Monday, April 30, 2012

Tablets: the opportunity for marketers

The tablet market was virtually non-existent two years ago, but all that changed with the launch of the iPad. 
Since then, Apple has sold more than 55m iPads, and with other manufacturers launching their own tablet PCs, this means that a significant proportion of users are accessing the internet via tablet devices. 
For marketers and online retailers, the tablet user represents an interesting opportunity. This is a target market that generally has more disposable income, and often has different usage patterns to mobile or desktop consumers. 
Stats suggest that tablet users convert well, and in some cases have a higher average order value. 
I’ll look at the key trends in the tablet market, how people use these devices, what publishers and retailers can do to make their websites more usable for tablets, and we’ll look at brands that have adapted well to the iPad and other tablets. 

Tablets and conversion rates

One trend that has been emerging is that tablets, and the iPad in particular, are delivering conversion rates that are closer to desktop than mobile, and higher in some cases. In addition, average order values tend to be relatively high. 
Of course, this will vary between sectors and between different types of retailer, but the stats do make sense. 
Though the iPad and other tablets deliver a very good user experience, it’s not the device itself that is behind these strong conversion rates and average order values. 
The major factor at play here is the demographic that buys and uses relatively expensive tablet devices. They tend to be a higher income, and therefore less price-sensitive group. This effect may become diluted with as cheaper tablets come to market, but it is significant for the time being. 
In addition, the usage habits of tablet owners, often in lean-back mode during leisure time, lend themselves to casual buying and browsing. 
There are a number of stats on e-commerce and the iPad in particular which show the potential value of the tablet for retailers. 
According to stats from Affiliate Window, taken from 81.9m visits to merchants and 1.57m sales, the average conversion rate for iPads was 3.82% in August, compared to 1.9% for desktop (i.e. non-mobile).
As far as average order values are concerned, the iPad is king, with an AOV of £69.94, compared to £65 for desktop (i.e. non-mobile). 
The iPhone (£48.34) does a little better than Android (£43.76), while Blackberry and other devices are way behind, a reflection of the relative user experience and ease of purchase on the different devices. 
It’s important to remember that the volume of sales via iPads, though growing, is still a small percentage of total online sales. For example, Affiliate Window’s stats show that, of the 1.57m sales generated by affiliates in August, just 27,551 were via iPad, which equates to 1.75%. 
Stats from eBay, quoted in our M-commerce Innovation Briefing, echo this trend, with the company stating thattablet users spend 50% more than PC users. 
Data from US e-commerce technology company Monetate, whose clients include several Internet Retailer 500 firms, found that, of website visits from Thanksgiving to ‘Cyber Monday’ 2012, tablets accounted for 4.68%, up from 1.06% in 2010. 
Conversion rates from tablets were 4.95% on average, compared with 5.39% for desktop, and 2.32% for mobile.   
Of course, conversion rates and average order values aren’t everything, and retailers need to consider the percentage of traffic and sales from tablet users. 

The Secret to Social Commerce is Social Utility [Presentation]

Here’s a short presentation on how to turn social media into social sales by offering social utility; helping people solve their problems socially and solve their social problems.
Based on a review of social commerce examples in Social Commerce Today, we’ve spotted a pattern – social commerce works when social features offer genuine social utility that comes in three basic flavours.
  • Social utility that helps people solve problems socially using their social intelligence (ability to learn from each other and profit from social situations – e.g. collective buying) (Mercedes)
  • Social utility that helps people solve the social problem of standing out, by helping them manage their social statusby expressing themselves (e.g. fan-first offers that ‘sell’ bragging rights (Burberry)
  • Social utility that helps people solve the social problem of fitting in by facilitating social bonding (e.g. social media gift stores (Starbucks, Anton Berg)
So the secret to making social commerce work?  Sell social utility.

