Cross-Channel Advertising Shifts in 2021

Strategic Plays to Leverage Paid Search & Social Media

Jun 9, 2021 1:00 PM2:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Cross-channel marketing is one of the most successful strategies for leveraging customer engagement and providing an integrated shopping experience. But what if there was a way to make it even better for both your company and your customers? John Liu knows how.

John Liu is the Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent, a performance digital marketing agency focused on creating cross-channel marketing programs. John is an expert when it comes to digital strategy and growth, and is here to share tips on how you can gain more traction with a few simple marketing tactics.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant talks with John Liu, Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent, on everything you need to know about cross-channel marketing. They discuss the evolution of data collection and analytics, how to increase customer retention through funnels, strategies for optimizing your budget and performance, and much more.

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


  • John Liu describes the history of the data privacy landscape and how different social media channels are leveraging data
  • John shares an example of how to grow a customer journey through marketing funnels
  • How can you determine the number of clicks and conversion rates for your ad campaigns?
  • Why you should aim to have customers shop with you through multiple channels
  • John shares some tips on optimizing budget and performance through keywords and SEO
  • Why leveraging custom labels and grouping relative products are key for optimization
  • How to drive paid traffic through different campaign types
  • John explains the importance of selling lifetime value across customer conversion
  • How should you be measuring your campaigns and sales funnels?
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Event Partners


Adlucent is a performance marketing agency & platform for internet retailers to create, launch and manage high-volume and product-based online campaigns.

Connect with Adlucent

Guest Speaker

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.

John Liu

Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent

John Liu is the Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent, a performance digital marketing agency that creates cross-channel marketing programs to accelerate outcomes and maximize ROI. John built his first website in 1995, has been in the strategy and growth spaces since 2006, and is an expert in digital marketing and implementing campaigns.

Before joining Adlucent, John held many executive positions including Director of Growth at GreenPark Sports, Growth Lead at Riot Games, and Director of Search & Analytics at BLITZ, among others.

Event Moderator

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.

John Liu

Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent

John Liu is the Senior Director of Strategy at Adlucent, a performance digital marketing agency that creates cross-channel marketing programs to accelerate outcomes and maximize ROI. John built his first website in 1995, has been in the strategy and growth spaces since 2006, and is an expert in digital marketing and implementing campaigns.

Before joining Adlucent, John held many executive positions including Director of Growth at GreenPark Sports, Growth Lead at Riot Games, and Director of Search & Analytics at BLITZ, among others.

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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 Wednesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director here at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands to do exactly that we network and now and share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it might be, that's shaping the digital landscape as a whole, I connect with 30 to 40 brands a week one on one just to stay on top of those trends in make sure that we're at the forefront of what's going on. So if anybody on the line today would ever like to just, you know, spend 30 minutes or so strategizing and, or networking, knowledge sharing as a whole, don't ever hesitate to reach out during a time to help with partner selection as well. So if you're evaluating different, different service providers out there, don't hesitate to put time on my calendar, love to spend some time with anybody out there, they'd like to do the same. And we don't sell anything here at BWG Connect, we do events like this. So yeah, there won't be a sales pitch if you jump on with us. The other thing is, as we get started here, a couple of housekeeping items, if you have any questions along the way, we want this to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time, if you have a question, drop it in the q&a section drop into the chat or you can always email me Aaron, And for the email side that includes he forgot to ask a question an hour from now, tomorrow next week, don't hesitate to drop me a note. And we'll get an answer back in a day or so. The last thing here is we're starting three to four minutes after the hour. And just you know, we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go as well to make sure you have plenty of time to get into your next meeting without being late. So it will get your watch. No, no, we'll give you plenty of time to get to that next meeting, and maybe grab a cup of coffee along the way. And so that being said, we're gonna kick this off, I would say, you know, this year, we're gonna do close to 300, virtual events, educational informational like this, around a ton of different topics. And if you look back a year ago, topics like this would come up every now and again, it was probably one out of every three or two of those were dedicated to Amazon. And now we flipped it the other way, where it's a three to one, direct to consumer what's going on, and paid media and everything. And so we got some great friends, great partners, supporters, the network, worked with a lot of different brands in the network and come highly recommended, we asked him to jump out of line today, kind of give us a rundown of you know, performance in this space what it takes to win. And that's how we came up with strategic plays to leverage paid search and social media as a whole. And so we have John here, John want to jump in brief intro on yourself and Adlucent. That'd be awesome. And then we get to kick this off sound good?

John Liu 2:48

Great. Thanks, everyone. My name is John Liu. I'm the Senior Director of Strategy here at Adlucent. So Adlucent is a performance marketing agency. We work primarily with retailers in order to drive performance marketing, which is really, you know, driving marketing with measurable KPIs, but usually with a focus on customer acquisition and revenue. So today, we're going to talk about some of our strategic approaches to kind of leveraging a combination of paid search and social media to drive that growth and business success and the new environment that we find ourselves in, in 2021.

Aaron Conant 3:23

Awesome. So quick reminder, if you have questions at any point in time, drop them in the Questions tab, the chat or email them to me, Aaron So awesome. Well, I see we have some slides here. Why don't we just go ahead and jump into it? Yeah, I'll kick it over to you.

