Leaving SmugMug...Inability to advertise to site.

JRobertsonJRobertson MichiganRegistered Users Posts: 4 Big grins
I've asked, for a year now, for the ability to use standard digital advertising techniques, remarketing tags, etc. Without the ability to capture traffic on my site, serve them ads, etc. I've found myself losing business on my SmugMug site, only to have business increase on my services and portfolio site where I am able to deploy these techniques. The lack of communication is what bugged me the most.

Comments

  • mkshftmkshft TorontoRegistered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    Truly a shame that the SmugMug team refuses to comment on this, and boggles my mind why they think it is an appropriate omission from a platform that offers otherwise excellent ecommerce/print shop integration features. Being able to to offer the ability to purchase prints is only a fraction of the story, and relying solely on "Custom HTML" to place remarketing tags is at best cumbersome and at worse does a large disservice to to their professional level customers.

    Some reasons why the ability to place custom JS and/or providing a customer-facing GTM integration would earn SmugMug more Pro-level customers:
    - Relying on URL-based remarketing/lookalike audience building platform-side (social, programmatic, SEM, etc); This requires a JS-based pixel to fire in most cases, which is currently not possible.
    - Allowing the placement of funnel-based conversion/event pixels; this allows your users to identify whether the traffic they're driving to their SmugMug site from paid sources is actually resulting in conversions/sales.
    - Engagement-based optimizations for supported digital marketing platforms; some platforms allow for optimization based on site engagement or "Time on Site". This is not possible without a JS-based pixel in most cases.
    - Status Quo: Many SmugMug competitors and/or CMS platforms already allow this. SmugMug is not only lagging behind, but by refusing to acknowledge this REPEATED request from their customers are casting doubt about whether signing up or continuing to renew is a worthwhile investment.

    SmugMug developers, please, please, please, please consider the needs of your Professional Level customers who need this to run a fully featured Portfolio and Print Store when leveraging paid media for the purpose of earning money with their photography. This isn't a new request. Your customers are asking for it. Your competitors have it. Please make it happen.
  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,775 Many Grins

    They did support the FB Pixel, until FB got naughty ... and GDPR ... and CCPA. Retargeting is pretty much dead, especially in the next Safari update.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • JRobertsonJRobertson MichiganRegistered Users Posts: 4 Big grins

    @leftquark said:
    They did support the FB Pixel, until FB got naughty ... and GDPR ... and CCPA. Retargeting is pretty much dead, especially in the next Safari update.

    For reference, I'm a SVP of Technology @ a very large digital advertising firm. Retargeting is absolutely not dead, it's actually growing. Neither GDPR (which only matters in EU), or CCPA, govern this tactic. CCPA specifically details the transfer or sale of consumer information. Neither of which occur with industry standard practices. Again, the problem here is SmugMug's absolute lack of response. I shoot for CBS, MaxPreps, as well as house my own galleries here. I should be able to deploy an industry standard advertising strategy to drive sales. This benefits both SmugMug, it's vendors, as well as myself. It's, quite literally, a no-brainer.

  • BoothMastersBoothMasters Cleveland, OHNew member Posts: 4 Big grins
    From what I've seen, smugmug runs their own instance of Google Tag Manager across the entire site.

    It's too bad having multiple GTM containers on a page is difficult, as they don't play well together. The easiest solution would be to allow us to insert our own GTM container IDs instead of just a Google Analytics ID.

    It's a balance between ease of use, and marketability for me.
  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,775 Many Grins
    edited December 24, 2020

    @JRobertson said:
    Retargeting is absolutely not dead, it's actually growing.

    It's dead because all the major web browsers are adopting technology to block ad tracking cookies, which is what powers retargeting. When Safari blocks all ad trackers to all your iOS and macOS traffic, how exactly does retargeting work? How do Google and Facebook know your visitors came to your website if that cookie is completely blocked? This is the exact reason why Facebook is throwing a fit and taking out ads in newspapers against Apple (fitting that they're using newspaper ads instead of ... Facebook ads). Chrome and Firefox are also picking up on this. So what traffic are you left with? Not much!

    While I'm all a fan of being able to contact your potential customers, and there should be plenty of tools to help you grow your business, using retargeting to attract customers is a dying option and as an SVP of Tech I'd imagine you're quite aware of when to cut your losses and look at new and emerging options.

    You also need to think about your customers --- and realize that photography customers are quite different than your normal customer for a product on, say, Amazon.com. Unlike Amazon, where someone can shop for a "Black Ballpoint pen with fine tip" and then maybe shop around for the best price, art is both subjective and personal. Just because someone gets directed to your site because they're looking at Yosemite photos doesn't mean they're going to like your Yosemite photo. If you lose a sale it's most likely because (1) they didn't like your photo, or (2) they didn't like your prices or (3) they weren't in the market to purchase artwork. There's also the personal aspect of photography: if the photos are personal to someone, they tend to buy it without you advertising to them. A couple is going to purchase your engagement photos regardless if you send a Facebook ad to them reminding them to purchase. In fact, you'll probably piss them off if you do that rather then contacting them directly. Photography sales, for a customer interested in purchasing photos, has a very high completion rate. They don't tend to stop purchasing a photo -- if they're interested in buying it, they buy it. Therefore, if they left, it's because of a reason and retargeting won't bring the sale back. It's not like you can say "hey you, come back to my site to buy those christmas cards that you already bought somewhere else." (well I guess you can but that'd be a waste)

    I've seen way too many photographers spend money on retargeting with zero ROI. It's become a buzz word in the industry: "If you want to make sales, you need to be retargeting." But it doesn't work for photographers. You end up spending money to retarget a customer who would have bought it anyways. Or you spend money so facebook can show you some stupid CPA value which doesn't end up in any sales anyways because they targeted people who already decided not to purchase from you. Or you're one of the 10,000 other photography ads they saw today, and you end up spending money just so you can contribute to advertising fatigue in your potential customers.

    Note: Retargeting absolutely works for photographers who sell their services, but not photographers trying to sell prints. And SmugMug needs to get a lot better at helping photographers sell their services, so this is a much bigger issue than retargeting. This is why your services pages are able to grow. Services are unique and you can retarget on that. But we need a much better integration of tools for selling services first.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,775 Many Grins

    Also, I highly doubt you're looking for SmugMug to communicate with you. If they tell you the same thing I say, will you be happy? No, you want them to provide tools. They should absolutely provide business tools to help you acquire customers, but they shouldn't waste their time on retargeting tools which have low ROI for photography businesses. I'd rather they put their limited engineering power into something more useful for helping me attract customers.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
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