Retail monetization is growing. 8 of 10 retailers now use featured products, sponsored links and display ads on their sites. What's more, 96 percent of brands marketers are saying that they're going to increase their advertising on websites in the next two years.
At the iMedia Commerce Summit in Nashville Tennessee, Tammi Dondiego, director of sales at HookLogic, spoke with a panel of marketers about the e-commerce media landscape, and how the services offered are helping them as brands and agencies.
Dondiego broke things down first, explaining where we encounter ads along the path-to-purchase:
- Pre-shopping: Search sites such as Google and Pinterest, providing a map of where to buy.
- Shopping: Product ads for Walmart, Target, etc. and even sponsored products on Amazon.
- Retargeting: Facebook often sends the consumer back to the item they were looking at.
- And finally, the purchase itself.
Ad placements must support all business strategies. Ads on the homepage are part of branding and discover; browse and search results show active consideration on the part of the shopper. Mobile ads are everywhere, and registries provide a particular point-of-entry. Product detail pages, which Dondiego calls "the money spot," are for cross-selling and "conquesting," also known as taking away the purchase from competitors.
Dondiego also spoke with marketers from both brands and agencies -- Jake Gould, search director at MEC; Chris Walsh, VP, performance media at Havas Media; Coy Robison, director of digital marketing at Blendtec; and Michele Romas, digital marketing manager at Xerox -- in order to gain their insights into the conversion of media and e-commerce. Here are some of their answers:
How is your company structured for e-commerce?
Walsh replied that Havas focuses on "engagement, acquisition, and retention. We look to identify how to engage, [and] ensure that all channels (sponsored and paid) reach. Not every consumer wants to see same message every time. Robison added that, "there's a journey. [You must] leverage and provide."
What are the biggest insights you've gained from advertising on retail sites?
Romas replied, "Are sales rates the same? Are we buying higher revenue models? What is the behavior on different devices [telling us]?"
How has the data informed your marketing strategies?
Coy said that at Blendtec, they can tell great stories through their local strategy, as all their products are made locally, in Utah. "There is an inherent trust level when purchasing on retailer sites. [It] allows exposure in other areas."
How are you working to the online/offline gap?
When it comes to Xerox, Romas said the question is "how do you measure those not buying online? [Many are] research-based online, allowing them to find partner sites or lead to brick and mortar stores. All these have touchpoints tied together through attribution. They get transparency into how users are buying, but there is no ultimate solution. You have to come up with a unique strategy for your business."
Where do you see retail e-commerce and media in five or 10 years?
All the panelists agreed that transparency is really important, and increased security leads to more partnership across sites, in order to put together better customer profiles. It's about the evolution of the relationship between brands, agencies, and retailers. Additionally, mobile will continue to grow, as will personalization, including things like wish lists and wants lists. These are things that can be done in-store now, just by scanning items and adding them to lists. The lines between online and offline are blurring.