Insights / Strategy

PUBLISHED: May 29, 2024 44 min read

7 eCommerce Pitfalls to Avoid in 2024

Ruben Quinones

Ruben Quinones

VP, Client Strategy

Inna Zeyger

Vice President, Digital Media


Ruben Quinones 02:06 

Alright, we are live. Welcome to eCommerce pitfalls to avoid. My name is Ruben Quinones. I will be your moderator or host slash interviewer in what I hope is not just this one event, but a number of events that we’re going to do in the eCommerce space.  

And I realized that we were having these great conversations with colleagues, clients, and other thought leaders in the space. I’m like, it’s got to be a way to make this more scalable, learn from each other, have conversations.  So here we are. It’s why I invited you or our colleagues invited you to come on board. We’ve got a great lineup today, and I’m going to make a quick introduction in just a sec. A little bit about me.  

I’ve been at Amsive for 17 years. We’re a performance marketing agency, and we have a growing portfolio in the eCommerce space and wanted to kind of share some tidbits about what’s going on in the marketplace.  So over the next months, we’re going to actually have partners join us and have topics directly related to eCommerce. And would love some feedback. I think we’re live on LinkedIn, so you can leave comments, questions later on, so on and so forth.  

So my first guest is a special one. Actually, I should mention, we’re seeing eCommerce pitfalls to avoid, but it’s really more Google centric, obviously, hence our guest, but we’ll be hitting on platforms and tools in the next few months.  Our first guest, when I think about top search marketers in the space, my top five list, two of them happen to be on right now, AJ and Inna. So AJ is special because he worked at Google now, but he used to work for us, and now his full circle is actually working with us.  

And I’m going to bring him on, and he’ll do a quick intro, because, AJ, I don’t actually know your title there, if you want to… What’s your title? What do you do at Google now? I know what you did with us, but what do you do at Google?  

AJ Magali 04:09 

Hi, Reuben. My official title is agency leader.  

Ruben Quinones 04:14 

Agency leader. That’s it.  

AJ Magali 04:17 

Agency manager or something along those lines.  

Ruben Quinones 04:20 

I’ve been seeing you do a lot of events on LinkedIn, I noticed.  

AJ Magali 04:24 

Yeah, I’ve been a little  

Ruben Quinones 04:25 

busy as of late. Okay, very good. And AJ, I forgot to ask before, are you about to get married? Is that a thing? Yeah. Congratulations. Sorry for bringing it up on a livestream, but I mean, other people know already, right?  

Congratulations on that. Oh, and AJ, real quick, how many years have you been doing search marketing? You were with us for a while, but it’s been over a decade, right?  

AJ Magali 04:50 

Yeah, it’s around 16 years now, I think.  

Ruben Quinones 04:54 

We’re all getting old in the space. I remember when we were the young ones, the babies, but not anymore. Our second guest is Inna Zager. I think she’s been at AMPSA for 12 years and a personal friend, colleague, and it’s certainly someone I go to when I have hard questions about Google or Facebook.  

And now she leads our digital media team. She came in as, I actually met her at a prospect and we brought her into the agency and now she leads our digital media team. So let me bring her on. Inna, how are you?  

Inna Zeyger 05:28 

Hi, hi, hi, everybody.  

Ruben Quinones 05:37 

So, Inna, what do you do?  

Inna Zeyger 05:38 

What do I do? 

Ruben Quinones 05:39 

I feel like I ask you this once a week. I know you do a lot. And that’s, you know that’s why. I ask you because you do a lot.  

Inna Zeyger 05:44 

Yeah, and I’m really excited to be on with you, Ruben, with you, AJ, because I think before I jump into what I actually do, because there’s lots of acronyms with what I do. But what I find exciting about these sessions is that it’s kind of bringing people in, whether it’s small businesses, brands, agency-side folks into the types of conversations that we have on a day-to-day basis, whether we’re coming up with strategy, coming up with tactical ways to drive results for clients, or just brainstorm amongst the team.  

This is sort of like an inward look into how these conversations go. Sometimes there’s debates, sometimes it’s alignment with everybody. But what I love is that we’re all kind of getting into a room and giving people a quick lens into what this space looks like.  

But at a different level. So I am the VP of digital media here at AMSIV. I’ve been with the org to Ruben’s point a little bit over 12 years. And eComm is probably one of my favorite things in the entire world. Q4 eComm, also one of my favorite things in the world. It’s like the Super Bowl of eComm. In my role, I oversee a larger digital media team, work closely with clients. And I’ll throw out the list of acronyms.  

 There’s big search, social, programmatic, OTT, CTV. So long as we’re putting media dollars behind it, and that’s what’s our team handles. 

