Google Ads

How To Optimize Standard Shopping Campaigns in 3 Easy Steps

OMG Commerce’s Matt Slaymaker lays out three easy ways that any business can improve their Google Shopping results and how you can start doing this today.

Matt Slaymaker
October 7, 2021
Agency
Google Ads
Marketing

So you just launched your first standard shopping campaign. Congratulations, you’re well on your way to dominating the Google Shopping results! 

However, if you’re not careful - you can either find yourself in a situation where you are showing up for too many searches that you do not want to show up for, or not showing up enough for the searches that would be very relevant for your business. In this article, we are going to talk about three easy ways that any business can improve their standard Shopping results and how you can do this today.

Use Negative Keywords to Reduce Wasted Spend

One of the most significant advantages of Google Standard Shopping Campaigns over Google Smart Shopping Campaigns is the fact that Standard Shopping Campaigns allow advertisers to view the search terms report, giving us insight into the searches that triggered our shopping ads to show. In this report, you will find many searches that are relevant for our business, but likely many that you would never want to show Shopping Ads for. Let’s look at how we can add negative keywords to reduce waste.

When you look at the search term report (found in the Keywords section of Google Ads), sort your columns by either clicks or cost to see if the most common terms that are triggering your ads to show. Let’s say that one of these keywords stands out as something you would like to exclude. First, click the checkbox next to the keyword that is not relevant for your business; at the top of the page, you will see a section that says add as a negative keyword, click this option, and then you will be prompted to either add the keyword as a negative for an ad group, A campaign, or a negative keyword list. 

Where should you add your negative keyword? It depends. Here are some examples of wind to do each of these situations. 

 

Ad Group Negative Keywords: Let’s say that you are a barbecue company that sells seasonings for meat. One of your shopping campaigns is focused on your spicy barbecue rubs, with ad groups broken out by flavor: one ad group containing your jalapeño rub, one ad group containing your habanero flavor, and your other ad group containing your mild spice. In this situation, our goal would be to ensure that jalapeño searches only appear for the jalapeño rub, that habanero searches only appear for the habanero rub, and so forth. The more relevant that our shopping listing is for the user’s search, the more likely they are to click on our shopping at and ultimately convert. We wouldn’t want someone searching for “jalapeno bbq rubs” to get one of our ads about habanero bbq rubs, as they are less likely to click on this product than our jalapeno bbq rub.

 

Campaign Negative Keywords: At the campaign level, let’s use the same example of a barbecue company that sells not only rubs, but sauces as well. In one campaign they house all of their BBQ rubs, and in another campaign, they house all of their barbecue sauces. In this situation, we would want to add barbecue rubs and seasonings as negative keywords for the sauce groups and vice versa. This is due to the same logic as the ad group level negatives, but looking at product categories rather than product variations within a category. If someone searches for “bbq sauce”, we want to ensure that the only ads of ours they will see are our bbq sauces, not any of our rubs/seasonings.

 

Negative Keyword Lists: When it comes to the negative keyword list, there are many types of lists that you can create. Typically we will create at least two major types of lists: An “out of scope” negative keyword list, which contains keywords that we never want to show for due to a lack of relevance; and a “ brand protection” negative keyword list, which contains any keywords that we do not want our brand associated with due to branding or legal concerns. Your “out-of-scope negative keyword list” is most typically what you will use, and is something that you can apply to all of your campaigns. This is particularly useful for making bulk additions of negative keywords. 

 

For this, we will use a different example. Let’s say you are a men’s skincare business. Some negative keywords that we could add to our “out-of-scope negative keyword list” could include: “womens skincare”, “skincare for women and men”, “best womens face wash”, etc. Since we only sell men’s skincare products, there are no situations where we would want to show up for users looking for women’s skincare products. We want to ensure that the keywords that trigger our ads to show are from people who are most likely to convert.

Use Automated Bidding To Ease Management and Improve Results

Once your campaigns begin to receive conversions, approximately 20 conversions per 30 days per campaign, you will be ready to switch to an automated bid strategy. We suggest using target ROAS or maximize conversion value, as these bidding strategies aim to maximize your profitability with Google shopping ads. 

For Target ROAS, you simply tell Google Ads what your ROAS goal is, and Google Ads will try to achieve an average ROAS equal to your target across all campaigns using this strategy. Some conversions may return a higher ROAS and some may return a lower ROAS, but altogether Google Ads will try to keep your conversion value per cost equal to the target ROAS you set.

For Maximize Conversion Value, Google uses historical information about your campaign and evaluates the contextual signals present at auction-time. This bid strategy automatically finds an optimal CPC bid for your ad each time it's eligible to appear. Google will seek the conversions that are the most valuable for your campaign while spending your budget.

These automated bit strategies rely on Google’s algorithm and machine learning to increase visibility for the users that Google believes are more likely to convert, and to decrease visibility for those that Google believes are not likely to convert. Once you have sufficient conversion data, an automated bid strategy will not only see better performance than a manual bid strategy, but it will be significantly easier to manage.

Ensure Titles, Descriptions, and Product Type Are Optimized

Your product feed is what tells Google what types of searches that you want your shopping ads to appear for. If your product feed uses very broad and generic terms, then you are likely going to show up for very broad and generic terms. The more specific and relevant you can make your titles, descriptions, and product types - the more likely you will be to have immediate success with Google shopping ads. 

A well-optimized product feed will reduce the need for adding negative keywords, and will also improve click-through rates and conversion rates over time. 

When it comes to your product title, include the most important information first, such as the primary non-branded keyword that you want to show up for. You will also want to include supplemental information such as your brand name, the product qualifiers such as the size of the packaging quantity, the color, and anything else that would potentially be important to the user. Include the most important information at the front of the title and the least important information near the back. Here is an example of a well-optimized product title: “jalapeño bbq rub 1 pound bag, spicy blend of salt, pepper and jalapeño, [brand name] barbecue”. 

Kosmo’s Q has well-optimized titles, putting the non-branded term near the front.

Here is an example of a poorly optimized title: 1 pound bag [brand name] BBQ jalapeño rub”. While the second title could end up working, the first title will maximize your chances of success.

These Meat Church product titles could likely use optimization. 

When it comes to the description, add as much content that is relevant as your character space allows for. You have plenty of character space to work with here (5,000 characters), so try to pull as much relevant information from the website as possible. Lead with your most important information such as details about the product, the ingredients, and what makes it good, but also include information about your brand that makes you unique. If your products are homemade, made in America, made naturally, cruelty-free, gluten-free, etc. make sure that you are highlighting this information about yourself in your description. 

Lastly, when it comes to your product type, these are to be treated as if they were keywords for search ads. To use the jalapeño barbecue rub example, your product type for this product could be “BBQ rubs > spicy barbecue rubs >  jalapeño barbecue rubs > jalapeño seasoning > [brand name] barbecue seasoning”. These will help Google identify the types of searches that you want your shopping ads to appear for. We advise A/B. testing this over time, where you create additional product variations and adjust your product type to see the impact on your search terms.

While there are many more advanced tactics and strategies for optimizing your results with Google’s Standard Shopping campaigns, if you are able to: 1) add negative keywords to keep your search results relevant to your brand, 2) automate your bidding to take advantage of Google’s machine learning, and 3) make simple edits to your product feed to tell Google what you want your shopping ads to show up for; then you will be well on your way to seeing great results with Google Shopping.


Culture

Q&A: New Hire Training

While every business model is unique and the specific training topics may vary, clear and focused training should be a consistent priority.

Sarah Still
September 23, 2021
Agency
Leadership

Q: Curious if you spend most of the time during onboarding teaching new team members the technical "how to's” or talking about culture and expectations, or discovering places where they can add value.

1. The technical "how to's" 

Yes - even if you don't have a really clear picture right away of the role, the more knowledge and training the better. Knowledge truly is power and if you want to grow, you need to share as much info as possible. The more your leadership and everyone else on your team understands about your structure and everything involved in the business, the better equipped they will be to bring ideas to the table that you don't have time to think of. Every team member that joins us shadows every role, regardless of what department they are part of. Account managers go through a lot of the same Google and Amazon training that specialists do, even though they aren't doing the implementation. We need everyone to have a comprehensive understanding so they can collaborate strategically, and they can't do that if they don't understand the roles and responsibilities of the rest of the team they’ve joined. 

Admittedly, our onboarding used to be more like a push into the deep end, but it’s evolved into more of a zero entry, with a sudden drop off after learning how to swim. Our 6-8 week training system (based in the Google Classroom and Teamwork platforms) consists of:

  • In-person sessions - this is the time-consuming part - try to minimize this as you develop your system by using the rest of this list
  • Videos - find them online or make your own
  • Online resources - certifications, training platforms, readings, blogs, podcasts
  • Job shadowing - every role, anywhere from 2-4 hours each
  • Call recordings - we record EVERY client call so have lots of good stuff for new team members to listen and learn from
  • Observation docs & vlogs - we have new team members take notes that we review from every call they listen to or person they shadow so we can catch any misunderstandings. This also helps track their level of engagement, curiosity, and culture fit - we terminated someone within their first 30 days because it became clear they weren't a good fit for the role/team just by their notes and engagement in training. We also have a frequency of video blogs (vlogs) that they record, initially daily, then weekly, to give another avenue of feedback and confirmation that they are learning and engaged.
  • Tag-teaming - instead of passive shadowing, after 4-6 weeks we move into hands-on, step-by-step tag-teaming of a new account with someone in their same role.
  • Reverse shadowing - 6-8 weeks after joining the team, assigned a new account, with a more veteran partner shadowing to confirm processes and standards are understood and implemented. Repeat x3.

Curiosity makes it possible for anyone to work in digital marketing.

My development with OMG is a long story, but it all really boils down to the fact that the more I learned about what we do, even though I never actually DID any of it, the better equipped I was to make realistic budgets, develop realistic long-term hiring and growth plans, implement the vision of the owners, and develop the day-to-day operations and systems of the business. Brandi Johnston, our Director of Account Management and Head of Reporting, had never worked in SEO before joining our team 8 years ago and is now one of the most knowledgeable SEO professionals in the country, and is also incredibly knowledgeable about Amazon and Google because she is the type of person that wants to learn so she can best support her team. Chris Tyler, our Director of Amazon, had never done anything in digital marketing before joining our team 5 years ago and now is the visionary behind a department that grew 78% last year. Until recently, it seemed people found themselves involved in digital marketing more by accident than by intention. Early stages of agency or brand development is a great time to capitalize on that. As you grow you will find that you will require more prior knowledge/experience when hiring because your clients will require that level of expertise in their client team, but I miss when we could simply find the right personality and teach them everything they need to know (we still do this to build an internal bench, but can't anymore for the lead roles).

2. Talking about culture and expectations

Culture

Yes - we really immerse new team members in our culture during week one general OMG training, with a recap with me during week two. Then they're a part of it. In our organization, our culture is used as a decision-making tool and as our guideposts for everything we do, so it's really like living in a constant refresher once you get started. We immerse ourselves in reminders of our culture values, using our weekly team meetings, individual conversations, and group syncs as opportunities to recommit to the values and standards that are so valuable to our team.

