E-commerce advertisers have encountered a whirlwind of new products, features and best practices this year, but we’re just getting started as there’s so much more to look forward to in 2019! We take a look at some of the top trends to look forward to, that will help boost performance and ROI in the new year. #winning
It’s no surprise that video climbs further up the ranks of consumed content, as story formats take center stage over traditional static ads. More advertisers are successfully “layering on” video campaigns on top of their evergreen campaigns. One of our customers, Stubhub, did this using our Video Template feature as a “heavy up” campaign to generate video ads for the MLB playoffs. This garnered an average CTR 2x higher than standard campaigns, with CPAs exceeding core prospecting and retargeting campaigns. ROAS exceeded benchmarks by 37%.
Probably the biggest buzzword - check out our latest e-book and webinar for starters - that has been circulating around the Smartly.io office, but pertinent for e-commerce brands as we are seeing more driving towards incrementality instead of “attributed results”. There has been a behavior shift where e-com advertisers are pivoting more budget into higher-incrementality audience segments, as this helps them understand the difference between attributed and incremental results.
Scaling Creative Automation
How can e-commerce advertisers best manage their fast moving inventory and a growing product base? They crave tools that will facilitate content creation and testing, i.e. creating videos or images for multiple creative variations, being able to instantly test and iterate, and optimize accordingly. Immediacy is key, as there is no “down-time” to wait a week or two for learnings to come through. One of our customers Freshly used our platform to upload a product feed featuring a catalog of different meal selections, to keep track of meals available for ordering. They were easily able to apply ‘badges’ to image templates based on certain categories of food, i.e. high protein, low calorie and vegetarian.
Broad audience targeting
We’re seeing e-com advertisers move away from segmentation and taking a more simplified approach with broader audience targeting. In the case of granular audience targeting setups, you end up with less data on an ad set level, which makes it harder for Facebook to know whom to deliver your ads - broad audience targeting solves this very problem. Facebook auction dynamics are skilled at discovering net new audiences, and we’re seeing better results across our clients when we target a larger percentage of lookalikes with broad interest targeting. Take our customer, The Farmer’s Dog, as an example - we increased spend on targeting by 15%, however were still able to expand our audiences into new prospects while maintaining the same CPA.
A new approach to testing
E-commerce advertisers are applying testing methodologies with a strict learning agenda that covers split testing, lift testing, ad studies and using testing plans. They are setting up their tests and prioritizing them according to potential outcomes. We tailor test and learn agendas to our clients needs, for example The Farmer’s Dog. We performed lookalike seed audience testing, which tested the impact of social proof (i.e. whether the number of engagements on a social media post impacts on performance) and found that social proof didn’t make much of a difference after a certain threshold. Based on these results, they were able to be more agile when testing new creative.