9 min read

How Your Brand Can Benefit From Today's Uncertainty

The future of search engines look grim, two improvements you can make in your Google Ads account right now, & the decade's most important marketing question.
How Your Brand Can Benefit From Today's Uncertainty

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Last week’s issue had a 40% open rate. Share this issue with an arch enemy.


This week’s news was seeping in TikTok drama.  Instead of overwhelming this newsletter with those details, I will be sending a separate email covering TikTok later today.  While TikTok only tangentially impacts eCommerce, I do think the advertising and government regulation angles are important to cover.  This type of pressure is not going away and no digital marketing platform is immune.  Stay tuned for that post.


I can’t imagine a scenario in which you wouldn’t add in-market audiences, at least as an observation, immediately.

Are search engines dead in China?

A typical Chinese consumer can have various different sources to search for information depending on what they are looking for. To search for a product, they can go straight to dominant ecommerce platforms like Taobao and JD.com, then search in Xiaohongshu to look for inspiration and community reviews. If they are interested in a brand, a celebrity, or trending news, they will head to WeChat, Weibo, or Toutiao. To find a nearby store or a local service they will search in WeChat and Alipay without downloading any apps. A typical American would do most of that through Google, even when searching for products on Amazon, despite it having a perfectly good search engine of its own.

The battles of the web are fought in the niches.

Understand your performance after the click with the ad destination report - Google Ads Help

The customer journey is more complex than ever, with many paths that can lead to a conversion. However, current reports don't always capture this complexity. This can make it difficult to measure and optimize performance–especially if you have an app and a website. To make it easier for you to understand how your customers convert, we’ve introduced a new ad destination report to Google Ads.

With the ad destination report, you can now see which conversions came from clicks to your app versus clicks to your website. This makes it easy for you to understand where your customers engage with you most–and how to increase that engagement. In addition, you'll see if customers landed on your Business Profile or got directions to your store prior to a conversion.

This decade's most important marketing question: What data rights do advertisers possess?

“What rights do advertisers have to the marketing data we utilize for our decisions?” It’s not a complicated question at first blush, but the more we plumb its depths, the more we identify additional complications. Let’s dig into those next.

Who owns your search term data, the one storing it or the one paying for it?

This is a thought-provoking piece that any digital marketer should read.

🗣 Social

The best new feature to come from Twitter in months...😢

📧 Email

10 Dos and Don'ts for a Successful Email Marketing Campaign [Infographic] | Social Media Today

Are you looking for ways to improve your email marketing strategy? Want to increase the success rate of your email campaigns?

There is a great infographic in this post that is much, much too long to include in this newsletter.

📈 Reporting & Revenue

Fast Wants to Revolutionize Online Checkouts, But the Competition’s Fierce

Battle of the buttons “In the U.S., there are only a handful of digital payment methods with significant traction,” Lily Varón, senior analyst at Forrester Research, told Retail Brew. And they’re growing, she added: “Digital payments have seen an adoption boost since the pandemic hit, as consumers are shopping more online or using contactless payments in stores to avoid touching terminals.”

Fast’s founders say it “sells itself” because its click-and-it’s-yours tech could reduce friction and result in fewer abandoned carts for retailers. But the existing payment offerings—think big tech firms with “Pay” tacked on the end—already do this with two-click services and other perks.
  • Shopify claims Shop Pay can increase conversions by 50% or more.
  • Varón said PayPal currently has the most market share across payment providers.
Brands on buttons: Taylor Sicard, cofounder of Win Brands Group, told me that offering two to four payment methods is “the best option.” Not every consumer uses every payment platform, and some are limited to certain browsers. So retailers have to walk a fine line between meeting customers’ needs and overwhelming them with options.

🛍 Marketplace

ThirdLove lowers prices in bid for Victoria's Secret shoppers – Glossy

Zak said the new pricing provides a chance to earn shoppers newly open to the idea of buying a bra online, calling it an “opportune time to be able to offer more value.” The move follows L Brands’ announcement in May that it would be closing 250 Victoria’s Secret stores in 2020. And the new pricing aligns with that of “high-volume” Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein, which represent “the core of the market,” said Zak.

With brick & mortar retailers dropping like flies, is there a void your brand should be filling?

Ford Bronco, Jeep Wagoneer, and the battle of the heritage car brands

As a culture, we are awash in heritage. Especially in times of uncertainty. Who could forget the Great Urban Lumberjack boom after the 2008 financial crash? As the Great Recession hung in the air, age-old brands such as Red Wing, Pendleton, Hunter, and Filson, among others, saw their popularity soar as people looked for some semblance of dependability—of a time where Americans made things built to last and a plurality of people shared in the economic benefits. Even if was just in their wardrobe. The longevity of these brands didn’t just offer us comfort; it gave marketers a treasure trove of potential stories to use in selling that very image.

Not directly related to eComm, I thought this clip was fascinating. If you are managing media for an established brand, a powerful value prop could be right under your nose.

Amazon Launches Luxury Stores Platform With Oscar de la Renta Brand - Bloomberg

Amazon.com Inc. has launched a “Luxury Stores” platform in a bid to persuade upscale brands to sell their wares on the e-commerce giant’s marketplace.

Oscar de la Renta is the first and only brand so far, though the company says more are expected to join in the coming weeks.

The new shopping experience will be available on Amazon’s mobile application by invitation only to eligible Prime members. Customers can view products in 360-degree detail on different body types and skin tones. Invites will be extended to other shoppers over time, the company said.

