Posts categorized ‘Trends’

Food & Beverage Digital Catalog and eCircular Benchmarks & Trends

Food & Beverage is one of two industries featured in our Q1 2013 Digital Catalog/Magazine Benchmark webinar and report, which can be downloaded here in full.

These digital publications had the highest traffic levels of any industry, exceeding 46K visits per issue, which was 9 times above average.

Share of visits from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) rose significantly last quarter relative to 2012, increasing from 14% to 26%–or +87%, making it the largest jump in mobile traffic of any industry in our analysis.

Shoppers and readers viewed 14 out of 39 published pages on average in Q1, yet time spent is on the lower side, at 2 min 49 sec spent per visit vs. an average of 4:06.  This shorter dwell time is likely in part due to the higher share of mobile traffic.

Key use cases of digital publications in the Food & Beverage industry include:

1. Weekly flyers and circulars

2. Monthly/quarterly magazines


1. Weekly flyers and circulars:  Many Food & Beverage brands take the first step towards digital by simply uploading weekly circulars to their websites and emailing their shopper base as a notification.  These digital versions allow all potential customers to see what’s on sale and what’s fresh that week–especially catering to those who no longer receive print newspapers with these flyer inserts.   Shoppers can still download to a mobile device or print at home, or even share with others on Facebook.

Some brands take it one step further, publishing content that doesn’t just help sell groceries but really adds value for their shoppers:

- Incorporating shopping list functions lets people mark what they want and email or print it before heading to the store

- Integrating links to digital coupons or QR codes (if unique, these efforts can be tracked and measured!)

- Adding store locators

Grocery Weekly Circular

2. Monthly/quarterly magazines:  Other Food & Beverage brands create lifestyle magazines that only feature their food and beverage products in a supporting role, instead emphasizing content such as:

- Seasonal meals and recipe ideas

- Gift guides during holiday seasons

- Informational articles, such as “How to choose lettuce” in Tesco’s Real Food Magazine.

- Videos, such as of chef inspirations, comments from professional wine tasters, etc.

- Digital ads with links back to advertiser sites

Tesco choose lettuce

Have you seen any additional use cases or good examples of digital content published in the Food & Beverage industry?

As a consumer, are you using online circulars and magazines to plan your grocery trips or get recipe ideas?  Please provide any and all related comments, we want to hear from you!


Q1 2013 Digital Catalog/Magazine Benchmark Webinar Recap

Even though I walked through the key findings from our Q1 2013 Digital Catalog/Magazine Benchmark report during a webinar yesterday, I feel compelled to spread this knowledge further, so am recapping again in this blog post.

Q1 2013 benchmark cover

- Also, those of you who missed it can still watch a recording of the webinar at your convenience.

- In addition, the whitepaper with the full set of Q1 2013 results is now available for download.

- Finally, for a quick overview of the highlights from the 2012 Report, check out our infographic!

Now down to business.  Q1 is the second quarterly installment of the Zmags Digital Catalog/Magazine Benchmark Report, which establishes guidelines on key performance metrics for digital magazines, catalogs, lookbooks and brochures.

The Q1 report includes an update on key metrics including brand engagement, total reach, commerce and impact on website.  It also focuses on two spotlight industry segments:  Food & Beverage and Travel & Hospitality, including digital catalog/magazine performance and recent trends.

Here are a few of my favorite findings:

1.  Average time spent in digital magazines/catalogs rose 17 seconds since the 2012 benchmark, now exceeding 4 minutes per visit

2.  Consumers who viewed Zmags commerce-enabled catalogs had 162% higher ecommerce conversion rates relative to other visits to brands’ websites

3. Online catalogs were viewed by 5% of website visitors who contributed to 8% of online revenue in Q1 — up from 3% and 5%, respectively, in Q4 2012

4. While online publications’ share of visits from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) was 19% in Q1, down a bit vs. the 2012 average (23%), it increased in nearly all industries except retail/ecommerce.  There was an especially large boost for Apparel & Fashion and Food & Beverage digital catalogs and flyers.

Chart 7

I think this has to do with both brand behavior – as ecommerce teams upgrade their mobile websites, load times improve and consumers are more likely to stay long enough to discover this type of content while on the website.  This is occurring in combination with an increase in promotional activities by marketers that feature the digital magazines/catalogs.  Dedicated emails especially drive more mobile traffic into the e-publications, since consumers often check personal (non-work) emails from these devices.