John Liu 3:38

Alright, let's do it. So yeah, today, we'll just talk a little bit about personnel who we are and why you should be listening to what we have to say. I love it, some of the privacy, first impact of social media marketing and some of the implications that's driving. And then really, you know, what our modern approaches for growing the customer journey via Google and Facebook, and then q&a. So just, you know, one quick slide on us, right. So again, we're a 20 year agency, about a way back in 2001, doing skew based advertising against the newly launched Amazon on the newly launched AdWords. And then, over time, we become Google's largest manager of shopping ads, manage over $1.5 billion in media annually, Facebook preferred partner. So you know, we've been doing this for a long time. And I've really evolved along with the overall landscape of the industry, and the platform's, as we've always been focused on, right, what's the best way to deliver messages to buy clicks to get customers to our retailers, or websites at the right cost in order to drive results? So part of what's really driving a lot of this today, right is kind of the the privacy impact that we're seeing. Um, you know, here's like a quick overview of the history of the data privacy landscape, where, you know, I think 2017 was really probably like the peak of the dream of fully measureable Digital Marketing, right where we, you know, multi touch attribution was really getting into swing, we were piggybacking pixels onto Google double click and tracking the whole internet. And we were getting really close to really understanding exactly what ads were driving what value. And then, you know, privacy really reared its head. And you know, as a consumer, this honestly resonates a lot with me, this is important, as an advertiser, as somebody who works at an ad agency, certainly been inconvenient. But over time, really spurred first by Google, but then also through just governmental regulation. And Google coming along for the ride, every single year, since 2017, has been progressive, increasing limitations on data privacy, giving us less and less ability to match up user IDs or device IDs, and know exactly who saw an ad and whether or not they made a purchase after that. At the same time, online shopping has only continued to grow, right growing 16, 15% double digit percentages every year. And then, of course, the huge surge that we saw last year, as everybody was forced online. So you know, moving forward, you know, the eyes 14.5 update is allowing users to opt in and out of tracking that permissions change is really impacting Facebook, advertisers, publishers and app developers, especially huge changes to the Facebook advertising landscape where they especially were very reliant on mobile app to app marketing, right where you're in the Facebook app or in the Instagram app. And then you click an ad, and that puts you into a web browser, or that puts you into another app. And the loss of the ability to use idfa, or identifiers for advertisers to kind of deterministically track how that was happening is going to be a big impact. At the same time, we're seeing increased usage of the Facebook API as kind of a partial response to that moving more towards server side tracking that gives you more control the data gives you more ability to carefully control exactly what information you're sending about what users are doing on your website back to Facebook, even that, it's going to enable them more full funnel visibility, but it still has to abide by the same overall privacy regulations. So what we really see this as is a world where you're just simply not going to be able to make the full connection from initial ad exposure to final purchase, for any sort of longer shopping cycle where somebody might be in consideration and thinking about that purchase for longer than a few days. And from our deep experience in retail, lots of purchases happen the day of the click or the next day. But there's a huge amount of activity that's happening seven days, 28 days later, after that initial click through multiple paid conversion engagements. And what we're really seeing is that that full funnel opportunity is much less measurable than before. So how do we address that? How do we continue to grow the journey, it's really about making sure that we're scaling our growth opportunities across the entire customer journey, right, making sure that we're having distinct opportunities. And campaigns are focused on new customer acquisition, driving, value through repeat purchase, really feeding long term loyalty to you as a retailer, not just seeking that first purchase. And then, of course, being really ready for scenario planning, being ready for any unexpected opportunities and threats as your business evolves. We think taking this like overall strategic view, that is not just about, you know, getting the most revenue for your ad, spend dollar, but taking that strategic view to what is the best way to drive customer acquisition? And then how do we get the highest value out of those customers across multiple purchases, as well as that initial purchase? This is what we really think is the, you know, both opportunity and necessary approach to growth for retailers in online performance marketing at a heavy we I don't know if there's any initial questions, if we want to pick a pause there. I think, you know, this is the overall strategic approach that we're now detail a little more interesting how we get to this.

Aaron Conant 9:07

Yeah, and just a quick reminder, if you have questions drop in the Questions tab the chat or, or you can email them to me, Aaron Um, I don't have any that showed up just yet, but I'm sure some will jump over.

John Liu 9:22

Great. And you know, I just wanna I do tend to talk pretty quickly, especially when we're talking about something like this I'm really interested in passionate about, so apologies if I'm going a little fast, but a stop us if you have any questions. All right. So how do we actually scale this growth opportunity and grow the customer journey? We're going to tell this story through we think this is a good illustrative eighth through the story of a customer named Andrew. He's 31. He's a new dad. He's in Austin, Texas, where at least in where we're located, and he's interested in a new comfortable outfit. He's starting to do some shopping for his summer. And we think you know, a apparel retailer has The opportunity to speak to Andrew over the course of multiple interactions to really earn his trust and loyalty as a customer and maximize that lifetime value. So if we look here at Andrews journey, right, we want to move from past move past just thinking about how do we capture Andrew and get the best return on adspend? Or the best cost per acquisition, for, you know, the keyword men's summer outfit, or, you know, a retailer XL shirt, right? Whether that's you or a competitor, and thinking about how do we really engage with Andrew as a human being, and as a human customer, that's going to have a variety of needs over the course of his full journey. And what we really want to think about is this idea that there are actually simultaneously multiple marketing funnels and multiple customer journeys for you as a retailer that customers like Andrew will be in simultaneously, as well as all that sitting within the context of that larger funnel of multiple purchases with you as a brand, going from general awareness of you as a retailer to loyalty with you as a retailer, not just with the item, we want to understand right that at the same time, Andrew could be in the bottom funnel, the end of his shopping journey ready to make a purchase, for that initial summer shirt, he could be much more in consideration phase, still thinking about the rest of that outfit, the shorts, that sandals, whatever else that might be. And he might not be thinking at all about potential repeat purchases from a retailer that he's found to be reliable. And to have that power, that he's looking for the patterns, that he's looking for upsell opportunities for maybe that fall wedding, where he's gonna need a nice suit, or a sports jersey as we get to playoff time. And once someone purchases, of course, we want to put them into the marketing cycle for your loyalty programs, which we think you know, app install, and afterwards is going to become an increasingly important component of that. So we really want to be marketing to Andrew along this overall customer funnel as a repeat purchaser with your brand. Recognizing that for each of these individual product funnels, what we really want to be focused on as performance marketers right is the opportunity to buy each item, we want to be maximizing each parallel funnel for all of your products. While as individual customers enter that journey, and we learn more about them, we can bid them a little more specifically based on where they are in that journey, how ready they are to purchase each individual item. So with that kind of overall philosophy laid out let's take a look at some of the specific tactics that we can use to accomplish this.

