are the sales and growth drivers? What about the website and checkout experience? Or the content in the emails that the brand sends you about your order or a signature sign out line that the delivery guy uses every time he/she delivers.
These aspects may not cost much money but are building character for your product to be spoken as a brand.
The difference is whether a customer says ‘I bought a chair online’ or does he say ‘I bought a/an Pepperfry/Urban ladder chair’ Does he say, ‘Let’s Uber/Ola it’ or does he say ‘Let’s get a cab’

As a company what you aim for can honestly be summed up in just that one line. The sum of all aspects will always be larger than the sheer bull-dozing power of just one.

 

We Won! We Won!
If the headline wasn’t clear, we won the Google Premier Partner Award for Shopping Innovation. 300+ companies battled it out across 6 categories in the Asia-Pacific region and we won it for Shopping.
Say What Now?

In Nov 2016, Alibaba’s Singles Day generated GMV of $17.8 billion in 24 hours!
alt_text

Why AI is the Future of Marketing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not an alien term; it’s been around for years! There have also been many predictions of AI’s capabilities and future scope, but only recently has it seen a massive boom. The year 2016 is said to have been the biggest for AI. At the center of this claim is Google’s program which defeated 18-time World Champion Lee Sedol in a five-game match of the strategy board game GO . This breakthrough allowed AI to make its foray to the forefront of technology and innovation.

AI has innumerable applications across most industry verticals. In this article, we are going to talk about its applications in marketing, and why we can confidently say that AI is the future of, and for, marketing. But first, let’s look at what AI entails.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence is technology that is meant to imitate human psychology and intelligence.

Although it has a very wide definition, it basically refers to software that performs tasks which require human intelligence and intuition.

Until now, this technology has performed functions such as speech recognition, image recognition, behavior pattern mapping, and machine learning to name a few.

Some AI marketing applications have gone so far as to provide instant automated answers to customer queries. It is also being used to generate new leads, retain existing customers with interesting content, and increasing customer engagement.

AI has displayed some impressive development in marketing over the years. Let’s check out the various uses of AI in marketing so far.

Applications of AI in Marketing

AI has grown in scope in terms of its use in marketing. With the advent of digital marketing and the internet revolution, mass media advertising took a backseat and things like consumer behavior, preferences, search history tracking, SEO, content marketing, speech recognition, came to the front of the line.

Let’s look at some of the marketing applications of AI.

Artificial Intelligence in Content Generation and Curation

Artificial Intelligence in Content Generation and Curation

This pertains to content that is direct, non-opinionated and has clear facts and data. An AI writing program can draft content on an upcoming event, financial report, or some market trend. It cannot, however, write a post or opinion article about the current political scenario or how to handle heartbreak. Some examples of content generating AI programs are Wordsmith, Contentop, Articolo, and WordAi.

Content curation means showing customers relevant content to engage them better. For example, displaying blogs related to recently-read articles, suggestions based on recently-purchased items, and the movie recommendations by Netflix.

Artificial Intelligence in Voice and Text Recognition

Artificial Intelligence in Voice and Text Recognition

AI lets users talk into the device and get the relevant information. Voice recognition technology is an AI innovation that is widely-used and very popular; more programs and software are being developed to increase its functionality.

Text recognition means typing text into a text box and getting results or being able to communicate with other people, popularly known as a chatbot.

Some famous examples of speech and text recognition are Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts Messenger.

Artificial Intelligence in Personalized Marketing

Artificial Intelligence in Personalized Marketing

Brands are moving over curated suggestions to connect with their customers on a deeper level. Simply showing ads based on predictive analysis isn’t enough anymore.

Understanding where a user is coming from emotionally, based on their conversation with the brand, helps formulate a better response.

It also helps for future recommendations and suggestions to be more personalized and targeted.

Artificial Intelligence in Understanding User Behavior

Artificial Intelligence in Understanding User Behavior

Users leave traces of their internet usage in the form of cookies and cyber footprints. AI helps websites track user preferences and even search history to understand their behavior.

This enables websites to understand what a particular user likes, wants, and will look for – in order to provide more targeted suggestions.

Artificial Intelligence in Optimizing Sales

Artificial Intelligence in Optimizing Sales

An understanding of user behavior is important to optimize sales and make the entire process efficient.

Sales executives perform tasks right from research to targeting potential customers, understanding user behavior and then pitching the right way to obtain conversions.

All this can be made easier using AI, where algorithms filter leads to saving time and efforts that are best utilized elsewhere.

According to Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot, AI-based sales and marketing automation is set to accelerate in the future.

This will optimize activities such as predictive lead acquisition, understanding customer behavior, and personalized recommendations.

Some other applications of AI in marketing are:

What Can We Expect in the Future?

The future of marketing vis-à-vis Artificial Intelligence is set to become more innovative and automated. International software development organization Pega highlighted some ways in which AI will bolster marketing in the future.

Artificial Intelligence will help companies, and moreover, CMOs build a corporate culture with utmost customer focus, and help optimize marketing goals such as personalization, understanding customer behavior to customize the engagement and pitching process, making more accurate predictive analyses, and saving time on finding and converting leads.

In a nutshell, it will help companies save costs, optimize budgets, make tasks more streamlined for employees, reduce time by automating sales processes, and personalize the customer experience across the entire buying cycle.

Pega also stated some more future applications of AI:

  1. The Virtual Assistant (Siri, Alexa, Watson, Google Assistant for example) will become more intelligent and enhance the function of chatbots.
  2. Customized user recommendations will become possible in real time with a Customer Decision hub and enrich user experiences.
  3. Paid digital marketing campaigns can be better managed and automated to save time and expenses while increasing ROI using AI.
  4. Natural Language Processing (NLP) will become more ‘intuitive’ in gauging a customer’s mood and intent depending on their written conversation with the company.
  5. AI can even go as far as offering suggestions to sales reps in brick-and-mortar establishments on how to cater to a customer for the best results.

HubSpot’s co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah laid out some more predictions for AI as a part of the future of marketing at the recently conducted Inbound 2016 event.

  1. They say that 2017 will see a lot of advancement in the use of bots. Halligan says that people will gradually move to communicating with bot software instead of navigating via websites and apps. However, he says, bots won’t replace websites but power them.
  2. Along the same lines, Shah says that the conversations between customers and organizations via chat and text messaging will soon be replaced by verbal conversations between user and machine. He says that voice input, owing to its numerous benefits, will soon be in greater demand than text input.
  3. Algorithms will be developed on a regular basis, and many organizations can use the existing ones to build on.
  4. Google’s Link Graph, Amazon’s Product Graph and Facebook’s Social Graph will be taken over by the Engagement Graph. This will mean quality content to gain more engagement.

Halligan and Shah say that the most important factor at the center of it all will be content and data.

Quick Stats on AI in Marketing

Source: Gartner 

Source: Bank Of America

Stat Source: IDC FutureScapes 2017

In Conclusion

There is a new brand of consumers out there today –fast-paced and knowledge-based. They expect to get value out of a commodity before buying it. They need to know that the brand cares about them and their needs.

Consumers expect the brand to know what they want before they decide to take the plunge. They need suggestions, tips, answers, and assistance now.

And that isn’t going to change; it’s only going to increase. Artificial Intelligence is the only way for companies to keep up with the ever growing customer demand and expectations.

It’s safe to say that AI is the future of marketing. There’s no limit to how far it will bring human experiences closer to technology and its many advances.

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OnlineSales.ai Wins Google APAC Award for Shopping Innovation!

OnlineSales.ai, a leader in exceptional digital performance marketing automation and optimisation, is the winner of the Shopping Innovation Award at Google Premier Partner Awards 2017, India.

The Premier Partner Awards program, which launched globally this year, is designed to reward and recognize top-performing Premier Google Partners for their contributions to digital marketing, product innovation and client growth in 6 categories: Search, Display, Mobile, Shopping, Video and Growing Businesses Online. Over 300 companies entered the competition in Asia-Pacific.

“We are thrilled to receive this award,” said Ashish Mehta, CEO of Sokrati & OnlineSales.ai. “Sokrati has been a Premier Google Partner since 2015. As part of the program, we benefit from Google’s dedicated resources for account management, technical support and product and industry expertise that allows us to deliver great service and stronger performance for our clients.”

Sokrati’s SaaS platform OnlineSales.ai, which offers performance marketing automation to E-Commerce marketers across the globe, based its award submission around a recent campaign it created for one of its clients, PipaBella. PipaBella was looking to boost transactions and scale, and turned to OnlineSales.ai for help.

Sokrati’s artificial intelligence-driven platform OnlineSales.ai scaled PipaBella with a three-pronged AdWords and Shopping Ads strategy on a limited budget, and achieved double the transactions at 40% lesser CPL within the first three months. The leads received via AdWords and Shopping Ads campaigns were twice more than from any other channel, while the revenue brought in from the Google leads were significantly higher, with the cost of acquisition being half, compared to the other employed channels.

“We effectively leveraged Sokrati’s OnlineSales.ai to meet our goal of growing new acquisitions and repeat buyers with limited investments, while maintaining a high AOV. They’ve already over-delivered on our goals, something we have not witnessed while working with other partner agencies.” – Shuchi Pandya, CEO, PipaBella.

“It’s been exciting to see the submissions from digital marketing leaders across the India region. We’re delighted to celebrate the Premier Google Partners who have made it to the winner list for Awards,” said Sam Singh, Director – India Agencies, Google India.

Sokrati is part of a select group of digital specialists called Premier Google PartnersThis is a program set up by Google specifically to help small– to medium–sized businesses (SMBs) get online and find new customers.

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Why You Should Use Algorithmic Approach To Budget Management

What is Budget Management?

Budget is the money a company is willing to set aside to accomplish its marketing objectives. Budget Management can be broken into 4 steps: forecasting, planning, execution and analysis.

This can be extremely complex when we consider multiple moving parts of the marketing engine – channels/sub-channels, Ad types, campaigns types, categories of products, transaction volumes, attribution models.

Since we are faced with this complexity, it is common today to have marketing budgets finalized at the start of each month. No real surprise that these digital marketing strategy sessions reflect the age-old “media planning” sessions.

Are your monthly marketing budgets “locked” by channels? Do your Budget Management decisions give an impression of being based on Roulette wheel outcome?

Read-on if you think machine learning is super cool and will help you deliver ROI against your spends.

Explore Vs. Exploit Trade-Off

What often gets missed in locked/pre-planned budgets is the experimentation. This is a classic explore vs. exploit trade-off problem.

On one hand, there could be a particular campaign (or targeting/ad type) that has potential to perform really well but hasn’t garnered enough performance since the budget allocated to it is too low.

On the other hand, increasing the budget might fail spectacularly if the campaign fails to perform.

What you need in such case is a smart experimentation which can minimize the experimentation cost and differentiate winners from losers sooner. In other words, there are potentially infinite ways to split your overall digital marketing budget between multiple campaigns and you need to choose correctly.

Let’s elaborate few approaches below:

Simulated Annealing

You can use a simple probabilistic technique like simulated annealing. Technically, it is a used for finding approximate solution to an optimization problem.

In each iteration, the algorithm either chooses to stay at a particular state or move to a neighbouring state with some probability and re-calculate the objective value.

ROI/Volume Of Transactions Driven

Let us move from this technical jargon to our budget application. Say we have scored all launched marketing campaigns based on performance metric of our choice like volume of transactions driven or ROI on ad spends.

Based on this metric a newly launched campaign which brings lower volume has no chance of getting additional budget allocation. But we can instead launch an experiment (of increasing budget on a particular campaign) with some probability. The experiment iteration repeats and we have new scores.

Linear Programming

The other approach is to take route of classic optimization problems. Linear programming in operations research for example, models payoffs from some decisions as an objective function subject to some constraints. In our case, we have payoffs defined as the score of each audience or marketing campaign.

The constraints are based on your maximum marketing budget and the spend capacity of each campaign. But as always, practice is much harder than theory.

The payoffs are not deterministic but stochastic. The cost (estimated spends) is not deterministic but stochastic and shows diminishing returns beyond a point. In other words, you can’t keep adding more budget to a particular group and see linear increase in performance.

To deliver the bad news further, the diminishing nature of returns means that we aren’t solving linear program anymore. Add to that the unknown scores for newly launch campaigns and you are looking at earning a Ph.D. in optimization algorithms and not running your marketing campaign.

However, some careful modelling, industry level benchmarks combined with Bayesian approach can help you make some progress.

Bottomline is, although there are many algorithms in machine learning or operations research literature which might look similar, the devil lies in the details when it comes to solving budgeting problems.

You need a deep understanding of the theory, industry experience to decide where a blind application of theory falters and then engineering expertise to run the optimization at scale correctly.

Previously I’ve explained what are the pros and cons of writing your own product recommender. This too falls in similar lines.

At OnlineSales.ai we have carefully tuned our budget optimization algorithms based on the experience of thousands of marketing campaigns and seen excellent result.

We are convinced that the algorithmic approach to budget management is far superior and scales really well. To find out more about our approach, connect with us!

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Authored By
Rohit Kelkar | Harshad Saykhedkar

 

OnlineSales.ai Launches RevX – a Monetization Platform for E-Commerce Marketplaces

OnlineSales.ai has launched RevX, a Monetization Platform for E-Commerce Marketplaces. RevX enables E-Commerce Marketplaces to amplify monetization across its ecosystem – from its web and app inventory to Seller revenues.  With RevX, Marketplaces can offer a natively integrated Product Ads solution to its Sellers at scale.

RevX is a win-win for all stakeholders in the ecosystem:

  • Shoppers see intelligent product recommendations on the marketplace
  • Sellers can invest & amplify their Sales on the marketplace, and
  • The marketplace gains more loyal Sellers & uplifts the bottom-line immediately.  

Sendo.vn, part of the FPT Corporation and Vietnam’s leading E-Commerce Marketplace, integrated RevX in March 2017. Hundreds of Sendo’s Sellers are already enjoying the power of RevX in Vietnamese and boosting their revenues daily.

Mr. Tran Hai Linh, CEO of Sendo.vn speaks of the association, “RevX has proven to be a turnkey solution as promised. The data science-powered optimizers keep watch on our yields and Seller ROI 24/7. I am amazed to see that RevX has managed to achieve this while besting our performance benchmarks consistently.”

RevX works across geographies, languages, currencies and can be implemented within 4 weeks. The solution is scalable to handle thousands of Sellers on the marketplace, thanks to self-serve onboarding, payment gateway integration, real-time yield optimizing algorithms and seller-facing interface for reports, campaign management & budget top-ups.

Ashish Mehta, CEO of OnlineSales.ai added, “Within a few months, we’ve seen several E-Commerce Marketplaces enabling hundreds of Sellers garner higher revenues than ever before. And the beautiful part is – any marketplace can leverage RevX’s plug-n-play solution with very minimal tech effort and go live in 4 weeks flat! We are super excited to see the early traction with RevX and have an amazing roadmap to further our product suite for these Marketplaces in coming months.”

Several popular E-Commerce marketplaces across South East Asia & Middle East are already on RevX, it now aims at expanding its presence in Europe & Latin America.

About OnlineSales.ai

OnlineSales.ai, founded by ex-Amazonians, is an E-Commerce marketing & data analytics platform. It’s an AI-led platform for Retailers & E-Commerce Marketplaces globally that converges acquisition & retention marketing along with data-led applications on a single platform. Launched in 2016, it already services 100s of E-Commerce businesses globally.

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Rev Up – Aug 2017

Introducing RevX
Say hello to RevX, an AI powered solution to enhance brand and seller experience on marketplaces. Enable native ads and power your sellers to increased sales, higher ROI and better revenues
Read More

 

Data Power – Awesome 4Some
As eCommerce Marketplaces grow, it’s imperative they innovate and find new ways of increasing revenues and bottom line. While serving ads on marketplaces has been on for years, few marketplaces have understood the power of user data and optimised that to ace their game.

Amazon

Name – Amazon Advertising / Sponsored Ads
Since – 2007
Products – Native, Brand, App
Yearly Revenue – $ 1.5 billion +

Rakuten

Name – Rakuten Marketing
Since – 1997
Products – Affiliate, Display, Native, Network
Yearly Revenue – $75 million +

eBay

Name – eBay Advertising
Since – 1995
Products – Brand, Promoted Listings
Yearly Revenue – $100 million +

Alibaba

Name – Ads Alibaba / Nothing Specific
Since – 2000
Products – Brand, Listings, Network
Yearly Revenue – $10 billion +
Fun Fact – Almost 30% of all digital ad spends in China are spent on Alibaba Group.

 

Vertical v/s Horizontal
Ask anyone in India where they would buy a flight ticket and the answer would be MakeMyTrip, ask anyone in USA where they would start their shopping search and Amazon comes right up – can you spot the difference?

