How to gear your eCommerce website towards a millennial marketplace

Born between the years of 1980 and 2000, millennials consist of approximately 80 million people in the US alone. Perhaps the most interesting thing about them is that they have grown up parallel to the digital revolution and the development of the Internet. In a Selz article on selling products online, Kristen DeCosta points out that you need to be on different digital channels while promoting your store. These include Google search, forums, social networks, and review sites.

Marketing to this particular generation is a completely different ballgame than that of its predecessors. With a spending power estimated to exceed $200 million this year, creating an accommodating eCommerce website is crucial in building your brand for the future.

Let’s explore some ways you can win over the millennial audience.

Optimise for mobile

It’s no secret millennials love their mobile devices – and according to Nielsen, more than 85% of millennials in the US own smartphones while in 2015, mobile usage surpassed desktop as the most popular digital platform.

The improvement of mobile technology in recent years has solidified its status as the triumphant browsing tool and it is more important than ever to create a stellar mobile experience. This is by no means an easy task – however there are a few valuable insights to keep in mind when optimising the mobile UX.

Simplify forms: 53% of mobile visits are abandoned after three seconds due to slow loading times. Complicated forms are a big culprit to this problem. It’s best to make them as short and simple as possible. Keep the required fields to a minimum so users can quickly move through the platform without delay.

Keep the navigation uncomplicated: Try not to bog down the site with unnecessary pages. Which pages get the most views and clicks? Look at your website’s analytics to determine which ones get the most traffic, then include them in the mobile menu. A huge menu does not do well on a mobile device and can make the UX complicated.

Optimise the buying path: One of the best ways to boost your mobile conversion rate is to make the checkout process as easy and quick as possible. Keep in mind that each step in the buying process is another chance for the customer to change their mind. Consider, for example, linking Amazon Payments to your eCommerce site. This allows them to log in and pay with one click without leaving your page.

Mobile eCommerce is here to stay. If you want to keep up with the trends to drive your conversion rates, optimising for mobile should be a top priority.

Give loads of information

Millennials – as indeed do other age demographics – are constantly being exposed to a myriad of websites and brands. If you don’t include enough information about a product or service, you can bet they will be onto the next one without a second thought.

Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and go the extra mile in providing all the information users might need. For example, let’s say your website sells furniture. Instead of just including product information on the listings, think of potential questions the shopper might have and add an FAQ section. Also, post testimonials for each product to provide a third party option. Here is an example from furniture website Ashley.

Be social

Social media plays an extremely important role in the success of eCommerce websites, especially for millennials. In fact, 90% of young adults are on social media, and according to Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, 93% of buying decisions are influenced by what they do there. With numbers like this, opting out of social media is simple not an option.

Driving website traffic is the name of the game in eCommerce. Attracting visitors through social media is a great way to do this. However, it is much easier said than done.

At the end of the day, a quality social media marketing strategy is well worth it for gaining the support of millennial consumers. Start by setting benchmarks. How much traffic are you hoping to receive via social media? How many followers are you looking to gain? What is the ideal ratio of audience growth/engagement to sales? For example, the HubSpot Social Media Benchmark Report (below) found that eCommerce brands in the consumer goods industry post 6.02 times per week on average, with 11.4 interactions per post.

Next, understand the type of content your ideal customer wants. This all comes down to knowing your target market. Use tools like Mention to monitor your brand mentions, or those of your competitors. This will help to find the inside scoop of the consumer side of your industry when crafting relevant content.

Generally speaking, most users do not visit social media sites for shopping. The focus is on building relationships, with selling in the distant background. Creating relevant, shareable content is critical to establish trust before attempting to make a sale.

Wrapping up

Winning over millennial consumers is a task that leaves a lot of eCommerce brands scratching their heads. While it is difficult, it can be done. With an oversaturation of online content, the key to this generation’s heart is being relatable in a way that is simple and quick to understand. All it takes is a little creativity to let the beauty in your brand shine through.

