How To Acquire New Customers with Google Ads During Cyber 5 (And How To Grow Your LTV into the New Year)

In our previous post, we discussed the Cyber 5, what the busiest shopping week of the year looked like in 2021, and what trends to expect this year. Today, we want to discuss strategies to maximize 2022’s Black Friday weekend for your brand.

Having a strategy for the Cyber 5 is essential in ensuring that your brand increases revenue by the year’s end. Many consumers began their holiday shopping in September and October, and are continually looking for the best deals heading into Black Friday weekend. To be competitive, you need to prioritize your advertising efforts, your email marketing campaigns, and your customer service.

How to optimize your Google campaigns

Using Google’s New Customer Acquisition Goal

The Cyber 5 is when you’re likely to see the highest amount of unique traffic, which means that new customer acquisition should be a high priority for your brand. Luckily, Google has made this even easier if you utilize Performance Max. With this new goal, you can more effectively acquire new customers through your Google Ads campaigns. 

Brands have two options when it comes to using this new customer acquisition goal. You can bid higher for new customers than returning customers, or you can only bid for new customers. Google recommends the first option because it enables you to maximize your revenue across all customers. The second option limits ads to customers who are new to your business and is still valuable if you also run “non-purchase conversion-focused campaigns” elsewhere. 

The benefits of using this goal are that it’s easy to set up, you get a higher share of new customer conversions, you get reporting on new and returning customers, and it lowers the cost of acquisition over time.

Using Google’s Sales Price Annotations

If you’re running Google Ads this season and you aren’t utilizing sales price annotations, it’s something that’s certainly worth implementing. Sales price annotations allow you to showcase sales that your brand is running and allows customers to see how much they’ll save. 

To utilize sales price annotations, you submit the original price for your product and then submit the sale price using the sale price attribute. If the original price and the sale price meet certain conditions, both prices will show. According to Google, “The sale price will show as the current price alongside the original price, which will show with a strikethrough. Your product will also show with a badge that highlights your sale.”

Cashing in on the post-Black Friday rush

Black Friday is no longer a one or even five-day shopping period. Studies have shown there to be 10% more online shopping traffic the week after Cyber Monday than the week before. Consumers are shopping longer this holiday season, so it’s essential that you keep deals running and promote them.

Deploy abandonment emails 

You’ve likely heard of cart abandonment emails when it comes to eCommerce and browse abandonment emails are similar. Browse abandonment occurs when shoppers view product and category pages on a website without adding items to their carts. A browse abandonment email is an automated message that a consumer receives containing links to products or pages that they’ve viewed on your site. A consumer has to have subscribed to your brand’s email list or be a returner customer in order to receive an automated browse abandonment email from your brand.

According to SaleCycle, browse abandonment emails have an 81% higher open rate and a 51% higher CTR than traditional emails. Cart abandonment emails have an open rate of 45% and a CTR of 21%. Suffice it to say, if you haven’t deployed abandonment emails yet in your eCommerce business, now is the time to start.

Utilize eCommerce countdown timers

Countdown timers are the perfect tool for creating a sense of urgency around your holiday deals and increasing FOMO (fear of missing out) for shoppers. A countdown timer is exactly what it sounds like, and can be used to countdown to the beginning of a sale, the launch of a new product or collection, or the amount of time left before a deal expires. 

Countdown timers can increase CTR by 30% when used strategically in marketing email campaigns. The key to using countdown timers is to make sure that they are useful to customers. Ideally, timers should create a sense of urgency within the consumer and persuade them to take action by purchasing.

The importance of customer service for repeat purchases

52% of online shoppers were first-time buyers during the 2021 Cyber 5. That number is only likely to grow this year, as online shopping continues to increase, so Black Friday weekend will be many of your customers’ first purchasing impression from your brand. With that in mind, it’s essential to prepare for the Cyber 5 by ensuring that your customers have a seamless shopping experience.

There are many ways to increase customer satisfaction this season. Be communicative. Give shoppers realistic expectations around processing and shipping. Send post-purchase confirmation emails thanking customers for their business. Let customers know when their items have shipped and been delivered. If there’s a delay, be upfront about it and let your customers know when the issue will be resolved. Send satisfaction surveys to collect feedback and product reviews. Proactive customer service can drive repeat purchases during the holiday shopping period and beyond. The retention of these customers will more than justify the lower margins achieved during Cyber Week.

The Cyber 5 can feel like a marathon and a sprint all in one when you work in eCommerce, but the payoff is almost always worth the participation. If you find that you’re needing help navigating Cyber Week or you have questions about how to maximize your holiday marketing strategy, the team at Blue Wheel is here to help! 

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your marketing and advertising goals.

Cyber 5 Trends: Your Guide to Maximizing Sales

If you work in eCommerce, and if you’ve ever worked in retail, you know that the busiest week of the year is almost upon us. Yes, the Cyber 5 is almost here. The term Black Friday was coined in the 1950s by Philadelphia police describing the chaos of the day following Thanksgiving. Since then, it’s evolved into the Cyber 5 for eCommerce, including Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Saturday, Cyber Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

With this in mind, we want to look back at how the Cyber 5 performed in 2021 and examine what trends you can expect to see in 2022 for the busiest shopping season of the year.

