Home Depot Sponsored Product Ad Campaigns – Making the Most of your Marketing Spend – What to Expect from the new PromoteIQ Platform – EP11

What you’ll learn:

In today’s episode we dive deep into the new Home Depot Advertising Platform, PromoteIQ. Luke talks about the new PromoteIQ features, what makes it different from other ad platforms out there, and how this new shift in services will affect your consumer product brand (for the better).

About our guest:

Luke Peters is the founder of five companies. Skilled at taking a product from concept to high-volume sales at Home Depot, Lowes, Wayfair, Walmart, and Amazon. He is also the president and CEO of Retail Band, an expert r-Commerce agency that works with select brands to manage and accelerate their online business on retailer platforms such as Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, Wayfair and Walmart. Retail Band started the Page One Podcast. It is a weekly Podcast and as the host, Luke interviews a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from channel strategy, tariffs, influencer marketing, product launches, and the details about how to grow ecommerce with big box retailers. Luke is the President and CEO of NewAir Appliances, Inc. which ranked as one of the fastest-growing private companies (Internet retailers) in America for three consecutive years.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • An overview of the new Advertising Platform on Home Depot – 2:05
  • What makes PromoteIQ different and how it will affect your business – 2:54
  • Why brands should consider using Ad Platforms across all retailers – 6:23
  • What are In-Grid ads and how will they help you – 7:12
  • The two major reasons to use PromoteIQ and features unique to it – 7:50
  • The future of geo-targeting through Home Depot – 9:37
  • Essential features to understand about PromoteIQ – 10:05
  • The shocking data difference between PromoteIQ and Criteo – 10:59
  • How to think about the long-term benefits of your ad campaigns – 11:33

Podcast Transcription

Welcome to the Page 1 Podcast, a weekly podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from channel strategies to tariffs, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate your eCommerce sales with the big box retailers, or what we call rCommerce. Now here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Thanks for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast where we talk about online channels like Home Depot, Wayfair, Walmart, and all of these other big box retailers, how to grow your sales, how to optimize sales and everything in between the portals, the advertising platforms. And today, I have a special solo cast and what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about Home Depot advertising platform changes that have just happened. And are you driving your listings with HD’s ad platforms? Are you using analogous to what’s happening on Amazon? Are you getting the most out of your platform and your products? And we’re going to dive deep into this subject today. The Page 1 Podcast is sponsored by Retail Band. Do you need help growing your online channels like Wayfair, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and all this other big box retailers? We can do that from start to finish with your account. We can manage your products, all of your product launches, and all of your account management. And for more information, contact us at retailband.com.

Back to the podcast, this podcast today, it’s going to be, I mean, honestly, it’s kind of a little bit of a nerdy podcast. So this may not be for everybody and I’ll forewarn you, but at the same time, I’ll pose this question to you. If you’re selling at homedepot.com do you want to make more money on homedepot.com? Then you will want to listen into this and see this new advertising option, and honestly, most folks don’t even know this even exists. So let’s get right into the big change here in the advertising world of Home Depot and that is that Home Depot has dropped Criteo, who was primarily serving the ads for homedepot.com as its preferred ad platform. And now, PromoteIQ is now serving the new ads on Home Depot, and interestingly, PromoteIQ is owned by SpotFront, which was acquired by Microsoft. So I just kind of curiously thought that was interesting and kind of says something about the company, if Microsoft is purchasing them and Home Depot is switching over to them.

So I’ve got a few thoughts later on about the changes that we’ve seen, why that’s going to be important, and maybe what we might see in the future and some of those ideas have already been talked about or they’re kind of out there already and we’ll get to those. Okay, so let’s talk about the main differences. So this change happened on September 16th. And on August 8th, Home Depot dropped Criteo, so there was a little bit of a gap. And, by the way, if you’re running a Criteo campaign and you’re wondering why your ROAS or ROI essentially dropped off and you look back into early August and all of a sudden you see a drop and you see a drop maybe even in spend or clicks, impressions, whatever, all the different metrics that you’re following, that’s probably what happened. And the interesting thing is, I mean, there’s quite a few differences.