Pitfall #1: Overreliance on Promotions/Deals and Neglecting Product Availability

Ruben Quinones 07:06 

Yeah, it seems like you do a lot more than what AJ does, because he just, I have no idea what that is. He doesn’t know anymore about it. He just like, just got a long list. AJ, go do something. So let’s just drive, let’s just dive right into it, because I think we only have half an hour, 45 minutes.   

Yeah, let’s go, let’s do it. We have a whole bunch of pitfalls. We may not go through all of them, but again, this is gonna be an ongoing series. And AJ, I appreciate you sharing some slides with me. I’m gonna use that in our presentation. So the first topic and the first pitfall, and again, this is observations that either we’ve seen at Google or at Amsive, but you’ve sent me over some data around Q4.  

And I thought this would be an interesting one to show because we’ve had clients that are all about the promo or the deal, and they use that at the trigger. And it’s all, it works. But when that is the focus, and you don’t think other things kind of like fall by the wayside, it can become an issue.  

So I’m gonna put this slide up and maybe you can kind of walk me through what happened here in Q4 and really what this means.  

AJ Magali 08:17 

Yeah, so I think the biggest thing to take away here is that, you know, there’s not this is I wouldn’t call it an over-reliance in promotions, but I think a lot of people tend to forget the availability issue.  When you’re dealing with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, there’s a lot of the need to get there as quick as possible. Speed, what we talk about here with speed is being able to get to the available products, especially when it comes to gifts, toys and games, apparel.  

You want to be there. You want to try to avoid the FOMO. You want to make sure that you’re the one closing as much as possible. So I think that’s where all of this kind of comes from. Some apps, you know, some apps as well as some websites have done this very, very well, especially when it came to Black Friday.  It’s really a good idea to try to hold as much of your inventory as possible to the most popular days during the holidays, especially when you know somebody is about to shop there. Now you can use the promotional cycle to try to lure them in even further or try to close them and make sure that you get the deal.  

But they wouldn’t be there to begin with unless there’s no availability.  

Ruben Quinones 09:25 

Cool. Alright. And I know this isn’t, this is somewhat related, but I thought it was interesting for those that have lower price items in the market, right? It’s continues to grow at Google, right?  

Whether it’s Google search and all the other new products now with Performance Max demand gen. Walk me through this a little bit, just to kind of catch us up on what’s happened, what happened in Q4 as far as demand for lower price items.  

AJ Magali 09:50 

Well, you got to think about what’s happening macroeconomically, like the availability of dollars in every single household is not as pervasive as it was in Black Friday, for example, last year. There’s a lot of like interest, the interest rates are higher, people are dealing, you know, having a harder time paying.  

So you’re getting a lot of these like fast fashion, more affordable products kind of going out of the shelves from a holiday standpoint, doesn’t mean that, you know, you’re trying to make the most out of what you have, essentially.  

So you’re seeing a lot of like the sheens of the world and a couple of the other brands that are very similar, that are going out of stock as a result of this. So I wouldn’t say that like the low, it’s a lower price point item related, it’s more what’s happening right now in the market.  

Pitfall #2: Not Segmenting Campaigns by Product Categories

Ruben Quinones 10:35 

Very cool. Alright, some good data. And you gave me a lot more info. Hopefully, we can have you back on as we go into Q4. Learning’s from Q4 last year. That might actually be a nice topic going Q3, going into Q4, kind of what to watch out for, because I know you guys have a lot of data.  

Alright, let’s go to pitfall number two. And I’m going to kick it over to you, Eno, which is not segmenting campaigns by product categories. Again, we’re talking about Google, but what does this mean, like 101?  

Well, what are we talking about when it comes to segment? Why is that a pitfall?  

Inna Zeyger 11:12 

Yeah, definitely. And this is such a big, big topic of conversation. And I know I might get like a little bit of a slap on the wrist from AJ and the Google side, but I know that there’s thank you for that.  

Ruben Quinones 11:24  

I got your back. I got your back.  

Inna Zeyger 11:28 

This is really tied to, you know, like, I think a lot of what we see now coming in terms of best practices from, you know, the Google side and various other partners and vendors that we work with is that consolidation is fairly critical and also using automation, and we’re all for it. However, there’s a good point to be made about aligning your inventory by a couple of things. One and the most important thing is in terms of like segmenting campaigns is that you have to consider how much people are actually searching for your product or for your product categories, right?  

Because there could be like hero products that you have that you’ve consolidated into, you know, a single campaign or using PMAP score. But that doesn’t mean that there’s a lot of demand for that product and that there’s lots of users that are looking to purchase it.  So we often see campaigns that have all products consolidated. But really, the key is you have to take into consideration how much demand is there. And then secondly, you have to take into consideration what your actual profitability is for that product.  

So we typically recommend and usually tell our customers or clients to look at lots of people searching for this. And if they are, and if it’s not necessarily a profitable product or category for you, keep that in a separate campaign, keep a certain target spent budget on it, really to make sure that those lower cost or less profitable items and products are not cannibalizing all of your spend, because it’s all just consolidated in one campaign.  

