The popularity of online shopping has skyrocketed in recent years, fuelled in no small part by lockdowns. Forbes called it the Lockdown eCommerce Boom, citing that 1 in 6 physical stores is now empty in the UK and online spending grew by 48% in 2020. While this shift represents a huge opportunity for online retailers, it also comes with significant challenges.
The increased level of eCommerce traffic has left retailers scrambling to keep up and competition is tougher than ever. At the same time, inflation is at generational highs.
Pro tip: Check out our blog on how to maximise potential in an inflationary environment.
To survive in this challenging environment, online retailers must do much with their website and performance marketing campaigns to stay competitive. Managing competing interests against multiple SKUs against the four key pillars of their performance marketing strategy (advertising, delivery, pricing and promotions) can no longer be effectively done by PPC teams alone. Retail decision intelligence and advertising automation are now key to gaining that competitive edge.
To cope with the current economic climate, continue to achieve optimal return on ad spend (ROAS) and improve how you engage with your customers, is tough – but not impossible. Indeed PROAS (or profitable return on ad spend) is the new kid on the block for retailers who have progressed from reliance on advertising agencies alone, and are now taking advantage of the tools available to better inform your advertising strategy.
In this article, we’ll look at six of the best performance marketing solutions that offer online retailers and brand automation of advertising decisions to help them stay ahead of the pack. We’ll talk you through what they offer, and what this means for your business.
Skai is an omnichannel marketing platform that aims to break down the barriers between your business and its customers. It does this by connecting all walled-garden media to your workflows and data. Skai’s platform boasts a range of USPs, including:
- Data intelligence from over 13,000 data sources.
- Skai harnesses, structures, and contextualises a wide range of external data, before presenting it in fully customisable, easy-to-act-on dashboards.
- Machine learning (ML) algorithms and proprietary neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) help companies stay ahead of the ever-changing consumer landscape.
Should I work with Skai?
Skai focuses on helping companies break down marketing silos and move towards an omnichannel approach. As Amazon DSP experts, they are a solid choice if you sell via Amazon Marketplace, but you may want to look elsewhere for broader expertise.
Bidnamic aims to give businesses a competitive advantage by unlocking profitability, maximising revenue, and pushing data-driven decision-making. Their technology focuses solely on Google Shopping, offering the following USPs:
- Bidnamic leverages data-driven automation through using Google data.
- Machine learning helps you win clicks for high-purchase-intent searches.
- Automatically sets the right bid price for each SKU.
- Access to personalised real-time dashboards.
- Weekly calls with a client success manager.
Should I work with Bidnamic?
If you sell solely via Google Shopping, Bidnamic is a solid choice, but it concentrates on using its own technology rather than Google’s. It has recently begun to use Performance Max, but in a less holistic way than other solutions. Therefore if Performance Max is important to you or you are looking for an omnichannel solution, you might want to look for a solution that can combine all of the data from all of your channels to improve your performance marketing.
ROI Hunter aims to make online retailers more profitable through actionable insights, sustainable growth, and cross-departmental collaboration — all through their dedicated platform, which provides data for Google, Facebook, and Instagram campaigns. Let’s take a look at their USPs:
- Automated tracking and ads based on the relevant channel’s technology.
- Their Budget Watcher ensures that you don’t exceed your ideal spend.
- Integrates with Hubspot, Salesforce, and Zoho, among others.
- A Template Editor allows you to create compelling ads in seconds.
- A dedicated client success manager for each customer.
Should I work with ROI Hunter?
ROI Hunter has a strong focus on online advertising. While this can be very useful, it’s perhaps less well-rounded than some platforms that look beyond just advertising and provide insights for the entire shopping experience. Unlike other platforms on this list, ROI Hunter doesn’t offer machine learning, focusing on manual decision-making instead — which might not suit businesses looking to scale quickly or automatically optimise large SKU levels.
MarinOne is a broad-reaching platform that operates on paid search, paid social media advertising campaigns, app advertising, retail/marketplace, and display channels. It harnesses data analytics, and automation to drive digital marketing performance and efficiency. Features and benefits include:
- Highly customisable, enabling customers to overcome publisher limitations.
- Automated alerts let you know if there’s any unusual activity.
- Automated workflows make it simple to run campaigns.
- Offers currency conversion.
- Options for unlimited accounts and users.
Should I work with MarinOne?