Expectations

Our entire training process is designed to establish expectations and standards. Throughout we’re discussing not just how we do things, but why. Actually, we’re better at the why. Because the platforms we work on change so quickly and frequently, it’s important to hire people who are tech-savvy enough to be able to figure out where to go to get the job done, and curious enough to ask if they can’t figure it out. But digging into the strategy and purpose behind the how, that’s the foundation of our training.

3. Discovering places where they can add value

Nope, not during onboarding. 

During onboarding we want new team members to feel like we have a concrete plan as much as possible, even if we know that it could very likely change. It gives them a sense of security and confidence in what they're working towards so they can really focus as they go through training. It also takes time to see them at work to give us an idea of their full skill sets and interests. 

But YES.

This is my absolute favorite part of what I do. So many of OMG’s team members started in completely different positions, and a lot of them are now in roles that didn't even exist in our organization before they were created just for them. If someone is gravitating towards something, give them all the training resources and room to explore it as possible because if you can develop experts in areas that directly apply to your business, it's a win/win. They're living their best life doing what they love every day, and you're capitalizing on what they're best at. If you haven't read Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham, I highly recommend it. I strongly agree with him that a person will be the most satisfied and successful by living within their strengths rather than trying to work on their weaknesses, and the more you can discover those strengths and support the weaknesses, the more value you'll receive from each individual, making the whole department, team, and company better.

What’s the point?

Ultimately, the goal of our training process is to develop confidence in both our new team members and our established team who will now be trusting them with client work and communications, as well as reduce risk on the client side. The target is someone who not only fully understands the standards and expectations, but owns and values them the same way we do. We know we’ve succeeded when our team shares their experience working with new hires, by sharing kudos and client wins or providing feedback for training improvement. 

Amazon Ads

What’s New on Amazon? Cutting Edge Features & Strategies for Q4 & Beyond

New betas have been rolling out under the radar on Amazon nearly every few days for the past several months making it challenging to know where to get started.

Amber Norell
September 9, 2021
Amazon Ads
Marketing
Amazon Brand Management

Based on previous years, spotting big changes to the Amazon selling platform during slower Q2 and Q3 months is nothing out of the ordinary. However, in 2021, we’re seeing more shiny new tools than ever before all being released in rapid succession. It almost seems as though Amazon put betas on the back burner in 2020 and kept numerous new releases in their toolbox until operations began to return to “normal” this year. 

Overall, we’re seeing a lot of opportunity in these exciting new launches and are pumped to put them to the test. Here are some of the top new tools, strategies, and beta programs that can help you get an edge during Q4.

Brand Referral Bonus

Amazon sellers can now earn bonus commissions from driving traffic from off Amazon. According to Amazon, the average commission is 10% of sales generated from external traffic! Eligible brands will receive their bonus for qualified sales beginning in September.

Some may rightfully ask, “Why would I drive traffic to Amazon rather than your own site?” The bottom line is that Amazon loves external traffic that converts and rewards you with organic ranking in exchange for that traffic.


Google to Amazon Ads

Aside from being able to recoup some of your cost from the new Brand Referral Bonus program, if you are strategic, you can capitalize on opportunities where customers are more likely to purchase on Amazon. One of the key opportunities we’ve identified is driving traffic from Google directly to Amazon on relevant search phrases that include “Amazon” or “Prime”. This indicates that those individuals are specifically looking to purchase the product with their Prime membership and are less likely to purchase from your site. 

During initial flights, we’ve found that CPC is significantly lower for Google to Amazon ads when compared to Sponsored Product ads. Plus, it gives brands a competitive advantage by enabling them to run a dedicated ad for their product rather than being lumped in among multiple competitors on Amazon landing pages dedicated to Google ad efforts. Since Amazon is Google’s #1 source of ad spend, this is a great starting point for testing off-Amazon spend that actually converts.


Sponsored Brand Video Product Targeting Segment

Recently, Amazon released product targeting under the radar for Sponsored Brand Video ads. With CPC on the rise, we are super excited to see another segment available for video-based ads. Not only can you set up defensive ads on your own product display page to block out the competition, but you can also target top competitors in a space many sellers aren’t even aware of yet. We see a lot of opportunity to split test various creatives showcasing the benefits and unique selling points that make your product stand out among the competition.


Sponsored Display Top of Funnel Audience Segments

Sponsored Display has also implemented new Top of Funnel segments, similar to DSP, including targeting options like “In Market” and “Lifestyle”. These can be a great way to push ads higher in the funnel to fuel your retargeting efforts on products which may not be eligible for DSP.


Sponsored Display Bidding Strategies

Sponsored Display ads have been making great strides this year in terms of flexibility and functionality. Amazon recently implemented new bidding strategies which include the options to “Optimize for page visits” or “Optimize for Conversions” giving you more control over whether you want to push for awareness or a stronger return.

Customer Engagement Beta

For those of you who have capitalized on the free traffic Amazon Posts offers, in addition to those posts now showing in additional placements including your storefront, they also have a new major benefit. 

Sellers who have accumulated at least 500 brand followers from Amazon Posts can now access the Customer Engagement beta which allows sellers to email customers and highlight products. This can be a great additional strategy to implement and test during your next product launch. 

You can access this beta in Seller Central or Vendor Central under “Brands” - “Customer Engagement”. If you have the required number of followers but don’t have access, reach out to your Amazon rep to request access.


Budgets Beta

Amazon’s new “Budget” Beta in the advertising console lets you review your budgets against key performance indicators to provide more clarity as to which campaigns will benefit from higher budgets. It also provides some super helpful projections such as how much you are estimated to lose in sales, impressions and clicks by not lifting budget. Additionally, it provides further insight into how much of a budget increase is recommended.

Budget Rules

In addition to advanced budget reporting, the new “Budget Rules” beta within campaigns allows you to apply more advanced budget rules to your campaigns. While it doesn’t quite offer advanced dayparting options as some sellers may hope to see, it can be helpful for managing budgets on larger accounts during peak selling dates.

Creative Assets Beta

Another cool new feature Amazon has added to the advertising console is the “Creative Assets” tool. It enables sellers to upload creative assets including images and videos so that they can be easily stored, organized and filtered when creating new ad campaigns. Creatives stored here go through a moderation process and are reviewed so that they can be pre-approved and ready to go whenever you submit a new ad using that creative.

Targeting Beta

The new “Targeting” beta that is slowly being rolled out across accounts is an excellent way to deep dive into your targeting segments. The dashboard offers an easy to navigate, high-level overview of targeting performance and pinpoints underserved areas that may have potential to scale through increased bids.

Mobile Storefront Customization

With Amazon leading the industry with the most popular shopping app in mobile stores and consequently a massive amount of mobile sales, optimization of listings for mobile has always been highly important. That’s why we’re very excited to see that Amazon has now taken steps to enable sellers to optimize their Amazon storefront for mobile experiences.

Storefront Engagement

In addition to customization for mobile storefronts, Amazon has also introduced a helpful new “Engagement” dashboard on “Storefront Insights” to provide more detail as to how consumers interact with your Amazon storefront.

Brand Catalog Manager

Thanks to the Brand Catalog Manager introduced by Amazon early this year, brand owners don’t have to be as reliant on expensive 3p tools to monitor unauthorized sellers. It does a fair job of identifying areas of opportunity and assigning the potential value next to each missed opportunity.

  

Overall, in 2021, we’ve seen Amazon stepping up their game and elevating the platform on the seller side. With new betas and features rolling out every few weeks, now is the time to start exploring what these new tools have to offer. Start running small tests now to determine which of these new features will have the greatest impact for your brand and how to maximize your efforts this year!

Amazon Ads

What Happened to Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime in 2021?

Sellers have become increasingly concerned about the repercussions of losing the Amazon Prime badge. To help clear up some of the confusion, we synced with top FBM sellers.

Amber Norell
August 26, 2021
Amazon Ads
Marketing

With a heavy, longstanding reliance on the Amazon Prime badge for improved conversion rate and sales velocity, changes to Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime program have left both seasoned sellers and novices concerned about how to adapt and thrive with Amazon’s changing fulfillment practices. To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve synced with some of the top FBM sellers on Amazon, whose primary business models were largely reliant on SFP…until this year. Here’s what we found out:

What is the current status of SFP? 

  • SFP is still running in a limited capacity and Amazon will not disclose definitive details regarding its status or timeline.
  • Despite the SFP waitlist page still being live, Amazon is not actively looking to expand its’ SFP Program or add new brands. 
  • Amazon continues to make regular changes and add more restrictions that make it increasingly difficult to meet requirements over the past several months. 
  • The working theory among top sellers is that Amazon is continuously pushing the boundaries on restrictions until the program becomes obsolete.

What should you do about the changes to SFP?

  • Continue filling FBM orders on your own, but work on offering competitive shipping timelines.
  • If you are still enrolled in the SFP program, keep oversize items or other items that are still eligible and have supporting margins in SFP as long as it makes sense.
  • Given the widespread change and consumers adapting to the change, you shouldn’t be as concerned if you lose the Amazon Prime badge or SFP eligibility.

Is there an alternative program in the works?

  • Despite rumors that SFP was being replaced with a more stringent program, there has been no official confirmation that another program will take over.

What are some tips or recommendations as a workaround for not having the Prime badge?

  • Treat your FBM listings just as you would FBA listings. Optimize your listing title, bullets, description, and backend keywords. Add enhanced A+ Content and link the product to your storefront. 
  • Ensure reviews are in place and are being carefully monitored.
  • Applying a full-funnel advertising strategy to healthy, optimized listings with fast shipping to drive awareness and sales can be very effective in scaling your FBM products.

What are some recommendations on inexpensive, fast 3P fulfillment centers or fulfillment options that are more cost effective than FBA? 

  • Popular 3P Fulfillment services like Deliverr often cost just as much as FBA depending on the product and won’t work as an alternative to FBA. 
  • Instead, they are optimal for multi-channel fulfillment and are ideal for companies that sell products that are suitable for FBA, but are available on a large number of channels.
  • Instead, search for a more personalized fulfillment center that is designed for FBM profitability and is centrally located for fast shipping. 
  • If you are fulfilling orders yourself, work with your courier to negotiate discounted freight rates on faster shipping methods and improve your FBM margins even further.

What are some additional things to look out for with the changes to SFP during 2021?

  • Amazon adds a handling day and you can’t take that day off unless it is Prime with FBA or SFP, so be aware that this can be factored into estimated delivery dates.

What are some positive changes that have occurred with the adjustments to SFP? 

  • After testing both with SFP and without in 2021, many sellers are finding that the Prime badge is not nearly as important as it used to be in order to excel on Amazon with FBM in terms of conversion rate and impact to volume.
  • Since many sellers could not sustain SFP anymore starting this year after changes were made, consumers are beginning to adapt. 
  • At this time, most shoppers now seem to be opting for fast shipping rather than a Prime badge, so what’s really important is offering fast shipping options and not having stock issues with delayed ship dates.

