Digital Marketing News #117

Weekly Roundup #117 – Zara, App Fraud & Google Shopping

Here we are again, with five stories from the week in digital marketing… If you missed last weeks edition click here to find out about Europe’s successful startup scene, how search has become more individualistic and how to improve your website conversions. If you’re up to date with all of that, then read on for the following:


Zara’s Opens its First Digitised Shop

Zara has launched its first digital concept store at Westfield, Stratford. The large store, with two floors and almost 50,000 sq. ft of retail space has been designed to combine the best of the online experience with that of in-store shopping.

Having previously opened a pop-up store for the purchase and collection of online orders only, Zara has taken some of the lessons it learned in this space and replicated them in a larger, and more integrated way.

The normal Zara offerings of men’s, women’s and childrenswear has been improved with a dedicated area for purchasing and collecting online orders. By scanning a QR code or PIN code (that is generated upon placing an online order), customers receive their orders in seconds, thanks to the automated system and a robotic arm hidden behind the scenes.

Two automated online-order collection points are serviced by a system that can handle 2,400 orders simultaneously, and the robotic arm collects trays, organises the packages and quickly delivers the product to the customer.

Other developments include self-checkouts that automatically identify the garments are available, and interactive mirrors equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) that can detect the garment that the customer is holding, and suggest other products and items to match.

Pablo Isla, Inditex Chairman and CEO explains that,

“In recent years we have invested in both the most advanced technology and optimised our stores for this aim […] Our business model combines stores and digital seamlessly, and we are ready for the opportunities that this brings with current and new customers.”


App Ad Fraud is Costing Advertisers $19 Billion


Mobile apps advertising space was once considered a relatively clean area, however, according to a study by Juniper Research, ad fraud in apps could be costing advertisers $2.5 billion a year. Total ad fraud was estimated to have lost advertisers $19 billion in 2018, and app advertising is beginning to become a major component of this.

Click spam, ad stacking and click injection all result in wasted ad spend, skewed performance data and will divert the budget away from those channels that do perform well.

Other fraud tactics, such as app install farms, bot driven installs and compliance fraud are even more complex and difficult to combat as they mimic normal user behaviour and seem like a genuine interaction.

Media buying platform, lotech Global, discovered that fraud was a concern for almost half of mobile advertisers. Companies like Amobee, a Singaporean mobile marketer, now offer refunds to brands that encounter invalid traffic and bot fraud, however many believe that steps like these are not enough.

The ever-evolving nature of online fraud tactics makes it very hard to completely put an end to fraud, but there are definitely several ways to limit its impact…

  • If there is an atypically high number of conversions from one source, it will normally be the work of an app farm, bots or ad stacking. To prove that it is fraudulent activity, keep an eye on what happens after the install. Low levels of engagement, mass uninstalls, any in-app events that happen in mass and low value in-app purchases will point towards the installs not being genuine.
  • If you see lots of traffic from outside your targeted area, or a high volume of traffic with obscured parameters it will most likely point to fraud. Low conversion rates will follow and, with this type of fraud, low-value untargeted traffic is disguised as premium traffic to attract a higher payout.
  • Another suspicious behaviour that points towards fraud is if users never use the app, or immediately uninstall it. This process has become more complex, as fraudsters can now mimic post-install behaviour – so watching for patterns over time is a better indicator of fraud.

As mobile ad spend continues to increase, it becomes more and more important to set a high bar to stop fraudsters – furthermore, any anti-fraud strategy has to be flexible and adaptable to account for the evolution of app ad fraud.


Why Facebook has Deleted their ‘Trending’ Tab

Facebook Trending

Facebook has announced that it is closing its ‘trending’ tab, which shows the headlines from different news outlets in one place. Launched in 2014, the tool was popular with users and a way for Facebook to vie for the same attention as their rival, Twitter.

The trending tab came into hot water when right-wing groups accused the Facebook team who ran the tab of bias, which meant that Facebook changed the human-run team to an algorithm. Then, run by the algorithm, there was an influx of fake news stories – which were based on popularity rather than factual information.

In an effort to combat fake news on the site, Facebook has removed the tab – however, there are plans for an alternative, such as a breaking news label that publishers can add to their stories, and a stronger focus on more local news stories.

A Reddit-style up/down vote system is being trialled, and Facebook’s own streaming service, Facebook Watch, is set to be launched soon…


Telephone Calls: The Last Piece of the Customer Experience Puzzle

Customer Experience

As more and more people use their smartphones to assist them in almost every part of their lives, it should not be forgotten that people still use them to make calls.

Smartphone users often convert from a web search to a phone call – the volume of call conversions from digital ads has exploded recently – as it is a convenient and immediate method of communication.

It is predicted that by 2019 the number of calls from mobile search, social and display ads to businesses in the US will reach 162 billion – a 110% increase from 2014.

So brands must now make sure that their telephone experience matches that of the online and in-store service. And make sure you’re tracking your click to call CTAs.


How Competitive Search Intelligence can Optimise Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping

Google Shopping uses the search engine format to show products from online shopping websites instead of text or image results, and recent data shows that these Google Shopping ads drove 76.4% of retail search ad spend in the first quarter of 2018, beating text ads in markets around the world.

Google Shopping ads, or Product Listing Ads (PLAs), are growing in popularity – so how do brands maximise their return on investment?

Competitive search intelligence may be the answer. Instead of requiring a bigger ad budget, it will help to discover hidden opportunities that are more cost-effective.

Identifying where ad spend will have the most impact and where your competition’s weaknesses lie, and therefore where your own strengths lie, is vital to getting the most out of Google Shopping.

Comprehensive competitive analysis looks at data across categories, devices and ad types so that search marketers understand their share of clicks versus competition across the search market – including PLA. This analysis will make it clear where the most lucrative opportunities are, as well as showing what the competition is doing.

Finding a niche opportunity can result in a better click-through rate (CTR), which will have a positive effect on revenue – as can mitigating the impact of an encroaching competitor.

We take a look at six ways that retailers can optimise their PLA spend…

Machine Learning

Using AI and machine learning makes it possible to deal with the huge volume of data involved in finding keywords. Using machine learning for categorisation can make a large-scale project a more speedy task, making it possible to spot trends in real time.

Real Time Analysis

By monitoring PLA for insights in real time, it simultaneously acts as an advanced warning if a new competitor emerges, making a move on your PLA territory. This early warning will enable you to rethink your strategy in order to defend your place.


Understand the seasonality of some searches by researching last year’s seasonal trend data. Use this information to identify gaps and to invest in the most popular PLA, beating your competition.

Product Research

The tactics that different companies use for comparable products vary greatly, but by looking at your competitor’s ads and performance it is possible to discover the characteristics that can be emphasised, ignored or reduced in your own.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis will make it clearer where you should spend your budget. You may be able to cut the budget for certain terms that are dominated by a big competitor, and in other areas you may simply be displaying the wrong product for a certain type of search.

Seek Domination

Use the data to find the areas in which you can dominate. Concentrate less on trying to get into the best position for products that are crowded, and instead focus on finding niche areas and gaps where your product can rank at the top, as this is more likely to result in a click-through and a potential sale.


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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.