So we’re going to dive into the details, I told you. I warned you up front this is going to be a bit of a nerdy podcast. And Criteo, one of the main faults was you couldn’t tell which retailer your ads were going to and the results on each of those individual retailers. The reporting wasn’t great and that was a main complaint, even on our side. I guess you could measure your ROI, but honestly, in the back of your mind, you’re wondering if you can trust these numbers. You don’t have anything tangible that you can track it back to. The best option, honestly, truthfully, that I got from our external account manager was, “Well, you can turn it off for a week and see if your sales change.”

And you don’t get a lot of confidence when that’s kind of the answer that’s given to you. But we still were getting results and we felt we could tie those indirectly to sales and so we were moving forward. And then we did notice that the results dropped significantly and that was right at the time of this change that we just talked about. So let’s go through a couple of the major changes. So, again, apparently the main reason that Home Depot made this change was to improve the reporting aspects. I’m sure there’s other things behind the scenes. PromoteIQ now gives you the ability to see all this reporting and it’s based off category and not keywords. Okay, so let me just repeat. It’s based off category. That’s going to make it a lot easier honestly to run it. But we’ll see what happens down the road. Hopefully, they get down to the keyword level, because it’s going to give those running the campaigns a lot more flexibility.

You can now control where your ad placements show up on Home Depot. This is huge. You couldn’t always do that with Criteo. You kind of could. Some things you had to get approval on the back end to get done, or they would force you into it ad placements that absolutely were not profitable. Okay, so now you can choose. You want to be on the home page, category page, sub-category page, and sub-sub-category page. So you have a few different areas and basically, it’s taking advantage of some of the HD features on the website and in the location, I’ll get into this where it’s showing, is there is some indication that it’s actually showing in some of the organic results and for sure it’s showing down at the bottom of the page. So you’re not going to get top of page placement yet. And again, at the end we’ll talk a little bit about what I think is going to happen in the future.

So for this time period, we’re seeing a ROAS. So we’ve been working directly within this campaign and we’re finding 10X return. So ROAS of over 1000, which is a big increase from what we had been seen on Criteo. Criteo was actually performing even better at the very beginning and then we kind of saw a drop off and it’s really hard to explain why some of these advertising campaigns are dropping off. And then, of course, when they dropped Home Depot it got even worse. So when comparing it to AMS, and I guess that’s worth a quick conversation right now, and we did a podcast earlier on Wayfair sponsored products so everybody’s familiar with AMS on the Amazon side and the Google product listings and text ads, Facebook advertising. Those are the biggest ones.

But Walmart has their own platform, Wayfair now has their own platform, and Home Depot has its platform. And everybody is pretty much taking a cue at least from Amazon, I guess it all started from Google, but they’re taking the cue there because these retailers are able to drive a lot of margin through their advertising platforms and as brands we have to remember that. We have to factor those margins into our products when we’re launching new products and think about what that’s going to end up costing us. So we’re going to turn this into a blog and we’ll have some graphics to show and you can check that out at retailband.com. And we’ll have some graphics to show exactly where the placements are and how they’re showing up in the sponsored listings. And what they call it is they have in-grid advertisements and that, in their terminology, is where the products show up in the organic search.

Currently, there’s not a lot of competition. I mean, we’re seeing Dyson vacuums, we’re not in the vacuum category. There’s only one or two kind of in the beverage categories. Cost per clicks are around 50 cents or so right now, and you get a ton of impressions. Not a huge click through because it’s down at the bottom of the page. And, again, I’m diving really deep into this. I’m hoping any folks that are actually running some of these advertising campaigns, you’re going to get some value. And on the back end, if this just sounds like jibberish and isn’t helpful, well, you’re still going to want to learn how to run this campaign for your products because not only is it are you going to get incremental sales, but you’re going to drive up. I mean, think about the strategy here. If you run this campaign and you invest, say, 5, 10% of your sales into this campaign, or that may be on the high range, but still, on a new product launch, you’re going to drive the organic ranking of that and it’s going to pay off for you big time.

