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Boost your Meta dynamic product ads with these customisation tips

Are your Meta dynamic product ads getting lost in the crowded ad ecosystem? Want to make sure your ads stand out from your competitor’s ads and drive better revenue? 

Read on, as our creative strategists reveal hacks and tips to make your dynamic product ads stand out and boost revenue.

“Your dynamic product ads need a creative differentiating strategy that follows the rules to get results but also ensures your ads don’t end up looking like everyone else’s! This is a tricky balance to strike but one that can get you results. Your dynamic product ads, if customised to represent the brand and its unique identity, can reap substantial results.” – Nazanin Faghihi, Performance Marketing Manager.  

By customising your dynamic product ads to represent your brand, you create brand awareness and recall and can significantly enhance ad performance and boost revenue. To optimise your DPAs, try these simple hacks and tricks that have helped us scale countless brands and generate millions in revenue.  

But first, how do DPAs work?

Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs) automatically showcase the most relevant products to each customer, leveraging Meta’s algorithm and data. All you need to do is connect your product catalogue to the platform and create a dynamic product ad campaign. Then you can let the platform handle targeted advertising by showing the most relevant product(s) to each customer—making this ad type one of the most favourable ones for e-commerce brands.  

Here are ten hacks for DPA customisation with examples…

 

1. Change the background

Switch the plain white background to an engaging colour that captures attention and aligns with your brand identity. You can choose the colours and fonts to incorporate your branding into your ad creatives. This Clarins ad makes good use of its brand colours and product texture in the ad.

2. Include sale information

Displaying the product price might help, but highlighting the original and discounted price together to make the savings prominent and attractive works wonders. It plays with the customer’s psychology by tempting them to shop for the offer price while it lasts.  

For instance, during Christmas, this cookware brand ran Christmas-themed holiday deals, urging customers to buy gifts with a strikethrough price alongside the discounted price, emphasising the value customers are getting.

 

3. Use multi-dimensional product shots

Showing multiple angles of your products helps provide a better view, which in turn helps increase engagement. A furniture store, for example, can showcase a sofa from different angles to display its many features, comfort, storage etc. or show it in various room settings, helping customers visualise it in their own space. A cookware brand on the other hand can also use multi-dimensional product shots to showcase product features like this ad by Magic Kitchen does for its utensils and it’s material.

4. Customise design to match your brand

For DPA customisation, you must make sure the ad creative is in sync with your brand’s design language. You can achieve this by adding the logo and branding assets within the creative. This practice helps build trust and leverages brand recognition. For example, Happy Mammoth, a supplement brand uses its logo within the creative to hold the various product and natural elements of the ad together, reinforcing its identity as a natural product for women.

5. Create campaign-specific and seasonal ads

You can tailor your ads for specific events, seasons or campaigns to increase relevance and urgency. A good example of seasonal and relevant ads is this one by Gymshark, where the ad copy reads ‘gym girl summer’ with the ad creative featuring Gymshark products on a model sitting in the sun making it a summer campaign.

6. Highlight urgency and scarcity

Apart from seasonality and relevance, your dynamic product ads can also have ad copy that establishes scarcity to trigger action. Just the way this ad copy says ‘this crazy deal is ending soon’ to encourage quick purchases. You can run deals and sales for national holidays to prompt immediate action as this skincare brand has done for the 4th of July.

7. Emphasise unique selling points

Differentiate your products by highlighting unique features or benefits. For instance, this beauty brand showcases multiple complementary products that help attain glass skin, appealing to shoppers looking for particular results, which also happens to be a huge skin trend.

8. Use social proof

Incorporating customer reviews or testimonials to build trust and credibility is another great way of DPA customisation. This cosmetics brand has displayed 5-star reviews from 250,000+ satisfied customers, boosting confidence in the product’s quality and popularity.

9. Add frames to highlight products

Use frames to highlight the product and have fun with your ads to stand out in a sea of plain backgrounds and bland designs. This furniture brand uses a sleek, modern frame to highlight its chic products and designs, aligning with its brand image and aesthetic.

10. Highlight product features

Another way to improve CTR is by making products prominent and providing essential product features and information. An ad where the product has its features, battery life etc. labelled clearly will help customers make quick decisions.

Is your e-commerce brand ready for TOF marketing?

“Top-of-funnel marketing is a powerful strategy for building brand awareness and attracting new audiences. However, it’s crucial for e-commerce brands to ensure they’ve maximised their direct response efforts, tested new platforms, and built a strong presence before diving in. By focusing on these foundational elements, brands can create a robust framework for successful TOF marketing campaigns.” 

– Arham Khan, Founder & CEO, Pixated

 

Top-of-funnel (TOF) marketing focuses on building brand awareness among a broad audience to remain top of mind for potential customers whilst also onboarding newer audiences. While appealing, it may not be suitable for all stages in the life cycle of a DTC brand.

Let’s find out when is an optimal time for an e-commerce brand to run upper-funnel marketing campaigns and what it is that DTC brands need to ensure before they start TOF marketing. 

When is the right time for TOF marketing?

The right timing to implement Top-Of-Funnel marketing campaigns is crucial for its success. 

When brands should consider TOF

  1. They have a stable customer acquisition cost (CAC) and positive ROI on bottom-of-funnel efforts.
  2. Their conversion rates from middle and bottom-of-funnel campaigns are consistently strong.
  3. They have a solid understanding of their target audience and buyer personas.
  4. They have reached audience fatigue (a saturation point with their in-market audience) or are experiencing reduced campaign effectiveness over time.
  5. There’s a need to expand their customer base beyond their current reach.
  6. They have the resources (both financial and human) to sustain a long-term TOF strategy.

Benefits and challenges of TOF marketing

Benefits

  1. Increased brand awareness and recognition
  2. Broader reach to potential customers
  3. Establishment of thought leadership in the industry
  4. Potential for viral content and organic growth
  5. Building a pipeline for future conversions

Challenges

  1. Longer time to see tangible ROI
  2. Difficulty in attributing sales directly to TOF efforts
  3. Requires consistent, high-quality content creation
  4. Risk of attracting unqualified leads
  5. Balancing broad appeal with targeted messaging

Real-world examples of TOF success for DTC brands

Dollar Shave Club: Their viral video “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” is a prime example of successful TOF marketing, garnering millions of views and significantly boosting brand awareness.

Casper: The mattress company uses several functions of content marketing, including a sleep-focused publication called “Woolly,” to provide value, educate and engage potential customers at the top of the funnel.

Gymshark: Leveraged influencer marketing and user-generated content to build a strong community and brand awareness among fitness enthusiasts.

Metrics to track when running TOF campaigns

When engaging in TOF marketing, brands should monitor

  1. Brand awareness metrics (e.g., brand recall, recognition)
  2. Engagement rates (likes, shares, comments)
  3. Website traffic and new visitor rates
  4. Time spent on site and pages per session
  5. Email newsletter sign-ups
  6. Social media follower growth
  7. Share of voice in the industry
  8. Long-term customer value

Content strategies for TOF marketing

  1. How-to guides and tutorials related to your product or industry
  2. Informative blog posts and articles
  3. Engaging social media content (e.g., Instagram Reels, TikTok videos)
  4. Podcasts or webinars featuring industry experts
  5. Interactive tools or calculators relevant to your audience
  6. Infographics summarising industry trends or statistics
  7. User-generated content campaigns
  8. Virtual events or workshops

Integration with the overall marketing strategy

TOF marketing should seamlessly integrate with your overall marketing funnel

  1. Ensure consistent messaging across all funnel stages
  2. Use TOF content to nurture leads into middle and bottom-of-funnel campaigns
  3. Retarget TOF audience with more targeted messaging as they move down the funnel
  4. Use insights from bottom-of-funnel conversions to refine TOF targeting
  5. Align TOF goals with overall business objectives

Budget considerations for upper-funnel campaigns 

  1. Start with a small, experimental budget to test TOF strategies
  2. Gradually increase the budget as you see positive results
  3. Consider reallocating some bottom-of-funnel budget if those efforts have plateaued
  4. Invest in content creation and distribution channels
  5. Factor in long-term ROI rather than immediate conversions

Technology and tools for upper-funnel marketing

  1. Social media management and listening tools (e.g., Brandwatch, Sprout Social)
  2. Analytics platforms (e.g., Google Analytics, Mixpanel)
  3. Marketing automation tools (e.g., HubSpot, Mailchimp)
  4. SEO tools (e.g., SEMrush, Ahrefs)
  5. Video creation and editing tools (e.g., Canva, Adobe Premiere)

Future trends in Top-Of-Funnel marketing

  1. AI-powered personalisation of TOF content
  2. Augmented reality experiences for product visualisation
  3. Voice search optimisation for smart speaker users
  4. Interactive and immersive content (e.g., 360-degree videos)
  5. Increased use of micro-influencers for niche audiences
  6. Sustainability and social responsibility messaging
  7. Hyper-local targeting for brick-and-mortar tie-ins

Implementing a robust TOF marketing strategy requires a shift in perspective and approach. While immediate results are tempting, overemphasis on short-term metrics can distort the true impact of marketing efforts. 

Success in TOF marketing demands a holistic view, with regular reassessment of attribution models and close monitoring of upper-funnel strategies. This comprehensive approach provides a clearer picture of marketing effectiveness, enabling brands to build lasting customer relationships and brand affinity. By balancing immediate success with a long-term vision, e-commerce brands can create a sustainable upper funnel strategy that complements their overall marketing ecosystem and drives significant return over time.

 

Creativity vs. Data: the art and science of e-commerce marketing

Creativity vs. data! Art vs. science! We settle the debate between following hard data and trusting creative instincts.

While the e-commerce landscape is evolving at breakneck speed, one debate remains stubbornly constant: which is more important, the analytical data-led approach, or human intuition and creativity? Which of the two is a tactical necessity for creating impactful growth marketing strategies?

DTC Twitter is rife with hot takes on the subject, and there are strong arguments from both sides. However, as a digital marketing agency committed to growth, we see value in both. The answer lies in the subtle interplay between the science and the art of marketing.

A modern marketer needs to function as both an artist and a scientist. The key to succeeding in e-commerce marketing is finding a balance that leverages the strengths of both data and creativity.

Let’s unpack how these two seemingly opposing functions can work together to drive e-commerce success.

