tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/behavioural-targeting Latest Behavioural targeting content from Econsultancy 2017-07-06T10:43:30+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69226 2017-07-06T10:43:30+01:00 2017-07-06T10:43:30+01:00 How Food52 successfully combines content and commerce Nikki Gilliland <p>So, how has it managed to create such dual success? Here’s an in-depth look into the publisher, and what others experimenting with commerce might be able to learn from it.</p> <h3>Fusing content and community</h3> <p>As former food editor of the New York Times, Food52’s CEO and co-founder, Amanda Hesser, undoubtedly knows a thing or two about food publishing. In 2009 she teamed up with freelance food writer and recipe tester, Merrill Stubbs, to create a food website aimed at 'home cooks'.</p> <p>More specifically, Food52 aims to reach an audience of home cooks who – alongside recipes – also care about food within a wider context, such as how it fits in with a modern lifestyle, its visual appeal, and how it makes people feel. </p> <p>In order to do this, instead of a straight-forward recipe hub or editorial website, Food52 uses a combination of professional articles and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">user-generated content</a>. So, alongside feature articles, you’ll also find regular submissions from its 1m registered contributors, and even a site ‘hotline’ for people to find answers to any burning food-related questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7240/Food52_Hotline.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="423"></p> <p>It is the site’s highly-engaged community that first allowed Food52 to venture into commerce. When the site launched, it did so with the aim of crowdsourcing a cookbook based on user submissions. Since then, it has created a number of cookbooks in this way, with each one including a competition element (with recipes voted for by fellow readers). </p> <p>In doing so, it has been able to capitalise on the contributions of its enthusiastic audience, as well as foster a real sense of community online. Contests are a regular feature throughout the year, too, with users voting for various categories such as ‘best weeknight recipe’ and ‘best thanksgiving leftover recipe’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7241/Recipe_contests.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="443"></p> <h3>A seamless experience</h3> <p>Alongside this sense of community, Food52’s dedication to creating a seamless user experience has enabled it to expand into ecommerce <em>without</em> alienating its audience. </p> <p>Instead of using content purely as a vehicle to drive sales it treats the two verticals equally. It aims to be the ultimate foodie destination, meaning that - whether the user’s aim is to find a lamb recipe or a carving knife – they will be able to find what they’re looking for somewhere on the site. </p> <p>Product recommendations (usually found at the bottom of recipes) feel natural rather than forced, with the publisher only selling items that fit in with the brand’s wider ethos.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7242/Product_recommendations.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="677"></p> <p>Similarly, regardless of whether Food52 is promoting a product or a recipe, its priority is to always provide the user with inspiration – and high quality across the board. This stretches to the site’s signature photography and design, too. </p> <p>Both the content and commerce verticals are photographed in the Food52 studio, which ensures consistency in what the publisher calls the ‘Food52 aesthetic’. This usually means beautifully understated and minimalistic photography, often with a vintage-inspired edge.</p> <p>Together with design, Food52 uses storytelling elements to naturally integrate retail, as well as to create its own ‘point of view’. In doing so, it does not necessarily aim to compete with large competitors, but to provide extra value for consumers. Unlike the purely functional style of Amazon, for instance, Food52 uses emotive and immersive elements to draw in the audience.</p> <p>Each merchant selling on the site has their own page, including detail such as where they’re from and their motivations.</p> <p>With a third of all products sold being exclusive or one-off designs – Food52’s curated approach is certainly part of its appeal. By promoting the handcrafted nature of items and the small scale of merchants selling on the site, it feels far more 'artisan' than a big brand ecommerce site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7243/One_of_a_kind_products.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="500"></p> <p>This image is portrayed everywhere on the site – even extending to the FAQ page, where the first two questions focus on the publisher’s ‘food as lifestyle’ approach.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7244/FAQ.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="430"></p> <h3>Relevant and natural advertising</h3> <p>Food52’s online shop is not its only source of revenue – it also makes money through display advertising and sponsored content.</p> <p>However, it also treats this in the same way as it does shoppable items, ensuring that it is both relevant and valuable for users. Again, the publisher does this by putting as much of an emphasis on quality as it would its regular editorial features or recipes. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7245/Sponsored_content.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="459"></p> <p>There’s no obvious difference in quality between sponsored or non-sponsored content, which means that it could even pass by unnoticed. </p> <p>Food52’s CEO, Amanda Hesser, has previously said that the publisher decides whether or not it accepts a brand deal based on a single question – would it do it with or without an advertiser? If the answer is yes, then this clearly signifies a natural partnership, and one that the audience would want to hear about. So, even if brand involvement <em>is</em> obvious, Food52’s reputation for quality means that users are perhaps more than willing to accept it.</p> <h3>Strong social presence</h3> <p>Unsurprisingly, social media is another huge area of interest for advertisers, with sponsored content on Food52’s various channels often being part of the package. </p> <p>Food52 has partnered with a number of big brands including Annie’s Mac &amp; Cheese and Simply Organic Foods in the past. And just like branded content on the website, these social posts tend to be just as well received as regular ones, mainly due to the way they seamlessly blend in with the rest of the content on Food52’s channels.</p> <p>Instagram is one place where Food52 has particularly flourished – perhaps unsurprising considering that food is one of the most <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67856-four-delicious-examples-of-food-drink-brands-on-instagram/" target="_blank">popular topics on the platform</a>. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7246/Food52_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="418"></p> <p>That being said, other publishers show that the topic itself is not always enough. </p> <p>One of Food52’s biggest competitors, AllRecipes - which generates a huge amount of visitors on its main website - has a mere 280,000 followers on Instagram. Perhaps this can be put down to AllRecipes aiming to be a sort of social hub in its own right, however, it certainly highlights Food52’s success on the platform.