What are some top tips for winning Self-Fulfilled Shipping on Amazon in 2021? 

  • If your cost to offer 2-day shipping cuts too far into your margin, add it to the list price.
  • Sellers are finding that people rarely notice the additional cost as long as it is not itemized separately as “Shipping”.
  • Consumers are programmed to look at the shipping date and not the price. 
  • When adjusting your prices to accommodate fast shipping, your biggest concern should be that your offer is winning the buy box. 
  • If you have your own brand registered private label and products with no 3p sellers, the heightened price will not cause any concern unless you are selling under the same UPC off Amazon at a lower price.
  • When it comes to winning buy box, also ensure that you have enough product on hand to keep the product “in stock” and avoid drastic fluctuations in BSR from out of stock items.

With rumors circulating throughout 2021 regarding the future of Seller Fulfilled Prime, sellers have become increasingly concerned about the repercussions of losing the Amazon Prime badge. Despite the importance of the Prime badge being a constant for many years, since the changes and effects are widespread, SFP’s transformation seems to be working out for sellers. Fortunately, the marketplace and consumers appear to be quickly adjusting and adopting new shopping behaviors. Favoring fast shipping over a Prime badge is quickly becoming the new norm.

Culture

You’ve hired… Now what?

A team member’s first day is their first impression on your organization, priorities, and communication. Emphasize expectations with your actions, not just words.

Sarah Still
August 12, 2021
Culture
Agency
Leadership

Question: I'm curious to know what your recommendations are related to onboarding. From the article I read, it sounds like you have a really solid process laid out, and you try to give really clear expectations for their first day. I wanted to hear a bit more.

OMG’s Onboarding Process

Templates are key when it comes to increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Every time we go through a new team member onboarding (employee or freelancer), we use our templates while also critically evaluating them for necessary updates and making those changes as we go. Each of these templates gets tweaked a bit for remote or freelance team members.

New Hire Email Templates

1. Subject Line: OMG - It’s almost time!

Sent to their personal email 4-5 days in advance of their first day, this email provides new team members with details such as:

  • Detailed first-day schedule - Since they won’t have access to their calendar until after they arrive, we give them a breakdown of their first day so they know what meetings to expect and how their non-scheduled time will be used. 
  • First-month schedule/expectations - We have a unique culture of high standards and best practices that facilitates a very independent day-to-day experience for team members. Sometimes that flexibility causes anxiety when a previous experience was structured and rigid. Informing new team members that they will be expected to create their own schedule while also explaining that their first 90 days will be the easiest of their career with OMG helps set the tone of interdependent autonomy.
  • Lunch and dress code expectations - These are (local) new employee’s front-of-mind, first-day questions. Having an answer reduces the stress and anxiety of the first-day “how do they do things” unknowns.
  • Ask them a few get-to-know-you questions and request a photo that we can use for a Slack intro to the rest of the team.

Basically, this is a FAQ email to make them confident walking (or calling) into the first day. The feedback we received was that the addition of this email to our onboarding process was life-changing for new hires.

2. Remote Team Members Only: Your OMG Login Info 

This email is sent early in the morning on the first day for remote team members. This provides them with their email and password so they can sign in and get started. For local team members, this information is provided in person when we hand them their laptop.

3. Subject Line:  🏁 🏁 Start Here 🏁 🏁 

This email gets sent to their OMG email address for them to read on their first day. It gives them:

  • Access to our team contact info sheet
  • My cell phone number
  • Introduces their training coordinator
  • Provides links to our core platforms and tools with a brief description of the purpose/use of each (TPM, OMG Wiki, Drive, Calendar, Slack)

Onboarding Checklist

In order to provide a streamlined experience for new team members, it is important to develop a consistent process that allows new team members to get set up and connected with the various team members that will support their onboarding. This checklist should include tasks for everyone involved in onboarding, including Finance, HR, IT, Admin, and Leadership. The checklist should function in a way that prepares the team for a new member’s first day, giving them what they need, when they need it, without needing to ask. Our new employee onboarding task list includes over 65 tasks, which might seem excessive, BUT consider that those 65+ items need to be done for every single new hire, and several of them would easily be forgotten or delayed if there wasn’t a trigger. The creation of an onboarding process and checklist does take intention and time, but saves much more time than it takes, and makes the process seamless and stress-free for everyone involved. This process continues to evolve and requires updates as the company grows, but it is much easier to add or update a task as needed than to work through an outdated list.

First-Day Schedule

Having a structured first day (week, month) is one of the best ways to help new team members feel established and productive. If you’re hiring the right people, they will be antsy to get in and start working, whatever that looks like. Without a plan, this is difficult to implement when every other member of the team already has a full-time job they’re focused on! Developing a first-day routine supports both the new team member and team members involved in onboarding with consistent expectations. 

 

Sample schedule - We always start new team members on Mondays so that they can be a part of the weekly team meeting. The template may need to be customized based on role and schedule, whether remote or local, and italicized sections.

  • 9am - Arrive at the office! Name, our Office Manager, will show you to your desk and where you can grab some coffee before our first meeting of the day.
  • 9:30am - Whole-team meeting. No need to be nervous, this is a weekly meeting and a great way to launch this new chapter of your life with OMG. This is typically a 15-20 minute meeting.
  • 10am - Office tour and HR paperwork and payroll platform training with Name, our HR Coordinator.
  • 11am - Initial Check-In with your Director, Name.
  • 12pm - First Day lunch - Our treat! We will be ordering lunch in and eating with our Department/Roles! If you have any diet restrictions or favorites, please let us know. 
  • 1pm - Flex time - Dig into your email, review your calendar events, and take some time to get to know the team!
  • 4pm - Feel free to hang out a while longer or get home and take a brain break. It's a lot of info for the first day!

A hard day’s work...

A new team member’s first day is their first impression on your organization, priorities, and communication. Details matter, and the unspoken messages sent leading up to and during the first day informs new team members of your real expectations. Whether it’s using these steps or others, make sure you’re emphasizing expectations with your actions, not just your words.

Marketing

Holiday Prep 2021 - 7 Ways to Maximize Sales

The 2021 holiday shopping season is sure to be an interesting one. The eCommerce COVID boom is changing a bit as in-person shopping opens back up and competition is heating up.

Brett Curry
July 30, 2021
Amazon Ads
Google Ads
Marketing
YouTube
Cyber 5

When holiday shopping kicks into full swing, luck will favor the prepared. Proper planning and execution are what separate the eCommerce winners from the losers - especially during the holidays. At OMG Commerce we’ve been helping online businesses capitalize on holiday shopping for the better part of a decade.  Nothing is as exciting for online retailers as a holiday shopping season that exceeds expectations.  By the same token, few things are as disheartening as a holiday shopping season that falls short of goals.  Especially when it’s in your control to have a great season.

In this article, I want to outline what we expect for Holiday Shopping 2021 and how you can best prepare.  

First, a few things that we expect:

  • Online shopping growth will slow, but eCommerce will have another record year.  Last year, fueled by the pandemic, online shopping grew a whopping 32.5% year-over-year. That kind of growth obviously isn’t sustainable.  Especially considering that online shopping had been growing at a pretty steady ~15% YoY prior to the pandemic. For 2021, eMarketer estimates that online shopping will grow YoY just 11%. While that’s a slower growth rate than last year, it’s still impressive. And it means we will have another record holiday season with online sales counting for a whopping 18.9% of total holiday sales.  

 

  • Mobile online purchases will approach 75% of all eCommerce purchases. It’s no secret that mobile shopping makes up the majority of online shopping and research.  This year online purchases made on mobile devices are estimated to be 73% of all online purchases (Statista report). I hope your mobile ad game is on target.  
  • Digital Ad Spending will be frothy.  No surprise here, but we’ve seen ad costs this year rise 20-25% YoY at times.  Last year during holiday shopping, our advertisers saw ad costs increase 20% YoY.  We expect to see similar cost increases this holiday season too.  

Ready to dominate holiday shopping this year? Here are 7 tips to get you poised and ready for an amazing year. 

TIP 1 : Go Full Funnel - But Be Flexible

Online ad costs always reach their peak during the frenzy of holiday shopping.  That typically means that during Cyber 5 (the five-day period that starts with Thanksgiving, includes Black Friday, and ends with Cyber Monday) and into early December we see the highest ad costs.  If Prime Day and Q2 ad performance are any indication, this year’s holiday shopping season will continue the upward trend in CPCs and CPMs.  As a reference, we saw ad costs during Prime Day rise 25% this year compared to last year’s Prime Day.  Last year during Cyber 5, we saw CPCs rise 20% YoY for our clients (Cyber 5 2020 recap).  Rising costs are never ideal, but it’s not all bad news. The good news is that conversion rates usually rise faster than ad costs during the holidays.  Last year conversion rates rose 50% at the same time ad costs rose 20%. So paying a premium for ads was still worth it for most of our clients. 

So, how do we need to go full funnel, but still be flexible?  During the holiday season, the same shopping activities of product discovery (awareness), product evaluation (consideration), and product selection (purchase) still take place, but in a more condensed manner. During non-holiday times shoppers feel free to explore products, comparison shop, and possibly delay their purchase a bit to make sure they get the perfect product and the right deal. During the holidays, gifts must be purchased and purchased quickly.  Little Suzie isn’t very enthusiastic about opening a present on December 27th just so her parents could save a buck.  While the general rule for the season is that conversion rates increase higher than ad costs, there are some periods during the holidays that are just too competitive for certain types of ad campaigns.   

Here’s how we look at your various campaigns — whether you’re reaching someone in their discovery phase (what we call awareness campaigns), when they are in product evaluation mode (consideration campaigns), or when they have their wallet out ready to select their product (purchase campaigns).  

  • Run awareness campaigns all holiday season, but be ready to slow down spend on these types of campaigns when ad costs become untenable.  Shoppers are still looking for ideas all throughout the holiday shopping season, so running top of funnel awareness campaigns on YouTube and Facebook during the holiday shopping season can still be a great move. But, when ad costs get really high, awareness campaigns might be hard to justify. Usually you want to push hard on awareness campaigns leading up to holiday shopping, and then be flexible during holiday shopping, depending on how much ad costs adjust.  During the peak of Cyber 5 you might need to slow down your ad spend on top-of-funnel awareness campaigns.  
  • Run consideration and remarketing (purchase) campaigns all season, but be ready to lean into these a little harder when you need to pause or slow down your awareness campaigns.  During Cyber 5 and into early December you’ll likely need to shift more budget into your search, shopping, and remarketing campaigns as you pull back some from your awareness campaigns that you’re running on YouTube and Facebook.  

TIP 2 : Get clear visibility into consumer behavior by triangulating your conversion data

At this time, the biggest concern at the front of my mind is conversion tracking in the midst of online privacy changes. iOS 14 and other privacy initiatives are making conversion tracking increasingly difficult. This makes it really hard to see what campaigns are working and what campaigns aren’t so you can make proper adjustments.  I think it’s becoming imperative to consider third-party attribution tools that rely on first-party data.  I typically recommend the use of in-platform data (what you see in Google Ads or Facebook ads manager), plus Google Analytics, and a third-party provider.  Some of our current client favorites are North Beam, Wicked Reports, and Hyros.  While each of these tools have their pros and cons (no tool is perfect), I definitely think you should consider a tool like this if you aren’t already using one.  

