The 2020 Ecommerce Holiday Countdown: Paid Advertising

- Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content - Noel Liotta, Business Development Manager at ROI Revolution, provides her insights on all things ecommerce paid advertising.

Black Friday in neon; Text: Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content


Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content – Get ready for the most online Black Friday & Cyber Monday in history with The 2020 Ecommerce Holiday Countdown! Next up in the series is Noel Liotta, Business Development Manager at ROI Revolution, who will be sharing her insights on all things ecommerce advertising.

From social, to search, to retargeting, retailers have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to digital ads – but the abundance of choice can be overwhelming. Should you be paying on every channel? How should your messaging differ in 2020? And how does a paid strategy fit into your wider holiday campaigns?

Noel will have the answers to all of your burning questions on ecommerce advertising, as well as tips on:

  • Benchmarking data when your year-over-year doesn’t quite compare
  • Reaching new shoppers with lookalike audiences
  • Treating Black Friday ads like a marathon, not a sprint
  • Using YouTube as a prospecting channel for brands that are newly DTC
  • Segmenting your targeting based on shopping behaviors, buying patterns, and intent

The 2020 Ecommerce Holiday Countdown

The 2020 Ecommerce Holiday Countdown is a series of videos focused on inspiring your holiday campaigns and help you prepare for the most online Black Friday & Cyber Monday to date. Our expert guest speakers shared their insights on how retailers can tap into:

  • Branded content marketing
  • Nano-influencer opportunities
  • Behavioural and triggered email
  • User-generated content and social commerce
  • Paid advertising



Welcome to the 2020 ecommerce holiday countdown a webinar series where e-commerce experts bring you some holiday cheer and hopefully a little inspiration black friday and cyber monday and the entire holiday season are going to be a little different this year so we’re here to share ideas advice and expertise to help you prepare my name is joanne martin i’m vp of marketing at search spring and in this episode i’m joined by noel liada business development manager at roi revolution noel thank you so much for joining us today i am so excited to learn from you uh for those listening tell us a little bit about your background and your role at roi revolution yeah absolutely and thank you so much for having me clearly i love the holiday season so it’s really great to be able to talk with all of you today about it i have been at roi for just over six years and today i am the business development manager which is really just a nice generic way of saying that i manage the partner program at roi so i help our clients solve challenges and problems that they’re facing that aren’t solvable by roi services so i actually spend more of my time talking about our partners like search spring or our email partners or our platform partners or other services that we don’t offer um than i do about digital marketing and the channels that roi manages so it’s a really fun role to kind of be this generic problem solver to the masses um and to be able to work with our partners on cool stuff like this to be able to work with them on other projects and see everyone’s businesses grow and see all of our clients grow by working together you must have such an amazing perspective not only having the ability to work with a lot of different brands because you’re in and out with a lot of different clients but also working with so many different cool technologies in e-commerce there there is an app for everything we like to say or a plug-in for everything um so it must be so much fun just to stay up to date on the cool new things that that companies are working on oh i feel like since i took on this role instead of just being you know really laser focused on digital advertising and you know what’s going on with amazon what’s going on with google what’s going on with facebook and really like zeroing in those channels that roi manages and now it’s more of becoming an e-commerce generalist there’s so many opportunities for retailers to grow and to try something new or to try something better um it’s definitely been eye-opening it’s a really really cool job and waited to see everything working for roi what are some of the things that you think about you and your team uh to make campaigns really memorable for clients in the holiday season when we are trying to optimize our clients campaigns for the holidays we’ll we’ll do a couple of things one thing that we’ve seen some success with and this goes into pre-black friday as well is bidding on your brand term your brand name and black friday or cyber monday because that’ll get shoppers like me so if i’m shopping for my air fryer i don’t know what brand i’m going to buy yet but i’m in the research phase right now i want to figure out what is going to be the best option for me and my family so i’m inclined to shop air fryer black friday to figure out which of the brands are offering promotions on black friday and then i can really shop and sort it out and suss it out from there so we’ve seen some success doing search terms like that we also see creative campaigns on social media and on um display channels those are prospecting channels so one thing that we encourage our clients to do is to start early you don’t want the first time a customer hears about your brand to be on black friday they’re not going to be as motivated to purchase in that moment it’s going to be generating that awareness and generating that that prospecting list early you know think about things in october think about things maybe even sooner than that now it’s a great time to start to really get that name recognition so that by the time we hit cyber five black friday cyber monday that whole really you know shopping-centric weekend you’ve got that notoriety you’ve got that recognition and now it’s just time to pull the trigger so for our clients we recommend trying a couple of different things dedicate an ad budget that is going to be for things that worked in 2019 or 2018. you want to make sure that what works is part of your strategy but also have a set amount of the budget set aside for those experiments that’s one of the things that we always recommend for clients awesome um you you have in the past talked a little bit about youtube and some of the things that you’re trying there um can you tell people a little bit about some of the experiments that you’ve done with clients on youtube and and what you’ve seen in that particular channel yeah youtube has seen a lot of growth over the last couple of years i know that we were talking about it as a marketing team i want to say maybe 2018 we were talking about really how that click volume was starting to grow i don’t have the stats off the top of my head right now but i know that the amount of volume of eyeballs that’s on youtube as a channel is absolutely insane so being able to be there is really important for retailers and youtube is making it much easier for brands to get there we know that video could be a very expensive medium to leverage for your brand but i mean i’m married to a video producer so i’m a little bit biased on that one i understand why it’s expensive um but there is a youtube video builder beta that’s within the platform that you could leverage in order to


