Advertising Tactics e-Comm Marketers Can’t Ignore When Developing Their Digital Strategy

Guest Author: Jared Jackson, Client Development 

Think about how you make an online purchase nowadays, it’s often a scrupulous process – reviewing products, digesting reviews, inquiring on 3rd party sites until you’ve found the product that fits your standards and needs –

“Digital channels are much more important to driving physical channels than the e-commerce transactions themselves…[it’s] starting to affect the way companies think about the role of digital in driving their whole brand.” – Steve Dennis, President, SageBerry Consulting

As marketers, discovering how your target consumers are behaving in this shift of retail e-commerce allows you to execute precise media buys that find relevant consumers at the most optimal times in their path-to-purchase.

So what are these shifts? The growth and change in e-commerce is the result of a culmination of parts:

  • Technology advancement is allowing the consumer to use their mobile device to make purchases more seamlessly – according to Emarketer mobile commerce is expected to supersede desktop by the year 2021.
  • Social media platforms are becoming the premier partners for direct-to-consumer brands – hyper-relevant 1st party data makes the consumer’s path incredibly transparent making it easier than ever to model, target, and reach your ideal customers
  • e-Commerce is cut-throat – According to Emarketer Amazon is the king of e-commerce, accounting for nearly 4 out of every 10 dollars spent in e-commerce.  In an industry where sales are won and lost by mere inches on desktop and mobile screens, investing in an advertising strategy to get in front of consumers first and more frequently is key.

To keep up with the e-commerce shifts mentioned above, it’s imperative marketers activate the right tactics Have no fear, we’ve made it easy to tell you to get started. Below you’ll find three must-try tactics to get more out of your advertising investments.

  1. Social media advertising
    Social media is the #1 driver of customer acquisition amongst 61% of direct-to-consumer brands according to eMarketer. 
    Using social media for customer acquisition may seem like an obvious must for all e-commerce brands but it’s something marketers continue to struggle with. There are a couple of prerequisites for using social media for customer acquisition. First, you need to have a clear idea of who you are trying to reach. Second, you need a media plan that diversifies ad spending across any social media networks your customers are using. Example: a media plan that includes Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest rather than a plan that focuses solely on Facebook.
  2. In-App Advertising
    According to App Annie, retail app sessions in the US jumped 70% from 2016 to 2018, signaling a notable shift in consumers’ digital shopping habits.
    Mobile commerce is quickly becoming a leading force in driving online retail sales. The barrier has been lifted in regards to aversion downloading mobile apps.  For e-commerce brands, this means two things. More opportunities to collect 1st party data on users of their owned app and more opportunities to reach consumers in an app-based context beyond your owned app. Example: targeting consumers with an offer while they are streaming music or playing a game in-app.
  3. Influencer Marketing
    According to Emarketer, influencers are equally as effective as paid ads are for customer acquisition channels.
    As a marketer looking to invest in influencer marketing, your job is to identify the most important influencers for your brand, whether they are existing customers, industry experts, or celebrities with a niche following. While influencers are often characterized as having high traffic or follower numbers, it’s important not to overlook factors like engagement. After all, engagement is what digital advertising is all about.

E-Commerce and Digital: 3 Considerations for Digital Marketers

About a month ago, I posted a blog about the changing dynamic of digitally native brands. Brands that started and found great success online – think Allbirds, Away, Outdoor Voices – are now shifting their brand position to include brick and mortar stores. At the same time, we’re constantly seeing headlines about consumers, millennials, in particular, shifting more and more toward online shopping. We’re bombarded with headlines like “…malls see tsunami of store closures, falling traffic,” “These haunting photos of the retail apocalypse reveal a new normal in America…” and “Malls are doomed: 25% will be gone in 5 years.”

So, if everything is pointing towards abandoning storefront, why are successful companies investing in these new brick and mortar locations?

It’s no question that consumers are shifting their spending dollars towards e-commerce, consumers will spend $586.92 billion on e-commerce in 2019, representing 10.7% of all US retail spending (a 14% increase from 2018). However, brick and mortar retail still account for the remaining  89.3% of total US retail spending. Brands shouldn’t shy away from opening up brick-and-mortar locations, they just need to 1.) ensure they understand where brick-and-mortar fits within the modern customer journey and 2.) ensure they can reach consumers no matter where they are at along the customer journey.   

The modern customer journey doesn’t start and stop online, today it continues beyond the screen to include in-store experiences and purchases. Here are three things marketers should keep in mind when building out a comprehensive marketing plan that encompasses the entire consumer journey:

1. The customer journey is changing: The traditional customer journey was a straight path outlined as awareness, familiarity, consideration, and purchase. However, with the increase in brand touchpoints, there is no longer a uniform customer journey. What was once a straight line to purchase, is now more of a loop. The customer journey loop requires brands to interact with the consumers long before and long after a purchase is made. Even after a purchase, customers continue to read reviews and look at competitor products, so brands need to continue their conversation and work even harder in hopes of eventually winning that customer loyalty. 

2. Design an omnichannel marketing strategy: Today, the options for brands to tell their stories extends beyond print, out-of-home, and TV placements to include digital advertising buys like display, search, and social. A modern approach to advertising is no longer about reaching people in siloed channels. It’s increasingly about reaching real people with the flexibility to meet audiences wherever the are across the customer journey.

Additionally, brands need to incorporate personalization ads and experiences, based on where a customer is in the journey as mentioned above. For example, programmatic advertising allows brands to target consumers based on the products they’ve looked at, past purchases and so much more.

3. Look beyond 3rd party data alone: There is no single digital tactic that can magically drive growth, but a data-driven marketing strategy is a critical aspect of any successful brand’s marketing DNA. Third-party data has become table-stakes. Thinking beyond third-party data expands the area of opportunities for marketers by enabling them to go beyond a pre-packaged audience. Consider layering on the following data sources to generate audience models that can be used in omnichannel marketing campaigns that help acquire new customers:

  • 1st party CRM data
  • Geo-location data
  • App-ownership data
  • Social media data

With newly emerging touchpoints, like shoppable ads on social media, brands are constantly challenged to stay in step with the modern customer journey. Finding a digital partner that can help you navigate this challenge and can make your job a little bit easier. To get started with streamlining your omnichannel marketing plan, contact us today

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