TIP 3 : Build Your Lists

Leading up to the holiday season is the best time to build your lists. What lists am I referring to?  

Remarketing lists. You want robust and up-to-date remarketing lists that you can target with your Google, YouTube, and Facebook ads.  We usually split our lists up into 30-day, 60-day and 90-day segments.  You might consider shorter duration segments like 1-day, 7-day, and 14-day segments depending on how much traffic you get. What specific remarketing lists do we recommend?  

  • All site visitors  
  • All purchasers 
  • Abandoned cart
  • All product page viewers

Email lists. Having a properly segmented email list that you can send offers too is an absolute must during the holidays.  What lists do we recommend?

  • All subscribers, non-buyers
  • All buyers, segmented by product category
  • All repeat buyers (VIPs)

SMS list. Want to really step up your SMS game?  Listen to this podcast I recorded with Arri Bagah of Conversmart on 4 Keys to Effective Text Marketing.  

The good news is that you can continue to drive sales while you build your lists. Remarketing campaigns are usually cheaper and more efficient than prospecting campaigns and the cost to deliver emails and SMS messages is super affordable. For our clients, remarketing customer acquisition costs are often half to one-third the cost of cold traffic customer acquisition costs. If you build your audiences now, you’ll have the opportunity to shift more of your budget to your remarketing lists when top of funnel awareness campaigns become too expensive. 

TIP 4 : Provide The Right Offer At The Right Time

Holiday shoppers are looking for the right product at the right deal. They don’t want to make a poor gift buying decision and they don’t want to over pay. Here are some things to consider as you plan out your holiday offers. 

  • People expect deals, offers, and “on-point” messaging. Shoppers expect something special during the holidays. Keeping your message or your offers exactly the same as the rest of the year will likely result in subpar conversion rates.  
  • Craft deals that will motivate customers while protecting your brand. Going too deep on price cuts can result in a quick sales bonanza, but could damage your brand and train shoppers not to pay full retail price later. We have several clients who rarely offer discounts. In those cases a simple 10% discount on certain products can feel like a big deal and will still protect your brand value. Bundling products can also be an easy way to discount without making it seem like you’re slashing prices out of desperation. Plus, bundles can make gift buying easier. Bundles can often make for better gifts than a single product. 
  • Deals are important, but so is convenience. What about helping people achieve their ultimate goal - getting the right gift at the right time with little hassle? How about highlighting fast shipping or at least guaranteed shipping dates? Sometimes convenience outweighs saving a buck for certain shoppers if they’re convinced that your products are the perfect gift. 
  • Deals that don’t involve discounting your core product. What about free bonus gifts or mystery gifts? Our friends at Groove Life now offer a deeply discounted “mystery gift” ring as an upsell when you’re ordering your ring. This is a brilliant strategy any time, but especially during the holidays. A mystery ring could be a perfect stocking stuffer or gift for that hard-to-buy-for special someone. And they are using mystery rings likely to get rid of unsold inventory.

TIP 5 : Fill In The Holes

Your Search and Shopping Approach - We audit hundreds of Google Ads accounts each year in addition to the accounts we manage on an ongoing basis. It’s very common for us to audit accounts that are doing fine on the surface, but are missing serious opportunities for growth. It’s not uncommon to see search and shopping campaigns delivering a 250-300% ROAS or higher creating the illusion that everything is great.  Once we dive deeper, we often find several features, settings, targeting options, or bid strategies missing that could improve either volume, return on ad spend, or both. Here are a few things you should consider now to make the most of your search and shopping efforts.

  • Surfaces across Google. Google shopping has long been a favorite for online retailers and an area where OMG Commerce shines. For a detailed look at how to get the most from Google Shopping ads, check out the guide I wrote for Shopify earlier this year.  Surfaces across Google allow your Google Shopping ads to appear on YouTube, in Gmail and other places. You’ve maybe experienced this yourself when you search for something on Google, then later see Google Shopping ads on YouTube for similar products. These ads can be effective anytime, but especially during the holidays.
  • Leverage Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs). Dynamic Search Ads allow you to harness Google’s machine learning to run search ads for all of your product catalog without requiring a super detailed build out of keywords and ad groups. This can be a pretty easy step to really increasing your search ad volume. 


  • Highlight promotional pricing. If you are running discounts for the holidays, you can take advantage of promotional pricing both in Search and Shopping ads. For Search ads, you need to run promotion extensions that allow for your sales details to show under your existing Search ads. For Shopping, you can use the “sales price” field. This will allow Google to highlight that your price has dropped and your item is on sale. This is a powerful visualization that increases clicks on your listings and helps increase sales.


  • RSAs and Extensions. Responsive search ads allow you to combine your marketing and copywriting strengths with Google’s machine learning to improve your ad performance. 
  • Adapt your bid strategy for holiday shopping. Get ready to bid more aggressively. As competition heats up, bid levels required to reach customers also go up. One simple way to get your bids ready is to use a bid automation strategy like target return on ad spend (target ROAS). As conversion rates increase during holiday shopping, using a bid strategy like target ROAS will allow Google to bid more aggressively and still reach your ROAS goals.

TIP 6 : Harness a Ubiquitous Remarketing Approach

One way we see some eCommerce companies come up short during the holidays is when they depend on a weak or underdeveloped remarketing campaign structure. Most eCommerce brands we meet are engaged in remarketing, but very few are maximizing their remarketing approach.  So where should you be running remarketing campaigns? 

  • Discovery. Discovery ads show up as a Display ad on YouTube, Gmail, and in the Google Discover feed (on your mobile Google app). These ads really command attention and show up in placements where your competitors probably aren’t advertising. We often see Discovery ads perform 30-50% better than standard display ads. 

  • YouTube. YouTube ads have the unique ability to stop shoppers in their tracks and drive them to start shopping your site whether they are brand new to your site or have been there a few times.  No remarketing campaign structure is complete without at least some YouTube remarketing.  
  • Google Display Network (GDN). GDN is what most people think of when they think of remarketing on Google. We recommend dynamic remarketing where Google uses your product feed to build custom ads tailored to your shoppers. With dynamic remarketing, shoppers see ads featuring the actual products they viewed while on your website. We also recommend responsive ads where you give Google a few headlines, descriptions, and images and they will mix and match to create a great ad. Responsive ads are preferred to static ads and allow for more placement opportunities and more visibility. 
  • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs). It’s very common for shoppers to see a YouTube or Facebook ad, visit your site, not purchase, and then forget your name. Enter RLSAs. This allows you to target search ads or shopping ads to remarketing lists. If a previous site visitor is back on Google searching for products like yours, you definitely want your ad to show for them. RLSAs help you do that. 

TIP 7 : Leverage YouTube

Leverage the latest and greatest from YouTube for growth - We have a lot of merchants who come to us because they’ve had success on Facebook and they want to diversify into YouTube traffic. We’re a top spender on YouTube ads for agencies our size, so our reputation precedes us a bit. We’ve found that if a company can successfully run top of funnel awareness campaigns on Facebook, then YouTube will most likely be a good fit too.  BUT - the platform is quite different. The structure and length of video ads that work on YouTube are quite different from video ads that thrive on Facebook. It often takes a few weeks to a few months to dial in your YouTube performance. It’s much easier to find the right combinations of winning audiences, videos, and landing pages BEFORE holiday shopping reaches its peak. To get the full scoop on how to scale with YouTube, I highly recommend our recent free webinar, The Winning Formula for Scale, that features experts from OMG Commerce, Google, and beyond. For now, here are a few tips:

  • Run Video Action Campaigns (VACs). In addition to pre-roll or instream placements, VACs include autoplay ad placements in the YouTube mobile app. We’ve found that VACs often drive more impressions and more views while also driving lower cost CPAs. 
  • Utilize YouTube ads with Merchant Center extensions.  This is Google’s new version of TrueView for Shopping.  But it’s better. This extension allows you to highlight top products via Google Shopping ads that appear next to your YouTube video. This is YouTube ads + Google Shopping ads. It’s a pretty great combo. We’ve seen YouTube ads with Merchant Center extensions perform very well for consideration and remarketing campaigns and sometimes for top of funnel awareness campaigns. 
  • Leverage viewed video audiences. We discussed remarketing audiences a few times above.  There’s another audience that’s similar and also very powerful - viewed video audiences.  These audiences are made up of people who’ve viewed one of your videos to the billable point in the video.  Which means they’ve watched at least 30 seconds of your video, or they’ve watched the entire video if it’s less than 30 seconds.  We like to run YouTube campaigns showing additional video ads to people who’ve viewed a video, but haven’t converted.  We also layer in viewed video audiences to our search and shopping campaigns.  It’s very common for someone to watch a view, not take action immediately, but then search for your product on Google at a later time.  Often, they can’t exactly remember your brand so they make more of a category based search.  
  • Lean into intent-based audiences.  One of the great differentiators between YouTube and other online platforms is the ability to understand user intent. You can run ads on YouTube targeted users based on what they’ve recently searched for on Google. You can also target someone based on what they are searching for and watching on YouTube at the moment. Reaching the right shopper at the right time is easy on YouTube. 

So how is your holiday strategy looking now? Need more help getting ready? Request a strategy session from the team at OMG. While we’ve been unusually busy this year, we still want to make time to talk to great eCommerce brands. Also, you can check out a few of our guides and resources to help you get ready to dominate this holiday season.

Amazon Ads

Amazon Cyber 5 2021 - Top Tips & Strategies

With 2021 bringing a bit more stability back to the Amazon marketplace and Prime Day returning to it’s normal summer cadence, our team has Q4 and Cyber 5 planning top of mind.

Amber Norell
July 15, 2021
Amazon Ads
Marketing
Cyber 5

With 2021 bringing a bit more stability back to the Amazon marketplace and Prime Day returning to it’s normal summer cadence, our team has Q4 and Cyber 5 planning top of mind. Cyber 5 is a series of peak Ecommerce dates including Thanksgiving Eve, Cyber Friday, Cyber Saturday, Cyber Sunday and Cyber Monday. Cyber 5 is followed by a week of elevated sales often referred to as Cyber Week. To help get you started, we’ve put together insights from prior years and our top tips to totally crush it during BFCM weekend, Cyber Week 2021 and beyond.

The Basics

Inventory - Start your inventory planning well in advance to avoid any complications in your supply chain or with Amazon FBA replenishment. With Prime Day 2021, many OMG clients experienced harsh, temporary inventory restrictions. To help alleviate this for Q4 2021, closely monitor your IPI score and sell through in the months leading up to Cyber 5. Implement coupons and deals as needed on slow selling products and place removal orders for products facing Long Term Storage Fees well in advance.

 

Delivery Badge - Monitor your shipping dates throughout Q4. If your ship date is post Christmas or the “Arrives after Christmas” badge appears on your product page, conversion rate and ad performance will decline on products that were experiencing a lift as gifts. Once you spot this, pivot quickly to reign in bids and budgets and avoid wasted ad spend.


