16 AdWords (Google Ads) eCommerce Strategies to Maximize ROAS

Discover our favorite strategies for improving AdWords (Google Ads) eCommerce performance covering Google Shopping Ads and more. Find out the exact strategy used to maximize ROAS for our clients.

In this piece we’re going to take a systematic look at how we optimize Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) eCommerce campaigns to find the best performing strategies.

We’ll be covering a total of 16 different strategies that apply for Google Shopping ads and Smart Shopping Campaigns, Dynamic Remarketing, Search Ads, In-Market Audiences and finally Dynamic Search Ads.

For each Google Ad type, we’ll be covering:

  • The core strategies we use to get the best return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Use-case scenarios where we’ve seen good results from implementing these strategies.
  • Some of the newest features and product offerings — and how to make the most of them.

Because these strategies all fall inside two of Google’s main product offerings, we’ve split this guide up into two parts:

Part 1: Google Shopping ads

We’ll walk you through 7 different strategies that bring the best ROAS for eCommerce companies. We’ve gone into a lot of depth explaining how you should be building out and optimizing your shopping ads from scratch.

Part 2: Google Search ads

Here we cover 9 of our favorite internal strategies for maximizing ROAS from search ads. We’ll also answer the question: does my company need to run search ads in tandem with Shopping Ads?

  1. Google Shopping Campaigns (or Product Listing Ads/PLA’s)
  2. Google Search ads

First we’ll start with a quick review of the different Google Ads platforms and their use cases. If you know these already, feel free to skip ahead using the links above to get straight to the strategies of choice.

(Who We Are: At Inflow, we work with dozens of eCommerce companies to increase traffic, conversions, and sales. You can talk to one of our Google Ads specialists to see how we can help you increase ROAS. Get started now.)

What’s the Best Google Ads Platform for Selling My Products?

You’re probably already using Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) to sell your products, but if you’re not, it’s important to have a bit of background info on the Google Ads ecosystem.

Google Shopping ads (also known as Google Product Listing Ads, or PLA’s) are probably the best fit if you’re a B2C selling products online.

eCommerce Ads Strategy: Google Shopping ads are useful if you're a B2C selling products online.

All you need to participate here is a product feed and an eCommerce website.

Google Search ads is perhaps the most well-known of the Ads products due to its longevity and it’s where your text ads are displayed when they match keywords you specify.

Search Ads is different to Shopping Ads because of the way the platform operates. Search Ads gives you more control over keywords, and in turn, shows text ads within your Google search results.

Google Search ads give more control over keywords and are displayed with text ads.

Shopping Ads, on the other hand, are based upon your Product Feed — which needs careful optimization to target the right searches. The product feed contains all the necessary information relating to your product: brands, quantities, sizes, colors, and so on.

This renders a shopping-product ad within the Google SERPS, as well as the relevant pricing and review information.

If you’re a big online retailer, you’ll probably be investing most of your paid ad spend on a mixture of Google Shopping ads and Google Search ads. Participating in both platforms often leads to enhanced product visibility across the customer buyer’s entire journey, from research through to purchase.

This is key when you consider how the customer’s research and purchase journey spans across multiple devices and is made up of many micro-moments — even if you’re only running search ads to cover branded queries.

Our Tried-and-Tested Google Shopping Strategies for Maximizing ROAS

Here at Inflow, we’ve helped hundreds of online retailers from all kinds of industries to maximize their return on ad-spend (ROAS). This is the number one goal afterall.

What follows are 8 of the strategies that have worked best for us on Google Shopping ads over the years.

Note: Do You Trust the Reliability of Your Google Analytics Data?

It goes without saying that you need to be 100% sure of the accuracy of any analytics data before you start investing in Google Ads — or in any other kind of marketing activity.

We always spend time digging into Google Analytics, or whichever reporting tool is being used, to ensure the historic data looks clean and there are no nasty surprises.

If we can’t measure performance to a good degree of certainty, we can’t measure the growth we’re about to deliver. (Then we can’t create case studies like this one.)

Having a reporting tool is not a prerequisite, but we love it when a client comes to us with at least 6 months historic data to delve through. (A full 12 months of data is even better when you’re in a seasonal industry.)

1 – Our 3 Tiered PLA Structure: To Bid More Aggressively on Specific Search Phrases to Maximize ROAS

This is by far our favorite way to achieve the best ROAS from a PLA campaign.

In a nutshell, the 3-tiered campaign structure allows you to focus your spend on the search phrases that drive your sales — something which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

There’s no point wasting spend on non-performers: you want to focus on Search Queries that drive the highest ROAS.

Below we’ve listed the 3 step approach we take when building out campaigns using the “Negative Keyword Waterfall” approach:

Step 1: Review Your Historic Search Volume to Find the Search Terms That Drive Your Revenue  

You need to find the search query themes that generate the most transactions for your company.  

The goal here is to create two groups; one that has the high converting search terms, and another with the low – medium converting search terms.

The best performing search queries group will likely contain several branded terms, with specific model names, SKU codes, part numbers, and other searches that show a high purchase intent.

Step 2: Begin with 3 Shopping Campaigns — Tiers 1, 2 & 3 with the Required Priority Levels

We will setup these 3 campaigns with a shared budget, and each with a different priority level.

(Note: When learning this strategy, remember that in this context, priority setting doesn’t reflect the group’s priority, it’s just the order in which Google will cycle-through the campaigns).

Tier 1 will have the highest campaign priority setting, which indicates to Google that search queries should start here.

This tier, like all the others, contains every product available on the site but with many negative search phrases applied (which we’ll come to shortly).

In tier 2 (or campaign 2), we’ll adjust the priority setting to medium and this is where the average to medium performing search terms live.

In tier 3 (or campaign 3), we’ll adjust the priority setting to “low” and this is where the best converting search terms exist.

There are 3 tiers: tier one (high priority, low bid), tier 2 (medium priority, medium bid), and tier 3 (low priority, high bid).

