Your customer journey is more important now

Alex James explains why continuing to fill the funnel is more important now than ever.

Concerns around iOS 14/15 and the death of the cookie are understandable, but more often than not, that hesitancy or fear is misplaced. Losing hyper targeting, doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to lose performance either.

One of the biggest misconceptions is around the reduction of targeting on social media and the return of ad spend (ROAS) figure. Focusing on ROAS is not enough as not every platform is comparable as they’re used for different stages of the customer journey. Pinterest is unlikely to get much attribution in the last click, however it’s vital for many brands during consideration. Facebook and Google may command a large chunk of advertising budgets with impressive ROAS numbers, but it’s not the whole story.

Change for the better

There’s a flawed premise that you can run all your platforms on the same playing field. Branding plays a different role on each, and it’s more important than ever that you continue to fill the lower end of your funnel, as you can’t rely on people knowing of finding your product/brand.

People, more often than not, are searching for a product, and convenience is still a huge factor. Which is where Google Shopping comes in, although it’s still relatively new, Shopping Ads have netted advertisers 12 per cent more revenue per click, than Search Ads on the desktop for non-branded keywords.

Not all platforms are made equal. But that doesn’t mean that you should put all your eggs in that one shopping basket. A media mix is required, particularly when you rely on unquantifiable algorithms.

But there are things you can do.

In my experience, examining Customer journey is critical and you’re sure to find something that will improve revenue. It’s about making small bets, in controlled environments where only one variable is altered.

Leaning into the personalisation of the consumer experience is more critical now than ever, with such a multitude of platforms brands are expected to be present on. For example, a slow response to an Instagram DM can be the difference between a lost sale or the creation of a brand advocate.

Focus on what you can control…

While we might not be able to know all of the details that go into the algorithm black box of Facebook and Instagram, we do know that they hold millions of intent signals that aren’t going to be made available in your campaign. Here though, we have support with the adoption of dynamic creative. Making your ads addressable based on the platform’s personas. And brands can help with the accuracy of your audience by focusing on what you can put into the system. This is where advertisers’ priorities, and potential competitive advantages will now lie.

Firstly, you need to have your own house in order. Setting up pixel tracking on your own website needs to be done well; it’s not good enough to say they were looking at a product, we need to know where the mouse (intent) was, what’s the colour, item category and price point so we’re able to understand what similar items might be of interest. It needs to be as specific as possible.

You need to collect scaleable insights for your products, then marry this into your product feed, matching with the part of your advert that is addressable. For instance I have a preference for men’s jeans (what can I say, I need functional pockets), so simply targeting women’s jeans to me because my profile identifies me as such isn’t going to work.

Some marketers I speak with are concerned around sharing that data with platforms which could then open it up to competitors, but I have always found that you get much more value out than you put in.

Transitioning the old ways with the new numbers

To ensure you’re able to track progress with the change in metrics and how things are going to be measured, we need to have a solid background of third party measurement systems like Google Analytics or Shopify to help with the transition.

Of course, last click isn’t and shouldn’t be everything, especially for those businesses with a bricks and mortar presence. Brand tracking, website traffic and store volume, and overall revenue or customer numbers should all play key roles beside ROAS. This new playing field requires a more holistic view to understand digital performance.

I can’t emphasise this enough, making changes to your customer journey will likely impact your revenue, hopefully if done in the right circumstances, for the better. But not all parts have the same role of impact, so tweak to find what works best for you. No silver bullet here I’m afraid. And don’t be swayed solely by the attractive numbers you find across platforms, as a mix is needed now more than ever.

Alex James, senior paid media manager, Alpha Digital


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