While MakeMyTrip is an online travel agent and hence a vertical, Amazon sells across categories and would classify as a horizontal. Both come with their own pros and cons but the fact of the matter remains what do shoppers really prefer.
A vertical marketplace is one where the depth and variety of a certain type or category of products is so vast that the shopper is flooded with choice and options. The span of choice is across colors, sizes, types, fits and so on. But apart from a few global names, there aren’t many vertical marketplaces that have made a tangible mark and have sustained through years.
This could be because of a multitude of reasons. Being a vertical, it may only attract a certain type or section of shoppers thus may not enjoy the economies of scale that a horizontal does. Limited funds may affect its ability to discount, advertise and thus curtail the traffic and overall sales.
Most importantly, from a value creation proposition for an investor or shareholder, it may not be able to get the returns that a horizontal can. However, verticals will always attract an audience that knows what they want, trusts the marketplace to give the best range and prices and ships as needed.
A horizontal marketplace as the name suggests is a literal marketplace – it goes across categories and ranges from apparel, electronics, accessories etc. Its intent is to capture the shopper regardless of what they want by offering as much spread as possible. While this sounds great as a thought, the sheer logistical and merchandising strength needed to implement this successfully is massive.
As a horizontal, the marketplace cannot focus just on 1 category but needs to ensure that its shoppers are delighted whether they buy a pin or a designer watch, the experience, the variety and the user journey needs to be the same and just as good.
Hence, horizontals need to have heavy war chests to build successful supply chain flows, excellent logistics partners and great seller onboarding. Names like Amazon, Alibaba, Rakuten, Flipkart are some of the horizontal marketplaces that have successfully implemented massive scale and variety but customized it for shoppers of each category.
To sum it up, I think with the variety that’s out there for shoppers, it will never be a scenario of one v/s the other, but a mix of the depth of a vertical and the width of a horizontal with the end user deciding what makes sense where.

 

Sendo Sends some Love
Our pilot partner for RevX, Sendo.vn hates us and has some really nasty things to say all the way from Vietnam – well not really.
What the Spam?

204 million emails are sent every minute with approximately 70% of it being spam.
alt_text

Writing Your Own Product Recommender? You Need To Read This First

Product recommender algorithms have (thankfully) moved past the Machine Learning/AI Hype curve in the past few years. There was a time when having a recommendation engine on your retail website was considered novel.

Retailers and their data science team members spent a lot of time in understanding the maths behind popular product recommendation algorithms, and then implementing one for their website.

Whether it is simple collaborative filtering or advanced latent factor models, there are tons of articles, blogs and even book chapters explaining how product recommendation algorithms work.

The machine learning community has also seen fundamental and exciting research in recommendation algorithms. Popular open source big data/machine learning libraries like Apache Spark (MLib) make it easy to build a recommendation system for your own site.

However, this deluge of information and availability of API black boxes can be misleading. We have often seen that small and medium scale retailers making a mistake of rolling their own in-house product recommender using some popular open source library, only to find that it doesn’t yield much result. At Onlinesales.ai, we believe it is time to take a hard look at why this happens.

There are a multitude of issues which can result in poor performance. Let’s look at a few here:

Data Collection

Available algorithms assume that collection of user and product interaction data along with product metadata attributes is already instrumented. But as with any other data science project, data instrumentation and cleaning is often the part that consumes 80% of the time/resources.

Black Boxes Tuned for Different Use Case

The open source library that you use for building recommender might be optimizing for entirely different goal. For example, a model assumptions built with DVD rental kind of use cases may not match with a use case of a high priced jewellery retailing.

Implicit Feedback Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

Early algorithms required explicit ratings on an item/product given by a user. On a retail website, there are generally no explicit ratings. Even implicit feedback events like adding to cart or purchase are rare. Tuning implicit feedback recommendation models takes lot of work.

Skewness of Data

Purchase transaction events may be too few for a small or mid scale retail website. Volume of top of the funnel event like viewing a product differs from category to category significantly. On electronic category, users may spend lot of time carefully comparing features of one model with other. But on categories like books or apparel, impulse purchases are not rare.

Performance Measurements

A retailer might want to optimize for a different metric (say, net revenue from a single customer over time) than conventional metrics used with recommender systems like precision-recall.

At Onlinesales.ai, we have spent considerable amounts of time in thinking hard about these problems. We would love to chat with you if you want to know more about our approach to managing product recommendation algorithms.

 

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Cede Control – Accelerate with Marketing AI

 

7 Pro Tips to Improve Your AdWords Landing Page Experience

Landing page is the fundamental part of most marketing campaigns today. Their role in the Quality Score given by Google AdWords is an evidence of the same. We had always been wanting to change “below average” to “above average”. Now that Quality Score metrics have expanded to separate columns, it has become evident that Google wants us to focus more on them.

About the general misconception, advertisers and bloggers relate meta tags to website quality. But meta-keywords don’t matter in landing page experience. They were relevant for SEO earlier but not even that anymore. There are other meta tags that Google identifies and follows. Meta tags are important for Google bot crawling. That’s how it takes an idea of your content.

Using the following tags may not directly help but won’t hurt to include:

  • Meta-tags with description
  • HTML title, H1, H2 tags
  • Image alt tags

The recent development in the field of UI/UX design, making it more mobile-friendly and the introduction of a separate certification in Google AdWords suite (Mobile Sites Certification) makes it evident how much importance mobile responsiveness holds for a website. Since the upward surge in smartphone penetration, mobile websites need to keep up with the pace. Mobile websites need to be lighter than an app but should look like the app.

Here Are 7 Tips to Improve Your Landing Page Experience for AdWords:

1. Remove Flash-based animation: It is not supported on various browsers and OSs including Safari and Chrome, the largest traffic paths.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-flash-player

2. Don’t make a cryptic URL: Use hyphens rather than underscores. Use less and only relevant tracking tags. Bots get confused and may have to use extra bandwidth to read the URL, in some cases failing to read the URL entirely. Thus, affecting the score it gives you. Use auto-tagging feature in AdWords whenever you can.

3. Make intelligent forms: If you are asking for a phone number, make sure the user’s number pad opens when they click on it. If it has a character limit, make sure you use JS and not PHP to notify it.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-forms

4. Make specific elements clickable: Elements on a page should not overlap or hinder one another, making it difficult for user to click the right one. One should not have to pinch zoom in or out to click specific buttons on the page.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-login

5. Be straightforward: Provide what information is relevant to the user rather than what you want to boast about. Avoid distractions or rubbish humblebragging.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-focus

6. Decrease page load time:  Reduce render-blocking scripts loading first thing on a page and reduce the size/number of heavy images (use PageSpeedInsights)

Landing-page-experience-adwords-statistics

7. Shift to newer technologies: Progressive Web Apps and Accelerated Mobile Pages are the next leaps to refinement of your website speed and visitor experience. Progress Web Apps are web pages that behave like a lighter version of traditional apps with all the necessary features – accessible from home screen, push notifications, offline connectivity and without the irritating task of handling the app size. Flipkart was one of the early companies to transition to PWAs. They help in reducing bounce rates and increase user retention for conversion. Accelerated Mobile Pages behave the same except they are more relevant for content-rich and image-heavy websites.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-statistics-2

While optimizing your landing page for better results, remember a formula: ROTN

Relevancy: Provide relevant content to the user who came to the website after seeing an ad. So match your content with the ad which in turn should match user’s intent and expectation.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-relevancy
Originality: The content provided on the landing page must be original and unique to your organization or business. Plagiarism for beautification and enhancement of content is seen as untrustworthy. Do not copy-paste what is written elsewhere. Provide something new to make it actually readworthy.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-originality

Transparent: With the increasing concerns about privacy and security, users think twice before filling in their information. To gain trust, clearly mention why you are collecting the information and how you intend to use it. Include a link to your Privacy Policy at the footer of the site or anywhere else that’s convenient. Mention T&C distinctly. If you’re claiming to be the best, please support it with an award or review. If you’re offering a product or service, be crystal clear.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-transparency

Navigability: Users on your website are much like potential tenants in a new apartment. Don’t bombard them with too much information altogether. Link content to one another and help them stay on your site for a longer period of time without distracting them from the end conversion. Give internal links and scroll-to-top buttons. Remember how you can jump to the top updates in a Facebook news feed. They shouldn’t be confused on what to click and where to go. Remember it’s an apartment, not a maze.

Landing-page-experience-adwords-navigability

 

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Navpreet-Singh

Authored by: Navpreet Singh | Sr. Business Analyst

Integrated Campaigns Deliver a [Marketing] Super Bowl!

Super bowls and championship rings are won by teams working together towards a single goal. Even Singles Tennis Champions are a result of an entire team – the coach, the physiotherapist, the nutritionist, all planning and working together for that Grand Slam title.

I’ve previously explained how  Accelerating with Marketing AI is the only logical way forward. However, surprisingly, Marketing at digital-first organizations is still fixed on archaic methods of doing things manually and monotonously.

In the marketing world, the best results are achieved when all channels and sub-channels unify to achieve that ultimate marketing goal. Unfortunately, the marketing teams today represent a race track, where every channel is competing for the elusive ‘Last-Click Attribution’ finish line.

Marketing Race Track

The ‘race’ has given rise to individual channel solutions which typically reflect the following behaviour:

Integrated Marketing
A rigid vertical-agnostic one-size-fits-all approach

Banking vertical, with larger lead times, is treated the same as E-Commerce vertical, which requires highly agile setup.
Integrated Marketing
Different ‘Measure of Success’ for each channel

It is a nightmare for the marketing decision makers to consolidate reports across different attribution models and different success measure –Likes’, ‘Signups’, ‘Transactions’, ‘Orders’, ‘Sales’, ‘Revenue’ across different channels.
Integrated Marketing
No Cross-Channel synergies  

The same end customer are bombarded by multiple channels without any capping, leading to brand fatigue and frustration. Further, there is no synchronization between channels for best selling products, seasonality trends and the conversion funnel behaviour.
Integrated Marketing
Smaller institutions within the same marketing team – 

The Me vs. You culture sets in, where each team tries to guard its space for spends, resources and targets.

What are Integrated Marketing Campaigns?

Thedma.org defines it as

“Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on the customer.”

Across the most successful marketing initiatives, the common theme that emerges is proof of a coordinated marketing effort towards a singular goal. The individual channel plays a part, making way for other channels to pitch in. Imagine you are launching a new E-Commerce brand where the display and social channels create the buzz for the brand, intent-driven channels pitch in with transactions and revenue, remarketing kicks in to drive LTV and website personalization drives on-site conversions.

The other factor that works in favour of successful marketing organisations is the smart analysis of the conversion funnel. These businesses move away from binary CPO (Cost per Order) / CPC (Cost per Click) considerations, and concentrate instead on full-funnel analytics including website bounce rates, CTR (Click Through Rates), CVR (Conversion Rates), session times, Add-to-Carts, and LTV, to go with the CPOs and CPCs.

The holistic approach allows sub-channels to deliver value and ROI against the stated goal. The key here is to establish a golden source for integrated, cross-channel analytics, and build a strong data science engine which can measure and deliver incremental performance benefits. The game is won when the quarterbacks are pinpoint accurate, the receivers catch everything, and the defenders allow nothing through.

No real surprise then if some of the famous marketing setups reflect these measures incorporated by a super bowl team. AI-Driven Suggestion engines feed actionable insights to individual channels. These, armed with demographic and psychographic intelligence, personalized ad messaging, and acquisition channels on preferred devices driving transactions, is the indispensable, essential need of the hour to build brand loyalty and stickiness; yes, all of these, hand-in-hand with remarketing channels using every click to influence customers to travel down the funnel, are what helps build that winning megabrand! Machine-learning and automation remain the mixed-doubles champion team.

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Author - Rohit Kelkar

Authored by: Rohit Kelkar | Director – Sales and Business Development

Ex-Amazonians Launch eCommerce Marketing & Analytics Platform – OnlineSales.ai

Sokrati announces the launch of a new business unit – OnlineSales.ai – an eCommerce marketing & analytics platform. It’s an AI-led platform for Retailers & eCommerce Marketplaces globally that converges acquisition & retention marketing along with data-led applications on a single platform.

Sokrati, formed by ex-Amazonians from Seattle in 2009, has grown to become one of the most reliable & trusted partners of Digital Transformation for 150+ enterprise brands across verticals like Banking & Fin-Tech, Auto, Telecom, and CPG. With its new business unit – OnlineSales.ai; the founders are eyeing global expansion within the Commerce vertical with its Enterprise SaaS offering.

OnlineSales.ai aims at becoming retailer’s operating system for user acquisition, retention & monetization. At its core, the platform gathers & mines billions of data points to build product catalog intelligence, user personas and dynamics of retail economics. This system intelligence is combined with technology automation on OnlineSales.ai platform that now hosts connected apps across marketing, user experience and data technologies – all on a single platform.

“OnlineSales.ai aims to provide 10x better experience to retailers in their pursuit towards acquisition & retention marketing while improving its business margins overall. We aim to democratize data technology & business analytics for the retailers globally,” said Ashish Mehta, CEO & Co-Founder.

Launched as an experimental pilot in 2016 with 4 team members, today the platform serves 250+ retailers on its platform and has 70 people team focusing on bringing this product vision to reality.

Data & Tech convergence is the future. And when this the convergence is further specialized by a vertical; it is not only relevant but also extremely powerful. OnlineSales.ai plays at the convergence point of marketing technology, retail experience technology & data science – enabling retailers to monetize their business – smartly & scalably,” said Kaushik Paranjape, CTO & Co-Founder

Visit OnlineSales.ai for more information, or follow their journey on Twitter

Contact: Vamsi Ponada, Manager – Business, USA & EU, OnlineSales.ai, +1 (646) 244-8610, vamsi@onlinesales.ai (US+EU) or debalina@onlinesales.ai (APAC)

 

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Cede Control – Accelerate with Marketing AI

What is Marketing AI?

According to Wikipedia

Marketing AI is a form of direct marketing leveraging database marketing techniques as well as AI concept and model such as machine learning and Bayesian Network.

Is AI the Better Alternative Today?

I am very comfortable taking a coast-to-coast flight across 4000 miles on an ‘Auto-pilot’. Pretzels, cramped seats, snoring neighbor – all valid flying concerns, but things that don’t stop me from taking the next flight.

Crowded Flight | Marketing AI

I am now habituated that the super duper AI machine that operates the flight will get me there, in the fastest and safest possible way. Am I completely in control of my travel? Well…

Now let’s say I start looking at the alternative, I drive the 4000 miles in 5 days & I’m asked to drive back again for 4000 miles.

With 10 days of driving, the hands are still at the steering wheel, but, am I completely in control of my travel?

Well…

Now let’s say I let another driver take me across the 4000 miles. Now I ask him to drive back again for 4000 miles. With 10 days of driving, the driver’s hands are still at the steering wheel, but, am I completely in control of my travel?

Well…

AI is an obvious choice in many facets of our personal and professional lives.

But surprisingly Marketing at organizations is still stuck in the archaic era of doing things by rote.

The most ‘agile’ of these organizations make bid and budget changes weekly.

The Keyword/Ad copies change once a month.

A/B testing is rarely done and, bet on $10, the campaign structure hasn’t been changed for months!

This is an era when CMOs are trying to reach their customers with a very personalized experience.

Sadly, such ancient strategies are proving to be marketing harakiri.

The biggest concern for any marketing manager is the apparent lack of control when working with an AI platform.

The key here is that if the boundaries are clearly defined, AI platforms can become the most trusted ally in the marketing pit battle with your competitors.

As a decision maker, you need to have control on the overall goals, budgets and the marketing funnel metrics across the macro and microeconomics for your brand.

Marketing AI

 

However, in choosing to control every keyword, every ad copy and every product bid, you choose to drive the car, when the flight option is available.

AI tools have come a long way in moving away from the ‘I throw the data at you, and you do the work’ syndrome, to a friendlier ‘Data Driven Analytics & Actionables’ approach.

There are sophisticated machine-learning algorithms that are well equipped to analyze petabytes of data.

All of this within microseconds, to deliver an integrated experience for the end customers.

The most successful Marketing AI Platforms will:

  • Consistently deliver value against suggested marketing goals – ROI, Transactions, LTV
  • Reduce the operational effort in launching, managing and optimizing the campaigns
  • Are forward-thinking, making intelligent decisions on selecting products, consumer demographics and the relevant communication
  • Are transparent, and easy to setup and use
  • Manage the fine line between machine intelligence driven automation and manual checkpoints.

Need for Marketing AI

There is a new brand of consumers out there today –fast-paced and knowledge-based.

They expect to get value out of a commodity before buying it. They need to know that the brand cares about them and their needs.

Consumers expect the brand to know what they want before they decide to take the plunge.

They need suggestions, tips, answers, and assistance now.

And that isn’t going to change; it’s only going to increase. Artificial Intelligence is the only way for companies to keep up with the ever growing customer demand and expectations.

It’s safe to say that AI is The Future of Marketing. There’s no limit to how far it will bring human experiences closer to technology and its many advances.

A small jump, or a full flight, the rush of flying is incomparable.

If you have not taken the plunge with an AI platform already, do so. The journey will be highly rewarding.