Step 3: Build and Apply the Negative Keyword Lists

In tier 1, we will be applying negative keywords based on the search queries we want active in tier 2 and 3.

By adding these negative keywords to tier 1, it prevents them from landing in tier 1 and pushes them to the next tier in the funnel — Tier 2.

At tier 2, we again add negative keywords but this time only the best performing search terms.

At tier 3, we don’t need any negative keywords applied as any of those lower value search phrases should have been filtered out already from tier 1 or 2. This was the ultimate goal —  to be able to exclude those lesser converting searches and to bid more aggressively on all searches making it to tier 3.

(Note: We’ve seen some agencies get a little zealous with the amount of tiers they create and it becomes very difficult to maintain — the smallest change in any campaign can completely wreck the entire system. For that reason, we typically keep it to a 3 tier setup).

2 – Identify Your Store’s Best Sellers So You Know Where to Prioritize Your Budget

One of the easiest ways to grow your ROAS is to do a deep audit of your Google Ad campaign to identify historic best sellers — then bid higher accordingly.

You can combine this strategy with the tiered approach outlined above in strategy #1, where you bid your best sellers up on the product or product group level.

Take a look at your historic data (if it’s available) and identify those top selling products.

You can also use the likes of Google Analytics to find best sellers and eCommerce conversion rates, plus the relevant ROAS/ROI metrics.

3 – Regularly Audit and Optimize Your Google Product Feed for Better Overall Performance

If you take away just one thing from this piece, it should be this: your Google Product Feed is essential for succeeding with Google Shopping ads.

Auditing your feed is one of the first things we do when working with a client. This is a vital part of the campaign as it’s a vital cog in the Shopping ads algorithm, so it deserves a lot of attention.

We recently wrote a more detailed piece on how to optimize your Google Product Feed that explains exactly why and how you should be optimizing your feed and covers how to setup and execute your campaigns.

In short, you need to ensure your feed contains all the required product information. If not, you risk a) not showing up when people are searching for your products, and b) being charged a higher CPC to show your ads.

Be sure to keep your product title names relevant without keyword-stuffing.

It’s also vital to keep product titles relevant without keyword-stuffing. This not only helps to enhance visibility for those high intent searches, but it also helps to boost CTR from the ads.

4 – Our Mobile-Optimized Strategy for Improved eCommerce ROAS

Our own research has confirmed that mobile shoppers behave differently than desktop shoppers — no surprises there. The actual queries that convert on mobile aren’t necessarily the same ones people use from desktop.

But many eCommerce teams don’t have a specific approach when it comes to mobile users, aside from reducing mobile bids — which can be a wasteful approach.

eCommerce Ads Strategy: Segment mobile customers

We repeat the search query analysis as mentioned in strategy #1 to segment mobile customers so we can determine a historic mobile-only ROAS.

If we find a gap here, we setup our own tiers with the appropriate negative keywords for mobile users. In the end, we may have 6 tiers setup for a client; 3 for desktop and 3 for mobile.

This beats simply adjusting bids on mobile or desktop. It’s a more holistic and strategic approach to optimising for the customer’s device at that moment, and for the entirety of the customer’s journey.

We find it pays to go into much depth with this.

5 – Seasonality Is Often an Untapped Opportunity (Find Those Crucial Periods for Your Client & Bid Aggressively)

If our client’s in a very seasonal industry, it’s crucial to keep time of year in mind and bid on products/product groups within the tiered structure accordingly.

For example, you should bid higher on flip flops in the summer and snow boots in the winter—but the tiers will remain the same.

By bidding higher on the best converting products in summer, you can maximize ROAS during these peak months when there’s a bigger search demand.

And during those quieter periods in winter, we’ll reduce bids but ensure we’ve still got a good presence — so we often find ourselves bidding differently depending on the time of year.

Take one of our wholesale retailers as an example. They operate in the back to school vertical, so understandably they get peak traffic ahead of the new school year. Search behavior changes in the lead up to these months.

We want to ensure we’re visible during periods of high search activity, whilst ensuring budget for the year isn’t exhausted.

We’ve seen this work across a range of seasonal verticals, and it isn’t something that we’ve noticed many other agencies or in-house teams doing.

(Note: It’s important to fully understand the 3 tiered approach before diving into this strategy or the mobile specific one. The inventory listed will need to be the same across tiers, otherwise you may experience leakage!)

6 – Let Google Optimize (With Supervision!) When There’s No Obvious Tiered Structure or Search Query Tiers

Smart Shopping Campaigns utilize a mix of your product feed and Google’s machine learning to take care of campaigns on your behalf.

We like to bundle any products into a Smart Shopping campaign when they don’t necessarily belong to another tier as explained in strategy #1 above.

These are the smaller products, maybe those lower-priced accessories, which can be left for Google to deal with. Google will then optimize for best-fit based on transaction history: but it doesn’t always mean Google will do the best possible job.

We’ve witnessed occasions where there wasn’t much transaction data for Google to use. Then when we saw a couple of mobile transactions occur Google went very aggressive on mobile — and caused ROAS to plummet.

In this case it would’ve been best to wait until there was more significant transaction data available before leaving it in the hands of them to automate.

7 – Using Dynamic Retargeting to Boost Your PLA’s eCommerce ROAS

As annoying as some people might find them, retargeting ads do convert, and extremely well.

Over time they’ve been shown to have a great ROI so they really work well to supplement your search marketing strategy.

The dynamic retargeting feature from Google Shopping enables you to automatically show ads to people who came to your site without completing a purchase.

It makes use of your product feed to determine the products they display and can intelligently group these together based on what’s likely to convert best.

Using dynamic remarketing is a fairly straightforward strategy to skyrocket eCommerce performance — it’s a must for any online retailer.

eCommerce Ads Strategy: Setup dynamic retargeting ads to close the deal
An example of a dynamic retargeting ad

The Best eCommerce Strategies for Google Search Ads

We’ve covered 7 Google Shopping Campaign strategies above in quite some depth.

But whilst it’s easy to forget, running Google Search ads in tandem with Shopping Ads is a good strategy to cover all your bases.