Twitter Improves Search, Notifications in iPhone & Android Apps

Twitter has released updates for its iPhone and Android app, providing improved search and notification functions. The new versions of Twitter are now available on both the iPhone's App Store and Android's Google Play.
"This update was a great collaboration between many teams at Twitter including Android, iOS, Discover, Search and others," Twitter product manager Sung Hu Kim wrote in a blog post. "These updates make it easier for users to find out what is happening on Twitter with improvements to discover, search and notifications."
Twitter hopes the redesigns ease the process of finding and looking for new content with improved discover and search functions.
The updates new notification features will also allow users to constantly keep up to date with their feed.
Also included is a redesign for the 'discover' section, allowing users to tap stories to see tweets about a specific trend and then join in on the conversation by replying, retweeting, or favoriting those related tweets.
Searches have also been improved. The update will allow users to see related terms and spelling corrections during your search. Twitter updates will look to improve on the search function's ability to distinguish between Twitter handles and keywords.
Also new to the mobile Twitter is push notifications that will tell users when they have been favorited or retweeted. Notifications will allow users to configure their settings and define rules for when notices are sent.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

These 10 Companies Control Enormous Number Of Consumer Brands.

Read more here.

YouTube Gains as Facebook Numbers Continue to Slide

Nielsen just released their Top Web Brands stats for March 2012. The usual suspects made the list, but when you compare the charts to months back, you can see an interesting trend. YouTube’s audience is growing — as it should. Facebook’s audience is on the decline — no comment.
Here’s the newest data:
Compared to August of last year:
Facebook is still easily holding second place and they rule the world when it comes to time per person. YouTube’s growth hasn’t been enough to raise them up out of fifth place, but even a slight gain in audience beats a decline anytime.
If you circle back a full year, you’ll find that Facebook was on the rise. March of 2011 had them at 135,695,000. The decline appears to kick in around September of 2011. Just a fluke or are people actually tired of Facebook?
What do you think? Is Facebook’s decline going to continue or will the numbers surge again before the end of the year?

Google Adds Google+ Share Button

Google has announced the Google+ Share button. Google has made it very easy for website owners to embed the Google+ share button on their websites and visitors to easily share content to their Google+ page from anywhere on the web.
The new button is different from the +1 button, which is designed to be an endorsement. The Google+ Share button is more like the share button for Facebook and Twitter, while the +1 button is like a "Like" button on Facebook.
Here's what the Google+ Share button will look like before you click on it:
You will notice that there is a share count of all the people that have shared it, as well as names of people connected to you who have shared it.
Once you click on the Google+ Share button, it will pull up a Google+ Share box where you can share with any number of your circles. You can share it as many times as you want.
After you share, the Share button will turn red, just as the +1 button does.
If you want to put this on your website, you can download the code and start today!

Healthcare companies still don't "Get" Social Media

"Social media is changing the nature of healthcare interaction, and health organizations that ignore this virtual environment may be missing opportunities to engage consumers."
That was the very ominous and foerboding opening line from a press release announcing the findings of a report done by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US.
Anytime I see the words "engage" and "missing" I am automatically intrigued because as we all know it's all about engagement: how to get engaged with your customers, how to stay engaged with your customers and how to ensure they stay engaged with you.
The report compared the social media activity of hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers to that of community sites and as you can see there is no comparison as community sites had 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites.
This is very significant as the rerport aptly points out in that it has serious implications for "businesses looking to capitalize on social media opportunities."
The report also includes findings from an HRI social media survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and 124 members of the eHealth Initiative and include the following results:

  • One-third of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums for health-related matters, including seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.
  • Four in 10 consumers say they have used social media to find health-related consumer reviews (e.g. of treatments or physicians); one in three have sought information related to other patients' experiences with their disease; one in four have "posted" about their health experience; and one in five have joined a health forum or community.
  • When asked how information found through social media would affect their health decisions, 45 percent of consumers said it would affect their decision to get a second opinion; 41 percent said it would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility; 34 percent said it would affect their decision about taking a certain medication; and 32 percent said it would affect their choice of a health insurance plan.
  • While 72 percent of consumers said they would appreciate assistance in scheduling doctor appointments through social media channels, nearly half said they would expect a response within a few hours.
  • As is the case more broadly, young adults are leading the social media healthcare charge. More than 80 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were likely to share health information through social media channels and nearly 90 percent said they would trust information they found there. By comparison, less than half (45 percent) of individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 said they were likely to share health information via social media
What Does It All Mean?
Well I am glad you asked... 
What it all means, as the chart below demonstrates so well, is there is a golden opportunity for thehospitals, pharma companies and health insurers of the world to engage with their customers and prospects. 
I realize the hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers of the world are very reticent to engage via social media for fear of all the rules and regulations that govern their every move but... at the very least you can engage people at a high level, yes?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Will Shoppers share more information for better shopping experience

The ‘User’ versus The ‘Chooser’

Cyndi Pyburn writes that the potential of shopper marketing is rooted in its focus on gathering insights about consumers when they are in the shopping mindset and applying these insights to influence their purchase decisions.  

However, time and time again, there is much confusion around a consumer and a shopper insight.  These terms are often used interchangeably.  But they are quite different.  Here is some clarity around the two.   Research findings that tease out and clarify the underlying truths….
  • in the pre-shopping state are consumer insights
  • at the point-of-purchase are shopper insights
If it’s easier, you can think of the consumer as the ‘user’ and the shopper as the ‘chooser’.

P&G Leans on Digital in Corporate-Image Push

When Procter & Gamble CMO Mark Pritchard said that the CPG brand would focus less on selling products and more on building one-to-one relationships with consumers, he wasn’t kidding. P&G has rolled out its biggest campaign in its 175-year history that follows this mantra. The campaign places a huge emphasis on digital channels, per Pritchard.

The new corporate-image campaign, “Thank You Mom,” is part of P&G’s involvement with this year’s Olympic games. The message centers on the competitors in this year’s games and the journey they went through all throughout their childhood to get to where they are. And as they navigated this tough journey, there was always that one person on the sidelines cheering for them: their moms. At the epicenter of the effort is a short film called “Best Job,” which celebrates the role that moms play in raising Olympic athletes. The campaign runs through display advertising, in social media, mobile, TV and print.

Read more here Digiday.

5 Imperatives for Marketing Strategy in the Digital Age.

Do you have a digital marketing strategy?  Probably not. Chances are, what you have is a collection of tactics that augment massive TV buying.  Those days are quickly coming to an end.  The line between digital and analog is blurring and will soon disappear.

The silos of creative, media and digital are no longer tenable, but the domains of creative account planning, communication strategy and technology have been sequestered in different agency structures, each operating in blissful ignorance of each other.  That can’t go on.

Greg Satell wrote previously about the difficulties of digital marketing strategy.  Now he’d like to point the way towards some solutions.  The challenges we face herald great opportunities.  From neurobiology to behavioral economics, from the semantic web to HTML5, we have new powerful new tools at our disposal.  Here’s how he suggests that we can put them to good use.

Which of your digital marketing channels assist most in conversions?

Ashley Friedlein has shared the below data from the last few months from Google Analytics using their Assisted Conversions report within Multi-Channel Funnels:

Ashley Friedlein's  initial observations are that:
  • It is surprising perhaps that email is the "most assist-y" channel? Are we all still thinking about email too much as a direct/sales-driver channel?
  • Social media, not surprisingly, has a very high appearance as a channel that assists in many conversions but is more rarely the last click.
  • Organic search drives a lot of value and conversions but, perhaps surprisingly, looks for us to be more of a 'last click' channel. People search, we rank, they click, they buy (or not). That's the journey.
  • "Direct" as a medium has grown a lot for us in the last year. Unfortunately 'direct' is shrouded in some mystery now but is mostly made up of social referrals with no obvious referrer and, of late, a large chunk of encrypted Google natural search referrals.