Here’s how e-commerce stores can sell smarter on YouTube, Facebook and Amazon

SMX Advanced speakers Joe Martinez of Clix, Susan Wenograd of AimClear and Danielle Waller of Merkle offer helpful tips for anyone selling products across these three networks.

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Danielle Waller of Merkle speaking during SMX Advanced in Seattle.

SMX Advanced 2019 in Seattle was another fantastic show packed with lots of great SEO and SEM insights. There are plenty of recaps to check out if you weren’t able to attend. The SEM track titled, “Selling Smarter With Search, Social, Marketplace Ads” featured three industry experts who shared their experience on separate platforms and how e-commerce stores can maximize their performance on them.

YouTube campaign insights with Joe Martinez

First up was Joe Martinez from Clix Marketing, covering Shopping Ads for YouTube Ads. While most e-commerce marketers focus on direct return, he emphasized thinking about these ad units from the customer side: they’re on YouTube to watch videos, not to shop for your products. To even run shopping cards on your video ads, you have to select the Product and Brand Consideration campaign goal. This sets the proper expectations that these are video campaigns first; shopping campaigns second. The main benefit of TrueView for Shopping campaigns is to plant a seed in hopes users are aware your products even exist.

He first discussed the mechanics of these campaigns and how your creative and products will impact your campaign structures. Products are selected at the campaign level and you’re able to choose to advertise all products, a selection of products, or with custom filters using the custom labels from your Merchant Center feeds. 

  • With all products, Joe has seen audiences do very well with remarketing efforts to show users exactly what they had seen in the past. 
  • If you choose to select certain products, understand you can only pick 10 products per campaign. Even though you can pick up to 10 products, only six will show while the ad is running. Out of stock products can be added, but will not show up in the ads until your feed confirms the product is back in stock. 
  • For groups of products, labels are going to be your best friend, but be careful. Advertisers are only allowed to target one label per campaign, so label carefully as it will limit your ability to target in campaigns. Especially if you use the same label across multiple columns. 

Your creative is going to dictate which product selection option is best for you. If you have products of exact products, manually select those products or very similar products to showcase alongside the content. If you have a generic, branding video, consider using custom labels that push the most popular products or the best selling products at the time. With products selected at the campaign level, you may have to test a variety of product groupings and targeting options to find the best combination.

And even if your targeting is dead on you should monitor where your ads are actually being shown. TV devices were added as a video campaign placement option in October 2018. Odds are users may not easily be able to interact with shopping cards with this device. Monitor the results in Google Ads and your YouTube Studio analytics to consider removing this device. Also watch out for children! You could be targeting the right user, but he or she has given their device to their kids. We want to make sure we are showcasing our products to only the users who will actually want to buy from you. Use this list of over 1,300 kids’ YouTube channels to exclude from your video campaigns to try and minimize wasted spend. 

Finally, Joe talked about the importance of engagement in these campaigns. YouTube is a social channel after all, where engagement is king. Pay attention to what videos and targeting types are driving the highest numbers of view through, click through, and earned likes and page visits. These earned actions mean that after someone interacts with your video ad, they can like other videos, watch other videos, share other videos, add your videos to a playlist or subscribe to your channel. All these additional actions are always free, and you can create audiences from these actions in Google Ads Audience Manager to use as next-step remarketing campaigns to lead users to eventual conversions. Pretty impactful metrics if we’re looking to drive awareness and recognition.

Advertisers should also create audiences from their video ads and add them to all of the search campaigns as observation audiences. We can then see a portion of the impact our TrueView for Shopping campaigns have had on search. People may not be ready to buy products from your YouTube campaigns immediately. But if the ads are engaging and targeting the right audience, we can get some information on if any of the users came back to search for your products on after seeing your video ads.

Smarter social ad buying on Facebook with Susan Wenograd

Next up was Susan Wenograd of AimClear discussing her forte: Facebook Ads. There as a great write up of this portion of the session on it’s own you can read here.

Amazon’s owned and paid media options with Danielle Waller

Lastly, we closed out the session with Danielle Waller from Merkle. She discussed Amazon in an “appetizer approach” making sure everyone could walk away with something.

She kicked off by talking about the importance of Amazon as it continues to grow its market share and memberships. Amazon has a large impact on how an increasing percentage of the population makes purchases and almost half of all retail sales revenue in the US. It’s one of the top ad revenue platforms on the web and internet users are shifting habits to search on Amazon for individual products before they go to Google.

Given these trends, it’s imperative brands work to find success on Amazon, but it won’t be simple. To have a good presence throughout the Amazon environment, you’ll need to bring many different teams together. In her presentation, Danielle talked about the Owned and Paid Media portions.

In the Owned Media department, she discussed all the assets a brand has at their disposal including product detail pages, enhanced brand content and stores. These allow companies to showcase their brand and products, create rich experiences that Amazon will be more apt to drive traffic to, as well as increase the likelihood of conversions. The key things to focus on in this are solid imagery with multiple different angles and coverage for all variants, highlighting the key attributes in the title, and outlining all attributes in the full description.

Shifting into the paid media realm, Danielle explained that Amazon’s main goal is to have the entire customer journey take place on Amazon, so they’re providing many different options for you to reach your target customers.

She showed all the options available to advertisers: Custom Ads, Search, Display, Video and Amazon DSP. Depending on which of these you’re interested in, some are self-service, some are full service and some have options for each.

She also outlined goals of your Paid Media Amazon campaigns, specifically search, can focus on protecting brand space, acquiring new customers, up/cross-selling and stealing market share. 

Danielle closed out by talking about the things you should focus on when getting into the DSP: align audience targeting with ad format, inventory selection, messaging, and KPIs. There’s no platform out there with more information about how users buy things than Amazon, so leverage it and make the most of your campaigns.

Wrap Up

This was a highly insightful session with lots of great tips for anyone selling products across these three networks. If you’re still wanting more information on either YouTube, Facebook, or Amazon, reach out to these folks individually and take advantage of their knowledge!

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About the author

Michelle Morgan
Michelle Morgan is the Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing. She has honed her PPC skills over the past 8 years in both in-house and agency roles, managing accounts in many different industries and markets. Her passions are around audience targeting and cross-channel dynamics between search and social. She’s a regular industry speaker at events like Pubcon, SMX, HeroConf and others. In 2018, Michelle won “SEM Speaker of the Year” at the Search Engine Land Awards.

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