Here are 9 more essential strategies we use to maximize eCommerce brands ROAS from search ads:

8 – How to Best Structure Your Google Ads Account for More Granular Control (And a Better ROAS!)

Often the best way to setup your client’s account is to actually just mimic their own navigation menu.

They’ve gone through the effort to build it out the way they have — so it’s probably been made that way for good reason.

eCommerce Ads Strategy: Structure your Google ads account in a similar way to how they setup their own website navigation.

If they’ve got a top-level page that contains a category of products (eg shoes) and then sub-categories that contain brands (adidas, nike) then it probably makes sense to have a shoe category, and individual brand-specific ad groups within your Google Ads account.

Setting up in the way above saves a bit of time when it comes to structuring the account, and will make budget control easy too.

With this approach you can also get as granular as you like when it comes to ad group and keyword grouping.

It will also help when other people on your team need to dive in to manage the account, as well as keeping things clean for the reporting team later.

9 – Deep Link to Best-Sellers Within Text Ads & Make It Easier for Your Customers to Checkout

Often within your store’s categories, there will be a handful of outstanding, top selling products.

Instead of directing customers to an individual category page it will often make sense to take them direct to the best selling product page instead — that’s usually where they end up anyway.

You could easily have a few text ads setup on rotate which deep-link to a handful of the top-selling products, and simply monitor which ads bring in the most conversions.

You can run A/B tests on this in the background and keep a close eye on the products that really push the needle on your ROI.

This makes the path-to-purchase cleaner for the customer, and helps to improve your Google Quality Score, too.

In this instance, the keyword/search intent, ad text, and landing page experience is all well aligned and optimized.

In the cases where there is no clear best-seller, it would make good sense to direct the customer to the most relevant category page instead. This approach is often used when bidding on the less specific, short-tail keywords.

10 – Have an Industry-Specific (But Agile!) eCommerce Approach and Test Everything

The strategy we use at Inflow for running Google Search Ads will ultimately depend on the industry the client operates in, and of course the eCommerce platform they use.

We’re forced to tailor our approach to suit our clients (and more pertinent: their shoppers) so when it comes to strategy we’re always flexible to changing our tactics to suit what works best.

It’s important to have an agile approach when it comes to eCommerce marketing since things change quickly and the search landscape is constantly evolving. You need to always be open to new opportunities and test everything!

We like to use Google Experiments within Google Ads to test how variations of campaign setups perform versus our original campaign, helping to shape our ongoing strategies.

11 – Don’t Neglect Any Google Ad Extensions, Especially Price Extensions

We always ensure that every possible extension has been built out when a campaign goes live. Setting up all eligible extensions will give you a better Quality Score on your account and enhances your chances of taking up more valuable real estate within the SERPs.

The obvious choice when it comes to eCommerce clients has to be the Price Extension. This will highlight the product price within the text ad when someone’s shopping for your product.

eCommerce Ads Strategy: Be sure to utilize the 'price' extension because it adds more value to your site.

Ensure your account has the following extensions active and optimised:

  • Callout extensions
  • Structured Snippets
  • Promotion Snippets (essential for Black Friday and other sales)
  • Sitelink Extensions

12 – Product SKU’s, Part-Numbers, and Model Numbers Are a PPC Specialist’s Dream

When running search ads, you’ll want to bid heavily on product SKU and other identifier codes, model numbers, replacement part keywords, and so on.

Whilst these might not have a huge search volume when compared to some other non-brand search queries, they’re going to have a super high conversion rate.

Someone entering a search query for “washing machine” or even “best washing machine” is probably going to be fairly high in the purchase process. They’re probably still shopping around and trying to come to a decision about the particular model they want.

But what about someone searching for a specific washing machine model, like “Samsung WW70K5413UX”? You should be throwing your money at Google for that type of search query.

We often scrape our clients product feeds to get a list of these numbers or SKU’s before using Dynamic Insertion within the Headline of the text ad and the Display URL to help boost CTR, as well as using keyword level Final URLs to send the user to the exact product they are searching for.  

13 – Ongoing Scheduled Maintenance and Optimization Is a Must for All Google Ad Campaigns

Let’s say your ROAS is ticking over nicely at 300% each month. While that’s great, it’s not to say it’s bringing in the most possible revenue.

You shouldn’t neglect campaigns even if they’ve got a great ROAS (that 300% could all be based on a few branded search terms and nothing else that’s going to drive your sales).

Ongoing scheduled maintenance and optimization is vital to ensuring your search strategy doesn’t get left to stagnate.

From regularly reviewing the ‘Search Insights’ report and checking in on the ‘Search Impression Share’, while verifying that rogue searches aren’t eating up your budget — there’s always plenty to do.

eCommerce Ads Strategy: Regularly review your reports for accurate information on how your ads are running.

This goes back to strategies #4 and #5: mobile search behavior is different than desktop search, and seasonality is an important factor to consider too.

Checking how those two variants might affect your search campaigns on an ongoing basis wouldn’t go amiss — especially if you’ve got an old account that has gone a bit stale.

14 – In-Market Audiences Offers Keyword Flexibility (And More Aggressive Bidding Strategies)

In-market audiences can be used within your Search Campaigns to ensure your ads are being seen by a wider audience than normal with a different matching criteria applied.

The in-market audiences to choose from can be viewed from this downloadable Google resource and consists of groups of people who are supposedly in the market for a particular product or service.

Let’s take an example of an online retailer of car wheels and accessories. If somebody searches for a product that is similar to one that the car retailer sells, Google will place them in a particular audience group.

Be sure to target a specific audience with your ads.

As an advertiser, you can then choose to target that particular audience group with your own search ads.

It sometimes makes sense to adjust bids according to your audiences, upping them when they match a particular, high-intent group.

It can also give you flexibility when it comes to your keyword strategy — you don’t need to be quite as granular, because you know this person is (in theory) already interested in what you’re selling.

