Ask Me Anything - SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing Experts Discussion

Dec 14, 2021 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

We are seeing a lot of changes in the digital space from concerns about campaign performances, managing attribution to growing and advertising on TikTok and more. These affect everyone, whether you are a new brand seeking the right platform for aggressive growth or an established brand looking to scale and consolidate your marketing efforts.

As you finalize your digital marketing plan for 2022, consider these: do you have the latest update about media platforms that offer the highest return on ad spend? What about the changes to the Google algorithm and iOS updates? Do you know how they impact your campaign and SEO efforts?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant is joined by Jordan Brannon from Coalition Technologies. They discuss the challenges around campaign performance, managing attribution, advertising on retail platforms, marketing on TikTok, the right platform for launching a new brand for aggressive growth, and more.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • The highest ROI campaign today
  • Campaign performance and SEO changes to expect due to iOS updates
  • How is core web vitals impacting your rankings?
  • The #1 marketing lever to pull for 2022
  • Managing attribution
  • Must-have elements to drive conversions for a new website
  • Which paid media platforms offer the most return on ad spend?
  • Growing an audience on TikTok
  • The rise of advertising on retail platforms
  • Planning your digital marketing budget for 2022
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Event Partners

Coalition Technologies

Coalition Technologies is a leading SEO, PPC & web design agency in the United States that does a variety of work across leading eCom platforms including: Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Vtex, and others.

Connect with Coalition Technologies

Guest Speaker

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon LinkedIn

President at Coalition Technologies

Jordan Brannon is the President of Coalition Technologies, a company that provides SEO services in digital marketing, design, web development, and PPC advertising. Jordan’s expertise in digital strategies has shaped his career for more than a decade, where he focused on developing solutions that allow for more qualified leads, better traffic conversion, and SEO optimization.

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Event Moderator

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon LinkedIn

President at Coalition Technologies

Jordan Brannon is the President of Coalition Technologies, a company that provides SEO services in digital marketing, design, web development, and PPC advertising. Jordan’s expertise in digital strategies has shaped his career for more than a decade, where he focused on developing solutions that allow for more qualified leads, better traffic conversion, and SEO optimization.

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Tuesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder, Managing Director at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands to do exactly that we network and now we share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it might be, that's shaping the digital landscape. Today, I talk with around 30, maybe a little more than that brands every week to stay on top of those trends. When the same topics come up over and over again, we host an event like this, I think a lot of you know, maybe a lot of them are on Zoom, a lot of them are on go to but sometimes it's just fun to go old school back to just a simple dial in so no worries about cameras coming on or anything like that. You know, a couple of housekeeping items, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour, we're gonna wrap up with three to four minutes to go in the hour, give everybody plenty of time to gather their next meeting without being late. And the other thing is, at any point in time, if you have questions, you can hit star five, handle go up on the screen here. We can just unmute you and bring you in. Or you can always email me questions. Aaron, And we can get questions answered that way as well. This is kind of like a really cool end of year. Ask me anything. We have so many random questions just coming in right now that we just like eight Why didn't I have a specific topic? Let's just do kind of it and ask me anything. So literally, anything in the space. Don't hesitate, hit star five, we'll just unmute you and brigade and then or just email it, email me, Aaron So anyways, we have a great friend, great partners, supporters of the network and a ton of brands in the network. Just been supporting us for probably four years now. Jordan and the team over at Coalition Technologies and Jordans like hey, I'll jump on. And we can swing questions at him for the next hour or so. But Jordan, you know, you're awesome. You know how much we appreciate you. We'd love you know, if you have a you want to jump in a brief intro on yourself and Coalition. That would be awesome. And then we can kind of jumped into the asking anything portion sound good.

Jordan Brannon 2:27

yeah, perfect. So my name is Jordan Brannon, President, Co-founder of Coalition Technologies, our a LA Headquartered but globally based digital marketing and eCommerce focused agencies doing everything from design and development through maintenance and support and all the way down the line through SEO and pay per click and email. We've got about 250 people today. So that saves me some some misery and trying to know everything and try and put ourselves in a position where we have experts, we're able to address a lot of the different questions and concerns that come in as as they come in. So kind of a fun, fun time of year for us. We're kind of mostly recovering from the Black Friday, Cyber Monday cyber week hangover, and it was extended basically the whole month of November. And so but yeah, doing really well.

Aaron Conant 3:20

Awesome, awesome. So let's go ahead and kick it off. And just for those who join in, just hit star five, if you have any questions in this space, you know, so let's kick this off. We're at, we're at this point has Black Friday, Cyber Monday, cyber 535, whatever we might call it, right, we're on the other side of it things I don't know if they're really slowing down. But if we don't have things in place at this point in time, and we're not getting them in place, whether that's inventory or the assets created. You know, I just want to like kind of the the some of these questions that have come in and just a reminder, everybody just hit star five, we'll meet you and bring you in. As we tackle some of these. You know, I'm just going to kindly randomly fire some of the ones that I've written down and then we'll handle others as they come in. That sounds cool for you.

Jordan Brannon 4:11

Perfect. Yep. referral.