Understanding the left and right brain dynamic

Traditionally, marketing teams have framed the creativity vs. data debate in terms of “right brain” vs. “left brain” thinking. However, recent neuroscience research shows that this oversimplified view of brain function is not entirely accurate.

While the brain’s left hemisphere is often associated with logical and analytical tasks, and the right hemisphere with creative and intuitive thinking, modern neuroscience reveals that brain function is far more complex and interconnected. Both hemispheres work together in most cognitive tasks, including those involving logic, creativity, language, and spatial reasoning.

This insight shifts our understanding of the creativity vs. data debate. Rather than viewing it as a conflict between two distinct modes of thinking, we can see it as a synergy between complementary approaches: the art and science of marketing.

E-commerce: where does art fit in?

In today’s digital marketplace, simply having a store, an online presence and a well-organised inventory isn’t enough. That may have been the approach to e-commerce marketing a few years ago but today’s informed consumer demands more. That is where the art of brand storytelling comes into play.

The modern consumer seeks more than just products; they crave personalised experiences and connections.

Crafting a unique narrative for your brand

Humans are naturally drawn to stories and narratives that resonate with them. These narratives shape brand perceptions and influence the consumer’s decisions in countless ways. For e-commerce businesses, weaving a compelling narrative around a brand can be the key differentiator in a crowded market. The goal should be to use consumer psychology to craft compelling ad copy and stories to forge an emotional bond with the customers that can endure beyond the point of purchase.

Creating a lasting impression requires more than just a functional website or clever marketing. It’s about guiding your visitors through a journey that reflects your brand’s unique personality and values. This journey begins the moment they first come across your ad and continues all the way to the purchase and beyond.

The visual impact

Research indicates that the visual elements of an online store play a crucial role in purchase decisions. A well-designed, visually appealing website or ad can significantly increase the likelihood of a conversion. This underscores the importance of investing in industry-specific visuals and an intuitive user interface.

As a result, success in e-commerce isn’t just about what you sell, but how you sell it. By embracing creativity and the art of storytelling through copywriting and design, brands can create impactful digital shopping experiences that convert.

The objectivity of data and science

Data serves as the backbone of modern e-commerce, offering objective insights that drive decision-making. Its power lies in its ability to reveal patterns, predict trends, and inform strategies with factual precision. E-commerce platforms and brands leverage data insights to optimise everything from inventory management to customer segmentation and ad strategies.

However, data alone isn’t enough. While it can enable hyper-targeting and personalisation of ad content, it may fall short in capturing the nuances of human experience. For example, an algorithm might suggest Father’s Day promotions to all customers who’ve previously bought men’s products, potentially causing distress to anyone who may have recently lost their father.

This is why successful e-commerce advertising requires a synergy between data-driven insights and human empathy. Data provides the ‘what’ and ‘when’ of customer behaviour, while human intuition adds the crucial ‘why’ and ‘how’ to create truly impactful campaigns.

The science of marketing

Data-driven analysis and decision-making

The scientific, analytical approach is all about leveraging data to make informed decisions. In e-commerce marketing, this includes:

  1. Media buying: Using data to precisely target customers and optimise ad spend.
  2. Growth strategy/Performance analysis: Tracking KPIs and ROI to refine marketing strategies.
  3. A/B testing: Continuously improving based on quantifiable results.

Analytical thinking is driven by logic, therefore, in digital advertising, it is characterised by a focus on metrics, data analysis, and growth strategies. It’s about understanding consumer behaviour and using that information to create targeted campaigns.

The importance of this approach is highlighted in a study from McKinsey that found that companies using data analytics extensively are 23 times more likely to outperform their competitors in new customer acquisition.

The art of marketing

Creative storytelling and psychological narratives

The creative and artsy aspects of e-commerce marketing involve understanding consumer psychology and establishing an emotional connection with them using human expression:

  1. Creative strategy/Brand storytelling: Crafting compelling narratives via copywriting and content creation that resonate with customers.
  2. Visual design: Creating eye-catching visuals that stand out in crowded marketplaces.
  3. User experience: Designing intuitive, enjoyable shopping journeys.

Right-brain thinkers excel in creative problem-solving, generating innovative ideas, and thinking outside the box. This creative approach is crucial, as evidenced by a Forrester report which found that emotion-driven brands enjoy a 41% higher market share.

Science (data) X Art (creativity)

Here’s how they work together across different stages of e-commerce marketing:

  1. Growth strategy:
    • Data: Market analysis, competitor benchmarking
    • Creativity: Innovative growth hacks, unique value propositions
  2. Media buying:
    • Data: Data-driven audience targeting, budget allocation
    • Creativity: Creative ad placements, innovative channel selection
  3. Creative strategy:
    • Data: Evaluate performance data from previous and competitor campaigns
    • Creativity: New creative concepts, psychological and emotional storytelling
  4. Ad production:
    • Data: A/B testing different elements
    • Creativity: Crafting visually appealing, resonant and industry-specific ad content. Also creative testing winning ads.

This balanced approach is supported by research. A study by Google and CEB found that B2B customers who perceived value in both business and personal aspects were 60% more likely to make a high-value purchase. While this study focused on B2B, the principle applies equally to e-commerce, where both rational decision-making and psychological connection drive purchases.

A strategic balancing act

Data-informed creativity: Use analytics to identify trends and customer preferences, then use these insights to fuel creative ideation.

Creative data visualisation: Present complex data in visually appealing and easy-to-understand formats to make it more accessible and actionable.

Emotionally intelligent automation: Implement AI and automation tools that can analyse customer behaviour to decode and analyse sentiments while also understanding the consumer psyche.

Storytelling powered by stats: Build compelling narratives in your ads, informed by hard data to create marketing messages that appeal to both logic and emotion.

Intuitive UX design backed by user data: Create user experiences that feel intuitive and emotionally satisfying, but are grounded in solid user behaviour data.

The art and science of marketing are NOT mutually exclusive

Data will always remain a precious commodity in e-commerce. However, as artificial intelligence tools create numerous innovative marketing opportunities in the rapidly changing marketing environment, brands that effectively combine human intuition, creativity and data insights will maintain a competitive advantage.

While data and AI are powerful tools, the human element remains crucial in developing marketing campaigns that truly resonate with audiences. The most successful marketers therefore will be those who can leverage both logical analysis and creative imagination to craft effective strategies in an increasingly complex and technologically advanced marketplace to create compelling ad campaigns and narratives that resonate strongly with the audiences.

Labour’s victory and what it means for digital advertising

Labour’s landslide victory under Sir Keir Starmer marks a potential turning point for the UK’s digital advertising landscape. While Labour’s manifesto didn’t explicitly target our industry, the ripple effects of their broader policies could reshape how we operate.

Let’s unpack what this election result might mean for digital marketers.

Google search: balancing AI and human touch

Labour’s stance on AI regulation could shake up the search advertising world. Their focus on “safe development and regulation” might impact automated bidding and smart campaigns.

What it could mean

  • A potential shift back to manual optimisation
  • More level playing field for smaller marketing teams and agencies without access to expensive AI tools
  • Increased emphasis on human creativity in campaign management

Industry impact

According to a recent study by Deloitte, 73% of organisations are already using AI in their marketing efforts. Labour’s policies could slow this adoption rate, potentially affecting campaign efficiency in the short term.

Social media: new rules of engagement

Labour’s commitment to strengthening equality could lead to stricter regulations on ad targeting, especially regarding protected characteristics like gender and age.

Potential changes

  • More limited demographic targeting options
  • Greater focus on interest-based and behavioural targeting
  • Increased scrutiny of ad content for bias or discrimination

Pro tip: Start developing more nuanced, content-driven targeting strategies now. They’ll likely become invaluable in the near future.

The bigger picture: adapting to a changing landscape

Labour’s victory is part of a global trend towards increased tech regulation and data privacy protection. The UK’s approach under Labour could set precedents influencing digital advertising worldwide.

Key trends to watch

Sustainability focus: With Labour emphasising sustainable growth, expect increased demand for eco-friendly products and services. According to Nielsen, 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings.

Education reform: Labour’s plans to revamp creative education could reshape our talent pool long-term. Prepare for a workforce with potentially different skill sets and perspectives.

Economic shifts: Labour’s economic policies could affect consumer spending patterns. Stay agile and ready to pivot your strategies accordingly.

Strategies for success

Diversify skills: Invest in both traditional and cutting-edge marketing techniques.

Embrace ethical advertising: Develop targeting strategies that don’t rely on potentially problematic demographic data.

Content is king (again): With potential targeting limitations, compelling content becomes even more crucial.

Stay informed: Keep a close eye on policy developments and be ready to adapt quickly.

Engage in dialogue: Participate in industry discussions to ensure our voice is heard in policy-making processes.

The road ahead

The Labour victory doesn’t spell doom for digital advertising. Instead, it presents an opportunity to innovate and create more responsible, effective marketing strategies.

As the rules of the game change, the marketing teams that thrive will be those that can balance compliance with creativity, and ethics with effectiveness. It’s a challenge, but hopefully a fun one.

10 Influencer marketing trends for 2024

Trends that are redefining an already booming creators’ economy…

Despite the economic challenges of the post-COVID world, influencer marketing and creators’ economy is worth $250 billion and is anticipated to leap to an impressive $480 billion by 2027, according to Goldman Sachs estimates.

As the popularity and demand for creators continue to grow; marketers are expected to increase their spend and double down on their strategies. Whilst the trends this year draw heavily from the practices of last year; campaigns are certainly about to become more granular and focused on refined strategies.

In this report, we take you through what’s trending in the creator realms and look at what is expected to shape up the influencer marketing industry in the coming months. From popular platforms to inventive content strategies, we unravel trends that will reign supreme in this world where influence is currency.

1. Harnessing sub-cultures and niche communities

As the industry grows, creators who are immersed in cultural conversations and can speak directly to relevant consumer groups in a meaningful way will be preferred. Brands now see value in targeting specific communities that resonate and build loyal, engaged audiences. To truly resonate with customers in more nuanced spaces, marketers are now looking to explore the subcultures and niche conversations most likely to connect with their audience and truly drive action.

Creators who are proactive within cultural spaces will be key to navigating this effectively. Specificity will now be key. Influencer intelligence will help brands harness subcultures by identifying the right talent that can help them lead relevant conversations through detailed data analysis.