Share of mobile catalog visits for retail/ecommerce is likely falling off after the holiday season, but I predict it will pick back up as we move into summer and the back-to-school shopping season– when shoppers are both relaxed and more on-the-go, not chained to their desks or couches as in the winter months.

The Future of the PC as a Content Source

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?

Browsing online on a PCAs 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.

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?

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.

Tablets Set to Overtake the Smart Phone as the Dominant Mobile Touch Point

An August 2012 Abode Digital Index study “How Tablets are Catalyzing Brand Website Engagement” reveals that web traffic through the tablet is to overtake web traffic through the smart phone by early 2013. On an average, one tablet would generate as many website visits as four smartphones would.

Tablet versus smart phoneThe share of website traffic from tablets was one percent when the iPad was launched two years ago. This figure grew to 4.3 percent last year, a growth rate of 330 percent. What is more, trends indicate that this growth rate is sustainable in the near future, with total web traffic through tablets poised to touch 10 percent by 2014.

This however does not indicate that smartphones are on the way out. Web traffic through smartphones also continue to grow, only that smart phone always had and would continue to have a far subdued growth. During the first two years when the iPhone made its entry, the total web traffic from smart phones was just 0.4 percent. Tablet traffic has grown ten times faster than smart phone traffic, and has now reached the point where it is all set to jump ahead.

In a way, by providing touch and apps, tablets offer the best of both worlds: the large screen and near PC like experience combined with the portability and enhanced touch functionality of the mobile phones. Smart phones still hold on to their own owing despite an inferior browsing experience versus tablets, owing to a higher penetration rate and increased mobility.

Brands would do well to assess how the surge of tablets would impact their business models and engagement strategies. A course correction by infusing digital content such as online catalogs and revamping their online marketing strategy to deliver more interactive content could be two possible ways of exploiting this trend to their advantage.

How does this change your business? What are your thoughts?

Video-Enabled Zmags, Gangham Style

This blog post comes to you from Invodo‘s VP of Marketing, Russ Somers.

If you’re on the Web these days, you’ve probably heard of Gangnam Style by South Korean pop star PSY. The video now holds the record for the most “liked” video in history. Another big piece of news on the Web these days is that Invodo and Zmags have joined forces to bring you video-enabled interactive catalogs that represent a cutting-edge browsing and buying experience. What does that have in common with Gangnam Style? When I think about it, they have four things in common:

  1. Video-enabled digital catalog by Zmags and InvodoIt’s an experience. The first time you saw Gangnam Style you may have felt the way I did…a bit puzzled. But the energy and humor quickly brought a smile to my face. The first time a consumer encounters video while browsing a catalog, it may be a bit of a surprise as well. But it will be a pleasant surprise, as abundant research indicates that shoppers find video helpful in the shopping experience. So I expect it will bring a smile to their face as well.
  1. There’s more than meets the eye. On the surface, the song is an energetic pop trifle. However, the video is filled with sly humor. The locations and situations (sunbathing at a playground as though it were the beach, rapping on a toilet – yes, a toilet) are far from what you’d expect in a video paying tribute to Seoul’s trendiest district.

And there’s more than meets the eye to the Invodo/Zmags partnership as well. Invodo’s analytics platform delivers deep insight not just on who watches your videos, but on how they interact with the video and when they buy. Combined with Zmags’ robust analytics, joint clients will find themselves with a great deal of rich data to help them market more effectively.

  1. It will inspire imitation.  Gangnam Style has spawned its share of parodies, including some pretty funny ones (and one from MIT featuring a cameo from Noam Chomsky). In the same way, expect to see ecommerce sites striving to capture the browsing experience an interactive catalog with video delivers. But just as none of the parodies approach the original’s 500 million views, the deep integration between Invodo and Zmags will deliver a superior shopping experience.
  1. It’s everywhere. Yes, I said 500 million views, and it’s on track to become the first video to reach over one billion views by December, according to Forbes. (For perspective, that will displace Justin Bieber and other lesser talents). That’s a lot of laptops, tablets and phones all playing the same video. The combination of Zmags and Invodo is everywhere too, as the same rich browsing experience is delivered to your iPad or phone just as surely as it’s delivered to your desktop or laptop computer.

In the world of pop culture, it’s hard to know what will make a video go viral or spawn an Internet meme. However, in the world of shopping, a focus on customer experience is what it takes to make a hit. Invodo is proud to team of with Zmags to offer a cutting-edge shopping experience.

Creating Effective Video Content for Your Digital Publication

Videos have grown in popularity to the point that they now rival the written and spoken word. Consumers are willing to watch videos 60% of the time, and once they do, 85% of them convert.