15 – Dynamic Search Ads Suit Clients with a Huge Product Inventory or No Accessible Product Feed

Dynamic Search Ads are perfect for those who have a lot of inventory but not a lot of time to list everything.

The penultimate Google Ads type we’ll share is our strategy for is Dynamic Search Ads.

This is Google’s offering for those with a massive inventory of products to sell, perhaps without the time required to list individual ads for each product.

Using this method, Google’s ad crawler will scan your entire website and create ads automatically based upon what it finds.

That might be a bit too much control for some, but for others it can be a real time-saver.

For us, we love to use it as a tool to create keyword lists in the unlikely case we may have missed some good search terms during our own keyword discovery phase.

(Note: If you do opt to make use of a Dynamic Search Campaign, you’ll want to ensure you’ve added your normal search keywords as negatives to ensure there’s no overlap.)

Ultimately, Dynamic Ads can be a good low-budget and minimal fuss campaign set to run in the background with low ongoing maintenance required.

16 – Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAG’s) Can Reduce CPC and Grow ROAS

Last but not least, Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAG’s) can be a really simple but incredibly effective way to push out the ROAS.

Using historic conversion data, you can quite quickly identify the few keywords which are bringing in most of your revenue (see the 80/20 rule).

These keywords should be listed in their own individual ad groups (1 keyword per group often gives the best results here) with exact match targeting enabled.

Ad texts are then optimised to match that specific keyword, which helps give a great quality score to Google, and hopefully generates a good CTR too.

In your other Ad groups, you’ll want to ensure exact match negative keywords are applied for the terms above to ensure there’s no overlap which may lead to bidding against yourself in the Ads Auction.

Often by making use of the SKAG strategy, you will see a reduction in CPC, and over time you can push more and more spend into the campaign; you’ll want to cover as much of the search demand as you can.

As with all of the strategies listed here, you’ll want to play around and test the above before you jump right in and make any drastic, lasting changes.

ONE Brands Sweet Selling Success on Amazon

ONE Brands, formerly known as Oh Yeah! Nutrition, was founded in 1999 by Ron McAfee. With roots in sports nutrition, ONE has always… > Read More
The post ONE Brands Sweet Selling Success on Amazon appeared first on Retail Performance Marketing Blog -…

ONE Brands, formerly known as Oh Yeah! Nutrition, was founded in 1999 by Ron McAfee. With roots in sports nutrition, ONE has always... > Read More

The post ONE Brands Sweet Selling Success on Amazon appeared first on Retail Performance Marketing Blog - CPC Strategy.

Choosing a marketing automation platform

The proliferation of digital channels and devices can make it difficult for B2B marketers to accurately target prospects with the right messages, on the right devices, at the right times. Faced with these challenging market dynamics and increasing ROI pressure, B2B marketers at companies of all sizes can gain benefits from a marketing automation platform. […]

The post Choosing a marketing automation platform appeared first on Marketing Land.

The proliferation of digital channels and devices can make it difficult for B2B marketers to accurately target prospects with the right messages, on the right devices, at the right times. Faced with these challenging market dynamics and increasing ROI pressure, B2B marketers at companies of all sizes can gain benefits from a marketing automation platform.

MarTech Today’s “B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for B2B marketing automation software platforms and the considerations involved in implementing this software in your business. This 48-page report is your source for the latest trends, opportunities and challenges facing the market for B2B marketing automation software tools as seen by industry leaders, vendors and their customers.

Also included in the report are profiles of the 14 leading marketing automation vendors, pricing information, capabilities comparisons and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing.

If you are a marketer looking to adopt a marketing automation software platform, this report will help you through the decision-making process. Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download your copy.

The post Choosing a marketing automation platform appeared first on Marketing Land.

Changing organizational culture and fostering an experimentation mindset

Inspire, Educate, Inform. These three actions are tools you must use as you scale your experimentation program. You should determine…Read blog postabout:Changing organizational culture and fostering an experimentation mindset
The post Changing organi…

Inspire, Educate, Inform. These three actions are tools you must use as you scale your experimentation program. You should determine...Read blog postabout:Changing organizational culture and fostering an experimentation mindset

The post Changing organizational culture and fostering an experimentation mindset appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

Donald Glover’s Airdrop stunt at Coachella proves experiential marketing gets bolder with influence

Fortune favors the influencer – especially when combined with an unusual experiential marketing tactic and a new pair of sneakers.

The post Donald Glover’s Airdrop stunt at Coachella proves experiential marketing gets bolder with influence appeared first on Marketing Land.

Artist Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) used iOS Airdrop at Coachella to surprise random festival-goers with a photo of shoes he created in collaboration with Adidas. Those who accepted the Airdrop received a free pair of the sneakers – with terms and conditions, of course.

The lucky recipients had to sign a contract stating they would wear the shoes, attend the show, and keep the shoes on all weekend. Experiential marketing in action.

Why we should care

Glover’s Airdrop play comes at a time when experiential marketing is making waves. From Chanel’s Le Rouge Pop-Up to Refinery29’s 29Rooms funhouse, brands are finding ways to invite customers into their story.

But the creative experiences are only part of the strategy. In Adidas’ case, the brand leveraged Glover’s celebrity to influence an audience that was already tuned in (literally). The Airdrop tactic was simply an unexpected and delightful conduit bringing fans to the product.

Before launching an experiential strategy, we should consider what resources are appropriate and available to rally awareness and engagement. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned about tangible experiences, it’s that delivery and perception can be everything.

The post Donald Glover’s Airdrop stunt at Coachella proves experiential marketing gets bolder with influence appeared first on Marketing Land.

The Amazon Ecosystem – Winning the Buy Box

The Amazon ecosystem consists of three primary components: owned media, paid media, and earned media. Optimizing each piece of that ecosystem is necessary to run a successful Amazon program. However, there’s a key component that also underlies success …

The Amazon ecosystem consists of three primary components: owned media, paid media, and earned media. Optimizing each piece of that ecosystem is necessary to run a successful Amazon program. However, there’s a key component that also underlies success on Amazon and doesn’t necessarily fall into any of those three categories: winning the Buy Box.