Like my favorite thing in the world to say is you don’t want to, when you’re doing this type of optimization, you want to be optimizing the scalpel, not a sledgehammer. So it’s really important for you to carve out your hero products, but take into consideration how much demand and how it’s profitable for you.  

Ruben Quinones 13:22 

Yeah, because Inna, in a way, I always talk about efficiency and scalability, right? And actually, it hits on both, because you can get more efficient, right, when you can kind of segment things out. But it allows you to understand scalability as well.  

But you hit on profitability, which is interesting. So, AJ, what do you think about that?  

AJ Magali 13:41 

What I would add about that is, listen, I am actually a big fan of segmentation when it comes to different products. It might seem a little controversial given the Google side of things. But what we do say on the Google side is you just, to Inna’s point, you need to make sure that from a scalability standpoint, there is something to back it up for as far as volume is concerned.  

For example, I personally like to tell people, hey, listen, you can segment your campaigns. The biggest worry that I have when it comes to over segmentation is that you might have a group of products that have five conversions in a 30-day cycle.  

That’s not really going to work because the algorithm works with as much data as possible. So what we recommend in Inna’s hitting on this is profit-driven marketing. If you have products that have a higher profitability rate, or you have a profit margin that’s a little bit wider, you might want to use those products and put them into their own campaigns, have different rules on what type of return that you would like for them.  Wider profit margins will probably have a lower target robust goal as opposed to something that has a much tighter restriction. So you might want to separate those out as much as possible. The only thing that we ask as Google is make sure that you’re looking at the conversion volume at all times.  

My normal recommendations is like 50 conversions on a 30-day cycle is probably the best way to go. Some folks are a little bit more crazy about it than say that you need to have 100 conversions, whatever it might be.  But it’s an algorithm at the end of the day. And the algorithm works as well when there’s data flowing through it. So just want to make sure that when you’re thinking about it, you want to make sure that what goes in is very good so that what comes out does come out very well.  

Ruben Quinones 15:28 

So here, right, because we’re going into the weeds a little bit, headline is, is, if you’re not in the platforms, it’s just ask the questions as far as, hey, is this these categories, are they built for profitability, like challenge your internal team or your agency to kind of talk through how they’re structuring these campaigns?  

You know, was there something else before I kind of head over?  

Inna Zeyger 15:51 

Couple of really quick things, because I know we were going down into the weeds a little bit, but would add that, and this is for those who really like to be hands-on on the campaign side, when you don’t have enough conversion volume, and I know it’s something that quite a few clients do face, especially in niche areas or startups as well, is that you can also use portfolio bidding when you don’t have necessarily enough conversions on one campaign.  

If you take campaigns that have a similar profitability or similar goals, you can group them together to achieve that level of minimum conversions for Google’s algorithm to work well and start optimizing towards the action you want them to take.  You play on eCommerce purchase, so that’s something to keep in mind. And then to go a little bit out of the weeds, one thing that so, so, so many of our clients deal with and encounter is having a lot of resellers.  So it’s not uncommon where they’re selling product on the site. So they have their own site .coms are very profitable for them to sell product, but they also have resellers at Saks, at Sephora, I mean, just name it anywhere else.  

 And so there’s also this competitiveness in the space with your own products on the search engine results page. So for not just holiday, but for eComm, a lot of things that you can do is focus on your hero products that are evergreen that you really want to be pushing and keep an eye on when your resellers are pushing product or have promotions, because I’m not saying to pull back entirely on your media spend or investment in those areas when you know you have resellers, but, you know, again, to surgically decide where to push more media dollars, if there’s like this product category on sale on Saks, you might want to pull back on budgets and push other budgets in areas where, you know, there’s no resellers in that space or, you know, there might be a little bit more profitability there.  

So other things to keep in mind when we’re looking at that segmentation piece, especially with how you’re structuring your campaigns, where you’re putting product categories. So to summarize, it’s how much demand there is, it’s profitability and looking at the larger ecosystem of where you fit in as the brand, as well as where you fit in with your resellers.  

Pitfall #3: Not Utilizing Apps and App Marketing

Ruben Quinones 18:23 

We’re only two pitfalls in, learning so much. Alright, so let’s go into our next one, go a little bit more broader. Another pitfall that we’ve observed in some data that Google is showing as far as behaviorally how the market is thinking of just purchasing in the marketplace.  

And we know apps are important, right? But it’s almost an afterthought when it comes to your marketing dollars. But AJ, you kind of gave me this slide. It was very interesting to kind of look at the demand for these brands, but just the behavior of people, and this is representing download. This is not searching for a product. They’re looking to shop. They’re actually looking to these brands to shop. So walk me through this a little bit, because this is important, right?  We’re thinking spend marketing dollars on Google, Facebook, right, newsfeed ads. But then we forget, we have an app, if you have a good app, and we’re not marketing it, or we’re not putting any dollars behind it.  