Content Updates - Ensure any listing updates are finalized by the first week of November. If you experience a decline in performance or challenges with getting the changes accepted, this will allow time to get them corrected. For A+ Content, we are currently encountering a full 7 day waiting period for approval.

Get An Edge

Lightning Deals & Coupons - Submit your Cyber 5 deals and coupons early when the “Cyber Week'' time frame becomes available in the “Deal” and “Prime Exclusive Discounts'' dashboard. Monitor both on-Amazon and off-Amazon pricing 30 days leading up to Cyber 5 to avoid last minute deal cancelations and coupon suppressions.


Event-Specific Sponsored Brand Ads - Leverage time sensitive copy for Cyber 5, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holidays. Target seasonal keywords relevant to each event or holiday on products that normally see a natural lift from gift buyers. Seasonal Sponsored Brand ads are also the perfect place to test holiday themed imagery in the “Custom Image” beta.


Storefront Update - If your product makes the perfect gift by nature, consider adding holiday-themed lifestyle imagery to put browsers in the buying and gift-giving mindset. For any ASINs that have scheduled deals, consider adding them to a temporary deal page on your storefront.


A+ Content & Product Page Refresh - A+ Content and your image gallery are also an excellent place to insert seasonal and holiday-themed lifestyle imagery. If on-page competitors are saturating your page, consider inserting a “Product Comparison” chart to the bottom of your A+ Content to feature some of your other products, take up more real estate and push other competitors down the page.


Amazon Posts - Schedule posts leading up to corresponding deals for increased traffic. Holiday-themed posts are a great way to get buyers into the holiday spirit and will now reflect on your storefront navigation bar.


Lower Funnel Sponsored Display Targeting - For any products that are not eligible for DSP, solidify your remarketing strategy by setting up view-based remarketing ads for customers who have viewed both your products and those who have viewed similar products.

Full Funnel Advertising

The Lead-Up -

  • For heightened Brand Awareness leading up to Cyber 5, consider testing additional top of funnel DSP targeting segments such as Competitor Targeting, Similar Product Targeting, and In-Market Targeting. 
  • We recommend implementing top of funnel DSP as early as September or October with a minimal budget to allow plenty of time to collect data and ramp up during Cyber Week and peak Q4.
  • Repurpose any new or holiday themed video content you’ve created to test and leverage OTT ads higher in the funnel.
  • Submit any focused Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Cyber Week campaigns in advance to allow plenty of time to get them approved and ensure that they run during Cyber 5. 
  • Any campaigns with holiday or deal-specific messaging have to be scheduled to end within 24 hours of the event in order to get approved.
  • Increase bids 2-4x higher than current bids on proven keywords with a strong return and multiple sales for top products prior to BFCM weekend. 
  • Any bid increases should be in place by Thanksgiving Day, however, rolling them out slowly in the weeks leading up to Cyber 5 will help you gain traction and capitalize on traffic increases.
  • In terms of budget, expect a percentage increase similar to Prime Day, BUT be mindful of the fact that BFCM and Cyber Week is a longer event and sales volume and traffic will continue to see momentum 3 weeks post Cyber Monday. 
  • If you have a hard limit for advertising budgets, ensure a global cap is in place on your account prior to BFCM and Cyber Week.


The Main Event -

  • Monitor your Sponsored Ads multiple times a day throughout Cyber 5 to avoid budgets maxing out. If budgets run out and your campaign is meeting your ROAS goals, continue to add budget.
  • For any priority search phrases for ranking or sales velocity purposes, check rankings in an incognito window every few hours to ensure you are still winning the top of search position.
  • If you lose Top of Search on any of your “must win” phrases during Cyber 5, consider increasing bids or increasing the TOS placement amplifier in relevant campaigns.
  • Pay special attention to any campaigns intended to support Lightning Deals and Coupons on your top products.


Post Cyber 5 -

  • Traffic on Amazon typically is 141% higher on average after Cyber Monday compared to the 14 days prior, according to Amazon. 
  • For that reason, we recommend slowly decreasing bids only on terms that have declined in performance rather than reverting back to your former bids all at once. This will allow you to continue riding the wave of increased traffic with high buying intent.
  • DSP should be in play throughout Q4, but make it a core part of your strategy post Cyber 5 to maximize on the increased traffic.
  • If you’ve invested in Cyber 5 deals and built a Deals tab on your Amazon storefront, consider placing a DSP order (campaign) to retarget customers who have shown interest in your deal but didn’t purchase redirecting them back to your Deals page.
  • Consider scaling your DSP budgets for Retargeting campaigns not only during Cyber Week but also for the 3 weeks after. Given that some of this traffic will have already converted, exclusions should be set for past purchasers.
  • Split test holiday-themed custom DSP creatives for products that naturally make great gifts by nature.

What’s NEW

SBV Product Targeting Campaigns - Maximize your Sponsored Brand efforts by implementing the new product targeting segment into your Sponsored Brand Video strategy.


Customer Engagement Beta - If you already have a substantial number of brand followers on Amazon, ask your Amazon rep for access to the new “Customer Engagement” beta now to give you access to test email campaigns during Cyber 5.


Top of Funnel Sponsored Display Targeting - Consider testing new “In Market” and “Lifestyle” audiences on Sponsored Display ads for your top products. Though these are higher in the funnel, testing at low bids while there is heightened buying intent is worth consideration.

YouTube

Top Landing Page Tips for YouTube ToF Traffic

What happens if you craft the perfect YouTube ad, build rock-solid campaigns and then send shoppers to a lousy landing page? You lose.

Brett Curry
June 17, 2021
Google Ads
SEO
YouTube
Marketing

What happens if you craft the perfect YouTube ad, build rock-solid campaigns and then send shoppers to a lousy landing page? You lose. 

It’s no secret that I love YouTube ads. If you listen to our podcast (eCommerce Evolution) then you know I talk about YouTube ads all the time. I love dissecting winning video creatives. The art and science of grabbing attention, creating desire, overcoming objections and driving action is endlessly fascinating to me. I also like the nerdy side of YouTube ads. The math behind campaign optimization and media buying is super interesting (to me anyway). But, here’s the thing. You can have the best YouTube ad campaigns in the world, but if your landing page stinks....you’re sunk. 

While I’m not a landing page expert by trade, I have observed enough to know what works and what doesn’t. On any given day I’m looking at dozens of campaigns that spend as much as $6,000 to $10,000 per day each on YouTube. I can say with certainty that the strength of your landing page is a major factor in hitting your goals with YouTube ads. 

Here are 5 things to keep in mind for your YouTube ad landing page (or nearly any landing page you’re sending traffic to for that matter). Even subtle improvements in conversion rates from your landing pages can have a profound impact on your ad campaigns.

Congruent

The first question someone asks when they land on a page is “am I in the right place?” The last thing you want to create is a disconnect between your YouTube ad and the landing page you send someone to. This may sound so simple that you want to overlook it. Don’t. Having a congruent color scheme, clear logo placement and using the same language on the landing page that you used in the video is super important. 

Take this YouTube ad and landing page combo we run for BOOM! By Cindy Joseph. The ad promises the viewer 5 Makeup Tips for older women. The headline on the landing page is “5 Makeup Tips for Older Women” plus some of the stars of our YT ads are visible in the header image on the lander.



As one of the largest spenders on YouTube ads, Grammarly aslo does this well. See how the look and feel of their ads clearly lines up with the Grammarly landing page




Clear value proposition

What makes your product stand out? Why is it different or better than your competitors? What’s the one thing you want me to know above all else about your product? Whatever that is, lead with it. Your headline needs to clearly and succinctly communicate your value proposition. All of the examples I reference here do a fantastic job of this.

Compelling

The role of the headline on your landing page is to entice the visitor to stay on the page and look further. Your headline should promise a strong enough benefit to cause a shopper to stop and give your product some strong consideration.

Other than the headline, the most important part of your landing page is product photography and videos. We strongly suggest images that show the product from all angles and mimic an in-store shopping experience as much as possible. 

Next, you need strong bullet points and copy. The job of your bullet points and sales copy is to answer questions, create desire, and overcome objections. 

In some cases you’ll need graphics and diagrams. 

This page for Alana Mitchell’s Micro Dissolvable Roller does a great job of demonstrating the product through video, and highlighting key features and benefits through bullet points, graphics and pictures. 

Convincing

Even if your headline is strong, your bullet points are compelling and your product images are nearly perfect - shoppers still might still remain on the fence. Why? Proof. Shoppers need some level of proof that what you’re saying is true. Something could be compelling, but not convincing. If your claims and promises sound appealing, but not believable shoppers will still abandon the page. 

What kind of proof are we looking for here? 

  • Product reviews
  • Demonstrations
  • Before and After photos
  • Media endorsements

I love this page from FIXD app. The headline is strong, “Meet the Car Repair Sensor That’s Saving People $1,000s.” Not only is that clear and compelling, but they back it up with some strong social proof. The 10,000 5-Star reviews and “Over 2 Million Sold” is pretty convincing proof that this product is legit. 

Confidence

Are you giving people confidence that they are making the right purchase decision? Also, are you giving shoppers the assurance that, if your product isn’t a good fit, you’ll return it, replace it or refund it with no hassle? 

Here are two great landing page examples that really give confidence. The first is Madison Reed. Madison Reed offers at home hair coloring kits. Getting hair color right is no small feat. It’s something most people take very seriously. Most ladies get their hair colored in a salon by a professional, so attempting to buy hair color at home can feel risky and intimidating. Enter the color quiz. This quick online quiz takes you through a process that leads to your ideal color– just like a professional hair colorist would do in a salon.

Or, take Room Dividers Now. I love the way their landing page shows clearly how their dividers work, how to install them and how to measure your space to choose the perfect divider. Just a few minutes on their page and you feel armed and equipped to make a great purchase.


So what about your landing pages? How are they executing on these 5 core elements? Just small improvements can lead to conversion rate increases that can totally impact your ad performance. 

Want to learn more about great landing pages for eCommerce? Watch the replay of our recent virtual event - YouTube Ads for eCommerce: the Winning Formula for Scale. Kurt Elster, host of the Unofficial Shopify Podcast gives a great talk on effective landing pages. 

Don't Miss Top Ten 2021 Prosper Show Sessions!

If you plan to attend Prosper Show and are scheduling your sessions now, here is a list of sessions we recommend.

Chris Brewer
June 3, 2021
Amazon Ads

Prosper Show promises to be a top trade show for Amazon Sellers this year. Like the platform, it covers, Prosper Show's options can be overwhelming to choose from. What if two promising sessions are scheduled at the same time? Which should you choose? After all, you can't be in two places at once and the chances you'll watch the video replays weeks after is slim to none. I know how that goes!

Before good intentions become lost opportunities, here are the OMG Amazon team's top ten don't miss sessions! Our team is on the platform every day managing thousands of dollars in daily ad spend. They are constantly working with a variety of clients and testing new Betas from Amazon while determining what's working and what's not in Amazon paid search and SEO.

