Commerce Advertising 101: The Most Essential Touchpoints During the Customer Journey

Users buying products online often obtain product information online, and make their purchase decision while online. For this reason, advertisers should keep in touch with potential customers throughout the customer journey. With the help of Commerce Advertising, they can give decisive impulses at decision-relevant touchpoints and thus make their campaigns significantly more effective.
Ante Letica • mrge
14. Dezember 2022
5 min read

Key Take Aways

Executive summary: 5 key take-aways for quick readers

  1. Commerce Advertising is a particularly effective tool in two stages of the customer journey – the Consideration phase and the Purchase phase.
  2. Advertisers who use “commerce content” in the Consideration phase significantly boost their effectiveness.
  3. Advertisers who have not used Commerce Advertising before the prospective customer compares prices, should do so at this stage (or before).
  4. Advertisers who do not offer coupons for products risk that prospects will decide to purchase from competitors.
  5. Publishers who consistently focus on the customer journey can monetize their content even more successfully.

Commerce Advertising formats are oriented to the actual usage behavior of the respective prospect, thus providing added value and not triggering frustration. In this article, we explain which touchpoints these are, and how advertisers can make best use of them.

The classic model of the customer journey consists of five phases: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy. It is particularly effective to use Commerce Advertising during the Consideration and Purchase phases.

Hands-on advice: Commerce Advertising during Consideration and Purchase

In our example, we’ll focus on a seasonally-independent purchase – many users are aware that they should wait for a discount period such as Black Friday or Cyber Week if the purchase is not urgently needed. For ease of reading, we will use “she” and “her” when referring to the user (the prospective customer).

Step 1

If the user is interested in a product, she typically starts by researching it on editorial websites – whether high-reach publishers’ offerings or niche blogs. There, she receives information that is relevant to her, which moves her forward on her journey to purchase the product. The respective editor writes about the pros and cons of specific goods, inspires the potential customer, and links to stores where she could complete the purchase at this point. We refer to all these offers as “commerce content”. Ideally, stores present themselves during this early stage of the customer journey.

Step 2

On the editorial pages, the user has informed herself about different products. On her customer journey, she arrives at a product review page. On this page, all relevant products are presented and evaluated on the basis of their advantages and disadvantages. As a result, she often decides to purchase a product now.

Step 3

The user begins to look for a place to purchase the product. Of course, she doesn’t want to spend too much money and decides to visit a price comparison site to find out where she can buy it most cheaply. At this point, at the latest, stores should be using Commerce Advertising to gain the prospect as a customer.

Step 4

Once the user has found an offer that appeals to her, she visits the relevant store. During check-out, she may be offered a coupon to get the product she wants at an even lower price. She then searches independently for coupons to save even more money. If she finds one – for example, on a coupon portal – she uses it, and finally buys the product. In terms of Commerce Advertising, the customer journey ends here.

Special tips for advertisers: Use commerce content and embrace coupon sites

Even though the customer journey and its touchpoints are familiar, many advertisers and ecommerce stores could leverage it much more effectively – with Commerce Advertising. The fact is: Users inform themselves via commerce content, i.e. audience-specific content on digital channels and digital sales platforms, and editorials on the desired products. If advertisers do not draw attention to themselves with Commerce Advertising at this stage, they decrease their chances of gaining a new customer in a particularly effective way.
Many advertisers are also averse to coupon sites. They argue that coupon providers only appear at the end of the customer journey, and then take a slice of the profit. But please be aware: If you don’t offer a coupon, a competitor might. And with the help of a coupon, they could make the sale even if their offer is actually more expensive.

How can publishers benefit from Commerce Advertising?

The relevance of the customer journey for advertisers is well-known. But why should publishers also try to cover as many touchpoints as possible?

It’s a fact: Content creators can optimally monetize their content with the help of Commerce Advertising. Bloggers who write about certain products can set links to the stores or brand sites where prospects can then buy the product. However, building a coupon or price comparison page is probably too much work for most bloggers.

The situation is different for the big news publishers, where journalists write product reviews, for example. This model is monetized using links to the stores (“commerce content”). In addition, many publishing houses have established their own coupon pages, price comparisons, or product comparisons via white-label providers. With this approach, users are kept on the page for as long as possible. Because of the SEO advantage, a white-label coupon page for news publishers makes perfect sense.

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Nikolaus Spitzy
General Manager & SVP Advertiser
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