Posts categorized ‘Social Media’
The August 2012 Abode Digital Index study “How Tablets are Catalyzing Brand Website Engagement” reveals that consumers are showing an increased preference to tablets. The study also highlights the fact that tablets are all set to displace the smart phone as the most popular mobile digital touch point by 2013. Smart phones, however, will continue to increase its share in the total web traffic.
So where does this leave the traditional desktop or laptop?
As of now, the PC generates the lion’s share of web traffic. As on December 2011, there are six PCs for every tablet, but web traffic through PCs is 19 times greater than web traffic through tablets. For each brand website visit made using a tablet device, there are 3.2 visits made through the desktop or laptop.
Consumers still prefer the PC owing to the larger real estate, convenient access to desktops at work or home, the nascent stage of the tablet app industry as opposed to the all-pervasive nature of web browser and websites, and the limitations of the tablets in accomplishing many tasks that are easier on the desktop.
These inherent advantages of the PC will continue in the near future, and while the tablet and smart phone would nibble away at the PC’s market share, the desktop or laptop would still retain its dominance in the near future.
However, the ability of the tablet (or any other mobile digital touch point) to upstage the traditional PC would depend on:
* Tablets leveraging the cloud to access services that now requires the memory, storage and software of a PC
* Developers adopting HTML5 and other technologies that deliver platform independent solutions. This will provide consistency when accessing content across devices.
* Brands competing to leverage the enhanced functionality and benefits of the tablets to engage with customers better
* Enterprises adopting the tablets in a big way for their routine day to day operations
Regardless of device, you need to have a seamless experience across all touch points.
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.
Digital 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.
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.
Today’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?
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.
Oliver & 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.
E-retailers expected increased sales during the peak holiday shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and their expectations did come true.
Among 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.
Video consumption has soared over the past couple years. Comscore reports that as on April 2012, almost 85% of the US audience has viewed an online video. A standard adult viewer watches 21.8 hours of video a month on an average, and this is double the corresponding figure in 2010.
The 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 reveals 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 has made marketers sit up and take notice. The Social Media Examiner reports that 76% of all marketers plan to increase the pace of video in their marketing plans in 2012. This is likely to yield good results, while the Internet Retailer reports that 85% of the prospects who view product videos would most likely make the purchase. Those who view video are 174% more likely to make a purchase versus those who do not watch videos.
Videos provide the most appropriate engagement medium for those who prefer visual or audible communications over written or verbal communications. These people constitute about 60 to 70% 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.
The advent of portable digital touch points, especially tablets, is churning the publishing marketplace. More and more publications are migrating to a digital version, lured by low costs, flexibility, and potential for personalization. Success of a digital publication, however, depends on making some key transitions rather than merely replicating the print version of the magazine to a digital format.
A big plus of digital publications over their print counterparts is the ability to provide a rich and interactive experience. Two content types that make this possible are videos and flash images. The publisher needs to ensure that videos and images work and maintain their format and integrity across device types. They also need to have a seamless way to insert and change videos.
Digital publications allow the publisher to track reader behavior. The publisher can leverage such knowledge to better engage with readers, providing them with a better experience. The publisher can also share crucial behavioral insights with advertisers, allowing them to engage with readers better and increase ROI.
Digital publications allow for better interaction. Print magazines face a major obstacle – one-way communication and a delayed response time. The digital publication makes feedback and responses instant. Integration with the social media makes it even more interactive and personalized, deepening the readers’ involvement. Social sharing broadens the publication’s viewership.
This case study explains how Green Valley Publishing Company, noted for its health publications such as Social Work Today, Radiation Today, Today’s Dietician, Ageing Well and others took to the digital route using Zmags to provide a completely new experience for its customers. The company not just saved $250,000 in print costs, but also succeeded in increasing engagement and earning industry awards.
Google’s latest research “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior” throws up some interesting findings regarding the way people consume digital content.
The study reveals that as expected, smart phones, PC, tablets and TV retain their place as the top devices through which people access content. In fact, people access 90% of all media interaction through digital screens, marginalizing non-digital content mediums such as paper books. Among digital devices, people alternate among devices to accomplish a goal.