If you plan to attend the show and are scheduling your sessions now, here is a list of sessions we recommend. Remember, there may be sessions more applicable to your current situation, but these are our favorites. During breaks, remember to drop by and see your OMG friends at Prosper booth #3001!

Tuesday, July 13

 Includes three sessions from three presenters. Two of the three recommended from our Top Ten Prosper Show Sessions come from Chris McCabe & Leah McHugh from eCommerceChris  and Janelle Page, EVP of Marketing & eCommerce Strategy for the Nutraceutical Corporation.


8:30 AM to 11:15 AM — When Black Hats Attack: Defending Your Amazon Business
Chris McCabe, a former Amazon insider and owner of ecommerceChris and Leah McHugh join up for this competitor sabotage workshop! I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Chris at length when we’ve referred him clients in these unfortunate situations and he and his team know their stuff! This is a workshop session. 

We've seen great Amazon accounts really take a beating due to competitor sabotage. Learn tactics that less-sophisticated sellers use to attack each other, and cover how third-party services are used to launch attacks on a competing seller's behalf. Identify potential attacks as they happen, and react quickly to limit the damage. Learn which teams at Amazon reliably investigate and research anti-competitive behavior by black-hat sellers and services and how to communicate with them. Plus, learn how best to correct listing changes to fix fake contributions, reverse hijacking, and more.

3:30 PM to 6:15 PM — Use Videos to Increase Your Amazon Sales

Janelle Page, VP of Marketing & Online Marketplaces for the Neutraceutical Corporation, hosts this afternoon workshop.  You’ll learn to increase your sales, build your brand, and engage your followers. Learn how to create compelling, high-converting videos for your product detail pages. In addition to learning the "Video Success Formula," discover video strategies to increase traffic and drive sales on both Amazon and your eCommerce site.

Wednesday, July 14  

Kicks off day two with a whopping 11 sessions to choose from (not including Welcome Session & Opening Keynote). We've analyzed all 11 sessions and recommend these four "must-see" sessions. Take additional time outside of these sessions to check out the exhibit hall or attend another session. These four sessions are delivered by a panel of 15 Amazon Sellers, Jason Kowalski, CEO of ProductWind, Rick Cesari, CMO of Direct Branding and James Kelley of Jagerita Holdings, Jason Boyce of Avenue7Media and Bernie Thompson of Efficient Era.  

10:00 AM to 10:30 AM — Seller Hacks

Where else can you hear from 15 successful Amazon sellers LIVE on stage? Prosper of course!  In this “back by popular demand” session, you’ll learn what “hacks” your peers have figured out to build better businesses on Amazon.

11:00 AM to 11:45 AM — How to Drive Actual ROI with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing today is like Sponsored Ads in 2015 according to the presenter of this session, Jason Kowalski, CEO of ProductWind. Learn about this new marketing channel before it becomes mainstream.  Are you tired of hearing about Influencer Media Value (IMV) and Cost Per Engagement (CPE)? Done wrong, social media marketing can create a lot of work and be a total bust. Done right, influencers can drive meaningful traffic to your products and drive higher return than PPC. In this session, an ex-Amazon expert in influencer marketing will teach you the ins and outs of this marketing channel. 

You’ll learn how to:

• Determine which social media platform(s) to use and to what degree

• Learn to set up and manage your own influencer campaigns  

• Know the effect of influencer campaigns on SEO and ad campaigns 

• Measure ROI from an influencer campaign and learn how to think about claim codes

• Align influencer marketing with your broader marketing approach


1:15 PM to 2:00 PM — Building Brand Loyalty on Amazon Using Video

Join Rick Cesari and learn how to solve your biggest challenges through easy, proven video-based strategies. These challenges include improving conversions and sales, time spent on your listings, rankings and reviews, consumer trust, brand likability, purchase intent, content generation, product research, awareness, loyalty and funding. 

Your feet might be a bit sore—and who knows what you've done that hopefully will stay in Vegas—but you've made it to the final day! By now your brain could be overloaded, but with 16 sessions to choose from, you're in for a lot more. We've carefully selected the four sessions to round out our Top Ten Prosper Show Sessions to put the cherry on top of what surely will be an amazing event.

3:45 PM to 4:45 PM — Panel: Trends and Seller Predictions for 2022

Panels are among the best sessions at Prosper.  Take advantage of the cumulative knowledge from James Kelley (former Amazon Insider), Bernie Thompson founder of Efficient Era and Jason Boyce, founder and CEO of Avenue7Media, LLC in what is sure to be an outstanding session. They’ll share interesting new trends, their hopes for Amazon change as well as bold predictions for 2022.  Will Amazon launch a Shopify competitor and, if so, would they sign up?  Will One Vendor become a thing or will Amazon continue to bifurcate Vendors and Sellers?  What change should sellers expect if the trustbusters come knocking and what might that mean for sellers?  Plus a number of predictions that you should start planning for now before they become a reality.


Thursday, July 15

The presenters who made our “Don’t Miss” list for the final day include Jeffrey Brelowski a Patent/IP/Litigation Attorney with ATLawip LLC, Chris McCabe from eCommerceChris, Carina McLead of Ecommerce Nurse Ltd, and Jerry Kavesh from 3P Marketplace Solutions

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM — Walk Deftly and Carry a Big Stick: Essential Measures to Pre-Empt and Stop Bad Actors

You’ll never know when you’ll need a great Amazon lawyer.  It’s best to be prepared as Intellectual Property (IP) infringements are usually a matter of when not if. Even if you’ve done everything you need to do to protect your company from bad actors, the ugly business of losing revenue or getting shut down still looms. This  session will cover essential defense, including a good offence. Learn your options and how to determine which one is right for you and where to turn in the event that your IP is breached. 


You’ll Learn: 

• How to match your level of escalation to the degree of infringement to avoid overshooting or undershooting your objective

• The different Amazon programs to adjudicate patent, trademark, and copyright disputes

• How lost profits and reasonable royalty rates are estimated and recovered 

•The types of IP and which ones are commonly infringed


12:15 PM to 1:00PM  —  Seller Case Study and Expert Insights- Should You Grow Your Business in the U.S. or Expand Globally?

In your final day at Prosper, broaden your horizons and investigate expanding your sales in the U.S. or should you go global? Jerry Kavesh will share the lessons learned from his brand’s expansion to Europe, the United Kingdom and his success in Australia. Carina Mcleod will address the myriad of issues and implications she has encountered when her company expands internationally (compliance, supply/demand, shipping/inventory, etc).


You’ll Learn: 

-The inefficiencies (costs and logistics)of global expansion by exploring a case study

-How to avoid pitfalls with examples of legal, tax, safety, and other compliance issues 

-About the impact of Brexit on Sellers

-How to compare and contrast support Amazon provides vs. what support that say they will provide

-How to assess the opportunity of selling in Canada and Mexico, including the Remote Fulfillment by Amazon program



1:30 PM to 2:15 PM — Get It Right the First Time: Communications With Amazon Internal Teams That Win Appeals

Chris McCabe gets my vote for another “Top Ten” session. Our agency has seen our share of Amazon Sellers who have been frustrated (to say the least) with the Amazon appeals process.  Going with your gut can not only be 100% ineffective—it can actually make things worse. This session will identify the internal team and manager that you need to contact and approaches that work to push the issue to resolution and reinstatement. Participants will learn what to do and where to turn when Amazon goes quiet. 


You’ll Learn

•How to identify essential internal and external teams and team managers that can be helpful 

•How to devise a strategy to determine why your appeal is stuck or denied

•How to write a proper escalation letter to get a proper response


2:45 p.m. — Lost in Translation? Tips for Keywords and Listing Optimization That will Translate Into Sales

Jana Krekic, founder of YLT Translations delivers an intriguing session on international commerce. Chances are that your international sales are lagging because you’re not speaking their language. Neither Amazon nor other machine translators (even if human edited) are keen on ensuring that your keywords are optimized for Amazon’s algorithm. Similarly, interpreters will not ensure that your listings are localized to compel or even relate to your customer. Companies that are (considering) selling don’t want to miss this boat to expand and grow your business overseas. 


You’ll Learn: 

•How to research your customer base to determine how to localize your listings and identify critical keywords

•How to find hacks for creating and improving international listings 

•How to compare and contrast well-made international listings 

•Some examples of results you could get from doing it right.


So that's it! Your Top Ten Prosper Show 2021 “Don't Miss” Sessions! If you liked this article, be sure to stop by and say hello at our OMG Commerce booth #3001.

Agency

Culture-Focused: Leadership Development

If you are leading with character and candidness, and expect your leadership team to do the same, once you have the right people I am confident you will have success!

Sarah Still
May 20, 2021
Agency
Leadership
Culture

Ok, so now you know what to look for in a COO. Maybe you already have that process-oriented partner who handles the team and system development. Maybe you ARE the COO, the person responsible for a growing team and an evolving service set. How do you know when it's time to not just delegate day-to-day tasks, but leadership responsibility?f

As OMG grew, my self-mandated weekly 1:1 check-ins with each team member became too time consuming to actually get the work done that came out of those check-ins, not to mention the operations and big-picture team development that is needed. Biweekly seemed to work all right, but continued team growth started putting a strain on my time once again. It took about a year and a half for the consideration of adding another level of management to our very flat organization started to shift from a future potential into a rapidly growing necessity. 

Understand Your Purpose

When we first established the Director role at OMG, I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be a leader of leaders. I was used to managing a team of 30+ by having one-on-one conversations with each team member and running collaborative departmental and group syncs. I wasn’t sure if I was communicative or expressive enough to share everything I was thinking and planning clearly enough to trust a middle-man to take it to the larger team. I wasn’t sure if having a middle manager was going to actually add value, or instead create inefficiency and delays.

The truth is, during that year and a half, I was terrified to delegate leadership responsibility. I was worried my standards for myself as a leader would not be practiced with the same level of commitment and dedication by others. I was nervous that the correct priorities would not be clearly communicated to the team. I was hesitant to trust anyone else to be as great a leader as I was, for this team. Yes, I know how that sounds, but hear me out. The team at OMG is phenomenal and deserves leadership who cares about them individually, personally and professionally, and will be a voice, an advocate and cheerleader for them. The clients of OMG expect leadership committed to excellence in care and competence and unwilling to accept any less from the team. The culture and environment of OMG requires leadership that is willing to speak up to protect and improve when normal day-to-day operations and interactions threaten to break it down.

Despite my reservations

It was quickly becoming clear that I couldn’t continue to be all things to all people, and in fact already wasn’t. I couldn’t move company-wide initiatives and operational updates forward as quickly as I wanted, and I could no longer meet with each individual of the team as often as they deserved. In fact, the team was already finding other people that they trusted to give advice and insight to their day-to-day situations, rather than relying solely on me. It was time to move into the next phase of growth, personally and professionally, necessitated by our progression of growth as a company. If I was going to continue to deliver the most impact to the team and organization, something had to change.

