Wayfair, an online home goods retailer that gets nearly 10 million uniques every month in the U.S., is digital by nature, since it does not have any physical retail stores.

Search and display retargeting are the core of the online retailer’s marketing strategy. Wayfair currently manages almost 8 million search keywords. Its private-sale division, Joss & Main, relies on Facebook advertising to drive subscriptions.

Digiday interviewed Andrew Garcia, media manager at the company, for his take on Facebook ads, the effect social media is having on search marketing and the digital challenges Wayfair faces nowadays.

Wayfair is very focused on search advertising. How is the game changing in search with the onset of social media?
Changing is the keyword. Right now no one really knows yet, and everyone is playing it by ear. But the added benefit is another dimension of targeting. There’s more data now, and search becomes more robust through social media.

Retargeting is important to Wayfair. But how do you deal with not freaking consumers out?
I don’t know that any of the vendors out there have really honed in on a way to not freak people out [with retargeting]. When we know that someone has been on our site and has made an intent to purchase, we feel it is important to follow up with them. So if you are online looking at a Rachael Ray cookware set and add it to your cart, but never complete the purchase, it’s in our interest to reach that shopper. And we are getting to them in the right places, so why not be that value add to the decision-making process. It’s worked well for us, since these consumers are deeper in the purchase funnel.

Do Facebook ads work?
The way media works and the way acquisition works is changing. No one, not even GM, can definitively say that one thing works or not. For us, for our core business, we are not doing a lot with Facebook advertising. However, our private-sale subsidiary Joss & Main uses Facebook advertising quite a lot, and it works really well. So from an acquisition standpoint, Facebook ads may not always work. But for a company looking to get more subscriptions to your private-sale business, a Facebook ad may work better.

Why isn’t Wayfair doing anything in the mobile space?
The vast majority of our customers are not engaged with Wayfair on mobile. I can see mobile being important eventually, but there are no current initiatives as of right now.

What are the biggest challenges in the digital today?
Search advertising is a more populated ecosystem. That’s No. 1. The other thing is the changing demographic. People are changing their shopping behaviors all the time and we need to respond to that. We are super data-driven and live by the data and have a leg up in that respect.

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