Win online by maximising brand value

Highlighting brand value at each stage of the consumer journey is essential to boosting ecommerce sales.

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The digital retail boom of the past two years has sparked a debate over how valuable a brand is in the online consumer journey. The conclusion? Stressing brand value is fundamental to a successful digital marketing strategy. 

During the pandemic, marketers have been cutting brand marketing budgets in favour of stimulating short-term sales. Research by WARC, the sister company of Edge by Ascential, shows 51% of marketers with major brands expect to increase investment in performance, with only 29% planning to increase investment in brand. This is a short-sighted approach because a strong brand helps in influencing purchase decisions. 


Brand building vs Performance 

Brand budgets in the digital retail space should be three times performance budgets, and the ad spend to maintain a brand presence at key points in the consumer ecommerce journey is effectively "digital rent", an unavoidable cost of selling online, and should be covered by a separate budget. 

But "easy to buy" is becoming as important as "easy to recall", so while brand still matters, consumers can still be won over by competitors, particularly close to the point of purchase, and "digital rent" should be paid to keep the consumer on the track created by the pre-existing positive brand image.

Listen: ShiLing Koh, Edge by Ascential APAC Senior Insights Manager, Chad Widdison, Edge by Ascential Senior Insights Manager, and Gabey Goh, WARC Asia Editor discuss the drivers of brand advantage in digital commerce, and ways to maximize a brand's influence at every touchpoint of the consumer's journey. Fill out the form below to get a full recording of the webcast and PDF presentations. 

How brand strength boosts sales 

According to research by Edge by Ascential, brand advantage is created in the digital consumer journey in four ways: 
Four Drivers of Brand Advantage

An eternal problem is identifying which sales are incremental versus sales that would have happened anyway. One way to determine it is to turn something off and see what happens, and that is what Airbnb did. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, the company cut 95% of its performance marketing budget, and found that 95% of its business came back anyway. It has since refocused its ad spend on branding and PR. 


Content Integrity & Accuracy

  • Product titles must be accurate and use the right taxonomy, with the right images being used to represent products, and the top search terms appearing in product descriptions. 
  • Ensure the effectiveness of all images and ensure that priority keywords on brand and product are within the first 60 characters of a title.
  • Focus on areas where consumers spend most time. Consumers look at the top portion of a page, and their eyes are drawn to images. 95% of consumers who buy a product look at every image. 
  • The flow in an image should be from brand, to function of product, to size. Brands only have 3-5 seconds of the consumer's attention here
  • Edge by Ascential's Trusted Source Integrity measures your online content vs. the official product content that is meant to be displayed. 

Example: Optimised images focus eyes on the key information and follow the same title flow


Building the value proposition

  • Consumer purchase decisions are also strongly impacted by the right pricing and promotional mechanisms in line with brand positioning. Brands need to constantly evaluate their performance compared to competitors.
  • Ensure good ratings and reviews to solidify consumer confidence. They directly drive traffic and increase sales. 
  • Research by WARC demonstrates that good reviews on a product page can increase conversion by up to 65%, while the impact of a negative review on a seller page takes about three years to fade. 


Meet our experts 

ShiLing Koh, APAC Senior Insights Manager, Edge by Ascential
ShiLing has 10 years of professional marketing research experience with a proven history of working across categories, clients and countries, predominantly in the Customer Insights and Innovation spaces. She has rich experience in helping clients across different industries to turn data and analytics into rich insights, and devising strategies to help with their retail business growth.  

Chad Widdison, Senior Insights Manager, Edge by Ascential 

With over 8 years of experience in ecommerce, Chad has consulted with over 100 brands selling 1P, worked as a senior brand manager for the largest Amazon 3P seller, helped develop an SEO tool used by 60 brands, and collaborated on new product development for digitally native brands. 

Gabey Goh, Asia Editor, WARC

Gabey has reported on the marketing and technology sectors for over ten years, with experience in online media, magazines, newspapers and radio. Outside of journalism, she has served as a marketer in the ad-tech industry and led content and education initiatives at a leading trade body. 


Fill out the form below to access the full presentation and the event recording now!

Article by:
Andrew Hill
Client Director, Edge by Ascential APAC
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