Important Black Friday 2021 Statistics

Online Sales

Email Marketing Performance

Mobile and Desktop Performance

Cyber Monday Sales

Now that we’ve looked at where we’ve been when it comes to the Cyber 5, let’s take a look at where we’re headed this year.

2022 eCommerce Black Friday Trends

Early Shopping

Consumers have already begun browsing for holiday deals, and many are making early purchases. Many brands have released their holiday deals early as well, in anticipation of early shopping. 

Sustainability

72% of consumers want to buy from brands that make positive contributions to society, and sustainability practices are the biggest factor influencing buying decisions. 

BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later)

Shoppers are increasingly choosing the option to pay over time. 40% of millennials and 42% of Gen X consumers utilized BNPL in 2021, and those percentages are expected to grow this year.

Small Businesses

Shopping from small businesses increased in popularity during the pandemic and is expected to continue. 47 million global consumers purchased from independent and D2C brands, according to Shopify.

Social Shopping

Social media shopping integrations have been on the rise in recent years and are expected to gain popularity with consumers this holiday season. Consumers enjoy the convenience of purchasing directly from their social media apps without having to leave them.

In conclusion, it’s good to keep these statistics and trends in mind as you prepare for the Cyber 5. Consumers are utilizing various forms of online shopping more than ever before, and are shopping for deals earlier. If you’ve optimized your website for desktop and mobile, and you’re running omni-channel campaigns that highlight your holiday deals, your brand is likely to increase its revenue. 

If you find that you’re needing help navigating the Cyber 5 or you have questions about how to maximize your holiday marketing efforts, the team at Blue Wheel is here to help! 

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your marketing and advertising goals.

Top 5 Takeaways from Amazon UnBoxed 2022

Whether you’re an experienced Amazon advertiser or thinking about diving into this channel, you’ve probably heard of Amazon UnBoxed. The annual event took place on October 25 – 27, 2022, at the Jacob Javits Center North in New York. 

According to Amazon, UnBoxed is “a conference open to businesses of all sizes and marketers of every level of expertise interested in learning how Amazon is helping brands grow their business through creativity and innovation.”

This year, Amazon announced many new updates that appear to rival the ad capabilities of Google and Meta. Several members of Blue Wheel’s staff attended this year and, together, we’ve come up with five key takeaways from this year’s conference. 

1. Brands Need to Focus on Video

  • Video Builder

Amazon announced a new creative feature that gives advertisers the ability to create videos faster by taking advantage of customizable templates. This is designed to expand video advertising access to small to midsize brands.

  • Video on Sponsored Display

Amazon is also adding video to its self-service Sponsored Display solution. Advertisers can now easily create video campaigns covering several formats including tutorials, demos, unboxing, and testimonials, to name a few. You can measure campaign performance with standard Sponsored Display metrics.

  • Interactive Video Ads

Advertisers can now feature a range of CTA options, including (but not limited to) “Add to cart,” “Add to list,”  and “Shop now” on ads placed within their streaming services. Additionally, brands that are not on Amazon can include the CTA “Send me more” with the option to follow up via email or direct viewers to a QR code. 

2. Analytics Made Simple with Amazon Marketing Cloud

  • Signal Coverage

The added integration of Sizmek Ad Suite (beta) means that advertisers can analyze bidding, cross-publisher attribution, and total reach with new Sponsored Display and digital subscription event signals. 

  • Manage DSP with Ease

Soon brands can manage their DSP audiences within Amazon Marketing Cloud. This means advertisers will gain access to more customization options and insights. Additionally, Amazon now has more than 50 playbooks in their AMC library, otherwise known as ‘Instructional Queries,’ to help advertisers improve utility. 

3. Amazon Expanding Display Capabilities

  • Not on Amazon? No problem!

In an effort to drive more traffic and users, Amazon has decided to open up advertising to brands who are not on Amazon. If you don’t currently sell on Amazon, you can now run Sponsored Display ads on Twitch. 

  • Rewarded Sponsored Display

Soon, customers will be able to receive shopping credits when they click on Sponsored Display ads and purchase the advertised product. Brands will be able to add Amazon shopping credits to their creative when setting up campaigns. 

4. Growing Focus on In-Store Capabilities

  • Digital Signage Ads

Brands soon will be able to manage in-store ads within Amazon Fresh stores through Amazon DSP. Placements can be managed based on store location, dayparting, or via the location of signage within the store. 

5. Reporting Goes Deeper, Real-Time

  • New CTV Metric

Now CTV advertisers can measure “incremental household reach,” a new metric that will help brands understand the audience they reached via Amazon streaming TV ads. According to Amazon, “the solution ensures accurate, aggregated results by combining first-party and third-party signals, augmented by machine leaning-based-projections.” 

  • Performance Recommendations

Advertisers can now access automated campaign performance recommendations in real-time for their Sponsored Product campaigns. These are based on tried and true best practices. 

As part of Blue Wheel’s omnichannel marketing wheel, our Amazon advertising services give you the opportunity to meet customers where they are, at every stage of the buyer journey. 

For more information on our Amazon marketing services, simply fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you.