Success | Marketing AI | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Further Reading:

Gmail Sponsored Promotions: How to Run a Successful GSP Campaign

What are Gmail Sponsored Promotions? ?

Gmail Sponsored Promotions or Gmail Ads are interactive ads at the top of people’s inboxes. When someone clicks a collapsed Gmail Ad, it expands just like an email does.

The expanded ad, which is the size of an email, can include images, video, or embedded forms. Available in all countries Google reaches, Gmail ads are a way to connect with people in a more personal-feeling format.

How do Gmail Sponsored Promotions/Gmail Ads work? ?

A Gmail ad or Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) shows first in its collapsed form. When someone clicks on the ad, it expands to an email-sized space that can be used to meet a variety of advertising goals and can include, for example, embedded forms or video.

People can interact with your expanded ad in different ways, depending on your ad’s layout. They can play video, fill out a form, click to go to your website, or (when they’re on mobile) click to call or to go to an app marketplace.

You aren’t charged when people interact with your expanded ad. You’re only charged once—for the click that expands your ad in the first place.

The digital ecosystem is growing rapidly. Demonetization has definitely acted as a catalyst to bolster this growth, while internet connectivity still poses a challenge to all the digital marketers.

As the digital penetration into various audience segments grows, so are the technologies or channels to reach a consumer efficiently in different ways, Gmail Sponsored Promotions being one of them.

Before we get into this discussion, let’s talk about the common mistakes that most advertisers make before or after they launch a campaign.

  1. Do you invest your marketing budgets on channels for the entire marketing funnel or just the one which gives only last click conversions?
  2. Are you give importance to Assisted Conversions?
  3. Do you compare the numbers across different marketing channels?

If the answer is No (and yes for the last point) then you are definitely at the right place, reading the right blog. Most often we don’t give much importance to channels that works best in driving awareness and consideration in consumers. We push our budgets to channels which help us achieve a good amount of last click conversions.

This is the reason why channels like Programmatic, Content and Gmail Sponsored Promotions are still the unexplored areas of the digital world. You need to look beyond last click conversions if you intend to scale your campaigns or brand.

With multiple brands offering more or less the same product as that of yours, you can create a difference by investing your budgets wisely on channels across the entire marketing funnel (Awareness > Influence > Consideration > Action) and giving users a reason as to why they should consider you over others.

Let’s take an example of Michael’s activity on different channels.

  1. Michael is bored. He logs into his Facebook account to check how many likes or comments he received on a recent picture he uploaded.
  2. Michael likes to read blogs on Digital marketing. He visits a website to read an article on Gmail Sponsored Promotions.
  3. Michael is a big fan of ‘The Beatles’. He visits YouTube to listen to their music.
  4. Michael also likes to read news regularly on his smartphone.

If an ad is shown in each of these channels, where is Michael more likely to respond? So if the behavior of a user is different in all the channels then why do we compare the numbers? I will leave the rest of the analysis to you.

When was the last time you logged into Gmail to check your mail? I did it 15 mins ago and guess what, so did 10 million people.

People often get confused between a Newsletter subscription and a Gmail ad. Newsletter subscriptions are the regular mails in your inbox that you receive from an advertiser to stay up to date on any new announcements, sale or promotions.

There are two parts of a Gmail Ad:

  • Collapsed Ad

Gmail-Collapsed-Ad

  • Expanded Ad

When a user clicks on a collapsed Gmail ad it expands just like an email in an expanded ad. This ad can include images, video or embedded forms. You can save or forward the ad and you only pay for the first click on your ad.

Targeting Options available on Gmail Sponsored Promotions:

  1. Display keywords (Target users who have specific keywords in their inboxes)
  2. Domains (Target users who have specific domains in their inbox which would typically indicate that they are part of a mailing list)
  3. Demographics, Age and Gender
  4. Device – Desktop, mobile and tablet
  5. Topics (Based on thematic keywords in the inbox)
  6. Affinity and In-market audiences
  7. Customer Match (Target users on the basis of their Gmail ids)

Types of Ad Layouts:

Gmail-Ad-Templates

  1. Single image ad (if the product is visual and no extra information is required to explain)
  2. Single product promotions (if you want to add extra details to your product or service)
  3. Multi-product promotions (Promote multiple products)
  4. Catalog creative
  5. Custom HTML upload (Custom ads or form fill ads)

For more information, you can view the AdWords Help Center.

Why you should use Gmail Sponsored Promotions?

  • It is a new ad format for generating awareness, cost effective conversions and quality traffic.
  • A user subscribes to many advertisers to stay up to date on any sale or promotions. With Email marketing it is difficult to have your mail on the top of a user inbox at any particular instant of time. With GSP, you can ensure that you reach out to all the users at the right time by having your ad at the top of their inbox.
  • High targeting Options. Isn’t it great to target users who have bought from your competitors? With GSP’s keyword and domains targeting, you can reach out to users with specific keywords and domains in their inbox. Also customer match allows you to target users on the basis of their Gmail ids.
  • Purchase journey of a user usually consists of comparisons and thinking. If you are able to capture their mail ids in this process then you can target these users with specific ad messaging to complete their transaction. You can also upsell to your existing customers. Customer match and Domain targeting are the best targeting options available on GSP.
  • It is a boon for lead generation ads. With formats like in-build forms, you can create effective lead generation campaigns by reducing drop-offs and number of click steps to a lead. There are other interesting ad formats available on GSP – single image, multi product and catalogue templates.
  • The HTML template gives you more flexibility to customize your ads. You can add forms, videos, phone numbers and multiple calls to action.
  • Gmail has more than 1 billion global users and GSP allows you to tap into this massive audience with cost effective targeting options and ad formats.

Best Practices for running Gmail Sponsored Promotions:

Creatives

  • Invest in creating visually attractive images or rich media ads with a prominent call to action and other details. Always refresh creatives once every two weeks to avoid fatigue.
  • Always perform A/B testing with different ad copies.
  • Use custom HTML Gmail ads for lead generation campaigns.

For a major BFSI giant, we observed 35% increase in the lead volume after the usage of HTML creatives.

Targeting

  • Avoid narrow targeting of your campaigns. This will restrict the reach and you won’t be able to reach a broader set of audience.
  • Before you launch a campaign always chalk out a targeting plan for the domains and keywords. Divide them into different ad groups for e.g.Competitors, Blogs, Tangential sites, Travel apps, etc. Include those domains which your targeted audience is likely to have subscribed.

At OnlineSales.ai, we have observed a desktop CTR of 7-10% across different verticals with the right set of targeting and ad messaging.

  • Always start with a low bid depending on your daily budget. There are only 4 ad slots available for Gmail ads, so the competition is high. Make sure your bids are high enough to win sufficient impressions.
  • Regularly check on demographics and age to ensure that you are reaching out to the right set of audience.
  • Use customer match to reach out to specific users on the basis of their Gmail ids. Make sure you tailor a different ad copy or creative here. You can also make use of Similar Match to reach out to new audiences sharing similar characteristics with that of the existing ones. Update the lists on a regular basis and perform a proper sanity before targeting them in your campaigns.
  • You can also run app install campaigns but the challenge is to dynamically exclude the installed users.

For one of our major eCommerce fashion client, we observed 25% increase in transactions by making use of different ad templates and right set of targeting options.

Bid Strategies

  • Always start with a low CPC bid and bid up if the campaign doesn’t pick up.
  • You can try accelerated pacing for customer match campaigns. Expect a high CPC but a very good conversion rate.
  • Avoid making frequent bid changes to the campaigns.

Device

  • If your target audience lies in 18-30 age group then you should open up bids for mobile and tablet devices provided your website is mobile responsive.
  • Spend rates are faster on mobile so always start with a low bid.
  • If you are using form fill ads for lead generation campaigns then it always better to push some budgets to mobile devices. Conversion rates are quite high with low CPC.

For one of leading global telecommunication client, we observed 30% increase in the lead volume due to proper device optimization.

Gmail Metrics


CTRs is not the only metric to gauge the performance of your Gmail ads. You can use Gmail metrics like Gmail saves, forwards and Clicks to Website to measure how users are interacting with your ads.

These are very good indicators of efficient targeting especially if branding and awareness is important to you. External CPC (Gmail clicks to website/ Internal Click) is a very important metric to monitor traffic to your website.

We have been using these strategies for our clients across different verticals and they have been really helpful in setting new benchmarks.

Hopefully, this post has given you insights on some of the best practices to be followed for running a successful Gmail Sponsored Promotions campaign. This ad format is definitely worth trying!

If you’re an E-Tailer looking for an AI Driven Email Marketing Solution check this out.

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Bishmaya-Kumar

Authored by: Bishmaya Kumar | Business Analyst

Recipe for Powerful YouTube Performance Marketing

YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet. A platform which garners more than 30 million visitors per day. 5 billion videos are watched every day and on an average, a view session lasts more than 40 mins.

Now as an E-commerce marketer how do you utilize YouTube as a platform to reach out to the right set of people who go on to install your app as well as make a purchase? Or as a Food Delivery app how do you reach out to people who have a propensity to buy food from your Website/App? Or as an OTT (Netflix, Hotstar, Voot etc) major how do you reach out to people who watch a particular kind of content (let’s say kids or an original show that no one is aware of).

Now, here I won’t be talking what most Elvin and Chipmunk are doing & only discuss less popular strategies on YouTube:

1. Segregate Your Audience

The best example to showcase here would be Netflix. So while marketing House of Cards they created several versions of the trailer. But chances are, the version of the trailer you got to see was different from the one that the site presented to me. That’s because Netflix was using ten different cuts, geared towards different audiences – and presented them to viewers based on their past viewing behavior.

2. Retarget Your Audience

While running Remarketing Campaign on YouTube, instead of running all visitors as a Remarketing List, breaking down the Audience lists is quite helpful. For E-Commerce break it down to Cart Abandoners, (break down further to 1 day, 7 days and more.) Product and Category Page Visitors.

We can also target users basis session time spent (no need of targeting users who’ve been on the site for less than 20 seconds). While we create Retargeting Campaign, it’s necessary we create a Remarketing List of the video we are showing off as an Ad. When this lists populates with a significant number we can target users who did not convert even after high view rates and show them a Bumper Ad with a different Ad messaging.

We can also perform Basket Analysis to know next best affinity of the products and categories. (It’s just like the people who view shirts page also visit the page for jeans/trousers or the people who have watched Roadies on YouTube also have a tendency to watch Splitsvilla). Making separate Remarketing Lists and cross Retargeting can help you achieve wonders.

3. Club Keywords with Top YouTube Content

One more out of the box strategy by Netflix. How do you market something like ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ that went off air 12 years back and make it seem relevant to the audience on YouTube? They came up with top watched YouTube videos and picked up keywords from the video title. So if you are watching a video of a cute cat, Netflix would show up its Ad ‘Smelly Cat Clip of Phoebe’ and if you are searching for dance moves; small clip as an Ad of  ‘Monica and Ross with their Dance moves’ would show up.

A similar strategy was implemented by Set Wet, where they identified high-affinity genres and frequently searched terms on YouTube. Based on this, they launched multiple contextually relevant, fun and quirky Bumper Ads towards driving incremental reach and frequency.

There’s still a lot that can be done with a billion people on YouTube, but as Seth Godin Says:

“Anticipated, Personal & Relevant Advertising Always Does Better Than Unsolicited Junk.”

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 Rishabh-Nigam

Authored by: Rishabh Nigam | Business Analyst

DSA & DKI Campaigns: Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

Search ads are almost always the first ads to go live for any account. No other channel serves users with intent higher than search, which is why the internet is abundantly populated with literature about how to set up different types of search ads.

However, as a wise man says, if there’s something equally important as knowing what to do, it’s knowing what not to do. In this post, we are going to list down ways you can royally mess up your search ads, to keep from avoiding making those mistakes.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what could you possibly be doing wrong with your expanded text ads that you don’t already know about.

And you’d be right – expanded text ads are pretty much considered common knowledge in the world of PPC marketing. You could probably create some while you’re half asleep.

In this post, we are not going to focus on Expanded Text Ads but Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) and Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads.

1. Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) – Time to Cover All Bases

This is generally the thought behind choosing to ride the DSA wagon. The hard fact is that no matter how meticulously managed your regular search campaigns are, they are never going to be enough to turn all those idiomatic stones.

A. The first mistake

The first mistake that majorly tanks a DSA campaign is failing to do proper negatives. When we say negatives, we mean negatives with respect to keywords as well as targeting.

Negating every single keyword from your regular search campaigns should be a reflex action after setting up a DSA campaign.

Also readOptimize Your CTRs With Negative Keywords

If you have lately been seeing higher CPCs on your account, chances are you forgot this thumb rule of DSA campaigns and now they’re competing internally with your regular ones.

Less obvious and more obscure is the error of not negating the pages and/or categories that won’t directly benefit you. For instance, you don’t want to be paying 10 bucks cost per click to sell items valued at around 5.

B. The second mistake

This mistake is related to the messaging of your dynamic search ads. But hey! didn’t I just go through the pain of creating a DSA campaign so that it would just automatically create my ads?

Marketers sort out their targeting and usually take the back seat when it comes to the ads. This is a common mistake.

Sure, the headline is dynamically generated, but based on your campaigns targeting you can very well control the two description lines.

Specific targeting and generic messaging might cause poor CTRs, whereas generic targeting and specific messaging might cause higher bounce rates.

dsa-dki-ad-preview

This DSA ad shown above looks perfectly fine. But here’s the catch; if you use this ad targeting all web pages of a website that sells all kinds of sports equipment, your ad-copies are going to attract a lot less clicks since the messaging would be misleading.

On the other hand, if you ran it targeting only web pages related to bikes you would have a perfect dynamic search ad.

Lastly (this might sound like a buzzkill), don’t be over ambitious with DSA. It is designed to pull data from a multitude of pages and will not give you your desired results if your website has limited content.

Specific targeting and generic messaging might cause poor CTRs, whereas generic targeting and specific messaging might cause higher bounce rates.

2. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) – The Double Edged Sword

Dynamic Keyword Insertion is arguably one of the coolest features Google introduced to search ads. Not only are they cool because they let you insert search queries into your ad copies dynamically, getting those fancy bolded ads on the search page, but also because if you mess these up there’s a greater likelihood of them being supremely hilarious.

Who cares about high cost per lead if you’re getting a good laugh out of them, right? More often than not your clients are going to disagree.

Here are some common pitfalls of using DKI in ads:

A. Syntax is important

You can’t always run to the tech team whenever you encounter the tiniest bit of code. As silly as it might sound a lot of advertisers mess up by entering the DKI code wrong on their ad copies. The result is a tiny mistake being displayed to the whole world wide web.

Keyword-dsa-dki

B. The world is not your oyster when it comes to DKI

Your keyword feed needs to highly targeted and implicitly relevant. I have seen advertisers plug the entire dictionary in their DKI keyword feed, and the results are either disastrous or downright hilarious, depending on which side of the ad you are on.

I’ve seen ads that claim to sell love, a wife, perpetual motion machines and even Obama. All these – results of unsupervised abuse of DKI ads.

buy-wife-dki-example

C. Be careful of inserting your target keywords.

Just because you can dynamically insert the keyword in every part of your ad (Headlines, description etc.) doesn’t mean you should be. The resultant ad copies are repetitive and wasting characters that can otherwise be used to convey more details about your offerings.

That being said, don’t underuse your characters either. Remember that DKI can be used in combination with static keywords to generate full-fledged ad copies that use all of the characters.

Lipstick-dsa-dki-example

If you are mindful of all these points, your good DKI ads would look something like this example:

TV-keywords-dsa-dki

DKI can be used in combination with static keywords to generate full-fledged ad copies that use all of the characters.

That brings us to the end of the discussion. We have touched base on a lot of malpractices prevalent in the domain of dynamic ads. I hope that this post has not made skeptics of you all.

The bottom line is that these are some powerful tools introduced by Google for the advertisers’ benefit. The gravest mistake would not be using them wrong, but not using them at all.

So try them out! Go ahead and experiment. Maybe you will find a way of using them like never seen before.

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Why You Should Not Ignore Bing Product Ads

If you run an internet company, you are continuously working towards optimising your Cost of Acquisition (CAC). Obviously, you employ a multitude of complex math and logic to do this. Unfortunately, under this messy garb, sometimes we miss the obvious and simple levers.

Bing Product Ads: Simple & Very Powerful

Bing Product Ads are image ads which appear to the right of Bing Ads on Bing search pages.  Here is an example of a Bing Product Ad:

Bing-product-ads-example

While Bing Product Ads are similar to Google Product Listing Ads on many fronts, Bing Product Ads use different terms than Google. It may surprise you that Bing Ads has some powerful advantages for advertisers that Google simply doesn’t.

Let’s see what do we get with Bing Product Ads:

Additional traffic

You might not have realized it, but Bing reaches a phenomenal number of people on a monthly basis and is a powerful search engine in its own right.