really get creative with video if you aren’t able to take the leap and spend fifteen thousand dollars on a video for your brand there are some different strategies you can use with turning your static creative into video there’s some other services and partners that will do this for you you could download a program like after effects and be able to manipulate your static creative into video in order to take advantage of that youtube audience but we see that being a really strong channel for prospecting we also will recommend that people when they’re getting started with youtube just start with more of a prospecting play and then turn it into a conversion focused play um we’ve launched a couple of brands that are just doing direct to consumer for the first time this year i mean with everything going on their brick and mortar presence or their wholesale presence has been impacted so as we’re starting people direct to consumer we’ve been using youtube as an important part of that journey for the for the eyeballs that are seeing those advertisements and for the flexibility with message you can really coax someone to have that name recognition and to purchase direct from your brand using that medium so there’s a lot of opportunity within youtube you just i think that one of the fears is that it’s going to be expensive and it’s going to be complicated and it really doesn’t have to be there’s a lot of ways that you can be able to get your brand out there yeah so quite often um or or maybe i am totally alone in this assumption you’re you’re doing your day-to-day job uh and by you i mean a person and you’re going through challenges and you come across a problem you need to solve and you’re thinking am i the only person in the world thinking about this problem right now and then you hear from someone and realize oh my gosh everyone is thinking about this problem right now um so i want to learn from you and want to help our listeners learn from you uh what are some of the trends you’re seeing from clients uh as they approach this season knowing that everyone right now probably feels uh a little bit anxious to understand it and a little bit going into it and um what are some of the things that you can share that that will one help other people feel maybe they’re not alone in that stress and two maybe give some more insight into how other retailers are looking at this so i’m going to steal from one of my colleagues i was talking to him last week and one of the things that he’s dealing with is that his clients are getting a new audience right now that’s not used to shopping online so because of you know the hesitance to their hesitancy to go into a store right now we see brick and mortar uh falling off falling down and falling behind um that means that those people are shopping online potentially for the first time ever so being able to educate that consumer that is not online first i think of consumers like my mom so my mom is a charming and wonderful person i love her very dearly she is terrible at shopping online so she will regularly send me links and she’s just like is this is this a legitimate company and it’s absolutely not a legitimate company if the deal looks to be too good to be true it’s probably too good to be true um so one of the things that our clients are dealing with is that they’re trying to educate this new wave of customers that have never shopped online before so it’s trying to make sure that you’re getting that customer really comfortable with buying online you know making sure that your website experience is easy and it’s clear one of the things that we’re going to see coming up into the holidays in particular is shipping deadlines for some reason i always forget that i have brothers-in-law like i’ll remember all my sisters i’ll remember all of my my husband my parents my in-laws like i will remember all of my nieces and nephews i will forget my brothers-in-law every single year so they are always the last people that i buy for we won’t we won’t share this with them i i think