Aaron Conant 4:13

So the first one is around marketing campaigns. Right? If I look back through 2020, people just threw money at Digital, kind of right, there's this huge shift, just make something work. tons of cash is thrown there as we hit 2021 A lot of people now what does that look like? Give me Give me the data behind it. So you guys deal with a ton of brands, like what's the highest ROI marketing campaign advertising strategy, you know, as a whole that you're seeing today? That's where a lot of people are sad to remind me that right and

Jordan Brannon 4:50

yeah, they have to show that worse. Yeah. So I guess it varies. Maybe it's the sort of the kind of exit through the decide door there is is it varies quite a bit. But the highest ROI kind of campaigns that I think we're seeing lately are, you know, probably coming from a mix of sources, if you if you're established in SEO, SEO tends to sort of be high ROI. Once it's reach maturity, just it'll continue to chug away, especially if it's been done right. Beyond that, some organic social campaigns can be very, very high ROI. Again, that tends to vary a bit more, depending on the nature of the creative in the audience. So that that can be very high ROI efforts, we do see a lot of brands sort of chasing that ROI mistakenly, and not necessarily getting the results that they want. And I think probably, but really across any of our, our client, audiences, verticals, email tends to be a big winner as as SMS. Again, it requires a little bit of that upfront investment. But once it's in place, you're really in a great spot to begin going from there. I also just real quickly to I just think had mentioned this year, and I did invite Ryan, who's one of our directors of marketing to join the space, I think he's in the call with us as well. So you can maybe feel some of these if he disagrees or has a different opinion.

Ryan 6:17

Yeah. So I've just been flipping through all of our different campaigns to see how Black Friday went. And like Jordan said, if you're already established, it didn't look like organic, the top performer, obviously, I think some socials and email campaigns certainly helped supplement that we had a client that, you know, by far, I think it was like a 3x, maybe almost a 4x all time high record for daily revenue on the site this by Friday. So we were very happy about that. And organic was the biggest contributor. But I think it is worth pointing out that you don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket, having a an omni channel strategy really is is your best bet for for the holidays here.

Aaron Conant 6:56

Awesome. So the next one that comes in is around, you know, iOS, iOS 14. And now 15 just updated on my phone this couple days ago, huge impacts across the board. You know, for a lot of advertising the reporting, you know, the strategy, the outcome from it as a whole. And, you know, it's kind of like pointing like a lot of brands that I'm talking to it's like 30 a week, I would say any of them that are in the direct consumer space, are saying, Hey, I have to shift something. Right. I don't know where it's necessarily going. But, you know, from that standpoint, what are some, like reasonable expectations in performance changes that you're seeing that people should, you know, be aware of? And are we looking at or being able to explain to an executive team? Like, here's, here's what's going on? And here's our plan for how we're going to address it.

Jordan Brannon 7:53

Yep. Yeah, I mean, I think across the boards, you know, maybe not across the boards and REM. I know, some exceptions, I think we're seeing a lot of our, our clients at our recommendation leading are cutting some of that some of the budgets through Facebook, Instagram, some of the bigger social platforms, which have previously generated, you know, more opportunity. And so I think, you know, again, from a reasonable expectations standpoint, I think it's fairly reasonable to see that play out across your own campaign. If you are seeing, you know, a, an advertiser really sort of push for consistent spend, you know, and is arguing for, you know, some some opportunity, as a result of that, I just have not seen that consistently enough to sort of say that, I would believe that you should be spending as much through those platforms, as you have in the past. We've seen a decrease in ROI and return on adspend for almost all of those social campaigns. So there's definitely some some downturn, this happened as a consequence of some of those privacy changes and restrictions that are in place. Now. Again, not necessarily a universal thing, but it's fairly close to it, obviously, this part of the, the consequence of what's happening with Facebook, and you know, how it's impacting their stock and how they've been trying to respond. You know, I think for for brands, especially that said, you know, have a big dependency on that sort of social advertising, you know, expecting some impact in 2021, directly related to loss of performance, there was probably something that you want to be really closely examining, and then also anticipating at least at the end of the year, especially on a channel by channel basis.

Aaron Conant 9:39

So a quick question comes in, where does SEO fall into all of this?

Jordan Brannon 9:43

Yeah, I mean, SEO is sort of a, again, a fairly stable contributor. It's one of the nice things about SEO is that outside of shifts in terms and what people are actually searching for, which does happen. Kind of an example of this, you know, You know, you can have a specific market shifts driven around new technology, new products, new styles, new features, new benefits, kind of new information out there, you know, SEO is relatively a stable channel. And so when you are able to build up a solid base of SEO authority with a search engine where search engine respects you want to protect particular talk topic, you're really in a good position to continue to benefit for, you know, in that category for years to come. And again, you there is going to be some shift in your focus on keywords, simply because your consumers use of keywords will shift over time. And you want to make sure that you're moving with them. But as long as you're doing that, and you're attentive to what's happening there, if you really have done a good job building yourself up, and you're your digital entity up as a, as an authority in a particular topic, it should be largely consistent. And most of your SEO work is really geared more towards housekeeping and making sure website redesigns and new content changes, navigation changes, new platforms don't have a negative impact on what you built previously.

Aaron Conant 11:04

It what. So I want to stay on this just a little bit, because SEO seems to go in and out. Right as like a focus, I wouldn't say not a fad, I think it should always be done. But it's like not a focus. It's a focus. It's not a focus, it's been the focus, and it's just it's just funny, you know, it always comes back into focus when something like the 14.5 update comes into effect. And other things start to fall apart, like you, like how do you guys look at SEO as a whole, but always on end? It's always a focus,

Ryan 11:35

probably at the table, you know, like with everything else changing. Everybody who goes chase after the latest trend, but SEO is always going to be there. Steady, steady trucking along.

