According to the Office for National Statistics, British consumers cut back on spending during September, sparking fears that the retail industry has fallen into recession just weeks before the key peak shopping season.
Rising household energy bills and increases in food prices mean that consumers are cutting back on non-essential spending. And industry experts predict that we will be buying fewer and cheaper presents as a result. But what does this really mean for retailers?
How can brands recession-proof their shopping campaigns?
Even bigger retailers, with their high brand recognition and great reputations, are not going to be immune to the changes in consumer spending behaviours. It’s clear that the only way to weather the storm is to cut back on unnecessary spends and make every single £££ of the marketing budget work as hard as possible.
One of the best ways of doing this is to take control of your Google Shopping campaigns and take advantage of as many efficiencies as possible.
1. Use a comparison shopping service
If you’re still using Google’s own comparison shopping service (CSS), now is the time to switch. Moving to another CSS, such as Productcaster, can save you up to 20% on your CPCs, with no detriment to your PLAs listings. And the switch is so easy to make, with no downtime in your advertising campaigns.
You can either use that 20% saving in another area of your marketing or reinvest it to get bigger and better results. It’s entirely up to you.
2. Curate your product feed
Cut down on your disapprovals by making sure that your product feed is managed and up-to-date at all times and in the right format for every single output – from Facebook to Google. Productcaster’s FeedManager solution is one of the easiest ways to bring every product listing up to industry standards. You can also use it for annotating products to show special offers and price drops – making sure that price-conscious consumers are aware that you’re offering great value.
3. Use Local Inventory Ads (LIAs)
Although UK retail sales declined by 0.9%, it was non-store retailing took the brunt of the loss falling 2.2% in September – people want to feel the physical product in their hands before they part with their money. Omnichannel campaigns are becoming more important, being able to firmly link the online search to the offline purchase.
By updating your product feed effectively, you can take advantage of geographically linked LIAs. They allow your customers to check stock levels, then reserve the item in their local store or even buy through click & collect. Connecting with your customers on their channels along their own path to purchase is so important in a competitive market.
What’s the advantage of Productcaster?
Productcaster is the home of big brands - did you know that we currently work with 32 of the UK Top 500 retail brands? Major high street names from H Samuel to L’Occitane, Ikea to Ann Summers, all display via our Productcaster CSS.
Why do these brands choose Productcaster? We offer more than just a quick swap and a comparison site. Our client success team is built around offering premium support for our brand clients – whether that’s liaising with Google over any issues on your behalf, or pulling together campaign reporting and recommendations. We’re quality over quantity, with fewer clients than some of our competitors, but accounts that receive days of support and care to achieve the very best results.
As a Google Premier CSS Partner, we’re always up to speed with the latest developments, advice and guidance, which we pass straight to our clients. In fact, we’ve taken part in more Google beta testing of new tech than any other agency. We’re really proud of this relationship and the benefits that it can bring.
The next few months are going to be make or break for many retailers. If you feel that your brand needs a hand with maximising its budget to drive sales and profit, get in touch and see if Productcaster can help you today.
With peak fast approaching, retailers are gearing up for the busiest and most important period of the year. Following the years of Covid, and then the challenging economic times of the last year, there is cause to be more positive about this peak season. Consumer confidence has started to improve following an all-time low, energy prices are falling, and inflation has hopefully hit its peak.
When it comes to shopping, there is another reason to be positive this year; with Black Friday (BF) falling on 24th November and Christmas Day on a Monday, rather than the usual 4 weekends between BF and Christmas, this year there are 5! This presents a unique opportunity, not just for consumers but retailers too.
So, to get you in the festive spirit, here are 5 considerations Productcaster gives to you…
Research has shown that shoppers are more thoughtful about where and when to spend their money – the inspiration and consideration phases of purchases are longer than ever, with more than 50% of consumers browsing either for inspiration or purely for fun. Take advantage of the additional weekend as this provides a valuable extension for consumers when considering their purchases. Make sure you are part of this consideration phase – optimise your assets and feed to improve reach, focusing on the right messaging for your customers: show them what they need to see to choose your brand. With the cost-of-living crisis still ongoing, consumers want to know they are getting good value from a trustworthy brand.
4 all your categories
With the extra days between BF and Christmas this year, make sure you are planning your budgets accordingly: for multiple category retailers, understanding the seasonality of your products is key. Ensuring budget allocation across categories is in line with demand is an effective approach for boosting sales.