Here are some amazing stats that back up that statement (Source)  –

Bing-product-ads-stat1

Bing-product-ads-stat2
Bing Ads has less competition and cheaper CAC

Bing Ads uses a similar auction dynamic as the AdWords auction, so the advertisers on Bing have numerous benefits from a lack of competition, such as better ad positions and cheaper costs per click. Of our extensive managed services clients who were advertising on both Google and Bing, we saw nearly 36% lower CAC on Bing Product Ads.

Maintain visibility on all the PLA slots

Not many people consider using Bing Ads as a means of getting in front of their target audience, as they themselves don’t use the Bing search engine on a daily basis. It’s worth noting that because a lot of people ignore Bing Ads, there is less competition and more space available to your Product Listing Ads. Hence, it is easy to maintain visibility.

As Robert Liparulo said, “Knowledge was like candy: you never turned it down, especially if you didn’t have to work too hard to get it” – so is an incremental business in the ever competitive digital space. And therefore I ask you – Are you running Bing yet?

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5 Ways to Prevent Your SaaS Customers from Churning

One of the most painful aspects of a SaaS product is the fast churn of its customer base. Customers tend to onboard easily, fail to adopt the product long enough to engage, and end the journey too quickly; this results in the SaaS business losing a lot of money while weakening its reputability.

In this blog, I’ll be recommending 5 ways that’ll prevent your loyal customers from calling it quits on your product.

Drive Engagement

You may have built an incredible SaaS product that does almost everything at a click of a button, but what’s the whole point of having a product which does not drive any value to your customers? A product is obviously only worthwhile if your customers engage with/use it!

Lincoln Murphy, a pioneer in Customer Success says – “Engagement is when your customer is realizing value from your SaaS.”

A customer who does not use your product will not keep paying for it. As simple as – you have bought yourself a Netflix subscription and nobody has been using it, you’d surely end up cancelling it!

Similarly, if your customers are not engaging with your product they will unsubscribe.

An analysis conducted by Bluenose clearly indicates that Usage/Engagement is the major contributor to churn.

   Drivers-of-Churn      Image Source

Keep a track of non-usage. In case there are continuous periods of non-usage, you must know what’s wrong and how to solve it.

One of the best ways is to start measuring engagement, by measuring the number of customers that log in. Then understand the frequency of logins, which features they explore the most and so on.

Start sending out engagement triggers through either emails or personal phone calls based on their logging patterns and features they do not use.

Additionally, send out short product explainer videos, setup FAQs on the website, conduct webinars, product conclaves etc.

Once you are able to get your customers to use your product, the likelihood of a churn is highly minimised.

Feature Perfect

More often than not many SaaS companies focus their synergies on adding features. Many believe that having 100 features will make their product superior to others in the market.

Check which 10 of the 100 features are truly adding value to your customer. The time, energy and money spent on building the other 90 should possibly be utilised towards upgrading the 10 that make the most impact.

Features that become part of a customer’s daily regime are the ones that will improve and further boost engagement. For example, the first thing most of us do each morning is to check our phones for emails, calls, messages etc. It’s habitual now.

Customers need to ideally become habituated to your product, and upgrading the quality of your key features is crucial. What we need to create here is a Habit Loop. (Diagram below).

Habit Loop

Habit-loopNir Eyal’s habit loop

Customer Service is the Key

Remember, your SaaS customer doesn’t only look to your product, but they continuously measure the service and support you provide.

Check which 10 of the 100 features are truly adding value to your customer. The time, energy and money spent on building the other 90 should possibly be utilised towards upgrading the 10 that make the most impact.

As mentioned in my previous blog – 5 Ways to Drive ROI with Customer Success, Great companies are focusing on mastering the ‘software’ part of Software as a Service, although, the new generation of great companies are recognising the need to emphasise on the ‘service’ implied in SaaS.

Every customer is different and so are his needs. Understanding what your customers want, acknowledging and addressing their concerns on time, helping them achieve their goals using your product, taking their valuable feedback and incorporating it into your product, are some of the best practices with which you can build an experience they will never forget.

Often, it’s due to the service you provide that a customer decides to continue sticking to your product.

Incentivise your Customer

Delighting your customers is another way to keep them hooked. I’m sure most of us will never push back for something that is free. A Recent example is the Amazon Prime services after a subscribed user finishes the 30-day free trial, he is given an offer to avail a yearly plan for 50% Off.

Columnist Peter Economy reports, “the secret to delivering great customer service is to give your customers a surprise – something they didn’t expect. It’s those unexpected experiences that leave customers with a story they are eager to tell.”

Also remember, a happy as well as an unhappy customer spreads the word.

How can you surprise your customers? What could you possibly give away that will delight them? I’m listing a few options here that you could choose from:

  • Early Bird access to new features
  • Free Subscription for a month
  • Beta access to upcoming features
  • Extra storage
  • Increase in number of user seats
  • Free support package

These are great business strategies to keep your customers glued and satisfied, without them having to look to another product.

Upsells and Cross-sells

Keep a watch and gauge for opportunities to either upsell or cross-sell. Selling to a new prospect is way tougher than selling to an existing customer.

The authors of the book – Marketing Metrics have compiled important data around selling to a new prospect when compared to an existing customer.

Upsell-cross-sell-customer-churn
Image Source

The data above is shocking yet stark. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask “I’m already doing business with this company and I trust them, so why go elsewhere to buy?” Hence, upsell and cross-sells are much easier to win and highly effective in boosting your company’s profits.

Also remember, a happy, as well as an unhappy customer, spreads the word.

The more use your customer derives out of your product, the more he binds himself to its vital features, and the faster and easier it solves his problem, the lesser are his chances of discontinuing.

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5 Amazingly Productive E-Commerce Purchase Funnel Boosters

The E-Commerce industry across the globe is at an ever-competitive, crackling space. The fact that all the 3 giants in the domain (Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart) are operating at an annual cash burn of more than INR 3000 crores ($30bn), just to ride out the rivals, speaks for itself. If this is the ordeal of the companies with majority of the market caps, you can only imagine their effect on the younger players. Hence, it is crucial for younger players to optimise their marketing funnels to the core for better customer engagement and conversion.Let’s look at some of the best digital marketing practices in the E-Commerce space that would help you boost your purchase funnels.

sales-funnel-leads
Image Source

1. Syncing the Checkout Page with the Website

To understand this point better, let’s visualise a scenario.

Imagine that you are at a merchandise store of a reputed brand. You casually enter the store to window shop. Twenty odds minutes later, you are checking out stuff worth a quarter of your month’s salary.

What pushed you to do so?

The setup of the store itself – right merchandise displayed at the right places, store employees helping you with your shopping experience as well as the range of choices offered by the inventory itself.

But while checking out, what if you are asked to pay to a shady guy outside the store instead of at the counter?

You are sure to bail out. Why? Because the last link in the chain is not synchronised with the overall shopping experience.

The same goes for E-Commerce. One can do everything right and still end up losing buyers in the checkout page stage if it is not in sync with the website.

The reason is simple. It impacts the trust quotient of the customers.

You need to make sure that the checkout page has the same design scheme as your landing pages so that the customer is comfortable while making the purchase.

2. Focusing Where Customers are Dropping Off in the Purchase Funnel

There is a story hidden in every data pool. If you have not turned your attention to the statistics churned out by your purchase funnel, you are missing out on some great optimisation opportunities.

Let’s take a look at a sample funnel report here:

eCommerce-shopping-behaviourImage Source

Can you notice the issue highlighted in this report?

Clearly, the product landing pages need to be optimised more in order to increase the product checkout ratio.

One can do everything right and still end up losing buyers in the checkout page stage if it is not in sync with the website.

If you look even closer, you will notice that more than half the ‘products in cart’ sessions have been abandoned by the customers. This indicates further synchronisation problems with the cart that need to be resolved.

Steps like using tools for detailed funnel reports and A/B testing different orientations of the pages would go a long way here.

3. Tap on the Impatience of the Customers

In other words, create urgency.

Last week I chose Amazon over Flipkart to buy a pair of curtains just because the former hooked me with a clock that promised a one-day delivery if I order within the next hour.

Tapping on the insecurities of the buyers can really give you an edge over your competitors.

Another great example would be making your inventory live and displaying the number of product units left.

A fast moving product will always keep buyers on their toes (just like the railway seats of an airplane on a travel website) and hence, exceptionally boost the time they take to consider their buying decision.

4. Deploying Product Videos Along with Images

Videos have become the latest marketing norm around the Internet. Even Facebook allows you to upload profile videos now. Then why not make their best use in E-Commerce too?

Here are some facts. 71% of the customers think that videos explain the product better and videos boost the conversion rate by 73% when compared to images.

There are tremendous opportunities to capitalise on in the digital wave sweeping the country, if businesses play their cards right. Optimising the purchase funnel is a crucial step in that direction.

Consider the following product video of a baseball bat:

If integrated with your product landing page, I bet this will sell more units than a few images ever will. The reason is simple. Videos are more engaging. It is easy to attach a story with the product and help the customer to better connect with it.

5. Targeted App Push Notifications

If you haven’t launched an app for your online store yet, you are missing out on a huge chunk of potential business. App notifications are a goldmine to capture recurring business leads from loyal customers.

Imagine yourself using the Amazon app, adding products in your cart only to change your mind and exit the app later. If you receive a notification motivating you to check-out the products the next day with an update of an additional 5% discount, aren’t you more likely to go ahead and make this purchase?

nike-notificationImage Source

The E-Commerce industry has been subject to colossal growth over the years with the market now standing at a whopping $23 trillion according to UNCTAD estimates.

There are tremendous opportunities to capitalise on in the digital wave sweeping the country, if businesses play their cards right. Optimising the purchase funnel is a crucial step in that direction.

OnlineSales.ai offers an intelligent performance marketing platform for E-Commerce, and clubbed with expert business strategists it focuses entirely on driving RoI, RoAS and CPT benchmarks. OnlineSales.ai innovates and lets retailers track profits for every marketing buck they spend. You can watch the product explainer video of our platform here!

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How Cash on Delivery Fuelled E-Commerce Growth in India

What is Cash On Delivery?

According to Wikipedia

Cash on delivery (COD), is the sale of goods by mail order where payment is made on delivery rather than in advance.

There are loads of Advantages to Cash on Delivery (COD) for both the consumer as well as the retailer.

  • The customer does not need to own a credit card to purchase.
  • Impulse purchases may increase as payment is not due at the time of ordering.
  • Trust. You can trust the company because you are paying after your receive the product at your doorstep.

How Cash on Delivery Fuelled E-Commerce Growth in India

Remember the emergence of E-Commerce blossoming in India, and the early nervousness of making payments online? Even though there has been a significant rise in online payments over the last few years since, Cash on Delivery (COD) continues to remain the most preferred mode of payment for consumers in India.

According to Nielsen’s Global Connected Commerce Survey (Business Insider) about 83% consumers in India preferred using cash on delivery as a mode of payment for online purchases. Consumers still dither to use credit cards due to online fraud risks. A report highlights that majority mode of payment made by consumers for online sites like Flipkart, was COD, 72% from major cities and 90% from smaller towns.

70% buyers Prefer Cash on Delivery Payments

Cash On Delivery

While mobile wallets and netbanking transactions are on the rise, when it comes to making online purchases, most of the buyers still prefer Cash-on-Delivery payment model. Payment options like Net-Banking, Credit & Debit Cards and e-wallets combined contribute to only about 30% of all online purchases, as compared to Cash On Delivery (CoD).

Regardless of the low use of Internet in poorer countries, the E-Commerce sector has tripled from $4.4 billion (Rs 20,020 crore) in 2010 to $13.6 billion (Rs.83,096 crore) in 2014.

The online retail sector in India is expected to be a $1 trillion (Rs 660,000 crore) market by 2020, according to a recent report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Deloitte, a consultancy.

Moreover, the slowly yet progressively increasing popularity of mobile wallets after demonetisation could be an alternative way to possibly convert cash on delivery into online payments.

There’s no point in contradicting the fact that COD is the biggest game changer, which has given an edge to those who offered the service.

Flipkart, which was launched in 2007, was the first E-Commerce player after Indiaplaza to launch COD service back in 2010. It was the Cash on Delivery service that made Flipkart exceptionally popular and made online shopping a tempo among the masses.

Suddenly every person, from a young college student who didn’t even have a bank account, to a person from a small town who didn’t possess a debit card, were able to buy things with just a click.

Factors that contributed to Cash on Delivery growth:

  • Convenience
  • Familiarity with cash payments
  • Less credit/debit card users
  • Lack of secure payment gateways
  • Consumer’s lack of trust in online payments
  • Fear of online scam

Whether it was the anxiety of commitment or the joy of ordering anything without the immediate need of money, COD set up prompt acceptance. However, the same service is now gradually grinding marketplaces and suppliers.

Here’s why:

1. Restricted Cash Flow

COD is convenient for buyers but extremely inconvenient for retailers and vendors. It hinders cash flow as such orders take longer to close. It often takes months for the money to reach the seller, that too if there’s no refund/return request. This makes it difficult for them to gauge or maintain daily operations.

2. Additional Cost

The Indian Online Seller article listed down that courier companies charge for delivering COD orders above the regular charges. The cost rises even further in case of returns as marketplaces/logistic companies deduct courier fees.

3. High Returns

Cash on delivery and no-questions-asked return policy is a deadly combination. People make imprudent and impulsive purchases and return it without any fret. And sellers believe that COD orders lead to high returns and buyers give insane reasons as opposed to non-COD orders. This creates a hole in a seller’s, the logistic company’s and the marketplace’s pocket.

4. Fraud/Theft

Delivery boys being beaten up and robbed at gunpoint, to theft during transit and fake orders, we have heard it all. Such occurrences mostly have been reported in case of COD orders. And what that has resulted in? Further expense.

It has enforced third-party and in-house logistics of online marketplaces to increase their expenditure on security, and high-tech tracking devices to reduce these frauds and thefts. For instance, GoJavas had to raise threefold its security budget to safeguard the order shipments.

Reversing card holders into exclusive COD users. Main complaint that industry experts have is that retailers are turning card users or potential ones into exclusive COD subscribers.

It is coherent that those who don’t have plastic money were/are opting to pay by cash. But arrival of COD service is adverse for those with cards to make online payments. Many sensed that India was gradually moving towards prepaid system and digital payments until Flipkart and other online marketplaces rushed in with Cash on Delivery.

Therefore it isn’t shocking that from a well-known service, Cash on Delivery is now regarded as an expected service. It has become a natural choice of payment that sellers and traders just can’t afford to withdraw at the moment.

Efforts to bring down cash transaction

Government of India along with financial organisations has been trying their best to reduce cash transactions and boost digital payments to improve economy. Right from offering tax incentives on electronic payments, executing restrictions to simplifying the digital payment process, the government is trying to move away from cash-intensive economy. The master stroke to curb transactions via cash was the recent move of demonetising Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, due to which COD orders noticed a drop of upto 30%.

Likewise, E-Commerce players have done and are still doing their bit to reduce COD. Some of steps that retailers and sellers have implemented (or should implement if they haven’t) are:

  • Payment through card upon delivery
  • Improving payment gateways and expanding options
  • Encouraging digital wallets through exclusive offers
  • Offering incentives on online payments
  • Instant refund mechanism facility
  • Tying up with banks for special cash-back and discount offers when paid using card
  • Initiating mobile transactions
  • Charging extra for COD orders
  • Putting a cap on acceptable COD order value, quantity and product type
  • Altering return policy to remove absurd reasons for return
  • Allowing sellers to decide the payment & shipping policy

Cash will still rule

After demonetisation, the majority of the E-Commerce players in India had paused the Cash on Delivery option. But they were also quick to reintroduce it within 2 weeks from the announcement.

Which clearly states, that for a country like India, where people are comfortable and accustomed to cash transactions, getting rid of COD and creating a cashless economy still seems like a far-fetched dream.

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Paras-Khushiramani

Authored by: Paras Khushiramani | Sr. Business Analyst

What in Facebook Ads Appeals to the Affluent Indian Audience?

Facebook claims that it can advertise to about 4 million affluent Indians. If you are a Facebook marketer, at some point, you have surely tried to target the Affluent Indians, online. Be it through selecting interests like ‘iOS users’ or ‘audience with Affinity for High Value Goods in India’ or ‘Frequent Business Travellers’ or ‘CXOs’ or ‘Investors’ – you’ve surely tried them all.

Because these people face the digital onslaught from all corners, they are highly selective in their purchases. Using Performance Data of Premium Apparel and Accessories Brands, we tried to understand what truly appeals to this audience and tried to come up with a probable explanation for their reasons to purchase.

1. To what extent does mentioning famous brands in the ad creative or ad headline affect the response of the Affluent Indian audience?

Mention of a famous brand, say, Giorgio Armani, in the ad headline saw Click through Rates (CTRs) of 2.2-2.5%, while its absence fetched CTRs of only 1.2-1.4%. The Revenue on Ad spend (RoAS) was 25-30% better with the presence of famous brand names.