Jordan Brannon 11:46

Yeah. And I think that, you know, with, you know, we've, you know, been SEO, driven really, as an agency, you know, we're 250 People now. And it's been our sort of our core service for eCommerce merchants for the last 12 years. Because, again, it stability is there. I think, you know, there is certainly a lot of trends, you know, we saw, you know, when Facebook's advertising products improved, a lot of advertisers, you know, kind of shifted towards that they started sort of a new new money opportunity. You know, we see that happening today with, you know, tick tock advertising where people are, you know, doing very well in SEO, but you know, sort of hear good things and they want to maybe shift towards Tik Tok. And it takes time to learn something new, you know, paid advertising and organic social content often is sort of really driven by your last post. And so there's a lot of variability to that. And I think SEO is probably compared to most digital marketing channels has really been, again, fairly consistent where Google has sort of dominated the marketplace for a long time. Amazon search tool maybe is sort of the biggest thing we've seen true disruption in it. Maybe an apple sort of pursues its own search product, we'll see more shifts that way, and that'll maybe change things a bit. But by and large, how you go about SEO has really stayed pretty consistent.

Aaron Conant 13:00

Awesome. Just reminder, either sending questions or you can always hit star five handle go up on the screen screen here. And we can unmute you and bring you in, says we recently migrated to a new eCommerce platform and are seeing some big drops in results. Our SEO guy is saying the results drop is tied to core web vitals. We did see a drop in Page Speed as a result, the new design that the fall seems quite significant for just a bit of loss of speed. What's your reaction

Ryan 13:29

Core web vital plays a large part I think the the most of the twofold algo update that hit towards the end of the summer was a kid was part of that accord vitals? Definitely I have seen correlation there. A lot of what we can do me, let me go back to the question itself. So it says this is a significant loss just from speed. What's your reaction? Honestly, I'm not surprised. You know, Google's been warning us for quite some time that this is going to be a more and more important factor for them. So they did give us a lot of time to prepare, it finally went through. And yes, it that update did cause a lot of volatility. But I think they're going after certain industries that they there was other updates tied in with that as well. So it's hard to pin it just the page experience and speed. But speed still is a very big factor that we're very much focused on improving those scores for all of our clients.

Jordan Brannon 14:26

Yeah, I think I might even I might disagree a little bit. I think if because this is sort of tied to a platform migration. I'm always sort of skeptical when we sort of say there's a single reason for things and platform migrations are usually a lot of things that are moving and changing. And so I think probably you know, I would be somewhat skeptical if it's just a PageSpeed that's going to cause big drops and so unless it's just a huge you know, you go from you know, relatively quick and competitive in your vertical to just, you know, off the charts slow i i would say at least Get some of the content changes. First, some of the navigation changes, you know, are there, you know, specific pages that took a bigger impact than others. And I focused in on what changes you made to that page content and styling and maybe start there before I sort of end up at Justice, the Page Speed.

Ryan 15:16

Yeah. Okay, that's a good point. Cuz I was gonna say to like, looking at migrations, it might that might not even have anything to do with it. If we're talking about migration, this could have been a poorly handled, redirect over to the new, the new platforms that could have been pages that weren't properly, you know, redirected over that suddenly just caused the drop in traffic. So yes, it's kind of a vague question to really pin down,

Jordan Brannon 15:40

I think I would, I would say start with that, you know, sort of evaluation of which page to which pages or URLs took the biggest hit. And then I start to dig in on, you know, where their content changes to those. Is there a structured change to those pages? Maybe there's something different being emphasized on those pages, and previously, and then I've maybe started looking at moving into sort of a, you know, a page speed, you know, corporate vitals type experience, and specifically dial in on mobile, you know, so if you're seeing a disproportionate shift on mobile, that could be more indicative of a current vitals related to, you know, impact.

Ryan 16:17

Definitely, a lot of people are always looking for the one thing that they need to change to make things better. And, you know, really, the answer is, it's a lot of factors to take into account. So it's never that easy.

Aaron Conant 16:29

Especially What's the number one marketing lever to pull for? 2022? I mean, we're at the point where budgets are being finalized. But I think there's still room to slide it around. Like, I don't usually lifetimes, they don't get final approval till January. You've mentioned email at the beginning. I know SMS is through the roof right now. There's some really cool like digital age direct mail companies that it's like print on demand, rather than spray and pray. TikTok has jumped on the scene. Is there one? Like? How are you looking at that for 2022?

Jordan Brannon 17:07

I would jump in. And I'd say, I think the thing that I've talked about this, I think in some of our earlier calls there, and I'm just big on kind of short form video content period, regardless of sort of the marketing channel that you're running it through. And I think it's just as it's, you know, really sort of a big emphasis point that we all need to be doing more in, I think it just is still represents a fraction of the total content I'm seeing used in digital marketing, whether that's on site off sites, or different ad platforms. So I sort of, for me, that's an area where I'd go in, I think it plays out to your benefit and SEO, we can be beneficial in an email as a destination for SMS. I think there's just there's a lot of upside for it.