Let’s talk a little bit about this.  

AJ Magali 19:27 

Yeah, I think the good thing about having an app is that it’s very in the moment and you’re able to close very well. The other thing that’s great about it is that you’re able to save all of this information. I personally, when I go shopping, I really, really hate having to go get my wallet, pull out my credit card, figure out what the number is, figure out what the expiration date is, put in my address and all of that.  

The great thing about having an app is that all of this information is already saved in there. So there’s a really, really good closure rate when it comes to apps and they’re literally in the moment.  And if you have notifications on, you’re able to say that, like, hey, there’s a promotion going on right now. You’re able to inform your customers about all of the great things that are coming out. Now, one of the great things that people, sorry, one of the bigger things that people don’t really kind of think about is we should market the app that we currently have because, you know, the exposure is the use is there.  

We know that it makes sense to have it. It’s just maybe your customers don’t know that you do have an app where you can get exclusive offers on or choose to provide this convenience. So I think it’s a really, really missed thing to kind of market the app a little bit.  

You know, I’d love to get your ideas on that. 

Inna Zeyger 20:38 

Oh, app-based marketing. Now, those are all excellent points. And we do have quite a few clients that aren’t necessarily app-based in their shopping, but have other types of apps that they’re using, especially in the entertainment space around the content that they’re pushing out.  So I would say, let’s say if you don’t necessarily have a dedicated shopping app, if you do have other apps around your other content or inventory, that could also be a good opportunity to push out reminders or product information on those other types of apps, rather than just having to completely start from scratch and build a shopping-focused app.  

And again, I know that’s not every retailer out there, but something to be mindful of. I would add one more thing, and this is for those retailers that don’t have apps. One big recommendation is, and this is tied to other areas in the space, like having checkout.  Checkout piece is critical. AJ very strongly noted that the app experience is very much focused on getting somebody to convert. That’s why people are there. That’s why you have the Amazons, you have the Sheens, and so on, that people are just on it to purchase.  

What I think is a big important piece for retailers to focus in on is you have your own checkout process, but we find that we see much stronger conversion rates if retailers have other types of checkouts available on their site.  

So not just your native one that’s available through Shopify or any other platform, but having Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon wallets available to you. Because again, AJ noted, you don’t want to go start digging through your wallet, trying to find your card, or inputting all of your information into a site every single time if you have that additional checkout option that makes it a much more seamless purchase experience than if you have to input all of your information from scratch.  

Ruben Quinones 22:44 

Yeah, it’s kind of good to see some of the leaders in the marketplace app usage is up, right? So that tells us something. And obviously, Google had for the Play Store anyways, right has a great product for app download.  

So something to think about, we, again, apps have been around forever, but also is an afterthought. Now it’s like it’s an alternative there people want. Actually, marketing that app seems to be a good idea nowadays, given that usage is up for some of the three leading brands.  

AJ Magali 23:14 

I think one thing to not underscore in this situation is the importance of site speed. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a very streamless click-through experience. When you’re going from page to page and having it be as responsive as possible, I can’t tell you all the times I’ve spoken to different clients over the years and saying, hey, by the way, your site takes about three, four, five seconds to load, which is, you know.  

Ruben Quinones 23:42 

That still happens, AJ? 

AJ Magali 23:45 

Still happens! Depends on how the design of the website is, the size of the images that are being used. Some websites are more focused on design as opposed to the utilitarian use of the website. So you get a little bit of a fine balance between what’s important and what’s not really important. So can’t, cannot stress the importance of pay trade.  

Inna Zeyger 24:05 

Yeah, preaching to choir, and I’m choir, so I ditto, I don’t know how to.  

AJ Magali 24:12 

Are you gonna start singing? 

Inna Zeyger 24:14 

Yeah, because remember, we’ve been talking like mostly about like the paid media side. But remember, there’s like all of these other site implications, like at the end of the day, like whether it’s SEO, or, you know, any content that you’re pushing through our social media, you’re driving traffic to a site that state has to work for you.  

So anything you can do to streamline how your site works and improve the checkout process is going to drive results across all channels, right? Because that’s all we’re doing. We’re all doing the same thing, just in different way to get traffic to a site.  

Pitfall #4: Failing to Use Product Ratings and Reviews

Ruben Quinones 24:51 

Agreed. Very good. Hey, whether you’re watching this live or later on, you want to drop a comment or a question, we’ll keep an eye on it. Not me personally. They’re just going to let me know. But just keep that in mind.  We want this to be interactive. So is there any questions that come up around this? We’re going to leave some time at the end. And or after the video, just keep an eye on comments. Alright, good stuff.  

