eCommerce media in Germany – Panel discussion

2 years ago, it was hard to find German ecommerce sites that were selling sponsored product ads to advertisers and sellers, besides Amazon and few others.

In the last 2 years, the picture has changed dramatically as more and more ecommerce websites started to offer sponsored product ads and more and more advertisers started shifting ad budget to ecommerce media.

Last week we hosted a panel of ecommerce media experts to discuss eCommerce media in Germany from the store’s and advertiser’s perspective.

The panel members were Tim Nedden, Founder & Managing Director at Finc3 Commerce (one of the first and leading European ecommerce media agencies), James Medd, Head of Advertising at ManoMano (a large European DIY marketplace) and Mareike Kötter who manages the marketing of the sponsored products at (formerly marketplace).

Before we share the insights and quotes from the panel, here is some interesting data about the German market that will offer some context to the panel discussion:

  • Ecommerce in Germany was worth €83.3 billion in 2020 and Ecommerce media was estimated at more than €1 billion.
  • Zalando, a big online fashion retailer in Germany, reports that their media revenues account for roughly 1.5% of their fashion store GMV and that they are on track to reach a long-term goal of 3% to 4% of GMV.
  • 29% of German ecommerce sales are generated by small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.


Sponsored Product Ads adoption


The panel members were asked to share how they experience the adoption of ecommerce media and all of them agreed that in the last 2 years the adoption is overwhelming.

James Medd: “We are extremely happy with the adoption – it is above and beyond our target. We see strong adoption, most of it quite organic.” However, James added that “Supporting guidance at the early lifecycle is crucial for the longer-term success. We have a team of experts to support the account managers to give best practices, tips, guidance etc.”.

Mareike Kötter from, a large German marketplace that launched their sponsored product ads program less than 2 years ago, described how their sellers reacted to the sponsored product ads: “The sellers were curious about the tool. A lot of them knew it from other platforms so they adopted quite well and fast. We started with a welcome coupon to attract sellers and lower the risk. We currently have ~30% of the sellers running campaign and the number is constantly increasing.”

Mareike also explained the importance of communication via all channels (such as newsletter, seller portal , b2b blog, webinars) in the early stages.

Tim Nedden from Finc3 related to the adoption by the big advertisers and said: “In the last 2 years, more and more brand advertisers became more mature and understood the retail media’s important part in the sales funnel and they are now much more productive in terms of advertising campaigns and unlocking more retail platform for advertisement. Today they might run campaigns on 15 platforms. 2 years ago, it was only Amazon.”.


Sponsored Product Ads performance


Tim: “The average ROAS of sponsored product ad campaigns is between 3%-30%, depends on the product and segment. The brands are going up the sales funnel and not only looking for ROAS but also consideration and awareness.”

Tim also related to how they split the advertisers ad budget between different websites and said they take into consideration the ROAS (and the way it is measured in each website) and also the overall profitability, meaning the sales fees (and not only the cost of the ads).

James added that the sellers and brands that advertise on their website have a “big first-mover advantage” and reach a great ACOS which will most likely increase as competition will grows.

Tim talked about the advantages new store have to offer: “One of the drivers on retail media is that Amazon is getting more and more expensive in several categories because of the competition. More and more advertisers look for alternatives and are willing to invest in stores with smaller volume and reach. This is a huge opportunity to new stores that offer sponsored product ads. Low ACOS in new stores attracts more advertisers. There is also huge potential if the stores work on the conversion rate because then the ACOS can get even better“.


eCommerce media trends


Tim mentioned 3 kinds of shifts that they are seeing in the market – (1) More brand budget going lower in the funnel and landing in retail media, (2) Ad budget moving from Google and Facebook to retail media since the ad prices in these 2 platforms increased and retail media offers now better conversion and performance, (3) Shifting towards smaller retail media platforms that have less competition and better performance.”

Mareike added that while in the US the retail media is well established “in Germany we are still warming up so there is a lot of potential and we se that the bigger brands are really open to that and increase the retail media budget.”. She also said that they saw an increase in sponsored product adoption due to COVID. More visitors to their websites generated more SP impressions and higher CTR. customers were more engaged with SP ads and the performance increased.”

James agreed and noted that the expectations from brands are much higher now because of the performance during COVID. The store should keep with the high expectations and continue offering great performance.


Optimizing sponsored product ads campaigns


When asked how they manage their campaigns for the big advertisers Tim said that “We structure campaigns very granularly and try to break it down in order to optimize it. We use auto campaign to harvest keywords and audiences and then move to manual campaigns to be able to optimize better.”

James added that when talking with sellers and advertisers they ensure the sellers understand the objective and the investment needed to harvest the sufficient data to make decisions. “We see a huge uptake in use of the automatic bidding and automatic keywords. This is the graduation process.”

Mareike also mentioned the importance of ensuring that the sellers first optimize their product pages before starting to run campaigns. Making sure they have good description and photos etc.

When asked about key success factors, James also mentioned “The importance of large sellers and agencies. The relationship with these stakeholders is super important. We need to ensure the agencies know our platform and offering.”


The future of ecommerce media


All panel members were extremely optimistic about the future of ecommerce media in Germany.

Towards the end of the panel Tim said that “Advertisers are more open to try out more platform and adopt new channels. Keep the entry barrier as low as possible. Enable quick and easy start. Offer a tool with the market standards – don’t try to reinvent the wheel. This will be harder to the advertisers to understand. 3rd party software like Mabaya that can be easily integrated and offer good market standard make it easier for the advertiser to adopt”.

He added that “The reason that it (sponsored product) didn’t take off is that retailers tried building their own platforms and there were no standards. Stick to standard – don’t reinvent the wheel – take a platform that is already known in the market.”.

As for the advertisers that are not yet running sponsored product ads, all the panelists had one simple suggestion: “Just do it! The ROAS is attractive and the risk is very low.”


About Mabaya

Mabaya offers a white-label self-service Sponsored Products Ads platform for online retailers and marketplaces that enables sellers and brands to bid in order to ensure their products are listed in premium locations in the online store.

The platform is integrated in more than 50 ecommerce sites around the globes (such as, Jumia, Manomano, Kaufland, Hepsiburada, Falabella etc.), serving more than 60,000 advertisers and sellers.