8 Ways To Optimise Ads & Drive Conversions: June 2019 Shopify Meetup

At Shopify’s second meetup in WeWork’s office, industry experts from Google, Facebook, ROAS Media and more shed light to an enthusiastic crowd of seasoned and aspiring merchants on the use ads to drive conversions.

Hoolah x Shopify Meetup saw more than 140 participants at the event.

Following the success of its initial meetup in January, hoolah and Shopify jointly organised their second meetup (“The Growth Meetup: Optimising Ads and Conversion”) in June. Held at WeWork’s office along Anson Road, the event saw industry experts from Facebook, Google and ROAS Media, and established merchants from SecretLab and BOW for Bold coming together to engage in a dialogue aimed at fostering greater sales conversions through digital advertorials.

The second meetup comes timely after hoolah’s announcement of its 100thmerchant collaboration and this time, it invited more than 140 participants — consisting aspiring and established entrepreneurs amongst the ranks — over for a fruitful engagement and networking session. In case you missed it, here are the 8 key takeaways from the event:

1.       Improving ROIs and Efficiency on Google Platforms with Machine Learning

Akul Dewan (hoolah) and Nikhil Durgani (Google) answering participants’ queries.

With an estimated 20 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, Business Manager of Apps & E-commerce from Google Singapore, Nikhil Durgani, prompted attendees to ponder about the consumers’ behaviours in the realm of e-commerce. “Consumers today are impatient, more curious and demanding. How are we addressing their needs? How are we connecting with them?” he quipped.

Going on to reveal that an estimated 50% increase in the likelihood of users expecting to buy something immediately while on their smartphones (often via Google), Durgani encouraged attendees to leverage on Google’s “custom intent audience” and “remarketing” features.

Custom Intent Audience

Apply keywords, URLs (avoid links that require visitors to log in), apps, or YouTube content to your Display Campaigns to reach a specific group of online audience. That way, people who are researching with keywords relating to the products and services can get to know of your product ads with Google Ads that surface.


Monitoring millions of people searching on Google, Google will identify the ideal pool of audience who exhibit similar behaviours to those from your targeting list. Beyond finding potential new audiences, remarketing will also allow you to reach out to those who had visited your site as well.

2.       Using Next-Generation Formats to Drive Web Traffic

Web traffic is an excellent indicator of a brand’s popularity and the ease of access to webpages can translate to sales conversions too. Did you know that visitors abandon web searches when mobile devices take longer than three seconds to load a webpage?

The use next-generational formats, said Durgani, can help webpages load faster while consuming less cellular data. Consequently, incorporating Accelerated Mobile Pages (or ‘AMP ‘) — which loads 85% faster than standard webpages — can be used to drive more traffic as well.

3.       Improve Signalling and Ad Relevancy with Facebook’s New Offerings

Ruby Nguyen (Facebook) presenting her key strategies to increase conversions with Facebook.

Signalling and Ads Relevancy play a big part in raising brand awareness on social media. For Country Partner Manager of Facebook, Ruby Nguyen, the best way to do so is to rely on Facebook’s expertise in Machine Learning to yield results by improving target audience and optimise budget resource allocation.

Improve Targeting and Audience Expansion

With automative inventory ads from Facebook Prospecting, you can reach out to audiences, who have yet to engage with your products (but have interacted with similar inventories). Nguyen suggested increasing the budget for Prospect during festive seasons.

Adopting dynamic ads to promote your entire shop catalog might prove to be a worthy investment too. What you get is an ad that is automatically generated to showcase the most attractive products to the right audience and in doing so, have them express their interest by starting a conversation on messenger.

Prioritise Efficiency Over Control

Another suggestion from Nguyen was to enable Campaign Budget Optimisation which encourages Machine Learning to find the best asset to invest your budgeting money in order to reap the best results.

4.       Stand Out with Creativity

Although videography is an excellent marketing tactic companies adopt on their social media platforms, long videos may not necessarily make the most engaging media. Aesthetic plays a part and Nguyen suggested jumping on the minimalist and modern bandwagon with designs created from the Facebook’s newly launched Video Creation Kit.

5.       Maximise Facebook Pixel with ROAS Media

Rich Burns (ROAS Media) speaking to a group of curious participants.

Having left Facebook to found his own start-up, the CEO of independent ad-agency ROAS Media, Rich Burns, has much to share about the untapped potential of Facebook Ads. While there is a vast underlying misconception with Facebook ads today, Burns revealed that these ads are also under-priced as a result.

“Such unpleasant experiences blur the opinion of smaller brands that fail to realize lesser competition, and a growing user base means the prices are as low as they will ever be before bigger brands really start moving their billions on to the platform,” he wrote in a published article.

With greater focus on conversion and lead generation campaigns today, it is clear that Facebook has evolved to help business owners to focus on campaigns that befit their business objectives, well beyond the typical “Likes and Engagement”.

Facebook Pixel remains an important analytical tool for brands to utilise as they seek to engage greater conversions, reach more people, and measure success of past advertorials. More often than not, tracking consumers’ activities can shed insightful results to brands. From that, brands can in turn utilise automatic ad delivery on Facebook to reach even more audiences who are likely to take action.

6.       Detailing Your Consumers’ Journey Maps

Enlivening the crowd with an interesting bubble tea analogy (specifically, how the opportunity to customise the ingredients, such as the sugar level and type of boba, that go into a cup of bubble tea), Akul Dewan, who manages Relationship Success in hoolah, shared the importance of how letting consumers choose and optimise what they want may hold key to increasing conversions.

Akul Dewan (hoolah) interacting with a participant after his speech.

In encouraging attendees to analyse the thought processes that go into a consumer’s purchasing behaviour, Akul recommended using a Consumer’s Journey Map. Here, he detailed some important questions to ask consumers:

o   Who are they? How old are they? What are their goals and aspirations?

o   How did they research the product?

o   What criteria helped them make their purchase decision?

o   What was their experience like on your website? What can be improved?

Answers to the above questions are often excellent ways to locate the pain points and problems in a customers’ journey and key to finding solutions to solve them. Akul also revealed how many businesses struggle with potential customers filtering out right before they make payment. As it turns out, with a case study from Sonno, some just lack the purchasing power to afford a big-ticket item.

7.       Influencer Marketing and Consumers’ Reviews

While social media influencers are iffy subjects to engage in, they still do justice to brands looking for a certain amount of exposure. Revealing success stories from the past, Jufinnie Lim, COO of BOW for Bold explained two methods that work. “It’s either you get a macro-influencer (with more than 10,000 followers) or multiple micro-influencers (with 10,000 or less followers) to promote your product at the same time,” she said.

Eugene Chua (Secretlab) sharing his experiences with influencers marketing.

Adding on, Eugene Chua, the Head of Global Digital Marketing for Secretlab, revealed the importance of having customers reviews, both good and the bad, published on websites. “Authenticity from both media and consumer reviews is an important benchmark for the brand,” he said.

8.       Expanding Beyond Consumer Market

While targeting the right target audience to market your product can yield results, it pays heed to do more too. Often, expanding beyond your primary target audience can increase sales revenue as well.

Recounting an instance when a newly launched bag, initially targeted to aim a different crowd, received the favours of photographers who carry bulky gears around, Lim emphasised the importance of reaching out to different consumer markets. To do so, one can choose to retarget ads on Facebook or use email direct marketing for the latest product releases.

Keen to participate in our next Shopify merchant meetup? Follow our social media channels (Facebook/Instagram) to catch the latest updates, exclusive content, and more tips and tricks.

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