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Key Takeaways from the NYC E^Hackathon

On the heels of the Edge by Essential E^Hackathon in New York in April 2019, where Pacvue President Melissa Burdick led a field of all-star ecommerce leaders from across the industry, Pacvue Sales Directors David Zimmerman and Daniel Harris sit down to reminisce about their experience at the Hack, and their takeaways from the event.

Zimmerman – “Lots of new faces and great energy at the Hackathon this year Daniel. It was my first Hack so I really enjoyed the interactive format. In the warp-speed world of ecommerce one of the buzzwords at the NYC conference was AI, and its implications on performance insight. What’s your take on the role AI in paid search success?”

Harris – It’s always a good idea to cut through some of the buzz about Artificial Intelligence as some kind of savior for brands and marketing teams. AI needs a lot of data to be effective, and it doesn’t matter which SaaS in this space claims they’re AI is tops in the game, setting campaigns on auto pilot isn’t smart. My team at Pacvue understands there still needs to be human interaction at this stage of AI development, while pushing forward on AI innovation. Any purely AI driven solution might yield subpar results and fail to capture the breadth of a brands objectives, and just as important, because AI is behind a black box, clearly understanding AI KPIs are at best foggy.

Zimmerman – During each of the four sessions brand leaders shared a ton of insight into the challenges they’re facing. With Amazon making changes and updates to their Advertising platform almost daily, how do you see a SaaS like Pacvue helping to alleviate some of that pain?

Harris – A lot of those stories sound familiar after working closely on the eCommerce side with a major CPG, so I feel their pain. A major frustration comes in the form of having to carry out manual tasks. And you know the Pacvue platform is a serious time saver because of its ability to automate manual tasks that suck hours away from brand and marketing teams. It’s a simple equation. Spend less time on your keyboard, downloading spreadsheets from Amazon, cross referencing data points, preparing reports for team members (I’m getting nauseous) and more time and space using actionable data, thinking about that data, and charting a smarter strategic path. It’s the difference between the sound of glass breaking and birds singing.

Zimmerman – “Some of the questions during the daylong Hackathon returned to incrementally, and what affect paid search is having on organic sales. How are signals like the New to Brand metric helping us get closer to an understanding?”

Harris – “New to brand is directional, but shopping behavior is different for Sponsored Product ads, which drives the majority of ad spend. That’s an important distinction. Even on branded terms, we are seeing 60-80% incrementality. Sponsored Brand campaigns help shoppers learn about brand which is great for engagement and education. Sponsored Product ads target shoppers looking to buy so New to Brand metrics are lower on SP.”

Zimmerman – “Lastly, I was really impressed by the paid search knowledge base of the Hackathon group, and their willingness to try new strategies. What’s one prediction you can offer brands as we head toward Prime Day?”

Harris – “I’ve been looking forward to using my Jeff Bezos branded Tarot Cards for this very question. I see brands investing earlier and earlier ahead of prime day. Same thing with Black Friday Cyber Monday, which really should be called cyber November.


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