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Privy CEO Warns Sellers Not to Overthink Optimization


PrivyFor ecommerce pros, fine-tuning their marketing provides a method of evening the playing field. But sometimes SMB sellers do a little too much. EcommerceBytes and Privy CEO Ben Jabbawy discussed the perils of potential over-optimization.

“Over-optimization can easily lead to SMBs missing the bigger picture, especially if they are in their early stages,” Jabbawy said.

“Niche audiences by their nature are smaller and by diving deep into the minutia of things like which button color will convert better or the perfect time of day to run their Facebook ads or send emails. We see many merchants missing opportunities to evaluate whether they even have the right products for their audience, are offering a good shopper experience, and whether they are driving the right people to their store.”

Privy works with merchants, offering email capture tools including exit-intent driven website popups and banners. This helps sellers grow their email lists from Shopify stores, social media channels, mobile, and in-store traffic, without the need for any coding skills.

According to Jabbawy, landing pages see the the greatest tendency for being over-optimized. “As marketers we have been taught that every ad set needs its own dedicated landing page and every element of that page also needs to be optimized. For smaller merchants, there are much bigger wins to be had by focusing on getting the right message and right offer to just a few of your top traffic sources who have demonstrated interest.”

One type of seller in particular should review their efforts. While over-optimizing happens across nearly all market segments, dropshippers may hurt themselves more often. “Because they aren’t physically interacting with their products and in many cases are not emotionally attached to them, they often look at marketing simply as a math equation that can be managed without thinking about the actual people they are trying to influence and what those people actually care about,” Jabbawy said.

For Privy’s business, Jabbawy emphasized his firm doesn’t over-complicate the process for supporting its marketing customers. “We believe that with a simple, pragmatic approach to optimization, brands can win big. And simple doesn’t mean not robust.” He said Privy’s drag and drop designer gives the company’s over 200,000 merchant clients a wide array of display types, intuitive triggers and targeting rules, and conversion-centric reporting.

Getting off to a good start may require sellers to give a little to their prospective email customers. “In our experience the most effective method is offering a site wide discount for first time buyers, usually 10% or 20%. And in our research conducted earlier this year we found that percent off a whole order was the top performing offer for SMBs,” Jabbawy said.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.