For example; Supreme leverages its roots in the skateboarding subculture by collaborating with skaters and artists. Their limited edition drops and influencer partnerships create hype and exclusivity.

Tool suggestions:

AspireIQ: Helps brands identify and manage relationships with creators in specific niches.

HYPR: Provides detailed data and analytics to find influencers who resonate with the brand and its audience.

2. Micro, nano influencers and content creators

It is important to note that the terms aren’t mutually exclusive, and many individuals may identify as both content creators and influencers based on their activities and goals in the digital space. These terms are fluid, and individuals prioritise different aspects of content creation and influence depending on their niche, approach, and the evolving digital landscape.

Influencers and creators who value authenticity over aesthetics enhance the resonance and relatability aspect of branded content. Content creators like these give brands unique access to niche audiences and intimate communities. They are known to have the most committed communities, providing access to authentic product recommendations. These people cultivate spaces where shared interests and authentic dialogue thrive.

This trend has effectively redefined the essence of being a social media influencer, focusing on resonance within communities rather than reach, thus democratising the space and reshaping the archetype.

Example: Bite Toothpaste Bits works with nano-creators to promote their eco-friendly toothpaste, emphasising authenticity and sustainability.

Tool suggestion: Use platforms like AspireIQ or Traackr to find and manage influencers and content creators, ensuring effective and efficient collaborations.

3. Niche gets nicher

As influencer marketing matures, brands are increasingly focused on hyper-targeted niches to reach high-intent, engaged audiences. This approach allows for more personalised and effective marketing campaigns. In order to drive brand engagement and awareness amongst specific niches, brands are also beginning to recognise the value and importance of choosing the right creators as messengers for the right brands.

For example, the beauty tech brand, Foreo, leverages AI to streamline its creator selection and campaign management, resulting in highly targeted and successful marketing efforts.

Tool suggestion: HypeAuditor uses AI to provide in-depth analytics and insights on influencers, helping you identify the best partners for your brand within specific niches. It ensures you collaborate with authentic creators by detecting fraudulent activity.

4. The rise and rise of livestream shopping

Live shopping events, where influencers showcase products in real-time, are becoming an increasingly popular way to drive engagement and sales. This format combines entertainment with a seamless shopping experience. Amazon or Instagram Lives, where creators host live product demonstrations and answer questions from viewers, have significantly boosted real-time shopping engagement whilst also leveraging their reach and credibility.

Statistics on live shopping reveal a clear preference shift, with a growing number of people favouring live streams for social media purchases. Gen Z (another trend this year) led this survey with approximately half (47%) of consumers having made a livestream purchase in both the US and UK.

Tool suggestion: Obviously then, as a response to these statistics, major platforms like Amazon, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram have invested in livestream shopping tools and collaborations. Instagram’s Live Shopping feature, for instance, enables users to make direct purchases during a live session, offering an immersive way for shoppers to explore and acquire products

5. Fewer filters, less curation, more authenticity

Consumers are more likely to trust and engage with brands that are genuine and transparent in their communications. Consumer attitudes toward influencer marketing are certainly focused on authenticity, unpolished content, raw cuts, and long-term collaborations. Behind-the-scene content, upper-funnel content with brand values and mission helps consumers resonate with the brand, which in turn helps build trust.

Example: Warby Parker, an eyewear brand, has effectively utilised authenticity in its influencer marketing strategy through its Home Try-On program. This program allows customers to select five frames to try at home for free, sharing their honest opinions and experiences on social media. The brand also encourages customers to share photos and videos of themselves trying on different frames at home. This content is often shared on social media, showcasing real people in their everyday environments. A great example of authenticity and transparency in creator marketing.

6. Diversity and inclusivity will be critical

Diversity and inclusion are critical components of modern marketing strategies and the same is true for influencer marketing. Brands that prioritise representation in their campaigns resonate better with a broader audience.

Fenty Beauty for instance has an inclusive makeup range and runs diverse marketing campaigns that have set a new standard for representation in the beauty industry.

Another brand that is big on diverse model representation is Glossier. They frequently collaborate with influencers from diverse backgrounds to promote their products, ensuring representation across different ethnicities, skin types, and personal styles.

7. B2B influencers will have a moment

B2B influencer marketing is growing in popularity as businesses recognise the value of partnering with industry experts and thought leaders. Business professionals, powered by their expertise and experience, provide credibility and reach within niche professional communities.

Example: HubSpot collaborates with marketing experts and influencers to share insights and promote their software solutions, establishing themselves as thought leaders. Mailchimp and Motion App also run collaboration campaigns through webinars and podcasts where professionals share the resources, systems and solutions they’ve built.

Tool suggestion: Apart from lead gen and inbound content marketing campaigns; businesses can also use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to connect with B2B influencers, fostering professional relationships.

8. Gen alpha is here

As Gen Alpha (born in 2010 and onwards) begins to influence purchasing decisions, brands are now starting to tailor their social media marketing strategies to this young demographic. Influencer partnerships that appeal to both children and their parents are becoming increasingly important.

Reports by Influencer Intelligence and Digital Voices suggest that 49% of Gen Alpha trust influencers as much as they do family and friends for product recommendations. While 55% are influenced to purchase products their favourite YouTube or Instagram stars use. In a report by Ofcom it was cited that among 3-17 year olds, YouTube was the most popular amongst 88%, followed by TikTok (53%), Snapchat (46%), Instagram (41%) and Facebook (34%).

All of these reports are conclusive proof that there are already significant volumes of Gen Alpha consuming content on key platforms that work with creator marketing, presenting brands with a substantial opportunity within this demographic which is likely to become an important generational cohort by 2025.

Example: Ryan’s World, a popular YouTube channel featuring young creators, partners with brands like Colgate and Walmart to create engaging content for kids.

9. AI integration in influencer marketing

Unless you are choosing to live under a rock; we are all aware of the impact that generative AI has had on marketing and the same is true for Email marketing.

AI now plays an increasingly important role in the influencer marketing technology landscape. From recruitment to content generation and the use of virtual influencers; AI has revolutionised the creator economy in more ways than one. AI tools like HypeAuditor, and Traackr amongst others allow brands to identify, analyse, connect and collaborate with creators more effectively. These AI-driven platforms offer advanced data analytics, predictive modelling, and automation capabilities, making it easier for brands to execute precise and impactful influencer campaigns.

Example: The DTC brand Warby Parker utilises AI tools to identify and partner with micro-influencers who have highly engaged followers within the eyewear and fashion niche. This approach resulted in more targeted and authentic collaborations, driving significant engagement and sales.

10. Marketers are about to double up their investment in TikTok

Given its significant appeal to the younger users; 2024 projections indicate a continued surge in TikTok’s popularity among both influencers and brands.

Reports by TheB2BHouse suggest; that marketers are set to nearly double their spending on TikTok influencer marketing in just two years. What was estimated at nearly $800 million in 2022, the figure is predicted to surpass $1.3 billion by 2024, almost tenfold higher than the expenditure in 2020.

TikTok has managed to establish itself with over 1 billion users globally, a milestone surpassed only by Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat. It has been reported that an average global user spends an impressive 31 hours and 14 minutes on TikTok each month, surpassing other social platforms such as Instagram (13 hours and 49 minutes) and even YouTube (27 hours and 21 minutes). Obviously then, brands are keen on harnessing the power of UGC on TikTok to engage the new social-savvy consumers.

TikTok’s features like the TikTok Creative Exchange and Creator Marketplace, streamline connections between creators and brands, making it just the platform for influencer marketing.

Navigating the creators’ economy through these trends

This report highlights some innovative strategies that will help brands navigate the exciting influencer marketing space in the coming months.

Trends like harnessing cultures, niche content and live shopping events are about to cause a creative stir in the creator space and we can’t wait to see how brands will embrace and leverage these trends.

This report also underscores the importance of authenticity, diversity, and AI integration in influencer campaigns going forward. All of these will be key content strategies for brands to form authentic connections with their target audiences.

Marketing in its Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER) era

ROAS is not the North Star metric you thought it was!

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) just isn’t good enough as a measure of your marketing efforts—even if you are brand advertising on one platform. In-platform reported ROAS is inherently flawed, misleading and at best only 70% accurate.

ROAS is a marketing performance metric that calculates revenue generated by your ad campaigns. However, it has shortcomings.

  • It is channel-specific: ROAS is simply too focused on individual channel reporting, failing to account for the entire customer journey across multiple touchpoints.
  • Vanity metrics: ROAS often leads to misleading conclusions if not considered within the broader context of overall marketing performance.

Instead, your brand needs a metric that is able to measure your marketing’s overall impact on real business outcomes; across platforms.

That overall impact is your Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER)

Simply put, MER is total revenue (for your business) divided by total ad spend for all channels (Facebook, Google, etc.) Essentially, it is the average ROI across all channels.

In this article, we dive deep into why MER is the metric you need to be tracking over ROAS, how to measure and optimise it, and how to use it to win the war of attention in your market.

But first, what is the difference between the two metrics and where and when should they be used?

MER vs. ROAS

ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)

  • Purpose: Measures the revenue generated per dollar spent on individual ad campaigns.
  • Usage: Best for analysing the performance of specific marketing campaigns or comparing the profitability of different ad initiatives.

MER (Marketing Efficiency Ratio)

  • Purpose: Assesses the overall efficiency of all marketing efforts combined across various platforms.
  • Usage: Ideal for evaluating the comprehensive efficiency of your entire marketing strategy.

Comparison

Both MER and ROAS are crucial for assessing marketing effectiveness and can be utilised to inform your marketing strategy, evaluate campaigns, and track ROI.

  • ROAS: Offers an in-depth understanding of the performance of specific campaigns and creatives.
  • MER: Provides a holistic view of overall marketing performance, capturing the efficiency of all combined marketing campaigns.

While ROAS focuses on individual campaign effectiveness, MER delivers a broader perspective on the collective impact of your marketing activities.

In the war for attention, your approach is key!

Whatever the size and shape of your advertising campaigns, it’s important to analyse and measure them well to maximise your ROI.

Whilst there is value in taking a detailed approach to analysing the performance of each creative in your ad campaigns there is greater value in being able to view your ad campaigns as more than standalone creatives.