Aaron Conant 12:38

And quick question that comes in and just reminder, a couple more people dial in, you know, just drop in the question section or chat them in, or email them to me. Is there any estimate percent of purchases that happen after the initial click within a day or more?

John Liu 12:54

Yeah, that's gonna vary immensely, depending on your product and the product lifecycle, right? If it's a really kind of commodity type products, really replaceable, right? If you're selling like toilet paper rolls, that's probably going to be you know, almost all a universally same day, right? Like, people will search for that when they're going to buy, they're not going to do a ton of research. If you're selling an extremely high value, expensive item that someone might use for years. So for example, furniture or home appliances, mattresses, something like that, right? People go through extremely long consideration cycles for things like that, they might do research for multiple months before ultimately committing to a four figure purchase for an item that they're going to intend to use for many years. So this really depends on your shopping cycle, and how much consideration goes into that there's, you know, so there's different tools you can use to look at this, you can take a look at, you know, just overall, you know, kind of based on your web analytics, what's the time between a user coming to your website and the first time and then ultimately making a purchase? Google has some good tools for this where, for example, you can look at your conversion reporting for a time period. And very often you can mouse over your conversions and Google have a little pop up that tells you, you know, like 80% of conversions came in first day, and after six days, we accept 96% of conversion stuff come in. So you can get a little estimate of that from Google as well. But it really depends on your business data to understand that. Awesome. All right. So when we first get into initial touchpoints, you know, really acquiring new customers getting them into, you know, the Product Funnel for that first purchase and the overall experience funnel for you as a retailer. Social is obviously a great place to do this, right? Because it's a place where people expect to engage with something that they haven't seen before. So this is where we can really leverage upper funnel social prospecting opportunities. Utilize both your first party website data and third party signals, that data that Facebook and Instagram and other channels have about their customers to really deliver your differentiated message to drive ran discovery. By identifying and testing new customers and creative, we can really try to understand, you know, what's the appropriate objective? Are we focused on new customer acquisition and that initial engagement with the brand? Or is this a social campaign that sits a little further down the funnel where little more ready to get them to purchase? How are we identifying the audiences that are, you know, ready for your new message? And how do we test through the creative and understand what are the real communication points that really drive people to engage with your ad to click through to your website to take that necessary next step in their shopping journey, right, whether that's researching a product page, or maybe reading more about your company, or using a store finder to come into a physical location to take a closer look. This is where you really want to have a good strategic approach to what messages you're delivering creative at which phase of the journey, understanding, you know, brand messages versus product messages and vs offers, and constantly testing those to really be identifying the best performers. And honestly, there's also a component of it today, where you need to be engaging in active creative testing, not only to identify the actual best message that's most convincing to your customers, but you know, to really just game the Facebook system to game the Google system, where you are giving it and you're feeding the algorithm with enough options that are able to find what works best within their system, whether or not that's directly related to actual consumer needs and being. Um, an example of this is working with our client is in a name, we were really able to test through, you know, kind of the messages around quality of the product versus who was using the product, different messages around, you know, how you were shopping for their dress shirts. You know, how that changed during the pandemic, when people were, you know, doing less golfing, less athletic things, working less in the office, less business meetings, and this type of creative testing to just align that right message to the audience is really critical for driving the best results. Once you've kind of activated customers through the initial engagement, then what we want to do is continue to nurture that and do dynamic product delivery, retargeting them using dynamic product ads resurfacing the products that they're looking on your website, right, we know that initial touch point is more about awareness, helping them be aware of the style that this retailer is delivering, right helping them be aware that they offer these types of products. Now we want to hit him with the products that he has specifically looked at to encourage that further consideration and purchase as we nurture him through the funnel, and shift from a focus on, you know, initial activation to closing the deal and actually getting that conversion. This is also where people you know, who have been activated by that initial social ad, who have become aware of your brand who have start shopping around, they've refined their needs. This is where people will turn to search, right search is still an incredibly important channel for guiding eCommerce and shopping. And what you want to do is really understand right, you know, what are the key search behaviors? What are the main things that people are searching for having the opportunity to conquest against competitors, and then especially if you have physical store locations, to be leveraging that as a strength as well, you know, a big part of what we saw last year was the shift to eCommerce, of course, that's only going to become increasingly more important. And many of our clients that have physical stores are shifting to a more eCommerce first strategy for their business. But that said, as long as you do have those physical store locations around, we certainly know that people who go in store are better customers, they have a deeper engagement with your brand, they become exposed to the variety of other products that are in store in a more active way where they can choose the kind of browse through the catalog. When you walk in store, you see all this stuff around you, right? And it really highlights the opportunity for curbside pickup, easy pickup, right? That's delivery, easy returns, things like that. So the customer who shops with you through multiple channels is more valuable. So if you have in store, we want to be leveraging that as well. But just overall make sure that you're in front of your customers, when they are searching those bottom funnel terms that indicate a high intent to purchase, including your direct competitors. Leveraging those local inventory ads that combine online offline really drives enormous returns again, right, you can get up to four times the ROAs by driving people through that combined experience. A lot of this is actually driven through feed optimization. When we talk about shopping ads, right? How do you achieve success in shopping, actually a huge component of the other as optimizing your product be not only becoming more important today as the campaign types that you use to leverage those feeds are becoming more automated and give you a little bit less control, you really want to ensure that you have a clean feed. And that you have a really high quality product be that has all the data in it necessary to inform Google's automated features, as well as providing any additional data to us, or to your advertisers around your product level performance, whether that's margin, whether that's lifetime value of customers who buy these products, what maybe it's a kind of a customer value score based on a lead pipe function, if you have services, as well as retail offerings, right? Making sure that you're promoting all of your products and your pls that you're optimizing the titles and product descriptions to include the keywords that users are actually searching for, is really critical, and making sure that your feed driven campaigns, which are your shopping campaigns, and your dynamic product, ad campaigns and social are performing well. So when we look at product data, right, for example, you need to understand all the fields normalized properly, and then are you optimizing them for the platform, you might have a product feed that you're producing for Google Merchant Center for your shopping ads, well, in those feeds, it's actually very important to emphasize your retail brand, as well as the you know, trademark brand of the product. That's if that's if you're not if that's a different brand, right? The national brand, those are things you really want to mention and emphasize on the product title, because those will drive query matching against extremely high purchase intent searches for those specific products. But in Facebook, that's not necessary, right. Because when you have a Facebook ad, your brand logo and name aren't in the upper left corner of every ad, because it's served as a post. So there you would want to not emphasize your brand as much in the product title, and reserve that valuable real estate for product descriptors, right, so making sure that you're properly, you know, saying or not saying your brand name in the right fields. Another example is some of these product category fields. So these are fields where Google used to use them. But then Google, in order for standardization, switched over from kind of a retailer provide a product category to their standard Merchant Center product category fields. For these product category, product type fields still exist in the feed. And they're actually extremely valuable for Pinterest. If you're going to run a dynamic feed driven product campaign in Pinterest, making sure that you're leveraging these product category and product type fields that Facebook and Google are not looking at, it's really important to make sure that you're matching against the search queries and keyword buying approach and Pinterest properly. So making sure that you're properly optimizing these campaigns, these feeds to match your campaigns is really important.

