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Brands Must Become More Strategic in Times of Rising Customer Acquisition Costs

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The dominance of online shopping has intensified competition between retailers, leading to increased CPC and advertising costs. According to a new report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, digital advertising spending grew 12.2% in 2020. The number of buyers and the cost of attracting each have increased while the economy’s instability negatively affected the companies’ incomes.

At the same time, users want more transparency and control over how their data is used. After Apple announced the new privacy update and recent iOS 14.5 release, Google also decided to phase out technologies to track individual users’ data for targeting ads and investments in such technologies by 2023. The same goals are being pursued by the data protection regulations that have appeared globally over the past five years.

The removal of third-party cookies will affect all players in the advertising industry. Traditional approaches to digital advertising and monetization will become less effective. Back in 2020, Facebook already had warned that the Apple iOS limitations could be expected to reduce ads’ revenue by 50%. If companies do not offer an alternative option, this will significantly limit targeted advertising possibilities and increase customer acquisition costs.

How Ecommerce Attracts New Customers in Times of Ad Uncertainty

1. Narrowing down targeting methods

Promotion tools: Media and PPC advertising, advertising in social networks.

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Advertising should be personalized and target interested users. It is necessary to study the audience and draw up a detailed portrait of a potential client. Since targeting is becoming less available, explore new ways to gain customer data:

  • Second-party data
  • MAID targeting (Mobile Advertising ID)
  • Lookalike modeling
  • Unified ID solutions

A/B test targeting options in dedicated ad platforms like Google Ads and AdEspresso help marketers choose the most effective ones. Most digital marketing companies that provide PPC services run data-driven testing to maximize the client’s budget and optimize conversion rate. Collecting data from different platforms will help to select advertising that will produce the best results at the lowest cost.

2. Offer personalization to retain existing customers

Promotion tools: Email newsletters,banner advertising, advertising in social networks.

Each customer has a total number of conversions they can make through their customer lifecycle. It is important to distinguish the stage to make a more personalized offer after completing the first conversion. The easiest way not to lose the personalization vector is to automate it. For example, Barilliance offers personalization throughout the customer journey, while CloudEngage helps recognize user intent and offers personalized options based on customer behavior.

The different values of each buyer divide the audience into groups, allowing the brand to create special offers and programs for each. Personalized email offers and discounts increase customer loyalty and positively affect profits. Up to 78% of users who participate in loyalty programs recommend the brand they love and generally they make up 55% to 70% of sales.

3. Taking advantage of organic search

Promotion tools: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The advantage of an optimized ecommerce website is high rankings in organic search that earns free and relevant traffic. The volume of such traffic should exceed the one from paid advertising.

SEO techniques are aimed at tailoring the site to the search queries of the target audience, in particular to make content relevant to the requests of potential customers, and to improve the trustworthiness and performance of the site. Another benefit of SEO is traffic stability. Unlike ads, an optimized ecommerce site that ranks in the top 10 in the search query can receive more clicks and reduce overall customer acquisition costs in the long term. Marketers can check website traffic via dedicated SEO tools like SE Ranking and HubSpot. If the marketer has any traffic fluctuations, it is about time to audit the website on technical SEO, usability, content and backlinks. Constant search engine optimization will help to dominate organic search.

4. Building brand identity with content marketing

Promotion tools: Website content, social media.

Content is an effective tool for increasing brand awareness, attracting new customers and informing and keeping in touch with the current audience. Compared to ads, content marketing costs are lower, while the quality of traffic and the conversion rate it brings are higher.

To interact with the audience, different types of content are used: articles for the company’s blog, texts for thematic ecommerce resources, publications in social networks, videos for YouTube, etc. Don’t know how well-optimized content is? It can be analyzed via affordable tools (like Hemingway, for example). With the help of content, ecommerce brands can convey the value of the product and its benefits, increase their authority and get loyal customers.


Alina Tytarenko is part of the marketing team at SE Ranking. She likes sharing her experience in marketing techniques, link building, content marketing and SEO with readers.

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