For instance, there have been cases where we assessed the performance dashboards of multi-channel campaigns and stressed over the 15% week-on-week drop in ROAS for one channel, only to find out that conversions had increased by 45% on another channel and that the overall revenue had grown by 20%. All of which in totality are great results.

ROAS therefore does not facilitate the multi-channel approach that is required to stay ahead of the curve in the marketing paradigm of 2024. While ROAS can tell you how much revenue any specific ad spend is driving, it does not take into account the user journey across all touchpoints that contribute to the final conversions.

Customer journeys are unpredictable and can follow various paths

In no particular order, your customers might…

  • See your Meta ad in the wild
  • Google your brand
  • Google your product
  • Compare prices on Amazon
  • Visit your website
  • Check your socials… then get distracted
  • See your ad… AGAIN, with a lot more interest this time
  • Visit your website again and add to the cart
  • May or may not abandon the cart
  • See your ad yet again
  • Revisit the website and cart
  • Finally, convert

If we look at the customer journey mapped above; we know that customers typically interact with more than one ad campaign and more than one channel before buying into a brand. MER is a metric that takes into account the total value generated by your marketing strategy across all platforms.

The relationship between MER and your attribution model

ROAS can only credit sales to the very last touchpoint, discrediting all the crucial steps that came before. This is especially true now that GA4 only offers two attribution models: last click and data-driven.

This is precisely why e-commerce brands need MER as their main metric, to eliminate the attribution problem by looking at the marketing efforts holistically and not just at standalone platforms.

All marketing teams; SEO, search and social want to claim a sale or lead as their achievement. However, the fact is, that no customer journey is straight or limited to one channel. (see the customer journey map above)

MER eliminates this conflict by focusing on overall efficiency instead of individual attributions. Now it won’t matter which channel or campaign generated a conversion. This way you can attribute the success and/or failure of your marketing campaigns to the overall effectiveness and efficiency of your ads across platforms in driving revenue growth.

By looking at your total marketing spend across ad spend on various channels vs. your total revenue irrespective of your marketing platform; MER cuts through the noise of vanity metrics and channel-specific KPIs to answer the only question that really matters.

How to calculate MER

To calculate your marketing efficiency ratio you need to calculate your cumulative marketing expenses and overall revenue from all your marketing platforms. Some of the most common expense metrics include your total spend on marketing including the cost of services and resources. Revenue metrics can include website traffic and conversions, sales and/or leads generated from your marketing campaigns.

Once you have this data, you can use it to calculate your marketing efficiency ratio as follows:

So for instance, if you spent $10,000 on marketing activities over a given period and generated $25,000 in revenue during that same time period, your marketing efficiency ratio would be 0.4 ($10,000 / $25,000).

Or, if you generated $1,000,000 in revenue on $200,000 in marketing spend last quarter, your MER would be 5.

$1,000,000 / $200,000 = 5

So, how do you use MER to inform your marketing decisions? The key is benchmarking.

Current metrics against your benchmarks

Start by recording your key metrics—MER, nCAC, nMER—during a period when your business is performing well. These metrics will serve as your benchmarks.

As you track performance over time, compare your current metrics against these benchmarks. The goal is to maintain or exceed your benchmarked MER, rather than focusing solely on an arbitrary ROAS figure.

The litmus test to check if your MER is working

Assuming your benchmark MER is 3.5 and your Meta ROAS is 1.23. If your Meta ROAS decreases to 1.1 but your MER remains at 3.5, that’s acceptable!

It likely indicates that your Meta marketing is effectively driving upper-funnel activities, with sales being captured through other channels.

On the other hand, if your Meta ROAS increases to 2.0 but your MER drops to 3.0, it may signal an issue. This could suggest over-investment in lower-funnel activities at the expense of upper-funnel channels that were initially driving your pipeline. Therefore, your MER benchmarks should be aligned with your specific growth goals and unit economics.

To ensure you meet your goals and targets, work backwards from your revenue objectives to set your MER benchmarks accordingly.

Advantages of using MER to inform your marketing strategy

Holistic view: MER takes into account all marketing channels, thus providing a comprehensive picture of marketing and advertising efficiency.

Cost efficiency and resource allocation: MER helps brands optimise their marketing expenses by identifying underperforming marketing channels. This allows a thorough analysis of all marketing costs, helping businesses eliminate unnecessary spending and make informed decisions on resource distribution. These insights provide a direction to where marketing investments should be directed to enhance overall efficiency.

Sustained performance monitoring: MER facilitates long-term evaluation of marketing impact and effectiveness. By tracking this ratio over time, marketers can identify trends, recognise patterns, and make strategic decisions to ensure sustainable growth.

The benefits of using MER as your North Star metric will reflect in the way it informs your marketing strategies, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and improve your ROI.

Strategies you can implement to optimise MER

To enhance your brand’s marketing efficiency ratio and maximise ROI for your e-commerce brand, consider the following strategies:

  1. Dynamic creative optimisation (DCO)
    • Use Dynamic Creative Optimisation to automate the testing of various ad elements such as images, headlines, and CTAs. This allows you to identify the most effective combinations in real time. Tools like Google Ads’ responsive search ads or Meta’s dynamic creative ads can help you implement DCO effectively.
    • Example: Regularly update and rotate ad creatives based on performance data to keep your campaigns fresh and engaging. This can lead to higher engagement rates and conversion metrics.
  2. Advanced segmentation and personalisation
    • Implement advanced segmentation strategies to target different customer segments with personalised marketing messages. Use customer data to create detailed buyer personas and tailor your ads accordingly.
    • Example: Segment your email list based on purchase history, browsing behaviour, and demographic information. Send personalised product recommendations and special offers to each segment to increase relevance and engagement.
  3. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) techniques
    • Focus on CRO techniques to improve the performance of your landing pages. Conduct A/B testing on headlines, images, CTAs, and form lengths to determine what converts best. Use heatmaps and user session recordings to identify pain points and areas for improvement.
    • Example: Test different value propositions and CTAs on your product pages. Use tools like Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity to gather insights and make data-driven decisions to enhance user experience and increase conversion rates.
  4. Implementing retargeting campaigns
    • Use retargeting campaigns to re-engage users who have interacted with your brand but haven’t converted. Tailor your retargeting ads based on user behaviour and stage in the buying journey.
    • Example: Create a series of retargeting ads that show different product benefits or customer testimonials to users who abandoned their shopping carts. This can help nudge them towards completing their purchase.

In the new era of e-commerce marketing, it is important to identify the right time and opportunity to focus on the right metric and understand when it is optimal to focus on each to ensure long-term success.

How is AI changing the course of paid search? We investigate…

There is no denying that Artificial intelligence (AI) is now well past being just a trend. It is no longer a buzzword but has become a phenomenon that is now an integral part of most industries, including digital marketing. It has significantly reshaped most marketing disciplines, and paid search is not immune to this change.

It is time for marketing professionals and businesses to get to grips with the abundant world of AI tools, its fast-evolving capabilities, and features to stay ahead in this competitive industry. AI-powered algorithms have transformed the realms of paid search, and there is more to come.

In this article, we explore how AI is currently reshaping paid search and anticipate future developments that are expected to drastically alter the landscape.

Let’s dive right in…

How has AI changed paid search?

AI has managed to revolutionise paid search by introducing unprecedented levels of automation and optimisations. With functions like smart bidding, marketers can now manage extensive advertising campaigns more efficiently than ever before.

For example, Google’s case study on FishingBooker, an online platform for booking fishing trips, revealed a 49% increase in return on ad spend (ROAS) and a 57% increase in conversions through smart bidding​.

While these tech advancements offer substantial benefits, it is possible that these automatons might render traditional advertising methods obsolete.

Let’s look at how AI has already impacted paid search…

Enhanced automation via smart bidding

AI has revolutionised the automation of bidding strategies in paid search. Features like Google Ads’ smart bidding allow bids to be calculated automatically using machine learning, ensuring ads are shown to the right audience at the right time.

Google offers several bid strategies to choose from:

  • Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)
  • Maximise clicks
  • Maximise conversions
  • Maximise conversion value
  • Target Cost Per Action (tCPA)
  • Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS)
  • Viewable CPM (vCPM)
  • Cost Per View (CPV)

This reduces the need for manual intervention while enhancing campaign efficiency. Smart bidding therefore makes it possible for marketers to manage hundreds of paid search campaigns with ease at a lower cost and higher CTR.

Better ad relevance and targeting via query-matching

Through Artificial Intelligence, ad relevance has seen a substantial boost. AI-powered algorithms deploy advanced query-matching and targeting to analyse vast amounts of data, including demographics, search history, online user behaviour, and search patterns, to deliver precisely targeted ads. This helps advertisers create highly personalised ad campaigns that resonate with specific audience segments, leading to better engagement, conversion rates, and improved ROI.

Dynamic Search Ads

Based on the product information, the content of the website and the user’s search query—AI can dynamically generate ad copy and headline variations. This creates multiple versions of dynamic ads which allows Google to optimise them in real-time, saving hours’ worth of manual labour.

AI-generated responsive ads

AI can generate responsive ads based on combinations of provided headlines and descriptions. AI tests different combinations of headlines and descriptions to find the most effective ones, allowing advertisers to upload multiple ad versions while Google optimises them in real time. This automation also saves hours of manual labour to keep ads relevant and increases conversions and ROI.

AI ad content generation

While there are several AI content generation tools available to help create marketing assets through templates, Google Ads now offers an integrated tool—the Gemini Model—which helps create optimised search campaigns through a conversational experience. It generates relevant ad assets for responsive search ads, including creatives and keywords, based on the advertiser’s website and inputs.

This means AI can not only optimise the combinations of ad assets that the advertiser has provided, but it can also create new versions. Early adopters claim to have seen increased conversions when using this technique.

Predictive analytics

Google’s AI-driven predictive analytics tools can now forecast the click-through rate (CTR) of an advert for a specific keyword, providing predictions in three statuses: above average, average, or below average. If an advert receives a below-average status, the tool suggests that the ad copy may need to be better aligned with the target keyword, or that the keyword’s relevance might need re-evaluation.

Google can now actually predict the impact on the Quality Score, a metric that indicates how your advert’s quality compares to that of the competitors. Ad quality is essentially a measure of user experience with the ad. Key factors influencing the quality score include the expected CTR, ad relevance, and the landing page experience, which assesses the relevance and usefulness of the landing page content.