Aaron Conant 22:57

So I have a couple people that want to remain on that one just a little bit. So is this an update is this you know, key takeaways for people and a lot today is your if you're looking at if you're going to do their own audit, you know, taking a look at the URL title, product, category, product type. And then you're doing the same thing on Insta. You ever place on Google? This is kind of an audit that that they could do. And in there's a huge amount of optimization and the other. The other question is around, you know, it prevents wasted ad budget. And what I have a lot of questions for I mean, outside of this one is hey, I need to optimize my budget because it's being pulled 100 different ways. I have the, and in at the end of the year, I know I'm going to be asked more questions than I've ever been asked in the past around what happened the budget, what's the performance? I mean, there's some grace given last year, this year, there's going to be some higher expectations around reporting and return on adspend and everything else. So you know, you know kind of some thoughts that people are gonna have a takeaway I see it says with Adlucent so your was it proprietary, or you know, you know, feeds or anything but any thoughts you can give people on, you know, if they have their, their current, you know, before Adlucent, what should they be thinking about?

John Liu 24:13

Yeah, some of the key things to really look out are, again, how you're using your brand name and the trademark brand name of the product. For anything that involves kind of descriptors like color, making sure that you're using standard color names, or at least labeling equivalent colors, there's a field for it, and the feed, vary all the time we see. You know, people want to use more descriptive color names that you know, maybe are a little more emotive or some more detailed imagery in mind, you know, describing those burgundy bath pals, but the truth is that most consumers are just gonna be typing red into search. So you need to make sure that you're considering that. The next thing is really to be honestly collaborating with your SEO team. Your SEO team is going to have a good understanding of what your most important keyword targets are for your product title. For your catalog pages and things like that, those are very often going to be the same priority keywords that are necessary to include in your product feed. So incorporating that alongside the actual keyword data that's extracted from your campaigns is really what's valuable for understanding what are people actually typing into Google when they're looking for this type of product. And just making sure that that's properly represented in your feed, what we're really able to do is to do this at scale using our proprietary platform, but anybody can be doing this for their product feed to get better results.

Aaron Conant 25:32

And then when you talk about wasted ad budget, what is, you know, what does that important? So the question that comes in wasted ad budget, what is that performance enhancement look like?

