Google Ads

How to Use Dynamic & Standard Remarketing to Maximize Online Sales

Thinking about adding remarketing to your Google Ads strategy? We’ve successfully grown hundreds of brands thanks to effective ad remarketing, and we can do the same for you.

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.

Google Ads

Possibilities and Pitfalls of the Google Marketplace for Amazon Sellers

Possibilities and Pitfalls. Align those words with selling your products outside of the Amazon Marketplace, and it becomes especially intriguing.

Chris Brewer
April 8, 2021
Amazon Ads
Google Ads
Marketing

Possibilities and Pitfalls

I love the juxtaposition of those two words. Align those words with selling your products outside of the Amazon Marketplace, and it becomes especially intriguing. Entrepreneurs love possibility thinking but don't always embrace the pitfall(s) consideration. 

That presents a potential minefield for Amazon Sellers who forge their own way off of Amazon. The possibility of building a recognizable brand, owning your own customer data, and enjoying richer margins (among a few perceived benefits) can cause a preliminary rush into off-Amazon advertising that can leave Sellers disappointed, or at the very least, disillusioned.

Recently, I was asked to appear as a guest for the second time on Norm Farrar's podcast, "Lunch With Norm." If you don't know Norm, he's a popular figure in the Amazon Seller community for his well-produced podcast. His content will keep you on the leading edge. 

The episode we recently recorded was a ton of fun and a must-listen for anyone considering moving to market off of Amazon with Google Ads. It's appropriately titled "Google Marketplace Possibilities & Pitfalls." For those averse to podcasts or who prefer quick takeaways, here are my recommendations to make the most of the possibilities of advertising off-Amazon while avoiding the potential pitfalls.

Possibilities

Each week I speak with one to two Amazon Sellers interested in diversifying their traffic and sales outside of Amazon. They usually explain that they don't want to have "all their eggs in one basket," or a similar idiom. They also see how Amazon has recently hidden its customer data, and they'd like to be in control of who is purchasing. They would also like to use similar audiences and customer match tools that can be utilized with Google and Facebook Ads. 

As FBA fees have increased, 3PL options have also increased. It's now easier than ever to ship your own inventory outside of FBA. Off-Amazon sales enjoy an increased margin of 10-30%, depending on the product. It's easy to see that as an attractive possibility when considering your brand's potential for scale off-Amazon. 

Finally, depending on a wide variety of factors, you're at a lower risk for inventory disruptions and/or account suspensions when you're in control of your own Shopify store (for instance). It seems we're talking to a client each week who has some suspension or disruption on Amazon. Before writing this blog today, I spoke with a potential client who had his top product unjustly suspended for failure to have FDA approval. However, his product is cleared by the FDA universally and doesn't require FDA certification. The product has been "under review" by Amazon for weeks, while the Seller has been losing over $1500 per day in usual sales volume.

At this point, if you’ve previously been averse to advertising off-Amazon on the Google Marketplace, you might be intrigued by the possibility of testing an off-Amazon strategy.  Before you jump into the dark waters, let’s first do a little fishing. 

Pitfalls

When it comes to branching out from Amazon and getting started within the Google Marketplace, you need a solid strategy. You need a solid game plan that checks a lot more boxes than you may be thinking before firing up your Google Ads account and starting to drive traffic. 

It's important to know that, although Amazon is a huge marketplace, Google is still one of the top places that shoppers go when searching online for product information before making a purchase. Now, some recent studies do show that Amazon has caught up to Google in that regard. In addition, product searchers on Amazon are generally further along in the buying process, whereas Google searchers are earlier in the research phase. That's where you have to know the differences in the marketplaces themselves. Those nuances can be pretty big on Google. 

Gone Fishing

I recognize that this view is from a high level, and many will say that Amazon is simply a demand capture marketplace. Here's where we go fishing. One of my greatest memories as a dad is taking my son, Brooks, fishing.  We lived in a small farmhouse on five acres. It was surrounded by ponds full of largemouth bass. If you've never been fishing for bass on a farm pond, it's actually pretty easy. For this illustration, let's call this the Amazon Pond. On this Pond, you can grab a lure out of your tackle box, tie it on your line, and as the sun gets low in the sky, you can reel in 15-20 bass pretty easily.  