they’ll figure out oh this is this is a last minute type of item thank you for this virtual chili’s gift card i really appreciate it actually one of my brother’s mom would probably love a virtual chili’s gift card so thank you for the idea yeah of course um but when we think about you know making that customer that is new to online shopping more comfortable this year we’re trying to do our part in making sure that our clients websites are really good to go for that so one thing that you can do is as you think about that last minute shopper those last ship deadlines are going to be more important this year than ever before i mean people are expecting that two-day experience from retailers like amazon and it’s going to be harder this year than it ever has in order to match that experience on our own.coms we know that shipping is taking a while i as a as a customer like i get it things are taking 10 days 12 days in order to get to my house and that’s okay because i know that when i purchase the product so make sure that when you are using that language on your website your last ship days are really really really clear so that you’re not going to wind up with people trying to buy on december 18th december 20th and then upset that it’s not going to be there in time for christmas um thinking about other problems that are sort of new or unique this year i would say that that timeline we’re finding it a lot more difficult to plan or our clients or rather are finding it difficult to plan for the holidays this year you know when they looked at their timeline last year they were able to see okay well this is how i did in 2018 so this is my goal for 2019. and this year’s kind of kind of weird it’s kind of crazy so i think that a lot of our clients are struggling with how do i approach planning and benchmarking in 2020 how do i approach that and if you are experiencing that you are not alone we’ve been working on our clients on a one-on-one basis because it is going to be different there’s going to be some best practices that you can follow um don’t throw out your data from 2019 a lot of that’s still going to be relevant um but there’s a lot more that you need to consider you know like the adjusted timeline due to prime day so looking at your waves as we go through the holiday season it’s gonna be weird it’s gonna be a little bit more challenging than it has been year over year but knowing that in advance helps you better prepare for it so you’re not alone this year is really freaking weird um we’re we’re all in this together um but those are just a couple of things that i know specifically our clients are are raising concerns about and we’re working with them yeah that i i think everyone’s feeling that that uncertainty the inability to confidently forecast not only the business but plans um even conversations that we would typically be having this time of year like preparing infrastructure for a spike going into the holiday season we’re already at black friday levels in terms of traffic and so anticipating does that continue to increase like do we see a spike this year like we typically would uh from our retailers or is it going to level out and you’ll just see conversion rates boost over that holiday period um so even the baseline of data that you’re making decisions from is just so incredibly weird this year um but what it would be boring if we didn’t have things that threw us off and made us think differently right i mean that’s why we get an e-commerce because we just really like it when the rules change every single year that’s part of the part of what you get when you have a career in this category i was thinking about um what were the top trends when i started in e-commerce and what they are now and it’s it’s just insane i saw a stat yesterday that was something along the lines of e-commerce experienced 10 years of growth and development and the last 90 days of the pandemic and so i think that that just makes 2020 even weirder as if we didn’t have enough stuff going on it’s even weirder when we’re at work it is it is um it’s a good thing for for those who are building businesses in the space um there are of course so many challenges that come along with that and the challenges of the flip side with brick and mortar but there’s so much opportunity in the space to capitalize on that it’s it’s exciting to see brands start to think of think about things a little bit differently so you you talked a bit about paid ads and that being one strategy you work with clients uh leading up to holidays how do you think about ppc and paid social as a factor when it comes to wider holiday strategy and what advice specifically would you give clients when they’re planning that strategy for the season um it’s a marathon not a sprint is probably the first piece of advice i’d give i think that you don’t want to show up right before black friday in people’s news feeds and in people’s buyer journeys and expect to have gotten the sale so make sure that you’re planning really really far out in advance um the other thing that i’ll say that with paid search and paid social in particular you’ve got this really great ability to create lookalike audiences so lookalike audiences if you’re taking the customers that you have that are great customers and you’re basically cloning them on these channels you know what are other customers that these demographics and so we’ve seen a lot of success with lookalike audiences on prospecting campaigns particularly around the holidays so just a quick strategy if you want to get new customers you want to get new eyeballs pull a look-alike audience create some holiday specific um campaigns and start deploying those through social media start deploying those through paid search make sure that you’re able to get the audience that’s most likely to buy ready to convert on your products i know that personally as i’m you know going through news feeds now i’m already seeing new product launches and things that i would consider to be more gift items and i think that that’s a really good time to start because it’s already getting me in the mindset of like oh well maybe that is a good gift for my husband or maybe that is a good gift for my niece or nephew um so starting early leverage those look like audiences make sure that you’re also segmenting out your loyal customers already i recently this was through email marketing but i recently got a um a discount code for one of my favorite shops that just never runs promotions like there’s never a sale on their website but they sent me a discount code for being a loyal customer and so that was an immediate like of course i’m gonna buy you just give me 40 off that’s the best day ever of course i’m gonna buy so there are strategies that you can do like that to to reward your loyal fans through social media and through search as well and through display and youtube and basically just taking that audience that’s already known to be really good converters and just cloning them and making more and more and more of them yeah i i would still love to see a retailer do some kind of campaign and this has been done in the past in differing uh styles but um this year is particularly stressful and so yeah discounting is one way to increase urgency in your customer base but another way is to speak to the avoidance of the stress that comes with holiday shopping and so being able to really insert that in your messaging i think can be really powerful so think about that in practice like an email that says 40 off for gift giving versus like what would you do if all your holiday shopping was done by the end of october and then