How To Grow Your E-commerce Business with Video Marketing

The age of video marketing is here, and it’s not going anywhere. With the rise of platforms like TikTok, it’s no surprise. The number of viewers watching digital videos hit 244 million in 2020, and that number is growing steadily year over year. 

Almost every social media platform, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, has begun to prioritize video content over other forms, which means you won’t be effective on social media without it.

The fact is, eCommerce and video content are both growing exponentially in popularity, which means that it’s never been a better time to invest in video marketing. Consumers want to see engaging video content from brands, so much so that 92% of marketers say that video content is a crucial part of their marketing strategy.

Video marketing enables you to tell a compelling story about your brand and your products or services. It gives the consumer the opportunity to experience what you have to offer in an engaging format while providing marketers with the engagement metrics they need to inform their lead nurturing efforts. For example, if one of your videos has a high thumb-stop rate, then you can create an enticing offer around that content to get visitors into your sales funnel. There are various ways to use videos in your marketing strategy and make it worth your investment.

Why do eCommerce brands need video marketing?

Video marketing engages your audience and the content is also highly shareable. Have you ever seen a cute, funny, or interesting video featuring a product or brand that you love and shared it with a friend? It’s likely that your customers have, too. 

Video marketing builds trust with your audience and can increase purchases. When consumers watch a video of what your product does or how it works, it makes them more likely to purchase. In fact, Think with Google found that 64% of shoppers watch online videos to inform their purchases. 88% of consumers were convinced to buy a product by watching a brand’s video, according to Wyzowl.

With stats like these, it’s easy to see the value that video can add to your marketing strategy. The next step is deciding how to incorporate video into that strategy. The good news is that there are multiple ways to do this, and you don’t have to pick just one.

Different types of eCommerce marketing videos

How-to or Demonstration videos

Just like its name, this type of video shows potential customers how to use your product. This type of video is beneficial because it helps the viewer picture themselves using the product. How-to videos work well for products that may not have an obvious use at first glance. They’re also great for health and beauty products.

Product review or testimonial videos

Product review videos are especially beneficial to various kinds of brands because of their ability to provide social proof. If a consumer can see that their favorite influencer or content creator likes your product and finds it useful, they’re more likely to purchase it. Product review videos give your brand credibility and create trust with potential customers.

Behind-the-scenes videos

Behind-the-scenes videos give consumers insight into how your products are made or how your brand is run. This is another way to build trust with your customers and elicit engagement. Showing consumers how your products are made makes them feel like they know exactly what they’re buying, while also allowing them to feel like they know what to expect from your brand. 

Video ads

In recent years, video ads have risen in popularity, especially on social media platforms. The average person scrolls through over 300 feet of content daily, so there’s immense value in creating attention-grabbing video ads. There are multiple platforms on which you can place video ads, but keep in mind that video ads come with an additional cost. Video ads require the cost of production, but they also require the cost of ad placement.

Product videos

Product videos are very brief, usually lasting no more than 30 seconds. The goal in creating a product video is simply to show the product from all angles, also known as a 360-degree video. Product videos are meant to inform the customer as quickly as possible and are not used to tell a story.

User-generated videos

You’ve likely heard of the term user-generated content (UGC), and user-generated videos are a form of UGC. User-generated videos are created by your customers or influencers. These videos will likely align with other categories, like how-to videos, video ads, or product reviews.

How to use videos in your eCommerce marketing strategy

Digital Advertising

The majority of paid advertising platforms also enable you to utilize videos in your campaigns. The most important factor, beyond budget, is placement. The goal is to ensure that the right people are seeing your video ads, so make sure you perform a preliminary analysis of what platforms your audience is using. The platform will often dictate what type of video you use. Some platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, will do well with testimonials and UGC, while others, like Amazon, might be a better platform for how-to video ads. 

Once you have a budget and you’ve decided which videos you’re going to use and which ad platforms you want to leverage, consider performing A/B tests to see which videos bring you the highest ROAS. Similarly to how you would test various static ads to see which performs better, you can do the same with videos. Once you’ve learned which video ads perform the best on each ad platform that you utilize, you’ll be in a good position to decide how you want to scale going forward. 

Social media content

One of the best places to utilize video marketing is in your brand’s social media content strategy. All social media platforms enable the use of video, and many of them (like Facebook and Instagram) have begun to prioritize it over the use of static images. 

Social media is also a great place to test different videos and learn what types of video content your audience wants to see. It’s important to remember that, if you’re going to invest time in posting and promoting social media content, you also need to invest in the quality of the production. Videos with a higher production quality are more likely to be noticed.

Try creating how-to or testimonial vertical videos for Instagram and TikTok. Share behind-the-scenes snippets on your feed or in stories. If you’re going for higher production value, you could even create vlogs for YouTube. Videos are also a great way to begin working with influencers and content creators. Experiment with different types on each active platform and see what works best for your brand and audience.

Website

Don’t overlook your website when it comes to utilizing videos. Your website is the perfect place for testimonials, how-to videos, and product videos. Add how-to videos to your product descriptions. Share customer or influencer testimonials in your product review sections. Connect your social media platforms to your website in a way that allows consumers to preview video content. Treat your website as though it’s a brick-and-mortar store and consider how you want your customers to experience your products.

Should you invest in video marketing for your eCommerce brand?