John Liu 25:42

Yeah, so that's going to vary a little bit. And what that really boils down to is just making sure that we're serving the right product for the right person, right, if someone is searching for, you know, men's shirt with color, or men's cotton shirt with color, you want to make sure to be serving them a collared shirt or cotton shirt. And this type of feed optimization is actually really valuable for just making sure that in controlling that you're serving the correct product to the correct person. Actually, all the time, people will click an ad and then browse around your site, we know that only about 40% of the time is the product click to actually included in the cart, when someone says even for people who like actually successfully checkout after that add, click, and then you know, even out of that 40%, a lot of the time, there's additional items included in that cart. So understanding that, it's still really important to really shorten the path to actual checkout for someone, right, you want the minimum number of decisions, the minimum number of clicks necessary between that paid interaction and the ultimate revenue generating event. So making sure that we're serving the correct product that's as close as possible to what someone is really looking for. That's strongly controlled here, especially in shopping ads, and as you know, really improves your conversion rates and gets you that better ROI. And then in terms of measurement, we'll talk about that a little more down the line. But that's where right, it's always been important to be measuring your success, really understanding how you're actually driving revenue and new customer acquisition through your campaigns. As we talked about a little earlier, some of that measurement has become a lot harder to just track all the way through, again, especially when there's like a 30 day potential delay between someone clicking on like, that's the mattress review, and ultimately buying your mattress. So that's where you need to really take a closer look at your measurement strategy. And we'll talk about that at the end.

Aaron Conant 27:33

Awesome. And just a quick reminder, for those who've kind of joined us halfway through here to seven awesome conversation with John Liu over at Adlucent. You have questions along the way, drop into the question section drop into the chat or keep emailing them to me here at we'll can get them answered. Awesome. Thanks John.

John Liu 27:51

Okay, get back to you. So we just talked a lot about optimizing the feed, another key component of the feed, not just optimizing the content of the feed, but using the feed to restructure your catalog campaigns, through categorization, right? by associating data with the feed by having product level data, and again, but maybe by bringing your additional first party data, right, like Cost of Goods Sold margin, LTV, scalability, score anything like that, we can help segment your products into relevant categories by both performance and by product type. So looking on the right here, for example, right? If we have multiple different lines of short sleeve shirts, we can group those by performance, we can take the high margin shirts, separate those from top seller, some of those might be the same, you can have that as well understand, what's your summer specific line, maybe new launches that have not yet proven to be top sellers or high margin. And then your other products, right maybe ones that you still want to be available, but not your focus is for this upcoming season. You have the opportunity to label your products by performance by other attributes, and group them appropriately in your feed. And then be using that feeds really guide the structure of your trapping search and social campaigns or serve the correct products together to be bidding to them correctly, right. You want to be bidding more for your high margin products and bidding less for your low margin products, even if they're both driving revenue. For more dynamic, multi product experiences like this instant experience ad on Instagram that we're seeing on the left, that's where you might want to be careful to say hey, if we're focused on serving as luxury watch, let's not also throw a $25 Timex into that same ad unit right? Let's make sure to properly group our products and be serving them based on you know performance or what makes sense not letting automation take full control of that. Applying custom labels against your catalog in the feed is a big component of being able to do that appropriately. So you want to be making sure to leverage your custom labels. This is the screen trough how we're using our platform to accomplish that. But every advertiser has access to the custom label feeds in your product feed that submit the Google Merchant Center. So it's really just about finding the way to ingest that data and associate those labels or those product values with at the skew level, so that you can drive your campaigns set up against that. And when you split out your feed like this, then that also allows you to start bidding to value, right. So for example, if you're selling dog food, right, we know that a really long tail very specific query like grain free large breed dog food, that's, you know, that's enough descriptors that we know somebody who's really done some research, done some consideration, they know they're looking for some fairly specific products, that's going to be a pretty high value query that has a high conversion rate. That means we want to bid more for somebody else that's also looking for dog food. But just searching for dog food or just searching for dog large breed dog food hasn't gone to the grain free part yet. That's somebody who is simply very often less likely to make the purchase. And we'd like to bid less for them. So this is where it's important to be setting up your campaign structures in a way that facilitates this, we can take advantage of the priority settings in Google Shopping campaigns to kind of have a low bid as the high priority. So when someone searches for dog food, that's the campaign that comes to serve them first. But then as we identify searches, like large breed dog food or grain free dog food to be important, we hit apply those as negative keywords, that then forces the person to the next campaign where we're bidding higher, or the next campaign after that we're bidding even higher. So by grouping your queries into low, medium and high values, and associating that with the values of your products, this is how we can start architecting these more complex and granular campaigns that are really driving the best results. Smart shopping campaigns today actually can pick up a lot of the kind of burden of this type of management, but it's not perfect. Now are we going to be basically lots of new products or customers, where you may have strategic insights that go outside of what's easily available in the platform today, right? Google smart shopping doesn't necessarily know about your seasonality, that's your retailer specific seasonality. If they don't have data for multiple years, they don't necessarily know about your promotions, about your local needs, about your priorities for your house brands versus, you know, partner brands, or if you have a co op campaign where, you know, brands are giving you dollars to advertise for traffic to your site that's selling their products, and you need to be able to break that down. Those are those are really complex objectives in driving success in retail eCommerce that extend beyond just right, maximizing your ROAs that you need to be able to serve. So that's where you want to not only rely on automation, but really be using that hybrid approach of both automation and manual management to get the best results. And that's where you can really be freed up to use all the query and keyword data that you've accumulated as an advertiser to do this.

