Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Evolution of the CPG Influencer Model: It’s Not the Parents

In today's YouTube culture, the younger generation is influenced by its own set of "experts," including online celebrities and social media stars, and marketers should embrace that.
For generations, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers have relied on the same hypothesis when it comes to influencers: parents (and especially mothers) were the product influencers in households. Year after year, the results were measured, focus groups held, findings recorded, and this assumption was proven beyond any doubt.
Take hair care brands for example. The conventional wisdom and sales model was that if we could get a mother to purchase and use our brand of shampoo, she would be highly likely to use that same brand of shampoo for her daughter starting at a very young age, long before the daughter has any kind of purchasing influence or power (mother as influencer). By that natural inheritance, our shampoo becomes the daughter’s favorite brand choice as well — the brand she trusts because she knows it works, and it’s what she’s used to. When she later becomes a proud parent herself, she will use the same brand of shampoo for her children. It’s the tested, proven hypothesis of parental influence with the potential to span generations. Talk about lifetime consumer value!
This methodology applies to more than just shampoo. I use Tide as my laundry detergent because my parents used it, I use a Braun razor because it’s the first razor my dad ever bought me. It’s simple human nature; we trust in the information we have gotten from our parents because they are our trusted advisors and we believe that they know what’s best for us.
However, this model has been evolving for a while now, in large part due to the massive amount of information that is now available to our children. If we think about it, 20 years ago, there was no way for us to get an independent comparison of razors — I got the trustworthy information from my own influencers network, my family and parents. But with the massive amount of easily accessible information available today, "consumers" age 12 and younger are starting to do their own product research. They are simply more informed than their parents were (are) about the brands that matter to them. Add to that their increased exposure to advertising and media through social networks and mobile, and they have more brand and product exposure than any generation before them.
There is another interesting shift in behavior that has turned the longstanding hypothesis of parental influence upside down. The easy access to information and product exposure has turned our youth into "experts"; more and more parents are being influenced by their children, who are now the trusted advisors to their parents…and actually get them to try a new product. This change in behavior is happening across a wide variety of categories, but we have seen the biggest shift from parent to child influencer in the Beauty, Lifestyle, Electronics, and Travel spaces.
The younger generation in turn is being influenced by its own new sets of "experts"; today’s youth has more confidence in the opinions of YouTube influencers and online celebrities than that of their own parents.
This rise in digital youth influencers opens up a lot of new challenges and opportunities for marketers. Brands need to reframe the way they think about influencers, embrace the new "children as their parents’ advisors" approach, and explore the opportunities that open up when we can leverage children’s opinions and product "reviews" in order to influence their parents’ purchasing decisions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Search and social advertising spend increases

Kenshoo released its Search and Social Snapshot: Q4 2014, highlighting strong performance of digital marketing during the final quarter of 2014. 

  • Advertising spend in search increased 15% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) and 14% year-over-year (YoY), while ad spend in social increased 32% QoQ and 33% YoY.
  • Paid search impressions increased 11% QoQ but decreased 4% YoY
  • Paid search clicks increased 14% QoQ and 8% YoY
  • Paid search click-through rate increased 2% QoQ and 11% YoY
  • Social impressions decreased 32% QoQ and 79% YoY
  • Social clicks increased 16% QoQ and 10% YoY
  • Social click-through rate increased 70% QoQ and 430% YoY

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mobile Apps and Sites May Actually Work Together

Majority of smartphone owners tap links in mobile apps that lead to mobile site articles 

Mobile app ads have been found to perform better than those on mobile sites, and other analysis suggests time spent with mobile internet skews heavily toward apps. However, in a December 2014 study by Harris Poll for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Mobile Marketing Center for Excellence, US smartphone owners didn’t view usage the same way: 33% said they used mobile sites and apps with about the same frequency, compared with 18% who said they spent a significantly larger amount of time with apps.

The study pointed to in-app browsing as one reason for the difference in time spent figures vs. user opinions, and results suggested the two actually work together plenty of the time, as mobile apps act as a “portal” to web articles. Fully 52% of smartphone owners said they tapped links in mobile apps that led to articles on mobile websites at least sometimes, with around half of that group doing so often or very often. Respondents who had been brought to articles on mobile websites after clicking in-app links found more value from such content, possibly because they’re already in an environment that relates somewhat to their interests. 

Fully 50% of smartphone users said they had learned new things as a result of accessing articles this way, and 39% said they found articles they wouldn’t have found otherwise. More than one-quarter (26%) also said this was a way to find publications and websites they didn’t know about. IAB said apps served as “a key route” to mobile websites—especially social media apps. Fully 26% of smartphone owners used social media apps to find mobile websites—the third-highest response behind search engines (48%) and word-of-mouth (29%). Fully 14% of respondents also cited other mobile apps and news aggregation apps as sources. 

