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Last week, CTC’s media buyers flew to San Francisco to get the latest on upcoming product rollouts at the 2024 Meta Performance Summit. 

On this episode of the show, Taylor and Richard recap the event, highlighting three key product innovations that prove that Meta is listening to the ecommerce industry, and what those innovations mean for profit-first media buying.

Show Notes:
  • Visit Parker today to learn how to scale with a focus on profitability. 
  • The Ecommerce Playbook mailbag is open — email us at to ask us any questions you might have about the world of ecomm.

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[00:00:00] Richard Gaffin: Hey folks, welcome to the e commerce playbook podcast. I'm your host, Richard Gaffin, director of digital product strategy here at common thread. I'm joined of course, by Mr. Taylor Holliday, the CEO here at common thread. Taylor, what's going on today, man?

[00:00:13] Taylor: Well, I know we're going to dive into the Meta Summit today, but I just want to say I love San Francisco. It's a freaking great, great city. I ate at a place called Foreign Cinema. Richard, you'd have loved it. Oh, it's a wonderful

[00:00:22] Richard Gaffin: Okay. Tell me about foreign cinema.

[00:00:24] Taylor: So you walk in at the front of it it's in the mission area in front of it.

It looks like the entrance to an old movie theater, like looks really small single door. And then it walked down this really narrow hallway into this big outdoor open area. Great seafood, awesome drinks. Like clearly I have a friend, Dave, who's the CEO of fear. And, and so he does the furniture for all the cool restaurants in San Francisco.

So he takes me to all the. All the good spots, but man, I, it's just a, just a great city. I just love it.

[00:00:54] Richard Gaffin: Hell of a town. Temp, temperate, you know? Cool, man. Well, let's so speaking of great city, let's talk about a little bit about what we all did there. So, yeah, I think today what we want to do is recap the What were they calling the meta performance summit in which meta rolled out, or at least announced a number of different product updates that I think are going to be, could be pretty consequential to the way that we approach media buying or that we approach or generally media buying is approach to the e commerce space.

So, we're going to break some of those down, but let's talk about, let's kick it off. Just talking a little bit about what was, what was said, what was discussed? What were the topics of conversation? What's kind of an overall summary of. Of the of the summit.

[00:01:31] Taylor: Yeah. So Metta uses these events usually to play all the hits, you know, they they show up and they, one of the things that Metta is as good as anybody in the world at is consistently staying on message. Over and over and over again, relative to a set of core things they want you to know. And for this, that meant that 90 percent of the conference was focused on AI, AI, AI, ASC, AI, AI, SC.

And they wanted you to know just how important and how much investment they're making into AI to generate the products that they're creating. And what a unique edge that gives them and how important it is that you adopt those tools. And so for the vast majority of the conference, that's what you get.

But there were also these little nuggets along the way that have things that I think are immensely consequential for us in particular in e commerce and for CTC and the things that we care about. But they start out with all the fun facts, right? 3. 2, 4 billion daily active people. And this is just a, a point to pause and just say like, that's half the world every day logs into one of these apps.

So when people, you know, worry about whether their customers here or not, I think that's just sort of like reinforcing again, they're all here. We got them all. And then they went through the importance of in particular honing in on ASC, They're, they have this new data point that they're kind of repeating over and over is that brands that went from 30 to 70 percent utilization of ASC had even further improved performance.

So they're, they're clearly have a new benchmark related to continuing to see increased utilization of advantage plus shopping as a product. And that was like the bulk of the beginning of the thing was just a lot of that reinforcement. But then there were three items that I think are worth us talking about today that really illustrate what I think are going to be the most substantive elements going forward and changes to the meta platform that will alter our behavior as an organization.

For sure.

[00:03:24] Richard Gaffin: Obviously there's some discussion about creative volume enablement, which is important to us. But then there's also certain types of optimization that are profoundly consequential to the way that we think about things.

So let's, let's dive into that too.

[00:03:34] Taylor: Yeah. So the next two things on top of that cool generative AI demo was really thrown in at the very end. And this is something that we had been hearing about as a potential coming, but they had basically just one or two slides on it very much at the end. And that was the ability. The first is the ability to use third party analytics tools to integrate and optimize for.

So if you've been following again CTCs issue with attribution over the last two years, it's that you cannot disassociate attribution and optimization. In other words, if you are trying to measure using a tool that does not inform the delivery or optimization on meta, you cannot make these metrics affect one another.

And this was always a problem. Anytime somebody made us a, Optimize for last click GA or optimize for a triple whale number or whatever it is. If I cannot. Optimize my ads on the basis of that measurable result. I run in a circle trying to chase the outcome, but now meta is going to allow you to connect to these tools.