– by Pratik Dholakiya

What are the 4 things every data-driven mobile marketer should have on their agenda?

As far as I am concerned, every marketer — mobile or otherwise — should be data-driven, so hopefully the title of this article hasn’t put you off!

Paying attention to data analytics is the ultimate way of measuring the results of a marketing campaign, guiding you into making smart choices about future marketing strategies to ensure your messages are not falling on deaf ears – and mobile is no exception.

The fabulous thing about mobile marketing is that, no matter what type of campaign you run, there is always going to be some really valuable data available at your fingertips as a result.

The key is in understanding what exactly it is that you should be paying attention to. But don’t worry, that’s where Veoo comes in. Here is our list of the most important analytics to observe as you dive into the world of successful mobile marketing.

Subscriber Numbers

It doesn’t take a data genius to work out that, the larger your mobile database, the more potential customers you can reach. The goal is that over time, you steadily grow your database.

But if you’ve been at it for a while and those subscriber numbers still aren’t growing, it may be worth looking at the following potential issues:

  • What’s your signup offer? Consumers want value, so give them a coupon or promotion.
  • How often are you sending promotions? Whilst customers value these, too many can lead to unsubscribes.
  • Where do you promote signup? For retail, doing this at the checkout is the best place.

Redemption Rate

For any promotion or coupon given out, you need to keep track of how many people took you up on the offer.

Whether it’s a text offer, a geofenced coupon, or a mobile wallet loyalty promotion, your mobile marketing platform should be able to give you conversion numbers that help you understand the success of a given campaign.

Note: If you use a coupon code via text, ensure that your salespeople know to enter the code into your point-of-sale system so that it can be tracked.

The data you gather from mobile marketing campaigns is invaluable, but sometimes the number of redemptions isn’t actually the best measure of success. Let’s say, for example, you have two promotions:

  • buy one get one free
  • 15% off a purchase

Whilst you may see more people redeem the BOGOF offer, it could be the case that there are actually higher average transaction numbers for the 15% off purchase. In the long run, what this means is that it is actually more beneficial to have fewer people redeem an offer if it means they spend more in your store.

With that in mind, and thanks to the data, you can plan future campaigns to take advantage of this fact. You could even set a threshold amount to qualify for an offer, such as “spend £50 and save £10” so that you guarantee a minimum transaction amount.

Proximity Conversion

If you leverage geofencing, it’s important to know how many people actually act on the push notifications that you send when they are in close proximity to your store, in order to gauge the success of such a strategy.

Imagine a shopper is in your area and they see your restaurant’s “free cocktail with dinner” notification. This may be enticing enough to get them to plan their afternoon around their new last-minute dinner plans.

If, on the other hand, you’re not seeing a high conversion, it is worth looking into what you are offering to ensure it is appealing enough. You really need to go big with geofencing offers, since people have to change their plans in order to take advantage of them. The offer needs to be made so irresistible that potential customers would be silly not to redeem the offer.

Push Notification Clicks

Did you know that, in general, 46% of consumers are open to getting push notifications from brands 1-2 times a day – though your numbers may vary. Pay close attention to how frequently those who opt in to your notifications are actually clicking on them, and which offers they’re clicking on.

You may see, for example, that they ignore the promotions you send in the morning, but the ones marked “LAST CHANCE” and sent in the evening always get opened. Allow this data to guide your frequency, wording, and promotions.

Being mindful of the data generated by every mobile marketing campaign is what will make you a savvy marketer and increase customer engagement with your brand. Learn from not only your successes, but also your mistakes when developing future campaigns.

After all, as the age old saying goes ‘things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out’.

– by Matthew Winters

Mobile Engagement: When to send SMS, push notifications and in-app messages

People are consumed by their mobile devices, with mobile usage continuing to grow. The question for marketers is what is the best mobile engagement marketing channel in order to reach out to customers for each specific purpose? In this article, I will look at when is it beneficial to use SMS, push notifications or in-app messaging.

Why SMS?

