RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Ecommerce’ Category

Under New CEO, Monetate Tackles More Than Site Optimization

LucinaDuncalfeMonetate, a platform primarily known for landing page optimization, has expanded well beyond the A/B test. Appointing long-time board member and entrepreneur Lucinda Duncalfe as CEO on Tuesday, the Philadelphia-based company says it’s tackling a “multi-billion dollar” market opportunity: digital personalization.

While Monetate’s early product strategy around website targeting and optimization drove early growth for the company, Duncalfe said: “We’ve seen this evolution in the industry to the place we feel we’ve been all along, which is the discussion around real one-to-one marketing where marketers think about consumers in a channel-agnostic way.”

Last summer, Monetate was in a very transitional phase. Then CEO David Brussin (now executive chairman) told AdExchanger that while Monetate did not dabble in media, the company was “very active” in channels other than desktop, and that it would commit the same level of optimization to email, display and mobile that it provided for landing pages.

Fast forward to last fall when Monetate made good on those promises and rolled out Monetate Email and Display, cloud apps that allowed marketers to target customer segments based on a number of behavioral triggers. Monetate wrapped these tools into its cloud marketing hub Monetate Acceleration Cloud designed to interface with preexisting data infrastructure and hook into commerce technologies like (SAP) hybris and IBM.


Facebook’s Got A Spiffy New Cross-Device Reporting Tool

FBcross-deviceFacebook wants to be the answer to your cross-device measurement problem and it’s in a pretty good position to do it.

Enter cross-device reporting for ads, courtesy of Facebook. The new measurement solution, unleashed Wednesday, is available within Facebook’s campaign back end and is designed to allow advertisers to track customers as they move across the mobile web and in and out of apps.

“Cross-device reporting enables advertisers to see for the first time which devices a user used when they saw an ad and compare it with the device they were on when the conversion happened,” a Facebook spokesperson told AdExchanger. It’s another metric to help advertisers understand their ad spend ROI.

It works like this: Advertisers — or more likely their developers — drop the Facebook conversion pixel, a piece of tracking code, onto the page they’re looking to have users convert on. Then they create a Facebook ad that gets served in the news feeds of desired audiences. When users click the ad, they’re taken to the page where they can buy, all of which is tracked and reported. That was all possible before.

What's new is the reporting function. Advertisers can now run reports to see which device a person used to see an ad and where they ultimately converted. When used in concert with the Facebook SDK, it's now possible to see cross-device conversions between both app and web.


Shopzilla Pivots From Comparison Shopping To Marketing Services

BillGlassComparison shopping site Shopzilla has a lot of data. About 20 years’ worth, to be exact. Shopzilla’s been around since 1996 and unbeknownst to some, still drives 50 million monthly unique visitors across its owned-and-operated network that includes consumer insights and merchant ratings site Bizrate.

But the company will soon become primarily a marketing services company. Its consumer brands will be secondary. Shopzilla claims that it processes more than one billion retail data points monthly across the path to purchase. Shopzilla harnesses data from myriad sources, ranging from product listing ads across a network of 3,000 publishers, its owned-and-operated sites and 26 million Bizrate surveys a year.

Through its Bizrate business, Shopzilla syndicates ratings and reviews by consumers who have transacted on online retail sites to Google, its search distribution partner. Bizrate essentially helps power retailer rating and merchant reviews; Google's seller ratings are then incorporated into Product Search and AdWords ads.

“We’re going through a transformation where we’ve been a comparison shopping company through our core sites, and soon a majority of the business will come not from that business we’re best known for,” said Bill Glass, Shopzilla CEO. First and foremost, Shopzilla will be a “data and marketing services company” fueled by its tech and publisher network.


The Buy Button Buy-In

fb twit buyWhat’s the hottest new digital toy?

If you’re Facebook and Twitter, it’s the buy button. To recap: Facebook published a blog post explaining its experimentation with a buy button – currently with select small and medium-sized businesses – with which users can purchase goods directly through the Facebook platform.

This announcement followed Twitter’s own dalliance with ecommerce. In July it released – likely by mistake – a semifunctional buy button designed to enable purchases directly from an online retailer called Fancy. It also performed tests with Amazon in which customers could respond to tweets featuring products with #AmazonCart in order to add those products directly to a shopping cart.

This isn’t the first time advertising and ecommerce have come together. Google has its  product listing ads (PLAs), though, as many sources point out, these ads differ in that they feed off search data and the consumers clicking on them are typically looking for the products they advertise.

Amazon Q2: Ecom Giant To Invest $100M In Original Video Content

Amazonq2Ecommerce giant Amazon on Thursday reported Q2 revenue of $19.3 billion, up 24% from $15.7 billion last year.

Amazon buckets ad revenues in an "other" category ($1.2 billion for Q2, a YoY 38% increase from $844 million), which includes Amazon Web Services (AWS) and branded credit cards.

One of the biggest focuses for Amazon in the coming months will be the development of original content. The company plans to invest $100 million in original video content in Q3.

"In terms of content, we’ve seen more and more Prime customers streaming free content through our pipeline," said company CFO Tom Szkutak during the earnings call. " We have more and more customers taking free trials … and they are converting to paid digital video and then cross-shopping, [so it’s encouraging positive purchase habits]. The service we have today has improved dramatically over the last 12-24 months."

A number of companies like AOL and Yahoo have paid lip service to monetizing original content. In the case of Amazon, which has been rumored over the past year to be developing its own original series for Amazon Prime Instant Video users, this appears to be a continuing priority.


Forrester And Study: Attribution Still Confounds Retailers

shoporg-forrester-titleimageComplex attribution remains a work in progress for retailers, and most still rely on last-click attribution models, according to Forrester Research and’s State of Retailing Online 2014 study.