Google, however, is much like deep-sea fishing in the ocean. To succeed in the Google Ocean, you need a boat with a motor; you need to stop by the bait store and load up with live shrimp. You'll need great technology like a GPS with a depth finder and sonar to read the bottom. Once you arrive at your spot, you might think you're in the right area, but then you drift a bit, get a bit off target, and suddenly the fishing isn't that great. 

What does this really mean? Well, it means that your trophy fish are on Google, not Amazon. It also means that you need to come prepared because there is so much more to selling successfully off-Amazon in the Google Marketplace. We see this all the time at my winter home in Florida. We see the hopefully energized, but mostly clueless tourists heading out into the Gulf of Mexico. They don't have the right tackle, they don't have the right bait, and they don't know where the best GPS locations are to catch the lunkers.  At the end of the day, we see them motoring past our home, sunburned and spent. 

To succeed, you'll need the skills and experience to know where the fish are and have the right bait to attract them. You can also hire an experienced guide who can help you fast-track your success.  With that as a backdrop, you might have succeeded with demand capture on Amazon by ranking or advertising for searches where the consumer is searching with purchase intent. 

Searches like gluten-free bread or gluten-free prime, or build your own deck, or furniture that have purchase intent behind those queries, whereas, on Google, you can't pay for those kinds of queries, you've got to find the queries that have a purchase intent. When you do find those queries, you're going to discover that everyone else in your niche is targeting those queries as well. That's where you have to make sure you know the right gear will be, among other things, a well-built Shopify site. You're also going to have to pay attention to how fast that site loads, something you never had to think about on Amazon.  We've researched prospect sites that have good potential. Still, they're loading in seven or eight seconds. This has the potential to kill their quality score in Google Ads and potentially hurt the opportunity they might have for organic SEO. 

Brand Story

Finally, what is your brand story?  Does your brand “show well?”  What makes you different? Why should I buy from you?  What’s behind your brand? Who’s behind your brand?  Where are you located? Can I easily return my product? Can I contact you by phone? Those are just a few questions that searchers on Google will want to be answered in a few seconds when they arrive at your home page or product display page. 

Those are just a few considerations that brands off-Amazon should make sure are addressed earlier, not later in the process.  We see this so many times with Amazon brands coming to us. They want to launch on Google, but they're too preliminary, and there is a big potential to waste much money with an unprepared launch on Google. 

At OMG Commerce, we’re happy to have a conversation with you about your move to the Google Marketplace. If you’re in the preliminary stages, we’d be happy to connect you with developers, page speed specialists, and branding experts who can help set you up for success.  If you believe your boat is loaded up with the right bait and ready to increase your haul with Google Search, Shopping, Display & YouTube ads, we’d be happy to find out if we’re the best guide for your next expedition. 

Agency

Culture-Focused: Finding your Second in Command

We have learned a lot over the past 10 years of growing our agency and these insights can help you skip several years of trial and error.

Sarah Edwards
March 11, 2021
Agency
Culture
Marketing
Leadership

In the next series of posts, I’ll answer some questions I received related to hiring a #2 to help with company development and growth, building a team, bringing service management in-house, and OMG hiring/onboarding best practices. We have learned a lot over the past 10 years of growing our agency and these insights can help you skip several years of trial and error, even if you tweak for what best suits your personality and culture.

Q: I run an ad agency much smaller than OMG, but we’ve grown quite a bit. I’m looking to hire someone who can help my company continue to grow, take things off my plate and do so profitably. Up until now I’ve mostly worked with contractors. Do you have any thoughts on where I could start?

I started my career with OMG eight years ago when it was a team of five, with a master's in accounting and no prior knowledge of digital marketing. At the time I had a 19 month old and a two week old, and was just thankful to have found a job that allowed me to work part-time from home. I spent the first eight months cleaning up the books, sending out invoices and paying bills as needed. After eight months I approached Brett and Chris with a personal circumstance that had the potential to impact me professionally, as I was leaving my (now ex) husband and needed to be able to support myself and my children solo. This was an unexpected watershed moment in all of our lives as their decision to make me full-time allowed me to start working in the office, connecting with the team and getting exposed to the actual day-to-day of the business. I very quickly discovered what you likely already know - entrepreneurs are great at building businesses, but not always so great at developing them. New business was coming in on a weekly if not daily basis, but internally there was a lack of structure around pricing, processes, systems, and communication, not to mention hiring, onboarding, and training. Spontaneous decisions and inconsistency in process isn’t that big of a deal for a team of two, but as the team grew, structure was quickly becoming a crucial need. As the person responsible for our books and with so much on the accounting side revolving around the service side, my own need for consistency and structure quickly translated into process development. Over time, I became business manager and then COO, due to my ability to manage both people and processes.