SMS still matters in the age of smartphones! SMS provides an easy and immediate way to interact with customers directly in their personal message application. But if done incorrectly, you run the risk of your subscribers opting out of your messages all together.

There are many advantages to using SMS in your marketing mix: SMS is a great messaging application that can deliver customers information necessary for using your product or service. Those interactions are simple, short, and get your message out quickly. The main advantage is that, your customers don’t even have to install your app, which means if your brand doesn’t have a mobile app, this is currently the most relevant channel for you.

The problem with SMS is that it’s considered an old form of messaging, and is disturbing and obnoxious. More than that, SMS is delivered via your private messaging – a space consumers don’t necessarily want brands to be.

With push, you are able to opt out, but with SMS you can’t – you are stuck with receiving what comes to you. Though it is easy to use, it is limited. You have to have the phone numbers of customers to text them. Your brand is required to receive the customer’s permission to send these texts. You are also limited in the information you can gain on individual users, which is crucial in a world where digital marketers strive to get a holistic view of their customers.

If your brand has an app for smartphones or tablets, SMS are disconnected from it and are not able to be triggered by user’s behaviour within the app. Remember, some SMS messages can irritate customers no end, creating a negative attitude toward your brand. In addition, SMS is very costly especially if you are a global organization.

So, what about push notifications?

Firstly, it’s useful to understand the difference between push notifications and in-app messaging. In short,

Push notifications are what get people into your app, whereas in-app messages guide them through the app and enable marketers to reach all who are not opted into push. Using a combination of both is how you extend your reach to all app users.

A well-executed push notification strategy is a sure bet to increasing mobile engagement and retention, as well as the lifetime value of your users. However, push notifications can be easily misused. It is especially useful with customers that have downloaded the app and stopped interacting with it. With advanced features such as push actions, you can get your users to interact without opening the app.

I believe that push notifications are a great option for brands wanting to target customers on a day-to-day basis, without barring the costs of text messages. In fact, many brands look into this as a key decision factor when deciding to develop a mobile app for their brand.

Push notifications offer a way to direct users to your app, app store page, website, landing page or any specific area within your app (deep linking). You can also encourage them to perform an action using push actions. Remember that, with push notifications, your customer is always up to date, even if they haven’t opened the app.

Another refreshing aspect about push notifications is the ability to personalize content, not only based on demographic attributes but also around user behaviour within the app. You can even enable a push preference centre where users can customize content specifically suited for them.

Push Notifications are a great way for you to promote a CTA. The beauty of push is that this can be done in a fun, fresh and exciting way. For instance, rich media, interactive push notifications, emoji’s and more – you are meant to have fun with it, especially if you want your users to have fun reading them. Oh, and push notifications are much cheaper than SMS.

However, there are some disadvantages. When it comes to iOS, if the user is not opted in to receive push – they won’t. If they are, but you are sending too many messages, or irrelevant messages, or sending them in the wrong time, your users might uninstall the app all together.

These challenges can be easily solved by using a mobile marketing automation platform, like the one push notifications can be easily misused. Push notifications are still considered a bit intrusive. They need to be used sparingly otherwise your users could end up deleting your app.

In most cases they are not visually attractive. Instead they consist of text with a simple CTA. This is where in-app messaging comes in as a complimentary action.

Push notifications enable marketers to send attractive offers to encourage users to open an account/sign in to your app. This is a great way for your brand to collect personal information, and to connect their app profile with the information you have on your CRM for a holistic view.

You can also utilise ‘push’ to reactivate dormant users. Many users become dormant after 48 hours. Send them a push notification to remind them the value your app provides. Adding a discount or coupon may help in reactivating their interest with your app.

Or sending your customers a reminder that they accidentally forgot an item in their cart is a great way to boost revenues and decrease abandoned carts. You can also send loyal customers exclusive offers, coupons or VIP content. This is a great way to provide value in a small package.