The survey found “attribution modeling is very early and very imprecise,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester analyst and author of the report.

Part of the problem is different definitions of “multichannel” among retailers and marketers: Retailers take it to mean everywhere products are sold from stores, websites and catalogs, while marketers define it as tactics within a campaign such as email, search, and display ads. The result is marketer-focused attribution models that leave a lot to be desired for retailers.

Among the report's other findings: Paid search programs have defended their crown as the top marketing budget line item for online retailers, and mobile marketing innovations are slow to be adopted. Showing retailers are primarily focused on email marketing with mobile and most have no plans to implement beacons in the next 18 months.


Walmart: The New Media Agency

WalmartWMXWalmart’s widely revered as a retail maven, but media buyer? It’s a brand-new capability for the $473-billion company, which on Friday revealed more details about the digital marketing platform it’s developed, the Walmart Exchange (WMX).

Like Amazon, which has turned massive amounts of shopper data into monetization opportunities for brands via Amazon Media Group’s demand-side platform Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP), Walmart is harnessing purchase, loyalty and other unspecified third party data assets to help suppliers spend their media dollars.

“The big difference, in my mind, is that Amazon is primarily focused on monetizing Amazon traffic,” commented Jason Goldberg, VP of commerce strategy for Razorfish. “The advertisers on their platform are often not vendors selling through Amazon, and the attribution of that media is exclusively direct-response clicks.”

Walmart, too, is monetizing audience traffic but seems to be eyeing media, initially, as a means to drive more sales for the retailer. Consider a brand like Tide, which following a brand campaign might wish to measure and track offline sales performance at the SKU level for its High-Efficiency detergent in specific geos.

Although other companies like Datalogix and Dunnhumby specialize in online-to-offline measurement, and other retailers like Tesco and Staples have invested in “innovation labs,” Walmart’s intent to develop media and marketing optimization services essentially makes it a media agency.


Retailigence Makes A Pop In Programmatic Creative With Partner Deal

RetailigenceRetailigence, a mobile location company that connects brand advertisers with brick-and-mortar pricing and product availability down to the SKU, has turned an eye toward ad tech vendors.

Rolling out on Wednesday an adPop Engine for channel partners, of which Medialets, AdColony, PointRoll, Tremor Video and Xtopoly are early users, the company, which bills itself as an offline-to-online marketing platform, is looking to infuse location-based shopper audience data with dynamic ad servers.

“To bring up extremely relevant, ultra-current information from a retail source for shoppers to say, ‘What can we show you that will make you engage, interact and be legitimately useful to you?’ was the impetus for us connecting with Retailigence,” commented David Simon, CMO of PointRoll.

PointRoll (which was acquired by Gannett in 2005) focuses on dynamic creative optimization, working with a number of brands ranging from Staples to CVS, to help them dynamically surface creative and rich media. PointRoll’s technology, according to Simon, “enables us to figure out who to show an ad to, what information we have permission to leverage and then basically build an ad in 10-20 milliseconds.”

Particularly as it pertains to dynamic ad insertion and creative in the retail vertical, Simon said it’s still early days, but as the in-store experience shifts with shopper innovations around reserve online and pick up in-store, there is increased demand for ways to integrate options for reserving a product or determining local availability of that product in the ad unit itself.


Boutique Ecommerce Brands Consider TV Advertising

TVecommEcommerce startups have turned toward television advertising, signaling shifting interest from reaching a niche group of consumers to mass audiences.

Some, such as subscription ecommerce startup Birchbox, are investing money in the medium for the first time. Birchbox debuted its “Open For Beautiful” television campaign Monday, which will be supplemented with shoppable online video and print creative. Media and entertainment platform Popsugar launched last fall its first, $25 million TV ad campaign for startup ShopStyle, which it acquired in 2007.

“I have seen [traditionally] digital advertisers go to TV for what TV does well: creating awareness, [an] emotional connection and [to] build brands,” said Krista Lang, SVP and executive media director for independent agency 22squared. “They might also be doing it to attract investors and talent.”

For flash sale site Gilt, television reinforces its digital presence and provides a forum to tell new stories. Its newest campaign launched digitally with pre-roll ads on YouTube and social channels, then extended via national TV buys in the US and Canada.

“This has been an effective way for us to advertise and drive awareness of the Gilt brand across multiple platforms on a national level,” said Elizabeth Francis, CMO of Gilt.

Unlike Birchbox and Popsugar, Gilt first experimented with TV two years ago with a campaign showcasing its “gaming” element – the rush of shoppers storming the site for the flash sale at noon. This initial push was primarily about awareness. But as ecommerce brands shift focus away from flash sales, they’re trying to encourage deeper connections and longer user sessions. These goals have created new demand for television ads.


@WalmartLabs Acquires Adchemy For Semantic Search Smarts

TechShoppingBig box retailer Walmart’s software and technology accelerator @WalmartLabs has acquired Adchemy, the developer of a SaaS platform that essentially makes retail product search smarter.

Silicon Valley-based @WalmartLabs, which employs 2,100 people, was founded three years ago as a way to develop and scale technology to tap into online buying patterns of the store’s 245 million weekly shoppers. Adchemy, which employs 60 people, is the Labs' 12th acquisition and the most sizable deal yet in terms of head count, the company said.

Adchemy last fall divested its lead-generation and performance-marketing business, called “Actions,” to XL Marketing, which has since been rebranded as Zeta Interactive. The company said at the time it intended to focus on software instead of services.

Adchemy VP of Products and former Yahoo engineer Ethan Batraski (who is joining @WalmartLabs) noted that one of the greatest challenges for retail marketers is accurately matching products to queries. This is where predictive and data-driven optimization, can help detect the nuances between consumer intent and merchants' best-selling, and (properly) priced, products.