Why don’t we go to our fourth pitfall, which again, being more Google-centric here. And, you know, you brought this up, right, is it’s not utilizing product ratings and reviews. You want me to put the slide up first, or do you want to talk first?  

Inna Zeyger 25:31 

Let’s move on. 

Ruben Quinones 25:34 

I don’t know. Did you put this together?  

Inna Zeyger 25:39 

Yeah, I think this is good.  

Ruben Quinones 25:42 

Someone knows me and they put the cat in the slide. Sorry, go ahead.  

AJ Magali 25:47 

Wait, so this wasn’t you, Ruben?  

Ruben Quinones 25:49 

This wasn’t me. 

Inna Zeyger 25:51 

It wasn’t you for once. So I think like there’s a number of people that are watching this who are waiting to see when we’ll start meowing at each other for those of you that know us for those of you that don’t I’m so sorry or we can make some comments after the fact. 

Ruben Quinones 26:06 

Maybe later on in the series but go ahead what what so I’m showing a visual of what it is  

Inna Zeyger 26:14 

Mhm. Yeah. And so what you’re seeing over here is shopping ads. Those are your product listing ads. And what you’ll notice is that, you know, quite a few of them have, you know, like basic information, price point, the site where it’s coming from. Some of them have like these tiny little grayed out areas that are like call outs. But what you’ll see, the one that’s highlighted in red is, oh, check that out. Those are reviews of the product. And what you’ll notice is that this one stands out so much more than some of the other ones, just because of those product reviews that are listed there.  

And one of the critical things, there’s so many, there’s so much inventory and there’s so many resellers and so many different advertisers in the space. What you really need to do is make sure that you’re standing out amongst everybody else, right?  

Because these are all cat toys, right? No big deal. But this one is rated, you know, five stars with 416 ratings. I think one thing that we find and has been consistent to consistently state the course is that social proof is such a strong way to get buy-in from potential customers. And so showing that might seem like this heavy, big undertaking, but it’s totally not. So like in Google merchant center, there’s so many easy bells and whistles that you can turn on to get more visibility on the search engine results page and product ratings and reviews is absolutely one of them.  

So much easier than you think it is to actually set off. And, you know, if you have a feed management solution, that shouldn’t be like a heavy lift at all. But I would say do that because you want to stand out and it’s an easy thing to get yourself to stand out in like a very competitive market place.  

Ruben Quinones 28:00 

So just so I’m clear, so this one obviously is the star ratings in these reviews there, right? You’re able to have, if you have a minimum amount, right? Talk me through me, if you don’t have four or five stars, is there an automated system where it shows, hey, if you’ve got good reviews, we’ll put it up?  

Or am I just making that up? Like, obviously, make sure you have good reviews or a certain amount of reviews in star ratings before you employ this, right?  

Inna Zeyger 28:36 

That’s weird, AJ.  

Ruben Quinones 28:38 

That’s it. It’s an open discussion now, I guess.  

Inna Zeyger 28:42 

Yeah, there’s some guardrails and there’s like sources and it’s where that would come from. I would say it’s, you know, the source, it’s source by source. There are guardrails that Google has in place to ensure that, you know, the reviews are relevant, but also all terrible. Obviously, you’d want to make sure that, you know, you check out the source of what those reviews are and, you know, do the due diligence there.  

AJ Magali 29:11 

Yeah, I think on a personal note, like when I look at, if you’re for example, a retailer that’s establishing yourself in the market, and not a lot of people know who your what your brand is, it’s a really, really good idea to have customer reviews in there as much as possible. I’ve oftentimes some like, if I’m seeing a website that I’ve never seen before, we’ll probably also look whether or not this person or this website is legit. Like, this is my own personal like browsing behavior, because I don’t want to get burned by a fraudulent account, for example.  

So having the reviews kind of help provide like a certain level of trust that’s like, hey, by the way, we sell really quality products, you know, from an closing standpoint, or from a fulfillment standpoint, you know, we’re, we do have a reputable business. So having that within the shopping feed becomes really, really paramount if you’re kind of over potentially new customers.  

Ruben Quinones 30:07 

Yeah. Well, if you haven’t noticed by now, this is not scripted. I’m just asking, which is the beauty of these live streams. And it’s the way I want it to be. Right. It wants to be an organic conversation. Do we happen to know if we know what the click through rate differential is between having these type of extensions ratings versus not? And if not, that’s fine. Not clearly, it’s higher. But I’m just curious.  

AJ Magali 30:33 

Not off the top of my head. 

Ruben Quinones 30:38 

 It depends on the category. And it depends on the category, too. So I’m sure we can just drop like a slider or something on it later on. Very, very good. OK, so let’s go to our screen.  

