September 6, 2007, 12:00 AM

U.K. e-retailers more aggressive in marketing, site re-design, expert says

As e-retailers in the U.K. carry out more elaborate and ambitious online marketing, they’re also pushing web site redesigns more frequently—as much as every 18 months, says Andreas Bernström, COO of U.K.-based marketing services firm TradeDoubler.

As e-retailers in the U.K. carry out more elaborate and ambitious online marketing, they’re also pushing web site redesigns more frequently-as much as every 18 months, says Andreas Bernström, COO of U.K.-based marketing services firm TradeDoubler, which specializes in providing affiliate marketing programs and systems that track the effect of marketing campaigns.

“Internet advertising is now the second largest ad medium in the U.K.,” following TV, Bernström says. Revenue spent on online affiliate marketing, for instance, is on a pace to rise 30% this year over last year, after it rose 45% in 2006 over 2005, he notes.

“Another trend we’ve seen is that retailers are measuring everything online as they generate more branding messages,” Bernström says. And as the marketing staffs of U.K. retailers have become more sophisticated and experienced, they are beginning to more closely analyze the shopping behavior and interests of specific consumer groups to devise more targeted marketing campaigns. “They’re looking at the user paths through web sites and seeing what can be changed to better market to 50-year-old women in particular towns,” he adds.

One big challenge facing online marketers and marketing service providers, he adds, is to develop effective ways to measure the impact on customer activity of marketing campaigns tied to social networking sites like YouTube.com, Bernström says. Although online merchants have made great strides over the past several years to increase visitor-to-buyer conversion rates from under 1% to close to 5%, “we need to figure out what we need to do to make sure customers coming to a web site see the right thing at the right time to move conversion rates over 5%,” he adds.

In a move to expand its own reach in marketing services, TradeDoubler in July acquired IMW Group, a marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing and search engine optimization services.

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