An average user spends 17 minutes on the smartphone per interaction, 30 minutes on the tablet, 39 minutes on the desktop or laptop PC and 43 minutes on the TV. But such figures taken at face value may be misleading. Many users use multiple devices simultaneously. For instance, when a user watches TV, he is using another device such as a smartphone or tablet (77% of the time!). 49% of such time is with a smart phone, and 34% with a PC or laptop.
Nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially, meaning they spread out the activity over time and use different devices in different sittings to complete the task. 81% of people who browse the internet for information, 67% of online shoppers, 46% of people who manage their finances online, and 43% of people who plan a trip, indulge in such sequential multi-screen behavior. 98% of them move between devices in the same day to complete the task on hand.
The study also reveals search as the critical connector as people move across devices. People use search to pick up where they left off as they take up a new device to complete the task.
A big factor that shapes which device people use for the task is accessibility of the device, and much of the activity is spontaneous than pre-planned. 81% of all activity that takes place through smartphones and 52% of all activity that takes place through the traditional desktop PC are spontaneous. About 60% of all online tasks are initiated on a smartphone and then continued on another device.
The lesson for content creators is to deliver content that gels well with all device types. With Zmags, we create one experience that is published to multiple devices. If people are using their cell phone, then switch to the tablet, we make it easy for them to find what they are looking for since they already found it!
Digital catalog and publications are the new focus of marketers, thanks to the popularity of these content types among tablet users. Marketers, however, have to continuously promote after an online catalog is created to ensure that revenues keep flowing. In order to this, you need to drive traffic to your online catalog.
Email campaigns are a great way to continue driving traffic to your catalog. Email that focuses on the catalog or contains a link to the same in the sidebar is a good way to let people know about the availability of such content. However, Zmags has found that emails that promote the catalog directly deliver four times more traffic compared to emails that promote the catalog in sidebars or through links.
The email that promotes the magazine directly succeeds when it catches the email recipient’s attention, creating curiosity or triggering a latent want that prompts a click through to the catalog. For instance, the email may highlight inspiring gift ideas, prompting the recipient to find out what the gift ideas are. Using a digital catalog to showcase these items is a great way for the recipient to make an educated decision and purchase your product.
The email that promotes the catalog in the sidebar would only drive a click if they have been “engaged” by the story in the email. The email may, for instance, speak about a travel sale and provide a link to the catalog that provides great deals. But the story has to be compelling enough for the recipient to want to explore more.
Either way, including a link to your online catalog will drives more clicks to your catalog, which in turn drives more revenue. Use your marketing resources to your advantage!
Unlike the past, when one device type held predominance, the era of multiple devices is here to say. There are multiple statistics to support this: about 50% of online shoppers use two or more devices in their purchase process. And 86% of online shoppers use multiple channels during the purchase cycle. Four out of ten smartphone users use the device to research for a product they are about to purchase from a physical store.
Based on these statistics, connecting with customers has its own peculiar set of challenges.
Today’s consumers are online on a 24×7 basis and access the internet at different points and stages. Marketers need to engage them on an almost real time basis using the appropriate messaging and touch points. This may take the form of providing instant or “only now” offers to conclude the deal, sending personalized emails as the prospect compares deals, or provide instant chat to nurture the sale.
Again, one thing leads to another. For instance, a prospect actively considering a blender for purchase may stumble on a menu book that provides recipes relevant for the blender. This may remind the consumer of tropical drinks and this, in turn, may prompt a search for a tropical vacation. Or the consumer may stumble on the recipe book when researching about the blender during the office break. She would go home, and at leisure, when thinking of cooking dinner may use the tablet to purchase the recipe book. On the way home, she may already have hooked up with friends and acquaintances in the social sphere looking for reviews on vacation deals. At night, she may use the tablet or the netbook to decide on a hotel and travel deal to Hawaii, after reviewing the various recommendations available on her social page.
85% of online customers say that social media helps them decide on what to purchase. The responsibility is on the marketer to anticipate this research and purchase activities and deliver the right content to the right customer in real time. Are your online touch points integrated with social media to make it easy for people to recommend your products?