Aaron Conant 33:18

Are you amazed at how complicated this has gotten over the past even two and a half, three years?

John Liu 33:26

It's really been interesting, because it's been a blend of kind of like, increasing complexity, but also simplicity, right? Because some of the complexity comes from them taking options away, and you're getting more complicated in order to try to get those options back. But we're also finding that, you know, it's kind of inevitable future and we're working with Google on things like delivering click value signals via API to inform and influence their automated campaigns, instead of having these complex manual campaign setups to get around automation. So that that is where things have evolved. And it's really kind of a balance between, you know, like, leaning into simplicity, but then fighting back with increased complexity where it's doing the work, that's really what's necessary to get the best performance. But yeah, you know, it's what keeps it interesting and you know, make makes it an interesting field to work in instead of just doing the same thing for 15 years.

Aaron Conant 34:17

Yeah, I mean, third party cookies go on away iOS update. I mean, it's it's moving and changing completely it. I know it has been for years now. But even getting to the point where it's not just you know, creating the different campaigns, segmenting them, programming it on the back end to make sure that you're actually bidding now, at the right price, you're not over bidding, you're not under bidding to optimizing everything. It's, it's, it's, it's neat. It's just, it's changing so quickly. I'm fascinated by it.

John Liu 34:51

So after we've captured that initial purchase, right through that kind of awareness campaign, followed up by conversion campaigns across social and search, you really want to continue, think about Continuing to advertise to this customer, right we can retarget them, we can retarget to them at the device or household level. You know, Andrew might not be on Pinterest a lot. But Cindy his wife might be, there's the opportunity to be advertising to her after their browser has been cookies by visiting your website to continue to offer. You know, these opportunities for exploration and retargeting your past customers and past site visitors with ongoing offers, as what's selling right now as what's in market right now changes. That's also where it's important to scale your non brand search, right? Where not just in shopping campaigns, but also in keyword campaigns. This is where actually again, we see a lot of value in leveraging automation, and leveraging a dynamic search ad campaigns or DSAs. Dynamic search ad campaigns work by giving Google a landing page. And then Google determines what keywords bids and ad copy are driving to that landing page. And if you think about it, that's actually very similar to shopping, isn't it where you're giving Google a product. And Google is determining what keywords bids, and there's not really much creative, right? It's just the the what's in the feed, determine what of that to serve to the consumer. So what we found is that with the introduction of feed based DSS as an option, in 2017 2018, we were able to categorize your product pages, your catalog pages, your overall site content, using very similar approaches as we've taken to shopping optimization, right, which is also where it's important to look at your data at the keyword and product level, not just that kind of like the campaign level that allows you to get that deeper understanding of how you're impacting the shopping journey, and how that's really driving purchase. So that we're able to apply those same consumer insights into you know, what searches are really indicating purchase intent to leverage a combination of manual keyword searches for really high volume keywords and queries, where you have a lot of data to using automation for that prospecting into customers where you don't have a lot of information about them, and to really long tail keywords that, you know, maybe you only get 10 clicks a month that were hard to really optimize manually. So this approach of using feed based ESA is leveraging your product and chopping data, in combination with a keyword approach is really driving revolutionary results for us. And we think this is an important innovation that all retailers should be looking at.

Aaron Conant 37:22

Yeah, just want to jump in really quick. Will this feed base DSA product targeting outside traditional product pages and category pages, and lead gen pages. Yeah, we'd love to hear your thoughts there.

John Liu 37:33

Yeah, it's most straightforward when you're using it for product pages, because you know, you groups up the same way. But you're absolutely able to drive content to any type of page with the P base DSA. And the bidding options allow you to still focus on like a cost per acquisition or return on adspend. Even when you're driving people to content that may not be a purchase page. You know, for some of those, like super long consideration products, we found this to be super valuable. You know, just anecdotally, we had a mattress retailer client who had a lot of lifestyle content on their site, blog content, you know, and they had something for smoothie recipes. And we were actually finding that we were able to drive paid traffic to that smoothie recipe blog posts, a very positive above average campaign row as because we were able to leverage the auction time bidding, that's part of these campaign automated campaign types to only be striving people that have smoothie recipes page who were already in market for a mattress purchase, right? In that moment, they weren't searching for our mattress, they were searching for a smoothie recipe, but they were shopping for a mattress their online behavior indicated that they were shopping for a mattress. And by using an automated campaign type, we're able to acquire those people get them into a retargeting pool, have them be exposed to our clients overall brand and content. So blow it all this, of course has to be paired with ad copy and extension testing, right making sure that you're customizing those and that you're using ad customizers to really feed that journey. This is where it's really important to kind of have the right balance between granularity and consolidation. We've been talking a lot so far about, you know, kind of breaking out campaigns, bidding appropriately to the right, intent or grouping or value. But the truth is, is that that level of granularity has to be balanced by the fact that automation, and just data driven analysis works better with larger data sets, right? So you really want to do is aggregate everything and have the fewest number of campaigns possible. with the caveat that you want to break everything out wherever there's a real difference in strategy or performance to finding that right balance. But ad customizers are a huge part of enabling you to consolidate but still be delivering a you know, personalized message that speaks to that customer's you know, step in the audience journey. The offers are most relevant to them, especially on a geo or promo basis. So making sure You're properly leveraging ad customizers across your campaigns in order to pass messaging based on user intent and location alongside your overall search strategy. And then making sure that you support lifetime value with cross selling, right, supporting that full callout through cross promotion. Also leaning into ad types like display or discovery ads in order to make people better aware of those other products, you know, understanding your overall product life cycles, knowing you know, okay, you know, when we get into the fall, once we get to the star football season, people are gonna be interested in buying jerseys and making sure that you have your campaign set up properly and retargeting people, right, they're they've purchased from you before, let's make sure that they're aware that here's an opportunity to buy again, this is where it's important to optimize the blended value, right, because again, as people are in those multiple funnels, they're engaged in different activities that are valuable to different pieces. So making sure that we're focused on lifetime value across custom conversion types, including repeat purchase in store engagement, engagement with your rewards club, or loyalty. And, of course, app downloads, making sure that you're optimizing to that overall value of engagement with you as a retailer, not just that first one off purchase. And, you know, we want to spend a moment to talk about app marketing, this is something that we really see as dramatically increasing in importance, this is really the opportunity to build an own channel for consumer communication, right? When when things are happening within your app, you can send someone a push notification. And then when they tap on that when they do something in the app, that's all you know, your owned and operated space, where you can have a lot better information about what people are doing and how they're able to engage with you in mobile. So we think that's going to become increasingly more important for retailers to have, you know, their own native apps that customers can use for shopping their catalog or engaging with loyalty. And they'll provide continuous audience segment consumer analytics, that can really inform your retention strategy and help optimize your demand Gen campaigns. So you know, we think it's important and valuable for retailers to be thinking about their app strategy, and how to, you know, distribute that app, which there are custom campaign types that really facilitate that, among both your existing and new customers.