The short answer is…yes! Whether you decide to create videos in-house, or you decide to outsource production, there is immense potential for ROI. Videos serve as a way to connect with your audience and showcase your products in a way that entices your customers to buy. You can also reuse video content as long as it’s high quality and relevant to your brand. 

If you find that you’re ready to implement the use of video as part of your brand’s marketing plan, but are unsure where to start, our team at Blue Wheel is here to help! We assist with the creation of video content in a variety of ways for a variety of platforms.

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your video marketing goals.

Getting Started with eCommerce Photography: Here’s What You Need To Know

eCommerce has seen an immense amount of growth over the past few years. In fact, eCommerce made up $870 billion in sales in 2021. It’s estimated that eCommerce will account for around 25% of all retail sales by 2025. eCommerce is an industry that’s only continuing to grow, and if you have an eCommerce business, you need to make sure your brand remains competitive.

One way to accomplish this is by building a repository of creative assets that do your products justice. Creative assets can include video, graphic design, and what we’re discussing today: photography. 

When it comes to eCommerce, photography is the primary way to showcase your products. People are shopping online now more than ever, and since they can’t hold your product in their hands, customers rely on premium photography to guide their purchasing decisions.

Different types of eCommerce Photography

If you sell a physical product, you’ll likely need various types of photography for your brand. With customers shopping online more than ever, diverse and quality photography helps the online shopper get a better feeling for your product. It’s not enough to have one dimly lit photo of your product these days.

Consumers want photography that can show them what a product might feel like (the product’s texture), or how these products can fit into their lives. You may think that a photo is just a photo, but in eCommerce different photo types are used for different purposes and do better in different channels. Some photos show what the product is, some photos show what the product does, and some photos show how to use the product. 

Lifestyle photography

Lifestyle photography is used in eCommerce to show how your product might appear in everyday life. This type of photography helps online customers imagine how this product will fit into their life, and it can also give customers the “I need to have this for my routine” moment.

Lifestyle photography has more artistic direction on location and props, or with talent, and wardrobe (if a model is included). This photo type matches your product into some kind of real-life or fantasy situation that ultimately is telling a mini-story about your product. If you sell facial cleanser, then your cleanser might be shot on a bathroom counter next to a washcloth with suds running down the bottle. If you sell soccer equipment, you might shoot soccer cleats outside on a model as the model takes a shot toward the goal. Lifestyle photography can often include models but isn’t interchangeable with model photography.

Model photography

Model photography is exactly what it sounds like- utilizing models to help sell your product. Models are commonly used for apparel and beauty products, but can also be used in food and beverage photography. Models are hired for photoshoots to show what your product looks like on a person, or to demonstrate how the product can be used. Model photography can also be used to show the scale of a product or to, once again, tell a mini-story about your product and how a customer might interact with it.

Similarly to lifestyle photography, this type lets the customer imagine themselves as the talent interacting with the product and ultimately allows them to imagine what it would be like to own this product. If you have a hair dye brand, you might see talent applying the dye to their hair (to show the process or demonstrate usage), or have shots of the final hair color on the talent to show the final result (to demonstrate how the product will look on the customer). Something to keep in mind is that model photography is generally more expensive than product photography, as there are specific usage rights associated with using talent photography

360-degree photography

360-degree photography is used to show what your product looks like from every angle. This type is often seen from retailers who sell footwear. Another popular way to use 360-degree photography is to turn the shots into GIFs, or short videos. This gives customers a very in-depth look at your product and helps them see every angle of a product. This way, there are no angles that are unseen (as opposed to traditional 2D photography).

Product photography

Product photography is photos of your products. Your products can be showcased with as much or as little production as you desire. The art direction of these photos will really determine how the final assets look. You can pair your products with other objects, such as an orange, for example, to highlight the ‘vitamin c’ in your vitamin c serum. Or, you can simply showcase your product laid flat against a white background. The presentation and aesthetic are up to you, depending on the goal of your photo shoot. But be sure to test what resonates best with your audience, and don’t hesitate to consult with e-commerce photographers for advice.

User Generated Content

UGC, or user-generated content, is content created by your customers. In this case, the UGC would be photos of your customers using or wearing your products. User-generated photography also serves as social proof that your products are high quality and worth purchasing. These are also effective at showing results-based products, for example before and after using an acne cleanser.

How to use eCommerce photography

The possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can use photography for your eCommerce business, but there are a few areas where using it strategically can increase sales.

Website

Your brand’s website is the perfect place for your best photography, especially if you are solely a D2C (direct-to-consumer) brand. That’s where potential customers will go to see what you offer, why they need it, and how they can use it, so it’s important to have high-quality images that showcase your products. If you’re working with a small budget, start simple with just your products against a white or solid-colored backdrop for your product listing page. As your budget grows, you’ll want to include shots of the product in its packaging, outside of the packaging (think of texture shots of skincare products), and shots of the product in use.

Social Media Content

If you keep things simple on your website, then social media is the perfect place to have more fun and play with a more editorial feel. It’s also a great place to utilize lifestyle shots and share your customers using your products. Try mixing up your grid on Instagram with a variety of shots, alternating between lifestyle, product, model, and UGC. Include photos in your stories to share new or upcoming launches or repost photos your brand has been tagged in. There’s a multitude of ways to use photography on social media. This is a perfect opportunity to get creative and learn what feels right for your brand. The results for your photo performance on these platforms will let you know what type of assets work best for which channels.