Understanding trends from previous years is a great starting point for allocating budgets and anticipating performance throughout the peak period. Beware of one-off events that may have impacted previous performance (e.g. remember the World Cup last year?); so be mindful of expectations and be ready to reforecast as we get closer to Christmas. A dynamic do, learn, reforecast approach is key to ensure effective budget management throughout the period, and will ensure you are well-prepared to meet customer demand.
3 types of LIA
Whilst the contribution of online sales continues to grow, UK consumers are still researching offline with over 60% likely to visit stores to see and touch products before purchase (Ipsos Essentials COVID-19 tracker, UK). As we get closer to Christmas, and final delivery dates are draw near, Local Inventory Ads become a linchpin in a retailer’s strategy. These ads play a pivotal role in connecting digital intent with physical action. Using LIAs ensures retailers are present when needed the most. Users want a seamless journey, with similar experiences regardless of whether they are shopping online or in store.
There are three levels of LIA: Lite, Basic, and Full. Depending on your technical capabilities and implementation, you’ll need to choose the right option (more information here). Implementation of LIAs may seem daunting, and with peak fast approaching, LIA Lite is a simple and quick way to improve CTR: using the ‘Pick up later’ annotation has been shown to improve CTR on your ads by 15% compared to standard PLAs.
For bricks-and-mortar stores, having a well-executed omnichannel approach with LIAs at the forefront can make all the difference in securing those last-minute purchases.
2 phases of purchase
Purchase journeys are not just getting longer, consumers are buying earlier too. More than 30% of gift purchases were made during October last year. By reviewing your inventory, you need to distinguish between the advanced, considered purchases and the last-minute gifts. Tailor your messaging to be at the forefront of shopper’s minds during each key phase over the next 3 months – being visible and relevant to the right shopper at the right time is vital in order to maximise sales during the peak season. Look at your assets, targets, and budgets, aligning key messages across channels and use real-time data to adjust your strategy and optimise sales.
And 1 very successful peak…
This is the Golden Quarter – the final weeks of the year are laden with opportunities for retailers; more so than ever this year after the turbulent economic times over the last 12 months. A nuanced understanding of the social-economic factors most influencing your customers, using data to make strategic decisions and monitor performance across your entire product inventory, creating a seamless omnichannel experience and getting the right message out at the right time will form the pillars of success this peak season.
By embracing these considerations, you can make the most of the extended opportunity that the 5 weekends present and deliver a seamless, impactful experience to your customers and, importantly, great returns for your business.
If you have any questions about the content of this blog, or would like to find out more about working with Productcaster, please drop us an email to email@example.com.
Google / Trinity McQueen, February 2023 UK Q23. Thinking about when you're gathering inspiration about which [category] products to buy, what proportion of your time do you spend doing the following? Unweighted, n = Total 12,096, UK 4050, FR 4018, DE 4036
Google/Ipsos, Holiday Shopping Study, Oct 2022 – Jan 2023, Online survey, Base: Holiday Shoppers - Varies by week (n=624-1499)
We're offering you the chance to "win peak with Google" and get your hands on practical advice on optimising your Google Shopping campaigns to drive profit and sales during this Golden Quarter. Learn from over 20 years of retail performance marketing experience, coupled with industry insight from the world's most recognised ecommerce company!
Download this guide for
- Google insight into the retail economic landscape
- Tips on how to fine tune your campaigns
- Advice on the best tools to use
This download is based on our webinar (20 September 2023), hosted by Productcaster CEO Martin Corcoran and Account Director Gina Farrow, alongside Brian Lavery, Google’s Head of UK & Ireland Shopping ads via CSS.
During this hour-long session, our panel discussed all things Google Shopping, including strong asset management, making the most of maturing PMax, and how to utilise Google’s real estate like Local Inventory Ads.
If you’d like the full details, you can re-watch the content here. And if you want to get in touch to claim your free one-month trial of Productcaster, drop us an email today.
Productcaster CSS is one of Europe's largest CSS solutions. By switching to Productcaster, you can save up to 20% on your CPCs immediately (if you are currently serving ads via Google), as well as the opportunity to access premium support via our experienced customer support team.