Going a step further, highlighting multiple brands in the ad copies worked even better, both in terms of CTRs and Overall RoAS. This Audience segment receives famous brands and brand depth very well.

Facebook-Ads
2. Where should the ads lead this audience segment – Product Pages, Product Category Pages or Brand Pages?

While logic says it is best to land users on the same product page or product category page which are shown in the ads (since they clicked on it), we observed that for the affluent audience, landing users on the respective brand pages work better. Bounce rates for brand landing pages are about 40-45%, for the Category pages it is about 50-55%.  

This hints at the fact that this audience doesn’t really look for the best products, they look for their favorite brands.

While the thought process of most of the Facebook audience on seeing an ad is like “This blazer looks nice, the price is fine too. Let me see this on the website. It also happens to be a United Colors of Benetton Blazer”.

Correspondingly, the thought process of the Affluent Indian Audience appears to be on these lines “Versace’s New Range is here! Let me check. Blazer, Jeans, Sweatshirt, hmm. I’ll take the Blazer”

The picture below tries to highlight the browsing behaviors of affluent buyers vs others.

Affluent-Buyer-vs-Typical-Buyer

If that is indeed the case, instead of a landing page that contains similar products, we could use a landing page with products of one brand like shown in the image below.

Facebook-Ads2

3. What works better? When models were a part of the creatives or when the focus was solely on the product?

Facebook-Product-Ads

Product-focused creatives got a CTR of 2.1-2.4% and RoAS of 3.5 to 4 while creatives with models in them got comparable CTRs but an outstanding RoAS of 7.5 to 8.7. This proves that we should focus more on creatives with models in them.  Logically speaking, this makes sense as this audience is meticulous about their appearance and given that creatives with models are more relatable and clarify doubts about size, look and feel of the products, they are very well received.

This also highlights the importance of models in the product pages of websites. Customers would always want to know how this new watch, a pair of earrings or shirt will look on them and would be more confident at the time of making the purchase.

Facebook-Ads-Models

4. Does the starting price point strategy work for us? How does our target audience respond when price points were mentioned in the ad creative or ad copy?

Mentioning price points in the Creatives isn’t a great idea for this audience. Through our study, we saw CTRs of 0.9-1.1% when price points were mentioned as against 2.1-2.4% when they were not. The Return on Ad Spend with price points was 20-24% less than ad copies without Price points.

Facebook-Ads

This proves that our audience isn’t motivated much by starting price points. This could be because this audience segment isn’t as price sensitive as other segments. Plus, for premium products, there is a significant difference in the starting prices when compared with the average prices. So, if anything, the starting price points could be misleading too.

5. Do offers work for us? If yes, to what extent? Are we able to get additional transactions at a better conversion rate?

Instagram-Ads

Yes! Offers are received very well. CPLs reduced by 45-50% when offers were in the ad creatives.  Like all audiences, our audience loves offers too.

Note the stark difference between the offers strategy and starting price point strategy. While starting price points confuse more than they help, offers certainly make the decision making easier.

Next time when you plan to launch Facebook campaigns for premium products, try these. Feel free to highlight any other factors which you feel could be vital, we would love to discuss them.

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Nishant Singh - Business Strategist

 Authored by: Nishant Singh Didawat | Manager – Business Strategy

5 Ways to Drive ROI with Customer Success

Customer Success is transformative and has gained significant importance over time, which is clearly evident when one looks at the Google Trends graph below.

Customer-Success-Google-Trends

Great companies are focusing on mastering the ‘software’ part of Software as a Service, although, the new generation of great companies are recognising the need to emphasize on the ‘service’ implied in SaaS. 

To have great customer success it’s also important to understand a customers journey in eCommerce.

Customer success is driving exponential value for both the seller, as well as his customer. In fact, it’s the value that we drive for the customer that ends up driving the value for the seller.

Simply put – What goes around, comes around.

So, what do we mean when we say “drives value” for the seller? How is Customer Success impacting a company that embraces it as its sole purpose such that it influences everything they do?

Before we understand why, we need to drill this in our heads that: Customer Success is NOT Customer Support.

That being said, here are 5 different ways Customer Success would be putting the Value of a Company in the driving seat:

Drives Revenue

Customer Success helps a company in generating more revenue. Here is how:

  • When you are able to retain your customers for longer and they do not churn, by the end of the quarter you end up having more customers and hence more revenue.
  • When you don’t have to offer discount/offers to retain your customers, your quarter ends with more revenue.
  • Your customers moves to a higher pricing plan, buys add-ons or more seats, introduces your product to other departments in their company, your ending the quarter with more revenue.
  • Your customers recommend/refer your product to other companies, your revenue grows even more.

Customer-Success-Revenue-GraphImage Source

Increases Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

So how does Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) fit into this picture?

When we talk about valuation of a company, the only thing we ever hear is multiples of current revenue, but even though current revenue is important, it’s what multiplied to it that matters the most and that’s the LTV.

Straight-up, investors are looking to invest where they see an increasing trend in LTV. It’s but obvious that when they invest today, they want it to be worth a lot more in the future. Increasing LTV, through customer retention, Upsells, Cross-sells, etc., is extremely beneficial from their point of view.

Here, Customer Success remains the best way to retain customers for longer durations, even if they stick around without an increase in the amount they pay us, our LTV still grows.

Reduces Churn

For any SaaS company, churn is a nightmare.

Churn is that disease that will kill your SaaS company.

To understand how hard churn could hit you, we need to understand the impact that churn brings to a company.

In the diagram below, I have taken a simple example of a SaaS company who, let’s say is in its third year and the recurring revenue for renewals is around $10m , and now when the same company is in its sixth year, it now has $100m to renew. Assuming that the monthly revenue churn rate is 2.5%, the annual churn would be 30%.

Taking a peek into the smaller chart on the left, when a business is small, the amount of money they lose due to churn is only around $3m. Not an alarming number, and this gap can easily be filled up with new sign-ups.

However, when you look at the larger chart on the right hand side, when the business grows, the amount that is being lost to churn becomes sizeable, and scouting for an additional $30m in new sign-ups, to remain at the same revenue level as the previous year becomes an immense problem.

Customer-Success-Churns

However, Even if your product fails to add that extra umph, you have your awesome Customer Success team to wow your customers 🙂

Happy-Customers-Customer-Success

Image Source

Affects the Total Available Market (TAM)

When your churn rates are out of control, you’re doing nothing but shrinking your TAM.

Let’s say you have a TAM of 200k customers and your churning 20k customers per year, your TAM after a year will now be 180k. What’s worse, the customers you lose are unlikely to come back again. They are gone. You have to now remove them from your TAM.

If you’re churning 20k customers per year, don’t forget these customers are not leaving with good feelings and neither would they keep those feelings hidden, they will vent it out through negative reviews on blogs, your apps, and across social media. This would possibly reduce your TAM by at least 50%.

If you focus on Customer Success, they will ensure on building an environment for your customers to grow and help achieve their Desired Results, which in turn will grow  your TAM, rather than shrink it.

Overall Account Growth

Customer success is a team of unicorns that know how to provide top-grade customer service while also lurking around like hawks to prey on an up-sell and cross-sell opportunity.

They as a team are extremely comfortable in tackling customer requirements/requests as they are closer to the clients and know their businesses in and out, this in turn helps in expanding the accounts which has a significant impact on the evolution of the SaaS revenue model.

Now, let’s look at it this way, when you are able to build revenue from the existing customer base, you could cut down the effort and money that’s put into acquiring new customers, and not only stay in business, but actually continue to thrive and grow.

From an investor standpoint, looks picture perfect, right? Instead of putting money into something that they will have to initially stop from shrinking, they are now investing into something that could sit there and grow. Boom!

CEOs and Executives Must Focus on Customer Success

I’m sure you can see why if you’re a CEO, CPO, or CFO, you should not be looking at Customer Success as a low-level departmental function, but as a strategically important initiative for the value of the company and the value to your shareholders.

Further Reading:

How Sebastian Cruz Achieved 167% Increase in ROAS in 6 Months

Here’s Why AI in Performance Marketing is Here to Scale

Why AI is the Future of Marketing

 

The Inside Story: Ada Chikan Revives the Lost Art of Indian Chikankari Designs

The Founder-CEO of Ada Chikan, Rhea Punjabi, speaks of her journey!

About Ada Chikan:

Ada Chikan conceptualized art of chikankari on a different, albeit traditional platform. Till the time Ada ventured into a designer wear concept, Chikan was being produced and sold on ‘run of the mill’ basis.

Ada brought together the finest artisans who with their nimble fingers started crafting breathtaking chikankari designs on finest fabrics which became a delightful appreciation for the cognoscente.

Online presence of Ada has opened its windows to the world not only to diversify into myriad cultures but also to educate people about this art ‘chikankari’ which is only made in Lucknow and nowhere else in the world.

Q: How did you conceptualise Ada Chikan? Why? What drove you to kickstart?

Rhea: My family has been the pioneer of fashion crafts of Lucknow. Lucknow chikan is a needlecraft from our city Lucknow, which is not replicated world over.

The manufacturing process and marketing strategy of this craft had been underdeveloped and was not in sync with today’s world. My state (Uttar Pradesh) has a population of more than 23 crores out of which the female population is 10.75 crore.

The literacy rate of women was 52% leaving them at the mercy of the male population. The majority of the Lucknow chikankari artisans are women practicing purdah and do not move out their homes.  We at Ada, therefore facilitate these women in achieving their economic independence by using their skills efficiently.

Ada Chikan

Q: The first sale. What went through your mind?

Rhea: When we made our first online sale, it was a thrilling feeling as it paved the way to a new vertical of marketing for the chikankari products and establishing it in the digital era.

This day a fire was ignited to use the digital platform to take chikankari across the globe.  

Ada Chikan continued its digital journey by encompassing all the major product verticals of chikankari. Ada Chikan has the largest online collection of Lucknow Chikan products today.

Q: Tell us about your team!

Rhea: The core team consists of a trio including my husband Mr. Vinod Punjabi heading the entire hierarchy and Mr. Haider Ali Khan who has deep understanding of the craft and is a fashion curator along with me. Ms. Sonam Singh, an NIFT graduate is proactive in production. Ms. Parul Saxena, Ms. Neha Rastogi, Ms. Shefali Dubey & Ms. Ahna Sharma are people who work for the Brand tirelessly.

Q: A typical day at Ada Chikan?

Rhea: We, at Ada, broadly have 3 Verticals of Operations:

  1. Production
  2. Sales & Marketing
  3. Customer Service

On any given day, our day usually commences with each of the verticals kickstarting their job. The Production Team Headed by Mr. Khan & Ms. Sonam supervise all the minute details at every stage of Production.

The Marketing comprises of 3 Broad categories:

  1. State of Art design studio flagship store situated at Hazratganj, Lucknow
  2. Pop up Stores at Various domestic and international locations
  3. Our E-Commerce website and Ada Chikan products on various marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, Snapdeal amongst others.

The customer service team takes care of packing the orders, answering the queries incoming during the course of the day, along with uploading stock and maintaining records on the digital as well as physical stores.

Q: What sets Ada Chikan apart? What are the USPs and differentiators in such a dynamic, competitive industry?

Rhea: Ada Chikan products are purely handmade and curated since the first stage of choosing the blocks and fabrics, creating silhouettes, choosing the combination of stitches to be used in embroidery followed by adherence of QCC Norms.

Ada Chikan is also known for creating chikankari on various eco-friendly and handmade fabrics. Ada Chikan as a brand shares lot of information of chikankari to educate the consumer about the craft.

Q: Any best customer stories that motivates you and Team Ada Chikan?

Rhea: Our customers have some great things to say about us and this is what motivates us to do better. Sharing some of them here:

“The craftsmanship is exquisite, the staff helpful and knowledgeable,great ambiance, mind-boggling variety…these are just a few reasons why the store ranks high on my shopping destinations. Not to forget, Ada adds on to my ada-quotient!”

Arti

“Awesome collection with great prices. Very elegant just how chikankari looks best. Material are very comfortable and nice to wear in summer. Prices are very affordable considering the quality of products. And the sizes are exactly the same as mentioned.

Very easy to place order through WhatsApp or website and excellent service provided to the customers. Already bought two kurtis and hope to buy more. Very pleased with purchase.”

-Debaleena Sengupta

“When my friends and relatives from around India and the world ask for Chikan garments the first name that comes to my mind is Ada Chikan. And I am happy that whosoever has bought from Ada has been very satisfied . Keep up the good work ADA!”

-Simran Rachna

Q: Are there any special employment guidelines followed at Ada Chikan? Are there any special cases being adhered to?

Rhea: Empowering the purdah-nasheen women artisans by enhancing the market size and awareness of this beautiful craft has been the main focus of the Ada Chikan.

Q: Are there any other element of pride that you’d want to highlight?

Rhea: Our biggest pride lies in the fact that anyone who is not associated with Lucknow or Chikan, is always drawn towards Ada Chikan for the beauty and the exclusivity of the work. We have made some very loyal customers over the years.

Q: What are the core objectives that make Ada Chikan truly special? Give us an on-the-job humblebrag.

Rhea: The use of technology at all the stages of production to ease the manual labour and improve the quality of craft and artisans.

Today Ada Chikan supports employment of more than 6000 women artisans. Ada Chikan has been passionately pursuing to take this craft to all locations of the globe.   

It is responsible to revive and retain few stitches of the embroidery craft which were on the brink of extinction.

Empowering the purdah-nasheen women artisans by enhancing the market size and awareness of this beautiful craft has been the main focus of the Ada Chikan.

Q: What value does digital marketing with the OnlineSales.ai team and platform bring to the table to fuel a deeper, stronger growth for Ada Chikan?

Rhea: We have been working with OnlineSales.ai Team since last few months and applaud their precision in creating target-based marketing techniques.

OnlineSales.ai stands by Ada Chikan in reaching the heights it aims at, and imparting diligent performance marketing to see it through. We are encouraged by watching our clients deriving true value out of our platform and efforts, and The Inside Story celebrates just that.

 

Related Posts

The WOW Factor in Customer Experience!

A personalised, engaging customer experience is very critical to the success of any marketing initiative today. When apps have taken over websites, and machines have taken over human habits, the only way we can individualise our relations with the client is through a wise customer-management team, which will not only manage the success of a customer but also benchmarks a company’s own accomplishment.

OnlineSales.ai is an E-Commerce Marketing Platform, which is presently benefiting over 50 large, medium and small E-Commerce players from across the globe. Now with every great SaaS delivery, an overwhelmingly good customer experience is crucial for its success!

Though online trading stepped into our country in the 90s, it was only around 2005 when we experienced the upturn of e-tailing & social networking among Indian consumers.

The Internet penetration is definitely a result of rapid hikes in E-Commerce & now M-Commerce in India. In 2015, Morgan Stanley had also quoted that the Indian E-Commerce economy is to grow fastest globally over the next 3 years, and today, E-Commerce is already an ineluctable part of our daily lives.

Indian eCommerce Customer Growth

In order to stay ahead of your competition, it’s become essential to create delightful customer journeys, and marketers around the globe have placed this at the top of their priority list.

That time when customer experience was only an aim for Success Deliverers is long over. It’s so much more personal than that now. Experiences have grown up to customer loyalty, partnership and relationship.

A customer’s journey helps rediscover the value of a product or service, and helps maintain engagement and a connect amongst each other.

Do you believe in “first impression is the last impression”? It is vital to have the first impression go right. Once the relationship starts to build up as we want, we should nurture it as we maintain our most prized vehicle. Wufoo founder Kevin Hale in his article Marrying Your Users: From First Date to Ever After explains this beautifully with an example:

So if you’re on a first date and you find out that your date starts picking their nose in the beginning of dinner, there will be no second date. But if you’ve been married to someone for years and they start digging for gold, you don’t immediately divorce them. There is something different once the relationship is already established.

Each customer is different and exclusive. Knowing and acting on their personalized needs, help create better customer experiences. If we make sure that our customers are successful, they’ll surely make sure that we are successful in return. It’s an age of mutual companionship now.

The farther you are from a customer’s interaction, the more disconnected you become from their needs, their concerns, and their purpose for doing business with you.

Adding personality to your client interaction and lowering the response time is also a task of high priority. Although understanding the Eisenhower Decision Matrix is crucial for a Customer Success Champion, however, at the same time, just a touch and a moment of personalisation to make your client believe that you are there for them works wonders.

A small example for better understanding on this:

We at OnlineSales.ai, use our email ids (that includes our name) to interact with our client, unlike a lot of companies, which either have a group id or a ticketing id for interacting or resolving client related issues.

Ticketing IDs should be internal. Externally the client should know who he is going to talk to and we should take it as our responsibility to be their confidante throughout. Once we’ve achieve their trust, we’ve won.

Each customer is different and exclusive. Knowing and acting on their personalized needs, help create better customer experiences.

Working on intuitions and personal perspectives about a client or brand works really well, as our intuitiveness comes with experience and general conduct, and therefore valuable.

However, this can happen only if you create a bond or know the customers and their businesses well enough to decide for them.