Marketing

If there’s a place where you’d want to have high-quality photos, it’s in your marketing campaigns. If you’re running Google or Meta Ads, it’s worth it to invest in photography that showcases your products well. Test different types of images to see which ones perform best on your ad platforms, and don’t be afraid to change out images that don’t perform well. If you’re utilizing email marketing, you’ll also want good photos in your email campaigns to entice buyers to click through. Email is also a great platform for GIFs and 360-degree photos. 

Is eCommerce photography worth the investment?

The answer is: YES! Photography can serve as evergreen creative content if done well the first time. As long as you carry those products, the photos you have can be reused as many times as you want (depending on usage rights). 

Photography is a great asset that can be repurposed across many different channels so you can use lifestyle images on your webpage, for social and paid ads. It’s a great way to get more value and use out of one asset.

More than that, photography serves as a way for your potential customers to experience your products without touching them. The visual appearance of a product is the key deciding factor that 93% of consumers consider before purchasing. Your customers want to see your products. All you have to do is show them.

There is certainly a place for do-it-yourself photography in eCommerce, but if you find that you’re ready to take your brand’s images to the next level and don’t know where to start, our team at Blue Wheel is here to help! We assist with the creation of visual content in a variety of ways, from photography to graphic design.

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your photography goals.

An eCommerce Guide to Google Ads

Advertising is a vital part of a good eCommerce marketing strategy. When it comes to digital advertising, it doesn’t get much better than search advertising. With search engine ads, you can capture your potential customers as they search for products that you offer. The most popular (and some would argue best) platform for search engine advertising is Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords). 

To say that Google is a powerful advertising tool would be an understatement. With around 227 million Google searches an hour, Google controls 90% of the global search engine market. So, your customers use Google and search for your products. Not to mention, Google owns YouTube, another powerful and popular search engine where Google Ads are run.

How do Google Ads work?

Similar to other paid digital advertising platforms, Google Ads uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model, which means you’re only charged when someone clicks on your ad and visits your site. Behind the scenes, Google Ads uses a bidding system to determine where your ads are placed in search results and in videos. You bid on search terms (keywords and phrases), and your ads show up in searches and in videos based on how relevant they are to the term searched. 

Using Google Ads for eCommerce

Google Ads are a great way to get your feet wet when it comes to paid digital advertising, but they’re also powerful in combination with other marketing efforts. As we said earlier, when you use Google Ads, you have the opportunity to capture your potential customers as they search for the products you offer. Because of this, there’s a high potential for ROI. It’s essential, though, to make sure you understand the basics of the different kinds of campaigns you can run to better implement your advertising strategy.

Campaigns

Google has six main types of ad campaigns that brands can run: search, display, discover, Gmail, maps, and video ads. Google Ads previously also included Google Shopping and app ads, but after launching Performance Max, it has been announced that these ad types will be phased out.

Performance Max is a new goal-based, machine-learning platform that helps advertisers to automate their ad campaigns. According to Google, Performance Max is “best to use when:

  • You have specific advertising and conversion goals (for example, driving online sales, lead generation, and others).
  • You want to maximize the performance of your campaign, and you aren’t limited by which channel your ads appear on.
  • You want to easily access all of Google’s advertising channels using a single campaign.
  • You want to get additional reach and conversion value beyond keyword-based Search campaigns.”

Some of the benefits of using Performance Max include Smart Bidding, achieving higher conversion rates, and increased insights into ad performance and search trends. To learn more about the benefits of Performance Max, you can view one of our case studies here

Implementing Google Ads for your business

It’s important to note that Google is investing heavily in automation and GA4 (Google Analytics 4). Because of this, you need to ensure that your brand owns more first-party data so that you can set your account up for success before you invest in ad campaigns. Once you’ve done this, you can begin to plan for paid ad campaigns.

The biggest factors to consider when implementing paid ads are your brand’s budget, goals, and potential ROI. You need to know what your goals are to know how profitable your brand needs to be in order to start investing in Google Ads. Once you’ve established what your goals are, you can start thinking about your budget and how much you’re able to spend to reach that goal. 

Once you have the budget, create your Google Ads account, and determine which ads best fit your budget and objectives. It’s important to run a variety of campaign types to maximize your ROAS. For instance, some ad campaigns perform best for retargeting, and some are perfect for building brand awareness. 

Once you know your budget and your goals, you’ll need to generate creative and copy. 

  • The creative could be images, video, or a mix of both, depending on the campaign. 
  • The copy is any written or spoken language that will appear in your ad. 

After you have the creative and the copy ready, you’ll need to decide how long your ads will run, which will depend on your budget and objective. If you’re building brand awareness, you may want to run your ads continuously, keeping the creative and the copy fresh. If the goal is to promote a holiday sale, then you’ll likely only want to run the ad for that season.

Google Ads is a strong advertising platform with a vast array of campaigns that can benefit any brand, but it can be difficult to get started. 