Aaron Conant 17:50

Awesome. Love it. So another couple questions. And just a reminder, those who kind of joined here, you have any questions along the way. And that's every anything on the direct consumer side, just hit star five, we can unmute you and bring you in, let's see, what's the best eCommerce platform for new small business that really wants to grow aggressively. And then there's another one that comes in and this is some, you know, times around by platform selection from the b2b side as well. And you see a differentiator across them. I think a lot of people are struggling to figure out, changing platforms is nowhere near as hard as, right, it used to be a multi month, if not close to a year, you know, process to get everything in place, there's a lot of things that, you know, can be solved a lot quicker than that. So there's a lot of people trying to do that platform evaluation, if I kind of blend a few of these that come in together. So in this one, specifically, new small business, you have a different opinion on the b2b side. And then obviously, another question that always comes up is headless. So it was tacos. And then I want to get into attribution next step, platform selection check.

Jordan Brannon 18:57

Ryan don't know if you want to give your opinion there.

Ryan 19:01

All right, I'll say but for me, there is a small business specifically, right? Because I mean, we might disagree on here that I would say for small business, probably Shopify, but it's depending on what their needs are. You know, I probably then recommend Big Commerce. But if you're looking for just something quick to get off the ground, small business being like smaller product count, things like that. I think you could get started with Shopify that easier, especially if you're not quite as savvy with working in platforms, but Big Commerce is usually my go to pay.

Jordan Brannon 19:32

I think I would probably second that. I think, you know, if Shopify covers a really broad base of, of opportunity for a lot of different merchants and all different categories, and that continue to improve the platform. So I think there's just as a kind of a high upside good face starting point there for a lot of merchants. Again, any businesses that have a bit more complexity or maturity. I think Aaron, you had mentioned sort of b2b is maybe being a part of the direction of this question. You know, I think I would probably say that, you know, maybe I'd be more inclined towards Big Commerce, they're within sort of their would refer to as sort of a single store setup, I think you have degrees of flexibility tied to your customers, your customer groups, your pricing structures, without getting into sort of their enterprise plans, that really does make it advantageous if you're sort of in that kind of kicking off a b2b initiative. And it really will support me to be up to sort of true enterprise scale. So I think that's, that's probably maybe where I would go if you're in that b2b category specifically.

Aaron Conant 20:35

Yeah, next question is just around headless, I think we could probably do a whole entire call on headless in all reality, but who should be considering so if you want to do that really quick, you know, that I know the do it, 30 seconds, you know, 45 seconds, rundown on headless. And then who should be thinking about it, because I've got this, this trend I'm picking up is now we're at Digital 2.0. In, in, there's, there's another level that people are gonna start going to, but people want to know time effort, money is something I should be considering or not. So that quick rundown on headless, and then who should be considering it. And then we can keep tackling questions, they are ready, you can keep sending them in Aaron, or just, you know, it's our five, you want to if it's easier, and we'll bring you headless?

Jordan Brannon 21:21

Again, I always critique the term, I think, you know, simple is, it's the presentation layer of what you see, our consume online, whether it's through an app or through a website, or through a PWA is separated from sort of the database layers or the information and database of, of what you end up consuming. So that's simple I, I maybe would argue for faceless or masked or something, I don't know. But that's sort of where it is, I think, you know, what's the role of headless? I think we primarily emphasize headless for merchants who find themselves sort of bogged down in bureaucracy, usually, it's a good solution for eCommerce teams that are sort of attached to a larger enterprise. You know, decision making processes can be slow spinning up, you know, new products in a marketing content, selling opportunities is challenging, speaking to different audiences is problematic. Maybe the legacy platforms and systems that you know, the organization is signed off on are challenging, you know, headless can be a really great solution to a lot of those problems. For more nimble marketers, headless solutions are really a fantastic way to create more engaging, restriction free content and selling opportunities. So I think some of the places we're seeing sort of the highest amount of headless success, traffic revenue are sort of this hybridization of publishing content and selling at the same time. And so that's, that's sort of another kind of real accessible area can be quite fast, that can be, you know, allow for a degree of flexibility and creativity and how you're implementing your your selling and content experience that maybe you couldn't get from a single eCommerce platform. And so maybe that's longer than 30 seconds to answer that question.

Aaron Conant 23:19

No, no, no awesome, I knew, I knew it's a complicated one, like, we can host an entire event, I think just on that and just do a deep dive around headless as a whole. But just, you know, if I flip back to, you know, just the iOS 14.5 and 15 update, a lot of brands, you know, struggling with attribution, right, like, Where's it coming from? And then the next level, I think, that I want to get to after attribution is, like, engagement and conversion. Right, like, how do I, I spent more time, effort money getting them actually, to my site? And what are those best practices around conversion from alternative payment methods to you know, you know, 3d AR, you know, imagery videos, you know, is it extended warranties that people can drop in? Is it you know, guaranteed two day shipping? What are the all those different things that we can add in that if we've got people to the site that we can actually, you know, have a higher rate of conversion, but backing up just a little bit? What are some best practices to improve attribution? I've not found like a single source, amazing, you know, multi touch attribution tool. That's like a gold standard. So I'd love that what are some best practices to improve attribution? You know, if people are struggling to find the real value of a click?