Winning the lucrative Buy Box, or being the seller prominently displayed to customers on an Amazon product page, provides a major competitive edge. According to Big Commerce, Amazon reports that 82% of sales come through the Buy Box, and that the percentage is even higher for mobile purchases.

So how do you win the Buy Box?

Thankfully, many of the best practices for winning the Buy Box overlap with general best practices on Amazon. Not surprisingly, Amazon wants to promote experiences that will make shoppers happy and align with their customer-first mentality. While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the key components that factor into winning the Buy Box:

1) Account Health

Amazon looks at several aspects of account health when determining Buy Box eligibility. The key metrics they call out specifically are Order Defect Rate (ODR), Cancellation Rate, and Late Shipment Rate. These metrics can be accessed in the Account Health section of the user interface (UI). The idea is to keep these metrics at or as close to 0% as possible, but there are distinct key thresholds for each:

2) Order Volume

To become Buy Box eligible, Amazon “requires that you have sufficient order volume” so they can accurately assess your performance. The exact volume of orders is not specified, but we do know it varies by category.

3) Competitive Pricing

Part of Amazon’s value proposition is offering low prices to its customers and a low price on the Buy Box is more likely to drive conversions, so it’s no surprise that this is a key component. Amazon looks at “landed price”, which equates to unit price plus shipping fees. Amazon offers several tools and reports to understand how your price compares to competitors, including the Manage Pricing page, the Pricing Dashboard, and the Selling Coach Pricing Report.

While having a low price is helpful for winning the Buy Box, it’s important not to think of your Amazon strategy in a bubble. Offering lower prices on Amazon than on your site could cause overall site conversions to decline and harm the success of other programs, like Google Shopping, where your own site’s products may show alongside your products on Amazon. It’s also important to have internal strategic pricing discussions around whether lowering prices on Amazon is aligned or in conflict with your brand’s broader pricing strategy.

4) Shipping

Sellers that offer more attractive shipping options, like Prime or free shipping, are more likely to win the Buy Box. Better shipping options increase the likelihood of a product to convert while also benefitting the customer. Different fulfillment methods can play a part as well, with Amazon typically favoring advertisers using Fulfillment by Amazon.

The Buy Box’s impact on Paid Media

Winning the Buy Box is required to run Sponsored Product ads on a given product. Because of the order volume aspect of winning the Buy Box, this often means that a product needs to show at least some promise organically before it can be pushed via Sponsored Product advertising. Having strong owned media, like product details and images, can help improve your organic ranking on Amazon to get that traction.

If you’re driving customers to a product detail page for an item where you’re not winning the Buy Box, you’re essentially helping to increase sales for whichever competitor is winning the Buy Box. To make matters worse, your reporting will still show that a click on your ad drove a sale on that product, even if the sale went to a competitor.

The Buy Box’s impact on Earned Media

As mentioned earlier, 82% of sales happen through the Buy Box. Several key pieces of earned media, including reviews and order volume, can be greatly enhanced by generating more sales. Winning the Buy Box also creates opportunity to increase another earned media element, detail page views, by enabling Sponsored Product advertising and creating an ideal scenario for Sponsored Brand advertising. These ads play a key role in driving customers to your product detail pages.

Want to learn more about the Amazon ecosystem? Download our new Amazon Advertising Strategy Guide to find out earned, owned, and paid media interplay to form an Amazon ads program.

[CRO Report] High Anxiety vs High ROI: 1350 Website Experts Weigh In On Marketing’s Biggest Missed Opportunity

We’ve always thought that great research uncovers secret behaviors. What we (Crazy Egg and Nonfiction Research together) uncovered in this study is that marketers are secretly skipping over a simple practice that — in 15 minutes a week — could answer a…

CRO Report: High Anxiety VS High ROI: 1350 Website Experts Weigh In On Marketing’s Biggest Missed Opportunity

We’ve always thought that great research uncovers secret behaviors. What we (Crazy Egg and Nonfiction Research together) uncovered in this study is that marketers are secretly skipping over a simple practice that — in 15 minutes a week — could answer a lot of the challenges that keep them up at night. It’s a perspective […]

The post [CRO Report] High Anxiety vs High ROI: 1350 Website Experts Weigh In On Marketing’s Biggest Missed Opportunity appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Responses to Negative Data: Four Senior Leadership Archetypes.

Not everything a company does works out. (That is different from everything that a company is doing not working out. :)) If you are in the data business – my bread, butter and tofu – you often carry the burden of being the bearer of bad news. The conversion rate is down 30% at launch. […]

The post Responses to Negative Data: Four Senior Leadership Archetypes. appeared first on Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik.

Not everything a company does works out.

(That is different from everything that a company is doing not working out. :))

If you are in the data business – my bread, butter and tofu – you often carry the burden of being the bearer of bad news.

The conversion rate is down 30% at launch.

The goal was to deliver a 30% increase in revenue, the team delivered 1.7953%.

During 2019, our Net Promotion Score has dropped 15 points.

The average length of our video ads is 30 seconds, less than 10% of the audiences watches beyond 5 seconds and 90% is exposed to less than 1 second.

Our Market Share in the 2-ton truck market shrunk by 1.5% (= -$3 bil).

Negative data.

Accurately collected. Intelligently analyzed. Factually presented.

Sadly still, negative data to the person/team receiving it.

Why be hurtin’?

A decade ago, data people delivered a lot less bad news because so little could be measured with any degree of confidence.

In 2019, we can measure the crap out of so much. Even with the limitations of tools, government regulations, and the astonishing fragmentation of everything (attention, devices, consumption sources, identities and more).

Companies have also evolved to be significantly more complex beings, who have to do so much more than what they did 50 years ago. Think of all P&G had to do to sell soap 50 years ago, think of everything they are doing now. Add on top of that, where P&G could sell soap, the purposes it could sell soap for, and imagine both of those things now. It is a lot of stuff!