They use Google analytics as the example, which I think makes sense as the largest BI tool sort of in our space still, despite the massive GA for that you can connect your GA for data. And medic can now optimize based on the result that you select. Now, they didn't give us a list of what third party analytics integrations are available.

The, the prompt is a sign up for a limited release. So this is still very much in early beta test, but it's an indication of what we've been saying all along is that If brands want to use these and are committed to using these tools, they need to inform optimization and meta appears to now be building the tools to allow you to do that.

[00:05:17] Richard Gaffin: So does this change then significantly our stance on, let's say, third party attribution tools like triple whale? Is it just a matter of like, once it's rolled out and it's working properly, then great, or are there more wrinkles in that

[00:05:30] Taylor: Well, so I think it would at least allow us if we run into, sometimes these things are like religious orthodoxy inside of organizations in ways that you can't really change. So if someone comes to us and they say that we have an organizational institutional policy that we measure all of our advertising on.

Google analytics last click, then it's like, or even if they used, you know, the Jew, the new Google analytics total impact or whatever they call their weighted attribution model, then at least we can optimize for that outcome. Now it's not going to be our recommendation to do so. And what I hope is that actually one of the integration that gets included in this list is your Shopify store.

Cause the ideal scenario would be able to optimize for something like new customer revenue. Or, or even overall store revenue or the still pending holy grail of profit, right? So I think that this is a step towards an opportunity to optimize for other options besides one day, click seven, eight, click one day, click seven, eight, like conversion value inside of meta, which is right now, the limited optimization setting.

So the idea of expanding the options for optimization, I think is exciting and will allow for more flexibility and hopefully Getting closer and closer to ultimately more business objectives that could be free cashflow, LTV, like these things where you're allowing us to drive towards the business outcomes we want at the optimization level, which to me has always been so much more important than the attribution setting.

[00:06:59] Richard Gaffin: So then let's let's quickly hit on the third one, which of course has to do with incrementality. So talk to us a little bit about that. Obviously it relates to this conversation about Facebook allowing for more sort of profit focused objectives, but let's yeah. So dig into that one.

[00:07:12] Taylor: So if you think about the most, the, the like state of the art way in which brands today are setting targets and measuring media, it has to do with running. Experiments to determine the incrementality of a channel, and then using that result to inform the targets that they are setting in platform. So, in other words, maybe you're using a tool like measured, which we think is probably the best tool on the platform for generating incrementality results right now.

And then you. Run an experiment study on a set of campaigns in meta and find out that there is a 150 percent incremental results relative to the platform reported revenue for a campaign. Well, now we can use that incrementality factor to key up. The campaign targets, or we might take a lower Ross or lower CPA because we're actually getting more impact than meta is able to account for because it's only viewing it on a seven day click window or whatever the, the Delta between the attribution setting and the actual incremental impact is.

Well, in theory, Meta has conversion lift studies where they can determine the incrementality and apply that automatically to generating and optimizing for incremental impact. Purchases. So another focus on a potential selection in the optimization settings around incremental purchases. And that would have to be paired with the conversion lift studies.

But if you think about it, like in theory, medic could automate all this, right, they could have the process be that you're running conversion lift in the background, that's informing the optimization to roar towards the business outcome that you want. And it's a really good sign that Metta is willing to put their money where their mouth is and allow you to do the thing that is most incrementally impactful to your business.

And that's what people ultimately want. And so I think it's a way that Metta has continued to differentiate themselves. Is that they're committed to making their product work on behalf of the customer, which I think is a real juxtaposition to what we're seeing at a Google right now.

[00:09:06] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. Okay. So speaking of which, well, one thing that you pointed out at the beginning of this conversation was that those, particularly those last two points, which are really important for, let's say a profit focused or rather the methodology that we employ when we think about buying on Facebook were sort of, those two points were sort of tacked on at the end and the bulk, the lion's share of the conversation was about ASC basically and AI and whatever.

So, Talk to us about like, what, what does that mean for maybe the level of focus Facebook or Facebook is putting on onto this? Are they still sort of BSing us with the, is this, is there any sort of pivot to video type stuff happening here? Like maybe break down a little bit of like why you think that it was proportioned that way.

[00:09:49] Taylor: I think one of the hard things about these summits, right, is that you're speaking to a broad audience, right? So they had. Media buyers from Hulu there and from Uber there and from big retailers there. And then D D to C e commerce brands were a portion of the audience. And so in that sense, you speak most of the time about general messaging that applies to as many people as possible.

And what they're always reinforcing all the time is it feels like the, like, Job. Number one is build trust in the system, build trust in meta and the direction that they're headed. So they, they go through all this work to tell you that they're investing more money in compute power than anybody else on earth and how smart their models are.