The pros and cons of in-app messaging

Remember walking into high school and being completely lost on your first day? A new school, new classes and new expectations; basically, it was like you were standing on foreign ground. But then you met with your guidance counsellor and the air lifted.

In mobile engagement marketing, the guidance counsellor is your in-app messaging. Customers left to their own devices would be like a high school student aimlessly wandering the halls not knowing which classroom to enter. A guidance counsellor helps you identify what content interests you, what classes to take and what fits you.

In-app messaging allows you to engage, promote and guide your users through your app. Getting a user into the app is the first part, the challenge is to engage them once they are in the app.

This is where in-app messaging comes in. Instead of leaving the user to navigate the app on their own, the in-app messages help them use your app and navigate accordingly. Once inside the app, you can send them rich HTML messages, coupons, videos and social content. So here you are combining the rich aspect with the right type of content.

When it comes to brand awareness, you don’t want them to get this as a push notification, as there is no CTA. But within the app this is not considered intrusive. If it’s cool enough, they may take a look, but in the middle of a meeting they may just delete the app altogether. The beauty of in app messaging, is that users receive a message without a random interruption. They are already in your app and interested to see what you have to offer.

However, its worth bearing in mind that with in-app messages, if they are not done right, can end up harming the user experience in the app or feel too much like advertisements. If the messages are not sent in real-time they can present irrelevant content. These messages are also only relevant to users who are in the app, and users that are not currently inside the app will miss out on them.

With many users deleting an app after only 30 days sending a welcome message is a great way to promote what your app has to offer and keep them on track.

That said, in-app messages allow you to target your customers based on behaviour and location. This allows you to send relevant offers when they are near your store.

In-app messaging is also a chance to provide more value to your customers. Send them service updates on their account or any recent purchases. You can also identify when they need support and enable them to talk to you in a single click.

Increase your push opt-in users by delivering in-app messages when they use the app for the first time – explaining what they will gain from letting you send them notifications. Why not use push as a teaser (short text) followed by a rich in-app (even with a video)?

So how do you choose the channel for your mobile engagement marketing strategy?

The secret is to mix two or even three of the above channels, and use each of them for the relevant use case, at the relevant time and for the relevant users. To make it easier in you, many integrated marketing platforms can support all three of these channels, and all that’s left for you is to decide when to use each of them, and for which purpose.

– by Florian Steps

Are we entering the era of ‘Collaborative Exchanges’?

Is the era of organisation-led customer interactions being replaced by a system where the locus of control is negotiated between brands and consumers in collaboration?

A new report, titled From UX to CX: Rethinking the Digital User Experience as a Collaborative Exchange, from the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and Capgemini Consulting contends that we are entering a new era: that of ‘collaborative exchanges’ (CX).

Based on two years of research with customer-facing organisations and analysis of the ways customers interacting with brands, the report contends that control of customer experiences is now ‘owned’ exclusively by neither brands and consumers.

CX results from two developments that have resulted from digital transformation:

Participation

Customers are actively participating across an organisation’s value chain in ways that have not been seen before.

Firms are finding success and helping to drive value by finding a balance between sharing internal activities while also satisfying specific customer needs.

It seems that not only do today’s customers want to engage with the brands they like, they also want to share their own expertise and really value being asked their opinion.

Information

The second development is the importance brands are placing on collecting and leveraging consumer data. Consumers are happy to give data to brands as long as they feel that it is directly leading to a more personalised or generally improved customer experience.

“The fevered pitch for the development of algorithms that better understand and predict customer preferences seem to suggest that the future of customer experience lies on the laurels of data science alone. In fact, customer engagement must be understood through the lived experience of the consumer herself and is subject to the heuristics highlighted by behavioral science too,” senior lecturer and research scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management, Renée Gosline said.

“In a desire to welcome a new age of digital technology and prescient algorithms, firms must be mindful of the human element when it comes to user experience and work hand in hand with customers to create collaborative exchanges.”

Fostering collaboration

The report contends that there are a number of different collaborative options for brands to pursue based on where they are located on the intersection of the participation/information relationship.

