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Technology Artificial Intelligence B2B Marketing

How Fruugo is preserving privacy & driving performance with AI-powered campaigns


By Jenni Baker | Senior Editor

July 11, 2023 | 7 min read

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For one fast growing UK online marketplace, AI-powered campaigns are helping to preserve privacy and drive performance on its quest to provide retailers a one-stop shop for international expansion. Here, we explore the ‘secret sauce’ driving Fruugo’s success.

Preserving privacy & driving performance with Fruugo

Preserving privacy & driving performance with Fruugo

From chilli seeds to luxury fragrances, Fruugo’s aim is to be a one-stop shop for helping businesses go global through its online marketplace; its technology is powering translation, customer service, payment and marketing to more than 3,000 businesses in 42 countries.

Last year, the company doubled in size to reach £255m in order value globally. This growth is underpinned by what Fruugo’s managing director Tony Preedy calls its secret sauce: “data, and how we transform it into competitive advantage for us and our clients”.

“The higher the data quality, the better our advertising performs, and the more effectively we can drive sales for our retail partners,” he says.

Privacy comes first

Privacy has always been a crucial part of that equation. But with evolving regulations, technology and consumer expectations, Fruugo wanted to future-proof its business to deliver a positive privacy experience for buyers and sellers, without compromising the effectiveness of its ads.

“Privacy comes first,” says Preedy. “If it doesn’t, legislation or consumers will catch up with you - or the technology will move on, preventing you from operating effectively. That’s simply the reality of marketing in this decade.”

With the GDPR and browser changes, there was already a rapidly growing gap between what Fruugo could measure in terms of advertising performance and what was driving sales.

“Without a full view of the customer journey, we risked misallocating marketing investment,” explains Preedy. “We were aware of some manual fixes, but we knew they weren’t scalable or the best use of our time.”

As early adopters of technology, Fruugo was keen to test campaign solutions to preserve privacy and performance. Working with its digital marketing partner Croud, the agency supporting its privacy transformation, Fruugo turned to three AI-powered Google tools:

  • Consent mode - which helps companies solve any measurement gaps when users decline to share their data via the homepage cookie banner, by using existing data from website visitors who have consented and understanding overall user conversion trends.
  • Performance Max - a goal-based campaign type that uses AI to optimize ad performance across Google’s advertising channels and inventory from a single campaign
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4) - the latest iteration of Google’s analytics platform, which promises to help analyze complex, multi-platform customer journeys - all while prioritizing user privacy.

A partnership for success

Working closely with Google and Croud, Fruugo migrated 60 marketplace websites from Google Analytics 3 to GA4 and, later, integrated consent mode into its measurement set-up, switching on Consent Mode for all Performance Max campaigns, which it has already been testing for more than a year.

“We have internal expertise on analytics, though Croud acted as a strategic consulting partner to assess whether the decisions we’d reached on our measurement strategy were the correct ones,” says Preedy.

Internally, this transition was “relatively seamless”, Preedy explains, “thanks to complete buy-in across the company, from the legal team who were engaged early and throughout, to a board that understands the digital environment in which their businesses are trading.”

He continues: “Croud and Google provided some of the gritty problem-solving intelligence you need when migrating multiple properties, including training guides, monitoring and testing. They ensured the transition was efficient and effective.”

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A technological leap

By using conversion modeling through consent mode, Fruugo was able to capture 36% more conversions that would otherwise have been lost, while reducing the average cost-per-action (CPA) by 26%.

With more high-quality data to feed into AI bidding, Fruugos’ Preedy says it gives the brand “more confidence that we’re putting our investment in the right places.”

He describes the move to GA4 as “a technological leap”, noting that “it’s clearly built with user privacy top of mind, allowing us to be very granular in what data we collect depending on a user’s preferences and location.”

As it looks to the future, from a performance perspective, Preedy is confident that AI modeling will help it better understand customer journeys across devices and protect the value of its data.

“We believe the combined use of GA4 with consent mode and automated ad formats such as Performance Max will be key in performance-based marketing for years to come,” he says. “And right now, they’re providing the privacy-preserving foundations Fruugo needs on our journey to become a global leader in cross-border e-commerce.”

For more helpful advice and insights to help businesses prepare for a privacy-first future, check out The Responsible Marketing Hub with Google.

Technology Artificial Intelligence B2B Marketing

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Google is committed to helping businesses thrive in a privacy-first world. The technology giant works with thousands of businesses and agencies to help them prepare for a future without third party cookies. Using privacy-preserving technologies, built on machine learning and automation, it can fill reporting gaps and understand people’s needs in a privacy-centric way.

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