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7247/AllRecipes.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="435"></p> <p>The publisher experiments with various types of social media content, capitalising on user-generated posts as well as other mediums like video and livestreaming. Interaction with followers is also another key to social success, with Food52 encouraging comments and replying to questions across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffood52%2Fvideos%2F10154761571104016%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=400" width="400" height="400"></iframe></p> <p>Let’s not forget its use of Pinterest either – especially how Food52 has even incorporated similar features from the discovery site into its own. Users can ‘like’ products and recipes to add them to new or existing ‘Collections’. In turn, this data also allows the publisher to discover what readers are looking for and enjoying, which it uses to inform future content and commerce sales. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7248/Collections.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="490"></p> <p>Using a combination of beautiful design, quality content, and focus on delivering value for its community, Food52 is a great example of how to fuse two very different verticals.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66438-how-should-ecommerce-brands-be-using-content/" target="_blank">How should ecommerce brands be using content?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69026-why-online-publishers-are-launching-wedding-verticals/" target="_blank">Why online publishers are launching wedding verticals</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69058-how-millennial-entrepreneurs-are-disrupting-retail-and-ecommerce/" target="_blank"><em>How millennial entrepreneurs are disrupting retail and ecomm</em>erce</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69178 2017-06-16T11:58:58+01:00 2017-06-16T11:58:58+01:00 Facebook adds value optimization to ad bidding & Lookalike Audiences Patricio Robles <p>This week, Facebook <a href="https://www.facebook.com/business/news/new-tools-to-get-more-value-from-your-campaigns">announced</a> two new tools that marketers advertising on the world's largest social network will want to take a look at: value optimization and value-based Lookalike Audiences.</p> <p>Both rely on the Facebook Pixel and are designed to help marketers reach Facebook users who are likely to spend more money with them.</p> <p>As Facebook explained in its announcement:</p> <blockquote> <p>Value optimization works by using the purchase values sent from the Facebook pixel to estimate how much a person may spend with your business over a seven-day period. The ad's bid is then automatically adjusted based on this estimation, allowing campaigns to deliver ads to people likely to spend more with your business at a low cost.</p> </blockquote> <p>Value optimization is somewhat similar to Google's <a href="https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6268632?hl=en">Target CPA bidding</a>, which allows advertisers using AdWords automated bidding to let Google's technology work on their behalf to minimize their cost per acquisition (CPA). To use Target CPA bidding, marketers must use Google's conversion tracking. </p> <h3>Value-based Lookalike Audiences</h3> <p>Facebook is also extending its value optimization algorithms to Lookalike Audiences, one of the most powerful tools Facebook offers marketers.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65505-lookalike-audiences-the-next-big-thing-in-marketing/">Lookalike Audiences</a> allow marketers using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64980-put-your-email-list-to-work-facebook-custom-audiences">Custom Audiences</a> to target Facebook users that Facebook determines are similar to their Custom Audiences. The performance delivered by Lookalike Audience targeting can be impressive. For example, according to Facebook, one ecommerce marketer realized a 56% lower CPA and 94% lower cost per checkout using Lookalike Audiences.</p> <p>Unfortunately, working with Custom and Lookalike Audiences is not always efficient. More sophisticated marketers, realizing that not all of their users or customers are as valuable as others, frequently segment their customers into multiple Custom Audiences. For obvious reasons, this can be a tedious task.</p> <p>Now, that step can be eliminated in some cases as Facebook is giving marketers the ability to create value-based Lookalike Audiences so they don't have to perform this segmentation on their own. Facebook explained:</p> <blockquote> <p>With this enhancement, advertisers are no longer limited to creating small groups of audiences based on their spend or LTV prior to creating a Custom Audience. Now, they can include a value column to their entire customer list, which Facebook can use to create an additional weighted signal for people most likely to make a purchase after seeing your ad. </p> </blockquote> <h3>Worth experimenting with?</h3> <p>For marketers that have already implemented the Facebook Pixel on their properties, value optimization and value-based Lookalike Audiences are potentially significant offerings that many marketers will probably find worthwhile to experiment with.</p> <p>However, Facebook's methodology for estimating how much customers might spend with a business over a short period of time is a black box, something that some marketers might be a little wary of given <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68332-should-marketers-be-more-concerned-about-facebook-s-video-metrics-faux-pas/">Facebook's recent string of metrics faux pas</a>. Despite this, offering marketers tools for identifying and targeting their most valuable users is a no-brainer for Facebook and it's all but certain the company will continue to add similar offerings well into the future.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69113 2017-05-25T14:42:14+01:00 2017-05-25T14:42:14+01:00 Delivering data-driven content marketing for the travel industry Ray Jenkin <p dir="ltr">Paid media opportunities for content marketing are now truly scalable with programmatic delivery of content through existing ad formats and native placements. As marketers shift from talking at customers to speaking with them, the time is ripe to use data and content to add value to the consumer's purchase journey by finding them at the most relevant time and tailoring the content to them so it is informative and engaging.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is exciting to see the likes of <a href="http://www.thomson.co.uk/blog/">Thomson</a> and <a href="https://contently.com/strategist/2015/11/05/were-a-media-company-now-inside-marriotts-incredible-money-making-content-studio/">Marriott</a> who are executing this across paid, owned and earned channels. This article will focus specifically on how brands can better activate their content utilising data across paid media channels. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">Understand your audience, then shape your content and targeting</h3> <p dir="ltr">With the abundance of data available from social and paid media channels, the opportunity to uncover strong insights about your audience, in near real time, has never been greater. By understanding the primary travel-led concerns and motivations of your audiences you can quickly develop and adjust content to address these concerns.