Amazon has long struggled to attract couture labels, even after participating in fashion shows and hiring executives from style hubs such as Vogue magazine and Ralph Lauren. Fashion labels generally prefer carefully curated selections and direct relationships with their customers, in contrast to Amazon’s marketplace format.

Six indicted in connection with multi-million dollar scheme to bribe Amazon employees and contractors | USAO-WDWA | Department of Justice

“As the world moves increasingly to online commerce, we must ensure that the marketplace is not corrupted with unfair advantages obtained by bribes and kick‑backs,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “The ultimate victim from this criminal conduct is the buying public who get inferior or even dangerous goods that should have been removed from the marketplace. I commend the investigators and cybersecurity experts who have worked to identify and indict those engaged in these illegal schemes.”

🏬 Brick & Mortar

Measuring The True Value Of The Store: Here’s The New Math

“To put it simply, stores are measured wrong,” says Doug Stephens, founder of the Retail Prophet consultancy, and author of Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World. “All in-store retail metrics hinge on sales, per square-foot, per sales associate and so on. It is all about the sale of product. And that is not seeing the full picture.”

Stephens argues that retailers must stop measuring stores as a distribution channel and start measuring them for what they really are: a media channel.

“Media channels, like television, magazines, radio, print, advertising, and social media are increasingly becoming ‘the store,’ with virtual storefronts cropping up in all media,” he says.”Customers are able to buy in a friction-free way directly from media formats. You can buy a product from a tweet, or a Facebook post, or from a video. We no longer have to drive customers to ‘the store’ when we can now drive the store to the customer.”

The new role of store as media is to deliver brand-building, emotionally-compelling experiences to the customer, which may not result in immediate or location-specific transactions. Yet such experiences are infinitely more valuable to a brand than if someone watches 15 seconds of a 30-second video on YouTube.

“Stores are already media. We’re just not measuring it yet,” Stephens contends

📦 Distribution

Why Is Everything Sold Out Right Now? - The Atlantic

Then, having controlled the coronavirus, Chinese manufacturing rebounded. “As soon as China was up and running, and the United States’ manufacturing facilities weren’t, we started importing more goods from China than ever before,” Rowen said. But an elevated reliance on things produced half a world away comes with some risks. Goods make their way from Asia to the U.S. on massive cargo ships, and the shipping industry is barrelling toward a labor crisis: Hundreds of thousands of workers are currently stranded at sea because their home countries’ pandemic travel restrictions prevent them from coming ashore. Abandoning them on ships threatens to collapse global shipping by exhausting and abusing workers currently at sea while driving those waiting for work to other industries. Meanwhile, the rest of the world—which supplies the remaining 80 percent of imported goods sold in the U.S.—has yet to return to full manufacturing capacity.

🔒 Security

Fraud-Report-Gaming.pdf

Gaming and retail have the highest attack rates in the first half of 2020 - a quarter of all traffic represents an attack for these industries. These are the two industries with the biggest uptick in consumer traffic amid lockdowns, as face to face transactions are restricted or discouraged. With adults and children confined to their homes, people have become very active on online gaming platforms. Fraudsters follow these trends closely and will target businesses at times of high traffic, attempting to blend in with good users.

🦠 Coronavirus

E-commerce sales jumped 42% year-over-year in August, reaching $63 billion, according to Adobe data. However, activity slowed compared with July, when e-commerce sales were up 55%. More than a quarter of consumers (27%) said they were more comfortable shopping in stores in August than they were in July.

“While online shopping continues to dominate, we’re now seeing a slowdown in growth as more people return to shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores and consumers curb their online spending across certain categories, like apparel,” said Vivek Pandya, senior digital insights manager at Adobe Digital Insights in a statement.

🛠 Tips & Tools

How much does Google’s new search term filtering affect ad spend transparency? Here’s how to find out

This means that for this particular account, we used to not know which search queries were responsible for about 20% of costs. Now with the recent change, we don’t know which queries are responsible for nearly half of our ad spend.

The good folks at Optmyzr have written a script to help you identify how much visibility you have lost to Google’s recent search terms changes.

The script pulls daily metrics for as many days back as you’d like. You can choose to focus on impressions, clicks, or cost.

TextSniper - Capture any text from your Mac's screen

Create typed text from graphics and digital documents in seconds.

Such a handy little utility.

🤷🏻‍♂️ Just For Fun

New York City Mayor says Macy's Thanksgiving parade will go on without crowd

The number of participants in this year’s parade, which typically draws crowds of nearly 3.5 million people and 8,000 volunteers in New York City, will be reduced by about 75%, Macy’s announced in a press release. The parade won’t use its usual 2.5-mile parade route and will instead shift to a televised broadcast only with production staged in one area of New York City.

Instead of handlers walking the giant balloons down the parade’s usual route, an “innovative, specially rigged” framework of vehicles will fly the balloons, the company said. All of the parade’s participants, who must be over 18 years old, have to adhere to social distancing guidelines and face coverings will be required, Macy’s said.

Introducing Facebook Campus - About Facebook

Today, we are launching Facebook Campus, a college-only space designed to help students connect with fellow classmates over shared interests. Facebook Campus makes it easy to find and start conversations within your college community.

Everything old is new again.

👋 Holla!

Questions, comments, inquiries? I’d love to hear from you! Email newsletter@robbettis.com.