Because of my concerns, I probably waited a little longer than would have been ideal to develop and assign director roles. However, that extra time allowed me to solidify the vision for the role, both in terms of responsibilities and relationship with me, and make sure the new directors would be set up to succeed in that role, rather than set up to fail. It also allowed for the right pieces to fall into place to promote veteran team members into those roles with full confidence, not just in their abilities and alignment with the vision for the role, but also confirmation that the team was bought into them as a new direct report.

The good and the bad

A few things we learned about setting people up for failure in leadership roles:

  • Make them a leader in name only. Don’t establish a system of accountability. Allow circumvention of the leader.
  • Reserve clarity. Vague responsibilities of the leadership role or of the team members who report to the role. Don’t clarify to the team who their direct report is and how that affects their day-to-day.
  • Save the things. Don’t bring up anything in the moment, but pull it all out during the annual review. Especially things other people brought to your attention so you don’t have first-hand knowledge. 

A few things we learned about setting people up for success in leadership roles:

  • Systematize leadership. Make the delegation of leadership abundantly clear and hold people accountable to work within the roles and systems established. Direct all conversations to start with the new direct report, no leapfrogging to you. Check in weekly with your new leaders, and have them check in weekly with their direct reports
  • Give all the clarity. Make the implementation of leadership very transparent. Share the role expectations and responsibilities with the entire team as a group, and individually as it pertains to them specifically. Explain how this affects your role and how it will change your schedule and conversations.
  • Say the things. Promote trust and confidence in the care and competence of the person taking your place in their day-to-day. Don’t wait to ask about anything you notice in the day-to-day or that is brought to your attention.

A few of my favorite leadership tools:

  • 1:1 check-ins. There is no better way to build trust and connection than a weekly 15 minute check-in with your individual team members, and the insights and improvements that you’ll gain will be invaluable.
  • I highly recommend the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Business IS personal! I became a better boss OVERNIGHT after reading this book. Having my leadership team read it and then presenting the core concept to our team at our 2020 annual summit impacted the way everyone functions and communicates.
  • The Global Leadership Summit is an annual event that we've participated in for the last six years and is always very helpful in developing leadership skills across the team. 
  • I also recommend the book A Freethinking Leaders Guide: 9 Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham. This book proves the issues I’ve had with “normal” management standards were legit and gives real, “normal” solutions.
  • We use Culture Index as a screening tool for all candidates. It has a pretty hefty annual fee, but it pays off very quickly in terms of making sure you're hiring people who will be naturally inclined to the role you want them to fill. It allows you to focus your interview process on evaluating culture fit, already knowing they’ll be a good job fit.

Final Note

I am very hesitant to hire from outside for leadership. I want to be confident that before I assign authority and autonomy that there is alignment in culture values, company vision and goals. If you have people you can evaluate internally I'd start there, but obviously we all had to get hired at some point. The guys had no idea what they'd be getting from me when they hired me as a part-time, remote bookkeeper. I couldn't have begun to imagine what we've become either! So if you already have team members you can consider, strongly evaluate that, but also if it's a no, don't do it just for a short-term fix.

If you are leading with character and candidness, and expect your leadership team to do the same, once you have the right people in the right seats I am confident you will have great success. 

Amazon Ads

Prime Day Prep: 2021

As if the much-anticipated Prime Day doesn’t provide sellers enough excitement during a “normal” year on Amazon, the unexpected shifts and delays of last year took it over the top.

Amber Norell
May 6, 2021
Amazon Ads
Marketing
Prime Day

Prime Day 2021

2020 brought a whirlwind of adventure for eCommerce brands, particularly on the Amazon platform. As if the much-anticipated Prime Day doesn’t provide sellers enough excitement during a “normal” year on Amazon, the unexpected shifts and delays of last year took it over the top.

With Prime Day’s trajectory normalizing and deadlines rapidly approaching, now is the time to map out your promotional strategy for Prime Week 2021. Whether you’re an established seller or just getting started, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips, learnings from previous years, and exciting beta opportunities to leave you feeling prepared and stress-free this year!

What You Should Expect

Ad Revenue

In 2020, OMG clients saw an average 114% increase in daily ad revenue during Prime Day vs. the week prior, rivaling that of Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales increases. We recommend reviewing what previous years’ Prime Days have been like before deciding on a set strategy.

Overall Revenue

Overall daily revenue increased for OMG clients by an average 106% during Prime Day vs. the week prior.

Ad Spend

Average daily ad spend increased by 70% during Prime Day vs. the week prior for OMG clients. 

Total Advertising Cost of Sale

Average daily Total Advertising Cost of Sales decreased by 17% during Prime Day vs. the week prior for OMG clients.

Key Dates to Remember

Source: Prime Day Timeline

March 29

Prime Exclusive Discount sourcing begins on this day and ends 2 weeks prior to the event. Please note: Prime Exclusive Discounts are only available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, India, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan.

April 16

Deadline to submit Lightning Deals in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

April 23

Deadline to submit Lightning Deals in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Australia.

May 20-June 13

The inbound shipping cutoff for vendors: Deal inventory must be in transit.

  • May 20: the United States and Canada
  • May 30: India
  • June 1: Australia and Mexico
  • June 6: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • June 13: Japan

May 28

Deadline to submit coupons in the United States, Canada, Mexico, France,

Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United Arab Emirates,

the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Australia.

May 30-June 13

FBA inventory cut-off date for sellers: Make sure your clients’ shipments arrive at Amazon well in advance of key shopping dates. Inventory should arrive at our fulfillment centers by this date to ensure your advertisers’ products are available for customers during Prime Day.

  • May 30: India
  • May 31: United States and Canada
  • June 1: Australia and Mexico
  • June 6: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, and Turkey
  • June 7: United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • June 13: Japan

Planning Your Attack

Winning Prime Day is all about planning your promotional strategy with the potential need to pivot in mind. Plan what you can in order to meet key deadlines while having alternative options in place both in the event that your product sells out or your Prime Week deal is canceled.  

Prime Exclusive Discounts

  • Prime Exclusive Discounts are one of our favorite types of promotions to run during Prime Day to increase conversion rate.
  • They do require  a few things: slightly advanced planning, a minimum of a 20% off discount, FBA inventory, and a minimum of a 3.5-star rating. But the payoff is definitely there.
  • This promo type offers a certain level of urgency and exclusivity by displaying a bright  “Prime Day Deals” badge during its flight and only applies to Prime customers (which the majority of consumers are).
  • Generally, a submission cutoff will appear closer to Prime Day but is currently listed as “2 weeks out from the event” which is confirmed for some time this summer.

Prime Week Lightning Deals

  • Lightning Deals are also an excellent option for increased sales during Prime Week but present slightly more red tape than other promo options.
  • Some of the challenges to consider with Prime Week Lightning Deals include the following:
  • Steeper deal costs ($500/deal)
  • Uncertainty of potentially poor-performing deal dates/times
  • No guarantee of sales increase
  • Frequently thin margins with proposed deal prices
  • Less flexibility with off-Amazon pricing for 30 days leading up to Prime Day
  • Potential deal cancellation
  • Potential overlap with coupons and other promo types if not properly monitored
  • That being said, our preference is to selectively use Lightning Deals to elevate our best-performing products, introduce new customers to products that are often repurchased or reduce price and liquidate closeout inventory.
  • Some of the benefits of running a Lightning Deal on Prime Day include short-term improved sales rank, increased sales volume, defense against competitors running deals, and setting products up for success during Q4.
  • Momentum from Lightning Deals can often be sustained by adding coupons on the page after the deal has concluded and ad campaigns can be coordinated to push Lightning Deals to the top of the Deal page during the designated time frame.

Prime Week Coupons

  • The 5% off requirement for standard coupons are ideal for products that do not have the margin to support the 20% off discount required for Prime Exclusive Discounts. 
  • This is a good alternative option for those that are either using Vendor Central or Merchant Fulfillment in Seller Central as their fulfillment method since FBA inventory is not required.
  • While this coupon type does not display an urgent “Prime Day Deals” badge, it will display the standard “Save” badge which is still appealing to customers who are coming to Amazon looking for deals on Prime Day.
  • Having any coupon (even a small amount off) will still show on the page and on advertising (including DSP).
  • Despite having a submission deadline of May 28th, in past years, coupons have still been submitted successfully up to and throughout Prime Week while Prime Exclusive Coupons have not.
  • This offers a bit more flexibility in terms of setting up coupons leading up to and after a Lightning Deal is scheduled with an unknown time frame.
  • These coupon types can also often be used as a fallback in the event of a deal cancellation.
  • Running coupons for 2 weeks after Prime Day allows DSP retargeting to perform at a higher level as the coupon badge will show on Amazon Dynamic display ads.

Storefront Deals Page

  • Adding a “Deals” page to the navigation bar of your Amazon storefront offers the ideal landing page for Amazon customers seeking a discount on Prime Day.
  • It also creates a central hub to direct ad traffic for any test campaigns surrounding “discount”, “inexpensive” and “clearance” related search queries.
  • Ad copy can also be adjusted with your Sponsored Brand ads that direct to this page mentioning your “Sale” or “Deal” (provided you schedule your ad to expire when the promotion is over).
  • This can also be used as a landing page test for DSP retargeting campaigns for customers who viewed but did not purchase.
  • The best part is that building out a “Deal” page is very straightforward and doesn’t require a great deal of time.
  • Select the “Featured Deals” module in Amazon’s storefront builder and populate with any ASINs you are considering running a promo on. This module is dynamic and will automatically update when any promos become active.
  • We recommend submitting any storefront changes at least 7 days prior to Prime Day (if possible) to allow time to course-correct should you encounter any issues with approvals.

Listing Optimizations

  • If you are considering testing various titles, images, or A+ content for improved conversion rate, test these items prior to Prime Week. The last thing you want to be dealing with is indexing or ranking issues during peak traffic.
  • Consider using “Manage Experiments” for any eligible listings to split test various copy and creative options well in advance. Opt for the best-performing assets prior to Prime Week.
  • If you are not currently using video assets on-page, now is the perfect time to add them to your gallery.
  • Any video assets you create for listing optimizations can be repurposed for Sponsored Brand Video Ads.

Amazon Posts

  • Step up your Amazon Posts game during Prime Week and repurpose any social media content.
  • Once you have a confirmed deal date and time, schedule posts for any products with Lightning Deals during their designated deal dates and times for increased visibility and traffic.

Amazon Live

  • Leveraging Amazon Live is an excellent way to tap into the increased Amazon traffic during Prime Week by driving additional views to detail pages from your Livestream.
  • If you have brand access, you will have the opportunity to showcase your promotional offerings.
  • This program is ideal for brands who already have someone on board that is familiar with OBS and live streaming.

Budgets

  • Thinking about a budget may not invoke as much excitement as some of the other pieces we’ve touched on, but don’t let that fool you. Making a  well thought out budget plan is the anchor for a successful Prime Day Attack.
  • Make sure to plan out budgets early so that you can prep campaigns leading up to Prime Day. This includes the lead up to Prime Day, Prime Day itself, and 2 weeks post Prime Day.
  • Part of this prep will be understanding what products have deals/promotions/coupons running and at what times. You want to align your budget plan and timeline with your overall Prime Day Strategy.
  • Budgets can be based on a set number, ACoS, Tacos, etc. This is unique to each advertiser’s goals and should be one of the first things finalized so that you can plan out your plan of attack accordingly.

