In our series "Inside a Digital Marketer's Mind", marketing experts from various industries tell us their thoughts on the current state of Digital Marketing, including trends, developments and predictions for 2018.
Today Evan, Director of Shopping & Feed at Elite SEM, shares his insight, tips and thoughts.
Digital marketing today
What developments in digital marketing are you most excited about?
I'm excited about all the data that's becoming available. Seeing all the ways we can segment and target campaigns based on consumer segments or data points that weren't available at all three years ago is incredible. Due to this I think managing these programs is a lot more complex than it used to be but there are so many more interesting tests we can run. Before launching campaigns, you really have to take a step back and think about your approach with audiences and similar audiences, customer match lists, etc.
What are the biggest challenges for digital marketers today?
Attribution! Basically, it's understanding the impact you're having on all the different channels and tying all of this great data together. I attended the Google Marketing Next conference earlier this year and a large focus there was about attribution and their new Google Attribution tool. Like many others in the space, Google is trying to give advertisers a more holistic view of their marketing programs. Would be great for the industry if there was a cleaner, easier to use attribution platform. Whether Google's platform fills that gap remains to be seen, but in terms of challenges, I think it's very important that advertisers take cross-channel attribution seriously and move away from simple last-click models.
__*"I think it’s very important that advertisers take cross-channel attribution seriously and move away from simple last-click models."*__
What in your opinion is the best tactic to reach or convert shoppers today?
As a Director of Shopping & Feed Management, I strongly endorse feed-based advertising and in particular Google Shopping to reach and convert shoppers. With feed-based programs you have the ability to bid on every single one of your products available, with the ability to do so quickly and at scale.
What was your biggest surprise in 2017 - what didn't you see coming?
Amazon launching Google Shopping campaigns was a big one for us. They started rolling out coverage at the very end of 2016 and have been building up their program since. Obviously, due to their sheer size and market power, they can significantly impact auction dynamics and push competition further. In order to combat this, it's important for advertisers to have strong data, competitive pricing and build out segmented programs to drive efficiency.
Digital marketing tomorrow
What are your key predictions for 2018 in ecommerce and digital marketing?
Personalization will become a larger factor – consumers these days expect more and if the message you're presenting them with isn't relevant or personalized, the likelihood of a conversion is low.
In addition, we'll see more of a focus onlocal ad experiences. As an industry we're doing a better job of quantifying the in-store impact of ecommerce and digital marketing and while we still have a ways to go, advertisers are beginning to see the effect that these programs can have on their brick and mortar stores and trying to improve those experiences. Google recently did a study and found that 84% of people have done research online to choose a store to buy from and saw a 3x increase year-over-year in searches related to store pickup.
Where is online shopping heading to in 3 years’ time?
Feed-based programs offer more efficiency and higher data quality than other types of programs and I don't see this slowing down any time soon. So, I think feed-based programs will continue to become more prevalent and we'll see more platforms utilize feeds for their channels.
Advertisers will also have to figure out their Amazon strategy sooner rather than later, whether that is competing with them, becoming an Amazon vendor or listing their products directly on Amazon as a third-party seller. With over 40% of all product searches beginning on Amazon (and rising), they cannot be ignored in the ecommerce space.
__*"With over 40% of all product searches beginning on Amazon (and rising), they cannot be ignored in the ecommerce space."*__
Finally,voice search will likely shake up the industry and make up a large percentage of overall search traffic. I'm interested in seeing how this evolves and how advertisers can capitalize - we're already seeing local listings and business locations being integrated into Google Home to drive in-store traffic so would expect further innovations here as we go forward.
What marketing tools or software can you not work without?
As a team we work pretty closely with Productsup and use them to help manage product feeds for our clients. Through their platform we're able to build templates and clean/enhance product data to drive maximum performance on Google and other engines.
Is there new software out that you plan to evaluate?
We're always evaluating new software and seeing what's out there in the industry. Working in the Digital Marketing space I feel it's essential to be constantly evaluating new software and seeing how it can improve your workflow or enhance your programs. For instance right now we're researching competitive pricing tools for Shopping which can summarize and help us optimize campaigns based on how our client’s competitors are pricing their products.
What you didn't know about Evan
What are your favorite industry news publications?
Working in the Search space, I obviously read Search Engine Land and their other sites. In addition I enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal to learn and stay up-to-date on the tech and marketing industry as a whole.
What is on your reading list?
I just finished "Shoe Dog," the Memoir by Phil Knight (creator of Nike). One of the best books I've read in recent years. It talked about Phil's upbringing, why and how he created Nike, and the challenges he faced in turning the company into what it is today. Detailed read and addresses many issues that businesses face. I'm also a big Michael Lewis fan ("Liar's Poker," "The Big Short") and have read most of his books, so next on my list is the "The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds."
About Elite SEM
Elite SEM is an award-winning digital marketing agency that was founded on search and is focused on holistic performance-driven digital marketing. Their Elite expertise spans Paid Search, SEO, Shopping & Feed, Display Advertising, Paid Social, and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Boasting unprecedented 97% employee and 94% client retention rates, their commitment to people and performance has cemented their position as one of the top digital marketing agencies in North America.
Like what you read? Sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay informed about industry updates and events. You'll also get useful tips and learning resources to grow your expertise and online business.