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May 21, 2023
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Saturday, October 8, 2022

We all have a spreadsheet or two that lives in the depths of our Google Drive 😂

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 When you should and shouldn’t bid against heavy-hitters

📦 Customer insights so accurate you could bet your job on them with Attest

📦 Capitalizing on the buzz your brand gets online

📦 Loop's new Consumer Report: How Returns Impact Customer Retention to learn how you can leverage returns to boost customer retention now

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

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Google Suite

We’re back again to smell the roses and search for the thorns of DTC perfume brand Phlur. We’ve tapped the Pilothouse Google team to do a deep dive into their Google Suite to see what’s working and what they’d suggest for improvement.

🛍 Shopping

Phlur is bidding against a heavy hitter, the well-known beauty retailer Sephora. Sephora sells Phlur’s products for the same price, meaning Phlur’s got some stiff competition. 💪

When searching for Phlur products, the only listings we see on the main search page are from Sephora. However, Plur does rank above on the ‘Shopping’ page!

When selling products through such a large retailer, sometimes it’s best not to bid on your brand name at all. 👀

Why? Competing against a brand with a considerable ad presence is tricky, and your efforts may prove to be fruitless when your products are already selling through another retailer’s ads. 🤷‍♀️

If you’re a brand that needs to gather data on your audience to grow the data pool in your Ads and/or Analytics account, bidding on your own branded terms may be a necessity!

If that's the case, the Pilothouse Google team recommends looking toward scale rather than a target ROAS bid strategy, which an eCommerce retailer may be tempted to utilize.

Let’s be real here. You’re not looking to compete with a brand as big as Sephora. 😔 What you’re looking to do is get eyes on your products!

This is where the target impression share bid strategy really comes in handy. The team wouldn’t recommend using this bid strategy outside of brand searches, but when hitting as many searches as possible is the intention, target impression share can’t be beaten. 🏆


Make consumer research easy (and accurate to boot)

Beyoncé: Who runs the world?

Marketers: Consumers!

When running a DTC business, learning what motivates your consumers to buy is…well…everything.

But, keeping a constant pulse on consumer sentiment through detailed research is a skill reserved for the Einstein of the world, right? 🧠

Wrong. Fortunately for DTC brands, there’s Attest.

Attest is a consumer research tool that gives your brand quick and easy answers to your most pressing consumer questions. They accomplish this through innovative research tech that offers on-demand access to 125 million consumers.

But, that’s not all! Attest doesn’t leave the human research element out of the equation. A team of those “research Einsteins” regularly check the data to make sure you’re getting insights so accurate you could bet your job on them.

👉 Ready to truly get to know your consumers? Check out Attest now.

Google Suite

🔐 Build trust with the “Trusted Store” badge

Even with all the eyes in the world peeping your product, ads are useless without trust. Shoppers love legitimacy, so give ‘em what they’re looking for!

Make sure you bulk out your ads with product reviews (*woot woot* social proof) and shipping information. 💫

See if you can spot the difference between Sephora’s ad (left) and Phlur’s in-house ads (right) for the same product: 👇

We trust you see the difference. 😉 Notice that little “trusted store” badge?

The badge isn’t something you can simply apply for but is something to consider as a retailer.

🚨 Your brand is automatically given this badge once meeting certain customer satisfaction criteria using Google’s Shopping experience scorecard program.

These metrics include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Return policy
  • Seller rating
  • Shipping speeds

Want more info on getting that Google blue tick? Check out this nifty article from Google here. 👈

If you’re not sure where your brand stands, you can track the information in the “Overview” page of the Google Merchant Center. If you haven’t yet been awarded the badge, there will be a rankings overview for you showing where opportunities for success are.

Not only does this badge help with consumer trust, it will also give your products a boost when bidding against similar listings by businesses without it!