And so there's this underlying theme of like, we are doing things at a level that is better than everyone else. You should trust us with your dollars. Okay. So that feels like job number one. And then you have to think about the specific initiatives where something like incremental. Or GA for integration or triple whale integration.

This is in reality applies to a very small slice of advertisers. So I think, unfortunately though, that also often means that the product product roadmap doesn't always move to serve our specific industry. And so I think that there are bigger fish to fry, so to speak for meta a lot of times. And so how broadly this gets applied or how important it is on the product roadmap, I think is yet to be determined.

It does, it does a lot to say that it. The very least internal within that these conversations exist and that they're making considerations for ways in which they understand the business objectives that are, our industry cares about and are trying to meet them in it.

[00:11:23] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. Which strikes me as maybe a contrast to the way that. They sort of spoken about or rolled out product updates before they haven't been so specific to maybe the way that we think about, or specifically DTC thinks about using it, but,

[00:11:35] Taylor: Well, I think that, I think that this event in particular, like, and if you're in our industry, I think trying to come to this event every year, this is the third annual one that they've done. The other thing that I did is they gave out 10, 000 in ad credits for testing. To all the attendees that were advertisers.

So that's a big deal right now. There's all these caveats, right? It's actually a 10, 000 match against the test that may or may not work. Right. So it's not quite as nice as getting a 10, 000 check walking out the door. But the point is that I think more and more this part of the world inside of meta's broader world is maturing and it's getting more voice in our space and the relationships are deepening.

And so I think there is a signal that. This part of the advertising ecosystem within meta is getting more attention inside of the broader story. And I think that's informing product in a way that makes sense.

[00:12:24] Richard Gaffin: Okay. So let's talk about just because it was the bulk of the conversation, I guess, or over the course of the summit. What, what, was there anything within the discussions of how, let's say ASC is developing that would be relevant to our industry or that stood out or is important for the way we think about buying.

[00:12:40] Taylor: It's funny. I just got off a call with Amit, the founder of Rich Panel. And what I'll say is that there is a, there is a very real thing occurring here as it relates to what AI is enabling in our industry and in both cases Both with rich panel and if you think about the generative creative AI potential or the quality of the ability to absorb more data to process more information, to optimize for more settings, these are the result of like the massive power and output potential that enables.

Without a sacrificing quality. And I think this is when we, if we go back, this theme of margin innovation, something I've been talking a lot about, these are all how it happens, right? Is that you now, instead of having to have 20 customer service reps can do this, can actually do better work with five than you could with 20 or instead of having to have four designers, you can now output the same amount as 10 with one.

Right. That is how the costs of the organization go down and simultaneously the quality goes up. And that's like, what is so obvious here that if you aren't, and this feels pedantic or like, just like a trope, but like, if you aren't paying attention or at least beginning to consider how these things could potentially impact your world, I think there's just too many of them.

Biggest, smartest people in the world saying like, this is everything. This is everything. We're putting all our resources here, all the attentions here. This is what's happening to ignore it. Now, does it mean that like you should be an AI company tomorrow and change your diet? No, like, but, but the point is just watch, learn, listen, be curious, explore and see what's here because it's clearly just.

A thematic element that just isn't going away anytime soon.

[00:14:35] Richard Gaffin: Okay. So let's, then let's sort of leave the folks with maybe talk through like, given some of these what they've rolled out and what they're about to roll out. How does that change the way that internally we're going to be approaching media buying? Here at CTC.

[00:14:50] Taylor: Yeah. So hopefully we're going to get to try some of these elements out. So they have a limited release of incremental weighted attribution, limited release of third party analytics integration and access to the generative AI tools. Our hope is to get to utilize them in various forms and share about it.

And see what we learn and continue to make the decisions that drive the most obvious and real business impact for our clients. And our job as your partner or as a potential partner is to be on top of this stuff and to listen and to be connected to Metta and to try these things out and bring the opportunities forward as they emerge.

And as we have evidence that they are making real business impact, then we'll Share it and continue to apply it more broadly. And if, if you don't work with CTC or an agency, I'd go ask, go ask a rep say, Hey, specifically it's called the limited release of incremental weighted attribution and the limited release of third party analytics integration.

Go ask for them. Can I get access? Could I try them out? Are those things? Have you run a conversion lift study? Are you utilizing any of that, those tools right now? This is way the world's moving. And if you can get involved in it, then the very least you get something, a new potential angle to try within your business.

No guarantees of success yet.

[00:15:58] Richard Gaffin: All right. Well, so watch this space folks. We'll we'll keep you updated on kind of what happens as we roll out these tools, as we test them out, as we see if they make an impact. But yeah, if they do, we will be sure to tell you about it here. So, all right, folks, thanks for listening and take care.

We'll talk next week. Bye bye.