Posts categorized ‘Communication’

Why Marketers are Scurrying to Provide Video Based Content

Comscore reports that as of April 2012, almost 85 percent of US audience viewed online video. An adult viewer watches 21.8 hours a month on an average and this is double the corresponding figure in 2010.

How to use video in your digital catalogThe emergence of multiple digital touch points with enhanced multimedia capabilities has further facilitated the popularity of videos as a content medium. A 2012 study by the etailing group sponsored by Invodo revels that one in two smart phone users and more than six out of ten tablet users watch one or more product videos in a three month period.

Such a steep increase in the popularity of the video is forcing marketers sit up and take notice. The Social media examiner reports that 76 percent of all marketers plan to increase the space of video in their marketing plans in 2012. This is likely to yield good results, with the Internet Retailer reporting that 85 percent of the prospects who view product videos would most likely make the purchase. Those who view video are 17.4 percent more likely to make a purchase versus those who do not watch videos.

There are many reasons for such a high conversion rates:

  • Videos provide the most appropriate engagement medium for those who prefer visual or audible communications over written or verbal communications. Such people constitute about 60 to 70 percent of all shoppers.
  • Videos help consumers progress to a “ready to buy” state by educating them with product information and specifications. Evidence suggests that people who watch videos spend more time on the website and engage better. When they purchase, they purchase with confidence, with lesser cart abandonment compared to those who do not watch videos. After making a purchase they are less likely to return the product.
  • For the marketer, incorporating video provides an added benefit of improved SEO optimization, resulting in improved search engine ranking and thereby better visibility.

How are you using this medium to increase conversion rates?

Replicating the Actual Experience on Screen Through Digital Catalogs

The success of many enterprises depends on their ability to sell an experience rather than the actual product. This can be done through digital catalogs. In many cases, the actual product would be standard and undifferentiated among the many providers, and businesses would have to compete on providing their customers with a better experience.

Country Walker's online catalog by ZmagsDigital catalogs provide a good way to offer an interactive and engaging experience. Overlaying the dynamism provided by the catalog atop the functionality and the rich media of emerging digital touch points such as the tablets brings to life the content on offer, and is a marked improvement from the experience offered by other channels such as the print catalog, a bland PDF page or even the conventional browser based website.

Country Walkers, an adventure travel company offering itineraries around the world, is a case in point. The success of this company’s online marketing efforts depends on its ability to sell the “experiences” such as guided walking, safaris, biking tours and others rather than the basic tour products such as flights and hotel that anyone can match.

Country Walker’s online catalog, powered by Zmags Professional, engages adventure seekers who search for trips online with invigorating photography, videos, sights and sounds featuring activities, scenery, on-site interviews, cuisine and more, offering a near replica of the actual experience.

The underlying analytics provides rich insights on consumer behavior and trends, allowing the company to fine-tune their strategy. Analytics reveal that visitors to the catalog spend more time and have lower bounce rates compared to the company’s website.

Digital catalogs allow marketers to mesmerize the viewers by transforming a replica of the actual experience to the screen. This however is not the end of the marketer’s job. The marketer also has to ensure that the consumers have easy and seamless access to such content. The ZMags Professional powered Country Walkers catalog, for instance, is embedded into the brand page on Facebook, allowing the brand’s Facebook fans easy and convenient access without having to leave Facebook.

Overall, they’re doing a great job of creating a consistent experience for their customer through digital catalogs.

Enhancing the Brand Experience Through Online Magazines

Many brands understand the importance of digital presence and invest much effort in their online magazines. However, such efforts do not yield any perceptible results to either the bottom line or the brand image without a sizable readership base. To attract people to their digital magazine, merely replicating the print version of the magazine into a digital format and providing some hyperlinks are not enough.

Audi Denmark digital catalogToday’s customers are more demanding and seek to make informed decisions. They not only look out for an enhanced digital experience that would make their quest easy and seamless, but also require high level of access and in-depth information.

