Performance marketing platform Criteo, best known for its programmatic display product ad retargeting capabilities, is expanding into search. The new product, Criteo Predictive Search, is aimed at bringing predictive optimization to Google Shopping campaigns.

Google Shopping continues to grow, with same-store sales increasing between 30 and 50 percent over the past year, according to Channel Advisor. Recent research by Engel Research Partners, commissioned by Criteo, found Google Shopping now accounts for 21 percent of the average retailer’s digital marketing budget. While there has been significant innovation on the engine side, Jason Lehmbeck, general manager of search at Criteo, said in an interview that retailers are looking for partners to help turn the added complexity that’s come with this innovation into more sales. A lot of the tools just haven’t kept up, he said.

Criteo Predictive Search is designed to automate the entire optimization process for Google Shopping campaigns without increasing the retailer’s cost per order. It uses machine learning to identify opportunities for better matching and bidding opportunities down to the product level. Every aspect of the campaign from structure to remarketing to bids is modified automatically through the system. The predicitive technology, in part, learns from Criteo’s existing access to and analysis of over 1.2 billion users it delivers advertising to per month for over four billion SKUs.

Criteo

 

Roughly 30 retailers, including Telefora, Camping World and Revolve, have been testing the product in closed beta. Criteo says early testers have seen as much as a 22–49 percent lift in revenue at constant cost. The product is priced on a revenue share model, and there are no annual contracts or charges as a percentage of spend.

Criteo Predictive Search is launching in the US on Tuesday, with more markets to follow in 2017. It does not encompass Local Inventory Ads at this time.

Source:  searchengineland.com

Categorized in Search Engine

It's too easy to sign up for new subscription services. It's just as easy to forget about them. Use these apps and sites to help you track and manage all the paid services you subscribe to.

The idea of a subscription is nothing new. People have subscribed to newspapers and magazines for decades. And now, millions of people sign up for subscriptions for all sorts of digital and physical goods -- monthly boxes with themed surprises, video or music streaming services, cloud storage, etc.

In most cases, the subscription model is one that is mutually beneficial for businesses and consumers. For the most part, it makes recurring revenue predictable for businesses, and services become more convenient and affordable for end users. That said, the benefits are skewed in favor of the businesses for one reason: they're just as easy to sign up for as they are to forget about.

Fortunately, if you have the tendency to sign up for new subscriptions and constantly forget to cancel when you no longer need or want them, you have options. There is a growing number of applications and services specifically designed to help you track and manage subscription services and recurring bills.

Truebill

The first subscription manager I came across was Truebill, a web-based service that requires a bit of trust, as you need to link your bank accounts and credit cards to your account for it to work. It uses the Plaid API, meaning your banking or credit card credentials are never stored.

After you've added your accounts, Truebill will scan them for recurring transactions, all of which will be sorted into three different categories: Subscriptions, Bills & Utilities and Other Recurring Payments. You can manually change which category a recurring bill falls under or remove a subscription from the list, but you cannot manually add subscriptions if Truebill doesn't automatically detect them.

For the most part, it found and properly categorized most of my subscriptions without a hitch.

Trim

Trim is a lot like Truebill in that you must create an account and add your bank accounts and credit cards for it to work.

However, Trim is a little more transparent with its security -- it uses the same Plaid API to connect your bank account, but it also boasts the same 256-bit encryption used by leading financial technology firms. Also, if you don't feel comfortable adding your bank accounts or credit cards, you can email the statements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. which, if you ask me, seems a bit more risky.

What sets Trim apart from Truebill is mobile access. While there is no application, you can setup text notifications so that you are notified every time it's payday, you pay an overdraft or late fee and are charged over a set amount.

With the text alerts, you can also respond with specific commands for checking account balance, recent transactions and more. You can also text to cancel certain subscriptions through Trim, though some cancellations come at a cost of $6.00 (£4.61 or AU$8.04).

SubscriptMe

SubscriptMe is a mobile app for iOS. And instead of scanning your bank accounts and credit cards for recurring transactions, SubscriptMe uses Slice to scan your email inboxes for transaction receipts.

In the time I've used SubscriptMe, I've found that it doesn't seem nearly as accurate as those with access to your bank. However, you can add subscriptions manually or from a list of popular services if they're not automatically detected -- something you can't do with Truebill or Trim.

You can also edit the amounts of each subscription if they're incorrectly input with an inbox scan, which is also something you won't find with the aforementioned sites. Sadly, you'll have to sift through categories to find specific subscription services, as there is oddly no search function.