Recognising which of these options is best suited to their brand, firms will be able to build successful collaboration exchanges.

Hosts

Hosts gather user information by opening up their value chain to shared participation.

Companions

These companieswork alongside customersso that shared participation and user information is leveraged to update customer experience.

Advisors

Advisors use user information but keep tight control over the kind of participation that is available.

Directors

Directors use controlled customer participation and information to provide services.

For CX to be successful, both the organisation and the consumer need to be willing to give up a degree of control. CX is a two-way flow whereby the exchange results in extracted value for the business and an enhanced lived experience for the customer.

The report states that: “Getting the balance right is key to create a win-win exchange.”

Didier Bonnet, executive vice president at Capgemini Consulting said

“Marketers are told daily that the success of their actions lies with analytics, algorithms, and AI. Of course, this is massively important.

“But what we see clearly from this research is that, in this digital economy, the human element remains as important as ever. Only when brands are able to strike a balance between data analytics and behavioral science will they be able to drive win-win exchanges with their customers.”

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

New technology uses subliminal facial expressions to decipher human emotion and personality traits

New software from ‘artificial emotional intelligence’ (AEI) company Humanhas the ability to recognise and track human emotions and characteristics in real time.

The technology looks at an individual’s subliminal facial expressions, those little ticks, twitches and micro-gestures that a person is not aware that they are making, but paint a detailed picture of their mental state.

The software is the first of its kind, and looks to take a brave new step from facial recognition towards dynamic characteristic detection. The company hopes that the software can be used by companies to minimise human bias in decision making in a cost effective and time efficient way.

The technology will help companies to gain new levels of unbiased insight that can help them better predict opportunities, manage risks and make better decisions about everything about hiring the right person to understanding their audience better.

We spoke with CEO and Founder Yi Xu about the innovative tech and where the company is going next:

How will knowing how someone is feeling at a certain point give a greater insight into individual human behavioural traits and lead to better, more informed decisions?

“We detect both emotions and characteristic traits in millisecond in real time, including happiness, anger, confidence, honesty and nervousness levels. We have observed emotion scores of an individual change drastically from second to second, question to question, situation to situation, whilst some of the characteristics scores related to personality displayed in a certain range.

“With both precise emotion scores and characteristics scores at millisecond for an individual at various situations, we can profile the individual’s personality, thus predicting human behaviour.”

The technology around image analytics is continuing to progress, allowing for example brands to use machine learning to scan images posted on social media to and identify what situations consumers tend to use their products. Do you see your technology having overlap with this kind of image analytics technology? How could your technology add to this practice?

“There has been much advancement in the computer vision machine learning space over the past few years and we are all of course making our small contribution to the progress in the industry day by day. We are more focused on video analysis as opposed to image analytics.

“Ultimately, we want to provide another layer of intelligent data to our clients, thus enabling them to make wiser decisions.

“Using the power of deeper-rooted technology that not only looks at how someone is feeling at that point, but also at what kind of person they are, will allow us much greater insight into individual human behavioural traits which can be used to great advantage when making better, more informed decisions.”

Do you see your technology as primarily customer-facing or for companies to use internally to assess their own performance or employee satisfaction?

“At the moment, we are a B2B tech company, helping our clients to better understand their customers, employees, competitors and even themselves better.

“Understanding what makes someone passionate, nervous, dishonest or curious for example, has to date been about the human subconscious biased view, which has always been a gamble. Our software adds another layer of certainty to simple gut instinct with supporting data.”

How important to do you think this kind of emotional and personality trait analysis will be for businesses and brands in the near future?

“In our daily encounter at personal and professional level, we (consciously or subconsciously) are constantly making our judgments on other people through our own ‘lens’ – inevitably our own biased view. We want to enable humans to quantify emotion and personality scientifically, yet with minimum human bias, in necessary practices.

“More importantly, my vision is to help humans understand themselves better – deep down, our true emotion and personalities.”