Taking the customer’s feedback and then addressing them to make the experience more enjoyable is important – this helps to give the customer a feeling of exclusivity and being valued, and that’s all that matters.

While working with one of India’s leading Digital Marketing companies dealing with an E-Commerce clientele, it is not only highly challenging to derive the change in consumer behaviour, but also such a privilege to manage them.

It hones your understanding of the market, consumers, trends, nitty-gritties and realities detailed, broadening your horizon as a Customer Success professional.

One of my professors once told me that one should never really “manage your client”, but that one needs to “manage yourself as per the client” instead. And I firmly believe that this holds true.

The skill is to manage yourself so efficiently that customer retention becomes a cakewalk for you, and you in turn become the churn-fighter for the rest of the team.

It’s often said that tech-savvy Indians are not early adopters. The Customer Success Team at OnlineSales.ai is making sure that their clients and the Platform are the best of friends!

[Infographic] Current Trends in the Indian Apparel Industry

Festive season is just around the corner and Google has taken this opportunity to dive-deep into the most popular advertiser verticals to find out the latest emerging trends around the top 10 E-Commerce verticals in India. 

They’ve summarised their research in an infographic that provides you with insights around:
1. Indian market trends
2. Device search trends
3. Search trends throughout the year
4. Popular search queries in your vertical
5. Strategies to create and capture demand

Apart from these insights, Google has also recommended various advertising products that E-Commerce Marketers can consider to boost their brand awareness, influence consideration and drive conversions during the festive season. E-Commerce marketers can leverage this piece of information by tailoring their marketing strategies around these insights.

Here’s an infographic on the current trends in the Indian apparel industry created by Google, for OnlineSales.ai.

Indian Apparel Industry Infographic

Quick Stats on the Indian Apparel Industry

 

OnlineSales.ai drives digital performance for 25% of India’s online spend, managing enterprise and mid-level E-Commerce businesses, running catalogs from hundreds, up to millions of SKUs. Talk to us on hi@onlinesales.ai to discuss the potential and ideal growth of your online business, and we’d love to help!

Industry Report: Google Shopping Trends in India

In 2012, Google introduced a new type of search ad – a more visual and appealing, and one that would dominate search advertising across the globe in the years to come.

Google Shopping Ads, previously known as Product Listing Ads is currently revolutionising search advertising across E-Commerce markets. The image format of the ad, its seamless integration with search engines, and its preference for being clicked by online shoppers, are the reasons that it trumps traditional text ads.  

Google Shopping Ads have been widely adopted by top marketers due to their ability of driving higher click-through rates. With the festive season lurking around the corner it becomes crucial for E-Commerce Marketers to maximise the performance of their Shopping campaigns.

Keeping that in mind, Google Shopping experts at OnlineSales.ai have researched across 100 Indian Retailers, 450 Million Ad Clicks, 25 Billion Impressions and 8 Million Transactions to prepare the second edition of our industry report that focuses on Google Shopping trends in India.

Google Shopping Trends - OnlineSales.ai

The report dives deep into the latest Google Shopping performance insights with respect to Other Ad Formats, Product Category, Pricing Buckets and Devices. These are sure to help marketers drive better click-throughs and conversions on Shopping Ads.

Here are some insights that OnlineSales.ai – Q2 2016 Google Shopping Report unravels:

Did you know? Click-Through Rates of Google Shopping Ads are 2X Higher Than Ads on Other Channels

Google Shopping Trends - OnlineSales.ai

Google Shopping Campaigns have come to be the most powerful, efficient, and cost-effective of paid marketing channels, influencing conversions from strongly relevant audiences. It gains 2X or even higher CTRs at 50% lower CPCs. More on the report!

We see that Products Costing Under 5000 INR Convert 5X Better on Google Shopping

Google Shopping Trends - OnlineSales.ai
Our study on Shopping Ads shows that products priced above 5000 INR have 80% lower conversion rates than those priced under it. However, understandably, in terms of discounted products, it’s the higher discount buckets that have a 30% higher conversion rate than the lower discount buckets!

Again, 60% of Google Shopping Transactions Convert on Large-Screened Devices

Google Shopping Trends - OnlineSales.ai
Larger screens are being preferred by consumers more than ever and this is evident for conversions as well. It’s crucial as a marketer that your image optimization is automated to take full advantage of the extra screen real estate which comes with larger screens.

Even though desktops and laptops continue to rule the roost as the preferred devices for online shopping, smartphones are steadily catching up with a consistent growth in the share of ad impressions, clicks and spend.

Apart from these trends, every section of the report includes exclusive commentary with key takeaways and suggestions. Marketers can readily use these suggestions to develop a deeper understanding of Google Shopping in India and promote their online business better during the festive season.

You can view the full report here! We would love to hear your thoughts on our Industry Report, feel free to start a discussion in the comments section below.

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10 Best Practices for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

‘People don’t go to Facebook to make decisions, but to avoid making them!’

True, right?

However, with the new ad format introduced by Facebook – Dynamic Product Ads (DPA), advertisers can now capture the users at their intent. Advertisers can now target specific groups of people with highly relevant ads that match where the user is within the sales channel.

What are Facebook Dynamic Product Ads?

Facebook Dynamic Product ads are a solution designed to help businesses promote multiple products or their entire product catalog, across all the devices their customers use. With product ads, businesses can showcase more products and people on Facebook can discover more relevant products.

Source – Facebook

How does it work?

Facebook-Dynamic-Product-Ads

How Does Facebook Dynamic Product Ads Work?

Why are Dynamic Product Ads important?

  • Highly Relevant – The ads displayed show only the products that the potential buyers are interested in.
  • Scalability – Reduces the workload of creating multiple ad units for every product/product line.
  • Targeting Across Devices – With the ad format, advertisers can now target customers across Desktop, Smartphones and Tablets.
  • Up-selling and Cross-Selling – You can target users who have purchased an item from one product set, and cross-sell items from another category. Also, with this ad format, advertisers can promote products with a higher profitability. (Up-sell)

How to setup a Dynamic Product Ad?

1. Creating a Product Catalog

This is the initial stage for setting up the campaign – where you put together your product details in an XML or CSV format. You can download the sample product feed from here. Once the setup is complete, the catalog will act as a database where the information is pulled in dynamically, depending on what the pixel captures.

2. Pixel Configuration

The ads use the same remarketing pixel. So if you already have it installed, you need to configure a few events that are able to track user actions. The three events that you need to configure on your website are – View Content, Added to Cart, Purchase.

Pro Tip: With the Facebook Pixel Helper extension you can also cross-check if the pixel setup is done properly, and also debug for any issues.

10 Best Practices for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

1. Setup campaigns targeting visitors showing Intent

Dynamic Product Ads gives the advertisers the flexibility of tailoring their ads according to the different stages of the funnel, enabling you to reach to the right people with correctly mapped products based on their interests.

With the help of events captured by the Facebook pixel, various types of audiences can be built:

So what is the audience segment which we should choose?

Users who have Added to Cart but have not purchased would make the strongest case.

They have come the furthest in the funnel and are best suited for remarketing.

Pro Tip: If your website is driving a lot of traffic, decrease your time-frame, which further leads to better conversion rates.

2. With Multiple campaigns, Always exclude

While running multiple Dynamic Product Ads campaigns, there is always the fear of overlapping audiences.

In such cases, your ads would compete against each other – resulting in downfall of performance.

Hence it is always recommended to set up mutually exclusive campaigns.

3. Re-Target to your Mobile App Audience

Have a Mobile App? Make sure you are capturing the audiences who are browsing in your app.

You can configure app events in your app which would further allow you to use the ad format for your Mobile audience.

This enables you to cross- target – users who browsed on your app and target them on Desktop, and vice versa.

4. A/B Test Carousel Ads

The idea behind carousel ads is to show more in a single advert.

This Ad format is a huge hit as the carousel format allows you to showcase up to ten images or videos within a single advert, each with its own link.

Carousel Ads | OnlineSales.ai Blog

Image Source : Facebook

 

A carousel ad can showcase a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 ad creatives.

For Dynamic Product Ads, you can show up to 10 ads in one post based on the activity of the user on the website.

It is always beneficial to show more products as it increases the chances of conversion.

If you are still unsure about only using the Carousel Ad format, you can always A/B test your ads.

5. Always start with a Reasonable Budget and Bid

Bidding low on Dynamic Product ads will not enable you to reach all your potential audiences.

Also, low budgets might bring down the performance of the campaigns. Hence, always start with a decent budget and bid and alter according to performance.

6. Website Traffic on the lower side?

If your website is low on traffic, you should always increase your time window to increase exposure.

Increasing your retention will help you in reaching out to audiences who visit a different page in a particular time-frame.

7. Checking your Product Catalog – Make it a daily habit

The key to a successful Dynamic Product Ads campaign is a healthy product catalog and pixel configuration.

You should make it a habit to check this on a daily basis if all the products are uploaded correctly and captured correctly by the pixels.

While setting up the product catalog, we should make sure that the pixel is correctly associated with the catalog.

Also, advertisers should make sure that the product set created has a sizeable amount of products, otherwise it might affect delivery.

8. Check for Events Configuration

After the pixel is placed, check if the events are configured correctly – View Content, Added to Cart and Purchase.

A discrepancy of 20-25% is normal, however, if this percentage increases, get your pixels checked if they are placed correctly.

9. Further Segment your Catalog with Custom Labels

Adding Custom Labels to your Product Feed will help you in further segmenting your product catalog and will help you in showing more relevant products.

For example, you can segment mobile accessories to power banks and further segment it into Price Points. Facebook allows you to add up to 7 custom labels.

10. Lastly, have patience!

The most important thing with Dynamic Product Ads is to give it at least 4-5 days to pick up, as it takes some time for the campaign to build audiences and stabilize. Once stabilized, Dynamic Product Ads would surely be a game changer for you!

If you want us to do a quick performance audit of your Facebook account, you can reach out to us on hi@onlinesales.ai!

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Most Recommended Branding Activities on Facebook

I am sure you must have heard the famous saying – ‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not around’.

I think that one statement pretty much sums the answer to the question “Why branding is important?”

As a quick example, Amul as a brand would not have been so exorbitantly famous without the little girl mascot and the perfect catch phrases they use for contemporary events.

In today’s world, where we literally eat, sleep and pray Internet, social media contributes a great deal when it comes to branding or uplifting a brand’s image.  

The next big question will obviously be “How can we leverage the different social media platforms for branding” and that is exactly what the focus of this read would be.

For any vertical be it E-Commerce, Jewelry, Food etc. trust is one of the major factors that come into play when we are urging people to buy from the website. Hence in order to build that trust, we need to make sure that there is enough brand awareness among people. More so if you are relatively new to the online world, be prepared to face tough competition from players who have been in the market for a very long time. In a nutshell, you need to make sure your brand has a strong online presence. 

Here are some recommended features on Facebook that could help you build brand awareness:

Canvas Ads

 

Facebook has introduced a new ad format named as the Canvas Ads – these ads look like normal PPLA (Page Post Link Ad), but when clicked they open as a detailed story of sorts and occupy the entire screen. 

With Canvas, you have complete creative control to achieve any objective like telling your brand story, promoting a new movie and showcasing your products.

Since the creatives take up the entire space of the screen there is more product visibility and it allows us to show multiple products. In short, a win-win situation for us.

Brand Awareness Campaigns

Brand Awareness campaigns are the most recent addition to Facebook’s ad platform. By evaluating how much time people spend looking at different ads, Facebook can now tell which people are more likely to watch and recall your ad and optimize the campaign accordingly.

The goal of Brand Awareness ads is to increase the recall of your ads among your target audience. It’s not about generating immediate sales.

The result of Brand Awareness ads is the Estimated Ad Recall Lift – the additional number of people who will remember your ads if asked within two days.

What’s really exciting is that we can have even more control on the frequency of your ads. We can choose not to display the ads to the same person for anything from 1 to 90 days!

Post Engagement Campaigns

These campaigns reach out to people who are very likely to engage with content on Facebook. Since people love informative posts, the posts should preferably be centered around giving out a lot of information which intrigues the audience whilst subtly promoting the products.

Video View Campaigns

This ad format is a MUST! A video that depicts a story whilst promoting our products is definitely worth a try. Video ads are very effective in branding and reach out to people who are likely to engage with the video.

To measure the performance of these ads, Facebook provides us with metrics such as video views, percentage of people who viewed the video till the end, percentage of people who viewed 75% of the video, percentage of people who viewed 50% of the video etc. This will help us analyze how captivating the video.

Website Click Campaigns

These campaigns will help us drive traffic to the website since when we choose our objective as ‘Website Clicks’, Facebook will serve the ads to the audience who are more likely to click on our ad as against the audience who won’t.

Local Awareness Campaigns

Local businesses that want to build awareness, foot traffic or in-store sales can choose the local awareness objective in ad creation or Power Editor or the Ads API. Awareness suggests targeting a flexible radius around your business based on population density. People living in or visiting that area will be eligible to see your ad. Ads will appear alongside other stories and posts people see on Facebook on their computers, tablets and phones.

Local awareness ads include these buttons:

  • Get Directions: People who see your ad and click the button will receive directions to get to your business.
  • Call Now: People who see your ad and click the button will be able to call your business directly.
  • Send Message: People who see your ad will be able to start a conversation by sending you a message.
  • Learn More: People who see the ad and click the button will be taken to your website.

Facebook location targeting is based on information from sources such as current city from people’s profile, IP address, data from mobile device (if location services are turned on) and aggregated information about the location of people’s friends.

This completes our list of most recommended branding activities on Facebook! If you want us to do a quick performance audit of your Facebook account, you can reach out to us on hi@onlinesales.ai!

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Arushee Malhotra

Authored by: Arushee Malhotra | Sr. Business Analyst

10 Quick Tips to Conquer Social Media Advertising This Festive Season!

Updated: 17th August, 2017

It’s time for all business owners to acknowledge the truth; social media advertising is here to stay – and it’s getting bigger and better every day. With super accurate targeting, it’s even more useful than ever.

But one must never get carried away and follow the race. Instead, sit back and think what makes you different, and what you are trying to achieve against your investment and business goals.

Here Are 10 Quick Tips That’ll Help You Win the Festive Quarter!

1. Time, Quality and Money.

Each industry has giants that will aim at thousands of transactions and millions in revenue. But this doesn’t mean that every business should follow the same.

Such brands have built their reputation over years, it did not come to them overnight. Building the position in a short duration can become very expensive.

Always remember the Trio Time, Quality and Money.  Choosing only 2 things will compromise the third.

2. Affordability and Sustainability.

Every business needs higher profits, ROI, and growing balance sheets, but one needs to understand its potential and break points. 

A business might be able to handle only a limited numbers of prospects, attaining prospects and not being able to serve them would be a step to disaster and poor service.

3. Knowing your Audience

Look for generic and widely used products, when you desire new users.

However, the same strategy would not work when you are trying to build loyalty and more repeat purchases.

In this case, look for your unique proposition for different sets of individual.

4. High Margin Products

Don’t rush to throw any creative and messaging to your users, rather try to identify your HERO products, which have good margins and can generate good revenue.

E.g. A private label brand will have higher margin compared to esteemed brands, thus understand the elasticity and scale both categories can offer you.

5. Test, Test and Test Some More!

Experimentation is Key! One targeting/channel/objective can work wonders for a brand and may not deliver same results to other brand. Design your own set of experiments considering the market trend.

6. Research

Don’t exploit a channel and spend aimlessly just because your competitors are doing it, rather explore different platforms on a pilot budget and discover which one is driving better results.

A few years back, LinkedIn was considered as the preferred channel for B2B and professional services, but now LinkedIn is considered as a strong medium for B2C as well as for driving leads.  

7. Play it Smart

Use different ways to communicate and engage with existing and new users about offerings and USPs. Choose attractive products and low price items at the beginning and cross sell later with High AOV goods. Highlight utility.

8. Channel Optimisation

Every channel has its own uniqueness and deliverables. It is up to us how we can effectively use it for our benefit. E.g. Twitter is a very strong medium in terms of quality audience.

But advertisers still look at this channel as a source of acquisition at cheaper cost like Facebook, which it cannot deliver.

They fail to understand that not every platform will work for you at the same cost and they end up ignoring the channel completely.

9. Be Prepared

The Madness starts in these Festive Seasons when each player tries to conquer the market share from their respective competitors by offering huge discounts, cash backs, etc and eventually ends up spoiling the market.

Instead, have limited offering but assure quality and timely delivery. No point chasing more volume, if you cannot deliver on time.

To compete in such a scenario one should identify products which are not being promoted.

10. Learn – Unlearn – Learn Again.

Social media advertising is all about following this cycle. Social media is dynamic, fast-paced and  it continues to improve itself with new features and advancements.

It is important that you keep up and explore every option in detail to get the maximum output on your social campaigns.

We have been using these strategies for our clients and they’ve been really helpful in setting new benchmarks. If you want us to do a quick performance audit of your Facebook account, you can reach out to us on hi@onlinesales.ai!