If you want to drive sales, lower your costs, and maximise your profits like this current CSS client, talk to us about switching to Productcaster CSS today.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital marketing, in particular across Google search, staying ahead of the curve is important. In 2023, the pursuit of a personalised online experiences is still front of mind for retailers, allowing them to engage with customers on their own terms. This approach can be a crucial factor that separates you from your competitors and across search the key to that experience is Local Inventory Ads, or LIAs
Although LIAs are not an entirely new concept, there have been some recent updates from Google which have expanded their utility. In this article, we will give you an overview of LIAs, their implementation and the benefits they can bring. We are also going to share how Productcaster has become one of the best partners for supporting with the set-up of LIAs for retailers across Europe.
Understanding Local Inventory Ads
To begin, let’s demystify LIAs. The concept is relatively straight forward – they enable retailers to showcase their products and store information to local shoppers. Essentially, they empower potential customers to view product availability in their local store allowing for in-store fulfilment, i.e. collection or complete the purchase.
Retailers can use LIAs to seamlessly connect to a locally hosted shop front by Google, furnishing shoppers with important information for making purchase decisions, information such as stock levels, opening hours, directions or even distance to store. This helps to deliver a frictionless shopping experience.
The advantages of LIAs
LIAs offer a range of advantages, making them a great tool to differentiate yourself from other retailers, such as
- Highlighting instore inventory from a simple Google search for a shopper in your category
- Informing the shopper of future instore availability utilising deliver to store or pick up on x day messaging
- Streamlining click and collect messaging to simplify the purchase journey
- A cost saving potential - if the product information is there on the SERP, does the shopper need to click through to site?
- Offering performance uplift. Google’s estimates are between 15% and 20% uplift in performance. Productcaster stats show this is closer to 12% to 18% increase in performance.
We mentioned earlier about Google developments of LIAs, and the main developments have been around the types of LIAs.
The 3 types of LIAs available
There are 3 distinct types of LIAs available, each tailored to specific retailer needs or their specific ability to implement a, once very, complex process for executing LIAs.
To keep it simple we have broken down the core differences between the 3 types based on technical requirements, performance uplift and implementation.
This version does not need an additional product inventory feed and is ideal for retailers that are seeking a way to test the waters of localised marketing before building the development for more complex implementations into their e-com roadmap
- Technical requirements
- Website supports a collect in store option
- There is no product inventory feed needed
- Utilises the existing PLA product feed, with some additional attributes
- Performance uplift
- Up to 15% increase in online results from local search queries*
- Effort needed to implement is LOW
LIA Basic and Full
Both require additional product inventory feeds, but the key difference is the landing page experience for the customer. Basic caters to retailers with limited stock capacity across their store estate whereas Full caters for retailers with a large store estate and a large product inventory offering. They both serve as a bridge between the online and physical world, and it is fair to say how important physical availability is within retail.
In both of these versions there are requirements to have a Google My Business account linked to Merchant Centre, a primary product feed and an inventory feed containing all of the localised product details.
Latest Local Inventory Ad developments
There have also been other developments from our friends at Google, more specifically Autofeeds.
Google has introduced two new Autofeed options for retailers seeking a faster onboarding process without the need to construct and maintain product and inventory feeds. These solutions require eligibility for Merchant hosted local store fronts for both Basic and Full versions of LIAs
By utilising a new Google pixel on site and leveraging tag manager, it is possible to scrape feed information for a retailer's website. This is an excellent option for retailers that are not easily able to build and maintain inventory feeds and can be used as a long-term solution if set up correctly.
As with most things there are some minimum requirements that need to be in place in order to use pixel autofeeds.
- Merchants must be eligible for MHLSF Basic or MHLSF Full
- Store Inventory must be available on the website
- Retailers need to add a tag to Google Tag Manager or insert a JS template
It is also advisable to flag any issues with either your CSS provider or agency in order to create a feedback loop with Google on the feature and its potential future development. Productcaster is supporting our retail clients by creating this feedback loop with Google to ensure we can feed into the ongoing product development.
The second option from Autofeeds is using the Google crawl feature. This feature allows Google to crawl the retailer's website and gather local inventory information. This is not a solution we would advise for retailers with more than 20 physical stores as the products are limited to 50 which makes it less viable for the majority of retailers. We did feel it would be remiss of us not to mention that fact in this post.
A superpower for retailers
In conclusion, Local Inventory Ads stand as a “superpower” for retailers with a physical store footprint in order to create a seamless path to purchase by creating an omnichannel approach for their customers. Golden quarter for retail is fast approaching and implementing LIAs into your armoury will drive improved performance.