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to tackling your audience's questions effectively, you should also use this information to shape audience targeting strategies and paid media activation of that content, finding defining moments in the consumer journey and matching the most relevant content to these audience behaviours.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Data allows you to listen and act: don’t just broadcast</h3> <p dir="ltr">Balance the message you would like to share with the needs and wants of your audience. Travel brands run the risk of using the content channel as another broadcast tactic, pushing use of their app or overly touting their offers. Be cautious not to alienate your audience.</p> <p dir="ltr">Utilise the data-driven insights you uncover to create a balanced editorial strategy that weaves your key commercial messages with useful and valuable content that addresses consumer needs.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6375/thomson_blog.png" alt="" width="700" height="487"></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Thomson's blog</em></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Be relevant at all the stages of the consumer’s journey</h3> <p dir="ltr">Using data enables you to really match content with the consumer at pivotal touch points. Much like over-broadcasting, mismatching content at the wrong times will lead to consumers ignoring you.</p> <p dir="ltr">For example, if you are building out content that elevates travel inspiration be sure you can activate those audiences at that stage of their journey, by looking at some of the behavioural triggers such as browsing travel photos, writing travel blogs or search terms around broader travel-related terms.    </p> <p dir="ltr">Also, make sure the shape, structure and features of your content reflect the relevant point in the consumer’s journey. For example, consider travel inspiration as a period where consumers are looking for validation and affirmation of the travel desires. With that in mind is your content shareable? Is it rich in visual elements to capture the imagination? Paid media activation now allows for far more variety in content than in recent previous years so leverage these opportunities to make the content more relevant.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Go beyond where your audiences are to find what your audiences are doing</h3> <p dir="ltr">Naturally, context is a valuable part of your content strategy. Make sure you are aligning your paid content with relevant contextual environments such as travel comparison, OTA’s, and travel magazines.</p> <p dir="ltr">Granular data access for audience targeting can help you reach those relevant consumers at other pivotal touch points. For example those sharing content with friends and family on social channels, those searching with specific search terms or consumers browsing hard to reach travel inspiration environments can be identified through more sophisticated audience targeting solutions and also found programmatically in other non-travel environments where the opportunity to deliver them paid content is available.   </p> <h3 dir="ltr">Harness the power of the crowd</h3> <p dir="ltr">According to research undertaken by Edelman, 70% of global consumers say <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">online consumer reviews</a> are the second-most trusted form of advertising, and Trip Barometer uncovered that 93% of travellers said their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns/">User-generated content</a> can be powerful. Consider how this impacts both content production and also existing traditional paid media strategies. Look at how you can marry this content with audiences engaging with review-led content to create stronger resonance with your brand.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Go further than the written word - 66% of all travellers watch videos online when researching </h3> <p dir="ltr">The plethora of paid media options available programmatically has increased significantly in the last few months. Leverage these to get a range of content in front of relevant audiences.</p> <p dir="ltr">From video placements of various lengths and <a href="https://vimeo.com/155542137">f</a><a href="https://vimeo.com/155542137">ormats</a>, to <a href="https://flixel.com/cinemagraph/51r5jmmylwommtwzwt12/">cinemagraph native formats</a> to get engaging imagery in front of audiences, the possibilities to make the right content fit at the right stage have never been greater. With programmatic access to these formats now reaching meaningful scale, you can combine data and placement to truly get the most relevant content in front of the most relevant audiences.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>For more on this topic see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns/"><em>10 examples of great travel marketing campaigns</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68871-how-travel-brands-are-capitalising-on-youtube-adventure-search-trend/"><em>How travel brands are capitalising on YouTube adventure search trend</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/"><em>The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69099 2017-05-22T11:00:00+01:00 2017-05-22T11:00:00+01:00 A day in the life of... Head of Product at a behavioural marketing company Ben Davis <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em>Michael Barber: </em>I’m Head of Product at SaleCycle. SaleCycle is a global leader in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66468-what-is-behavioural-marketing-and-why-do-you-need-it/">behavioural marketing</a>. We work with some of the world’s leading ecommerce brands; IKEA, Ralph Lauren, Virgin Atlantic, Panasonic, French Connection to name but a few.</p> <p>Basically I’m responsible for product management, portfolio management, commercial decisions, strategy and a whole other list of buzzwords. I’m responsible for the future direction of SaleCycle’s products and to do that I try and blend some operational management with longer term planning.</p> <p><strong><em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</strong></p> <p><em>MB</em>: I report directly to the CEO/Founder of SaleCycle. I meet with him and our CTO once a week as part of our technology and product management process. When we meet we look at a wide range of topics and subject matters from AI to wearable tech to complex data questions. It's a fairly broad process but we give a lot of focus to the research side of R&amp;D.</p> <p><strong><em>E:</em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</strong></p> <p><em>MB</em>: My background is in strategic marketing, I’m a chartered marketer. Aside from that I’m a bit of a geek and have worked in digital marketing roles in technology companies for the last 12 years. So outside of the strategic experience in brand and proposition building and product management, my other set of skills are digital marketing; analytics, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">email marketing</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">paid search</a>, ecommerce, social media and web development.</p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: Tell us about a typical working day…</strong></p> <p><em>MB:</em> No two days at SaleCycle are the same really, so nothing is really that typical. As a company, we have a blend of agency-style work and working on our software and technology, so I get the best of both worlds.