DSP: Your Secret Weapon

Utilizing DSP for Prime Day is your secret weapon to Prime Day DOMINATION! Ensuring you have a full-funnel strategy prepped will have you ready to rock. Below you’ll find strategies & suggestions to help propel your Prime Day sales.

Capitalize On Prime Day Increased Traffic

  • Develop your DSP strategy for Prime Day and beyond. Consider scaling budget not only during Prime Day(s) but also for the two weeks after Prime Day for Retargeting. 
  • The increased traffic during Prime Day will significantly increase the audience side for retargeting. Yes, some of this traffic will definitely have converted already and that is why you should put in place exclusions for past purchasers.
  • We normally suggest adding a coupon for products you are pushing on DSP for two weeks after Prime Day as an added incentive for your retargeting audience to come back and make the purchase.

Lightning or Prime Day Exclusive Deals

  • DSP Dynamic Ecommerce Ads will pull in lightning deal and coupon details that will show on the display ad. This is a great way to increase awareness for any promotions you are running.
  • You will want to map out what strategies you plan to run as well as corresponding budgets.
  • We recommend setting up a separate Prime Day order (campaign) for this so that you can control timing to correspond with promotion and to better visualize performance results.

Strategy for increasing brand awareness & traffic to your detail pages:

  • DSP is a great way to boost awareness for your products and brand and grow your retargeting audience leading up to Prime Day. 
  • A few ways you can boost awareness and traffic are Competitor Targeting, Similar Product Targeting, and In-Market targeting. 
  • With so many targeting options available via DSP for funnel building strategies, we recommend you consult with a DSP provider to see what would be the best strategy for you.  

Utilize Storefront To Push Deals And Coupons

  • If you decide to create a Deals tab on your Storefront, it may make sense to create a DSP order (campaign) that targets people who have viewed any of your deals (but have not purchased) and send them back to your Deals tab. 
  • This works well if the products you are running deals for do not meet the 5,000 minimum unique visitors threshold for retargeting.   

      *This strategy does require custom static creative

Our OMG Commerce team is fully focused on Prime Day planning for our clients and we encourage you to do the same. For more Prime Day strategy goodness, check out the latest podcast from Ecommerce Evolution and partner with us to elevate your Amazon business!

Google Ads

5 YouTube Ad Questions and KPIs to Help You Unlock Scale

I believe that YouTube ads could be your secret weapon to grow your brand this year with unparalleled reach and scary-good targeting.

Brett Curry
April 22, 2021
Google Ads
YouTube
Marketing

I believe that YouTube ads could be your secret weapon to grow your brand this year and beyond. It’s an extremely powerful platform. It has unparalleled reach combined with scary-good targeting. It’s the 2nd most visited site on the web behind google.com. Google’s ability to put your ads in front of likely buyers rivals or exceeds that of Facebook. 

The best news? Your top competitors are almost certainly NOT using YouTube ads. I’ve had the privilege of speaking at a lot of in-person and virtual marketing conferences over the last several years. Whenever I poll the crowd about who is running YouTube ads and who isn’t, usually just 10% or so of the crowd is running YouTube ads. 

I even spoke at the YouTube LA offices in early 2020 to a group of growing eComm brands who wanted to grow on YouTube and only about 20% of that crowd was advertising on YouTube in any significant way. You have an open window of opportunity right now, but it’s hard to say how long that window will stay wide open. 

The biggest hurdle for new advertisers trying to break onto the YouTube platform is that they don’t understand how to use it or how to measure it.  

All of the campaigns we run for clients are aimed at driving sales at an acceptable cost per acquisition (CPA). We’re running direct response ads, not branding ads. 

In this article, I want to break down a series of questions that every YouTube advertiser should be asking themselves as they try to grow on the platform while hitting a CPA target. With each question, I’ll share a related key performance indicator (KPI). Constantly measuring these KPIs will help you know how you’re doing and how you need to improve.

Are my videos engaging?

Before you have any hope to sell someone your products, you have to first make them want to stop what they’re doing and watch your ad. The types of ads we run for our clients are YouTube TrueView ads. TrueView ads are the skippable pre-roll ads that force users to watch the first 5 seconds before the magical “skip ad” button appears. Those first 5 seconds are a real moment of truth. Can you properly hook and engage the right audience? If you can’t, the rest doesn’t really matter.

Looking for some powerful ways to engage your audience? Check out our Top YouTube Ad Examples and Templates Guide (It’s free).  

What KPIs show me if my video is engaging or not?

The KPI that best measures engagement is view rate. View rate is the percentage of users that are served an ad impression who actually watch your video. If your ad is longer than :30 then a user has to watch at least :30 before it’s considered a view. If your video is under :30, then a user has to watch all of the video before it’s considered a view. 

View rate is NOT a stand alone metric, nor is it your most important metric, but it is something to pay attention to. If your view rates dip much below 20%, you can safely say you have some work to do. You either need to do a better job with the opening of your video, OR you might just be showing your ads to the wrong audience. 

Why is 20% important? If your view rate dips below 20%, you’ll likely start paying higher CPVs or cost per view than you want to pay. When your cost per view goes up, the rest of your metrics usually follow suit resulting in increased CPCs (costs per click) and increased CPAs (cost per acquisition).  Campaigns that hit a CPA target begin with at least acceptable view rates.

Are my videos compelling?

A compelling video makes people what? Want to buy, right? Well, yes, ultimately that’s true. But initially a good video should compel shoppers to click. Compelling videos cause viewers to take action. If your video strikes the proper chord, then viewers will click through to your site to learn more and get the full scoop on your products. The KPI to show if your video is making viewers want to click is click-through rate or CTR. 

How is CTR calculated?

CTR shows us what percentage of users who see your ad, click your ad. So this is an impression-based metric, rather than a view-based metric. So if 1,000 people see your ad (whether they skip it or not) and 10 click on your ad, then your CTR is 1%. 

So what’s a good CTR or Click-Through rate for YouTube ads aimed at cold traffic? 

We recently pulled data from our top spending YouTube advertisers. We found that click through rates were almost always higher than .5% and occasionally over 1% for an average of just under .7%.

Does my landing page “seal the deal?”

Remember the old Alec Baldwin line “coffee is for closers” from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross? Alec’s character also confirmed the ABC’s of selling - Always Be Closing. Well, a good landing page would make Baldwin’s character proud…earning unlimited amounts of coffee. When you’re running YouTube ads with a target CPA goal in mind, then a high-converting landing page is a must. 

How is Conversion rate calculated? 

There are a few ways to calculate conversion rate. If you look inside Google Analytics or other on-page analytics tools, conversion rate is usually calculated by looking at what percentage of total session (or visits) ended in a purchase or conversion. When you see conversion rate inside a YouTube ad campaign, it’s showing you what percentage of impressions end in a conversion. 

What’s a good Conv. Rate?

A good conversion rate for an eCommerce page when looking at Google Analytics is often 1–3%. For a YouTube ad campaign, a good conversion rate is usually over .12%. When looking at our top spending YouTube advertisers we saw an average conversion rate of .16%.  

If your view rate is solid and your CTR is strong, but your conversion rate is weak, then you likely have a few things to experiment with including:

  • Audience targeting. Maybe you're targeting shoppers who want your products, but are unable to buy them. 
  • Landing page. Maybe the landing page doesn’t do enough to fully convince someone that your product will really meet their needs or solve their problems. Or maybe you don’t fully justify the price. Or maybe the landing page doesn’t fully confirm the promises made in the video. 
  • Offers. Maybe you need a more compelling offer to get someone to take action now instead of waiting. 
  • Cart optimization. Maybe the checkout process is slow or confusing. A smooth, mobile-optimized checkout experience is a must for keeping your conversion rates high enough. 

Are my campaigns optimized for scale?

In order to truly scale with YouTube, you need to find audiences and campaigns that are hitting your CPA targets. This does take some time and experimentation. Finding winning campaigns on YouTube is more analogous to baseball than other sports. A great batting average in baseball is 300 or 30%. For YouTube you may find that your win percentage is similar. If you test 10 campaigns, maybe only 3–5 of them really work well at scale. The rest don’t work at all or only work at small spend levels. 

Hitting your CPA goal takes time

It’s very rare to turn on a campaign in YouTube ads and immediately start hitting your CPA targets. You can pretty well count on the fact that for the first few weeks, and even the first few months, of advertising on YouTube results will be spotty. This happens because Google’s smart bid algorithm needs time to learn who is likely to buy your products and who isn’t. Also, you’ll need time to adjust bids and optimize on your end. 

Are campaigns running out of budget?

One of the best signs of potential scale is having a campaign that is limited by budget, but is hitting or approaching your CPA targets. This indicates that you have more you could be spending. Google will identify this for you by showing that a campaign is limited by budget. Google will then give you recommendations for what you should increase your budget to. Here’s a screenshot from a campaign that is doing quite well for a client and currently spending $300 per day. Google is recommending a bump to $900 per day. 

What’s the total impact am I seeing?

Most advertisers look at conversions in their YouTube ad campaigns and look no further. However, this doesn’t tell the full story. Since YouTube is reaching shoppers early in the buying journey, it’s very likely for a shopper to see an ad, engage with that ad, even click on that ad….but not buy right away. For some of our bigger advertisers, it often takes 7–28 days after a shopper views an ad before they actually purchase.  It’s also very typical for someone to click on a YouTube ad and not buy, but then a week or two later search on Google for the product and then purchase after clicking on a search or shopping ad. In addition to watching conversions directly in your YouTube campaigns, you should also consider the following: 

  • Growth in lower funnel campaigns - A few weeks after you start running YouTube ads, you should see an uptick in volume in your branded search campaign and even your Google Shopping campaigns. We often see a 25% + increase in volume in branded search campaigns after the first 4–6 weeks of running new YouTube ad campaigns. 
  • Growth in Google trends - One interesting free tool to use to measure the lift created from YouTube ads is to watch Google trends data for your brand. So visit trends.google.com and type in your brand name and Google will show you how search volume for your brand has increased recently.  This will give you an idea of the impact YouTube ads is having on the number of people searching for you. Here’s a screenshot of the growth we saw for a pretty large advertiser recently. The advertiser was already spending 6 figures per month on Facebook when we started, so the lift we see here in branded search volume can mostly be attributed to YouTube ads. 

  • Growth from other channels - We have one client who reports to us that for every 2 sales they make on their website from YouTube ads, they are also making a sale on Amazon. YouTube will certainly cause customers to buy from your site, but if you also sell on Amazon, you should watch how baseline sales increase after YouTube ads gain some momentum. 

Are you interested in learning more about YouTube? Check out this case study I just completed for Ezra Firestone and Boom by Cindy Joseph. You can also learn more about the new YouTube Kickstart Blueprint I created in partnership with Ezra.