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Getting started with e-commerce advertising: which channels actually pay off?

Companies should use the right platforms for their e-commerce advertising.
Image: © Song_about_summer / Adobe Stock

Why should I do e-commerce advertising at all?

Teodora Gavriluț: E-commerce is a trillion-dollar industry, projected to grow to $5.4 trillion U.S. dollars next year. An e-commerce business can be really profitable when done right.

Many of us switched to online shopping since the pandemic hit, as physical stores were forced to close or scale back their operations due to lockdowns. As a result, a large number of companies rushed to include e-commerce in their strategy to stay afloat, leading to a dramatic increase in competition in the already crowded online space. And, so far, signs point to this trend continuing in 2021, as consumers have gotten used to shopping online.

In this context, it’s essential to invest in e-commerce advertising in order to gain visibility, maximize profits and maintain growth. Customers must be able to find your products easily and differentiate between your brand and the competition.

Do I need an e-commerce advertising strategy? What factors should I consider before starting?

Teodora Gavriluț: High competition in the e-commerce industry means you can end up spending a lot on ads. To make sure you get the most for your money, you need a well-thought-out strategy before you get started.

First and foremost, it’s important to know who your target audience is. Find out what their pain points are, what problems they need to solve, and what value you bring to the table. Also, keep an eye on the websites they like to visit and the social media platforms they use. This will help you meet them where they are.

Then, think about what makes your brand different from the thousands of others out there. This is what will help you stand out in a saturated market.

Another aspect to be mindful of is the fact that customers have high expectations from digital experiences. So, before you start advertising, make sure your website is running smoothly. Optimize your landing pages and make it simple for customers to complete a purchase, or the traffic you’re driving to your website through paid ads will not convert.

In an Interview with DMEXCO: Teodora Gavriluț

Teodora Gavriluț is the Chief Operating Officer of Creatopy. With a solid marketing background of over 15 years, she handles the company’s internal affairs. By combining analytical thinking with creative processes, Teodora believes she’s fortunate to have built a career out of her love for technology and passion for marketing.

Teodora Gavriluț. Chief Operating Officer of Creatopy

Which platforms and channels are suitable for e-commerce advertising?

Teodora Gavriluț: Google Ads—search ads, display ads, shopping ads, or remarketing ads—are most likely to drive conversions and are a vital part of any e-commerce advertising strategy. These can become pricey, so make sure you keep track of every campaign and its assets so you can find out what works best for you.

Social media helps you raise awareness about your brand and build relationships with your customers, but it’s also a popular advertising option. With 2.85 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social media platform at the moment.

2.85 billion
monthly active Facebook users

But you shouldn’t overlook visual social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest either. In fact, Pinterest is an excellent fit for e-commerce, as it can function as an online catalogue for your business. It allows you to showcase your products in new, attractive ways, with the added benefit that customers can quickly move to purchase.

Besides running ads on social media, you can also consider influencers to promote your products.

In terms of video advertising, marketers consider YouTube to be the most effective platform. It offers several ad formats and advanced targeting capabilities.

Is every platform equally suitable for every type of store and business?

Teodora Gavriluț: Not really. Your ads have to be highly relevant to the audience of the platform you choose, or they become disruptive and have the opposite effect. So, for the best results, you have to pick the platforms based on the products you are selling and the audience you’re trying to reach.

For example, Gen Z, the younger generation, is gravitating towards platforms like Snapchat and TikTok, while Facebook caters more to an older demographic. Similarly, gamers can often be found on Twitch, interior designers love Pinterest, and makeup artists watch a lot of YouTube tutorials.

Research various platforms before picking the one(s) your audience prefers.

How can I automate the process as much as possible and to what extent does automation make sense?

Teodora Gavriluț: For example, by using an ad design platform that features automation capabilities, such as Creatopy, you can generate large volumes of ad variations in no time. This allows you to easily give your target audience a more personalized experience and quickly prepare creatives for A/B testing to see which elements work best. Because the process takes just a few clicks, you’ll have more time to focus on refining your advertising campaigns instead of having to manually put together and tweak tens or hundreds of ad designs.

However, automation will never take over the creative part of the process, which needs a human touch to make your ads appealing to the customers. Automation is helpful to the extent in which it eliminates dull, repetitive, time-consuming tasks and human error.

What 5 tips can you give a beginner in e-commerce advertising?

  1. Make sure all the taxes are clearly expressed on the product page.
  2. Staying close and talking to your customers is essential, especially in the beginning, so prioritize it. Your business will gain trust.
  3. Segmentation/personalization/targeting is key. Don’t be afraid to narrow your audience in the beginning.
  4. Data is your friend. Test, measure and adapt your campaigns as you go.
  5. Don’t overlook the omnichannel customer experience. Ensure your ads are mobile-friendly.

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