Human’s technology is able to use raw video footage and tell in real-time what a person is feeling as well as provide insights into certain personality traits. You can take a look at how it works here.

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

Spotting patterns in A/B testing: The difference between making and losing money

Wrongly interpreting the patterns in your A/B test results can not only lose you money, it can lead you to make changes to your site that actually harm your conversion rate.

Correctly interpreting patterns in results will mean you learn more from each test you run, give you confidence that you are only making positive changes, and help you turn any losing tests into future winners.

The results of A/B tests will generally fall into one of five distinct patterns. Learn to spot these patterns, follow our advice on how to interpret them, and your testing efforts will quickly become more successful.

To illustrate each of these patterns, we’ll imagine we’ve run A/B tests on an e-commerce site’s product pages and are analysing the results.

1. The Big Winner

This is the result we all love. Your new version of a page converts at x% higher to the next step than the original, and this increase continues all the way to Order Confirmation. This pattern tells us that the new version of the test page successfully encourages more visitors to reach the next step and from there onwards they convert equally well as existing visitors.

Next steps: It is clearly logical to implement this new version permanently.

2. The Big Loser

Each step shows a decrease in conversion rate; a sign that the change that was made had a clear negative impact. Often an unsuccessful test can be more insightful than a straightforward winner as the negative result forces you to re-evaluate your initial hypothesis and understand what went wrong. You may have stumbled across a key conversion barrier for your audience.

Next steps: Take this as a positive lesson as opposed to a failure, take a step back and re-evaluate. That said, you would not want to implement this new version of the page.

 

3. The Clickbait

“We increased clickthroughs by 307%!” You’ve probably seen sensational headlines like this. But how much did sales increase by? Chances are, if the result fails to mention the impact on final sales, then what they have was a pattern we’ve dubbed ‘The Clickbait’.

Test results that follow this pattern will show a large increase in conversion rate to the next step but this improvement quickly fades away later in the funnel and there is little or no improvement in sales.

This pattern catches people out as the large improvement in clickthroughs feels like it should be a positive result. However, often this pattern of results is merely showing that the new version of the page is pushing visitors through the funnel who have no real intention of purchasing.

Next steps: Whether this result is deemed a success depends on the context of the experiment. If there are clear improvements to be made on the next step(s) of the funnel that could help convert the extra traffic from this test, address those issues and re-run this test. However, if these extra visitors are clicking through by mistake, or they are being misled, you may find it difficult to convert them later no matter what changes you make!

 

4. The Qualifying Change

With this pattern, we see a drop in conversion to the next step but an overall increase in conversion to Order Confirmation.

Here, the new version of the test page is having what’s known as a ‘qualifying effect’. Visitors who may have otherwise abandoned at a later step in the funnel are leaving at the first step instead. Those visitors who do continue past the test page on the other hand are more qualified and therefore, convert at a much higher rate. This explains the positive result to Order Confirmation.

Next steps: Taking this pattern as a positive may seem counter-intuitive because of the initial drop in conversion to the next step. However, implementing a change that causes this type of pattern means visitors remaining in the funnel now have expressed a clearer desire to purchase and unqualified visitors have been removed. Unless you already have low traffic and don’t wish to further reduce it, you should implement this test.

 

5. The Messy Result

What if you see both increases and decreases in conversion rate to the different steps in the funnel?

This can be a sign of insufficient levels of data. This type of fluctuation is not uncommon during the early stages of an experiment when data levels are low. Avoid reading too much into these in the first few days.

If your test has a large volume of data, and you’re still seeing this result, the likelihood is that your new version of the page is delivering a combination of the effects from patterns 3 and 4. Qualifying some traffic, but simultaneously pushing more unqualified traffic through the funnel.

Next steps: If your test involved making multiple changes to a page, try testing the changes separately to pinpoint which individual changes are causing the positive impact and which are causing the negative impact.