Aaron Conant 42:20

Awesome. So quick question. Will the incrementality measurement tool work with Adobe?

John Liu 42:26

Yeah, so that's what we wanted to kind of talk about here is, you know, now we've talked about all these complex campaign types and things up and down the funnel? How are you measuring that? How are you making sure that, you know, you're up funnel campaigns designed to get people engaged with your brand, I think driving that purchase at the end. And this is where we really think you know, the dream of multi touch attribution, and things like that is dying. And we think what advertisers should really be doing is going back to more old school approaches of doing incrementality testing and lift that thing, right, we've developed an approach that we call Model Driven planning, that's powered by our lift mentality tool, where what we're really doing is using the customer's source of truth for business success. So that can be Adobe, that can be your CRM, or your fulfillment platform, whatever makes sense to you, but taking your ultimate measure of business success, and then understanding, you know, what are truly even geo splits where performance was the same over a time period. Then once we have those geo splits, we like to do a split into three sets, where one group, you know, we hold is the control, no change. Another group, we lower spend 10%. And the final group we raise spend 10%. So what that does is it creates a 20% spend differential between your two test groups. But neither one of them is impacted more than 10%. And that's what and your overall span should not change at all right? And what that allows us to do is really try to understand what is the impact of that actual change in spending your campaign on your bottom line metrics. And what we consistently see right is that there are lots of invisible impacts from view through from brand impact, that are not necessarily directly trackable. For one client, we were able to demonstrate that they were actually getting three times the eCommerce results, the purchase results as a result of their shopping campaign, as we were originally to directly measure because people were clicking their ads, and then actually, you know, purchasing via their mobile app, and that connection was being broken. But by doing this lift test to understand, you know, when we increase in lower spend, what is how does that actually drive your overall business results, it was actually driving three times the purchase, then we were able to directly attribute so taking this approach to really understanding the impact of what you're doing, combined with that kind of full funnel multi touch approach to advertising to your customers. is what's really allows us to, you know, be finding those people, and introducing them to you as a retail brand. And driving that overall value in a way that's performance driven, and held accountable to your marketing dollars, instead of, you know, turning things over all to like, one large automated campaign that's really only optimizing to something that a result that might be happening three weeks after the initial click right, those are the kinds of approaches that we think are not going to be successful, especially in this new, more privacy centric future. So you need to be taking this kind of multi step full funnel approach to understanding your marketing, and then backing that up with robust measurement and lift testing to really understand its impact. That was actually kind of our our presentation here today, where we again, we just really want to highlight this the importance of this kind of cross channel full funnel approach, right and understanding that it's not about serving the one ad that's going to get someone to buy, that's about building a multiple touch experience that gets someone to visit your site, then buy, then come back and buy again, and download your mobile app and become a loyal customer. And what we really want to do is to kind of maximize each of those as individual funnels and journeys, while making sure to leverage all of your customer data and website data to be customizing personalizing that experience across the multiple touches.

Aaron Conant 46:31

Awesome. So great time for q&a. If you have questions, drop in the Questions tab there, drop into the chat or email them to me Aaron we probably got about five or six minutes left here to kind of tackle some of those issues. Couple things that came in along the ways around the custom conversion types in the roles, you know, specifically, the custom conversion types and roles customizable in the technology we're highlighting, it looks to have several options.

John Liu 46:58

Yeah, so you know, not to get too deep into our sales pitch. But yes, that's our proprietary technology that's developed in house by us, we have a full team of developers that has built the platform to the needs of our management team over the last 20 years. And it's fully customizable, based on the data sources and needs of any particular retailer. But, you know, really the the message there beyond just that is, you know, making sure that you are setting up custom conversions that you have a really robust measurement strategy of understanding where all the different interactions on your website that really speak to an interest in shopping, an interest in purchase, and making sure they're optimizing to that initial first steps of the journey, not just that final piece where someone is actually ready to purchase.