 This stop screen sharing. Our next pitfall is— 

Inna Zeyger 30:51 

Probably our last? 

Ruben Quinones 30:53 

Well, possibly. I don’t know. We just keep going unless there’s questions, right? Remind me on Slack if this is 45 minutes. I believe it’s 45 minutes. We’ll keep going. People can tune out if they need to.  

 AJ, you’re so good to keep going.  

AJ Magali 31:07 

Yep, I’m here with you till the end, Reuben, whatever you need, buddy.  

Pitfall #5: Failing to Monitor Product Stock Levels

Ruben Quinones 31:13 

Failing to monitor product stock levels. I mean, I know what that means, but why is that important? And why is that a pitfall?  

AJ Magali 31:22 

This absolutely drives me insane. On a personal note, I actually, when I’m on Instagram or something like that and I click and I see an ad or see a product ad that I’m kind of crazy about and the product’s not there, I sometimes comment on saying, hey, by the way, your product’s not there. It’s a really, really bad experience. But it just provides a really unsavory experience for the user. If you’re advertising for something that’s just not there, whether it’s on any type of digital media that you have, when you have a shopping ad, for example, and you go in and there’s no product available at all, it’s completely sold out, or worse, it goes to a 404 page.  

It just, it’s not a great experience for the user. It’ll probably, from a trust standpoint, kind of brush them away from you. And it’ll be hard to try to win them back. So I can’t stress how important it is to make sure that from a stock standpoint, when you’re keeping track of what’s available and what’s not available.  

Ruben Quinones 32:23 

Very cool mean anything to add to that or he just said it perfectly that we did.  

Inna Zeyger 32:28 

No, AJ is, AJ is perfect. Um, I would, uh, I know this guy, he’s like, uh, from an advertising perspective, so, and just looking at the feeds that you’re pushing out the product inventory, uh, in the recent years, Google has become much more strict with, uh, data integrity, meaning is the information that you’re from your site, from, you know, your inventory that’s going into the product feed and then getting pushed out to Google.  

Um, does that actually reflect what is on your site, right? So like, are the prices matching of what you’re putting into the feed as what they are on the site? Are you in stock? Are you out of stock?  All of those things make an absolutely huge difference. Now there’s some bells and whistles and Google merchant center you can use to sort of automate and update that when Google site crawler goes in and checks out if those two values are matching or not, so you can enable those things.  

But I would say because of that focus on much more data integrity, uh, you’re also putting it yourself at risk for suspension. If you have too many issues, if you have too many disapprovals in your feed, you don’t want to get suspended. It’s a pain trying to get yourself back up. Um, it, yeah, you know, you know the drill. So, uh, it’s not just tied to the user experience, but also like, Hey, you don’t want to go down or get suspended during a critical sales period because you know, their data’s totally whack.  

So that’s the thing I would add.  

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Pitfall #6: Failing to Retarget Abadoned Cart Users

Ruben Quinones 34:06 

Good stuff, alright. So you wanted, I’m gonna move this one up because you wanted to talk about it. I believe this is the one you were talking about, alright? We’re talking about retargeting to abandoned cart users.  

Is this the one?  

Inna Zeyger 34:18 

Yes, retargeting baby, my favorite thing in the world. Retargeting is —  

Ruben Quinones 34:23 

remarketing, because I know Google says remarketing, I want to use the right terminology. Go ahead, Inna.  

Inna Zeyger 34:33 

I mean, I don’t know. I’ve heard it used so many different ways. I don’t even know when to catch myself if it’s remarketing or retargeting. But same process sort of applies, right? So you have spent all of this time, all of this energy, with generic keyword search, with shopping, with other channels, like, you know, unpaid social or programmatic, trying to drive traffic to your site.  

 And then people go to your site. And then what happens? If you are not retargeting, nothing happens, right? Like, you have done absolutely nothing to help cultivate and move those users who have landed on your site based on interest from other areas to actually take the action you want them to take. So with, like, upper funnel efforts like programmatic or parts of social, you’re trying to get people who are brand unaware to become brand aware. Once they’re brand aware, they need to become potential customers, right? So really, this is just an incredibly important area, especially for retailers who have longer sales cycles that are more expensive products to compel or to give enough good reasons for somebody to actually purchase that product, right?  

So retargeting is so critical. Whether you’re doing it on Google or elsewhere, it’s a great opportunity to put more promotions in front of those users to incentivize them to convert if you’re promotion focused or give them more reasons to tell more stories as to how this product could positively impact their lives. So seeing quite a few clients who aren’t doing that. But last thing I would say on this is that for retailers that have like lower costs, same day sales cycles, remarketing can be hit or miss because you probably just have people purchasing it outright and cool, cool, cool.  

You might wanna look into retargeting them if they’re like frequent buyers or if that’s a product that they might need to repurchase every couple of months and prompt them with retargeting that, hey, it’s time to buy XYZ again.  

