New research by DataFeedWatch by Cart.com, conducted on 15,000 online stores globally, finds close to half of eCommerce advertisers rely on both Search & Social ads to drive sales in 2022.
With US online sales this year close to crossing the $1 trillion mark for the first time, as forecasted by InsiderIntelligence.com, we zoom in on the multichannel advertising strategies being deployed by retailers to capture this market opportunity. What channels are most important to retailers? Why do 55.84% of marketers revise the product set from channel to channel? The Feed Marketing Report 2022 sheds light on these questions.
Search and Social dominate eCommerce advertising
The ultimate advertising destination for almost all retailers in 2022 are Search-based channels, used by 92% of eCommerce advertisers. Google Shopping, Google Search and Microsoft ads have been found among the most chosen by retail marketers. It comes as no surprise, considering how these channels provide a gateway to consumer audiences at the bottom of the buying funnel, at the exact time of searching for a product.
The popularity of Search, Social, and Affiliate channels among online retailers
DataFeedWatch anonymized data, 2022
Social media ad platforms, generally serving to tap into shopper audiences around the awareness stage, emerge as the 2nd pillar for product advertising, chosen by 54% of online merchants. But which social channels enjoy the most popularity? The report reveals 3 leaders: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
DataFeedWatch research finds 44.18% of advertisers placing product ads on both Google and Facebook.
Usage of Google Shopping and Facebook Product Ads by online retailers DataFeedWatch anonymized data, 2022
“Search & Social ads serve different purposes, which is why they complement one another so well from a retail advertising perspective. Strategically, Google is the source of end-of-funnel conversions, while Facebook is leveraged to grow brand awareness and generate impulse-based purchases,” says Jacques van der Wilt, General Manager Feed Marketing at Cart.com.
Different ad channel = different product set
As it turns out, most retail marketers – 55.84% from over 15,000 shops researched – use a different product set for Facebook and a different one for Google. Why?
“Adjusting the collection of products advertised can be a powerful tactic in maximizing profits from each channel. When browsing Google, people tend to be very specific about their needs – they could search for a specific size, color, shape etc. Advertisers stand a better chance for conversion when they cater to these specific needs by including product variations.” explains Jacques van der Wilt.
“A product ad on social requires less specificity, but more appeal to catch interest. Product variants or complex tech products that require extensive product information may not perform that well. Retailers realize that and so they tailor the approach.” he adds.
Expanding to more channels
According to the Feed Marketing Report 2022, there is a direct correlation between the number of products in-store and the number of channels utilized by the advertiser. The smallest shops, up to 500 SKUs, advertise on just 2 channels on average. Larger retailers with SKUs between 5-10K advertise on 4 channels. The largest players are constantly present on as many as 16 channels simultaneously.
Average number of channels, overview by advertisers product catalog size
DataFeedWatch anonymized data, 2022
The scale of a multichannel presence is closely connected to the advertising budget at hand. But it is also driven by growing capabilities of companies that use product feed management tools to simplify and speed up the roll out to new channels.
Data feed management tools solve problems of ever growing complexity. They change requirements of various ad channels, social platforms, and marketplaces, while simplifying them to a single dashboard. This provides global campaigns the possibility to make a full spectrum of local adjustments.
In recent months, especially after Google introduced Performance Max with the machine learning mechanism, the role of data feed management increased, allowing more control and better calibration of campaigns as an alternative option to Google’s clever automations.