To provide a positive experience that would attract new consumers and make existing consumers come back, brands need to bring to life the imagery and editorial content of the digital magazine. One way to do so is by making the online magazine interactive and dialogue based. Most online buyers in today’s digital age consider the one-way monologues that characterize the traditional print magazines as drab and a drag on their efforts to seek relevant knowledge fast.

Seamless accessibility of the content across multiple touch points such as iPad and smart phones is a basic requirement. Brands need to go further and ensure easy accessibility and seamless integration with popular channels, especially social media channels such as Facebook, as well.

At the back end, the brand needs to power the online magazine with a powerful analytics engine that would allow them to monitor results and make tweaks based on what viewers prefer in real time.

Today’s consumers are fickle and spoilt for choice. If they do not get the experience they seek for, they waste no time in moving elsewhere. The challenge for the brand is to anticipate what consumers want and provide it upfront, or failing that make amends in double quick time before the consumer gets around to trying someone else.

Audi Denmark applied all of these to good effect using Zmags Professional. Audi launched a new refurbished magazine in November 2010 and embedded the same into Facebook, to provide consumers with an interactive and attractive brand experience through a medium to which they are anyway using. By November 2011, the magazine increased its viewership by a whopping 1500 percent, with three out of every four views coming from Facebook.

How can an online magazine help your brand?

The Need to Sync Content Across Multiple Devices

In today’s multi-touch point world, the content matters more than the device. People no longer use specific devices to access specific content, but use multiple devices. For instance, they may watch a video or browse a website through the desktop, the tablet or the smart phone. In this scenario, only the content that remains resilient enough to adapt to the multi-touch point world stand a chance of widespread acceptance.

syncing data across multiple devicesOliver & Ohlbaum (O&O)’s annual survey on media consumption trends corroborates this view. The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of all tablet users use the device to watch TV. The corresponding figure last year was 33%.

A bulk of the multi-screen viewership for television is for content strongly linked to apps. 12% of the survey respondents actively use companion apps when watching TV through tablets, and 65% of those who did so felt that it as an engaging way to add value to the TV viewing experience.

However, popular demand is for  free catch-up services rather than subscriber video-on-demand services (SVoD). The former is growing at a rapid pace whereas the growth of the latter has flattened out. The survey also reveals that the three most popular video channels viewed in tablet are BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD in that order. YouTube takes the fourth place.

For marketers and content creators, success depends on not just optimizing the various inherent features of the device to provide a truly immersive and enchanting experience, but also on syncing content across various devices to provide consmers with a consistent and integrated experience.

Traits of Successful Digital Content

The fierce competition among brands means that marketers have to roll out innovative ways to attract and retain customers. A crucial task in this regard is developing digital content that provides an intuitive, rich and engaging experience.

The focus of successful digital content is a neat design. The two essential considerations when doing so include providing a highly interactive experience, and ensuring they provide a consistent experience no matter what digital point he consumer chooses to access the content.

In today’s multiple digital touch point environment, the marketers’ job is not done when he weaves an attractive story to entice the consumer to click on the provided interactive elements such as buttons, navigation panels, forms or other call to action elements, or even by making such call to action elements attractive. The CTA depends largely on how easy the customers can access such elements using their device of choice.

traits of a good digital catalog

For instance, a keyboard-heavy interactive experience would fail to impress the tablet consumers. Rather, a tab button, accessible easily by either a tap or a mouse click would suit all devices.
With consistency a key requirement of success, it is imperative to design in such a way that the consumer has the same commerce experience when accessing the content through the Web browser, smart phone, tablet, Facebook, or any other medium.

Marketers would do well to tap into Zmags vast experience gained by developing over one million digital brochures, catalogs and magazines to design digital content that works.

Optimized Digital Catalogs Allow Brands to Position Themselves for the Holiday Season

One of the main reasons why digital catalogs have seen a surge in popularity is its ability to showcase products in its natural settings, while providing the consumer with rich insights without disrupting the navigation or the experience.