you have a picture of a guy who’s like skiing while all of his friends are stressing out trying to get holiday shopping done and so starting to think about things emotionally in that way as well i think this season will be even more powerful because no one wants to be more stressed out this year than they already are i can almost guarantee no i i mean i normally i consider myself to be pretty savvy at taking care of my holiday shopping early like i said there’s always a brother-in-law that i forget like i’m so sorry mark i am so sorry eric i am so sorry jay like all of you i apologize um but for the most part i’m a good at an early kind of gal something like that would get me to convert of like oh my god you’re right my life will be better um as it stands you know now that cabinet over there is usually filled with random holiday presents that i get early and then i just kind of stash them because my husband never comes in this room um the the downside to that is that i also have holiday presents that i got for my niece when she was born and she turns four this year so don’t let them go in that cabinet if you’re shopping early and stay in that cabinet that was that was my mistake so i’ll just you know wait until she has a little brother or sister i guess that’s amazing i wish i was so prepared that i bought early enough to forget i you you have given me a holiday shopping goal to strive toward it’s um it’s a it’s a pain in the butt sometimes but there you go i’m i’m just going to send you my holiday shopping list and i’ll venmo you just get it done for me i mean that’s why we’re working personally you know where to buy cool stuff right exactly you have the hit list yeah um so so let’s go back to our to paid um retargeting is obviously another valuable channel talk a little bit about display and how you think about display and retargeting in your strategy at roi so this is going to be another call to action on segmenting your list i would say that you can think about your list and you can think about your customers based on time of year so for me there’s one retailer that i will consistently buy from every year it’s stamps we don’t work with any of the brands that i’m shouting out by the way i would love to if you’re listening i’m just shouting out because you’ve done really good things for me so anyways stance i buy my husband socks and boxers every year as part of his stocking stuffer and so if i was stance you know looking at the fact that i’m a customer that only buys in november of every year to be able to start messaging me specific holiday marketing um i i don’t wear men’s size whatever socks so understanding that i am purchasing for someone else is going to be a really important strategy as you’re marketing those customers you can also think about them differently if you um have people who are buying for themselves i am very guilty of buying myself a ton of presents around the holidays um so making sure that you’re rewarding those loyal customers who are buying from you all year long with whether it’s a special promotion or special discount or early access to a product there’s a lot of cool ways that you can show up in their feed show up in you know the articles through the display network whatever it is that they’re looking at to be able to show up for them and say hey we’re here we’ve got some special stuff just for you um also looking at segmenting customers based on intent there’s a great way of being able to target those customers differently someone who has just visited your home page is going to be a different audience than someone who is been navigating around and has visited your product detail pages so being able to understand that and target them a little bit differently through different creative or different remarketing ads is going to be a really cool way to separate yourselves from the pack and cut through the noise with all the other holiday marketers out there yeah so shifting a bit uh seo is another big part of the work that you do so what seo considerations should retailers keep in mind for holiday season so seo is definitely a long game so if you’re starting your seo strategy now it might be a little bit too late for you to get it fully optimized for this year but awesome job keep it going for 2021 there are some things that you can do though that are low hanging fruit opportunities just you know basic best practices so one of them is being consistent with your holiday sale urls i know that doing that will basically give that opportunity for that link to build equity and to build you know all of the pipes that it needs to in order to be shown every year and be evergreen so instead of making your urls holiday shirts 2020 holiday pants 2020 or you know whatever it is that you’re segmenting them out don’t put the year in there so that you can keep it evergreen also limit the number of urls that you’re using so that each one can have a better opportunity to build that equity that’s what google loves when it calls things it loves to see pages that have been visited and well received google wants you to have a great experience or your search engine rather some people use bing they want you to have a great experience so they want to make sure that they’re rewarding sites that give you that something else to think of with seo as sort of a low hanging fruit play is if you do have brick and mortar stores now is a great time to make sure that you’re including an internal link to your location pages on your sales and holiday pages so you can get that local seo value we’re following a bunch of trends with some clients who are uh doing this buy online pick up and store or encouraging users to go to the store do curbside things like that so that local seo does have a lot of value for clients if you are in a position where you’re able to leverage your brick-and-mortar locations and then finally for that local seo one more strategy just make sure that you’ve optimized your google my business listings and you’ve updated your shipping and contact information if any of that has changed make sure that it’s really easy for customers to be able to get in touch with you awesome um i want to thank you so much for sharing so much amazing advice um if people want to reach out to you continue the conversation learn more about any of the topics you address today or about roi how can they reach you um there are actually several different ways that you can reach me you can always reach me on linkedin my name is noel liata it’s spelled just like that pillow so if you need to reach out to me then by all means you can hit me up directly also roi revolution we are a marvelous team filled with people who are way smarter than me so if you go to our website and fill out a contact us request we see all of those if you mention this search spring event then i’ll be able to receive that as well um fun fact i actually do look at all of our contact us requests like me personally so if you want to reach out to us that way that’s another really good way of being able to get in touch with us so that’s probably the two easiest either hit me up on linkedin or reach out via the website there’s a lot of great information there there’s a lot of great content there so please check that out awesome and we will be sending out the recording after the fact as well uh so you can always just reply to that email and we can make sure it goes to the right person uh but noelle again thank you uh you’ve been amazing you have shared so much taught us so much today have a wonderful holiday season thank you so much and same to you

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