</p> <p>On the agency side I work with a lot of our larger clients on projects and pitches/opportunities. On the technology side, I can be working with our engineers to solve complex problems or with the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68621-ux-in-2017-what-do-the-experts-predict/">UX</a> team working on our interface.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6206/Michael.Barber.jpg" alt="michael barber" width="615"></p> <p><em>Michael Barber, Salecycle</em></p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: What do you love about your job? What sucks?</strong></p> <p><em>MB</em>: Overall I love my job because I get to design the kind of products I would have bought in my previous jobs. Specifically I love the analytics side; we collect and store data for the brands I mentioned earlier.</p> <p>To help us build out features we work closely with clients to really understand what's happening on their website and take a real deep dive into the data. One retailer I worked with looked at all of the abandonment rates for their different products, we examined the ratio of sales per product, looked at the profiles of visitors who bought vs. those who abandoned. This analysis helped us develop new features where we target abandoning visitors differently by product category, price and name, real granular level <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68466-could-ai-kill-off-the-conversion-optimisation-consultant/">conversion optimisation</a>.</p> <p>I could write for hours about more of the stuff I love such as working on new features or products and analysing their performance or integrations with admired third parties such as Trustpilot or Google Tag Manager. But let's leave it as there's lots I love about my job.</p> <p>Not much really sucks. Sometimes when new features we're testing don't work quite as expected it can be a bit deflating but we are really agile as a business and 'everyday's a school day' so what we learn we apply next time and go again quickly.</p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</strong></p> <p><em>MB:</em> My main goals are to develop the strategy for our product portfolio, the measurement is the growth of our business. We've won national and international awards for how successful our growth has been and I'm lucky to be part of a great team that all focuses on that.</p> <p>The growth piece is important because that's what lets us go and hire more great and talented people who can build products that deliver results for our clients. </p> <p>I also work closely with our head of client services. A few years ago I suggested we use Net Promoter (NPS) to measure clients' satisfaction. For my role it's a key metric, but again I'm lucky because our scores are always awesome so in the rare occasion there's feedback about how our products could be improved then I get to use the detail in that measurement to justify changes. </p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</strong></p> <p><em>MB</em>: My current favourite is not a tool I use so much, but our product design manager uses Adobe XD and that allows us to build working prototypes of our interface that we can show to our clients and garner their feedback. I used to use a similar product called Balsamiq that lets you easily wireframe websites and software interfaces but Adobe XD has taken it to a new level if, like our team, you have amazing design skills.</p> <p>For managing our projects and product feature requirements we use Trello and Jira. Both great tools. For team communication we use Slack.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6209/virgin_atlantic.jpg" alt="virgin atlantic email capture" width="615"></p> <p><em>Virgin Atlantic email capture</em></p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?</strong></p> <p><em>MB:</em> I started my marketing career in a FTSE 100 company. I had a background in IT and in about 2005 the team I worked in started its first ever PPC campaign. I was asked to write the ads content and work with our then media agency to start experimenting with less above-the-line media and start looking at this "Google' thing.</p> <p>After that I worked in a number of roles with different responsibilities such as the company's email marketing programs. I've worked on affiliate programs for the software industry and done quite a lot of consulting on CRM for some of the UK's largest brands. </p> <p>My current ambition is to grow SaleCycle to the same size of revenue and client base as some of the global providers in display advertising. After that I'd like to get into a new technology vertical, having previously worked in business software and now martech, something like healthcare tech seems appealing.</p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: Which brands do you think are doing behavioural marketing well?</strong> </p> <p><em>MB: </em>I'm pretty biased but brands that I work closely with like Tommy Hilfiger and Virgin Atlantic do a great job on the behavioural side.</p> <p><strong><em>E</em>: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?</strong></p> <p><em>MB:</em> Keep learning. I read a lot about the industry from great publications like Econsultancy (cheque is in the post, right?) But also a lot of books on business and creativity. I'm currently reading <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Killer-Idea-Nick-McFarlane/dp/1908211342">Hunting the Killer Idea</a>, a book about how to breed creativity.</p> <p>The only other advice I would give would be to try your hand at as much as possible. I worked in search marketing and come back to it time and time again. In 2007 I was a social media ambassador for the large company I worked for and I still remember how to write social media guidelines, how to write an influencer strategy. I'm all for specialism but I feel I benefit from a really broad range of experiences.</p> <p>Also numerical skills and being good with data is important. A Gartner research director told me the biggest challenge facing CMO's from the Fortune 500 companies was finding professionals who could execute great digital marketing who had great data analytical skills. That's stuck with me which is why I always keep trying to improve mine.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69056 2017-05-04T14:11:38+01:00 2017-05-04T14:11:38+01:00 Bloomberg's Trigr will let advertisers deliver custom ads based on market conditions Patricio Robles <p>"Advertisers are clamoring to reach the right audience with the right content," Derek Gatts, Bloomberg Media's global technology and product head, told AdAge. "But there isn't a lot of conversation aligned with the 'when'."</p> <p>He further explained, "When markets are moving, our traffic booms. We saw that with the instability in Greece, Brexit, the US election – people come to Bloomberg when there is instability in the market because they want to know what the next steps are for their portfolio."</p> <p>Markets, of course, move up and down, and the direction they're moving can dramatically influence the moods of the people who are involved in them.</p> <p>As Bloomberg sees it, this creates an opportunity for advertisers to serve different messages that are appropriate in the context of what's happening in the markets. For example, Gatts says, "Luxury brands want to identify an audience that can spend $25,000 for a Rolex. What better time to advertise to an affluent audience than the moment they just made a ton of money?"