How is AI expected to evolve the search landscape further?

AI-generated SERPs, user behaviour, and the changing discourse of paid search

As AI-generated content increasingly dominates search engine results pages (SERPs), user behaviour is also expected to evolve. With detailed, highly relevant, and more personalised information readily available in search results, users are likely to interact with search engines more conversationally, akin to engaging with ChatGPT and chatbots. This shift will significantly change how marketers approach keyword targeting and content creation.

Traditional strategies focused on targeting specific keywords are becoming increasingly less effective. Instead, marketers will now need to consider how users phrase their queries more conversationally. This transformation will challenge marketers to refine their strategies, ensuring their content aligns with the nuances of user queries.

As AI continues to shape search interactions into a chatbot-like dialogue, creating content that comprehensively answers users’ questions becomes crucial. Marketers will need to rethink their approaches, moving away from keyword-centric tactics to developing content that addresses the full scope of user inquiries.

The rise of AI chatbots

AI chatbots have already revolutionised NLP (Natural Language Processing) and fundamentally changed how people interact with search engines. These intelligent bots gather information from diverse sources to provide comprehensive and precise answers to search queries, moving beyond the brief snippets typical of traditional search results. As a result, users now receive more in-depth and engaging responses from AI, making the search experience richer and more interactive.

The era of quickly scanning short summaries on SERPs is being replaced by AI chatbots that engage in meaningful conversations with users. This shift creates a more conversational and interactive search experience, which users are increasingly embracing. Consequently, marketers need to evolve their strategies to keep up with these advancements, ensuring their content meets the demands of this new conversational search environment.

Voice search optimisation

As voice search becomes more prevalent, AI will also play a crucial role in optimising ads for voice queries. This will involve understanding natural language patterns and providing relevant responses that match the conversational tone of voice searches.

Advanced fraud detection

AI will enhance the detection and prevention of ad fraud. By continuously analysing patterns and behaviours, it can identify fraudulent activities such as click fraud or impression fraud, ensuring that advertising budgets are spent more efficiently and effectively.

Integration with augmented reality (AR)

In the near future, AI will likely integrate with AR to create immersive ad experiences. This could involve interactive ads that users can engage with in a more meaningful way, blending digital and physical worlds to capture attention and drive engagement.

AI’s influence on search is profound and continually evolving. As technology advances, it will bring even more innovative solutions to enhance ad targeting, creation, and optimisation, making paid search more effective and efficient than ever before.

Practical applications of emerging DTC trends for e-commerce brands: A deep dive

In our previous article DTC Trends 2024, we compiled a comprehensive overview of the top 10 DTC trends in 2024, highlighting significant shifts and opportunities within the e-commerce ecosystem. Today, we delve into the practical applications of those trends and deep dive into emerging DTC brands leveraging these trends to the T.

If you are a DTC brand marketer keen on levelling up with the key players in e-commerce, here’s a list of 2024 trends, their practical applications and a coveted list of e-commerce brands acing those trends.

1. Collaboration is key

Generating brand awareness has been a significant challenge for new e-commerce businesses. To resolve this, e-commerce brands have increasingly leveraged UGC/Influencer collaborations to boost their reach.
One outstanding example of a direct-to-consumer brand collaboration with an influencer is e.l.f cosmetics x Jennifer Coolidge. The campaign was built around the popularity of the HBO series; The White Lotus actress Jennifer Coolidge’s character Tanya McQuoid. Elf Cosmetics released a limited-edition Dirty Pillows Lip Kit, which included lipstick, lip liner, and a compact mirror. The kit was promoted on social media with the hashtag #elfDirtyPilllows, along with some influencer posts and in-store displays.

UGC/influencer collaborations like these, as well as brand collaborations, allow DTC brands to tap into each other’s customer bases and create unique offerings that appeal to a broader audience.

Practical application:

If you are an e-commerce brand, you can make the most of this trend by actively seeking partnerships with complementary brands or influencers in your niche, to expand your reach and tap into new customer bases. Brands that resort to influencer/content creator collaborations and co-branded initiatives to create unique offerings; manage to successfully tap into new customer bases and create a niche for themselves in the marketplace.

Another example of a successful DTC brand X influencer collaboration is when Gymshark partnered with athlete Whitney Simmons to create a workout clothing line tailored to her fitness routines, combining Simmons’ influence with Gymshark’s expertise in activewear.

Tool recommendation: Aspire.IO or GRIN

Platforms like Aspire.IO and GRIN enable brands to manage and scale influencer marketing efficiently. DTC brands can utilise AspireIQ or GRIN to identify influencers, automate collaborations, and track the impact of influencer campaigns on brand growth.

2. Personalisation for customer experience

Personalised marketing practices to enhance consumer experiences are another pivotal trend this year. Consumer-facing brands are focusing on creating personalised shopping experiences for consumers based on previous shopping, search, and browsing history.
Popular health-tech company Fitbit for instance, utilises user data to curate and offer personalised workout plans and nutrition recommendations through its app, enhancing the overall fitness experience for its users.

Practical application:

To leverage this trend, you can use consumer data and insights to create tailored shopping experiences for your users. You can now enhance your website by using smart landing pages and dynamically customising content based on user behaviour, preferences, and location.

Simply invest in AI-powered tools to automate personalised recommendations and messaging to your target group.

Another ace example of personalised marketing is the DTC skincare brand Curology, which provides customised skincare formulations based on customers’ skin concerns and goals, leveraging AI algorithms to analyse user data and offer tailored skincare solutions.

Tool recommendation: Optimizely or Segment

Optimizely helps brands with A/B testing and personalising user experiences on websites, whilst Segment collects user data to provide insights that can personalise customer interactions across every channel.

3. Tech stacks and AI-optimised consumer experiences

Generative AI and technological tools that help reduce manual workloads, automate repetitive tasks and leverage zero and first-party data are becoming increasingly popular among DTC brands.
Leveraging this trend, Fashion brand Stitch Fix does a good job of using AI to personalise their consumer’s shopping experience. The brand employs machine learning algorithms to analyse customer preferences and provides personalised clothing recommendations, improving the consumer’s overall experience.

Practical application:

Integrate advanced technology stacks and AI solutions to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences. To optimise efficiency, you can explore tools like Tableau and Google Analytics for data analytics, inventory management, and customer relationship management.

Tool recommendation: Salesforce Commerce Cloud or Adobe Experience Cloud

Salesforce Commerce Cloud also offers AI-powered solutions that can help brands personalise shopping experiences and streamline operations, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Adobe Experience Cloud also provides tools for data management, targeted marketing, and customer journey analytics.

4. Diversified branding

DTC brands didn’t always believe in upper-funnel spending but the same has now changed! Brands now understand that investing in brand awareness can help reduce CPAs and improve ROAS amongst other long-term metrics over time.
Whilst ‘ugly ads that don’t look like ads work’ is still a valid war cry in DTC advertising, 2024 has seen DTC brands move away from generic aesthetics and create unique brand identities. E-commerce brands are now embracing unique brand designs​ by strongly associating themselves with their brand’s values.

Practical application:

You can create a strong brand identity for your brand by embracing brand marketing that allows you to differentiate your brand in a crowded market. You can also use social media to invite your users to participate in your brand campaigns by sharing their experiences; to inculcate a sense of brand loyalty amongst your consumers.

One standout example of this is my LOLA, a feminine care brand that leveraged deep learning and upper funnel branding through programmatic efforts. By focusing on display advertising in specific geographical areas and targeting their primary demographic efficiently, my LOLA achieved a significant 30% increase in point-of-sale (POS) sales, showcasing the effectiveness of their brand awareness campaigns and unique branding approach.

Tool recommendation: Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud

Canva is a popular tool that helps brands create distinct visual content easily and helps enhance social media presence and ad creatives. Adobe Creative Cloud offers comprehensive tools for professional-grade design, video, and web content that can establish a unique brand identity.

5. Going global

Thanks to e-commerce platforms that have made international selling easier than ever​; DTC brands are now expanding beyond domestic markets. This global expansion has opened up new growth avenues whilst also allowing brands to tap into emerging markets.

Practical application:

By embracing global expansion, your e-commerce brand can also reach new customers and increase its market share. Just like the health brand Peloton managed to expand its reach beyond the US market by launching in international markets like the UK and Canada, offering its connected fitness products and digital content to a global audience.

Tool recommendation: Shopify Plus or BigCommerce Enterprise

Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise offer multi-currency support and help streamline international operations, making them ideal for DTC brands looking to expand globally without compromising user experience.

6. Traditional retailers testing DTC

With the changing consumer preferences​​ and growing popularity of e-comm marketing, traditional retailers are now embracing the DTC model or acquiring DTC brands. This shift allows them to appeal to different customer segments and expand their market share.
Apparel retailer Nordstrom made this shift and acquired e-commerce brands like Bonobos and Casper, allowing them to operate within its stores and reach a wider audience through its established retail network.

Practical application:

If you are a traditional retailer, then by embracing the DTC model your brand can also leverage building direct relationships with its customers.

Just the way health and wellness retailer GNC, recently embraced the DTC model and launched a direct-to-consumer website to complement its brick-and-mortar stores, offering a seamless shopping experience and personalised product recommendations to online customers.

Tool recommendation: Magento Commerce

Tools like Magento Commerce, for instance, support omnichannel solutions that allow traditional retailers to integrate e-commerce seamlessly into their existing operations, thus helping traditional retail brands effectively and seamlessly adopt the DTC model.

7. Product diversification

DTC brands are diversifying their product lines to mitigate risk and stay competitive. This involves expanding personalisation options or venturing into complementary product categories.
For instance, the men’s grooming brand Dollar Shave Club has done a great job of embracing this DTC trend. Originally disrupting the shaving industry with its subscription-based razor service, Dollar Shave Club has since expanded its product offerings to include grooming products such as shaving cream, aftershave, and skincare items. This expansion allows Dollar Shave Club to cater to the broader grooming needs of its customer base and increase customer lifetime value.

Practical application:

If you are an e-commerce brand you can also leverage product diversification by expanding and venturing into complementary product categories. This will allow your brand to appeal to a broader audience and reduce your reliance on a single product or category.

