a chat with our google shopping guru, matt patterson
Our go-to man for shopping, Matt Patterson, spends his time working with clients to optimise their shopping feeds, sourcing new platforms and techniques and leading his pod of PPC experts. We found out Matt’s thoughts on shopping and whether he believes advertising on Amazon has the potential to be as big as Google…
a little about Matt…
how would you describe yourself in three words?
I had to ask the team on this one and they said funny, kind and modest.
tell us an interesting fact about you…
I’ve lived in four different places: UK, Spain, Santorini and Chicago.
which is your preferred online shopping platform?
I’d say Google Shopping. Amazon is an interesting one though. It’s up and coming and I think it has the potential to rival Google but for now, I’d still say Google.
which platform influences your shopping behaviour the most?
I’d say Google Shopping again. You can search for a product and it’s instantly there. If the feed is managed effectively, you should get what you’re looking for within seconds. You’re even given a picture, price and information making it easy to make a fast purchase decision. However, although I say Google Shopping, in the last year or so, I have been more influenced to buy via Amazon. With Prime delivery where, in some cases, items can be delivered the same day, it’s something that’s bound to spark more and more interest, especially as the advertising platform continues evolving.
what does an average day look like for you?
There’s always something happening and it’s always busy, but I like that. Last year, the team structure was split up into ‘pods’ and this is working really well for us. I’m a pod leader so my role differs now compared to last year as management has become a key part of my responsibilities. Being a pod leader, I help my team look after budgets, their calendars, client accounts and ensure their projects are running smoothly. We use our in-house developed tool called HILDA to manage budgets and hours. HILDA helps us track accounts to ensure everything is always maintained as efficiently as possible. We also have a 10-minute team huddle every morning where we go through alerts for budgets and hours ensuring things are running smoothly for the day ahead. These processes basically allow us to monitor everything on a daily basis, so nothing goes unmissed.
what do you enjoy most about your job?
Most of all, I like the challenge. Each day is different and there is always something that challenges you. It’s never just come into work, do your job and go home. You get more out of your responsibilities whether that’s dealing with day to day campaign performance or working with the team. Being part of an agency, we have a portfolio of accounts to look after. Every account is different, every market is different and each one reacts differently which I find really interesting. I also enjoy having the responsibility of managing others as well. I’m more of a people person so I love being part of the team and helping the other technical account managers succeed too.
how has PPC shopping changed over the years?
It used to be free. When it first rolled out, it was a shopping platform where you could list your products as a business, but you didn’t have to pay if someone clicked on it. It evolved quickly from this point before launching into Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Over the years, it’s become more advanced and more tailored to individuals. As Google’s algorithm continues to advance, it has become more reliant on data which makes feed management even more important. The more optimised you can make your feed, the better, and that’s now become a fundamental part to the success of shopping.
We advise businesses that whoever’s managing your paid activity should also be managing your feed rather than having two agencies manage them separately. This cuts out the middleman, making everything streamlined and ensures the data is in one place. Using this approach means you can understand what’s performing well and what needs improving allowing you to act proactively. If two agencies are managing either one, it takes time and often a back log for the data to be fed from one to the other, by which point, opportunities may be missed.
what top tips would you give to an eCommerce business looking to start a paid shopping campaign?
Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate it. Start off with getting all the basics sorted such as your website and ensuring the product feed you’re pulling from your website ticks Google’s requirements. Once you have a basic campaign set up, you can then start looking at feed management and the optimisation side of things. Research around your platforms is really important too, just because your products sell well on Google doesn’t necessarily mean they will on Amazon.
It’s no longer a case of just having a shopping campaign running, you have to actually consider and maintain the feed too. Quite often, businesses don’t actually know where their feed is coming from or that they have to manage or optimise it.
last year, we saw social media channels including Pinterest and Instagram update their platforms to allow paid shopping ads. Do you think other channels will jump on this bandwagon?
Yes, I think it is an ever-evolving part of digital marketing in general. I think everyone at some point is going to have a dabble at launching shopping campaigns across various platforms to see how they perform.
there is a lot of talk about Amazon shopping becoming more and more popular, perhaps more popular than Google – do you agree?
Yes but I can’t see it being bigger than Google. I think Amazon has the potential to be one of Google’s biggest challenge as there is massive potential within it and I do think it’s only scraping the surface at the moment. From an eCommerce perspective, it’s important to do your research and understand whether you should be involved in both of them. On average, companies are allocating 14 percent of their media spend to Amazon and 21 percent to Google. I can only see this percentage gap getting smaller and eventually on par with or exceeding what people are putting into Google. Additionally, conversion rate is, on average, 10 percent and CPC’s are below £1.00, this is compared to a 3 percent conversion rate and a CPC over £2.00 on Amazon.
These are two of the largest companies in digital advertising and with some of the industry benchmarks coming out of Amazon right now, you’d find it hard not to be tempted from an advertising point of view.