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Welcome to Growth Interviews!

Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth.

Our mission is to provide insights and ideas from world-class professionals on the topic of growth and to cut through the noise of so-called marketing tips and tricks, revealing the money-making strategies behind e-commerce.

Each episode is an intriguing challenge involving an insightful expert who reveals some of their best-kept secrets, which you can use right away to boost your business. 

In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our conversation with Ann Stanley, founder and managing director of Anicca Digital.

Ann is a digital marketing trainer and consultant, with a lasting experience in paid media, search and Analytics. She confesses her passion has always been pay-per-click (PPC), so Google Ads are definitely her cup of tea.

Ann Stanley has developed a very interesting platform called A10 Digital Marketing Framework, ideal for designing digital marketing strategies for their company’s clients. Moreover, she has been present at countless seminars and events that promote the digital world, one of these being InOrbit 2019 in Slovenia. And, as she is keen on discovering the secrets of PPC, she has also written an article on this.

During the interview, we had quite a few interesting insights on how you can be on top of the competition by discovering the latest news in the digital landscape.

Get ready for the most interesting, top-notch 7 minutes of valuable information you need for 2019!


We believe this interview is beyond great. So, here are the words that will help your business be well aware of what 2019 has in store for digital marketing.

Beginning with Google Ads

How did you first get into the digital landscape?

Ann: I’ve been into digital marketing since 2002. So, I’m one of the older people in the industry. I was working for a pharmaceutical company and I thought we needed to do some search engine optimization. I approached the company and then they offered me a job. So, that was how it got in. My area of expertise was always search and particularly Google Ads. That’s my main area.

What frustrates you about the current digital landscape?

Ann: I think running an agency, one of the hardest things is getting really good staff. We find that this is not enough people that got the experience we need. So, we have to spend a lot of time recruiting new people. But it’s very difficult to get people with experience particularly in paid social which is a big growth area for us. We have to cross-train. Trying to get enough people is really hard.

Tell us a short success story with your customers.

Ann: We’ve been working with the case study I’m going to present today for an energy company. They had very high cost per clicks – over 20 pounds – and the industry was so competitive that the costs were going up very high. So, what we did with them was a mix of trying to improve their click-through-rates by using ad customizers, putting postcodes and savings into the ad using scripts to make sure they got a high position.

The really geeky bit was where we actually put in the sales value of the contract – it was for an energy contract – from sales forces back into Google Ads and then we optimized on the value of the contract.

So, that meant we were focusing on budgets, on the leads that generated bigger sales. That gave us a 20 percent uplift in a very competitive market. That was a really good success story.

It is difficult to hire and train people to create a proper conversion rate optimization (CRO) team, due to lack of knowledge in areas such as:

? The CRO process

? Building hypotheses backed up by data and research and knowing which are the winning experiments

? Understanding that lack of success comes because of a broken mindset

As marketing managers, you should be aware of best practices in training your team, regardless of their purpose.

And remember that real training is never over.

Get over digital marketing competition in 2019

What do you think e-commerce marketers are missing out these days?

Ann: I think one of the problems is that there are a lot of agencies and a lot of in-house people working in silos. They often have an SEO team, a social team, a paid team, email, that don’t work together. I think what’s happening is that they’re all doing their techniques and tactics individually rather than doing things like remarketing and learning from each other.

For example, if you’re doing Google Shopping ads, why not use that information to do your Amazon ads? Or if you’re doing paid social, why don’t you link your paid social and paid search together by doing things like honey pots, where you get people – the right audience – to your site and then you remarket them in shopping or text. It’s that integrated approach which I think is really interesting.

Tell us three growth ideas for e-commerce marketers in 2019.

Ann: The tactics that I’m really interested in are the things that are relatively new. In the UK we have programmatic TV, which is really exciting. There you can do advertising to the individual household. You can put TV ads for less than 3000 pounds. So, this is going to be really really competitive.

I love Conversion ads on Facebook and then using them in conjunction with Google Ads. I think that works really well.

I think there’s going to be massive growth in Amazon ads as well. It’s looking at alternative channels rather than always doing, for example, Google shopping, which is so competitive and the prices that are expensive on cost per click.

Don’t forget email! Email’s very powerful if you can use that. If you’re B2B, try different channels, so try something like Quora. That’s really interesting. But don’t forget things like Facebook Instagram for B2B. They work really well, as well.

Knowledge is power. Being up-to-date with ideas, trends, even whispers in your domain is your ticket to success.

As Ann Stanley mentions quite a few concepts, you can just as easily search for more information on some more 2019 trends, for example.

Don’t forget infographics, which are an alternative to those who appreciate the visual more than simple text.

News from e-commerce marketing

What is your take on customer retention?

Ann: We developed something called the A10 framework, which is a marketing framework where actual attention or retention is a big part of that.

I think that’s really important, particularly if you’re in a business like utilities or phone contracts, where you can lose customers every year. So, being able to create custom lists and remarket to those before the contract is about to end – there’s a really good strategy. I’m actually going to mention that in my talk today, but from an agency perspective it’s all about long term relationships and having a customer relationship.

From an e-commerce perspective, these are things like getting your name to them again, creating custom audiences, remarketing, email marketing, reminding them that you’re the right person to be working with. Build your brand, basically. Go back to traditional marketing and build a new brand.

What excites you right now?

Ann: I still love performance marketing. The thing I’m actually most excited about this year is going to be the chatbot side of things. One of my teams has been working at looking at chatbots with money CHAPS and utilizing that as a mechanism for lead generation, customer service and combining it with Messenger Ads through Facebook Business Manager. And I think there are some really interesting things going to happen with that.

So, we’re going to spend quite a bit time and effort on creating chatbots for our own sites, to start with, and then potentially for client sites. I think for e-commerce it’s really powerful and I think it will be a great tool for lots of companies.

Building a brand comes with various crucial elements as part of the process. We have also written about some of them, from conducting a good qualitative researchanalyzing your audience and the consumer behavior to how to calculate, measure and improve customer lifetime value (CLV).

As a short reminder, here are a few steps about the the brand building process.

What do you think is going to be the impact of machine learning and AI in digital marketing?

Ann: My experience from machine learning within Google Ads is that it can be very valuable. We’ll do tests on certain types of machine learning that might be CPA bidding or even things like Quality Score.

Sometimes it can be amazing and at times it can be really bad. I think the problem with the platforms is that they’re sort of imposing a lot of it onto their clients, when they may not be ready yet. And so, sometimes it’s a short term hit.

In the long term, I think you’ve got to see it as your friend. You can automate and you can spend more time doing strategy and actually doing more multi-channel work. Then the clients and the people that are using it are going to benefit. I don’t think we can fight it. We’ve just got to embrace it and find better ways of understanding it and experiment with it.


If you think there is too much information out there, keep it simple. Train yourself, first of all, train your team accordingly, discover and follow the current trends (or create new ones) and you are on a safe trip to online business success.

Train your mind to train others the way you would like to be trained.

How did you find this experience? Was it insightful?
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