</p> <p>With Trigr, advertisers can set triggers to deliver different creative based on granular market-based criteria, such as the performance of broad and category-specific indexes like the S&amp;P 500, various commodities, and stock exchanges in specific countries. Bloomberg will also give advertisers the ability to create triggers around a select number of specific companies.</p> <p>Trigr ads will be sold on a CPM basis and the Trigr technology is based on Bloomberg's own ad server, so Bloomberg can integrate it into any of its offerings that contain advertising, although it did hint that Trigr might be applied to ads "beyond Bloomberg's walls" as well.</p> <h3>The rise of emotional advertising?</h3> <p>Interestingly, Bloomberg's unveiling of Trigr comes at a time when Facebook has sparked interest in the idea of advertising to consumers based on their emotions.</p> <p>The world's largest social network is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/01/facebook-advertising-data-insecure-teens">under fire</a> after a leaked internal document obtained by The Australian revealed that Facebook had told advertisers it can identify when young users feel "stressed," "defeated," "overwhelmed," "anxious," "stupid," "useless" and like a "failure." That knowledge of users' emotional states could in turn be used to target these users with advertisements.</p> <p>Facebook now claims that it doesn't allow advertisers to target users based on its analysis of their emotional states, but Antonio Garcia-Martinez, a former Facebook product manager, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/02/facebook-executive-advertising-data-comment">claims</a> the company <em>could</em> do this and questions why it would mention the capability in a presentation for advertisers if it had no intention of allowing those advertisers to use it. According to Garcia-Martinez, "The hard reality is that Facebook will never try to limit such use of their data unless the public uproar reaches such a crescendo as to be un-mutable."</p> <p>But while Facebook's capability might cast doubt on the concept of emotion-based advertising, Bloomberg's Trigr demonstrates that there are probably reasonable proxies for emotion that don't rely on mining user data and thus aren't so creepy for advertisers to use.</p> <p>The real question, of course, is just how powerful this will be in the real world. There's no doubt that a major market move might make some individuals happy for a day or two, but will it be enough to convince them to shell out $25,000 for Rolex watches and other luxury goods that they wouldn't have purchased otherwise, or would have purchased well in the future instead? Thanks to Trigr, advertisers will soon have the ability to find out.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69047 2017-04-28T10:36:48+01:00 2017-04-28T10:36:48+01:00 10 mind-boggling digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>If that’s not enough to wet your whistle, head on over to the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for even more.</p> <h3>Two thirds of UK consumers are worried about data privacy</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://www.gigya.com/blog/state-of-consumer-privacy-trust-2017-fear-hope/" target="_blank">Gigya</a>, 68% of UK consumers are concerned about how brands use their personal information, with two-thirds specifically questioning the data privacy of IoT devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers.</p> <p>The results of a poll of 4,000 consumers also found that the majority of people think privacy policies have become weaker rather than stronger – 18% predict it will worsen under Theresa May’s government.</p> <p>Apprehension over privacy was found to be higher in older generations, with 73% of people aged over 65 expressing concern.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5812/Gigya.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="409"></p> <h3>Nearly half of parents agree that personalised marketing is the future</h3> <p>A survey by Mumsnet has found that 46% of parents expect personalisation to become a big part of advertising in future.</p> <p>However, there is certainly some resistance, with 58% saying that their data is private and only 26% liking the idea of personalised ads.</p> <p>That does not mean that parents don’t see the value. 35% say they’d be open to seeing ads that apply to their lives, while 24% say that personalised ads would make them more likely to buy. The majority surveyed also said that they’d prefer to see tailored ads based on their previous search behaviour rather than online habits.</p> <h3>UK online retail sales grow 13% YoY in March</h3> <p>The <a href="https://www.imrg.org/data-and-reports/imrg-capgemini-sales-indexes/sales-index-april-2017/" target="_blank">latest figures</a> from IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index show solid growth for UK online sales, driven by a rise in the average spend through mobile devices.</p> <p>Mobile retail was up 18% in March 2016, while overall online sales grew 13% year-on-year. More specifically, the home and garden sector saw a 10% YoY growth, while health and beauty sales increased by 15% YoY – most likely driven by Mother’s Day.</p> <h3>19% of professionals have landed a job through LinkedIn</h3> <p>This week, <a href="https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/april/24/the-power-of-linkedins-500-million-community" target="_blank">LinkedIn announced</a> that it has reached half a billion members worldwide, with 23m of these coming from the UK.</p> <p>As part of the announcement, it also revealed that London is the most connected city in the world, with professionals having an average of 307 connections. </p> <p>It also stated that a casual conversation on LinkedIn has led to a new opportunity for 29% of professionals, while 19% have landed a job through using the platform.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5815/LinkedIn.JPG" alt="" width="344" height="469"></p> <h3>UK adspend was 3.6% higher in Q4 2016</h3> <p>According to the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, adspend was <a href="http://expenditurereport.warc.com/" target="_blank">3.9% higher</a> in the fourth quarter of last year, with digital formats driving growth.</p> <p>Internet spending was up 15.3% during Q4 and 13.4% over the entire year. Meanwhile, mobile took a 37.5% share, hitting £3.9bn for the year and accounting for 99% of the new money spent on internet advertising. </p> <p>Lastly, forecasts for the next two years indicate continued growth, with 2.5% predicted in 2017 and 3.3% in 2018.</p> <h3>64% of marketers do not believe it is their job to analyse data</h3> <p>Research by <a href="https://www.bluevenn.com/resources/ebooks/data-deadlock-report-1" target="_blank">BlueVenn</a> has found that nearly two-thirds of UK and US marketers believe it is their role to collect customer data, but not actually analyse it.</p> <p>However, it appears this is due to sheer volume rather than a lack of aptitude, as 93% of marketers say they are ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ in their ability to analyse complex customer data.  </p> <p>The findings suggest a general discord amongst marketers, with 51% of UK and US marketers feeling that they spend too much time analysing data in their day-to-day work, with too little time left to spend on more creative aspects of the role.