Just like the mattresses brand Casper expanded its product line to include pillows, bedding, bed frames, and even dog beds. By offering a comprehensive sleep ecosystem, Casper has strengthened its brand presence and diversified its revenue streams within the sleep industry.

Tool recommendation: PIM (Product Information Management) systems like Akeneo or Salsify

Tools like Akeneo help manage product information across multiple channels, ensuring accurate and consistent product details, which is crucial when diversifying product lines.

8. Subscription-based models

The subscription-based model is an already established DTC trend, that helps e-commerce brands as part of their customer retention strategy. However, 2024 has seen a significant push for this model; especially with the growing popularity of health tech!
A brand called Hims, offers subscription-based telemedicine services for men’s health issues, providing a convenient and discreet way for customers to access medical treatments and prescriptions.

Practical application:

If you own an e-commerce brand; not just in a beauty, health tech or healthcare but even if you are a fashion/apparel brand; you can still build customer loyalty and a steady revenue stream by offering product subscriptions. Just as the fashion retailer Rent the Runway offers subscription plans for designer clothing rentals, allowing customers to access a rotating wardrobe of high-end fashion items for a monthly fee.

Tool recommendation: ReCharge or Subbly

ReCharge and Subbly both specialise in managing subscription services, offering seamless integrations for recurring billing and customer retention, crucial for subscription-based e-commerce.

9. Augmented Reality for enhanced consumer experiences

The use of Augmented Reality (AR) in marketing is part of a broader trend where brands leverage digital tools to create immersive, engaging and personalised shopping experiences for their customers.
The use of AR helps consumers visualise themselves using the products before purchasing, which significantly impacts their buying decisions. Just the way, beauty brand Sephora integrates AR technology into its mobile app, allowing users to virtually try on makeup products and experiment with different looks before making a purchase.

Practical Application:

By leveraging the AR DTC trend for your brand; you can also create immersive digital shopping experiences for your consumers and thus stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Tool recommendation: ARKit or Vuforia

ARKit and Vuforia are both great tools brands can use to create augmented reality experiences that can be integrated into apps or websites, enhancing your brand’s online shopping experience by allowing your customers to visualise products in real time.

10. The rise of social commerce

As new platforms and technologies emerge, social commerce will continue to thrive in 2024 and beyond. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest now facilitate online shopping, and paid advertising campaigns on these platforms are becoming increasingly popular.

Practical application:

If you are an E-commerce brand, you must invest in social media channels where your customers are active.

Just as Fyi! An e-comm brand has leveraged this DTC trend by prioritising a seamless shopping experience on Instagram, utilising the platform’s checkout features to encourage purchases directly within the app. Their strategy includes engaging visual content and influencer collaborations, making the shopping experience quick and integrated.

Tool recommendation: Sprout Social or Hootsuite

Tools like Hootsuite facilitate managing social media interactions and campaigns, streamline content scheduling, and monitor social commerce metrics, helping brands optimise their sales strategies on social platforms.

To sum up, in this article we’ve delved deep into the top ten DTC trends for 2024, offering actionable insights for e-commerce brands aiming to leverage these developments. By embracing influencer collaborations, personalisation to optimise consumer experience, advanced tech stacks, and diversified branding, we believe DTC brands like yours can significantly enhance their market presence.

We have also listed tools like AspireIQ, Optimizely, Salesforce, and Shopify Plus amongst others that will enable effective strategy implementation, and ensure your brand is adapting to the changing consumer demands.

We’ve also listed trends like subscription models, employing technologies like AR and social commerce platforms to help position your DTC brand at the forefront of innovation and customer engagement.

Top 10 direct-to-consumer trends: A comprehensive guide for savvy founders in 2024

The direct-to-consumer marketing model first emerged in the mid-2010s, with the popularity of easy-to-ship items like skincare, makeup, and fashion. In the post-pandemic climate, however, the DTC model truly soared, driven by advancements in tech and significant changes in consumer shopping habits. Today, higher-priced and more complex items like smart home technology, food, beverages, and health tech are also succeeding in the DTC paradigm. With evolving consumer behaviours, the DTC landscape has already seen substantial growth this year and the industry is expected to see more excitement in the second half of 2024.

Like most things, the DTC landscape is being shaped by evolving consumer preferences and innovative marketing strategies. It’s no longer just about selling directly to consumers; it’s about creating unique and personalised experiences that resonate with target audiences. As we step into Q3 of 2024, let’s look at the latest DTC trends and practices that seem to be shaping up the DTC market. Tech stacks, personalised marketing, and consumer behaviour trends are proving to be key elements in this evolving landscape.

1. Collaboration is key

Generating awareness remains a significant challenge for new businesses. DTC brands are increasingly leveraging collaborations to boost their reach. For example, Solo Stove, a fire pit and grill manufacturer, collaborated with Outer, an outdoor furniture company, to enhance their exposure. UGC/influencer collaborations, as well as brand collaborations, allow DTC brands to tap into each other’s customer bases and create unique offerings that appeal to a broader audience.

2. Personalisation for customer experience

Personalisation and personalised marketing practices are a pivotal trend this year in the DTC sector. Brands are focusing on creating tailored shopping experiences for consumers based on previous shopping, search, and browsing history. For example, smart landing pages now adjust content based on the user’s physical location. According to the Salesforce Consumer report, 80% of customers believe the experience a brand provides is just as important as the quality of its products and services.

3. Tech stacks and AI-optimised consumer experiences

Technological tools that help reduce manual workloads, automate repetitive tasks, and leverage zero and first-party data are becoming increasingly popular among DTC stores. Generative AI is also enhancing customer experiences, with 81% of customers expecting faster service as technology advances, and 73% expecting better personalisation. The integration of these technologies into e-commerce tech stacks allows for more seamless and efficient operations and consequently better consumer experiences.

4. Diversified branding

DTC brands didn’t always believe in brand marketing, the same has now changed! Whilst ‘ugly ads that don’t look like ads’ is still a valid war cry in DTC advertising, 2024 will see DTC brands moving away from generic aesthetics and creating unique brand identities.
The shift from bland, pastel-themed branding to more varied and adventurous designs helps with brand recognition/awareness and allows brands to connect with their specific target audiences more effectively. Embracing brand marketing allows brands to differentiate themselves in a crowded market and create a strong brand identity.

5. Going global

Facilitated by e-commerce platforms that have made international selling easier than ever; DTC brands are now expanding beyond domestic markets. This global expansion has opened up new growth avenues whilst also allowing brands to tap into emerging markets. By embracing global expansion, DTC brands are now keen on reaching new customers to increase their market share.

6. Traditional retailers testing DTC

Traditional retailers are embracing DTC models or acquiring DTC brands to align themselves with the changing consumer preferences. This shift allows them to appeal to different customer segments and expand their market share. By leveraging DTC models, traditional retailers are keen on building direct relationships with their customers and offer unique products and services.

7. Product diversification

DTC brands are diversifying their product lines to mitigate risk and stay competitive. This involves expanding personalisation options or venturing into complementary product categories. For example, Burrow, which started with modular couches, now offers a variety of home items. Product diversification allows brands to appeal to a broader audience and reduce their reliance on a single product or category. Another trend that is about to be massive this year.

8. Subscription-based models

Subscription-based models are an already established, customer retention strategy for DTC brands but 2024 will see a significant push for this model. Many e-commerce companies are planning to offer product subscriptions in the near future as they provide a steady stream of recurring revenue and help build customer loyalty.

9. Augmented Reality for enhanced consumer experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) is becoming increasingly popular among marketers and the same is true for DTC brands. The use of AR to enhance consumer experiences and to help consumers visualise products before purchasing can significantly impact their buying decisions. By leveraging AR, DTC brands are creating immersive shopping experiences which is helping them stand out in a crowded marketplace.

10. The rise of social commerce

Social commerce is set to continue its upward trend as more consumers turn to social media platforms for their shopping needs. Nearly 98% of online shoppers plan to make at least one purchase on social media, according to Sprout Social. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest now facilitate online shopping, and paid advertising campaigns on these platforms are becoming increasingly popular. It’s crucial for ecommerce businesses to invest in social media channels where their customers are active. As new platforms and technologies emerge, social commerce will continue to thrive in 2024 and beyond.

In conclusion—as the DTC space matures and the competition heats up; the direct-to-consumer (DTC) landscape in e-commerce promises to only get more exciting.

The e-commerce trends shaping the DTC ecosystem encompass—collaborative efforts to expand brand reach, personalised marketing strategies enhancing consumer experiences, and the integration of advanced technology stacks and AI for streamlined operations. Diversified branding strategies are also emerging, facilitating unique brand identities amidst a competitive DTC market. Moreover, global expansion initiatives and the adoption of subscription-based models are also set to reshape the e-commerce business models. Augmented Reality (AR) is revolutionising consumer engagement, while social commerce continues to soar.

Delving deeper into these trends; we’ve decided to put together the practical applications of each trend and detail the requisite strategies you can employ for effective execution in this ever-evolving DTC world.

  1. Collaborative partnerships: You can make the most of this trend by actively seeking partnerships with complementary brands to expand your reach and tap into new customer bases. Resort to influencer/content creator collaborations and co-branded initiatives to create unique offerings.
  2. Personalised marketing: Brands can leverage consumer data to create tailored shopping experiences. Implement dynamic content on your website and socials based on user behaviour and preferences. Invest in AI-powered tools to automate personalised recommendations and messaging.
  3. Tech Integration: Adopt advanced technology stacks and AI solutions to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences. Explore tools like Tableau and Google Analytics for data analytics, inventory management, and customer relationship management to optimise efficiency.
  4. Branding Differentiation: Resort to brand marketing to develop a distinctive brand identity that resonates with your target audience. Embrace creative branding strategies that set you apart from competitors, fostering brand recognition and loyalty.
  5. Global Expansion: Expand into international markets using e-commerce platforms that facilitate seamless cross-border selling. Conduct market research to identify new opportunities and adapt your strategy to local preferences and regulations.
  6. Subscription Models: Implement subscription-based offerings to foster customer loyalty and generate recurring revenue; if you haven’t already. Provide incentives such as discounts or exclusive access to incentivise sign-ups and retention.
  7. Augmented Reality Integration: Use AR technology to create immersive shopping experiences that allow consumers to visualise products before purchase. DTC brands like HiSmile and Glossier have done a great job of using AR. You too can invest in AR tools and applications to enhance engagement and drive conversions.
  8. Social Commerce Strategies: Capitalise on social commerce by optimising your presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Utilise paid advertising campaigns and shoppable posts to drive traffic and sales.