If you believe that Pixel or Crawl Autofeeds would work for your Merchant Centre, then there is a step-by-step process to implement this through your product feeds. You can either speak with your Google representative who can help you through the process or contact our Client Success Team and allow us to take the pain out of the set up when you move to Productcaster CSS.
With up to 20% savings on your CPCs*, a simple one-step notification process and no downtime to your campaigns, it’s never been easier to switch your CSS and feed management to Productcaster. Just drop us an email today.
(*compared to those served via Google CSS)
We continue our series on the faces behind the Productcaster success with an introduction to Immy Hussain, Head of Affiliate Marketing at Summit and Productcaster.
Having worked at Summit for nearly 10 years, Immy is a familiar face across the business, with a wealth of experience in lots of different areas. We asked him a few questions about his role, his experience and goals for the future. Take a read below.
How long have you been at Summit/Productcaster and what did you do before working here?
I have now been at Summit for just under 10 years. Prior to joining Summit, I worked across a lot of different sectors in various roles. During this time, I dedicated myself to personal development and education, successfully completing an Open University degree in Business Studies. In addition, driven by a personal interest in expanding my skill set and fun, I also took courses in household electrics, plumbing, and car mechanics, which has been incredibly helpful over the years!
What's your role at Summit and Productcaster?
My current role at Summit is Head of Affiliates. Essentially, that means that I spearhead the delivery of top-tier affiliate marketing services for our clients, focusing on fostering growth and cultivating diverse partnerships at the core of our operational framework. To get this done to such a high standard, it is imperative for our team to remain abreast of the latest industry trends through training and development, and to also forge really strong relationships with affiliate partners and networks. I currently lead a team of four, with a supporting cast from around the business.
Additionally, I work closely with the tech team in Productcaster to refine and develop cutting-edge affiliate technology solutions, ensuring that we can offer our clients a powerful and user-friendly platform. As part of this customer-focused project, I keep a close eye on cost management efforts, striving to maintain pricing levels that are lower than those of our competitors to give our clients a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace.
What’s your work goal for the next 3 months?
In terms of my future goals, I have a clear plan for the next three years. But right now, I'm super excited because we're about to bring on board a big client in the coming months. Our team is currently deep in the planning process to make sure that we hit the ground running and give them the best service possible from Day 1. On top of that, we've just taken on two more brands, and we're working hard to bring their accounts up to our high standards as quickly as possible.
And with the peak season not too far away, we're working closely with all the marketing channels at Summit and Productcaster to make sure our clients come out on top with their performance in the second half of the year.
Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself
It’s hard to find something other people would find fascinating, but I do love cars, Comic book movies and can do the Rubix cube in under 2 mins.
Each year, Google host their Google Marketing Live event to share key upcoming opportunities and the latest product ideas for businesses using Ads. This year their main takeaway was clear – AI is the future of digital marketing.
AI is a huge part of digital marketing and is fast becoming one of the most exciting opportunities in our sector. Google Marketing Live alluded to this in their annual event, particularly explaining the benefits that AI can have when it comes to Google Ads - in the three key areas of customer connections, creativity, and confidence.
We’ve pulled together some of the latest insights and changes that you’ll need to know for your shopping campaigns.
What does this mean for me?
With the latest AI technology, new features will start rolling out in the coming months to inform and improve your campaigns. The two main points that will transform the way that we think about advertising are:
- The Future of the Merchant Centre
- AI-Driven Campaign Management
The Future of the Merchant Centre
Merchant Centre Next will be introduced to new Merchant Centre accounts from this month, eventually rolling out to all existing accounts by 2024. This evolution is an exciting opportunity for businesses. Not only will it be simpler to navigate but will also contain additional AI-driven features to improve user experience and performance.
This will roll out to existing accounts over the course of this year, with ETAs still to be determined, though more features and further improvements to the user experience are being promised.
How will I know if my account is transitioning to Merchant Centre Next?
When your account is ready to be upgraded to Merchant Centre Next, a banner will appear in the Merchant Centre and a notification will be sent via email to the admins of the account. The user can then choose to manually initiate the transition immediately or for it to happen automatically in several weeks. There will be no change to your existing set up or feeds, and ad campaigns will run as usual.