When developing your initial leadership team, first focus on finding (or utilizing) someone who:

1. Shares your culture values.

We were very fortunate that Chris, Brett, and I all share similar values. When we sat down to define our mission, vision, and culture statements, we were in full agreement about what we did and did not want to be part of OMG. That said - not every value comes instinctively in every situation, for any one of us. Our culture is a standard to constantly be striving for, and we can hold each other accountable to it safely knowing we are aligned in the importance of those values. You may find yourself with a partner or team member in leadership who is not in alignment with your mission, vision, or culture values. It may seem like you have no option but to keep working with them, but while this may seem like it saves your business from crumbling in the short-term, it is guaranteed that you will regret it in the long run. A lack of agreement at the leadership level will break things at every other level, often getting deeper and more widespread than you’ll ever know until you finally A) let them go or B) crumble as a result. At the very least you’ll stifle both your fulfillment and potential success. 

It’s also important that each member of leadership has individual proactive autonomy, a true sense of ownership of their responsibilities, combined with a collaborative mentality. This keeps growth constant, delays minimal, and ensures that while everyone is moving forward of their own motivation, they are also committed to maintaining unity by communicating those decisions with each other as they go.

2. Has a combination of people skills and data skills, and balances your strengths/weaknesses.

What OMG didn’t need was another entrepreneur, all gas, no brake personality. They needed someone:

  • who could get shit done AND create processes and systems to help others GSD, who could see the big picture and the gaps in the details and implement what’s needed to achieve the vision. 
  • who had people skills and emotional intelligence, as they needed someone to take over the day-to-day management of the team.
  • who could understand and utilize data to make decisions. Digital marketing is a data-heavy industry, which excites some people and causes others to zone out. It wasn’t a stretch for me (retail+accounting) to enjoy learning about Google Ads and SEO in order to put efficient and effective processes in place. 

Now, just in case it sounds like I was alone in this effort, we had other team members who are also very process oriented and I collaborated very closely with them to create systems and processes (and who are also now in leadership… more on that later!). The primary value I brought to the table was being able to connect the people and the process, internally motivated to ask the hard questions without shutting people down, to question why and how and what we needed to support our team and our clients, and push to implement whatever we needed to become world-class.

3. Has the hard skills to be able to evaluate and make good business decisions (even if they have no digital marketing experience).

Anyone can learn digital marketing - if you find someone that has a questioning, proactive personality who enjoys working with people, processes, and data, that's a great start to building a partner you can rely on. My education in accounting and general business, as well as several years working in the retail industry deemphasized my lack of knowledge and experience in digital marketing and gave me the tools I needed to support the growth and development of the business. That said, I’m a huge believer in learning as much as possible about the actual work of the business no matter the role, both high-level and granular, because increased knowledge makes decision making, process and resource development, and communication that much more impactful. Additionally, my accounting background and initial accounting responsibilities for OMG means that I can’t help but mesh organizational development with financial planning and justification.

4. Is able to have candid conversations with you about the future of your business. 

Brett and Chris are 50/50 partners, and after a few years of growth, having two captains of the ship was taking its toll on the team and causing tension and a lack of unity in vision. Both of them dislike conflict, so it took objective perspectives to help them see the importance and value of defining their roles and responsibilities, a conversation that risks discomfort and tension by its very nature. I don’t like conflict any more than they do, but because I have the back of the team and the business, I was just as responsible to show them the need for the conversation as they were to have it. Your leadership team needs to be given the freedom and safety to say the hard things to you, or you risk limiting the true potential and success of your business. 

Brett then became CEO, and neither he nor I had ever run an agency or grown a business. It has been a learning experience for both of us at every stage of growth. It has been especially important for us to continually communicate and clarify what each of our roles are in order to avoid overlap and confusion with the team and frustration between us when we end up in the inevitable "mom vs. dad" scenarios. The great thing about our working relationship is that we both want to end up at the right place, and are willing to talk through our differing opinions and perspectives to get there. Our willingness to do this with each other, even in front of our team, sets an example of respect, transparency, vulnerability, and accountability from the top down. My directors know they can push back on my vision and perspective safely. Our team members know they can provide candid feedback about processes, roles, and clients without any fear of backlash.  In fact, it’s known to be a bigger danger to the team if they don’t share their perspectives!