Within the app, you are given a visual overview of all your subscriptions, divided into different categories, such as music, business services, cloud storage, etc. You can also view and enable reminders for upcoming bills.SubscriptMe is easily the most flexible and fully-featured subscription manager of these four.

Bobby

My most recent discovery, however, is Bobby (previously called Billy). It's an iOS application that allows you to track up to four subscriptions for free, making it the only paid option out of these four. After the fourth subscription, you're met with an in-app purchase of $0.99 (£0.79 or AU$0.99) to unlock the ability to add unlimited subscriptions to your account.

Adding each subscription sounds like a chore, but Bobby has a very long (and searchable) list of popular services that allow you to quickly add the brunt of your subscriptions. Even additions you will need to add manually will only take a few seconds each, so long as you know how much they cost you each billing cycle.

Despite not having import features or notifications, Bobby is my go-to subscription tracker of them all, solely for its simplicity. It's a very quick and easy way to look at what you're paying monthly for subscription services, which is really all I need -- a visual reminder of all the unnecessary things I'm throwing money at every month.

Source:  http://www.cnet.com/how-to/never-forget-about-another-paid-subscription-with-these-trackers/

Categorized in Online Research

 

I've been shopping online since it was possible to shop online. I'm not talking early-day Amazon, people, I'm saying I used to order stuff through America Online. Maybe even Prodigy (remember that?).In other words, I have literally decades of online-shopping experience, and during those years I've learned a few things. Things you should know. Things that can save you time, money, hassles or maybe even all three.So, the next time you find yourself at the checkout page for any online store, remember these three tips.

Check the cancellation options

Once the online-order wheels are set in motion, they can be hard to stop. Why would you want to? I'll give you an example: Recently I ordered an all-in-one color laser printer, having found what I thought was the best deal.

 

Not two hours later, I found it for $50 less from another store. Immediately I reached out to the first store's customer service department and requested cancellation of my order. After all, it had been only a couple hours; surely the printer hadn't shipped yet. Indeed, according to the online status page, it was still "processing."

The rep told me that this particular product was sold by a third-party vendor, and he would forward the cancellation request to them immediately. "Expect a response within four hours," I was told.

Long story short: After several days and a lot of back-and-forth with the company, the cancellation never happened -- even though I was assured it would. I had to receive the shipment, refuse it, then wait for the return and eventual refund. Bleh.

 

The takeaway: Although policies vary from one company to another, don't expect to be able to cancel an order once you've placed it. Do check the company's FAQ page to learn your options. At the same time, make sure there's a phone number you can call, because email might prove too slow to keep you within the cancellation window.

And while you're at it...

 

Check the return policy

I'm often surprised how few people do this, even though it's arguably the most important part of the online-shopping process. Before you buy anything, you should know everything there is to know about returning it. Specifically:

Is there a restocking fee?
Who pays for return shipping?
What's the window for returns? 30 days? 14? Less?
Does it matter if the item has been opened?

You should also note the conditions for returns. If an item is damaged or defective, you usually have more flexibility than if, say, you just don't like it. What's more, different policies often apply to different products. Suppose, for example, you buy a new printer, then decide it doesn't meet your needs. Because it's much harder for a vendor to resell a printer (because you've already opened the ink or toner) than, say, a smartphone, you might get charged a restocking fee. But if it's a smartphone, you might not.

Bottom line: Investigate all this stuff before you buy. It's worth the extra couple minutes of reading to avoid some potentially painful (and costly) issues later on.

Check for coupon codes

As I mentioned, I shop online a lot. And if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you should always always always try to find a coupon code.

 

Here's how: Open a new tab and do a quick search for [store name] coupon code. Doesn't matter how small the outfit; you might just find a code that's good for five percent off or free shipping or even better. It's like discovering a pot of discount gold at the end of the checkout.

If you'd rather not spend extra time poring through various sites in search of a code that works, consider a browser plug-in that does the work for you. I'm a fan of Honey, which recently added a new feature that helps you save money on Amazon purchases. But its claim to fame is one-click coupon-code search, and it'll even try the ones it finds to see if any of them work.

No code? Try to reverse-engineer yourself a discount by hitting up a cashback service. Even if you already have the item in your cart and you're ready to check out, swing by a site like Ebates. If there's a cashback option available, click through and return to the store. Your items should still be in your cart; now you can check out like normal, except you'll score a rebate after your purchase.

Source:  http://www.cnet.com/how-to/3-things-you-should-always-do-at-the-online-checkout/

 

 

 

 

 

Categorized in Online Research

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