Here at Blue Wheel, we assist clients with their entire ad journey, from budget recommendations to campaign implementation. If you’re looking to level up your paid digital advertising strategy, the Blue Wheel team is here to help! 

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your Google Ads goals.

What You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Day October 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (again)! We’re not talking about Christmas in October. We’re talking about Prime Day! That’s right, there is a second Amazon Prime Day this year. The first occurred in the summer, and this new Prime Day is next week, October 11-12, 2022. 

Prime Day usually only happens once annually, but because there’s been such a push for eCommerce businesses to get ahead of the holiday shopping rush, it makes sense that Amazon would want to do the same. In fact, they’re referring to this Prime Day as the Prime Early Access Sale. We work with many Amazon businesses and, because of that, we wanted to share our best tips for preparing for Prime Day. Let’s jump right in!

Why participate in Prime Day?

Amazon Prime is one of the largest eCommerce membership programs in the world, with over 200 million global users. If you have an Amazon business, participating in Prime Day can lead to an exponential increase in sales. That being said, the economic landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. Consumers are searching for deals now more than ever, and are waiting until they find those deals to purchase. With that in mind, it’s important to capitalize on events like Prime Day to make the most out of offering your products at a discount.

How to prepare for Prime Day

As we said before, participating in Prime Day can lead to a huge surge in sales, but there is prep work that needs to be done beforehand. 

Advertising

Here’s the honest truth: it’s harder than ever to get noticed in eCommerce. The market is saturated and competition is at an all-time high. In order to differentiate your brand from your competitors, you first have to be found. It’s no longer realistic to rely on completely organic growth. But don’t worry, there is a solution to this challenge: advertising. To be found and grow your revenue more quickly, you need advertising

We’ve seen amazing growth and sales for our clients who implement Amazon advertising in combination with participation in Prime Day, but there are a few important things to keep in mind. 

  1. Plan more ad spend for day one. During the first Prime Day of 2022, we saw that many brands spent more on advertising for day two, thinking that consumers would be buying more that day when the opposite turned out to be true. According to our own data, brands actually saw more revenue come in on the first day than they did on the second day. Day two was a more efficient use of ad spend and resulted in more revenue for our clients.
  2. Expect that your CPC (cost per click) will be higher for a while. Many brands who participated in Prime Day expected that their CPC would decrease as soon as Prime Day ended, but we found that wasn’t the case. In our experience, it took about one month before CPC began to decrease significantly. 

It’s important to note that, though we mentioned that CPC will be higher post-Prime Day, the best way to counteract this is to run ads along with deals. In our experience, running ads along with deals will likely reduce your CPC and increase your sales and ROI.

Promotions

There is a specific window for submitting official Prime Day deals to Amazon and it has passed, but that doesn’t mean that your brand can’t benefit from Prime Day. If you’re unable to run an official Prime Day deal, you can still run a promotion on those two days. You do have to create your coupons in advance, but there’s still time for submission. 

The benefit of creating a coupon is that Amazon will automatically merchandise your coupon. You can create coupons for a single product or a set of products, and your coupons are discoverable from the coupons page, search results, product detail pages, the All-Offers Display page, and in customers’ carts.

If you’re creating a coupon today for Prime Day next week, you’ll need to do some marketing to make sure your customers know you’re running a promotion. There are a couple of quick ways to do this:

  1. Social Media Marketing. Create posts on all of your brand’s social platforms that let your followers know what the discount is and how they can use it. If you utilize influencer marketing, this is a great time to get your influencers involved to promote your discount.
  2. Email Marketing. Consumers are already looking for deals for the upcoming holiday season, so it won’t be out of the norm for you to send an email highlighting your discount. Send out an email now, after you’ve created your coupon, and then send one again the day before Prime Day to remind your customers about your promotion.

There’s a lot of preparation involved in Prime Day, and it can seem like a daunting task, but the team here at Blue Wheel is here to help. 

Did you know?

We are an advanced Amazon Advertising partner and have access to the full suite of Amazon tools and DSP. We also have a proprietary search term isolation tool called Companion that we use for our clients.

If you’re considering Amazon advertising but aren’t sure where to begin, the team at Blue Wheel would be happy to help! 

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your Amazon goals.

The Evolution of Instagram and How to Maximize Your Instagram Marketing

Instagram has come a long way. What was once a simple photo-sharing app is now a multibillion-dollar entity that has helped shape social media as it exists today. With around 1.5 billion daily active users (yes, daily), Instagram is the 4th most used social media platform in the world. How did Instagram reach this level and how can you leverage it for your brand? Read on to find out.

Instagram’s Evolution

Instagram launched as an iOS app in October of 2010, and it didn’t take long for the app to gain popularity. It accumulated 25,000 users in just one day. By the end of 2010, it had reached one million users. Around this time, it wasn’t yet a platform for influencers. Instagram had grown mainly by word of mouth. A year and a half after launching, Instagram was bought by Facebook (now Meta) for $1 billion in cash and stock and has seen a meteoric rise since then.

After being acquired by Facebook, Instagram went through several changes. From 2012 to 2016, it incorporated the use of hashtags, added video sharing, enabled advertising capabilities, updated its photo and video editing features, and launched Instagram Stories. By the end of 2016, Instagram had over 600 million monthly active users. With that kind of usage, the development of ad capabilities, and the growth of Influencer Marketing, Instagram became the perfect place for eCommerce businesses to market to potential customers.

