Optimizing eCommerce Ad Spend with Brendan Hughes, CEO at Optily

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Brendan Hughes, CEO of Optily, joins the eCom Ops Podcast to discuss strategies to optimize ad spend for better conversions, how to divide funnel-based marketing spend, and integrating digital tools for eCom decision making.

Key Facts


Key Takeaways

  • Brendan started his eCommerce journey in 2000 as an e-Business Manager at Vhi Healthcare. Since then, he has served several renowned companies such as FDB Insurance, PokerStrategy, BoyleSports, and Mediahuis IRL. Currently, he is the CEO of Optily
  • The goal of Optily is to simplify the process of analyzing data. It saves time and money through the management of ad campaigns for optimization
  • [0:41][13:35:48] Brendan shares that Optily is a game-changer for digital marketers. It saves countless hours spent on gathering data from individual platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, Tiktok, Facebook, and Google. With just a single click, Optily gives insights and recommendations on:
    • Top-of-funnel budget planning 
    • Getting qualified traffic to your website
  • [2:03][13:37:10] Brendan explains that Optily combines data from different platforms such as Google Analytics, Shopify, and social media platforms to create a holistic picture for decision-makers
  • [2:59][13:38:07] Brendan shares that Optily is not specifically built for Shopify. It can be integrated with other platforms as well if you have Google Analytics connected to your eCommerce store
  • [4:55][13:40:02] Brendan believes that privacy and data parity is the biggest challenge for eCommerce stores today. For example, the data from Facebook can vary immensely from the data coming from other social platforms. Shopify works with first-click attribution, whereas Google Analytics works with the last-click attribution model. He believes that data parity calls for a customized platform-based marketing strategy.
  • Brendan acknowledges that it can be overwhelming for an eCommerce store to devise custom strategies for different social platforms. This is where Optily comes into play, as it combines all the data from various sources through its algorithms and provides a holistic picture for eCommerce decision-makers
  • [6:32][13:41:40] Brendan says that the biggest problem in the advertising ecosystem is that of attribution. Shopify is trying to contribute to resolving the attribution problem in upcoming projects.
  • [8:47][13:43:55] Brendan shares the channel setup strategy to scale an eCommerce store. He believes that eCommerce stores should invest more time, energy, and resources in the middle and top-of-funnel. This is where the consumer’s cognition and behavioral pattern lies and doing so will help them to make faster purchase decisions.
  • Brendan divides an eCommerce shopper’s journey into three easy steps:
    • Need Identification 
    • Information Gathering
    • Decision Making – Marketing Strategy
  • [13:04][13:48:11] Brendan believes that less investment is required at the bottom of the funnel as the customer makes most purchase decisions at the top and in the middle of the funnel
  • [15:13][13:50:20] Brendan believes that planning funnel-based ads and budget spending results in cost-effectiveness. Hence, Optily helps eCommerce merchants:
    • Create  awareness and attract traffic through a top-funnel strategy 
    • Create conversion campaigns through the middle-funnel strategy 
  • [17:30][13:52:38] Brendan talks about the ease of financing Optily provides to the eCommerce stores struggling with short-term cash flows. They charge a fixed fee of six percent of the ad spending budget, which remains variable to campaign duration
  • [30:25][14:05:32] Brendan considers Jeff Bezos as his mentor and admires the highly instructive structure of Amazon for eCommerce merchants
  • [32:05][14:07:14] Brendan concludes by sharing that the Shopify platform has a finely tuned customer purchase journey and predictable conversion rates


No.1 eCom operations’ hack

“Engage with customers at different stages of the funnel” 

“Compare data on different platforms to know where to put the money”




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