Creating Effective Video Content for Your Digital PublicationBut not all videos drive sales. The question for marketers is how to maximize video view rate, and by extension, sales. Invodo’s study “The Online Retailer’s Guide to Video Merchandising Success” lists out some ways to achieve high view sales:

* Design large call to action (CTA) that attracts the customer’s eye. This may include colorful image, text and rich details. Such large CTAs generate 8.14% view rate, which is more than double the 4.07% view rates generated by small CTAs.

* Place the video strategically, at the very top. Videos “above the fold” or visible without scrolling at a place have an average 5.24% view rate, compared to videos “below the fold” or that require scrolling the webpage to view that have only a view rate of 3.43%. The exact “fold” position depends on the browser, monitor size and resolution.

* Incorporate a text call to action. Words such as “click to play” or “click to view” increases view rate. Videos with such text content have a view rate of 6.16% compared to the view rate of 4.75% of videos with only images.

* Limit the number of elements competing for clicks on the page. The more elements on a page that compete for a click, the less often any one element actually gets clicked. Pages with fewer than ten elements have the highest overall view rates.

How can you use video to drive conversions for your business? Video can be easily embedded into any Zmag – so what are you waiting for?

The Case for High Quality and Comprehensive Video Content

Video is now an established content medium. Cisco estimates that by 2013, video adoption will touch 90% of total internet traffic. eMarketer estimates that by 2015, US online video viewers will represent 60% of the general population and 76% of Internet users.

Comprehensive video contentMarketers and companies have woken up to this fact – 73% of US websites already feature video. However, when delivering video content, it is important to understand what the customers expect out of videos, or why they prefer videos compared to other content types.

Consumers take interest in videos that educate them. Videos that describe product features and benefits score over other videos. One out of three consumers spends more than three minutes when watching videos that explain or demonstrate the product. 66% of all consumers watch such videos two or more times.

Brands have already leveraged this trend in a big way. Luxury brands, for instance, offer behind-the-scenes footage of photo shoots and runway shows to connect with the customers better.

Customers prefer good quality and detailed videos that offer comprehensive and in depth information. 60% of the consumers value video quality over anything else in the video. 53% of consumers prefer detailed presentations, and 47% of consumers say that the quality of the video matters when making a purchase decision. Many marketers however remain oblivious to this fact, clouded by the conventional wisdom that time-starved and busy consumers may prefer short and succinct videos.

What kinds of videos can you create to engage your customers?

Reference: E-tailing Group “Delivering Superior Shopping Experiences Via Video”

Introducing VERGE

 Introducing Zmags' New Feature Verge

The platform that will change everything you know about digital shopping

Today’s shopper knows exactly what they want when it comes to shopping. They want an experience that heightens their senses, tells a story and inspires them to buy. Furthermore, as I mentioned in my last post, they want to have this experience on the device of their choice. It is these consumer desires that spurred the development of our newest platform enhancement – Verge. Verge is a new way for retailers and brands to exceed these consumer demands through an immersive catalog shopping experience.

Shop the Look feature of VERGE

So what’s so different about Verge? Verge brings more streamlined and redefined revenue-generating features to the Zmags platform, including:

  • Shop the Look: With Verge, consumers can now shop complete looks, kits or other product groupings defined by the retailer or brand across the Web, Facebook, tablets and smartphones. See how our forward-thinking customer Express has used this new feature to make their customers feel as though they are shopping the help of a trained stylist : Express Zmags Catalog
  • Enhanced Navigation: Verge maximizes the use of available real estate and simplifies navigation to make it more intuitive. This results in a larger focus on the content being displayed. The upgrade also enhances the swiping experience on all touchscreen devices, with previous and next page “peeking” capabilities, as well as a new intuitive visual Table of Content browsing experience. Check out how PartyLite has changed their online catalog into an interactive sales tool for their Consultants: PartyLite Zmags Catalog
  • Improved HTML5 functionality: In addition to improving the user experience of the iPad HTML5 version, Verge adds the ability to search and share from within the catalog.

The goal when creating Verge was not only to help retailers and brands meet the aforementioned consumer demands, but also to help them encourage product discovery. Breaking free of the stagnant e-commerce shopping experience that we see on most shopping sites today – we want to help retailers introduce shoppers to products they may not have otherwise purchased.

We are extremely proud of this significant upgrade and encourage you to explore what Verge has to offer your brand. If you have any question please feel free to reach out to Kathleen Goodwin at