When you do that much stuff, and you can measure almost everything… The result is that our ecosystem of data people are returning a lot more negative data when measuring performance of Marketing, Sales, User Experience and Customer Service.

Let me repeat this one more time: It is not that companies have slowly over the last decade started to suck more (well, maybe some). It is that we are able to analyze and identify bad performance with greater accuracy.

While that change has occurred, two things have obstinately stayed the same:

1. Company cultures are rarely open to hearing anything negative.

2. The top leaders in your company grew up, succeeded, and were promoted during the era of no data (and hence a ton less negative news). They are not natively wired to receive data-delivered reality checks.

The combination means no red carpet for negative data. It is not hard to see that a modern large corporation is likely missing out on the benefits of all they should know about their business through data. It also results in a depressing existence for data people.

Short-term, this let’s not listen to the negative data strategy sometimes actually works. No one is telling the Emperor he is naked, and the Emperor is delighted everyone loves his clothes so much.

Long-term…. : (

Four Negative Data Leadership Archetypes.

The solutions to this big opportunity have many dimensions.

I want to focus on the massive “make or break” dimension: #2 above, with Extremely Senior Leaders (ESLs).

Through their words and actions, ESLs can quash data's learn to improve spirit, or they can nurture that spirit and deliver a transformative, positive impact on the company's culture + profit.

In my work with clients around the world (all continents except Antarctica), I’ve encountered a whole host of reactions to when I have shared negative data with ESLs. From the patterns in those reactions, I’ve developed four archetypes of leaders.

While people are never starkly black and white, they typically have a dominant archetype – the one they most frequently demonstrate.

I’ve also observed cultural implications that each leader-type ends up creating from their reactions to negative data. For three of the four, I’ve seen individuals successfully navigate the leader-type – never without scars though – and individuals emotionally burn-out due the environment the leader creates.

Today, I want share the four leader archetypes with negative data as the lens. Included below is my accumulated wisdom, with the hope that you’ll fall in navigate category and not the crushed one.

Ready?

Archetype #1: The Bubble King (/Queen).

Archetype #1: How they react:

This individual lives in a bubble, so their reaction to any data is… Nothing. Data, unless it is super-positive, never makes it to them. Bubble Kings are comfortable making decisions that sound good – decisions just as likely to be informed by their long experience as the quest for shiny objects.

Bubble Kings most commonly reside in organizations where there is little to no accountability (or misplaced accountability, ex: celebration of vanity metrics).

Their most common reaction to negative data, if it makes it through, is to try to discredit it by asking analytically-nonsensical questions: What are the p-values of your multi-channel attribution model applied to performance of my strategy?

Archetype #1: Cultural implications:

In small or medium sized companies, Bubble Kings (/Queens) have short reigns. Not all that hard to imagine why – you don’t listen to data, ignore reality checks, and the transparently oriented accountability loop ensures there is nowhere to hide.

In large companies, or teams with massive budgets, Bubble Kings (/Queens) have long reigns. The accountability loops are larger, less transparent, and the natural large-company multi-layer organization complexity does not help. Typically a change in the C-Suite layer above will transition them out of the company (fresh eyes, sunshine … call it what you will).

However, while they still reign – since feelings matter more than data – sycophantic behavior is common and often encouraged.

Archetype #1: How to deal with them, their org:

Data will never play any impactful role on strategy. Since Bubble Kings live in a, well, bubble, you can often form relationships and influence at lower levels in a Bubble King’s org, and you can have a positive influence on tactics. Absolutely take advantage of it.

If you want to get promoted, give up the quest to identify factual real-world performance and focus instead on proving that the Bubble King's decisions deliver excellent results. Don't compromise on your ethics. But on this blog and in my newsletter I’ve shared enough strategies you should not use to slant data – use them.

[Bonus Reads: A Great Analyst's Best Friends: Skepticism & Wisdom! & TMAI #154: Irrationality, Cognitive Bias, and Us.]

Archetype #2: The Attacker.

Archetype #2: How they react:

They attack.

They attack the data. They attack your knowledge. They attack your intent. They bring up that one time in 2013 when your analysis missed an important assumption. They attack your personal attributes.

In the face of factual negative data related to their decisions, they will counter-attack. At times, harshly. Sometimes they counter-attack, in a twist of irony, by trying to drown you in enormous detail and minutiae.

You will be branded Ms. Bad News or Mr. Not A Team Player or some such ugly moniker.

Archetype #2: Cultural implications:

In extremely senior positions, Attackers fuel the creation of a culture where no bad news ever filters through. When business performance is non-positive, every employee, at every level, will work super-duper hard to look at every dimension of data to find any semblance of good news (no matter how small). Only this good news will make it to the top (Attacker ESL).

A typical example: The entire house is on fire but the analysis of that situation will focus on the one unsinged rose in the font lawn and how beautiful the rose is.

Attackers lead can last for a surprisingly long time in an organization, for a whole host of strategic reasons (as I’m confident you’ve observed as well).

Archetype #2: How to deal with them, their org:

If you are a data person and you are in a small organization lead by an Attacker, you need to update your resume and find a way out. There is no hope for your career (or emotional positivity).

If you are a data person and you are in a large organization lead by an Attacker, also update your resume. If, for any number of valid reasons, you are stuck there my advice is to focus your analytical efforts exclusively on the Attacker's biggest fears. It might take a little bit of effort to discover them, but it is so worth it. Even an Attacker has a point at which their instinct for self-preservation kicks in, in those rare (often hidden) situations they’ll be open to negative data.

And this is key: If you can provide solutions and not just data, you might even become a trusted adviser. This will do nothing to advance your acquired negative branding of Ms. Bad News, nor will this change the broader team/company culture… But…You'll have an impact with data, providing a pretty decent existence in an Attacker created culture while you look for a way out.

Archetype #3: The Rationalizer.

Archetype #3: How they react:

Their trigger instinct in face of factual negative data is to make excuses. To provide context. To identify circumstances to blame. To poke holes in the data/methodology (regardless of the Rationalizer’s analytical competence). To create enough uncertainty to fuzzy up any negative – or remotely negative – data.