Jordan Brannon 24:43

Yeah, I think you probably the easiest, easiest answer to that is to create more segmented content and marketing and advertising experiences. It's just sort of not a beautiful answer, because in some ways that does sort of mean that we as marketers are are responsible again to come up with some these different solutions, manage them, implement them attract them. But But really, this has been one of the approaches that we've taken in response to, you know, the iOS updates and things like that is when we're running specific campaigns, ad groups, landing pages, emails, towards specific audiences with specific landing pages, even with some of the privacy blocking this happening, we really can control for that funnel in such a way that we have very clear attribution. Again, it does require a little more tedium. However, just with the current sort of econ platform market, it's quite a bit easier than it was two years ago to sort of create templates specifically for advertising in sort of spin up some of these variant campaigns, and then manage them in such a way where you get a really good bit of clarity around you know, which particular channel or advertisement is driving specific outcomes. You pare that back into, you know, some sort of data management, warehousing, you know, where you can get some, some clear reporting, and you can evaluate some of those things, I think is a, you know, kind of a good next step from there.

Aaron Conant 26:15

Awesome. Awesome. Love it. So, diving next into questions around, you know, actually converting, like, you're building out a new website, you know, whether it's Big Commerce, Shopify Magento, regardless, what are the key things that you're building into it just subscriptions? Is it? You know, anyways, I'll just kind of kick it over to you, you probably know better than me.

Jordan Brannon 26:39

Yeah, I think I've, for me, I think user generated content, testimonials, videos, photos, they're sort of the easy win. Again, I mentioned earlier, sort of short form video, if you can get your customers to start to engage in that format. It'll go a really long ways, I think towards helping you stand out in most verticals. Today, there's, you know, sort of the kind of the abundance of content that we see, by and large right now is, is text driven reviews, which I think there's sort of a skepticism of, and then you know, photos seem a little more legitimate, and then videos kind of take that legitimacy a step further, they sort of give you an experience of the product that maybe you otherwise wouldn't have. So that's sort of be my top conversion tip. Anytime you can introduce, you know, sort of that you user generated content, that sort of customer Client Testimonial, that goes a long ways. If you can get it in video, all the better. And then again, I think it just as maybe, again, sort of touching on video once more, we're seeing pretty good success with video on product pages, category pages, blog content, sort of, you know, landing pages, still is really helpful in driving an improvement in conversion rates, right. And if you have anything else that you would call out there on the on the conversion side,

Ryan 27:53

nothing I do agree with that. But outside of user experience, just trust alone is such an important factor. Like I'm always harping on the need to make sure we're on top of getting reviews, especially reviews with pictures and look at your own shopping behavior. If there's no reviews, one SKU image, you're kind of a little iffy about am I gonna receive what I'm looking at here. So you want to kind of put the customer's mind at ease, but other people have bought this, they were happy. And you know, what you see is what you're going to get? That's a huge part of it. But on the user experience side, you know, yes, video definitely enhances that. Myself. Personally, I like to look at a lot of heat maps and recordings and just find pain points in the actual shopping process, I'm going to say journey, but like the over the keyword stuff term these days. But that really is there's just little pain points along the way that can really hinder people wanting to check out. And it's important to always keep an eye on that. Something buggy like you've got any bundle feature. If you put these two products together, you save money, maybe that plugin isn't working as intended users get frustrated, see, unless you're getting feedback from your customers about those issues, you might not be aware of it. So it's good to do testing on your website and make sure users who are trying to purchase aren't hitting any, any bugs along the way. I've seen that and it's it really has slowed down sales. So especially they get frustrated, they might not come back. So it's really important to make sure your spike just makes it easy to check out.

Jordan Brannon 29:27

Yeah, it's some some simple sort of data dives that have very complex, you just dig in, you know, which which of your channels is driving the most transactions, you know, device wise, digging a little bit further see if there's a particular operating system or browser version that seems to be converting in a substandard way in that and then sort of try to replicate that experience, you know, or use a heat mapping tool can be really helpful.

Aaron Conant 29:51

Are you helping people with that? If they just slough off will you guys do a deep dive on that and kind of do an evaluation on how everything's working?

Jordan Brannon 29:59

Yeah. You know, as you know, we try and be really kind of focused in on where we can help and helping brands understand the value we could provide. And that really is driven by the data that we can look at. And so if you have the data in place, you know, the sort of evaluation of what's working what's not as a step one, you don't have the data in place, you know, helping you to sort of be in position to gather the information, or begin some campaigns to sort of have enough of an audience that make that evaluation, certainly a big part of where we start.

Ryan 30:29

Certainly a good point to that. It's not just, you know, don't just look at the data and say, Oh, overall, we're performing well from this channel. And not even looking at just desktop versus mobile, you keep getting more granular, and all of the data is there, you just got to look for it, you might find, you know, okay, on mobile, you know, Android doing fine. iOS, there's all this traffic and no sales, you can dig deep enough, you can usually pinpoint, you know what device may may be experiencing the issue and troubleshoot it from there. So you don't want to give up and just look at your top level metrics.

Aaron Conant 31:04

Awesome. So what has a higher ROI Right Now Facebook, Instagram, you know, advertising or Google?

Jordan Brannon 31:12

Right now, for us? We're sort of back in that Google territory. You know, I think maybe if I went back four years ago, we'd really sort of swung and seeing especially for eCommerce, merchants, Facebook advertising, was really sort of leading leading Google in terms of stability, produce real ROI and return on adspend. Google, Facebook is all over reported. That's not new. But certainly today, I feel like Google is outperforming terms of just the straight return on adspend, almost, across all channels, fashion, consumer packaged goods, home, Fashion, Fitness, Health, you know, just sort of a whole range of things there.

