Marketing in a Pandemic: Riding the Surging Wave of Commerce Advertising, Part 2
In part one of this series, we explored some of the nuanced factors related to the pandemic that have been driving the growth of commerce advertising. In addition, we offered key takeaways for advertisers to successfully navigate this period of change to manage their programs better.
As advertisers better understand the impacts of these unique factors brought on by the pandemic, they can begin to adjust strategy to align commerce advertising efforts more effectively.
Commerce Advertising Best Practices in a Crisis
According to the Kenshoo Q2 2020 Quarterly Trends Report, marketers prioritized the category of shoppable ads — not just the e-commerce ads channel, but also search shopping campaigns and social dynamic product ads — serving more ads in the second quarter of 2020 than during the holiday season. The total volume of ad impressions increased dramatically:
- Search Shopping Campaigns: Up 100 percent year-over-year (YoY) and 78 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ)
- Social Dynamic Product Ads: 87 percent YoY and 27 percent QoQ
- E-Commerce Ads: 92 percent YoY and 30 percent QoQ
With increased competition spurred by the pandemic, marketers should consider the following best practices to optimize their commerce advertising programs:
Start uncovering the impact of COVID-19 on commerce advertising programs by monitoring data for changes. Marketers can react more quickly by monitoring with technology.
- Campaign Performance: Make sure to establish objectives for each campaign or ad group to inform performance relative to goals.
- Conversion Rate: As consumer behaviors shifted, demand changed rapidly. In fact, Amazon.com began experiencing trouble maintaining its commitments for one- and two-day delivery. Those factors can impact conversion rate on advertising as consumers click ads but then choose not to buy when they see slower-than-expected shipping times. Watch conversion rates closely and optimize away from poor performing elements.
- Trending Changes: Searching for suddenly scarce items has taken on new urgency. Carefully monitor changes in inventory positions and shipping delivery windows to optimize conversion rate and improve return on ad spend (ROAS).
Monitoring data is only the first step. Analysis is the vital second step required to enable proactive adjustments. Marketers can implement adjustments more quickly with technology and proper structure.
- Campaign Structure: Create organized campaign structures to synthesize findings more quickly.
- Adapt for Relevancy: Identify opportunities to adapt to targeting and reposition while being tactful, such as optimizing for “home office chair” instead of “corporate office chair.”
- Search Terms: Use the Amazon Search Terms report and Customer Search Query report to unearth changes in search behavior and optimize campaigns.
Some activities within commerce advertising programs are well suited for automation, such as bid optimization. Marketers can use technology to leverage data at scale while maintaining performance.
- Leverage Machine Learning: Readily available technology can help marketers process massive amounts of data to optimize advertising campaigns to performance goals.
- Set Up Recurring Rules: With conditions changing rapidly, establishing rule-based changes or updates can help save valuable time.
Invest in commerce advertising by reallocating resources (e.g., ad budget, people, etc.) and expand to channels such as Walmart.com and Target.com.
- Expand Programs: While Amazon has dominated e-commerce, the surge in demand towards online purchasing is accelerating sales on Walmart.com, Target.com and others.
- Quick Turnaround Analyses: Take advantage of readily available analyses to help identify opportunities and move quickly.
- Custom Scope Projects: Talk with experts about solutions that meet specific campaign objectives and offer actionable takeaways.
- Ongoing Enablement: Seek continued strategic guidance from experts to keep a competitive edge.
As commerce advertising continues to surge, marketers need to understand the various underlying factors to help them successfully align their programs with the immediate opportunity. There are some subtleties that, once understood, can best direct data-driven decision making to ensure commerce advertising investments garner the highest return.
The marketing organizations that can rapidly and most effectively set up best-in-class commerce advertising practices will have a leg up on their competitors for years to come.
Kevin Weiss is the vice president of client success for Kenshoo Ecommerce, an advertising technology solution for managing, automating and optimizing paid marketing campaigns.