But for retailers with like just much longer sales cycles, it’s critical.  

AJ Magali 36:40 

Yeah, even to it earlier, I’m a big fan of nurturing relationships through retargeting. For example, I’ve told this to multiple marketers over the past that you maybe want to think about the timeframe from the initial click when they first visited your website and how you kind of think about the content strategy as you get further away from that initial click, right? So for the first 24 hours, you want to probably try to retarget them at a relatively high frequency because out of sight, out of mind, you want to be there as much as possible to remind them that, hey, this is a need.  

This is something that you need right now. We’re here to provide the service, the solution for your problem, we’re around. And then as you get away from the initial day, let’s say like the three to five day span, maybe you want to try to get them back in through offers or promotions like, hey, come back to us, here’s a 15% off coupon to try to lure them back into your website. And then as you get kind of further away, it’s more of just a reminder that we are still a potential solution for your problem. This is the products that we currently have. This is the items that you are kind of looking at.  

 Why don’t you visit the site and check out if you’re still interested.  

Ruben Quinones 37:46 

Yeah, and I’m just curious, you know, we’re seeing abandoned cart users is an opportunity for like, you know, multi-stage retargeting in that checkout process, right, as they’re deeper in.  

Inna Zeyger 37:59 

Yeah, you can, it’s ultimately going to come down to audience size, right? So, you know, like you can segment so, so, so granularly. You can, I mean, like what a typical checkout process looks like, you know, like there’s the last stage where, you know, they’ve got to click on, you know, purchase, which, you know, is the one you really want to get to. But there’s probably a small amount of users at that stage who haven’t, you know, checked, checked out. So you want to keep on, you know, moving further and further up the funnel, like, you know, a nice middle ground is those that added to cart, but didn’t take action.  

 But ultimately, like, I think you have to look at, um, build those lists out well in advance, um, in Google ads, right? So like a lot of it can be URL based depending upon, uh, you know, like which type of platform you’re using, like a Shopify or something like that. And, you know, it doesn’t mean you have to activate all of those lists. Um, it might not make sense to you if those audiences are too small, but you can start building out those lists well in advance and monitor the size of those lists.  

It’s also a good indicator, uh, you know, without having to go into Google analytics, which I do advise, go look at GA for, um, at what that looks like for you. Uh, but, you know, give you a good idea of what that drop off looks like, uh, without having to do too much digging between the ad to cart versus, you know, add in credit card information and then actually purchase.  

Ruben Quinones 39:20 

Got it. guys one more you know there’s so much controversy going on— 

Inna Zeyger 39:27 

Everything’s controversial! 

Pitfall # 7: Overreliance on Smart Bidding Strategies

Ruben Quinones 39:29 

Yes, but just because Google is here, I want to want to talk about this one. Overreliance on smart bidding strategies. You wanna kick it off? And why is this controversial? Why did I bring this up, right? Because, you know, the algorithm has changed to go from very manually based to, you know, relying on a lot of these smart bidding strategies.  

 But why is it a pitfall to be over-reliant?  

AJ Magali 39:57 

Yeah, I am probably the biggest smart bidding nerd you’ll ever meet in your life. I’ve been an adopter of smart bidding technology ever since I was even at AMSIF. Here’s what I’ll say about when it comes to smart bidding strategies.  

Very similar to what we talked about with segmentation. It works as well based on how much data you’re feeding the machine. It’s a machine, it’s an algorithm, it works as well as how much data to work with, as Ruben tries to run away from my answer.  

Ruben Quinones 40:26 

Is I’m looking at myself and like I look sinister because half of my face is in dark and  

Inna Zeyger 40:32 

You know, like, Ruben puts out a controversial— 

AJ Magali 40:35 

You’d look like you could really go for it. It’s just, let me just, you know, like, let me go. It’s just like, you know, like, let me go and I’m like. No, sorry.  

Inna Zeyger 40:44 

Ruben makes a controversial statement and then runs away.  

AJ Magali 40:45 

Runs away. Okay. Next thing you know, he’s gonna say, I’m gonna take Drake and then run away again. No, what I’ll say about the smart bidding thing is, it’s an algorithm and it works as well as possible when there’s as much data in there.  

And the great thing about Google Ads algorithm is that like it’s passable through all of the campaigns that are within a Google Ads account. So you don’t necessarily need to say that like, Hey, my one campaign has like 50 conversion. The other campaign has like two conversions. It happily carries across the entire account. That being said, I can’t tell you how important it is to look at how many conversions you get on like the 30 day cycle.  

It’s the number one thing I stress to people, you know, the product works as well when you’re putting as much into it as you can. Now from an over-reliance standpoint, I think there is certain things that you still want to try to protect from a bidding standpoint. I’m a big proponent of making sure the brand stays as much as possible from an impression to your standpoint. So maybe that’s something you want to use or if you want to maybe go after a higher bid, please feel free.  