Aaron Conant 31:50

So really quick thought this personal question here is I get pinged by Google reps all the time, right to jump on the phone and have campaigns, like, how valuable are those? What do you say to people online? I'm sure everybody here gets the same email, Hey, you know, jump on the phone with us. We'll fine tune everything. Yeah, 40.

Jordan Brannon 32:11

We there is solid six, you know, bar for a while, they look a little better. But they, yeah, they there is there is some good intention there. But there's also some selling there, I think, you know, Google recognizes that, for them to make more money, they need you to spend more. And so a lot of the products that are there are designed to sort of help you spend more, which isn't necessarily what your objective is, even as an agency, you know, we're we're in a pure premier partner program, there is a real sense of pressure to use Google's new products, and often those new products, and the key results that happens through them is there's increased spend, and not necessarily always seeing sort of the ROI and return on adspend that our customers are looking for. So I would take it with a grain of salt. You know, if you allow them to make changes, try and make sure those changes are set up in a way that you can easily undo them or positive if you need to. And you can independently track the results rather than sort of just sort of taking it at face value saying Oh, yeah, this must work magically for me.

Aaron Conant 33:14

Awesome. Love it. So I'm gonna jump next over to what I left out of there, which was TikTok, because this has been a struggle for a lot of people. I don't know, you know, how much advice you have to get here would love to hear across the board? Like any basic tips for growing an audience on TikTok, right. I mean, it's not like, I think the world's like biggest entertainment platform, got like a billion people using it. It's just pretty crazy. And yet, because it's user generated content, you know, it's in in people on the platform, sniff out ads right away. I don't know, I'd love to hear your advice, you know, how you're helping brands on TikTok as a whole.

Ryan 33:59

I think you kind of hit it right on the head there that it's, it's, the audience there does not want to see ads, they're gonna know if it's an ad right away. So it's almost not even worth trying to get any kind of traditional format in there. You really have to play by the landscape, right? You can try to go for making it look organic and fun. You can work with influencers, but it really is about natural placement. I've seen some brands go a step further. And really just almost like product placement within what looks like organic content is their soft approach to advertising through the platform. But it really isn't about credibility of just not trying to sell and just kind of getting in there with your product and making it look appealing to that audience. That's the best kind of approach I've seen for success on TikTok. It's still not a perfect strategy, but it's AI based is not the place to to go traditional by any means.

Jordan Brannon 34:56

Yeah, I think I would second that, I'd say make really great organic and didn't have the great academic caveat that people just are consuming so much content on TikTok that it doesn't have to be great content, TikTok really reinforces particular interest themes pretty strongly. So even if you're relatively new have little audience, you so long as you're sort of focusing your content into a particular area, there's a good chance that it's going to get eyeballs. And if it's decent, it's going to kind of continue to get eyeballs. And so if you can make better organic content, I'd also say that sort of the formula for great advertising as well, our customers who have tried to sort of ads for the sake of ads have seen maybe less comparable success than those who have taken sort of the model, what they're doing, it's actually generating impressions and engagement from this organic content, it's hitting the front page for different audience members of theirs. There are seeing a lot of success using that same formula just in an advertisement. And so I would sort of say, You, in some ways, shy away from this sort of desire to make the advertisement act like an advertisement and look at just what's working from or an organic side, and do that. And that just given again, size of audience engagement of audience, we're still seeing really fantastic engagement with the advertised product or brand, even though that's not necessarily the central piece of central central to the piece of content.

Aaron Conant 36:24

Yeah, I mean, that's going to be a super TikTok is gonna be super interesting platform, I think a year from now, they'll figure out, you know, I think in app purchasing, for sure, it's going to be super interesting to see how that that all plays out over the next 12 months. So another question. If you had thoughts there as well,

Jordan Brannon 36:44

not just yeah, it basically I think it is that that form of content, the type of engagement and the platform itself are really kind of, I think, a big, big opportunity where eCommerce is going general.

Aaron Conant 36:56

Yeah, I mean, it is talked to multiple people, and it's just like, they all hashtag TikTok, maybe buy it. But their product discovery now comes on the TikTok platform, so not purchasing in the app yet. But you know, definitely using the the, you know, the micro influencers, the brand ambassadors, the people they fall to have them direct them back to the direct to consumer site, and basically that micro influencers and affiliate super interesting.

Jordan Brannon 37:26

Yeah, I would even say like to hear like the, because of the sort of just the surfacing value of TikTok. Micro can be very micro like mini micro, one of our real great TikTok success stories as a brand where, you know, essentially the brick and mortar store cashiers and people are slow, not all people are coming to the brick and mortar store, are filming and creating content for the brand's TikTok account. And it's very low budget for casual and it's just primarily used to be friends with teenage girls making good TikTok content in a clothing store. And it's, you know, some of its share to their accounts. And it's just really as a pretty impactful in terms of seeing that and seeing that growth occur as a consequence of that.