Using Instagram to Your Brand’s Advantage

It’s important to have a strategy when using any social media platform for marketing or advertising, and Instagram is no different. Start with research. Learn whether or not your customers use Instagram and go from there. If your brand is already on Instagram but you haven’t made any marketing or ad efforts, start with building engagement.

The Death of the Overly-Curated Instagram Aesthetic

When influencers began to rise to prominence on Instagram, everything was carefully curated. Images were edited to perfection, just like what you’d see in a magazine. Many influencers had perfectly polished profiles with all of their photos following the same presets against bright and glossy backgrounds. 

However, curated feeds are no longer trendy, and influencers are now opting for an unfiltered and authentic experience. This is especially true for the younger generation, who favor low-fi production and candid shots in an effort to come across as more relatable. For brands to succeed today, it’s more important for them to utilize high-quality assets that support a variety of content styles to give followers and potential customers a true feel for what your brand represents. 

Stories and Reels

Gone are the days of posting a static picture and hoping for the best. Currently, Instagram has been using its algorithm to push reels. Reels are short, multi-clip videos that are often enhanced with audio, effects, and other creative tools. Reels give people and brands the opportunity to reach a wider audience and often depict real-life or even behind-the-scenes content in place of editorial productions. The introduction of reels has given brands the opportunity to capitalize on new trends while showcasing their true personality.

Instagram stories allow you to break concepts down into digestible pieces. Whether you’re describing the ins and outs of a product or showcasing customer testimonials, Instagram stories are a great supplement to feed content. Stories, unlike reels, have a 24-hour shelf life, so they have the potential to garner of-the-moment interest which can be beneficial for brands who are promoting events or limited offers. Many customers enjoy seeing behind-the-scenes footage of their favorite brands, so show off the making of your product or the care you put into packing items for shipping. Get creative, add music, and don’t be afraid to show the people behind your brand having fun.

Influencer Marketing

When it comes to marketing on Instagram, it’s worth noting that influencers are often a key component. If you have the budget, influencer marketing can increase sales and engagement, and also can supply you with content to repost on your own channels that act as social proof. If you’re a brand with a physical product, influencers will often use or discuss your products on their own platform, usually in exchange for direct payment or a commission on sales. It can be helpful to involve influencers when launching new products, and even partner with influencers to create a new product altogether. 

Instagram Advertising

Instagram is a Meta product, which means you have access to the same targeted advertising on Instagram as you would on Facebook. There are a couple of different ways to advertise on Instagram. You can create static or video ads that show up in targeted feeds, or you can advertise in stories. Now that Instagram has made it possible for users to shop directly from their platform, advertising can go even further than it used to.

It’s likely that your brand uses Instagram, but whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it a while, it may be time to level up. Instagram marketing doesn’t have to be a pain. All you need is a strategy and a plan to move forward, and you’ll see growth. 

If you’re considering Instagram marketing or advertising but aren’t sure where to begin, the team at Blue Wheel would be happy to help! 

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your Instagram goals.

Advertising vs. Marketing: What’s the difference?

Most will agree that marketing is necessary when it comes to launching, growing, and sustaining an eCommerce business. Potential customers have to know that your brand and products exist to be able to purchase them. That being said, many people use terms like marketing and advertising interchangeably, even though they’re different in practice. What is that difference and do you need both? Read on to find out!

What’s the difference between marketing and advertising?

Marketing 

Marketing is the overall plan or strategy used to source, attract, and retain customers. There are two types of marketing: inbound and outbound. Inbound marketing involves organically gaining customers and drawing them into your website or business. Outbound marketing is broader, usually involving paid promotion to reach a larger audience. Inbound marketing can include blogs, email, social media, influencers, webinars, whitepapers, e-books, podcasts, videos, and SEO. Outbound marketing can include events, print ads, social ads, SEM, cold email, direct mail, TV ads, and public relations.

Advertising

Advertising is one component of a marketing strategy and involves paid promotion of a good, service, or brand. While marketing often involves increasing engagement and excitement for a brand or product, advertising is direct, one-way, and aims to get the viewer to take action. There are two different types of advertising: digital and traditional. Digital advertising can include sponsored social media posts, social media ads, and paid search ads. Traditional advertising is advertising that takes place outside of the internet, like print ads, billboards, radio spots, and tv commercials.

Marketing and advertising for eCommerce

Strategy Building

There is an immense amount of research behind the most successful eCommerce marketing strategies. Your research should include specific data about which tactics work best for your industry, who your target audience is, and how your customers interact with different marketing mediums. From there, you can develop a strategy that makes the most sense for your brand and the products that you sell. 

As we discussed earlier, advertising is one component of a larger marketing strategy. In order to decide whether or not your brand should invest in paid advertising, you need to have a broader marketing strategy in place. To determine that strategy, you need to have a clear goal in mind. Is the goal customer acquisition, building engagement, or successfully launching a new product? Once you know what the goal is, you can decide how best to achieve that goal utilizing marketing.

