4 E-commerce Advertising Trends to Watch | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

4 E-commerce Advertising Trends to Watch

By Jay Kulkarni


As the endemic consumer is rapidly changing, modern brands seek to leverage all of the tactics at their disposal to engage customers. One of the trends we've seen over the past two years is a drastic rise in e-commerce and social commerce utilization across retail and direct to consumer brands. As e-commerce continues to take over the marketplace, brand marketing teams will need to better understand the buyer journey in the modern consumer experience-centric era.

As part a holistic plan, retail marketing teams will need to develop a robust omnichannel strategy that engages consumers across the bevy of digital touch points in their day-to-day lives. As part of that omnichannel micro-moment packed plan, teams will need to develop e-commerce advertising that entices and informs today's consumers.

Let's look at current trends in e-commerce advertising that brand marketers need to take on to ensure success in the consumer experience driven modern era.

Create Hyper-Personalized Social Media Experiences

Modern consumers are utilizing social platforms like never before, creating a boom in social interactions from sharing information to shopping. With a reported 34 percent of customers purchasing products directly through social media and trend data predicting that this will only increase in adoption over time, it is clear that social media platforms are one of the best ways to engage with consumers.

TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest have become the central social media interaction and engagement hubs. They are rapidly changing the game for marketing products on social, especially for retail and D2C brands. With these popular social platforms, new methods and mediums for marketing have emerged and evolved to give birth to the age of user experience driven marketing. Endemic consumers crave interaction, ease of use, personalization, and engaging content and these social channels give them all of that and more with just a few clicks.

Agile e-commerce marketing teams are adopting these channels into their omnichannel strategies, developing hyper-personalized, engaging content via influencers, interactive video, trending audio, shoppable ads, videos, and playables to engage a wide range of consumers when and where they spend their time digitally.

And this is only the beginning. The growing popularity of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are giving way to the emergence of new holistic marketing opportunities across virtual open worlds like the metaverse. Looking to the future, it is clear trends centered around customer experience-based virtual marketing strategies within the metaverse and similar open virtual worlds will enhance engagement within retail and D2C marketing methodologies.

Make It All Happen with Interactive and Dynamic Creatives

User experience is a key theme in the modern endemic era of marketing. Brand marketing teams are constantly looking to engage consumers on a personal level, creating a brand experience that customers can relate to on a personal level. This is a tall order for any team, especially when you add in the element of hyper-personalization to the mix. Brands must look to the evolving capabilities of interactivity within user interfaces by leveraging dynamic creative optimization (DCO) and campaign automation that allows them to:

  • Create a wide range of marketing materials tailored to their diverse consumer groups
  • Effortlessly launch materials across relevant platforms to the right consumers
  • Automate the creation of repetitive elements required in campaigns
  • Utilize brand marketers' time for more creative ideations and strategies

In order to enable this type of marketing methodology at scale across an increasing number of channels and content mediums, many teams are integrating automation methodologies like dynamic creative optimization (DCO) and campaign automation into their workflows.

This allows teams to create a wide range of marketing materials tailored to their diverse consumer groups and launch them across relevant platforms while freeing up manual time spent on the repetitive elements required. This not only enables the team to grow their marketing output exponentially, but it also enables brand marketing teams to utilize their time for more creative ideations and strategies.

The core of marketing and advertising will always lie in the creative and artistic elements that humans bring to the process. However, enabling growth of interactive and dynamic content production through automation methodologies is key to optimizing the successful strategies of today and building winning strategies for the marketing landscape of tomorrow.

Meet Customers Where They Are on Google and Retail Media Networks

A simple fact about modern consumers is that they do their research and they do it extensively. With a wealth of information at their fingertips, consumers have adopted researching products and brands as part of their buyer journeys. Understanding how to use this to your advantage is key to your brand's success.

Savvy marketing teams are turning to Google Advertising to get in front of their ideal consumers. They're also looking to newly-minted Retail Media Networks to reach audiences when and where they are virtually shopping. With a bevy of options across the Google network to enhance advertising to shoppers researching your product or products like yours, investing marketing dollars in Google Advertising across search and display, Google Shopping, and Google Shopping, and Google Reviews is a no brainer for e-commerce brands.

Additionally, the emergence of retail media networks has created a new way for brand marketing teams to advertise to their ideal buyers within a retailer platform when and where they are looking to purchase.

Investing in ads that display alongside similar or related products allows brands to showcase their products and give shoppers side-by-side price comparisons within the big retailer digital ecosystem when they are at the point of adding to cart. Retail and D2C brands that master this practice are sure to succeed in engaging with and capturing more customers at the point of purchase.

Utilize Enticing Methods to Simplify Purchase and Increase Spend

One thing that has become crystal clear over the past few years is how much modern consumers want easy, feasible, and rewarding ways to purchase from brands. Successful retail and D2C advertising is about more than putting products in front of customers. Successful brand marketing strategies provide affordability, simplify the checkout process, and reward loyalty. Many modern retail and D2C brands constantly optimize strategies to boost satisfaction and loyalty, knowing full well that loyal customers mean increased lifetime values and higher revenues. These strategies include tactics like:

  • Building customer loyalty programs
  • Offering Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options
  • Optimizing easy-to-navigate pre-sell pages
  • Touting virtual try-ons and closets

Retailers utilizing link outs to pre-sell pages with checkout on page from their ads simplifies the checkout process for customers, which typically increases the odds of customers returning to their brand for future purchases. Implementing BNPL and virtual try-ons within your e-commerce marketing strategy will enable customers to easily interact with your products and purchase larger cart values of products with ease.

Launching or optimizing a customer loyalty program that generously rewards your returning customers heightens customer retention and when done well, increases customer lifetime value immensely. All of these elements are again centralized around creating the best user experience possible to help attain new customers and increase customer retention.

What It All Boils Down To

Endemic consumers are at the helm when it comes to trends for e-commerce marketing and advertising. As social and e-commerce shopping continue to rise in popularity, brand marketing teams must fully understand the wants and needs of their core customer bases and stay ahead of the trends to succeed.

From leveraging new trending social platforms and launching interactive ads across big-name ad networks, to using automation for scale and constantly building out their omnichannel strategies, e-commerce brands must scale their methodologies while creating the ideal customer experience at the forefront of their mission.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Jay Kulkarni is the founder and CEO at Theorem.