 

Key Takeaways

The key point to take away is the importance of tracking and analysing the results at every step of your funnel when you A/B test, rather than just the step following your test page. There is a lot more to A/B testing than simply reading off a conversion rate increase to any single step in your funnel. Often, the pattern of the results can reveal greater insights than the individual numbers.

Next time you go to analyse a test result, see which of these patterns it matches and consider the implications for your site.

– by Kyle Hearnshaw

SAP claims to reinvent CRM with new product portfolio launch

SAP has this week announced plans to unveil a new portfolio of SAP hybris tools that it claims will help businesses transform their customer relationships through simpler and yet more detailed connectivity to the customer.

The first of the trio of new products, SAP hybris Profile Solution, will the company claims, allow all customer interactions, contexts and behaviours to be captured to then create a continually evolving and dynamic profile of the customer that will allow businesses to enable real-time, one to one customer engagement across all touchpoints and improving customer experience as a result.

The company is also launching SAP hybris Customer Experience – a software solution that it says is the next-generation, responsive omnichannel content management system of the future which again promises to better contextualise the customer journey, thereby improving experience as a result.

The third new announcement in the portfolio is the SAP hybris as a Service product offering, a planned SAP hybris front office which will run on the SAP Hana Cloud platform to enable innovation in the cloud and integration with SAP hybris applications.

“Companies can no longer rely on the costly, siloed systems of yesterday to engage with their customers who are savvy, multidevice digital natives,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE. “They want their needs understood and met — right now and every time. Legacy cloud-based CRM technologies create business complexity because their foundations predate the rise of social media and mobility.

“Companies today need innovative, integrated solutions that simplify the front office, making them easy to do business with and fostering greater customer engagement,” he said.

Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) brings together the worldwide digital marketing community to tackle the challenges that the digital future presents. To find out more visit #DMWF today.

– by Liz Morrell

Adobe aims to deliver new levels of personalised, data-driven ad buying

Adobe has announced the rollout of what it claims is the industry’s most advanced global programmatic advertising platform for advertisers and media publishers, using Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions.

The solution will, the company claims, deliver new levels of personalised, transparent, data driven and efficient ad buying and delivery.

Using Adobe Media Optimizer advertisers are able to take direct control of automated ad buying for search, display and social media across ad exchanges and media networks from partnerships such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Rubicon Project, Index Exchange and more, providing full transparency into media costs, ad performance and revenue. With integration with Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Audience Manager advertisers can also use data to refine and target granular audience segments.

As well its programmatic platform for advertisers Adobe has launched a programmatic offering for media publishers which is currently in beta. Adobe’s TV platform Adobe Primetime helps broadcasters and pay TV service providers deliver and monetise TV experiences across screens, offering media sellers maximum sell-through of video ad inventory and optimal prices across screens while content distributors are linked to multiple ad buyers to reach specific audiences at scale.

“Adobe is addressing some major industry pain points with its programmatic platform from connecting technology and data siloes to solving for scalability and transparency across campaign channels,” said Stephan Beringer, CEO of the VivaKi Operating System (VOS). “It’s increasingly difficult to track when, where and how digital ads are performing, but marketers are demanding more accountability.”

– by Liz Morrell

New Adobe Marketing Cloud cross device network to enable “people-based marketing”

With customers browsing across devices, the challenge of consistently marketing to them whatever device they are using is one of the biggest to currently face the industry.  Consumers want a seamless transition between devices but with current technology focused on recognising devices rather than the people using them (unless they log-in to a site) it’s been hard to join up. A new report from Adobe published this week shows that 79% of people – and 90% of millennials – switch devices when engaged in an activity with two thirds finding it frustrating that content is not synchronised across such devices.

The news that Adobe has unveiled its Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op this week therefore is big news. The new network will enable some of the world’s biggest brands to work together to better identify consumers across their digital touch points enabling marketing to people across devices rather than just the physical hardware they are using.

Instead of relying on the IP addresses and internet cookies of devices the new systems will enable Co-op members to give Adobe access to cryptographically hashed login IDs and HTTP header data, which fully hides a consumer’s identity. Adobe processes this data to create groups of devices (“device clusters”) used by an unknown person or household.