That’s not something I’ll fight you against. But if you’re trying to get the most out of the consumers that you’re getting or like you’re currently using, especially from a non-brand standpoint, I would probably advise you towards a smart bidding strategy as opposed to using, you know, something like Max Clicks or ECPC, for example, because that’s not as optimized for the user’s behavior.  

So I wouldn’t call it like an over-reliance per se. And I do know that, you know, as a Google team, we do try to push like some of the strategies a lot, but I do think that there’s a lot of value in there, but you just need to look at it from a campaign by campaign basis. You need to look at the use case that you’re trying to apply for. And when you’re finished with that, then you can start the strategy properly. But once again, the foundation of it is conversion volume.  

 If that’s not in the picture, I do not suggest using it until you’ve hit the level you need to.  

Ruben Quinones 42:45 

Alright, I guess I’m not going to start a fight here. Inna, you’re going to agree with me.  

Inna Zeyger 42:48 

Not a fight, actuall,y I totally—we agree. Look, if you asked me, I don’t know, five, seven years ago about automated bidding, smart bidding, I would have been like, nah, I’m good, peace out. But it has evolved quite a lot. And please, maybe this sounds to me like a total Google evangelizer. But I would say, look, if you’d asked me back then, I would have been like, no way. Nowadays, the critical piece is always be testing.  

It’s always be closing, but coffee is for testers. But coffee is for testers. So I would say, look, it doesn’t need to be all the way smart bidding, all the way algo bidding. It is something that you want to test. And it doesn’t mean that your entire account has to be entirely shifted over to algo or smart bidding. There are opportunities, whether it’s pushing towards that modern search structure or various other areas where I think we never want to disrupt our clients’ funnels. So we have to do it in smart, thoughtful frameworks to be able to shift towards that choice to identify if smart bidding or other types of bidding or messaging is going to be effective for that client and for that area of their account.  

What I’ll say is it’s not all or nothing. And that’s where I think AJ and I are 100% aligned on that.  

Ruben Quinones 44:18 

Very good. Guys, we’re at the end here. I want to thank you for putting in the time. AJ, appreciate it. We miss you, buddy.  

Inna Zeyger 44:28 

We miss you so much.  

Ruben Quinones 44:30 

Thank you, Inna, again for helping me make this happen. I do want to share our next event coming up, which is on the 31st. Harness deterministic. I said it right.  

Inna Zeyger 44:46 

That’s a big word for you.  

Ruben Quinones 44:48 

Not say determinant, I was like, determinant in it. The part is deterministic retail data to drive eCommerce growth. What does that mean? We’ll find out on the 31st. It’ll be myself, Lauren Bobo. I love saying her last name, Bobo.  

Ruben Quinones 45:04 

I’m going to probably butcher the next two last names. Jennifer Klemoski. Sorry if you’re watching this. If I just butchered that, and Mary Crabill. Excited. Great desk is a leader in the programmatic buying space.  

They’re going to give us some insights. They’re a good partner of ours. So looking forward to that. Any last minute, I guess we can follow you on LinkedIn, right? AJ, your last name’s out on AJ Magali.  

AJ Magali 45:33 


Ruben Quinones 45:33 

Here if you want to connect with them. Any parting thoughts?  

AJ Magali 45:38 

Inna, you want to start?

Inna Zeyger 45:39 

Oh, okay. I guess it’s me.  

AJ Magali 45:41 

Ladies first.  

Inna Zeyger 45:43 

Thank you. Just really happy that we’re having these conversations and kind of giving people some insight into what that looks like when we’re just talking amongst ourselves and hopefully that this has been fun, helpful, entertaining. We haven’t compromised our careers in any meaningful way. I think we made it through. And just thank you very much to everybody who’s joined us or may be rewatching this at some point in the future. We really appreciate it and really had a great day.  

Ruben Quinones 46:16 

Good stuff. AJ, parting thoughts?  

AJ Magali 46:19 

Michael Jordan was born in February 17, 1963. It has nothing to do with this, I just wanted to say.  

Ruben Quinones 46:25 

Is he that old already? He still dominates. He still dominates. Alright, guys. So with that, I’m going to let my guests go, and I want to thank you, and again, sign up for the next event. Appreciate your time, and let me know if you enjoyed this. Like this, you know, like the comment or the video, like it. Let me know if I should continue to do this, because there’s a little bit of effort that goes into it, and I’m looking forward to the next event.  

So with that, I wish you a great weekend or day whenever you’re watching this, and take care. 

Interested in joining our next LinkedIn Live? Register here to learn how to Hardness Deterministic Retail Data to Drive eCommerce Growth on May 31st, 2024, at 1PM EST!