Nest: a look in the rear-view mirror

We’ve made some big changes at Nest over the past twelve months. There’s a good chance that your business has changed significantly, too.

It’s only possible to understand if the actions you are taking are making a positive impact once they have been made and bedded in. This risk/reward element of organisational leadership is both exciting and scary.

I have been building teams in digital since the early noughties. I’ve seen things go right. I’ve seen things go wrong. The only constant has been the relentless pace of change.

Riding the first wave of Facebook advertising

We started Nest in 2017 off the back of seven years of Facebook advertising experience – right from the beginning. It was clear at this moment that there was a gap in executional management of the channel, and our backgrounds meant we could lead here. Nest launched, and we grew.

The growth channel of the moment for ecommerce was Facebook. If you cracked it, you won. We were the agency that brands came to if they wanted to win.

Two events that shaped ecom today

The pandemic changed ecommerce overnight. We saw initial panic followed by lots of hiring and accelerated growth, driven by cheap CPMs and heightened online demand following the shutdown of the high-street.

Following just over a year of rapid growth, May 2021 turned ecommerce on its head. Apple rolled out iOS 14, which significantly hurt Facebook by removing the data on which it optimised. Simultaneously, post-pandemic CPM growth and consumers moving shopping back offline made the environment more competitive. 

iOS 14 hurt our SME clients the most. As it was a data sufficiency issue, the larger spenders went pretty much unscathed. We decided to move away from smaller advertisers during this period as it became problematic to deliver them predictable and reliable results.

Nest is ready for what comes next

Rolling into 2022, it had become evident that our clients’ needs were changing. Meta was no longer the silver bullet it used to be. Marketing leaders were seeking solutions that helped them to solve strategic problems like brand, measurement, creative and channel diversification. We set out on a journey to evolve our business to be ready for the future.

The design we were heading for was a business that would consult ecommerce brands on strategy, and then build out solutions which enabled cross-channel performance, brand and creative.

This involved lots of new hires and a restructure. Today our agency has six Account Directors, a Client Services Director, a Head of Search, and a Head of Creative. This new structure means our client-facing team isn’t tied up in the execution of campaigns. Instead, they are advising on strategy, and then deploying experts from within the service teams based on clients’ needs.

I won’t say that getting here was without friction, but it was worth it. The company feels like a breath of fresh air. The work getting done is incredible. The team is enjoying it. We are ahead of client retention targets, and we are winning cross-service new business.

Nest is now ready for the future.

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