🔎 Search ads

In case you didn’t know, us DTC peeps are way up in the north! We don’t have any ads in Canada for Phlur yet… but we also know that they’ve just recently launched international shipping. 🌎

When searching for “phlur” in the United States, they consistently rank above Sephora in Search ads, and the ad content seems much more relevant to shoppers. 👇

Phlur’s ads have a great suite of Sitelink extensions, and the Pilothouse Google team is very happy to see the usage of image extensions as well. These provide a killer CTR boost at no extra cost. 💸

We noticed that Phlur’s Search ads don’t show on any branded search terms beyond just “Phlur”... at least, from what we can find.

From our analysis, their top organic terms are all searches for their “Missing Person” perfume which blew up on TikTok earlier this year.

However, there are no ads to be found for a search of “phlur missing person” 👥. Instead, we’re only shown ads for their products at Sephora.

We’re not sure if this is intentional, as we mentioned before that bidding against yourself can be ill-advised… but this could be an excellent opportunity for a Search campaign experiment! 🕵️‍♀️

In a Search campaign experiment, Google Ads will allow you to test directing a set percentage of your traffic to a different bid strategy, such as target impression share.

Testing a bid strategy intended for overall reach may yield some interesting results contrasted against a bid strategy meant for returns. 🤯


Know exactly what motivates your customers to buy

You don’t need a crystal ball to learn exactly what your customers are thinking and what will motivate them to buy. 🔮

What do you need? The most recent report from Loop.

Loop wanted to find out exactly how the post-purchase experience impacts buying habits. So, they surveyed over 1,000 online shoppers to find out.

What did they find out? 🤔

  • 96% of consumers review return policies before making a purchase
  • 54% say they’re unlikely to purchase from an online retailer that doesn’t offer free returns
  • 57% have stopped purchasing from a brand after a bad return experience

Before you finalize your holiday campaigns, take the time to download Loop’s report. It’s worth it. We promise.

👉 Read Loop's new Consumer Report: How Returns Impact Customer Retention to learn how you can leverage returns to boost customer retention now.

Google Suite

🕸 Web traffic

If we’re honest, Phlur could use some scaling, at least on the paid side.

Their paid traffic to the site nearly matched their organic traffic back in October 2019. But since then, they haven’t seen anything close to that level. 🚗

Their organic traffic exploded from April to May 2022, growing nearly 9x in less than a month. That’s no surprise, given that their products launched on Sephora’s online site at the end of March 2022 and hit in-store shelves on April 8th, 2022.

The Pilothouse team recommends capitalizing on this buzz as much as possible and heavily scaling paid ads during times of high intent or when lots of buzz is generated.

This would have been an incredibly valuable opportunity to gather third-party data going into Q4. But wait! With their organic traffic levels still increasing steadily each month, it’s not too late.

Shoutout to the Pilothouse team for the always stellar insights.

That’s a wrap on part three of our Phlur Brand Breakdown! See ya next week for part four.


🍫 Awake Chocolate: Not a coffee drinker but need an extra boost to beat the morning or afternoon slump? Try Awake Chocolate! Their bars contain the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee—no bitterness included.

🍝 Lazy Food Co.: We can’t all be good at everything. If whipping up a meal in the kitchen is not your forte, Lazy Food Co. has you covered! Their easy-to-make plant-based packaged pastas are your one stop shop for a simple, filling, and Italian-inspired dinner.

🍷 Wednesday's Domaine: If you want the taste of wine without the alcohol (and all those pesky calories), Wednesday's Domaine is for you! They’ve created two flavors of low-calorie and alcohol-free wine. “Not drinking? No problem!”

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🧦 Making a 5X Return on Affiliate Sales with Rob Fraser from Outway Socks.

🔋 Two Hacks to Increase Subscriber Conversion by 50% with Tea Drops and Recharge.

🦷 Thinking in Billions with Josh Elizetxe Founder of Snow Oral Care.

👟 Retail Giant Steve Madden on Retention at Scale with Hannah Sinclair and Bluecore's Sarah Cascone.

💄 Growth vs. Customer Experience: Cody Plofker and Eli Weiss from Jones Road Beauty Weigh In.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight. Edited by Claire Beveridge and Eric Dyck.

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