Aaron Conant 38:15

So another question that comes in is around the growth of retail media is upon us it seems that every retailer is offering, you know, different ad tech solutions. How do you see investments being spread across the so if I if I flipped that a little bit? Is that impact? So not everybody? Walmart, Target? You know, Amazon? I'm sure like Kroger, I mean, I hold Lidl, Piggly Wiggly are all gonna have these ad tech platforms, right? Their retail media platforms out there. I should say, I shouldn't say ad tech, I should say retail media. Like are you seeing what are you seeing happen with with budgets in that space? You've got you know, this overarching luck of dealing with so many different brands, are you seeing money flow out from address consumer, you know, the the Google the Facebook, the Insta? Well shouldn't be TikTok? You know, with the growth of those or as money flowing the other way? Or is it all even Steven and the just the digital budgets getting bigger? I would love to hear kind of your, you know, our brand planning investments around this. Yeah,

Jordan Brannon 39:17

I mean, so certainly there is some outflows you know, I think especially for brands that are maybe already selling in through retailers that sort of remit return media advertising a little closer to home maybe a little more compelling. You know, certainly I think some of the bigger marketplaces are trying to kind of create more of a linked experience they're in Amazon specifically trying to kind of create to you know, more of a cohesive not only selling on Amazon, but Amazon also is just a, you know, large retailer, large media empires, there's just a lot of different opportunities for advertising there. There's I think it is in some ways drawing from, you know, maybe a brand who was considering trying to break up with Amazon and In terms of some of their their ad spend their, you know, sales dependency, you know, maybe we're going, we are seeing some shift in that advertising dollar, you know, back into that sort of effort. By and large, sort of the most success that we find tends to be a retail advertising when you sell products through that retailer or through that marketplace, which seems sort of obvious. But the more steps that you ask people to jump through to get to the product, or discover the product, or purchase the product, whether it's leaving the site, you know, going to some other, you know, marketing channel as a intermediary, before you end up having that opportunity, make that purchase, that just sort of gets really fussy, and doesn't tend to be as impactful. So we've generally, again, because we, you know, we're typically the more ROI return on adspend, focused, attribution focused, and we tend to be a little bit, maybe slower on the uptick.

Aaron Conant 40:56

They’re super interesting. It's fair, but things that are coming down the pipe for next year, right, like we talked a little bit about TikTok and where it's going. A lot of people want to know, what portion of my budget should I set aside for what, right, that's experiment? It's, I think of it as an experimental budget, like almost an r&d, right, you tell the rest of the, you know, the organization, just like they would with the r&d budget, like, we might not get anything out of this, but we're not going to find out unless we try it. And so, you know, is there a portion that you say, set aside? And then along the side of that, what would you if you're looking forward, what are you setting aside for,

Jordan Brannon 41:35

I'm gonna go back again, video content, short form video content, especially, that you can use across different platforms, as they think just one of those, you know, think there's a number of different investments you can make there, you know, technology enablement, to allow your customers to contribute, you know, internal or, you know, through an agency or through freelancers investment in creating that content, exclusive for yourself in different variety of mediums, I think is really, really important. I think that plays into sort of a TikTok opportunity, YouTube opportunity, you know, certainly Facebook and Instagram opportunity. So it's just really kind of a cross, kind of way of doing that, I would sort of highlight here start with Evergreen kind of content, opportunities, things that are going to outlive a TikTok moment. You know, so you want something that still will work and that sort of flash in the pan, like, TikTok, but you also want to make sure it's something that you can kind of reuse elsewhere. Because a lot of it can be pretty sticky. And so I would say that's probably one of the big ones for me. I do think like, as we kind of Western market, sort of an emerging opportunity, you know, some sort of live selling opportunity, I think is out there, you know, sort of the QVC moments, and you were seeing situations like that with Facebook, I just don't know that that's really sort of tapped out yet. You know, expect to see some some more evolutions there for us. So that's probably another thing to be paying attention to.

Aaron Conant 43:03

I did forgot about live streaming, but I 100% agree with you, that it will be massive. If there is, you know, just in the brands, I'm thinking I've been talking to if there's a massive untapped opportunity, just based on, you know, how much is done overseas, especially, you know, in China, and AIPAC? It is massive, but hundreds of billions of dollars right. There done in live streaming? Yeah, I would get working at that. Yeah,

Jordan Brannon 43:37

yeah, we're seeing a shift away from that just being sort of the gamer culture. Now you can watch live streams on everything, and they can be live streamers, talking about talking about anything can be someone doing something. And I just think like that, that that proliferation is becoming, you know, you're gonna have some older family members who are starting to consume live stream content. And so, you know, whether that's, you know, been driven by, you know, something like their church went live streaming now, they're on YouTube more and they're watching YouTube live as a result of that. There's just seems to be a lot of that adoption, really, across demographic segments. And so I think that's another kind of key area of opportunity where it's moving past perhaps what we would consider sort of the typical live streamer.

Ryan 44:27

Yes. BC fashion clients just dominate Facebook, but that you know, it's all about low budget kind of marketing efforts. I think it's once or twice a week they go live there in the retail store. They they got their own little little catwalk I know it's called but walk down the aisle with a different outfits. People in the comments are saying, Oh, I like that. You know, it's a live stream slash shopping experience. It's been very successful, but to Jordan's point, too, it's like, I'll double down as the video short form video two is so big because it's Isn't by you don't need a cameras, then record it up with a computer use Open Broadcaster Software, you can pretty much do everything from your phone these days, it's it really is incredible the quality and access you have with video, there's there's really no reason to not take advantage of it, you have the tools readily available. And if you're not familiar with how to do it, it really it's not like it used to be with professional software, there's pretty much an estimate anything you shoot, look professional. So I think that's a big trend.

