Create impact with your digital marketing

How can you prioritise digital marketing efforts and ensure cross-channel impact for your digital marketing spend? Zoe Ripley, international marketing director at ChannelAdvisor, explains.

Digital marketing gets more complicated each year. With more channels, stronger competitors, and increasingly fickle customers, figuring out where to allocate your budget can seem like a guessing game.

Digital marketing is a broad umbrella that encompasses so much more than it used to. Text ads, product ads, comparison shopping engines (CSEs), organic/natural search, social media, retargeting networks, affiliates, and display ads are just the broad strokes. You’ll need a healthy mix of all these digital marketing channels if you want to stay relevant.

marketing table

Before you get started with determining your digital marketing spend, set your goals. It sounds simple, but your digital marketing strategies are directly related to your business goals. Would you like to drive conversions, build brand awareness, acquire new customers or drive local store visits? Chances are, you want all of these things, but you don’t have unlimited resources to focus on everything at all times, so it’s important to identify where you will start. Set goals that are easy to measure and then assess what digital marketing channels are important for your mix.

Sometimes consumers are actively searching for products like yours, and you need to target them while they’re interested. But other times, those consumers aren’t spending their online time actively shopping for products. During these times, you’ll need to target different and entice customers back into the shopping process. It’s the difference between intentional demand and latent demand that helps determine your channel mix.

Intentional demand channels, such as paid search, shopping, and product ads, are used to meet the consumer who is explicitly searching for a product. Latent demand channels, such as display or social, reach consumers who have shown some previous interest in a product or type of product but aren’t actively searching at the moment.

Paid Search

Paid search targets consumers who are actively looking for something that you’re selling. Where else can you advertise to potential buyers who have told you specifically what they’re looking for? In addition to experimenting with different keywords, make sure you also bid on long tail keywords — these are highly targeted, cheaper and more likely to convert.


Have great prices and looking to target the bargain hunters out there? Comparison shopping engines (CSEs) are the best place to reach consumers who are actively comparing offers on products you sell. Many CSEs also pay to have their listings show up on the Google results page in-text ads, so there’s a good chance you’ll get some additional advertising.

Product Ads

Like paid search, product ads are an extremely effective way to reach customers who have a clear idea of what they’re looking for and are actively searching for it. The visuals included in product ads are a bonus and can help your products catch the eye of a shopper quickly scanning a screen. Additionally, Google’s new Shopping campaigns give retailers more control over their Product Listing Ad (PLA) bids than ever before.


By sending your data feed to retargeting providers, you can direct your ads at the slightly more-than-casual shoppers who haven’t decided to buy from you yet (but who you’re hoping will change their minds). Sometimes retailers will use promotions to sweeten the deal, as well as targeted ad copy like “Come back!” or “You left something in your shopping basket!”


Social media is an inexpensive and effective way to start a conversation with people generally interested in what you sell. Not only can you promote sale prices or special events, but it’s also a way to keep directly in touch with consumers. You can use social media to determine which products spark interest and/or conversation and which products people are complaining about. Take the valuable information gleaned through social media and repurpose it throughout your other digital marketing channels.

Remember that there is no one perfect digital strategy for a business; each retailer is different and will require a constant recalibration of their digital strategy. The key is continuously measuring, analysing, and adjusting your strategy to find what works best for you and what helps you achieve your goals!

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