If we were stack rank the four types, the Rationalizer would come on top as the most undesirable leader (often corrosive for the institution).

You might think it would be the Attacker. It is the Rationalizer because their approach to dealing with negative data is not as overtly corrosive. A Rationalizer subtly sows doubt. They dilute the analysis with non-facts. They force the inclusion of non-related nonsense in the quest to paint a fuller picture. At their worst, they commonly turn diamonds into coal.

Archetype #3: Cultural implications:

Everything data people do to highlight reality, to bring truth to the fore, to identify positive solutions from negative data, will be discounted, buried, and compete for impact with faith. Questionable analysis and slanted views will have equal footing with the most factual and intelligent analysis.

When people say "this team’s culture runs on BS," they are describing an organizations run by a Rationalizer.

Status quo will rule the day in such organizations, unless there is a big external force that creates change. The operative instinct is to maintain mediocrity with just enough reality massaging flowing upstream to ensure existing mediocrity is not utterly obvious.

One identifying attribute of Rationalizer organizations is the overwhelming abundance of data pukes. Why? Data pukes do nothing to make an organization intelligent, while providing the feeling of competence and productive output.

Archetype #3: How to deal with them, their org:

Rationalizer org’s are hardest to deal with because you are not obviously being ignored (Bubble King) nor are you being openly challenged (Attacker). You are just constantly being undercut to the point where the data represents a watered down version of an adjacent reality.

If you are a data person full of courage and determination, find the largest element of the business' strategy and unpack the power of strategic analysis to present factual data. Lead with as many things as you can find that are going right, then follow that with the most material two things that are factually not going right. Present the collection directly to the Rationalizer if you can.

On that note… Since the Rationalizer is an ESL (Extremely Senior Leader), it is quite possible that you have to work through many layers of people in-between you, my peer data person, and them. In a Rationalizer’s culture, every layer you go through will instinctively take the material two negative news and will try to kill it or fuzzify/massage it. In these cases, if you can make cosmetic changes to pass each layer, do so. Don't give up on the core of the positive and negative stories.

When you are in the presence of a Rationalizer, bring overwhelming analytical competence – there is no better way to deal with their reactions (see above). A Rationalizer never gives up trying to rationalize every small bit of negative data, persistence is a virtue that’ll come in handy.

Keep in close contact with your soul. At some point you’ll find it is sapping, it’ll be your clue that you need to find it a different professional environment.

Archetype #4: The Curious One.

Archetype #4: How they react:

In face of negative data, the Curious One asks you questions to understand the why behind what you are presenting.

If a period has elapsed where the data person has demonstrated competence, the Curious One does not question the analytical approach of data collection methodologies (they trust you to have applied fanatical quality control). The Curious One demonstrates, well, curiosity about what biases might be in the data or what assumptions you might have made.

They have two critical attributes: 1. They demonstrate open mindedness in the face of negative data. 2. Their posture is not to instinctively blame (backwards looking), but rather the posture is to identify and fix (forwards looking).

Archetype #4: Cultural implications:

Due to the demonstrated behavior at the top, open mindedness is usually encouraged in organizations led by Curious Ones.

Negative data is never a delightful experience, but the trust fostered amongst senior leaders results in a lot more truth telling, and is as good of a welcome mat as will ever be provided to the data people.

It might seem odd that in such a positive posture to negative data that there is still accountability, but incredibly in my experience it exists in spades in such organizations. It flows down from the clear measurable goals, an empowered data organization, and a close and direct partnership with different leadership levels (VPs, Directors, Sr. Managers).

Archetype #4: How to deal with them, their org:

Pinch yourself every day.

Don't take your position for granted. Invest in self-learning every week – even couple hours a week – to ensure you can keep pace with the demands for sophisticated analysis which will be expected at an agile pace.

You know my Care-Do-Impact model for analysis and storytelling. Organizations led by the Curious Ones are the very best places for you to slowly migrate your sophistication in Do and Impact. This, in turn, means that your demonstrated sophistication will open up new career options, for example becoming a business line leader or moving on to the strategy side of the house. Joyous outcomes for you, your company, and your company's customers.

Two Inspiring Examples | Curious One Archetype.

Paul Polman.

One person who demonstrated Curious One behavior to me was the recently ex-Global CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman. I had an opportunity to spend time with him and his leadership team. My role was to be a challenger, to share stories about what Unilever did well and focus on the challenges faced by vividly demonstrating things they did not do well. The latter part of the story qualifies as negative data.

It would be normal CEO behavior to be defensive, to pick the story apart, to make excuses. But, no. Through his words and actions to me and his brand CEOs, Mr. Polman demonstrated every attribute of the Curious One. This opened mind share required to re-imagine the future.

As with inspiring leaders, there is a whole ton lot more as to why I admire Mr. Polman.

Alan Mulally.

Mr. Mulally’s stewardship of Boeing and Ford is legendary. I want to share one story that Mr. Mulally shared with us in a meeting (and in his book).

When he got to Ford he instilled the same colored charts approach to identify what's working and what needs more attention. All the charts Mr. Mulally got were color coded green (#everythingisawesome). The problem was that Ford was on track to lose $17 billion dollars that year. Ford's culture was such that business leaders would hide problems, therefore making issues "disappear." Mr. Mulally set a different tone of honesty and looking at negative data as an opportunity to improve/change/fix (classic Curious One approach). In next meetings, things slowly started to turn Red… and Yellow… and some real Green.

There is a lot more to Mr. Mulally's turnaround of Ford. Eleven principles actually (buy the book!). But in this anecdote you can see the central reason that I adore him, and the leadership skills that can turn even the most intractable business problems in some of the largest companies on the planet.

A Plan for Action.

Humans are complicated beings.

No individual is just one black and white type.

Yet, humans, at least professionally, tend to demonstrate a dominant type. It is what they are natively comfortable with.

With that in mind, a suggestion for a plan of action…

Leader.