Adobe will then surface these groups of devices through its digital marketing solutions, so Co-op members can measure, segment, target and advertise directly to individuals across all of their devices. Currently only brands such as Google and Facebook who have huge numbers of their users logged in regularly have been able to track cross-device behaviour.

Although it’s early days Adobe suggests that the Co-op could link up to 12 billion devices seen by Co-op members worldwide and enable those brands that use the service to recognise their consumers to deliver more personalised experiences across both devices and apps.

“The Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op will enable brands to intelligently engage with their customers across all the different devices they are using,” said Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager, digital marketing at Adobe. “By harnessing the power of the Co-op network, members can benefit from a truly open ecosystem and a massive pool of devices enabling them to turn yesterday’s device-based marketing into people-based marketing,” he said.

– by Liz Morrell

Brands, Bots & Banter – why marketers should chat

Imagine if brands had the opportunity to engage with consumers in ways that were not only relevant and personal but also in an environment where their added value is proactively sought out by the individual themselves.

Let’s chat…

It used to be that the digital interactions shown on Mission Impossible or Star Trek were just mock-ups for TV or the big screen.

However, what was once science fiction is quickly becoming fact.  We are in the age of a significant shift in computing conversation.

A shift that is fuelled by the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the desire for a more intuitive interaction with technology; conversing naturally as people.

Intuitive interactions

One of the major trends that has set the stage for an era of people talking to their devices is the growth in people talking through their devices.

eMarketer estimates that 1.82 billion people across the globe will use mobile messaging apps in 2017, which equates to nearly one-quarter (24.6%) of the world’s population.

Just look at real-time conversations, such as those that happen in Skype chat, it’s where you discover people that matter to you, and get things done on the spot. Or Snapchat with 166 million daily active users sending, sharing and enjoying content.

Bringing together intuitive interactions and human-like conversations, all supported by AI, is the way to create more appealing technology-based experiences, and something brands need to look at leveraging much more to establish deeper dialogues with consumers.

Consider Xiaoice, a chat bot developed by Microsoft for the Chinese market, as an example of how marketers can be part of the conversation.  It’s an artificial persona who has engaged with over 40 million users, inserting herself intelligently into conversations, backed by a powerful search engine.

But Xiaoice doesn’t just provide timely, contextual information – she provides empathy, a personality and a sense of humour.  In other words, she seems human and real.  You can introduce her to your dog through a photo, she will recognise the breed and ask for updates.  

Or, if you tell her about a recent breakup, she will check in on how you are doing.  She’s become a household name in China and those who have befriended her feel an emotional connection that is decidedly real, with one in four users declaring their love.

Cognitive services

Many such bots are also built on cognitive services which enable Microsoft Cognitive Services which give developers the tools to create a new branded presence that sees, listens, articulates, understands and interprets a user’s needs.

The intent signals gleaned from cognitive abilities are allowing marketers to be more personal and impactful. When your branded bot is part of a conversation, your brand is effectively engaging one-to-one in real-time with a consumer and can provide deeper more meaningful relationships with customers in new and unexpected ways.

Take Skyscanner’s group chat travel bot.  Integrated with Skype, it allows you to add the Skyscanner bot into the Skype chat and interact with the bot as if it were another group member. You can search for flights, live prices, routes and then finally book via a link giving travellers the ability to share the experience of finding the best flights together.

It’s long been said that personal recommendations are the most effective form of advertising – a brand recommending itself is not going to win favours, but if it’s promoted by one of your peers, in the right situation at the right time, you have a winning formula.

It’s an approach that will build far stronger bonds than anything established through conventional push-advertising. Marketers can, by adding value to a personal exchange, insert themselves into a conversation or a group, with the acceptance that one expects of peers.

That, I believe, is a level of affinity never achieved before in the marketing sphere, and the ingredients are already in place to make it happen.

– by Axel Steinman

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