What can I expect in the new version of the Merchant Centre?
One of the main upgraded features of Merchant Centre Next is that it simplifies Google advertising for businesses. For example, you no longer have to manually input product data (when serving without a Product Feed). With Merchant Centre Next, there is an option to populate product data automatically using information from your website.
All insights reports will now be situated in the Performance tab so that merchants can review performance and competitor information in one location. In addition, businesses that have both online and local stores will be able to view all products in one place, making it easier to manage inventory.
AI-Driven Campaign Management
Since Performance Max became available last year, we have seen more integration of AI-based features appearing around Google ads and campaigns. New features will start to be introduced throughout the remainder of 2023 to improve campaign performance. Here are some of the upcoming features to look out for over the next few months.
Search Generative Experience (SGE)
SGE is transforming the way that we think about Search. Using the latest advancements in AI technology, it will become simpler for users to obtain the most relevant information and pose more complex queries. AI-powered snapshots will start to appear, offering more detail and further links for users to follow. SGE will be particularly helpful with shopping as the snapshot will contain up-to-date information about each product, which makes the purchasing journey easier for your customers.
Smart Bidding is continuously improving, with AI features helping to predict which search queries will lead to purchases for your business. The latest advancements will bring language models into the bidding process to understand customer’s intent and will also drive better performance by optimising brand-new search queries. These will help your products to show in more searches and present new opportunities.
Generate new, high-quality assets in Performance Max
Google are launching a new AI-driven asset creation flow in Pmax. With context about your business, it will offer suggestions for text and image assets that could improve your campaigns. You can work collaboratively with asset creation flow to generate more ideas based on your goals and visions. Insights will report on the best performing assets and provide recommendations on where additional assets would be successful. These improvements will become available to desktop advertisers in English-speaking countries later in 2023.
Experiment and unlock insights to see what is driving performance
Experimenting with different configurations within one Pmax campaign can help to highlight areas that might improve performance. Betas for these experiments will become available later this year. More search term categories will be available in the Insights page, including custom date ranges and historical insights to identify customer intent. These can be found through the Google Ads API as well as the Google Ads interface. Change history and auction insights will be two of the insights available in the new performance indicating features. They will be made into one unified view to help improve performance. Recommendations on AI-generated assets or stock assets will be available to improve creative performance.
Drive online and in-store goals with omnichannel solutions
Performance Max was designed to help merchants advertise across a range of different channels. It uses AI to optimise ROI on channels such as Search, YouTube, Display, Discover and Google Maps. To help retailers who are looking to increase online sales, Google are testing customer lifecycle goals, starting with customer acquisition which leads to high lifetime value. Later in 2023, they will also be launching a re-engagement goal to improve customer retention.
And thus concludes our Google Marketing Live summary. With so many new features and insights available, it’s an exciting time for businesses – but it can also be quite confusing.
If you’d like to find out how you can make the most of the latest opportunities surrounding AI for your campaigns or if you’d like further information about how you can optimise your Omnichannel experience for the best performance, talk to the Productcaster team about our CSS and FeedManager solutions today.
In today's digital advertising landscape, effective management of your bidding strategies is crucial for maximizing campaign success. By harnessing the potential of Google’s smart bidding strategies, advertisers can improve their ad performance, save time, and achieve better ROI. This article will delve into the key aspects of Smart Bidding and provide actionable tips for automating and optimizing your bids on Google Ads.
Understanding Smart Bidding
Smart Bidding is a suite of automated bidding strategies powered by Google's machine learning algorithms. It leverages a variety of signals, including device, location, time, audience, intent and conversion data, to optimise bids in real time. By analysing vast amounts of data and making auction bid adjustments in real time. Smart Bidding helps advertisers achieve their campaign objectives and serve the right ad to the right user at the right time. We’ll look at some of those objectives in the next sections.
Smart Bidding vs. Automated Bidding
While the term “smart bidding” is used to categorise all non-manual bidding strategies, it is important to note that there are two types of bidding strategies available within the Google suite: smart bidding and automated bidding.
The two share some similarities, however, the main difference is that smart bidding strategies optimise towards revenue and ROAS while automated strategies optimise towards search metrics such as clicks and impression share.
Choosing the Right Smart Bidding Strategy
Choosing the right bidding strategy depends on what goal you are trying to achieve with each campaign. Here is a flow chart of how to choose what bidding strategy to use depending on your business goals:
- Target CPA (Cost-Per-Acquisition): This strategy sets bids to achieve a specific cost per conversion. It works best when you have historical conversion data and a desired CPA target in mind.
- Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend): With this strategy, bids are adjusted to maximize the conversion value based on a specific ROAS goal. It suits campaigns where the value of each conversion varies, and ROI is a priority.
- Maximize Conversions: This is ideal for advertisers who want to generate the highest number of conversions within their budget. This strategy automatically sets bids to maximize the conversion volume.
- Maximise Conversion Value: This strategy is ideal if you are trying to hit a ROAS target within a set budget.
- Maximise Clicks: This strategy sets your bids to help get as many clicks as possible within your budget. You can add a max CPC limit to control spend.
- Target Impression Share: This strategy sets bids with the goal of showing your ad on the absolute top of the page, on the top of the page or anywhere on the page of Google search results. You can set an impression share target which will help Google optimise towards the position you want to maintain on the search results page.
Once you’ve chosen your strategy, all you need to do is set up Smart Bidding on your campaigns Sounds easy? It can be…
Setting Up Smart Bidding
To start using Smart Bidding, you first need to ensure that your conversion tracking is properly set up. For automated bidding, however, conversion tracking isn’t entirely necessary as the algorithm will optimise towards search metrics such as clicks or impression share and not towards orders and revenue.
You will also need to check your data. Smart Bidding requires a sufficient volume of historical conversion data to make accurate bid adjustments. It’s recommended that your account has at least 30 conversions in the pastlast 30 days to maximize effectiveness. While it is possible to start using smart bidding on new campaigns, in our experience it is better to use Maximise Conversions (without a CPA target) or Maximise Clicks (without a max CPC limit) on newly launched campaigns or accounts until enough learnings are gathered to switch on to a different bidding strategy or introduce ROAS/CPA targets. This allows Google to learn what performance looks like at different levels of spend and risk so that when a target is introduced it will be better prepared to achieve it.
Not all campaigns should be optimised using the same bidding strategy, so make sure you consider what goal you are trying to achieve with each campaign. For example, you might want to consider using Target Impression Share on your pure brand campaigns to increase or maintain visibility. On the other hand, your brand generics campaigns might perform better when optimised using tROAS or Maximise Conversion Value (if you have strict marketing budgets in place).
Well-organized ad campaigns with clear goals, relevant keywords, and structured ad groups contribute to the success of Smart Bidding. So, make sure that your account structure is optimized for better performance. To do this, you could consider the following optimisation techniques:
- Segmentation: Divide campaigns into smaller ad groups to target specific keywords or audience segments. This allows for more precise bidding and better control over performance. Avoid over segmentation as this can make the accounts difficult to navigate.
- Hagakure: Consider restructuring your account using the Hagakure method in order to achieve the best results through smart bidding. In a nutshell, here is what that would look like:
- Ad Schedule Adjustments: Analyze performance data to identify specific times of the day or week when your ads perform better. Adjust bidding by modifying ad schedules to allocate budget more efficiently during high-converting periods. While this can be a helpful tool for B2B business models where potential customers only shop during business hours, for example, it is recommended to allow your ads to run unrestricted. In time, smart bidding will learn when your audience is more likely to convert and will serve more ads during that period.
- Seasonality Adjustments: Account for seasonal variations or fluctuations in conversion rates by adjusting bidding strategies during peak or off-peak periods; however, avoid over adjusting your targets, as smart bidding strategies can account for peak periods using historical data from your account.
Why is Smart Bidding better than non-automated bidding?
Smart Bidding offers several advantages over traditional bidding methods and alternative bidding strategies. For example, Smart Bidding uses machine learning algorithms to analyse vast amounts of data and make real-time bidding decisions. This automation saves time and takes away the need for manual bid adjustments, allowing you to focus on the strategic aspects of campaigns. Your campaigns are also going to be optimised on an ongoing basis, as Smart Bidding adjusts bids in real time based on several signals, including user behaviour, device, location, and time of day.
For those who worry about losing control, there is a level of built-in control. While Smart Bidding automates bidding decisions, you can set constraints and parameters. Bids can be adjusted based on specific business requirements, allowing for customisation and flexibility within the automated framework. Working with smart bidding is like owning a self-driving car: the car is perfectly capable of driving itself, however it needs the driver to tell it where to go. While there are some elements that are outside of our control when it comes to smart bidding, the most important ones are still within our control. We are in control of where we want our campaigns to go and Google decides how to achieve that goal in the most efficient way.