Khushboo-Baderiya

Authored by: Khushboo Baderiya | Sr. Business Analyst – Social Media

How to Use Micro-Moments to Rediscover Content

In order to unlock the untapped potential of your brand and enhance its footprint, it is highly suggested to venture into Content driven marketing. As per Google, Mobile traffic is surging with every passing day and visitors wish to consume more and more content to educate themselves by what we call micro-moments.

Please find below the details for the same.

Micro-Moments: The moments when we turn to a devices – often a smartphone – to take action on whatever we need or want right now. These I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy, and I-want-to-do moments are loaded with intent, context, and immediacy.

These are critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.

Having content rich materials would enable us to have strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer actions.

Micro-Content: Being present in research phase of any visitor, the brand has the chance to address consumer needs in the moment, help move someone along their decision journey, and deepen their loyalty.

Content around the following topics can be helpful:

  • What is your Product/Services
  • How is your product or service domain different
  • Where to get your product or services

3 Essential Strategies That Can Help Win Micro-Moments:

Micro-moments-strategies

Quick Facts:

Micro-moments-facts

Four Key Moments to be There:

key-micro-moments
Have you started using Google’s micro-moments? If not, start early to take advantage of a potentially mammoth marketing technique.

Somak-Gupta

Authored by: Somak Gupta | Sr. Business Analyst

Image Source: Think With Google

App Installs: Interstitial Ads vs. Banner Ads

There are various channels you can use to drive app installs. Using the Google Display Network (GDN) is one of the popular ones in Performance Marketing. Today we take a look at Banner Ads & Interstitial Ads to see which one’s better.

Image Ads on the Display Network

Image ads on mobile devices are similar to normal image ads that you’d see on a desktop computer.

These ads on mobile devices can be used for promotions on mobile website or on an app.

Every image size that is accepted for ads running on desktops is also accepted for ads on mobile devices.

Image ads can displayed as banner ads or interstitials in mobile apps.

In the blog below I have tried to cover some of the following:

1.Basics of Interstitial Ads and Non-Interstitials (Banner Ads) along with pros and cons of each ad type.
2. Highlights of Google’s say on interstitial ads.
3. For the Marketers / Advertisers / Brand
    a. Approach to these ad types.
    b. What you should choose to promote your App.
    c. What is the ideal campaign structure that will help you get the lowest CPIs and how to further scale on these campaigns?

Introduction to Interstitial vs Non-Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are full screen ads  that cover the interface of their host application.

They’re typically displayed at natural transition points in the flow of an application, such as between activities, during the pause between levels in a game, between screens or pages in an app.

They often freeze on the screen for a select number of seconds until an “x” out button presents itself.

These are full-screen ads that tend to have higher click through rates than banner ads, but may have a higher CPC.

Interstitial Ad sizes for mobile phones: 300 x 250, 320 x 480, and 480 x 320.

Interstitial Ad sizes for tablets: 1024 x 768 and 768 x 1024.

Interstitial-Ads

Image Source

Pros of Interstitial ads 

  • Interstitial ads overcome mobile’s biggest hurdle – limited real estate – by consuming the entire screen.
  • Unlike banner ads, interstitials force users to interact by clicking out or clicking through the ad.
  • Due to these actions, interstitials grab users’ attention and maintain high conversion rates.

Cons of Interstitial ads 

  • Interstitial ads hinder users from completing a desired action by forcing them to stare at the ad until they can click out.
  • Many users find this irritating, so integrating too many of these mobile ads may lead to app uninstalls.

Why Mobile Interstitials?

Gaining undivided user attention is a marketer’s utopia.

In an age of dwindling attention spans – a direct result of more and more emerging connected devices – audiences are often distracted by something else. By making the most of available space on the screen. Whether a user is on a Smartphone or tablet, advertisers are more likely to maximize user attention.

These ads also help encourage engagement, click-through and ultimately, conversions.

An interstitial ad provides the user with the option to close the ad and get back to the intended content.

Interstitial Ad most likely appears:

  • Either prior to the app launch
  • In between app levels
  • Before a user exits the app

The ad’s interference with the main app content is also minimal.

As users intend to continue using the app, attention for the interstitial ad is guaranteed.

Banner ads appear as a small strip or “banner” across the top of an app page or screen. They’re the most commonly used ad format for mobile.

Banners, or display ads, are small advertisements usually at the top or bottom of the screen. They are the go-to choice in mobile advertising at the moment.

Sizes for mobile phones and tablets: 320 x 50, 468 x 60, 728 x 90, and 300 x 250.

Interstitial-ads

Pros of Banner Ads

Banner ads are cost effective and easy to create, so advertisers can push them out quickly. Users don’t mind them, as they can still interact with the app, uninterrupted.

  • Banner Adsare less intrusive
  • Banner ads are cost effective & easy to create
  • They do not require additional steps to see content
  • They can be ignored or used without interruption
  • Banners don’t make people mad (interstitials do)

Cons of Banner Ads

When was the last time you clicked on a banner ad?

Banners are small ads with even smaller text on a small screen, so they are not visually compelling on mobile.

They have notoriously low engagement rates: the average is a 0.1% CTR. 

In Display App campaigns on Google Adwords, ads will show both as banners and interstitials.

If user only wants to run interstitials, then we can go to the Display Network tab in AdWords and click +Exclusion under ‘Campaign exclusions’.

Select ‘GMob mobile app non-interstitial’ to exclude banner ads from your mobile app campaign.

Performance of Banner Ads

Studying over 1000 campaigns across accounts, below are some of the performance insights.

Android 

Banner ads delivered the best conversions for lifestyle apps. (2.03%).

Interstitial Ads delivered the best conversion for games (3.05%)

iOS

Banner ads worked best for classified apps (2.8%)

Interstitial Ads delivered maximum conversions for social and entertainment apps (2.72% and 2.28%)

In general, interstitials are most effective while promoting games, social and entertainment apps.

Google’s Outlook on Interstitial Ads

Hot News: Google Search Penalize Mobile Sites with Interstitial Ads

What Google says: “Instead of full page interstitial Ads, we recommend that webmasters use more user-friendly formats such as app install banners. We hope that this change will make it easier for searchers to see the content other pages they are looking for.”google-interstitial-ads


Image Source

Does this impact all types of app ads?

No. This update isn’t outlawing all ways of promoting an app via your mobile site.

It’s specifically designed to dissuade webmasters from using large interstitials that cover ‘significant’ amounts of the web page’s content.

Smaller banner ads that don’t disrupt the user experience will still be deemed mobile friendly.

Marketers Approach to these Ad types

The success of these ad types will depend solely on the app type being promoted and the objective behind them.

It is generally advisable to run interstitials while promoting an app where as banner ads are much useful for in-app events on the app.

As a marketer it is highly recommended that you try both the ad types from different campaigns/Ad-Group keeping the targeting similar across campaign/Ad-group.

Run a lot of A/B tests on these ad types in order to optimize these ads and improve CTRs, CPCs and hence better CPIs.

Pushing extra marketing budgets on the ad types where we see better CPIs while further optimizing the campaigns by frequently changing the content on the Ads and further enhancing on the targeting.

What do you prefer – Interstitial or Banner Ads? Let us know in the comments section!

Rajat-Jain

Authored by: Rajat Jain | Sr. Business Anaylst

Gatekeepers and their Role in Healthy Software Development

What is a gatekeeper: A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something […] individuals who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium.

The act of gatekeeping, in context of software development, is similar to the generic definition above – someone who acts as both a filter for feature requests and defines the future road-map for the project. This role is hugely important and can have a very real impact on the success or failure of any endeavour. Gatekeepers in modern software development can take multiple forms; senior SDEs, Tech Leads, Product Managers, CTOs are all gatekeepers at some level and need not necessarily have been the original developers of the project.

You-Shall-Not-Pass-Gatekeeper

A gatekeeper’s responsibilities would typically revolve around the following:

1. Be the PoC for all Feature Requests
2. Prioritization of said requests
3. Stakeholder for every version of the product being planned – part of every design discussion

Typically, teams at OnlineSales.ai have 5-7 members including a Tech Lead plus a Product Manager attached to their function.

The various levels at which gatekeepers can be present broadly fit in to these categories:

Company Level – Typically a CTO/Engineering Head, defines the yearly road-map, quarterly sanity checks and oversees new requirements/pivots if needed – this is gatekeeping at the highest level.

Team Level – Your Tech Leads and Product Managers, usually some combination of both to ensure all fronts are covered from both a business and tech perspective.

Project Level – Less common, you can define module owners at this level, scope is mostly internal with respect to technologies to be used, coding patterns, etc.

Having a gatekeeper ensures you have someone with a clear understanding of what the piece of software is and what it is going to evolve into. Too often there is a tendency to add needless features to an existing product until it no longer holds a clear purpose anymore but is just a mash-up of a broadly related set of functionalities. It also allows for much more definitive clarity on whether the feature being requested is actually going to solve a business use case or is just the by-product of a larger problem that has snowballed due to a knee-jerk-like rush to react to every perceived lack of functionality with a new release.

That being said, a lot of care should be taken to ensure that a gatekeeper never devolves into a myopic dungeon master. In no way is a gatekeeper’s word final. The ‘role’ is an advisory one, one that promotes discussions that would otherwise fall by the wayside in a hectic environment where number of commits per day is often touted as a badge of honor. Another major gotcha is becoming so reliant on your gatekeeper that he/she becomes a Single Point of Failure (SPoF) – a gatekeeper is not a barrier but a funnel, channelling the product in the general direction you’ve chosen.

This blog is part of a series that touches upon OnlineSales.ai’s tech processes. Visit our engineering blog here to view more.

Farnoosh-Azadi

Authored by: Farnoosh Azadi | Tech Lead

Code Reviews in an Agile, Fast-Paced Environment

What is a Code Review? ?

Code review is systematic examination (sometimes referred to as peer review) of computer source code. It is intended to find mistakes overlooked in software development, improving the overall quality of software.

Code Reviews are a tricky minefield to navigate. Many developers (especially those fresh out of college) seem to have an inherent fear of both reviewing and being reviewed.

Common concerns I’ve heard revolve around either seeming too aggressive and offending the other person(s) with a deluge of review comments or a twist on that all consuming plague that affects so many in our profession – the Impostor Syndrome.

Both reactions are instinctive and IMO, tightly coupled to each other. Both reactions stem from an unhealthy sense of ownership – an almost paternal need to protect both your reputation and your body of work – and are a side effect of being unprepared to deal with the stresses of working in a high pressure environment.

code reviews

Consider this, if you may; a developer working in team A has been assigned a task X. He starts work on X and is beset – quite common in most developers’ days – by a myriad of interruptions, setbacks in the form of other smaller tasks that need his attention.

This contributes to a delay and the original deadline is almost impossible to meet by this point in time.

So, what does this developer do? He cuts a couple of corners, skips a few edge test cases, strives to meet the important deadline all the while smothering his programming conscience that is feverishly eating away at whatever remains of his peace of mind.

He ends up being defiantly proud of the fact that he was able to deliver despite all the interruptions to his work.

At that point in time, two things have happened:

1. The developer is already on the defensive, a siege mentality has built up as every little interruption adds to his subconcious stress of a looming deadline and seems like an attack on his ability to deliver the project on time

2. The piece of code is obviously not in the best shape; what’s more, the developer knows this before he sends out the review which puts him on alert and adds to his defensiveness

So, the situation is now tightly strung, all it needs is a spark to bring the whole house tumbling down.

Go through this cycle a few times and you will invariably start feeling burned out. You’ll start dreading the mention of a review even if you’ve had all the coding time in the world in a relatively stress free environment. You do your best to not cause waves in the hope that the same dubious courtesy is extended to you.

This is a toxic cycle that has no winners. To guard against falling into such a pattern, I’d recommend incorporating the following into your review regimen:

1. Always communicate delays. Do not agree to ship rushed code to production, just don’t do it. Karma is scarily real in the programming world and it will come back to kick your ass at some point in time.

2. Force yourself to look forward to a code review. Treat it as a milestone similar to firing a commit. Indulge in a (silent!) mini hooray. Rewire your brain!

3. If you struggle with treating comments as constructive criticism, this is the point at which you consciously distance yourself and attempt to address all comments from a 3rd person’s view.

4. When you’re the one doing the reviewing, do not treat it as a witch hunt. You’re not going to have your promotion delayed if you don’t find an issue with the code.

5. On the other hand, if you do find issues that need to be addressed, your attitude should be one of helpfulness rather than glee. Be constructive and firm; if you truly believe a part of the code can be refactored to make it more efficient for instance, state your points concisely.

There is no need to bash the other person. Once you’ve made this a habit, the compulsion to find something to criticise will no longer factor in.

code reviews

Keep reminding yourself, the point of a code review is never a competition to find a maximum number of bugs just like cutting corners to meet a deadline defeats the whole purpose of having a timeline.

Here at OnlineSales.ai, we’ve seen code reviews having a deep and lasting impact on quality of code shipped. It acts as an excellent tool for mentoring of new hires, for setting a clear coding standard that helps keep our code base clean and consistent and as a bonus, it even helps promote re-usability of existing modules that developers may not have been aware of!

This blog is part of a series that touches upon OnlineSales.ai’s tech processes. Visit our engineering blog here to view more.

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Images by xkcd, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Amplify Mobile E-Commerce with Google AMP

First things first, let’s start by knowing what on earth Google AMP is!

Well, The Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimised content once, and have it load instantly everywhere.

When the Google AMP Project first launched, the initial use cases and feature development focused on building AMP to support news and blog content. However, the AMP Project’s ambition has always been making the consumption of any type of mobile content vastly better and faster than we have seen before. Ideally, the format should allow anyone to create high performing websites across many verticals—from news to retail to travel and beyond.

Through the extraordinary progress and open-source collaboration to date, we have built AMP to be great at handling news and blogs, but it’s also now suitable to build many aspects of an E-Commerce site. Google AMP is a natural fit for E-Commerce because AMP makes web pages fast, and fast pages help improve purchase conversions.

According to research by Google and Nielsen, 3 out of 4 mobile searches result in follow-up actions such as visiting a retailer’s website, visiting a brick-and-mortar, or completing a conversion.

The study showed 29% of smartphone users would “immediately switch to another site or app” if it didn’t fit their needs in the moment, and 70% would bounce due to slow load times.

If there’s one thing we know about Google, it’s that Google cares a lot about that 70%. This is why Google created the ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ (AMP) project.

Wondering if you should employ Google AMP on your E-Commerce site? Here are some of the pros for online retailers right now based on Google AMPs FAQ.

Pros of Accelerated Mobile Pages for Ecommerce Sites

  • A potential increase in mobile site traffic
  • A potential decrease in bounce rate (due to faster loading times)
  • A potential increase in conversions (assuming your site UX and path to purchase is solid)

The general idea is that the entire site doesn’t have to be converted at once. We recommend analysing and AMPing the most relevant portions of the site first. Identify each page type’s main goal and key features to help decide where to get started.

AMP has a large selection of pre-built and easy-to-use components to enable interactive experiences like image carousels or instrumentation to collect analytics data. These foundational pieces are a good starting point. Content features like product descriptions, images, reviews, and navigation can be implemented in AMP easily today. Start exploring and building prototypes to learn how you might build these experiences of your site in AMP.

More sophisticated and complex scenarios like purchasing flows cannot yet be done in AMP but is something we’d like to explore through gathering additional input on use cases and user flows. In the meantime, consider if it’s possible to have a button click or similar type of hand-off to a non-AMP HTML page to complete a purchase flow. Remember that AMP is an open-source community effort. It’s easy to engage, start developing, and contribute new components as needed. The format will grow richer in time.

Before you do anything involving AMPs, we recommend you to test your mobile site speed and take care of any outstanding issues that could be holding back site conversions.

Somak-Gupta

Authored by: Somak Gupta | Sr. Business Analyst

Google Rolls Out Campaign Groups and Performance Targets for AdWords

Google has always been the first choice for business, when it comes to digital marketing. It has been the best source to make your business reach out to the right set of audience within a short period of time, efficiently through Google AdWords. AdWords provides powerful tools to help advertisers grow their business and is constantly busy rolling out new ways to reach out to audiences within a business target cost.

This time, Google has rolled out another feature that’s intended to make it easier for the advertisers to track and forecast the performance of their marketing campaigns, through Campaign Groups and Performance Targets. Google is envisioning marketers using this grouping to track marketing themes across their network of ad opportunities. This basically helps in identifying the best mix of campaigns that should be run, to get a performance aligned to your business goals.

What are Campaign Groups?

Campaign Groups are a set of campaigns that share a common theme (typically, common performance indicators).

E.g.:- If You want to launch some campaigns for festive season, you can launch video, search, display campaign etc and then club them under one campaign group, let’s say “Festive_Season”.

Also, against this campaign group we can set a Performance Target that allows us to monitor and forecast our campaign group’s overall performance, so we know how successfully these campaigns are meeting our advertising goals.

What are Performance Targets?