By actively implementing these actionable insights, DTC brands can stay ahead of the curve and drive growth by capitalising on the trends we’ve listed in this article.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Which e-commerce platform is better?

Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the world’s most popular eCommerce platforms, between them boasting 5 million users who generate billions of dollars a year. But with key differences between the platforms, which is right for your eCommerce business?

Setup and UX

Shopify is geared much more toward the public, while WooCommerce has been created with designers and programmers in mind. WooCommerce entails a far steeper learning curve for business owners, whereas Shopify guides you automatically through a step-by-step setup process, at the end of which you’ll have a fully functioning eCommerce site.

Shopify’s dashboard is easy to navigate. It’s intuitive to add new products, not least because of the simple guide advising you on what details to add. WooCommerce’s dashboard is also easy to navigate and add products to, but since it’s not a subscription-based platform you’ll need to perform some integrations before you can get underway:

  • purchasing a domain name
  • finding a hosting account
  • installing WordPress
  • finding and installing a WordPress theme

These integrations are better performed by someone confident with the platform and who knows what plugins to use.

Design and themes

When you sign up for Shopify you get immediate access to over 70 free themes, as well as several paid themes, all of which are visually striking and easy to implement. There’s also a ton of design elements to explore. You might choose to purchase a theme from the Shopify store for a one-off fee.

Over at WooCommerce are hundreds of themes and designs, which can be automatically programmed to be mobile-responsive. However, with WooCommerce it takes longer to ensure your website’s design is clear and easily navigable, because every plugin has its own unique user experience to learn. On the other hand, WooCommerce is the best platform if you’re looking for a more custom layout for your eCommerce site—as long as you have the requisite time and money for its development.

Costs

Shopify has a 14-day free trial period, after which you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee. Its Basic package is $29 a month, its medium Shopify package is $79 a month, and its top-of-the-range Advanced package is $299 a month. All plan prices are paid annually, and include web hosting and SSL, the standard technology for keeping your internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data. If you want your own domain name without your URL containing the brand name (such as Shopify), you’ll need to pay an additional $14 a year.

With Shopify, the entry-level package allows two users per account, along with unlimited product and storage space. However, it doesn’t include the use of in-platform third-party tools and add-ons. And remember, with Shopify there’s a sliding scale for transaction fees. With the Basic package you’re charged a flat fee of 2% for all transactions, while the range-topping Advanced package entails a flat fee of only 0.5% on transactions. Depending on the sales volume you’re processing, it might be worth upping your package to retain more of the overhead profit on your offerings.

Meanwhile, WooCommerce offers a free initial service, but you’ll need to pay for additional services like SSL certifications, domain names and one of the many WordPress hosting accounts. Costs for these services vary from $5 to $30. Purchasing a domain name costs an average $9 a year. Depending on how you mix and match your third-party apps for WooCommerce, you can create a website at a fairly low cost, although bear in mind you may find yourself needing to pay for several extensions in the future, like SEO plugins.

Support

While Shopify and WooCommerce both offer support, Shopify’s is much better. Shopify has a 24/7 customer service team, able to give you a fixed solution to your problem by virtue of the fact it operates on a closed platform. This results in better-documented user errors. On the other hand, as an open platform WooCommerce allows anyone to integrate add-ons, but this means the support team simply can’t have a predetermined solution for every lodged issue.

SEO

SEO is vital for making your eCommerce website discoverable on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Shopify has a builtin SEO plugin and helps with basic practices, like web copy and metadata. It’s also important to note that Shopify sites load faster than WooCommerce sites, and site speed is an important SEO ranking signal. However, because it’s integrated with WordPress, which is designed specifically for blogging, WooCommerce is easier than Shopify when it comes to altering URLs, alt tags, body content, meta descriptions and lots of other on-page elements.

Dropshipping

When starting an eCommerce website you need to ensure your customers are actually receiving what they ordered. This means integrating delivery vendors into your site. Shopify has several popular options, the costs of which vary, as well as its own monthly membership fees or one-off costs for dropshipping—although then you’re limited to the platform’s own plugins. Whereas with WooCommerce you can browse hundreds of options and decide what you need. For example, if you’re a small business with only one or two deliveries a month, the best choice will be per-item delivery as opposed to a monthly subscription.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: which should you choose?

Shopify is incredibly easy to use from the beginning, and enables you to optimise your website for search within hours. It’s a more complete package than WooCommerce for business owners with neither the time nor inclination to learn more technical skills. However, Shopify is less customisable than WooCommerce because it’s a closed platform.

WooCommerce has become the behemoth of eCommerce platforms it is today because it’s basic but customisable, meaning you can build a more creative interface. Of course, creativity entails the cost of hiring a developer, which offsets the fact that WooCommerce is free in itself.  WooCommerce is suggested automatically when you register an account with WordPress, giving new users an easy route to getting started. However, WooCommerce is perhaps less intuitive than Shopify—or at least requires more development experience—so you may need to devote more time to building your online store than you would with Shopify.

Shopify is the eCommerce platform for you if you want:

  • a myriad of integration options
  • lots of easy-to-use apps and features
  • an all-in-one platform that gets everything running quickly
  • a helpful and enthusiastic support team ready to assist you with any problems

…Whereas WooCommerce will be right for you if you:

  • already have a WordPress website or plan to create one
  • are particularly focused on ranking well for SEO on Google’s SERPs
  • want to take more control of your eCommerce store or have the time to pore over its design details
  • are especially interested in finding a platform that’s highly adaptable and can be scaled up by magnitudes

Choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce depends on your budget, objectives, your target audience, the experience of who’s building your website, and who will be editing and managing it. Both platforms are fantastic at what they do, and as long as you understand the inherent limitations of whichever you opt for, you’ll have an aesthetic and intuitive eCommerce website going live in no time at all!

Webflow vs. WordPress: Which website builder is better?

There are so many website builders to choose from, but most of our clients use either Webflow or WordPress. Despite having similar functionality, they’re markedly different products—which is why today we’re comparing the two so you can see which is right for your business.

Webflow… is easier to set up

As a cloud-based all-in-one SaaS product, Webflow has everything you need to get your website live.

It’s easy to get your account set up: simply follow the step-by-step tutorial. A short survey will assess your level of coding experience, asking you a few questions about your knowledge of CSS and HTML. Then the Webflow bot walks you through using the tool, highlighting the most important areas you’ll need to know about and what they do. You can click to read more, or start building your site when you’re ready to go.

WordPress entails a clunkier setup, not least because it won’t be hosting your website as part of a package and therefore you’ll need to find and pay separately for a host and domain—and identifying a suitable host can be tricky.

Once you have your host, you download WordPress as a one-size-fits-all version which comes with instructions for installation described as ‘basic’—although many non-developers might feel otherwise.

While many web hosts offer WordPress installer tools to simplify the process, it’s never going to be as easy or seamless as an all-in-one package like Webflow.

WordPress… is free (in its basic form)

WordPress is an open-source web platform, so it’s free to use—technically. But you still have to pay a third party to use WordPress—for hosting, domain name, and usually plugins and templates (which WordPress calls themes). This is assuming you don’t have a web developer to design and build your site from scratch—but of course, dev time is also far from free!

Your total expenditure for a WordPress website can creep up if you’re after something more than basic, because of the associated costs:

  • custom domain: $10–$30 a year
  • hosting provider: $2–$15 a month
  • preset theme: some are free, some cost up to $200 a month—or alternatively, you may wish to go all-out and hire a designer
  • plugins: many are free, but premium plugins cost $40–$200

To be clear, Webflow isn’t free either, but one upside to the platform is that you pay for everything you need to build and host your website in a handy monthly package. The price you pay depends on the tier of the package, but you’ll always know upfront what it’s going to cost:

  • Basic package: $14 a month, billed annually
  • Standard eCommerce package: $29 a month, billed annually
  • Business package: $39 a month, billed annually
  • Advanced eCommerce package: $212 a month, billed annually

Webflow billing is split into two categories: Your site and Workspace—but as the Workspace is where you build and manage websites, the latter billing category is mainly for consultants working on multiple website projects at once.

Webflow… is more accessible to non-developers

If you’ve never built a website before, Webflow will ease you in—especially if you’re a designer or content manager, as the platform is visually oriented and requires almost zero code.

If you’re not using a preset template, you’ll build using drag-and-drop building blocks called containers to construct the various sections of your website. Within these containers are elements, like headings, buttons and images, which you style using classes.

With Webflow, the code is still there, and you can access it if you want, but you can build and manage your website without ever having to look at it, too. But if you tried building a WordPress site without a preset theme and no coding experience, you’d probably never get the thing off the ground. However, as WordPress’s preset themes are fairly inflexible, you’ll get more out of them if you know at least a little HTML. You can integrate a visual drag-and-drop design builder plugin like Elementor on WordPress—making it work more like Webflow, incidentally—but you’d need to pay for the plugin package, which is where the endeavour might start getting pricey.

WordPress… is better for blog hosting

There’s a reason so many blogs are hosted on WordPress: that was the platform’s original raison d’être when it was launched back in 2003.

WordPress is incredibly easy to work with when it comes to blogging. With its Gutenberg editor you can build blogs using blocks, which contain text and other media. It’s a simple and intuitive system.

While Webflow does have a CMS package, it can’t hold a candle to WordPress. Its editor isn’t the easiest to use, and it lacks many of WordPress’s advanced features, such as the comments section, and the ability to categorise and add multiple tags to posts. Webflow just isn’t built with content-driven businesses in mind—which is totally fine if that’s not what you’re about, although even then it’s worth bearing in mind in case you want to build out your blog in the future.

Webflow… offers customer support

Because you’re paying a monthly fee for Webflow, you benefit from new features, continual product improvements and customer support, the latter being especially handy if you don’t have in-house developers to call on when something goes wrong.

WordPress, on the other hand, is an open-source platform, so there’s no customer support available. That being said, the platform’s been going so long that a raft of free resources has accumulated on easily accessible websites like WPBeginner, although naturally nothing compares to realtime assistance from a dedicated customer support team as you’ll enjoy with Webflow.