</p> <h3>Eight in ten consumers forget branded content</h3> <p>Upon discovering that eight in 10 consumers forget most of the information in branded content after only three days, while more than half are unable to recall a single detail, a <a href="https://prezi.com/view/RZXW2soO8IFMkzAFoNY7/" target="_blank">new report by Prezi</a> has highlighted the reasons why.</p> <p>Irrelevancy of ads is the biggest reason for a lack of recall, with 55% of consumers citing this reason. 37.7% said a lack of motivation to remember it, while 30% said there is simply too much content to retain.</p> <p>In contrast, content which 'tells the audience something new' was found to be the most memorable, helping 27% of respondents to remember a brand. This was closely followed by content which teaches, inspires, or entertains. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5813/Prezi_report.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="436"></p> <h3>Half of retailers unable to predict shopper traffic</h3> <p>New research from <a href="http://d3fi73yr6l0nje.cloudfront.net/Lists/TRS-ResourceAssetsLib/EKN-TYCO_ebook_03-Excellence_Scorecard-20170427.pdf" target="_blank">Tryco</a> has found that retailers are failing to monitor store performance correctly, with 50% unable to predict shopper traffic. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly difficult for retailers to balance operational tasks and customer service. </p> <p>Other findings show 60% of retailers do not consistently manage inventory performance and turnover on a store-by-store basis</p> <p>Lastly, retailers spend 70% of their time on operational tasks as opposed to 30% on customer service, reducing the opportunity to build important relationships with consumers. </p> <h3>eBay sees spike in searches for home and garden sector</h3> <p>eBay has revealed that it saw big spikes in searches within the Home and Garden category around the May bank holidays last year, with online shoppers showing two distinct purchasing mindsets.</p> <p>On one hand, consumers appeared to be looking for quick-fix cosmetic items at the beginning of May, with sales of candles and plant pots leaping by 172% and 214% respectively.</p> <p>On the other, shoppers were planning bigger renovation and DIY projects at the end of the month. This was reflected by sales of saws and lawnmowers rising by more than 1,000%, and sales of sofas jumping by 194%.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5816/ebay_search.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="466"></p> <h3>46% of UK consumers open to relevant ads despite surge in ad blocking </h3> <p>Trinity McQueen has revealed that consumers will tolerate relevant online advertising, despite the popularity of ad-blocking.</p> <p>In a study of 1,000 UK adults, it found that 56% of consumers now use ad-blocking software on their laptops and PCs, yet 46% say they don’t mind online advertising as long as it’s relevant to them.</p> <p>The study also highlights the changing ways UK adults consume traditional and digital media. 29% of UK adults would be happy never to watch scheduled TV again, while one third say that scheduled TV does not fit in with their lifestyle.</p> <p>Finally, 41% of UK adults now subscribe to an on-demand service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68911 2017-03-27T14:45:05+01:00 2017-03-27T14:45:05+01:00 Brand Commerce: Pushing the value of your brand through trial Michael Sandstrom <p>It allows your customers to ‘own’ your brand without initially paying for it, and because once they have a brand they value it more highly, they are more likely to continue using your product.</p> <p>Humans are creatures of habit and comfort, making it highly unlikely that we will give up on what we perceive to be a benefit to us once it has become an established part of our everyday lives. Just as the majority of us are unlikely to eschew the benefits of modern society for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle or even go back from smartphones to flip phones, some brands and their products have managed to make themselves indispensable in our lives. </p> <p>With the right product and the right kind of trial, barring a negative experience by your customers, the removal of your product from their life could end up feeling like an opportunity cost too high to risk. </p> <p>However, there are reasons for caution when considering running free trials. When executed badly, they can end up harming your brand. As reported by The Money Advice Service, four in ten Brits continue to pay for a subscription they’re not using, costing us <a href="https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/blog/don-t-forget-to-cancel-how-subscriptions-cost-brits-338m-a-month">collectively £338m a month</a>. </p> <p>While for the short term this ensures cashflow for these companies, it’s not helping them to build long-term brand loyalty and advocacy amongst their customers. Instead your brand might end up as a source of stress, affecting your brand affinity negatively. For this article, we will go through some of the brands that have not only made trials a key part of their marketing strategy, but have managed to firmly engrain themselves in our lives through it.</p> <h3>Instant gratification through extended trial</h3> <p>The healthy snack subscription service <a href="https://www.graze.com">Graze</a> has successfully used free trials to build its service and expand its offering into a ecommerce platform. Rather uniquely, they also seem to have managed to keep opportunists at bay, stopping customers from ordering one box and then swiftly cancelling the service. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5057/graze_brand_commerce.png" alt="" width="700" height="449"></p> <p>Graze has done this by offering both the first and fifth boxes of snacks for free. Looking at this from a consumer behaviour point of view, this is successful because of the perceived instant gratification from receiving both immediate and tangible future reward.</p> <p>This increases the likelihood of Graze's products becoming an established part of its customers' lives and a benefit they would rather not be without. </p> <h3>Showing your value through sudden deprivation</h3> <p>Swedish streaming company <a href="https://www.spotify.com">Spotify</a> has been instrumental in driving the music industry away from physical ownership into the instant access of music. With over 100m active users and now <a href="https://press.spotify.com/uk/about/">50m</a> of those choosing to pay for the privilege, Spotify’s strategy of providing a 30-day free trial of its Premium paid tier seems to be working.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5058/Spotify_screen.png" alt="" width="700" height="384"></p> <p>Those that choose to either not continue past the trial or outright cancel the service then revert back to only being able to access a limited freemium model. This tactic is especially effective since it effectively becomes a deprivation exercise. By removing a newly found benefit from your customers’ lives, you have a chance at making them understand what they miss the most.</p> <h3>Speak to your customers’ aversion to risk</h3> <p>Other brands such as a online mattress company <a href="https://www.evemattress.co.uk">Eve</a> and its multitude of competitors are using another type of tactic to incentivise trial and purchase. Eve is so sure of the quality of its mattresses that the company is willing to bet you won’t return the mattress after sleeping on it 100 times.