E-commerce has taken the world by storm and in this day and age, you’re behind if you haven’t jumped on the wagon. But what makes for a good ecomm strategy, anyway? Do you have benchmarks that you’re trying to exceed or is this your first time out? How should your results be measured? With so many resources offering advice, it can be difficult to know if your campaign is on the right track, let alone whether it’s a good idea to increase your ad spend.
Everyone wants a successful campaign and there is no “golden rule” that will answer all your questions. However, there are a few key indicators that you can look out for when gauging its results and making the decision to wisely invest your budget in order to increase KPIs.
This first one may seem like a “no duh," but it’s one of the easiest ways to know that your strategy needs some tweaking. At thunder::tech, we always recommend remaining laser-focused on your campaign goal. When it comes to e-commerce, ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and ROI (Return on Investment) are solid goals to track. Rather than volume-based goals, ratio-based goals help keep increased spend and sales in perspective.
Now, when do you want to increase budget? Typically, small adjustments will make a huge difference. Are site visitors not staying on your homepage for very long? Try a snazzy new landing page or making your web copy easier to read. Too many abandoned carts? Revamp your product descriptions. Use low metrics as a guide for finding new solutions. Trial and error is your best friend!
Performance drop-off can be attributed to a number of factors, but let’s focus on those that we can control. When it comes to daily spend, forecasting tools are your friend. Even if the exact number given doesn’t line up with your budget reality, these figures give an idea of what it will take to remain competitive.
Similar to keyword search campaigns, it helps to focus your strategy on a category (or group of products) that are already performing well. Nurture those campaigns, keep them active at all costs. Once the system learns that you are an efficient account, your costs per sale will start to decrease. Take those savings and reinvest in those product categories that need a little boost.
Another reason for performance drop-off is your site having migration problems, such as lengthy loading times at different points in the day. Obviously, your website won’t have the same amount of traffic all day long, but you should see consistent traffic trends. If there is a sudden inconsistency, visitors may have encountered an unexpected issue. Locating what page they were on when that took place can aid in a solution.
If competitors are shaking it up, then you should be too! As with previously mentioned performance drop-off, you don’t want to jump to “raise ad spend!” as your go-to solution. Sometimes we can miss new features if we’re not looking for them, so keeping a watchful eye on your competitors can clue you in on new things to try. Taking a comprehensive view of your competitors keywords, ad copy, offers or photos is a good weekly habit to start. You don’t need to copy or even dominate their ads, but never let them fall off your radar. Once this becomes a habit, you’ll be more equipped to pivot during key times of the year, such as new seasons and holidays.
If it becomes clear that raising the budget is the right move, be sure to keep those ROAS or ROI targets in mind and simply aim to remain in the playing field (maintain impression share), not tank your return simply to “defeat” a competitor’s standing. If your campaign ends with a negative return, your competitors have won.
You may be reading this and thinking, “None of this applies to me” and that’s ok! Sometimes we don’t need a reason to put more money behind e-commerce other than getting it in front of more people. However, we all face the dreaded end of quarter dilemma, whether it’s not meeting sales quotas or coming close to overspending before the flight has run its course. This is the perfect time to get a head start on strategy for the next quarter, including a budget bump to start off with a bang. This way your results are cohesive and easier to measure vs a random increase midway.
thunder::tech prides itself on being an integrated marketing agency. This means we approach all campaigns holistically; it’s not just the medium that completes the sale, it’s also the supportive advertising that leads buyers down the funnel. Now that you know it, know that your competitors know it. Strategize around and invest in awareness tactics like display advertising, YouTube pre-roll and programmatic audio. Consider the impact of intent-based paid search, in-feed paid social and email marketing.
And when it comes to that last step, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – do Google Shopping for your website’s store, list on Amazon, list on Walmart...go where the audience is. There may be concern that multiple stores can cannibalize your efforts but think about physical stores: the same product is available in multiple venues. Instead of taking away from each other, their presence acts as additional awareness and clout as a retail offering.
At the end of the day, e-commerce is all about trying new things and finding solutions. No strategy is perfect and there are always new things to try. Applying these tips will help you next time you run into a roadblock, and when in doubt, try something else!
We’re all about advocating for innovation at thunder::tech. And if you’re really stuck, our team of professionals are here to help you in your ecomm strategy.
Taylor Flaugher is a Digital Communications Specialist at thunder::tech. When she’s not writing bomb copy or creating fun content for clients, she’s probably making a latte, watching paranormal investigations on YouTube or obsessing over her cats.