A catalog that exemplifies such ability is Joules Christmas Lookbook, developed by Zmags. Joules’ new Lookbook, for the winter shopping season, incorporate statement pieces, key looks and outfitting ideas that aims to showcase the wardrobe, and provides the consumer with a fresh flurry of styles, prints and gift ideas.

Joules Holiday Lookbook by Zmags

The catalog highlights the statement pieces in their natural setting. Each product has a tag attached to it, clicking on which will open a pop up that provides a better image of the product, brief product description, the ability to select the color, size and quantity and add the item to the shopping bag. The pop-up drills down to detailed product description, delivery options, information on exchanges, allows the consumer to share the product through various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and even send an email. All this is without disruption to the catalog navigation, which still remains at the same page, allowing the consumer to resume the shopping experience even after checkout and purchase.

An extensive yet unobtrusive top header menu allows the consumer to locate exactly what they look for and land at the relevant page directly. Alternatively, a footer popup provides a preview of the upcoming pages, providing the consumer with an insight as to what lies ahead even without leaving the current page, useful to make up your mind when browsing! A slide-bar attached to the popup allows for quick and direct navigation to the required page.

Needless to say, catalogs allows brands to position themselves in the best possible manner during this holiday season.

Tablets Spruce Up Delivery of Custom TextBooks

Technology has thrown open a world of possibilities, and one Pearson digital textbookpossibility is the ability to create  custom textbooks.

The concept of custom textbooks allows students to refine their textbook content to align with their course objectives. The tablet, with its powerful multimedia features, converts such customized text into fun and interactive content, providing a powerful and pleasurable learning experience. The powerful features of the tablet allow students to tap into concepts, access the relevant articles and news related to the subject in real time, view the related audio and video content without going elsewhere, and do much more.

The portable and dynamic nature of the tablet also offers unmatched convenience and flexibility, further confirming the superiority of tablet based custom-books to conventional paper textbooks. Delivering custom textbooks through tablets makes the content available much easier at a considerably reduced cost. Digitally delivered custom books improve accessibility of content to a wider range of consumers, overcoming the physical limitations such as availability of stock, or working hours of bookshops.

Pearson Learning Solutions offers such custom textbooks, using Zmags as its partner to deliver its dynamic Mercury Reader Brochure. The brochure encapsulates the best that technology can offer to create personalized textbooks, allowing both students and teachers to apply personalization and make the purchase seamlessly.

The brochure, containing order codes from the master textbook, leverages the power of simplicity, allowing users to simply tap on the order codes to add the required content, drag the selected content to the required order, click on confirm and then input the contact information. Pearson emails the book summary to the consumer for purchase or for further changes. The provision to print, mail or make a PDF copy, the ability to zoom into a page, the provision to search for the required text directly, the ability to proceed to any page directly without flipping through each page, helpful pop-ups such as the Wish List and other intuitive features spruce up the brochure to deliver a truly engaging experience.

Tablets and Smart Phones Boost Digital News Consumption

The emergence of digital news may result in the death knell for the print news industry. With customers transitioning their loyalty to the digital media, traditional news media is suffering from loss of circulation and consequently ad dollars.

Business news at digital tabletNow a churn is happening within the digital media. Older generation digital devices, such as television, are feeling the heat from newer and more nimble entrants such as the tablets and the smart phone. These new devices leverage the power of the Internet to deliver instant and customized news to consumers, drawing away the consumer’s attention from the stale and generic news content offered by television channels.

The television retained its dominance as the most popular source for news during the desktop era. Even though web browsers delivered real time and customized news to desktops and laptops, the migration from television to the news websites accessed through desktops and laptops was at a steady and gradual pace, primarily owing to the limitations of accessibility and connectivity. However, the emergence of even more flexible and portable devices such as the smart phone and tablets, the development of Internet technology such as wi-fi connectivity and the popularity of news apps that increases convenience multifold has accelerated the pace of migration.