Smart Bidding also considers a wide range of factors and signals to make bid adjustments, leading to more precise bidding. It considers historical data, conversion patterns, and user intent, resulting in bids that are better aligned with the likelihood of conversion. The strategies are goal-oriented, which allows you to optimise towards specific outcomes such as maximizing conversions, achieving target CPA or ROAS. This performance-driven approach helps advertisers align their bidding strategies with their overall campaign objectives.
Finally, Smart Bidding continually learns and improves based on campaign data and performance. The algorithms adapt and refine bidding strategies over time, leading to enhanced efficiency and better results.
What are the disadvantages of Smart Bidding?
It all sounds too good to be true. So, while Smart Building offers lots of benefits, there are some potential disadvantages and limitations to consider including:
Dependence on Sufficient Data
Smart Bidding relies on historical conversion data to make accurate bidding decisions. If your campaign lacks sufficient data, such as a low volume of conversions, it may not perform as well as it could. Volume of data is crucial for the algorithms to learn and optimise bids effectively.
Smart Bidding operates using complex machine learning algorithms, which may make it challenging to understand how bids are determined and the specific factors driving those decisions. This lack of transparency can sometimes make it difficult for advertisers to troubleshoot or diagnose issues within their campaigns.
Certain industries or niche markets may present unique challenges for the technology. Industries with longer sales cycles, high-value conversions, or complex attribution models may require additional customisation or manual interventions to achieve the best results.
Smart Bidding has revolutionised the way advertisers manage their bids on Google Ads. By automating and optimising bidding decisions through machine learning algorithms, it gives you the tools to achieve campaign goals effectively and efficiently. Yes, there are some limitations to take into consideration, but overall, Smart Bidding is set to save you time, money, and help you achieve the very best results.
Every time Apple launches the next iPhone model, the world scrambles to get hold of the shiny new product. Every retailer is desperate to get ahead of the competition and get their stock listed first at a competitive price. And our Affiliate Marketing client, Three Mobile, is no different. In 2022, they turned to the team at Summit and Productcaster tech to ensure that their products beat the competition.
Over the years, Three has relied on our Affiliate team and our proprietary tech FeedManager tool to help them be first to market. Being the first retailer to list the new iPhone has a huge impact on sales. For example, when the iPhone 12 was released in October 2020, Summit got Three first listing on Uswitch and visible on Affiliate channels within 5 minutes, leading to a 125% increase in YOY sales.
This achievement doesn’t come without its challenges. In particular, Apple’s strict timescales on releasing any information only gives a limited amount of time to organise and act. So, when the 1pm deadline was reached, the Productcaster team sprang into action for the third year in a row.
The team worked seamlessly with colleagues at Three in the run up to the launch to make sure that the product feed was up-to-date and published on FeedManager immediately as soon as the embargo lifted. The tool is incredibly quick and pushes the feeds faster than most other technologies, which is vital in such a competitive launch situation.
Whereas some providers have limitations on how often they can publish feeds. FeedManager can be updated every hour, with the capacity to create a manual push when needed. The technology is designed to ensure that any changes you make are done quickly, ensuring your products can be seen first.
This approach and usage of FeedManager meant that Three's offers for the new iPhone were featured before any other providers. As people like to be "first" when buying new phones like these, appearing first in comparison sites makes a big difference to the amount of sales you can generate from a phone launch
- Three’s Apple iPhone 14’s was the first to appear on Uswitch with the feed updated and released in under 30 seconds.
- Week-on-week handset sales up 120%.
- 22% increase in traffic
“The team at Summit were highly instrumental in the success of our iPhone launch, with the speed and efficiency of both the people and the product feeds allowing us to appear on key partner sites before any of our competitors. This allowed us to gain momentum and take hold of the #1 positions which are so important for sales on price comparison websites.
A big thank you to the team at Summit for their efforts!”
Iain Davidson – Lead Affiliate Manager at Three UK
Visit our FeedManager pages to find out how optimising your feed could help you drive more sales. You could even be eligible for a FeedCheck report, helping your understand the health of your product feed (and how you can improve).