Every Business needs may differ, according to the stage the business is in. If it’s a mature business, the Performance Targets could be around bringing in Conversions at a better Cost. If it’s a start-up, it might be looking to reach out to new users and drive more relevant traffic thus trying to get more clicks at a better cost. The Performance Targets feature improves on your ability within AdWords to set goals and track clicks and conversions by Campaign Groups.

Performance Targets can be set around 2 areas of focus:-

  1. Clicks
  2. Conversions

Once we set our Performance Targets and date range, AdWords can estimate whether we’re on track to meet our goals. If it looks like you won’t reach the targets you set, you can adjust your campaign’s settings to improve performance.

How To Setup?

Campaign Groups is accessible from the left sidebar in AdWords. The set up is simple, and it’s possible to set up multiple Groups with distinct targets. After adding campaigns to a group, advertisers can choose to monitor performance based on either clicks or conversions goals and set specific targets for metrics such as spend, total clicks or conversions, and average CPC or CPA. All that is required is the how many clicks or conversions you want to receive, how much you want to spend, and what average CPC or CPA you wish to maintain.

Google-AdWords

AdWords will then automatically show you a single view of how your campaign group is performing against those goals, and what we think you’ll likely achieve by the end of the campaign period.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example:-

Suppose PQR is an apparel client new to the market.
It approaches Mr. X (a renowned digital marketer) to handle its Google Marketing & gives it a budget of Rs. 10,00,000 for the month

Now Mr X has two major goals to achieve

  1. To create brand awareness and get more traffic to his client’s website .
  2. To drive transactions at a desired cost.

In Order to Achieve the same Mr. X can launch Multiple campaigns in 2 different Campaign Groups, let’s Say A & B.

A. To create brand awareness

Mr X launches display campaigns with an overall budget of Rs 5,00,000. He creates a campaign group and sets a goal of 50,000 clicks with a cost per click of Rs. 10.

B. To drive transactions

Mr X launches non- brand search campaigns with an overall budget of Rs. 4,00,000 for the month and creates a campaign group with a goal of 800 transactions at a cost per transaction of Rs 500.

campaign-groups-adwords

Mr X visits the Campaign Groups tab at regular intervals to check the performance of both his Campaign Groups. Using the information provided by the AdWords tab, he is aware of the amount of spend incurred in group A and corresponding clicks garnered in the decided period. He also understands that at the current rate he will comfortably meet the clicks target that he had set for himself for the entire month.

One fine day,  Mr X finds out that his campaign group B is not garnering the necessary amount of daily transactions as per the goals set and foresees that he won’t be able to meet his goals at the current rate. He makes a few changes in order to optimise the account. After the changes are reflected, his campaigns start performing as per the desired goals and Mr X is happy!

In this way, using the Campaign Groups dashboard Mr. X can foresee the performance of his campaigns and make necessary changes to them. This way he is on track with his goals and keeps his client satisfied.

How does it make your work easy?

The best thing about this feature is that you get to know the status of your campaigns in a single shot. The Performance Target’s status is AdWords’ best estimate of whether we’re on track to successfully meet our target. It can be found on the right of the performance target summary card in your campaign group’s “Overview” tab or in the “Status” column in the “Performance Target” tab.

The status columns in Performance Target tab shows, whether the performance of our campaigns is On-Track or does it Needs Attention. It also shows if the TARGETS ARE MET or NOT.

performance-targets-adwords

This helps in saving a lot of time and manual efforts in exporting campaign report to a spreadsheet, grouping them and then pivoting to see the overall performance of a specific set of campaigns. With Campaign Groups & Performance Targets, we can much more easily see how our groups are performing relative to our goals, all from within the AdWords interface.

This feature will not alter how Google serves your ads or optimise your campaigns, but simply offers advertisers better evaluation tools.

Gaurav-Chaudhary-Kapil-AgarwalAuthored by: Kapil Agarwal | Sr. Business Analyst & Gaurav Chaudhary | Business Analyst

Are you having trouble with Google AdWords? Run our free, 65 point automated performance audit of your GMC and AdWords accounts here.

Best Branding and Sustenance Practices on Social Channels

If audiences can’t easily distinguish you from your competitors then it’s time to step your game and start positioning your business to stand out on social media!

Here we are with some branding musts that will make your business easy to spot and impossible to forget.

Reach and Frequency Ads

  • Here you can block your ad inventory which will ensure guaranteed reach unlike all other ad types on Facebook.
  • Know your target audience well before bombarding them with R&F ads to ensure healthy CTRs. (Close to the Industry benchmark of 2.5%)
  • Set your frequency between 2 to 4 here as below 2 will impact brand recall and above 4 may end up boring your audiences.
  • For better branding results, start off with a strong monthly budget.
  • Instead of exhausting the entire budget in just one day, split it equally into 3 days. If budgets are high (>14L) increase the same to 7 days or more.

Video Views Ads

  • Want to grab your user’s attention in under 2 seconds and get your ad noticed? Then start designing visually attractive graphics i.e. small 15 sec video clips.
  • Keep it short and add a buzz element to reduce drop-offs.
  • This ad format will drive views at less than 1 rupee, hence, is very cost effective for branding or driving traffic.

Canvas Ads

  • Canvas has the biggest ad space and is very interactive hence, very useful for branding.
  • Canvas ads can be a combination of Static Images, Carousel, Videos, Slideshows, etc.

Post Promotion

  • This will help you build your fan base.
  • Compared to Reach and Frequency ads, we see almost 35% better engagement rates here but at a lower reach.
  • Always add a URL (use url shorteners) to direct users to your website. This will serve both purposes – branding, as well as driving traffic to the website.

Twitter

Twitter is evolving as one of the most crucial channels for branding as its audiences are intellectual and savvy. A few of our clients are converting manifold on Twitter by religiously following the following best practices:

  • Post great content and more often
  • Always make use of the human element in your creatives. This will help you easily connect your brand with the audiences
  • Post funny or buzz elements in your images or videos
  • Post images (even with link posts)
  • In Twitter Engagement ads use more videos than images – 15 to 30 sec clips is recommended
  • Respond to mentions. Always!
  • Retweet posts from followers
  • Maintain a relevant (and fresh) cover photo as it helps grab user’s attention to your handle very easily

Now that you are done with branding, it’s time to get back all the audience who have previously shown interest in your products. This is when sustenance comes into the picture.

Here are some performance and sustenance best practices which will help you reclaim your lost clicks and conversions.

App Downloads

  • Use the new Facebook Engagement feature to create and target lists of users who have viewed your R&F Ads, Video Ads, Page Posts.
  • Create and target list of users who have viewed, added to cart or purchased from your website.

Note – These lists will be low in reach but will help you tab audiences who are well aware of your brand, which in turn will generate very healthy Conversion Rates and Cost Per Install.

  • Create and target Lookalikes of above lists. For ‘Add to cart or Purchase’ you can create lookalikes more focused towards reach. Whereas for ‘View Content’, you can have it focus towards similarity.

Note – This will generate larger potential reach and volume at healthy cost as these audiences are similar to your acquired customers.

  • Maintain a minimum of 1M potential reach for lower CPI and larger volume.
  • Instead of capping CPI and restricting reach, go for oCPM bidding model without any cap.

App Engagement

  • Once you have built a good installed user base, start off with engagement ads.
  • Divide this user base into 3 segments:
  1. Installed but not launched – Use push notifications for this set.
  2. Installed and launched – Use offers/USPs to push them to convert.
  3. Installed, launched and Added to cart or Converted users – Further segregate this set into High and Low LTV. Keep your spend on High LTV and lower on low LTV user list to maximize ROI.
  • Use very customized creatives and copies to drive healthy CTRs.

Acquisition Campaigns

  • Run Dynamic Product Ads focused on both cross-selling and upselling.
  • Run Remarketing ads largely targeting transacted users to increase their purchase frequency and in turn your revenue!
  • Through email marketing, re-target users who have added to cart but not purchased.

Note – Push them to payment gateway by sending them customised emails showcasing same/similar products.

  • Run ads targeting Website Custom Audiences.

Note – Show footwear ads to the ones who have visited footwear page in the past and so on.

This will increase ad relevancy and in turn will generate better conversion rates.

  • When doing interest targeting always map each product/category to the most relevant/close persona
  • Creative Suggestion – Applicable for all ad types.
  • Maintain very short and crisp ad copies.
  • Showcase USPs in ad description line.
  • Avoid text on the creative.
  • Largely make use of 5/10 Link Carousel ad format.
  • Always try and showcase each product in different views.
  • Do mention discount/price point in the copy or on the creative. If promoting high AOV products avoid doing the same.
  • Largely make use of bright images on white/light background for CTR’s close or better than the Industry benchmark.

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Pratiksha-Sinha

Authored by: Pratiksha Sinha | Manager – Business Strategy

Stop Wasting Your Money on Google AdWords

“Google AdWords is an unnecessary, expensive tool and one should never even think about using Google AdWords for growing their business. What’s the point of spending so much money, competing with 100 other brands, getting into a bidding war, increasing your CPCs and ultimately helping just Google to grow! There are so many amazing platforms out there which work really well and help in achieving business objectives with a proper return on investments!”

If you are thinking this blog disses Google AdWords, you’ve come to the wrong place! But, if you are facing the above problems and want to save money on your ad spend; or let me put it other way around – if you want to ensure that every penny of yours counts and brings you returns then do read on! You won’t regret spending these 10 minutes.

I have tried to cover some of the basic Google AdWords mistakes that every marketer makes here, and if these pointers are taken care of, you would definitely see a marked improvement in your campaign performance.

P.S. These mistakes have been compiled after auditing multiple accounts that are spending millions every year, so don’t take these lightly!

Too many keywords

Let me give you some stats to start with. No matter what industry your account belongs to, if you have tried to cover more and more keywords into your campaign then just 6% of them would actually bring you conversions. Rest of the 94% would just spend around 76% of your total ad spend and not convert.

Too Many Ad Copies – Trust Numbers and Not Creativity

I know what you are thinking right now! We are marketers and we are supposed to be creative while building ad copies. Agreed, but try not to bombard your Ad Groups with 6-8 ad copies!

If you are thinking more ads will bring you more clicks at a lower CPC, you are wrong. Google will not automatically pick up the ad copy relevant to the keywords in your ad group. If you are thinking your quality score will improve by having more ad copies, I apologize but you are wrong!

Try and have only up to 3 ad copies in your ad group. Google AdWords has this beautiful feature of A/B testing wherein you can decide the percentage of traffic/impressions that you want for each of your ad copies. Run this experiment for 7-15 days and analyze the results and you are likely to be amazed. You might get a completely new perspective!

Therefore, trust your numbers and not just the creativity.

Using Negative Keywords

Let me start with an example. Let’s say you own an online store for women’s designer shoes and you don’t offer any products in the trekking category. Now you would want to show up on searches like ‘women shoes’ but you definitely don’t want to show up on searches for ‘women’s trekking shoes’. In this situation, you can add ‘trekking’ as a negative keyword. This will ensure that you don’t spend a penny for a click that you know for a fact is not going to bring any revenue.

Negative keywords can be added at campaign and ad group levels. Take a call based on your campaign structure and start saving money now!

Tips:

  • Don’t just copy paste the negative keywords across the campaigns, customize them based on targeted keywords
  • Don’t be aggressive while adding negative keywords, you might lose out on a lot of potential traffic
  • Maintain a separate spreadsheet to keep track of your negative traffic, this would ensure that no relevant keywords have been marked as negative by mistake

Amazon here should ideally negate the keyword ‘free’:

Adwords-google

Not Analyzing Search Terms

Now that we know how to use negative keywords, how do we find them? I am sure at the time of creating campaigns we tend to miss out on adding negative terms, as we are not sure which kind of search terms would get triggered basis the keywords that we have used in our campaigns.

The best approach here is to look at the search terms data from Google AdWords post 7 days of starting the campaigns. Go to the keywords tab and hit the ‘Search terms’ tab.

search-terms-google-adwords

This will give you data on all the search terms that users are entering into Google to find your products or services. Sort them via ‘number of clicks’ and go through each of them. See which ones are relevant and which aren’t. Start negating the irrelevant ones as required. It can be negated either at the ad group level or at a campaign level.

Now, there is one more use of completing this analysis. While glancing at the search terms, you will realize that there are a couple of search terms which are actually helping you drive more conversions. What to do with them? Add them to your keyword portfolio and start bidding heavily for these set of keywords.

Not Using Proper Match Types

Every Google advertiser should be familiar with the keyword match types that are being offered in Google AdWords. This helps in creating a robust campaign structure in the account, and in turn helps you grow your business.

There are 3 match types for keywords include Broad, Phrase, and Exact.

Although we are using the keywords in proper ad groups, we miss out on negating the same from corresponding match types. For example, If we are using a keyword ‘buy insurance online’ in exact match in an exact ad group, then the same should be negated from the phrase match ad group in exact match type. Confused?

Exact keywords are negated from the phrase Ad Group, and the phrase is negated from the broad Ad Groups. No internal competition now and you have full control over how much to bid on each set of keywords. Simple!

Here we finish a few of the key mistakes that one should avoid on Google AdWords. If you can keep a tab on this, you can actually start saving and growing your money via Google AdWords!

Are you facing such challenges in your account? Run a free audit of your GMC and Google AdWords accounts here to know how you benchmark against the rest of the industry, along with how to improve your account health substantially.

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The Inside Story: Headphone Zone Goes the Extra Mile to Fulfill Every Audiophile’s Dream

The Founder-CEO of Headphone Zone, Mr. Raghav Somani speaks of realising his entrepreneurial dreams!

Headphone-Zone_About-us_Visiting-card_fb6f3cc7-83de-4861-968a-f63e78340ae9

About the customer: Headphone Zone, conceptualised by Raghav Somani in 2010, is India’s first exclusive online store for headphones, earphones and personal audio devices. It features a collection of headphones from the world’s most finest brands renowned for their sound, design and style. With Headphone Zone, Raghav aims to deliver a personalised and immersive listening experience to the growing audiophile community.

Here’s the story from Raghav himself.

Q: The motivation and drive behind Headphone Zone? Your story, Raghav.
Raghav: I graduated with a degree in Business Management from Singapore Management University in 2010, at a time when the global economy was on a freefall and jobs for fresh management graduates were hard to find. I was always keen on entrepreneurship and at the time, I was desperately motivated to start a business of my own.  From my years in Singapore, I could clearly see there was a big contrast when compared to India, in the number of people around me from all walks of life using Headphones and earphones all the time. Be it while commuting in a train or waiting at a bus stop or just sitting in a café, it was practically a part of their everyday lives. Indians love their music very passionately too, and with the smartphone boom, every Indian had the means to listen to music in their pockets. The only missing link was the Headphone, and seeing everyone in Singapore inspired me.

When we first started, I was distributing and wholesaling Headphones and Earphones to organized retail chains in India who were at the time mushrooming all over India’s malls and high streets. Everyone from Croma, Reliance Retail and Big Bazaar were convinced that Headphones were a category that had a large demand in India. But the problem was that they were terrible at selling good quality headphones to an average Indian consumer. Most had no idea how to even begin. Lack of information and passion for the product, coupled with the lack of priority for such a low ticket category meant that consumers had a lousy experience in-store and simply bought the cheapest earphone they found. That’s really where the opportunity for Headphone Zone emerged.

So I would have to admit that the seed was really motivated from the business opportunity that I saw for myself. The business just made sense to me at every stage as opposed to overly complicated business models that I didn’t really see myself understand or believe in.

Q: The first sale. What went through your mind?
Raghav: I don’t think we had a landmark moment with our first sale quite like other startups or new websites. We’ve always just seen ourselves evolve from Wholesale and Distribution to Retail and then to Online Retail. So my earliest memory of our first few online orders are that of how different their experience may have been as compared to an Offline sale from our store. We were extremely focussed on replicating our fantastic offline in-store experience as close as possible. So that was probably what was on my mind.

Q: A typical day at Headphone Zone?
Raghav: A typical day at Headphone Zone starts early at 9:30am, with a quick All-hands meeting with all the team members. I like to think of it like a Morning assembly where we quickly review our strategies and focus for the day. I spend the next hour or so reviewing my emails, social media and addressing any customers who may have emailed me directly. Meanwhile, the operations team is busy processing orders from the previous day while simultaneously co-ordinating with our warehouse in Chennai to ensure that all orders get shipped out on the same day.

Lack of information and passion for the product, coupled with the lack of priority for such a low ticket category meant that consumers had a lousy experience in-store and simply bought the cheapest earphone they found. That’s really where the opportunity for Headphone Zone emerged.

The rest of the day is usually divided with meetings with various teams where we review in detail various activities such as our online marketing, merchandising, customer service and content marketing. It’s usually a lot of juggling around to make sure that everyone is on agenda and on schedule.

Every team member, including me, spend atleast a few hours everyday taking customer service calls and speaking to customers helping them choose their headphones. Great customer service is at the core of what we do, and we believe that it’s a responsibility shared by everyone across our