A June 2012 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press place digital mediums just 16 percentage points behind TV as the primary source for news content, among US consumers.

A September 2012 study survey by Mojiva, a mobile ad network, reveals that smart phone and tablet owners still use the laptop, followed by television as their primary source of news, but indications are that this would change shortly.

In fact, television still holding its ground may be due to demographics. The Pew survey reveals that three-quarters of US news consumers ages 65 and older watched news on TV. In contrast, the percentage of respondents in the age group of 18- to 29-year-olds who watched news on television was just over one-third, and this group has actually dropped TV news consumption by 15 percentage points between 2006 and 2012.

Digital news is taking over – what have you noticed about your content consumption habits?

Digital Magazines Allow Marketers to Engage with Customers on a Consistent Basis

Digital magazines are a godsend for marketers in an increasingly competitive world where they seek to capture the customer’s attention on a relatively ‘permanent’ basis.

There are many advantages to having a digital magazine.  It provides a low cost, easy and reliable method to engage with the customers on a regular basis. Apart from regular informative content about the brand, these magazines provide a good opportunity to disseminate news and updates, latest offers and promotions, showcase new products and more. With customers subscribing to such magazines, delivery is more or less guaranteed, a marked improvement from emails or other delivery mechanism where the chances of the customer actually viewing it depends on many factors. Moreover, once downloaded, subscribers can access the content without Internet connectivity, especially useful when on the move.

New digital touch points such as the tablets make digital magazines even more popular. The portability, rich media and dynamic functionality offered by the tablets makes it easier for the consumer to navigate the magazine. Marketers can leverage these same features to provide an enchanting experience for the consumers.

Costco Connection, the monthly lifestyle magazine for the members of Costco, is a good example of a digital magazine. Rather than directly showcase and promote products, the magazine provides articles of general interest and useful tips related to Costco’s services or products available at Cosoco, making the magazine as good and interesting as any other general magazine that a reader would read.

 

Costco Connection Digital Magazine

 

The magazine replicates its print version, and as it is with the case of all digital content, provides hyperlinks that allow the reader to delve into any subject or product of interest without leaving the page. It also provides a host of other features including table of contents, search options, a side bar and more to allow readers access the required content directly without having to flip pages.

Can your business use a digital magazine to increase engagement?

E-Retailers Made Merry During the Holiday Season

E-retailers expected increased sales during the peak holiday shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and their expectations did come true.

e-retailers statistics 2012Among the top performers during the just concluded holiday season was CVS Caremark Corp, who recorded a 30% increase in traffic compared to the 2011 holiday season. Mobile commerce through tablets and smart phones accounted for a significant chunk of this increase, as evident from the 300% growth this segment enjoyed compared to the 2011 holiday season.

Many retailers wound up with more mobile traffic than expected. American Apparel Inc., for instance anticipated four times the mobile traffic from Cyber Monday 2011 and actually ended up with 20 times more traffic from tablets and smart phones.

Apart from the obvious reason of customers wanting to shop in comfort of their homes, avoiding holiday crowds at the streets and the brick and mortar shops, what made mobile ecommerce succeed this shopping season was many online retailers offering online only discounts.

The range of discounts offered by many online realtors this time extended to innovative and imaginative promotions that invoked the curiosity of the customers. This included, among other promotions, mobile-only “door buster” discounts early morning, “mispriced mystery products” that allowed shoppers to go on a treasure hunt, “FreeFall” offers where customers could buy as much as they wanted for a limited time frame during which time the prices kept on dropping. Many retailers also went aggressive with referral programs, offering gift coupons and discount vouchers to their customers who persuaded non-members to register and purchase from the e-retailer.

The increasing use of tablets for shopping also has a significant impact on when people did their shopping. The bulk of the mobile shopping was in the evening, and with mobile sales now a significant chunk of the total sales, the overall peak shopping period during this holiday season was between 8 P.M. and 11 P.M.

Overall, if you’re a retailer, you need to become an e-retailer to really compete in the space.