Considering software to manage your digital commerce advertising? Here’s what you need to know.

There's more tech than ever to help you scale up ads on Amazon, Walmart and other commerce platforms.

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Deciding whether or not your company needs a digital commerce advertising management platform calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources. Use the following questions to help you determine the answers. 

1. Does it make more sense to buy or build the technology?

Issues to consider include resources  —  both staffing and financial  —  as well as data control. Are you comfortable with a third party having access to your data? Do you understand the total cost of ownership of a third-party platform? Can your internal staff keep pace with the rapid pace of changes in ad formats, platform requirements, and tracking methods? 

2. What features are most important for our business needs?

If you’re an online retailer, robust bid optimization for millions of products will be an important factor. If you are short on internal resources, you may find that a partner with a full-service approach is critical. Make sure you have gathered all of the relevant feedback from your team so that you can prioritize your criteria. 

3. Who will use and/or maintain the platform?

Staffing is key to the successful adoption of any digital marketing platform. Without the proper skilled people in place, the tool can end up becoming an expensive reservoir of untapped data with unfulfilled potential to increase revenue. 

4. Do we need self-serve, full service, or something in between?

Different platform vendors provide different levels of customer service and strategic consulting services. For example, can you internally manage keyword creation, product listing optimization, bidding, creative testing, account structure development and integration with cross-channel data? It’s important to have an idea of where you fall on the spectrum. Understanding your current marketing processes, knowing how to measure success and being able to identify where you are looking for improvements, are all critical pieces of the decision-making process. 

5. Are we spending more time “doing the math” than running a campaign?

If you find yourself with no time to manage creative or evaluate overall campaign performance, it might be time to automate. Understanding your current marketing processes, knowing how to measure success and being able to identify where you are looking for improvements, are all critical pieces of the decision-making process.  

Experts discuss the current digital commerce marketing environment on Live with Search Engine Land

6. Do we want or need to integrate digital commerce advertising with search, display and social media advertising campaigns?

For many marketers, all of these platforms are equally important. If this is true for your organization, you may need a platform that can integrate these channels, and you may need better internal alignment across teams to make it work. 

7. Do we have complex or ongoing reporting needs?

When marketing staff or agency clients have requests for specific reports and ongoing reporting needs, campaign management tools can automate reports across all the platforms they handle. 

8. How will we define and then benchmark success? What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you want to measure and what decisions will you be making based on campaign performance?

For example, do you want to measure market share or page position for your products? Do you want to measure the impact search or social ads has on purchases on digital commerce sites? Set your business goals in advance to be able to benchmark success later on. Without them, justifying the expense of the platform or digital commerce advertising programs to C-suite executives will be difficult. 

9. What is the total cost of ownership?

Digital commerce advertising management platform vendors typically charge clients a percentage of their monthly advertising spend. There may be additional fees for platform set-up, integration or staff training. Professional consulting services may also be available if you need additional expertise in paid media channels such as search, display and social media marketing.

For more insights on digital commerce ad management and profiles of 19 different vendors, check out our Martech Intelligence Report on Digital Commerce Advertising Management Platforms for Amazon, Google Shopping and Beyond!

About the author

Pamela Parker
Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media's Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She's a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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