Introspective is in order. Assume you are doing this only for your own selfish benefit reasons, no one else has to know.*

Take a quiet moment.

Reflect on what your dominant type is: Bubble King or Attacker or Rationalizer or Curious one.

Once you do that, consider the impact that your leadership posture is having on your team, on your data people, on the ability of negative data (or negative anything) to help stop/rethink strategy, and indeed on the corporation.

The global maxima is that you consider a personal shift towards exploring the benefits of evolving to become the Curious One type (if you are not there already).

An incentive is that at some point in a long career, one does tend to reflect on the personal impact of one's professional accomplishments. In that moment, on that day/week/month/rest of your life, realizing the heart-breaking impact you delivered by being a Bubble King, Attacker or Rationalizer does deliver a heavy emotional burden and a personal crisis. So. Not. Worth it.

There is a meme that people can't really change who they are. You'd be surprised how untrue that is.

* Your team already knows what type you are. You might as well be honest with yourself for all the benefits that will come.

Individual.

Self-reflection is in order for you as well.

Set some quiet time aside so that you can consider the how they react and cultural implications demonstrated by the leader who has the biggest influence your personal work. (Sometimes this is your direct manager. Other times it is someone a few levels above yours.)

In your mind only, assign the archetype (BK, A, R, CO) to the leader. That act will bring clarity as you ask yourself these three questions I recommend…

What is your behavior in response to that dominant leader?

Is it as suggested in the how to deal with it section of each leader type?

What will it take for you to change your behavior to optimally deal with the situation you are in?

Make a specific plan.

Act on it. Life is short.

It is always better to be on a path chosen after careful self-reflection and planning, even if you find yourself in an undesirable situation. It might not deliver world peace, but it will reduce your emotional burden.

Bottom-line.

We've used leader reaction to negative data as a vehicle to discuss creating an optimal professional path for ourselves (as leaders or as individuals).

The framework I've shared, how they react, cultural implication, and how to deal with it, can be applied to multiple dimensions of our professional ecosystem. Give it a try.

If you are a leader, if you have a choice, be the Curious One. Here are a recap of the benefits: 1. Lighter personal emotional burden. 2. Cultures where the goal is not blame, it is making progress. 3. People who love you (yes, love, in a workplace!) and will help you deliver transformative results – in good times and bad.

So. Worth. It.

Good luck!

As always, it is your turn now.

What archetype identifies the most influential leader in your organization? If you are a leader, what archetype is reflective of your impact? If you’ve successfully worked inside organizations lead by a Bubble King (/Queen), Attacker, Rationalizer… What worked, what did not work? Have your seen a leader transform into a different archetype – do to an HR-induced or personal induced change? What worked, what did not work? Is there an archetype you would have created, if we are looking through the lens of negative data?

Please share your reflections, critique, culture-shifting strategies, and tips for individuals or leaders via comments.

Thank you.

The post Responses to Negative Data: Four Senior Leadership Archetypes. appeared first on Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik.

Bridging Departmental Silos to Harness People-Based Marketing Transformation

barriers to cross-team coordination and collaboration. As companies find themselves forced to re-invent and adapt to keep pace with the ever-empowered consumer in our “C2B” (consumer-to-business) economy, bridging (not necessarily breaking) these funct…

barriers to cross-team coordination and collaboration. As companies find themselves forced to re-invent and adapt to keep pace with the ever-empowered consumer in our “C2B” (consumer-to-business) economy, bridging (not necessarily breaking) these functional silos are a key ingredient to successful people-based marketing transformation.

KPI Alignment

A common barrier that fuels silos is when each department is incentivized by and measured upon a different, often competing, set of operational KPIs and metrics. A recommended approach is to establish and align teams around a common, customer-centric measurement framework that clearly links strategic corporate objectives to operational goals to desired customer outcomes and experience KPIs. Create transparency and cross-team education around the KPIs that drive success for each team, especially adjacent functions who must work closely together. KPIs that are more closely aligned to a unified customer journey and plan will increase the focus on desired customer outcomes rather than focusing on tactical, channel or department-level outcomes.

Departmental silos, while not entirely undesirable in and of themselves, can get in the way of delivering exceptional, cohesive customer experiences. Collaboration does not always arise organically and requires the support of an executive leadership and governance structure, as well as calibrating and clarifying processes, roles, ownership, and KPIs to optimize handoffs and build shared understanding across different functions. Without these operating model elements, departmental silos will become a key hurdle in the journey to people-based marketing transformation.

Want to learn more? Check out Merkle’s 2019 Marketing Imperatives here

Supermetrics for BigQuery launches on Google Cloud Platform Marketplace

Tired of manually connecting siloed data to create marketing reports? Supermetrics for BigQuery launches marketer-friendly solution for creating your own marketing data warehouse.

The post Supermetrics for BigQuery launches on Google Cloud Platform Marketplace appeared first on Marketing Land.

Supermetrics for BigQuery enables marketers to bring together cross-channel marketing metrics in one platform.

Supermetrics has launched a connector for BigQuery, promising a “plug-and-play” solution for marketers to compile cross-channel campaign and analytics data with just a few clicks.

What it does. Supermetrics for BigQuery is designed to bring data from multiple marketing platforms into BigQuery — effectively setting up a BigQuery data warehouse without having to write code or SQL or rely on developer resources.

“This new product complements our existing offering by providing a robust, enterprise-scale data pipeline into the most powerful data warehouse out there, Google BigQuery,” said Mikael Thuneberg, founder and CEO of Supermetrics, in a statement.

Why we should care. The ultimate goal is to be able to make better decisions about marketing allocations faster. Getting data from multiple channels into one place where it can be analyzed is often a big headache for marketers. Eliminating the need to know how to code or write SQL, or rely on programmers and developers to create the data warehouse, means just about anyone on your marketing team might be able to get this going. Of course, you’ll need to be using BigQuery.

The post Supermetrics for BigQuery launches on Google Cloud Platform Marketplace appeared first on Marketing Land.