The number of US consumers accessing the mobile internet via web browser or app will continue to rise by double digits (11.2%) this year. eMarketer expects 187.3 million mobile phone users in the US to go online via such devices, representing 72.2% of internet users, 72.8% of mobile phone users and 58.3% of the population. 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mobile clicks have overtaken desktop

Marin Software announced its quarterly benchmark report revealing that clicks on mobile devices have overtaken desktop for the first time.

  • Mobile now accounts for 44.8% of ad impressions, 50% of clicks, 46% of spend and 43% of conversions in the UK.
  • Search ads on tablets achieved the highest click through rate in Q4 2014. This contrasts with the US and rest of the Eurozone where smartphone ads are more successful at converting sales.
  • While desktops continue to command the greatest share of conversions, (57% compared to 8.1% via smartphones and 25% via a tablet), the cost per click (CPC) is considerably higher than for a smartphone click.
  • Share of conversions on smartphones increased 6%
  • Overall Mobile (smartphone and tablet combined) conversions are also climbing year on year with a 8.9% increase since Q4 2013, in contrast to an 8.3% drop for desktop conversions. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Turning Clicks Into Conversions: 3 Tips to Recover Revenue

Getting customers to your website is one thing, but converting their clicks to purchases is quite another.
Happy New Year! So here we are with the approved budget for 2015 that we wanted. You fought hard for the budget. "The traffic is there," you told your boss. "We just need to convert it… and then the revenues will fall from the sky." 

Your online shop looks great, prices are right, the product catalogue taps on the right trends and offers great products, the shopping journey is short and optimized, payment gateways have been checked, the advertising machine works, and you’re getting your traffic from social, affiliation, paid and organic search, mobile, etc. 

Good job buddy, getting this far ain’t easy. 

And then it hits you. The advertising money has been well spent, but visitors just won’t convert into buyers. You’re staring at your analytics dashboard, pulling your hair out (if you have any – I’m bald myself), thinking to yourself: "What do I need to do, and how do I meet the KPIs I have been committing to?" Tick-tock, tick-tock… 

Here’s the thing – conversions on e-commerce are low, really low. Research shows that conversions in many e-commerce shops are in the range of 2 percent and below, and if you’re looking at 5 percent, hey, that’s not bad at all. But that still leaves us with a whopping 95 percent to 98 percent of visitors showing us their back.

So, if your acquisition machine works, and your retention strategy works, then we need to talk about fixing your conversions. 
The good news is that you can adapt these three real-time actions in order to convert your clients. And pay attention – our world is moving steadily toward real-time actions. This should be a well-oiled, fully automated machine.

1. Real Time: On-Site

Converting visitors while they are still on the website should be a priority for you. It gets much harder to do once they have left your shop and conversions then tend to decline. 

Behavioral overlays allow you to do just that. And to illustrate this, here are some examples:

  • A visitor browses your shop and their cursor movements indicate that they are about to leave (e.g. moving toward the upper right side, preparing to enter a different URL). Trigger an overlay with recommended best offers and incentive to buy now. 
  • A would-be customer fills the basket with goodies and then takes no action for the next few minutes – you can trigger an overlay that offers free shipping if they pay now. 
  • A visitor spends a number of minutes on the website without adding anything to the basket – shoot an overlay with a discount for any purchase made during this current session. The key to using these tactics is to run it automatically, preferably linking it to your unified profile if it is available, and to offer it to customers who really need it and not the ones that will abuse it. 

2. Email and Mobile

It didn’t work and the customer left the shop. What’s next? Now we check (automatically – see the workflow diagram for this journey below) in the unified profile if this visitor has an app. If they have an app, woo-hoo! We can now send a push notification with the products reviewed. 

Email can work as well, again showing the products reviewed, with more recommended products and an incentive to complete the purchase. It is important that you do it real time and, in the case of abandoned cart, as close as possible to the visitor leaving your shop. 

3. Retargeting

No contact data or purchase from the customer? No problem! If the visitor filled a cart, offer an incentive to purchase the products in that cart. If they were only browsing the website, offer recommended products with an incentive. The risk here is that your profit margin may be affected if you offer it to all visitors and they understand your game plan. 

The next level in optimizing revenue recovery efforts is to collect what works best for each of your clients and first-time visitors and avoid offering incentives if there is no need. 

If I had to draw this revenue recovery blue print, it would look something like this:
And before you go, there’s one last point to make: the journey doesn’t stop there. We’ve talked about conversions to purchase, and I have intentionally continued the journey with "add to retention program." 

Remember, even after all these conversion efforts, about 70 percent of your clients will still only purchase once. Retaining them will enable you to increase the lifetime value of your existing clients, and sell in higher profit margins.