With three Bank Holiday long weekends coming up in the UK over the next month (1st, 8th and 29th May), there is plenty of opportunity for shoppers to spend their hard earned money. But with such significant competition for the cash, what are you doing to make sure that you are top of your customers minds?
Prep for the extraordinary Bank Holiday in 2023
May holds a very different Bank Holiday this year, with the upcoming King’s Coronation. There have been a number of royal events over the last couple of years, and it is important to learn from these events to understand how your performance may differ. You may see a reduction in demand during the Coronation and Procession whilst consumers focus elsewhere. We are seeing search interest for the Coronation gradually increase, and now is the time to make sure you’re as prepared as possible to make the most of this period.
Research has shown that the economy is top of the concern list for Britons at the moment, alongside the more consistent worries around good health. With the cost of living crisis a major fixture in our psyche, many people are choosing to stay at home over the Bank Holidays and summer periods and…
- Instead of splashing out on holidays away, many are choosing to spend their cash on home and garden wares, as well as usual groceries - with maybe the odd little treat going into the supermarket basket. Ensuring you are present at all parts of the customer journey, especially in the research phase, will help support overall sales.
- Luxuries are still on the agenda, but they’re smaller and lower cost, with soft furnishings and lighting leading the growth. This is the ‘Lipstick effect’ in its finest, consumers want to treat themselves with indulgences, no matter the size. Having content available to support this customer behaviour trend and ‘treat themselves’ could be beneficial.
- But it’s not just home and garden - consumers are still looking for products from other categories, for example consumer electronics. Terms such as headphones, camera and printer are up in interest on average YOY within Google Trends; look for opportunity areas within your category.
- And people are definitely on the lookout for bargains and deals! Utilise tools at your disposal, such as price benchmarking reports and Merchant Promotions to push this activity further.
How to get the most sales for your budget
So, what do you need to do to make sure you get the most sales for your spend this month? We’ve picked out four main areas for you to check out.
- Check your deals - people are looking for discounts. Make sure that your pricing and discounts are correct; price driven people will click on the cheapest offer. Remember to use Merchant Promotions and promotional sales copy to entice customers.
- Check your copy - Are there opportunities to optimise titles and descriptions to appear for more relevant search terms? If you’re concerned about your feed quality, you can take our free FeedCheck review.
- Check your feed - do you have a high approval/disapproval rate within the Merchant Centre? Is it up-to-date with stock levels so you’re not seeing unnecessary disapprovals? Automatic item updates are a good option if you’re struggling to keep on top of this.
- Check your visuals - make sure that your visuals are up-to-date and eye-catching. Performance Max activity works best when you have strong assets, so get your images in order to drive strong performance, this May and beyond.
Continuing our introduction to the faces behind the Productcaster success, we’d like to introduce our new Client Success Manager, Alejandra Guerrero.
A multilingual citizen of the world, Alejandra has travelled the world and worked in many different countries. We asked her a few questions about her role, her experience and her goals for the future. Take a read below.
How long have you been at Productcaster and what did you do before working here?
I have been working at Productcaster since the end of March. Immediately before this, I was working as a marketing assistant in Sheffield while also doing my Masters degree in International Management and Marketing. I left my home in Mexico to take up a role in Istanbul, Turkey, so I am used to taking the plunge and being very quick to adapt to new roles and circumstances.
What's your role at Productcaster?
I’m the new Client Success Manager, and my main responsibilities will be maintaining and building client relationships with existing and new clients. I’ll also be offering support as and when it’s needed for both Productcaster and FeedManager queries.
I am multilingual, which will come in handy when we are communicating with our many French brand and agency clients. Basically, everything related to CSS and FeedManager will be my focus.
What’s your work goal for the next 3 months?
I’d say the first step is to get up-to-speed and take over all the responsibilities of my new role, prioritizing tasks and getting to know our clients more. Secondly, I will be getting involved with all the processes, including finance and invoicing, as well as learning more about the Productcaster tech of CSS and FeedManager.
Lastly, I’ll be working with our team to deliver results for our clients. We have the talent and the technology, so I’m looking forward to taking on new challenges and being a great asset to Summit.
Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself.
One of my hobbies is learning foreign languages! I studied Chinese, Russian and German on a basic level, and I’m trying to take them up again. I also spent a year and a half working and living in Istanbul where I had to learn some Turkish to communicate with everyone. I know we have tools like Google Translate but the satisfaction of learning something new that I’m passionate about is what counts.