Feedonomics Expert Interview with Wesley Parker from Clicteq

Wesley is managing director at Clicteq. He currently manages a multi-million dollar Google Ads portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regularly writes in leading marketing publications such as Econsultancy and Campaign Magazine.

What major changes have you seen across the e-commerce digital marketing landscape in the last few years?

Two things, the shift from desktop to mobile first approach and brands moving to in-house media buying.

Over the last 5 years that has been a significant move of search behaviour from desktop to mobile. according to reports from Google, on average mobile searches now account for 58% of all search activity with some markets seeing over 70%.

This has signaled a shift from a desktop first experience to a mobile first experience. Where retailers should focus on the usability of their mobile site before building their desktop site.

This has also led to the importance of tracking cross device conversions in multi touch customer journeys as It’s becoming more common to see search funnels where mobile was the first touch point, eg. a searcher was on the bus on the way home.

The second touch was then a desktop search where the conversion happened later that evening. To keep up, brands have had to adopt robust attribution models that give weight to both first and last click interactions to adapt to the change in consumer behaviour.

Secondly, with the lack of transparency that brands are seeing from agencies there has been a significant move towards in-housing media buying.

With some of the world’s biggest retailers like P&G in-housing media, it comes as no surprise that they’re doing it to ensure that they have a direct commercial relationship with media partners like Google to ensure full transparency. A trend we expect to see going on into the future.

What advice would you have for brands advertising on Google Shopping or Amazon

In short: go granular, embrace automation and optimise your feed extensively.

The key to effective advertising across any channel whether that be TV, OOH or Google Shopping is to get the right creative in front of the right people at the right time.

Going granular with Google Shopping and creating ad groups for each product will give you the control you need to bid for each product, give each product its own set of negative keywords and filter queries effectively.

This gives you the best possible chance of getting your ad in front of the most relevant people.

Automation is key to working large scale granular accounts. It will allow you to build campaigns out in single product ad group structures in a matter of minutes. Manage bids at scale and even find you the right negative keywords though methods like n-gram analysis (part of natural language processing).

Finally, as Google chooses what terms you will appear for, ensuring that your feed is well optimised is money well spent. Studies show that you will receive 17 times more impressions for terms that are included in the product title.

What advice do you have for brands advertising on Google Shopping or Amazon?

For retail marketers who have never advertised on Google Shopping or Amazon, I’d recommend starting with Google Shopping. It’s easier to set up and there’s very little cost for the retailer. For Amazon, it’s a lot like eBay where you have commission fees and you have to pay to be on their marketplace.

Retailers also need to consider their brand identity and customer experience when advertising on platforms like Google Shopping and Amazon. The retailer’s brand is much less prominent on a marketplace like Amazon, and retailers are not able to control the customer experience. Consumers often assume they’re buying from Amazon and become loyal to shopping on Amazon, as opposed to becoming loyal to the retailer.

On the other hand, Google Shopping gives more prominence to the retailer and strong retailer brands tend to have an advantage on this channel. In the same vein, retailers are able to keep tighter control on their customer experience through Google Shopping ads.

Retailers with little brand recognition, looking to nurture a following may find value in advertising on Amazon to reach a wider customer audience. Retailers with widely recognized brands may be more inclined to advertise on Google Shopping.

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Where do you see the digital marketing landscape for eCommerce in Europe in the next few years?

I think there will be two main disruptions to the digital marketing landscape in Europe.

Firstly a greater adoption of automation. At Google’s 2019 Marketing Live summit Google’s MD predicated that thousand of agencies that don’t embrace automation are likely to go out of business in the next 3 years due to disintermediation.

Automation is allowing advertisers to build ecommerce campaigns at scale in a fraction of the time of a human manager and with fewer errors.

From building single product ad groups for Google Shopping campaigns to writing ad copy for individual products and pausing ads when they are out of stock, automation will separate the good advertisers from the great in the next few years.

Secondly, Amazon will steal significant market share from Google. Amazon is like Google in the early days, at the moment competition is still low, CPCs are cheap and the market is growing at an alarming rate.

Amazon reported revenues of $10.1 billion in its ‘other’ category, up 95% YoY in 2018. Despite the lower search volume than Google, the intent of searchers on Amazon are almost always commercial providing a huge opportunity for monetization.

Where do you see the digital marketing landscape for e-commerce going in the next few years?

I think that we’re going to see smarter use of cross-channel data as retailers continue marketing and selling across multiple online platforms. Retailers are marketing on Google Shopping, on Paid Search, and on Amazon. They need to understand how these channels work together to drive the ultimate sale. That means finding an attribution model and technology that can track touches across platforms and doesn’t just give credit to the last touch. Today’s sales journey is much more complicated than in the early days of e-commerce.

There’s also going to be more focus on trying to understand cross-device conversions. Right now, it’s almost impossible to track when someone viewed a product on mobile and then purchased it on desktop. That’s a big problem because shoppers are increasingly using a variety of devices to make purchases, and retailers don’t have the best to connect their data and visualize that journey. I think that will be one of the biggest challenges in the next few years that retailers and solutions providers will need to tackle in order to fully understand the customer journey.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter digital marketing?

Go and work for a big, well respected agency with a well reviewed graduate scheme that is not specialised in a specific area.

Work out which discipline that you’re most interested in and then go and work for the best possible agency in that field.

It’s worth making sure that the agency that you work for is a great culture fit and finding a supportive manager that you look up to will fast track you to success.

Get involved and always be learning!

They should also probably ignore my advice considering that I’ve never worked for anybody else.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

That long tail keywords work for paid search, they didn’t in 2017 and they won’t in 2019 or 2020 or 2030.