You can always find people with experience growing a business through an Indeed posting, but our experience in clarifying our leadership and developing new team roles has been more organic than an intentional search, so I can only speak to that. Keep in mind that the statements I made in this post are my own opinions and are based on my personality and the needs of our business and may not be the exact recipe for success that works for you. However, if you are leading with character and candidness, once you have the right people in the right seats, I am confident you will have great success.

Amazon Ads

Top 3 Amazon DSP Ad Audiences

Amazon DSP ads offer options for targeting shoppers that you just can’t find with other ad platforms.

Brett Curry
February 25, 2021
Amazon Ads
Marketing

Amazon DSP Ads are white hot right now.

Fortune 500 advertisers and up-and-coming Amazon-based brands alike are jumping on the Amazon DSP band wagon. One of the most exciting parts about Amazon DSP ads is the robust targeting options available. Advertisers can let their creativity run wild as they decide who they want to target with their display ads. Amazon DSP ads offer targeting options that you just can’t find with other ad platforms. 


For the uninitiated, Amazon DSP stands for Demand Side Platform. It allows you to run display ads on and off Amazon.com using Amazon’s shopper data for targeting purposes. No other site has a greater understanding of your purchase behavior than Amazon. Now you can target people based on their recent Amazon shopping behavior to deliver your message at just the right time. In this blog post, I want to break down the top 3 DSP audiences for you so you know where to start. For a more detailed look at the platform, take a look at this post that outlines 5 Ways to Grow with Amazon DSP Ads or our Amazon DSP Roadmap Guide.

What makes DSP Different?

Before we discuss audiences, let’s first tackle a few key points that make Amazon DSP different from other online ad platforms.

  • With Amazon DSP, you’re paying for impressions, not clicks. Rather than paying each time someone clicks your ad like you would with sponsored product ads on Amazon, with Amazon DSP ads, you’re paying every time your ad is shown to a shopper. Rather than bidding on a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) basis, you’re bidding on a maximum cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis. Just like the name implies, cost-per-thousand is the price you pay to show your ad to 1,000 people. When you bid at a $5 CPM, as an example, that means you’re paying up to $5 to have your ad shown 1,000 times to shoppers. You pay that CPM regardless of whether 100 people click the ad, or 5 people click the ad or nobody clicks the ad. This can be very affordable if your targeting is set up properly and you’re getting clicks from eager shoppers. It can get really expensive if you’re paying to show your ads to the wrong people or paying to show your ad too many times. Which leads us to our next point. 
  • Frequency caps are important. It’s important to understand how many times, on average, your audience sees your ads. The cost per 1,000 impressions doesn’t mean you’re reaching 1,000 unique people 1 time each. It could mean you’re reaching 500 people with 2 impressions each, or even just 20 people with 50 ad impressions each. If you reach people with too few ad impressions they might not even notice you. Reach them with too many impressions and they will likely get sick of you. Showing your address too many times to the same user, will definitely increase your costs, but not necessarily your return on ad spend. The point of diminishing return is really important to watch with retargeting or loyalty campaigns on Amazon DSP. This is true with any form of retargeting ads, but even more true with Amazon DSP. With click-based retargeting campaigns like you might run with the Google Display Network, it isn’t likely that an individual shopper will click your retargeting ad 5 or 10 times before converting. It happens, but it’s not the norm. We’ve audited Amazon DSP campaigns and found that sometimes merchants are paying for 50-100 ad impressions per shopper on their list! Not only is this annoying for shoppers, but it’s unnecessarily expensive for you as an advertiser. This is where frequency caps come into play. When building or updating your DSP campaigns, you can put a cap on how many impressions an individual user can have of your ad. 
  • Audiences are updated in almost real time. Whether you’re building an audience of people who have purchased a particular product, or who have NOT purchased a particular product or who have only viewed a particular product, know that audiences are updated in near real time. This is important if you’re trying to exclude buyers, which you should be doing with your standard retargeting or cart abandoner campaigns. Knowing that audiences are updated in almost real time helps you know that you aren’t paying to show a retargeting ad to someone who just purchased your product. 