Aaron Conant 45:31

So a couple more questions. And I want to wrap this up, you know, before the end of the hour, what do you make the new federal, if you are looking for ways to make the you know, either content or copywriting or PPC, less expensive lower impact on the budget, like there's a bunch of AI tools popping up in all these areas? What is your kind of take on them? I mean, you guys produce tons of this your we'd love to hear your thoughts in this AI space

Jordan Brannon 45:57

suite, we have dabbled and trialed some of the bigger name, copywriting, a, you know, AI driven ad optimization platforms. And most of the ones that are sort of AI led have flopped pretty spectacularly. I wouldn't say we're necessarily the largest sample size, except I've also seen that repeated across in for the large advertisers that we work with where the sort of the outcome is subpar. Now, I will say that there is a lot of value, especially in a large advertising account, where you can mix in some machine learning and some, you know, help you dig through some of what you're seeing on the data front, and start to identify outliers. But a lot of times really has to be human led, and, you know, by intelligent humans, for that to be effective. You know, when you have just what we've seen a lot, probably maybe speaking broadly, again, we've seen a lot of AI models and machine learning models sort of become self reinforcing. And so they they identify a problem, and they keep sort of kind of reinforcing their own solution and doesn't necessarily work. Well. A good example, if we had a brand where one campaign really went off like it just was performing amazingly well. We started to look at it. And we realized that hey, this this campaign is what had happened is it sort of managed to like kind of sneak in some of the the kind of what we call branded terms. And so an audience that already knew the product had sort of been co opted into a top of funnel ad group, and was then sort of being bid on and targeted just as a consequence of the success they were seeing. So overall, I'm very skeptical of them, I'm sure someday there will be one that's really fantastic. But I think sort of the best mix is still human led human guided with using some AI and machine learning opportunities that are out there to help kind of filter and focus. And that that tends to work well.

Aaron Conant 47:49

Also, so kind of like a last one here. Before we wrap up. You know, where do you look? Right? For, you know, current voices in the space. Right? I mean, if you look at like the Neil Patel's the Gary V's a little bit focus from the deeper dive, you know what they used to do? I would love to hear your thoughts like, where do you look like, if people want to tune into the same stuff you're tuning into? Like, who are those voices that you listen to?

Jordan Brannon 48:16

Yeah, I usually tune out the people who make their money talking about what to listen to. Because at that point, they sort of have jumped the shark. Now they're sort of, you know, they're no longer really doing what they used to do, you know, on a particular advertising platform. They're they're making their money from early advertising themselves, usually not in the advertising channel they're talking about. And so the Neil Patel's Gary V's you know, those sorts that, you know, they certainly have large communities and they can kind of move the needle for brands are working with, but usually because of their persona, and not because of their advertising prowess elsewhere. I like to dial in on the brands that are moving and making an impact in we're seeing growth from so we do a lot of monitoring about what brands are moving in what category, what apps are moving, what category, and then I like to find out who their marketers are, a lot of them will be contributing. Actually, I use a bit of a plug for you, Aaron, we tune into BWG calls that aren't our own. Because there are often some people participating in those who I want to hear from. And so it's usually quite good. We've met some really fantastic people who are, maybe I would call them a micro influencer, I'd trust their voice on Amazon advertising over anybody else's because they were you know, in a BWG call and I've had a chance to engage them after that. We've connected with some of the data science people at poche Poshmark and Netflix and some others just as a consequence of these calls. And so there's some really interesting learnings that we have, I think as a consequence, I would say, look for the ones that are really being successful in a particular category. You've got LinkedIn, find out who's kind of running those things. Do some Google searches. usually find out and find those people talking to some conferences about what they're doing. And they're just great connections. A lot of them just love to talk shop. So and then if you can't find them show up on Wednesdays BWG calls.

Aaron Conant 50:13

No, I mean, what's really great about this, this group that the US all of us hanging out in eCommerce is, we all like to talk about this show few people that talk about it with that, when you find somebody that wants to talk about it, it's like, you know, it's like asking me to talk about my kids like, Yeah, I'll do it all day long. So yeah, I mean, the connections you I think you're right, when you find somebody, whatever. I mean, it can be one of these can be any of the conventions that are out there. The people on the stage, when they say, shoot me an email, I'd love to chat. They're only saying that because they'd really love to chat. Awesome, awesome. Well, you know, Ryan, Jordan, you know, thanks so much for your time today. Thanks for allowing us to just kind of you know, pepper some questions that you have for the past five minutes or so you guys are great friends, partner support network, you know anybody on the line today, if you ever need a connection, advice, you know, strategy, help your direct consumer site SEO, performance, marketing, replatforming or platform selection. Join the team are leaders in the space and 100% just worth putting time on the calendar. The they talk with hundreds and hundreds of brands a year so I'm sure they're more than happy to set some time aside to connect with you. And with that, we're gonna go ahead and wrap this up. I hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday. Have a great rest of the week. Everybody take care, stay safe and look forward to having you at a future events. But for follow up email from us, I'd love to have a conversation with you as well. And if you ever need any recommendations on service providers, don't ever hesitate to reach out we can put some time on the calendar and that's drop shipping the replatforming to Amazon. And with that. We're gonna wrap it up. Thanks again, Jordan. Thanks, Ryan. Everybody have a great Tuesday. We'll be in touch

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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