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5059/eve_screenshot.png" alt="" width="700" height="366"></p> <p>While this might not be as successful for digital, immaterial goods, this is especially effective when pushing trial of physical products. Once accustomed to an everyday product such as a mattress, not many are willing to go through the hassle and risk of both returning and buying a new mattress.</p> <p>Pursuing a free trial as a sales tactic has great potential to both drive sales and build long-term brand affinity among your target customers. However, planning and implementation is important to make sure you stay away from opportunists only looking for a free deal. The best way of ensuring this and keeping your new customers past the end of your trial is by tapping into and using your customers' behaviours to your own benefit.</p> <p><em>To read more about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68176-brand-commerce-a-new-planning-model-for-marketers">Brand Commerce</a> and how behavioural science can help drive sales and build brand affinity, see our previous articles on how to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68602-brand-commerce-navigating-through-online-customer-indecision">navigate through online indecision</a> and how to use your <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68357-brand-commerce-what-is-your-brand-s-key-feature">brand’s key feature</a> to stand apart from your competition.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68728 2017-01-24T10:09:00+00:00 2017-01-24T10:09:00+00:00 How fashion retailers can use search trend data to inform marketing & product strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>Search terms that combine both evergreen and seasonal keywords are the easiest to predict, with terms like ‘swimwear’ and ‘coats’ guaranteed to peak at a certain time each and every year. </p> <p>On the other hand, reactive trends - while harder to forecast – are also helpful.</p> <p>Using theory <a href="https://www.pi-datametrics.com/resources/market-performance-reports/search-trend-data/" target="_blank">from PI Datametrics</a>, here’s a look at how fashion brands can capitalise on both types of search data. (Note: this can be adapted to brands in any industry, but I'm using fashion as an example here.)</p> <h3>Long-term strategy from seasonal evergreen search trends</h3> <p>The below chart outlines search trend data for the term ‘swimwear’.</p> <p>Although it has high organic value all year-round, it also peaks at the same time every year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3256/PIPR.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="340"></p> <p>PI Datametrics suggest using the following strategy to capitalise on this.</p> <h4>Plan</h4> <p>The planning stage, which in this case would be January, involves getting ready for peak purchases, as well as ensuring all-year round interest will be met.</p> <p>During this time, it’s wise for retailers to stock up on swimwear to capitalise on off-season sales. Meanwhile, it’s also worthwhile conducting link-building activities and optimising a year-round landing page in preparation.</p> <h4>Influence</h4> <p>This stage involves taking advantage of consumer research during popular holiday periods like Christmas, when consumers are researching and planning their summer holiday. In turn, this data can also be used to build a cookie-pool, which can lead to effective re-targeting at a later date.</p> <h4>Peak </h4> <p>Drawing on the aforementioned Plan and Influence stages, retailers should also use the peak purchasing period around June and July to re-target lost customers, rather than build engagement.</p> <h4>Repeat</h4> <p>Finally, marketers should ensure that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65455-why-you-need-an-evergreen-content-strategy/">evergreen content</a> is optimised, and clear stock in time for next year’s seasonal cycle.</p> <h3>Reactive strategy for peak search trends </h3> <p>Google UK data shows that searches for the ‘off-shoulder look’ grew 261% between December 2015 and May 2016.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3257/Reactive.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="537"></p> <p>In instances like this, it is useful to implement a reactive search strategy, as outlined below.</p> <h4>React</h4> <p>When it comes to new fashion trends, peaks in search can happen very quickly. As a result, success often comes from reacting at the right time.</p> <p>ASOS capitalised on 'off-the-shoulder' by creating and optimising a landing page for the trend term as quickly as possible. Similarly, it's helpful to utilise marketing channels other than organic search to capture interest. </p> <h4>Perform</h4> <p>Once it is clear that a keyword is growing in popularity, optimising content organically could prove to be more cost efficient and improve visibility. </p> <h4>Review</h4> <p>Once the peak has died down, retailers should reassess the value of continuing this campaign. Other tactics during this final stage include adjusting stock accordingly, or linking the landing page to a different or more popular trend.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Whether it is based on evergreen, seasonal or one-off trends - search trend data can provide retailers with the ability to create a well-defined strategy.</p> <p>From replenishing stock levels to creating multi-channel content, if used and interpreted correctly, it can help fashion brands meet customer demand and increase sales.</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, download Econsultancy’s brand new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/">SEO Best Practice Guide</a> or check out our range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">Search Marketing training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68609 2016-12-08T01:30:00+00:00 2016-12-08T01:30:00+00:00 Four things to consider before marketing on a new digital channel Jeff Rajeck <p>The same study also shows that <strong>these new consumer behaviours are good for brands which can keep up.</strong>  </p> <p>As the percentage of sales that a brand makes online increases, the more likely it is that a consumer will select the brand at some point in the purchase funnel. <strong><br></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2149/Picture1.png" alt="" width="570" height="444"></p> <p>Because of this, marketers should always be on the lookout for new digital channels. With new ones appearing regularly, however, knowing which ones to use can be difficult. </p> <p>To find out how professional marketers decide whether to use a new digital channel, Econsultancy in association with <a href="https://www.ibm.com/watson/marketing/">IBM Cognitive Engagement: Watson Marketing</a> recently held roundtable discussions in Delhi.</p> <p>There, senior client-side marketers discussed how they launch on digital channels to improve customer engagement, acquisition, and loyalty.</p> <p>Below are four questions which attendees indicated that they ask when launching on a new digital channel.</p> <h3>1. What is the objective of using the new channel?</h3> <p>The first thing delegates consider when reviewing a new digital channel is their objective. That is, what are they trying to accomplish?</p> <p>To answer this, they look at what part of the buying cycle they are trying to influence and ask whether or not the channel is appropriate. For example: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Awareness:</strong> Is this where people interested in our brand spend their time?