MarinOne’s wide focus may tick boxes for some businesses, but others may be looking for more specific expertise. Like ROI Hunter, MarinOne doesn’t leverage machine learning, which is a big drawback when considering other tools at hand that continually improve retail optimisation through learning.
smec is an eCommerce platform with smart solutions for digital advertising, data activation and monitoring, and pricing and inventory. It’s designed to accelerate business growth, improve decision-making, and make its customers more competitive and resourceful. USPs include:
- Leverages machine learning to automate bid management.
- Harnesses order and customer data to help businesses understand the competitor landscape.
- Automatically improves product titles to drive more sales.
- Allows products to be clustered according to business objectives.
- Tracks transactions, tying ad interaction to actual purchases, thus increasing ROI.
Should I work with smec?
While smec works with data relating to orders, customers, and ads, it doesn’t provide insights at SKU level, meaning it isn’t as comprehensive as some other options on the market. The platform has a strong focus on Google Shopping and Google Ads, and it’s possible to sync between Google and Microsoft.
Upp is the world’s first ad automation for Google Shopping that also delivers decision intelligence for eCommerce. Upps AI/ML platform puts inventory at the heart of the solution and is the only solution that connects all the data at a retailers disposal, and automates advertising decisions in real-time. And Upps decision intelligence delivers unique insights that go beyond performance marketing to actually change the outcomes of a business.
Upp aggregates data on the customers’ business operations, customer influencers, trends and seasonality and customer data (Google Ads, Shopify, Magento, and Google Analytics). Upp analyses over 7 billion data points per day and applies decision intelligence to every individual SKU. 7,000 automations are currently made on Google Shopping each day. It’s this power that capitalises on trends & demand, ensuring budget is instantly allocated to the correct product and minimising wastage. Upp ensures that your Google Shopping scales at a pace and with an accuracy that’s unique, by optimising every SKU advertised and ensuring your automated advertising reacts immediately to demand (or lack of it). Upp aligns with and ensures that your business goals are met..
Here’s what we offer:
- Pioneers in automation: Upp automates advertising decisions, based on all the available data and applied at SKU level
- Decision Intelligence: Upps insights help to optimise other departments and improve business performance
- 24/7 optimisation: Upp makes decisions in real time, all the time
- Real time Insights: Upp’s dashboard shows you what’s happening and delivers information as it occurs
- Control & transparency: By giving retailers unique insights on pricing, promotion, and delivery as well as advertising
- SKU level intelligence: Upp automatically tracks, manages, and optimises every single SKU, ensuring maximum return while saving you time and money
- Reveal lost revenue opportunities: By accessing data from multiple channels, Upp pinpoints areas for improvement and increased profitability
- Fixed monthly fees: Our fees are fixed and determined by your needs, meaning we don’t charge commission on ad spend
- Data audits: Our team of experts conducts an audit of your data, delving far deeper than any competitor to reveal answers to questions you have never been able to gain.
Should I work with Upp?
Upp offers intelligent automation that drives your Google Shopping channel to meet business objectives. If you are looking for an intelligent platform to automate Google Shopping and enhance your performance at scale and pace, then the answer is yes.
Upps decision intelligence, allows you to do more with less and is the only solution that works from PROAS not ROAS, with inventory intelligence. Upp currently manages 102 million SKU’s and makes 48,000 changes on Google Shopping every week. No human team can compete and no platform has the depth of data, AI and ML combined.
Upp works with in-house PPC teams, PPC agencies and digital marketing agencies, requires no downtime or IT installation and can be operational within 24 hours.
What’s more, Upp provides insights that transform the way your business operates as a whole, driving commercial outcomes outside of performance marketing, as opposed to competitors whose insights focus solely on Google Shopping.
However, Upp works best with data — so it might not be the solution for businesses with a small number of SKUs and who are just starting out advertising on Google Shopping.
Suggested reading: For a deep dive into how Upp is helping businesses succeed in today’s challenging eCommerce landscape, take a look at our article: How does Upp help retailers maximise revenue potential in an inflationary environment?
Take the guesswork out of eCommerce
As you can see from this list, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to performance marketing software, and no two platforms are the same. The best choice will depend on your specific needs as a business, and the type of performance marketing you need.
In the current eCommerce and economic climate, having a performance marketing solution that can adapt to your team’s unique needs and provide a consistent return on investment is essential in order to be successful.
Upp stands out from the crowd by being more than just a point solution / performance marketing solution — it’s decision intelligence for e-tail. It’s also a frontrunner in bringing decision intelligence to retail. It is a true pioneer in automation and AI/ML, enabling businesses to level up their campaign performance and maximise profitability.
If you’d like to learn more about how Upp could transform your trading capability, get in touch today and talk to an expert.
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