With that context in mind, let’s dive into the top audiences you should consider for Amazon DSP.

Audience #1 - ASIN Retargeting.

This audience is made up of shoppers who’ve visited your product pages on Amazon, but haven’t purchased. Getting to a product detail page usually indicates that a shopper is getting closer to making a purchasing decision. Likely if someone has viewed your product, they’ve also viewed one or more of your competitor’s products. If no purchase has been made yet, then the shopper is still weighing their options. This is where your retargeting ad comes in. For our clients that we manage DSP ads for, all of them are running ads to ASIN retargeting. ASIN retargeting is the audience most likely to convert that you can target. That’s why it’s the number one audience we recommend. If your product pages are like most on Amazon, then 90% of the people who view your products leave the page without buying. ASIN retargeting helps you convert more of those shoppers who don’t purchase on their first visit to your product detail pages. You can also get pretty segmented here by only retargeting people who’ve viewed your products in the last 30 days or even just the last 7 days. You can also target people who’ve viewed a few different ASINs rather than just one. Basically, we can get pretty granular here to maximize our results.

Audience #2 - Repurchasing/Loyalty Audiences.

 If you sell a consumable, or something that people need more than one of, then people who have purchased in the past are often the most likely to purchase again. Past purchaser audiences can be really powerful. It’s usually easier to sell more products, more often to existing customers than it is to just sell products to more new customers. We like to use repurchasing audiences to get people to reorder a consumable product if it’s time to reorder. We also use repurchasing audiences to cross promote related products. Let’s say you sell supplements. You could target shoppers who’ve purchased your protein powder who haven’t purchased your digestive enzyme and show them why they should buy your digestive enzyme. If they love your protein powder, they’re likely to love some of your other products too. There is so much you can do with past purchaser audiences, but you do need to be careful. This is an audience that you could easily over spend on. It’s really important to look at frequency caps so you aren’t bombarding your buyers with an unnecessary amount of ads. 

The next audience is a targeting option that is truly unique to Amazon DSP ads. I wish Google or Facebook offered targeting like this, but they don’t.  You might think this sounds like this targeting option gives you an unfair advantage.  As a longtime marketer, when I first heard about this audience type, I definitely felt like a kid who’d been handed the keys to the candy store.  I do want to underscore that you should start with the first two audiences first before dipping your toes into the next audience...

Audience #3: Competitor Conquesting.

What if you could build an audience of people who’ve visited your competitor’s products on Amazon, but haven’t purchased? What if you could target people who have purchased from your competitor in the past? This is a great Top of Funnel Audience and, while these audiences don’t convert like retargeting audiences do, they still offer a great opportunity to sell more products to very targeted audiences. Once you have your remarketing audiences and campaigns dialed in, we recommend testing some competitor conquesting campaigns as these audiences feed your retargeting audiences. 

These 3 audiences are definitely the place to start when running DSP ads. Just be aware of the KPI’s for each strategy as they are different and will help you track the success of your campaigns. Properly structured, campaigns targeting these audiences can go a long way to help you sell more products. 


Want to learn more about Amazon DSP ads? Check out our free Amazon DSP Roadmap guide.


Agency

Three fresh perspectives when hiring an ecommerce marketing agency

Here are Chris Brewer's three fresh perspectives on what to avoid when hiring a new eCommerce marketing agency

Chris Brewer
February 11, 2021
Agency
Marketing

Breaking the Cycle

Over the past ten years, I’ve had thousands of calls with businesses and eCommerce brands. During that time, I’ve developed a spidey-like sense of intuition to help recognize when the inquiring party has come unprepared or has made some unfortunate choices in previous agency selection. Sadly, these bad experiences have shaped or jaded their thinking. In some cases, it perpetuates the same bad decision making in their next agency hire, and the cycle continues. How do we break that cycle? 

Before we dive into solutions to stopping the cycle, we need to deal with the elephant in the room. In full transparency, articles like this can come across as self-serving. Let’s face it. There’s not a vast amount of Google search volume for “mistakes to avoid when hiring an agency.” However, a quick Google search for “mistakes to avoid when hiring a marketing agency” brings page after page of articles with titles that range from 5 mistakes to” 20 boneheaded marketing mistakes” (thank you Neil Patel). 