Paid advertising is best leveraged when you have the budget for it. Whether you’re a new brand trying to reach a wide audience or an established brand launching a new product, it’s best to ensure you have the budget for paid advertising if you want to include it in your marketing strategy.

eCommerce Marketing

If you are solely an eCommerce business (meaning your products are only sold online), then digital marketing and advertising should be your focus. Within that focus, there should be an emphasis on visuals. Your customers can’t go to a brick-and-mortar store to touch your products, sample them, or try them on. The images of your product are going to be the main selling points to your customers. That goes for both your inbound and outbound marketing strategies. It’s just as important to have quality visuals on your brand’s social media account as it is to have them in your paid ads.

Once you have great visuals, then you want to focus on your words. When it comes to eCommerce marketing, the visuals will attract while the words persuade. Make sure your product descriptions are accurate and enticing. Use email marketing to draw customers to your website for sales or promotions. Use content marketing to build excitement around your brand and products, and to gain trust with your customers. Make sure that your website is optimized for search engines. With high-quality visuals and copy, your brand will be on its way toward a successful eCommerce marketing campaign.

Digital marketing and advertising can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re thinking about investing in digital advertising but aren’t sure where to begin, the team at Blue Wheel would be happy to help!

Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to discuss your marketing and advertising goals.

Companion: Blue Wheel’s Answer to Achieving Scalable Amazon Growth

Why eCommerce brands are embracing Amazon

Did you know? There are over 300 million Amazon users, and it’s estimated that 80 million Americans are Amazon Prime members.

Unlike other ad platforms, advertising on Amazon provides unique insights for e-commerce businesses into what people are actually buying. 

Similar to Google, advertisers who are looking to get more visibility on their products can bid on keywords that will drive up their rankings on Amazon SERPs. This is just one example of the many ways e-commerce businesses utilize Amazon to drive more sales. 

How Blue Wheel is helping Amazon clients drive more sales

Companion is our proprietary, world-class Amazon Advertising tool, designed with Search Term Isolation at its core. We developed Companion to power our strategic approach and complement our Amazon advertising services.

What is Search Term Isolation?

Search Term Isolation is an advanced bidding philosophy on Amazon. At its simplest, Search Term Isolation bids on Amazon search terms that convert while negating search terms that don’t — so you only put money towards the best keywords with the best bids. 

Companion Updates from 2021 through Q322:

Over the past two years, we’ve been working to roll out some fantastic features to further our success with Search Term Isolation and to make the cart cha-ching for our clients.

1. Companion Client Reporting Portal

Having the most current data is vital for a thriving eCommerce business. We understand this concern and developed our very own Client Portal. The Client Portal allows you to get the latest information on all the marketing initiatives and campaigns we’ve launched. You can see current and past performance data while comparing different date ranges. 

2. Target Monitoring

Monitoring is a feature we added to help awaken dormant or slow-moving targets through a multi-stage process. This ensures no revenue is left on the table for a potentially converting target (keyword, ASIN target, auto-target).

3. Seller Partner Integration

We also added a new API integration, the Seller Partner API. Advertising is only one part of a successful Amazon strategy, with Seller Central making up the other part of the formula. 

With this new integration, Companion can calculate TACoS, ASIN level sales data, and lay the groundwork for future improvements. Some of these future add-ons would include inventory integration and metric reporting on buy box percent and sales rank.

4. ASIN Harvesting

Enabled ASINs will be harvested within Companion, extending our Search Term Isolation capabilities from keywords to ASIN targets. They not only protect your brand detail pages from competitors but also help outperform competing products.

5. vCPM Campaign Support

We have added support for vCPM (cost for 1,000 viewable impressions), which helps lay the groundwork for Sponsored Display campaigns to live inside Companion. Given the fast development rate of advertising features, keeping on top of cutting-edge features is always a challenge. By being an early adopter, we ensure we will be leading ahead of our competitors and taking advantage of low ad inventory prices while others catch up.

6. Inventory Integration

Companion doesn’t exist in a vacuum, as advertising never happens in one. A complete integration of inventory levels allows Companion to make decisions based on the context of inventory levels throughout merchants fulfilled (products sent from a merchant’s facilities) and Fulfillment by Amazon (Amazon ships on behalf of merchant).

Companion Roadmap: What Amazon Clients Can Expect in the Near Future 

Amazon Marketing Stream

We want to deliver better business data. That’s one of the guiding principles Companion uses and is the reasoning behind adding Amazon Marketing Stream to our roadmap. 

Amazon Marketing Stream is a new API for receiving updates for Sponsored Products that rolled out of beta in mid-2022. This will enable Companion to pull in traffic and conversion updates in near time while matching the minimal delay set by the Ad Console. This is just one of the many features Amazon Marketing Stream will enable as we innovate within this new space and continue to create value.

We strive to make Companion become the best Amazon Advertising tool in the world, and we’re looking forward to what the future holds.

What if I’m not on Amazon?

If you’re not currently on Amazon, you may be wondering if this channel is right for you.

If you’re selling a physical product that can be purchased online, then getting on Amazon is a no-brainer. Plus, launching your products on the paid network will also boost your organic rankings as well, allowing you to potentially cash in via several pathways. 

If you’d like to talk to an expert about exploring Amazon, simply fill in the form below.