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De-Coding the E-Commerce Journey

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mightysocial logoBeing customer-focused may be every marketers’ mantra, yet many brands are still falling short of creating a seamless customer experience. This is occurring despite the huge potential to be increasingly more relevant to customers in every context throughout their e-commerce journey.

Part of the issue could be that while there is a greater emphasis on creating integrated marketing campaigns, marketers are still missing the mark when building highly targeted audiences. Consumers are no longer interacting in silos and marketers need to step out of the trenches too.

Finding the perfect audience at scale for a specific ad creative served at the right point during the e-commerce user journey is the very essence of optimal digital advertising, and cutting-edge AI tools are now capable of doing just that. It is now possible for marketers to collect audiences on one channel, test out creatives with them on another and refine their offering on yet another channel.

Back in 2011, Google was already highlighting the fact that consumers had 74% brand recall when ads were served across mobile, TV and online, and we have shifted way beyond that point in the last eight years.

Read More: How to Launch an E-Commerce Business

Now consumers not only switch between screens, but they also interact with and seamlessly filter their world across multiple social media channels. As a consequence, there are multiple opportunities to truly ensure that social media conversations align with a brands’ product or service. There are no excuses anymore to serve up irrelevant content that not only falls short but that risks irritating.

As marketers tap into consumers’ daily contexts they will be able to find ways to make customers lives easier as they streamline their offerings. No brand that blindly bombards out its message is going to thrive, only those who genuinely want to meet their customers’ expectations will see a positive shift. This is going to require a new approach to refining their messages to match their target audiences needs.

AI-driven cross-channel tools enable marketers to take audience data from one channel and utilize it to optimize campaigns on another. This approach helps brands understand segments that are most likely to convert and to refine campaigns accordingly. It makes perfect sense, therefore, to engage with consumers and build audience segments utilizing multiple channels to better define exactly what serves them best and when to serve it. Only by creating a more granular context within which the customer exists will they be able to start a meaningful, personalized interaction.

Knowing what a prospective customer has recently read, browsed and watched on a given social media channel does not always reveal the full story. A simplistic example would be a consumer who has spent the morning browsing images of far off destinations, only to switch channels and start looking at cars. If they then move onto car insurance they are more likely to be in the market for a new car, rather than planning to jet off to the sun.

Understanding a user’s intent is only achievable via cross-referencing multiple contexts. It was not that long ago that this would have been deemed far too complex to achieve in real time, AI has changed that for the better.

Recognizing that audiences derived from and communicated with a single channel deliver only a diluted, one-dimensional context, a national home improvement brand agreed to trial an innovative approach to building their target audience and enhancing ad targeting effectiveness.

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Their paid social media campaign was developed around offering people hand-picked, highly targeted creatives, that genuinely aligned with what that audience segment was interested in. As such, the audience was targeted within a defined path across key channels. Starting with Pinterest enabled them to hone in on those people whose interests centered around the home improvement ecosystem.

Pinterest has demonstrated the power that personal curation and relevance can have for engagement, it is visually very enticing and a perfect channel for those looking for inspiration when doing up their homes. Following this same audience on Facebook allowed the brand to ensure home improvement was still a relevant theme for them and then to refine the ads they served as they gained a clearer understanding of what resonated best with this audience.

The customized audience segments were built based on the interactions customers had with the content. Personalized CTAs (Call to Action) were then crafted depending on the interaction, thereby maximizing the likelihood of conversion and reducing CPA (Cost per Action).

By better understanding the context within which a target audience thrives marketers are much more likely to align themselves with their requirements. As the campaign evolved a highly targeted audience most likely to be receptive to home improvement cues was built. Users were targeted within a defined path across key channels, they were then guided towards engagement and moved down the funnel.

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Since taking this approach our campaigns have generally resulted in over 77% of new customers and improved order value by some 48%, turning the paid social media campaign into one of the fastest-growing channels to launch.

By integrating the message and the approach, marketers can further diversify their channel mix and orchestrate how, where and when those channels hit their customers and prospects. Diversity and integration are important, but will only work efficiently if the timing and targeting is maximized.

Ultimately, taking a cross-channel approach to paid social media brings together a more complete picture of customer behavior. This single customer view helps brands understand how their various ads are performing, and how users are behaving in different places. The end result should be an increased number of memorable touchpoints for brands as tailored messages become increasingly more personalized and relevant as they cross multiple channels and devices.

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