And if the ROAS is this high, you’re not losing any money on that investment that I was speaking about earlier, about 1000% or higher. So more details about this program is the campaigns can be set on an individual product level. Okay, and that’s another big advantage over Criteo. Criteo would let you put products in there, but it would kind of alternate your products or you wouldn’t really be able to specifically sell or advertise a certain product on a certain retailer. So PromoteIQ on Home Depot is allowing you to do that. It’s a big advantage. There’s a 5K minimum per campaign commitment and here’s some just interesting features that you can get. A brand specific ROAS and sku level attribution. Just huge to have that and really track your advertising costs. Addition of sponsored banners, which will be a different template and when it’s clicked it’s going to lead to a brand filter search just for your brand.

Again, if you just think about what that means, you can actually do that with AMS, by the way, in some of the advertising and kind of create your own landing page within Amazon. And so it looks like you’re able to do the same thing here in Home Depot. I mean, that’s for a brand and you’re going to have all of your branded skus on that page. That’s a huge advantage right there. And you also can do some dynamic retargeting ads, are built into this platform. But I think a future development and something that’s really unique is you’re going to be able to do geo-targeting. So think about if you have a seasonal business, think about if you have a weather dependent business and you’re able to do geo-targeting within Home Depot, it’s going to be super powerful. It’s going to really push a higher ROI. You’re not going to be wasting ad spend into areas that you think your product won’t sell into.

You can target by audience in the future and then eventually, hopefully, by keyword. A couple more essential things to understand about this platform is that sponsored ads show up on category page as well. Amazon category pages do not have ads. AMS does offer the ability to see trends and keywords and impressions, but PromoteIQ only allows you to see impressions of your campaigns. Placement of ads is not ideal, as mentioned earlier. Amazon kind of shows at the top of the page with their AMS platform and these are kind of spaced throughout the bottom of the page. I mean, as a prediction, I would definitely look for that to change in the future, especially when retailers like Home Depot realize that this is a pure profit generator and if customers aren’t bothered by advertisements at the top of the page, it’s probably going to end up that way in the not so distant future.

There’s currently not a lot of competition, all of these things, just like Wayfair sponsored products. This is the perfect time to jump into this stuff and versus Criteo, so in our comparison, again, this is data in early October, 2019 that we’re seeing a click through rate of three times higher on this platform versus Criteo. So, even though it’s at the bottom, I guess, Criteo was at the bottom too, but what I think what’s lost in this is that Criteo was throwing a lot of advertising spend into certain pages that nobody was ever going to, and you didn’t have control within the backend platform to adjust for that. And you have more control here with PromoteIQ. So lots of advantages. I know it’s kind of a nerdy little specific thing we’re talking about here, but there’s so many ways to play this on the strategy side.

And I mean, the key and obvious way is just to promote new products, especially in this world of tariffs where there’s a lot of new product launches and having a way to move those products up to page one is probably the no brainer way to think about it, but then also to drive your campaigns. And it might be cheaper promotionally to put some dollars into this versus running the standard promotions that you might be running with your retail partners. So thanks for listening to this solo cast and a special episode on the big advertising change at homedepot.com. Hopefully, this provided some value to you guys and I just want to say that I really truly appreciate any of your reviews on iTunes. It means a lot to me. It’s a great way for the podcast to get some notoriety, so thanks for that and we’re doing great so far.

And, again, the Page 1 Podcast is sponsored by Retail Band. All of the things we talked about today, all of the advertising platforms we run, we can run these for clients, the cost to you is minimal. We take over the operations that you’re already paying your internal team to do and when you consider that and the growth that we’re going to drive, it’s basically a lateral move. It’s not costing you more, but you’re getting more in sales, you’re going to get more in profit, you’re going to be more efficient, and we can manage everything from the sku level. And if you want to learn more about that, please go over to retailband.com. And I just want to thank you, everybody for listening today and see on the next interview.

Thanks for listening to the Page 1 Podcast with Luke Peters. If you like our show and want to know more, check out our other segments. Also, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to learn more about rCommerce? Check out www.retailband.com to get more great tips and tricks on how to accelerate your eCommerce sales with the big box retailers.

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