WordPress… caters better to marketers

If you have a team of marketers who will be working on your website daily, WordPress is the platform for you, not least because it can handle an unlimited number of users.

Webflow enables you to edit on-page, which is a nice touch, whereas on WordPress you always need to make changes to pages via the CMS dashboard. But generally, Webflow simply isn’t built to support the level of activity possible on WordPress. With its CMS package you can have up to three ‘guest editors’, but the free and Basic packages don’t allow any editors whatsoever, meaning you’ll also be working from a single login. With the most expensive package you can have up to 10 editors. (Technically you can have more if you opt for a custom plan, but that’s when things start getting seriously pricey.) Even the nomenclature of guest editors speaks to the fact that Webflow considers marketers from within the company using the CMS as ‘guests’ to the website.

The two platforms’ different approaches to SEO optimisation also reflect their target users. Much of the SEO performance on Webflow is generated automatically, negating most of the manual work. You simply define a pattern using things like title tags and meta descriptions, then all pages in that collection will use that pattern to generate SEO settings automatically. This setup suits designers who don’t want to be thinking about writing metatags and other SEO-related tasks.

Meanwhile, over on WordPress is the Yoast plugin, which is either free or $99 annually for the premium version. This caters far more for marketers, because rather than doing anything automatically Yoast highlights keywords and guides you to create higher-quality content that’s as SEO-friendly as possible.

Webflow… offers more design freedom

Webflow is aimed at those with little or even no coding experience, often visually oriented designers and marketers who don’t want to be limited by code. Webflow therefore gives you a lot of freedom to design your website. You have the same level of customisation on WordPress too, of course, but if you’re not confident with coding then you’ll need a developer’s help to realise your vision.

Because of this setup, Webflow has far fewer preset templates than WordPress—1,000 vs 10,000 respectively. WordPress’s templates are out-of-the-box, whereas with Webflow’s templates you need to want total control and freedom over designing your website yourself.

Making changes to your Webflow design is easier post-build than on WordPress. Webflow utilises classes to style elements, such as headings, buttons and images, and you name each class—Big heading, Medium heading, Small heading, for example. Then if you want the text to be bigger for all your Big headings, you simply search for the class in the righthand menu, where you can make changes to its size, spacing and layout. These alterations are then applied automatically across all elements using that class. You can do this with CSS in WordPress, but the platform doesn’t offer no-code design tweaks unless you integrate a visual drag-and-drop design plugin.

WordPress… integrates better with other tools

WordPress is specifically designed to be used with plugins, and at present there are 60,000 available. WordPress plugins make integrations native: you don’t need to leave the platform to add them—simply go to the plugin menu on the dashboard and browse the thousands of options. Installation is performed with a single click!

In contrast, the premise of Webflow is that you have everything you need ready to go in a single handy package—no need to integrate any add-ons. You can still pull other tools into your Webflow website using code snippets, whereby you embed code into the backend of your site—but since Webflow’s strength lies in the fact you barely need code to manage your site, these code snippets are a workaround at best. Moreover, you’ll need to work with the third-party software separately, as it won’t be fully integrated into Webflow.

Webflow vs WordPress: which should you choose?

Webflow is the website builder for you if:

  • whoever’s building your site has little to no coding experience
  • you want to get your website up and running fast and with minimal effort
  • you’re new to website building and would benefit from customer support
  • you want to be able to make custom design changes to your website without having to call on a developer

…Whereas WordPress will be right for you if:

  • you have coding experience or the budget to hire a web developer
  • you have an existing tech stack you want to integrate into your website
  • you have a team of editors or marketers who will be contributing regularly
  • you want to host a blog or plan to frequently add new content pages to your site

Choosing between Webflow and WordPress depends on your budget, objectives, the experience of who’s building your website, what you plan to use the website for, and who will be editing and managing it. Both platforms are fantastic at what they do, and as long as you understand the inherent limitations of whichever you opt for, you’ll have a fabulous and SEO-worthy website going live in no time at all!

Top 5 AI tools to enhance your marketing

You’d be hard-pressed to find any company, big or small, that’s not either using or at least considering AI tools to promote its brand and business—if only because that’s what the competition’s doing. But with so many tools to choose from, it can be tough knowing where to start. That’s why today I’ve collated the 5 best AI tools which have helped our clients reap immense rewards—and in rapid time.

An AI marketing tool is simply any platform or software that draws on AI to automate decisions based on your customer data, then analyses it and implements it according to your business goals and current market trends.

The goal of using such a tool is pretty much universal: anticipate the buyer’s next move—sometimes even before they know it themselves. This is all done in real time, and with no human supervision or intervention necessary. It’s this capacity to automate decisions at lightning speed that makes AI marketing tools formidable and game-changing. They crunch unimaginably large chunks of information from email, social media and the internet at large to bridge the gap between data and the actionable solutions you need to enhance your sales and marketing campaigns.

There are endless AI marketing tools to choose from, and it can feel overwhelming even trying to research them. So let me offer you a cheat sheet—the 5 finest AI marketing tools with which I’ve had firsthand experience of generating epic results for clients.

1) Flick

Price

7-day free trial, then:

  • Solo: £11 a month
  • Pro: £24 a month
  • Agency: £55 a month

Standout features

  • Post scheduling
  • AI idea brainstorming
  • Autosuggested hashtags
  • On-brand AI caption writing
  • Hashtag Search and Manager

Flick AI Social Media Assistant is a powerful tool designed to help marketers streamline the brainstorming, writing, and planning of their social media content. And by virtue of its 7-day free trial, users can create engaging and entirely on-brand content more easily than ever.

With Flick you can ideate around distinct content concepts, arrange and schedule your posts with a single click, and turn lengthy pieces into bitesized nuggets ready for sharing. And with Flick’s autosuggested hashtags and Hashtag Search and Manager, you’ve got every base covered when it comes to effective content management and visibility enhancement.

Flick is simple to set up, and even offers 24/7 support. It’s trusted by over 100,000 brands, marketers and content creators worldwide, who love how the tool saves them time, boosts their results, and improves their social media presence.

2) Phrasee

Price: Custom quote

Standout features

  • Dynamic content
  • Predictive analytics
  • Engagement metrics
  • Content management

Phrasee’s focus is brand language optimisation—that is, enhancing the language companies use for their brands online. Phrasee utilises a natural language generation system and machine learning algorithm to produce copy not only for socials but also for email and even push notifications. The result? Human-sounding copy that’s both effective and on-brand.

Phrasee is already turning heads in major places, counting Virgin and Domino’s among its fast-expanding client base.

3) GrowthBar

Price

  • Standard: $29 a month
  • Pro: $79 a month
  • Agency: $129 a month

Standout features

  • SEO
  • Meta generator
  • AI blogging tools
  • Paragraph generator

GrowthBar automates content generation using GPT-3, the first AI technology to pass the Turing test—that is, a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of a human. GrowthBar suggests links, images, keywords, word count—and that barely scratches the surface. It’s capable of providing extensive backlinks and creating outlines for blogs. There’s also a Chrome extension.

4) Optimove

Price: Custom quote

Standout features

  • A/B testing
  • Campaign insights
  • Hypersegmentation
  • Multichannel tracking

Optimove is a customer data platform packed with AI-based marketing functions. It helps collect data from a multitude of platforms to form a unified view in one handy dashboard, where you can analyse your information, share it with your team, and leverage it to execute more precise marketing strategies.

Optimove uses a proprietary AI tool called Optibot, which scours all your customer data to generate actionable insights. Optibot can suggest which of your campaigns aren’t worth continuing with based on loss, and inform you when customers are potentially being exposed to excessive company comms.

Optimove must be doing something right, counting among its clients John Hardy, Sweaty Betty and the New York Racing Association.

5) Jasper

Price

  • Starter (20k words): $40 a month
  • Boss Mode (50k words) $82 a month

Standout features

  • Machine learning
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Content generation
  • Tone of voice settings
  • Customisable templates

Previously called Conversion.ai, Jasper is an advanced AI marketing tool designed to create high-quality ad copy, emails, articles, landing pages and social media posts. Like GrowthBar it draws on GPT-3 to produce human-sounding text, and comes with built-in templates for PAS, AIDA, BAB and FtB. All you need to do is insert your brand or product name, and voilà!—on-brand copy, ready to go.

And as if that weren’t enough, if you’re an eCommerce brand you can even use Jasper to create product descriptions whether in meta or bullet point form, all at the click of a button.

What are the benefits of using an AI marketing tool?

Creating realtime personalisation

Today’s customers expect you to know what they want. This is an area where AI marketing tools come into their own, empowering you to adapt your sales and marketing strategy to generate a personalised experience for any given customer. Using predictive analysis, AI gains an exponentially better understanding of each individual shopper’s behaviours and buying habits. Imagine that power—being able to guide a customer to exactly the product that best suits their preferences, and at the precise time they want it most.

Automating tricky decisions

Data is everything in modern marketing, so being able to automate the gathering, analysis and implementation of your data is beyond powerful. For example, you can ascertain with great accuracy how your audience would react to a message before even having to launch it. Think of how many headaches that’s going to save you.

Increasing ROI

AI tools enable marketers to maximise the amount of information they produce while minimising the costs of other campaigns. At the same time they offer deep customer insights, and throw light on what your customers really want. What’s more, with AI tools you can group warm leads and guide them to move forward in the buying journey, ultimately boosting your odds of making a sale—and transforming ROI for your business.

Saving time and money

Every business owner is on the lookout to save money on their marketing campaigns. So while an AI marketing tool may be a sizeable investment to begin with, it pays dividends by cutting heaps of costs down the road. With an AI tool in your arsenal you can work faster and more efficiently, because you’re no longer having to pay staff to do the majority of the manual work. Instead of hiring a full team you can just recruit people for those tasks that absolutely can’t be performed without human supervision. And ultimately, AI massively reduces the chance of human error, too.

If you haven’t invested in AI marketing tools yet—the time is now

AI itself is nothing new—for years companies have been looking for ways to apply automation to accelerate their processes, streamline their systems, and draw ever more actionable insights to boost revenue. What is new is the power of these up-and-coming technologies—and the fact that investing in AI is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. So as a business, it’s vital to become conversant with AI marketing tools to stay ahead of the competition. In no time at all you’ll be honing a prosperous and futureproof brand.

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