With all of those articles on this topic, why are agency owners and thought leaders writing articles addressing this issue? As your humble blog servant, I thought a further investigation was warranted, so I dutifully read most of those articles and blogs. Many of them rehashed the same content or tactfully wrote the suggestions to shine a positive light on why you should hire their agency. No harm, no foul. 

With that as a backdrop, here are my three fresh perspectives on what to avoid when hiring a new eCommerce marketing agency:

Eager vs. Guarded

When you reach out to an agency, what is the initial response you received? How fast did they respond? Was it a template response or a personal response? There is zero wrong with an agency that is eager to do business with you. There is also nothing wrong with an agency that takes a guarded approach. Brands who leaped too fast into an agency that was eager to get right to work realized later that there wasn’t enough front-end work done from a strategic perspective for their unique situation. It’s not surprising then that the feedback I hear is, “They seemed great and eager to work with us, but once we got started, I seemed to be driving all the strategy,” or “I felt like they put my business into a cookie-cutter process.”

When seeking a new marketing agency, please pay attention to the agencies asking more questions and listening more than they’re speaking. Additionally, there is nothing wrong with slide deck presentations on initial calls, but if the deck is more about them than about you, I suggest asking for 2-3 current client references. It’s also great to ask this question. Tell me about the last client that ended the relationship with you.

Not Asking About Company Culture

As a Co-Founder of OMG Commerce (this is the part where it might sound self-serving, so forgive me in advance), I’m most proud of our distinctive company culture. It didn’t happen overnight, and there are moments I can recall from the early years in our business when we did not focus on company culture values. One of the best questions you can ask a prospective agency is this, “Tell me about your company culture and how your culture will fit into our business relationship.” If you get silence on the other side after asking this question, it should speak volumes. 

We talk about our culture with prospective clients because we feel it is one reason we have longer-term engagements and almost zero team attrition than similar agencies in our space. It would be fantastic if more prospects would ask the culture question when seeking a new agency relationship! 

Falling prey to a single customer experience opinion 

One of the wonderful things about the digital world we live in today is the speed of access to opinions and reviews. It can be super helpful when checking out that new restaurant you’d like to go to or investigating product options on Amazon. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a product with less than a 4-star rating. I’ve also avoided any restaurant with a slew of bad reviews. No thank-you food poisoning!

These days, a challenging area for agencies and brands is the number of private mastermind groups and private Facebook groups for eCommerce brands. Recently, I found a review of our agency in a trusted industry forum. It wasn’t flattering. I had to search through my discovery notes on prospects I had spoken to refresh my memory as none of it sounded familiar. After finding the history of the discussion, I was astounded at the way this prospect framed his experience with our agency when in the email communication, I received nothing but “no worries,” “all good,” and “appreciate the help.”  

We were doing our job in vetting this prospect to make sure they were a good fit for our agency. In the end, we determined that they weren’t a good fit and referred them to another agency. The prospect felt we wasted their time. From my perspective, I was relieved we never engaged as the things that were written in the review highlighted some of the reservations we had about working together. The sad part of the review is that I know others will read it and potentially draw a negative conclusion about our agency and never reach out. 

Just as you won’t write off that world-class restaurant because of one lousy diner experience, be sure to look for multiple negative reviews and similar narratives when researching an agency. Besides, suppose others have had positive experiences with that agency in the group. In that case, it’s a good idea to interview the agency and be transparent about your concerns. The right agency will be more than happy to share their side of the story for perspective.

In conclusion

If you haven’t seen similar articles like this blog, I’ve listed the following additional “mistakes to avoid” currently covered in multiple postings in the digital space.

  • Agency is not up-to-date on current ad trends (FB, Google, Amazon etc.)
  • Hiring Specialists vs. Generalists
  • Expecting a similar speed to scale across different advertising channels (FB vs. Google ramp-up)
  • Collaboration vs. Mistrust/Adversarial Relationship
  • Failing to verbalize any discomfort when interviewing an agency

If you’re seeking a world-class eCommerce agency, I’d love to speak with you and find out if we’re a mutual fit. I’d be happy to schedule a free strategy session here. 


Agency

A lesson in client-care from a six year-old

There are plenty of adages and quotes that express the ability to learn from people of all ages, or the benefit of applying an experience to another area of life.

Sarah Still
January 28, 2021
Agency
Leadership
Culture