Q&A: Personalizing the Customer Journey with Post-Transaction Ads

April 18, 2024

Retailers and media companies are navigating a new frontier as they embrace the rapid rise of commerce media. On-site ads, a natural entry point for retailers, offer familiar formats like sponsored content and display ads. Among them, post-transaction ads stand out as a low-effort, high-reward solution.

As with any new feature, the introduction of on-site ads brings with it the risk of alienating a retailer’s most valuable asset – its customers. However, there are ways to leverage post-transaction advertising to enhance the customer experience rather than detract from it. 

According to a Fluent survey, 64% of retailers have reported positive consumer responses to ads on their websites. While these supply-side players are paving the way for a bright future in commerce media, there is still work to be done to ensure positive post-purchase experiences for both retailers and their customers.

We spoke with Irina Zhizhina, Senior Product Manager at Fluent, to explore ways in which retailers and media companies can strike a healthy balance between unlocking a new revenue stream and maintaining a positive customer experience.

Post-Transaction Ads Q&A: Irina Zhizhina Headshot

Read the full Q&A for expert insights into:

  • Achieving seamless integration
  • Optimizing messaging and creative
  • Delivering personalized offers

As a product manager for adflow, Fluent’s post-transaction ad offering, how do you ensure a positive experience for both retailers and consumers?

Effective communication, collaboration, and empathy are key. As a first step, it’s important to gain a deep understanding of the challenges that both retailers and consumers face. As a consumer myself, I’m always thinking about the frustrating components of the post-checkout experience, as well as the exciting innovations that are making life easier. From a product standpoint, it’s all about understanding the retailer’s needs and taking proactive steps to align with their goals. By collecting feedback and iterating on our adflow product, we can continue to enhance the overall experience for both parties.

In what ways can post-transaction ads help to enhance the customer experience and boost loyalty?

Post-transaction ads allow for greater personalization. They enable retailers to tailor ad content, visuals, and messaging to consumers’ unique interests and preferences. When the consumer sees an offer that resonates with them, it reinforces the idea that the company values and understands their needs. By delivering exciting and relevant offers based on signals like purchase history and browsing behavior, retailers can foster brand loyalty and drive repeat purchases.

What are some best practices for seamlessly integrating post-transaction ads into the overall customer journey?

First, timing is key – you want to present offers at the right moment when customers are ready to take action. Next, they should match the look and feel of your site, creating a smooth UX that adds value without disrupting the flow of their shopping experience. Finally, the call to action should be crystal clear. Take the consumer by the hand and guide them seamlessly to the next step in their journey. 

Post-Transaction Ads Q&A: Vivid Seats Case Study

How can retailers and media companies leverage A/B testing to optimize post-transaction ad placements and messaging?

Retailers and media companies can use A/B testing to fine-tune their post-transaction ad strategies in a few ways. First, they can experiment with different creatives and messaging elements like headlines, body copy, and images to see what resonates best with their audience. 

Second, they can test various ad placements, like an overlay or embedded experience, to determine which one drives the highest engagement. A/B testing ultimately allows retailers and media companies to optimize their approach based on what works best for their audience. 

When it comes to testing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Take, for example, the varying results we’ve seen across different partners. What works well for Partner A might fall flat for Partner B. To find the sweet spot for maximum performance, it’s important to tailor your approach to your specific site.

Do you have any examples of A/B tests that yielded particularly surprising or unexpected results?

The team recently ran some tests to compare how the adflow modal would perform with and without a progression bar. The results turned out to be a bit of a head-scratcher. While the bar ramped up the progression from one offer to the next, it also had unintended consequences, causing a drop in our effective conversion rate – our “North Star” metric.

The team used this small setback as a learning experience and an opportunity for growth. We revisited our product roadmap, brainstorming ways to let users go back and check out offers they skipped to help nudge those conversion rates back up. While the test didn’t go exactly as planned, it gave the team a chance to iterate on a new path forward.

What kinds of offers convert the best in a post-transaction ad environment?

From free trials to percentage-off discounts, offers that hit the mark are those with immediate value and a strong connection to the customer’s needs. Personalization is key here too, making sure the offer speaks directly to the customer. It’s all about delivering something they can’t resist directly after a transaction.

What are some pitfalls retailers and media companies should strive to avoid as it relates to preserving the customer experience?

Misuse of data can lead to a breach of consumers’ trust. Retailers should prioritize data privacy, leveraging opted-in, first-party data to create ad experiences that feel relevant and authentic to the consumer – not “spammy” or intrusive. Additionally, tapping into real-time customer feedback can help to inform UX optimizations. Active feedback loops keep retailers agile and responsive to customers’ unique needs and concerns.

What would you say to a retailer or media company that is hesitant to launch a post-transaction ad offering?

How can retailers identify and address potential pain points or negative perceptions associated with post-transaction ads?

Here are a few ways retailers can identify and address potential weaknesses in the post-transaction ad experience:

  1. Conduct user testing to observe firsthand how customers interact with the post-transaction ad experience.
  2. Analyze data, such as conversion rates and engagement metrics, to determine what optimizations are needed to improve the customer experience.
  3. Monitor social media through social listening to gather real-time feedback on customer sentiment and experiences.
  4. Tap into customer support channels to gather recurring complaints or issues, offering valuable insights into common pain points.

What emerging technologies are likely to influence the future of post-transaction advertising over the next five years?

AI and machine learning will continue to play a big role in post-transaction advertising, helping to make ads hyper-relevant and personalized based on user behavior. Plus, I predict there will be some neat design features to spice things up and get consumers more excited and engaged.

Ready to elevate the customer journey with post-transaction ads? Get in touch with us here.

Check out more resources to get fluent in:

Commerce Media | Post-Transaction Advertising | Contextual Data