Aaron Conant 47:46

Awesome. Next question that comes in is around any other trends that are popping up? You're seeing they're going to greatly affect, you know, paid digital media over the coming year or years? I don't know, bought your crystal ball, I guess.

John Liu 48:00

Yeah, I mean, the truth is, is I think the biggest change that everyone's still waiting for is to really understand how the return to relative normality is going to impact shopping behaviors, right? You know, how many people have kind of been sitting on dollars that they're not ready to spend? And where are they going to spend those right? I've had people been waiting for the opportunity to go back in store to shop, or how are people less interested in shopping in store than ever before, now that they've had a whole year to develop new habits. Really, I think the most important thing for every marketer right now is to have to be thinking about their robust data infrastructure, be again, tracking all those purchases to be connecting their online and offline data as much as possible so that you can really understand how your unique retail brands is going to be impacted by this shift in consumer behavior, right. Just among like apparel retailers, we saw a real big differences last year, depending on the types of products you sold. If you were more of a luxury, high fashion retailer, you probably had a real tough time last year because people were going out last going to the workplace last some of those people save those dollars to other needs. But then if you were more of like athletic wear leisurewear retailer, you probably had a really great year last year as people were looking for those kinds of products at home. So now how is that going to carry forward into this year? People want to keep investing in these comfortable outfits? Are people going to keep working from home? Or are people really ready to get dressed up? Now they've had the opportunity to do it again. There's no way to know without seeing it. So the most important thing right now is to really have a robust data infrastructure and be doing your planning around what conversions you're tracking and able to leverage as people come to your website or visit your brand in store.

Aaron Conant 49:39

Awesome. So next question that comes in. Do you have any recommendations on how to manage the data updating cycle it seems that small changes could lead to labor intensive changes of tags titles data across the entire catalog? What are some best practices for managing these changes for a catalog that has 1000s of active skews deep and possibly hundreds of live campaigns happening?

John Liu 50:00

This is really just depend on kind of what your internal processes for managing your feed, right, that's going to be different for every retailer, you might be kind of managing everything just from like the CMS product catalog level, and then just exporting like a sheet feed from Shopify, in which case, what you really need to be doing is understanding what's your strategy for your product naming website up to date, updating for the catalog, and making sure that it's just a line with your needs for your product beat, maybe you're doing something with like, you know, a robust vendor like AP dynamics, where you're sending something over to them, and they're doing some manipulation and optimization on your behalf. That's something where you want to work with that team to understand your options. And of course, you know, you can always work with Adlucent in in order to making sure that your feed optimization is happening in concert with your campaign optimization.

Aaron Conant 50:48

Awesome, love it. As we get into kind of like the last two minutes here. You know, I'm going to kick it over to you, John, for some key takeaways, but also do want to say a quick thank you to everybody who is able to dial in, if you have a last minute question, you can drop it in there now. But thanks to everybody who's able to dial in, we'd love to have a follow up conversation with you on our site here at BWG Connect, like, I know that we don't sell anything, but that's how we get the topics for our calls. So we'd love to have those conversations with anybody who'd like to put some time on the calendar. But also, you know, John, the team at Adlucent are great brands, partners, supporters of the network as a whole, come highly recommended for multiple brands, and it's so 100% worth your time, you know, 30 minutes or so aside to kind of connect with them and see what they're doing this space, they're all around digital experts and digital leaders. So I encourage anybody, if you have the time to do that we can make a connection after this webinar here. But John, if I kick it over to you, you know, like key takeaways for people, as we wrap up the call here in the next minute or so things that people either should be concerned about looking at or be prepared for, you know, in the, in the next 12 months, whether it's, you know, just q4 or, you know, planning in the next year as a whole.

John Liu 51:58

Yeah, you know, the truth is, is that's just becoming harder and harder to become to be competitive and eCommerce based solely on, you know, acquiring customers when they're ready to buy, right, it's really become necessary for all brands and retailers to, you know, do more to encourage customers to have loyalty to be to have that awareness, not just fulfilling that, hey, we have the product you're looking for need. So as you engage in those more complex brand and customer relationships, you know, just make sure that you're taking that long term, multiple interaction multiple channel view, that you're not optimizing your performance campaigns in a silo, even though they are performance campaigns, and like kind of more trackable and comparable and data driven than, like a brand awareness campaign or overall brand launch type thing. You really need to be understanding them still as how are we influencing a customer shopping journey, and convincing a customer that we are the right person to buy from, as opposed to just you know, focusing on buying profitable traffic? That's really the the key takeaway that I think, you know, performance marketers are becoming more like traditional marketers everyday.

Aaron Conant 53:02

Awesome. Love it. Well, John, thanks again for your time today. Thanks for sharing. All the information also allowed us put you on the hot seat there at the end as we were throwing some questions your way. Once again. Also, thanks for being such great friends, partners and support just the network. Thanks again to everybody who was able to dial in looks like we're going to wrap up here right on time with three to four minutes to go on the hour. Hope everybody has a fantastic Wednesday, everybody, take care, stay safe and look forward to have you at a future event. All right. Thanks, everybody. Take care. Thanks, John. Alrighty.

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