</li> <li> <strong>Research: </strong>Do potential customers look for information here? If so, can we tell them what they want to know?</li> <li> <strong>Interest: </strong>Will we be able to draw them away from the platform to tell our brand story?</li> <li> <strong>Conversion:</strong> Will they be in the right mindset to buy when they are in this channel?</li> <li> <strong>Advocacy: </strong>Does the platform allow us to engage with customers one-on-one at scale? </li> </ul> <p>Different platforms will suit different purposes. Highly visual networks, such as Instagram and Snapchat, tend to perform better at the top of the funnel.  </p> <p>Special-topic sites such as a blog are more suitable for the middle and conversion. Messaging platforms are best for ongoing engagement.</p> <p>Marketers should, therefore, understand where a channel fits in the customer journey before committing resources and budget to develop their presence on it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2152/1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>2. Is it possible to segment audiences on the channel?</h3> <p>In <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends">Econsultancy's latest Digital Trends report</a>, 'targeting and personalization' was seen as one of the three top priorities for organisations in 2016.</p> <p>Marketers in Delhi agreed. Participants noted that whenever they look at new digital channels, <strong>they consider whether they are able to segment and target audiences on the platform.</strong></p> <p>The reason is that in order to increase engagement with the brand, content must be personalised to some extent. And to personalise, marketers need to be able to segment.</p> <p>Ideally, marketers would be able to segment using demographics, interests and behaviour, but at least one option must be available.</p> <p>While this is not a problem with established channels like Google and Facebook, many marketers have voiced frustrations with difficulty in doing so with Snapchat and Pinterest.</p> <p>Interestingly, both <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/new/%20http:/www.adweek.com/socialtimes/snap-audience-match-snapchat-lifestyle-categories-lookalikes/644849">Snapchat</a> and <a href="https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/new-targeting-tools-make-pinterest-ads-even-more-effective">Pinterest</a> have recently announced that audience targeting will be available.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2153/2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>3. Does the channel provide attribution data?</h3> <p>Another issue which marketers face when using new platforms is that they need to know whether it is effective in driving new business.  </p> <p>The way this is typically done is through a 'referrer source' tag which is picked up by web analytics platforms and recorded along with page views and conversions. </p> <p>While nearly all established digital channels provide this tag, many new platforms do not.  </p> <p>Out of eight messaging platforms commonly used in Asia-Pacific, <strong>only Facebook Messenger and Twitter DMs provide 'referrer source' and the rest are considered <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67529-the-rise-of-dark-social-everything-you-need-to-know/">'dark social'</a>.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8441/dark_social_messaging_apps.png" alt="" width="607" height="471"></p> <p>The only alternative in these cases is for marketers to tag links they post on the platforms themselves. This is not easy to do and makes analytics even more difficult.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2154/3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>4. Can we use marketing automation on the channel?</h3> <p>Attendees asserted that <strong>marketing automation reduces marketing costs and increases conversions.</strong> Because of this, marketers should consider to what extent new channels support automation initiatives.</p> <p>Again, this was not really an issue when using established search and social platforms as they offer APIs, ad bidding automation, and even automated customer service.</p> <p>Newer platforms, however, require that marketers post content manually making it even more difficult to send the right message to the right person at the right time. </p> <p>Participants agreed, though, that in order to reach their customers it was worth putting efforts into new channels such as chat platforms even without automation. Many felt that, in time, these platforms will support integration and allow marketers to use them more effectively.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day and our table leaders: </p> <ul> <li>Antonia Edmunds, Business Leader - IBM Watson Marketing.</li> <li>Gowri Arun, GBS Marketing Leader - IBM India/South Asia.</li> <li>Joseph Sundar, Business Development Executive, ISA/ASEAN - IBM Watson Marketing.</li> <li>Harsh Anand, CSP Leader - IBM Commerce.</li> </ul> <p>We hope to see you all at future Delhi Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2155/4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68534 2016-11-23T16:00:00+00:00 2016-11-23T16:00:00+00:00 What are dark Facebook posts? Nikki Gilliland <p>You might have heard of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67529-the-rise-of-dark-social-everything-you-need-to-know/" target="_blank">dark social</a> or dark web – but this is something different.</p> <p>Let’s shine a light on the subject.</p> <h3>Social posts for select eyes only</h3> <p>A dark post is anything a brand might post on Facebook – such as a link, video, photo or status – that will only be seen by a specific or target demographic. </p> <p>Unlike a regular published post, a dark post does not show up on a brand’s timeline or on its follower’s organic newsfeed. </p> <p>Instead, it appears as an advert for some, but remains hidden to everyone else.</p> <p>You might have heard dark posts also being referred to as ‘unpublished posts’ – they are the same thing, a promoted and targeted post that is not published on your brand page.</p> <p>A similar option is available on LinkedIn.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1527/Creating_dark_posts.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="739"></p> <h3>Why do brands use them?</h3> <p>There are many benefits to using dark posts.</p> <p>The biggest is that unlike organic or boosted posts, they enable brands to carry out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/" target="_blank">A/B testing</a> without cluttering up their own pages and annoying users in the process. </p> <p>By tweaking headlines, call-to-actions and even the time of publication - brands can measure CTR’s and determine what kind of ads are the most effective and why.</p> <p>Further to this, it allows brands to ramp up <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67070-why-personalisation-is-the-key-to-gaining-customer-loyalty/" target="_blank">personalisation</a>.</p> <p>With the ability to post dozens of ads without the fear of backlash, posts can be targeted to a user’s location, interests or previous online behaviour.</p> <p>The idea is that the more targeted they are, the larger the likelihood of engagement. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1529/FB_flyer.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="602"></p> <h3>Are they better than boosted posts?</h3> <p>A <a href="http://trackmaven.com/thank-you-2017-facebook-advertising-index/" target="_blank">recent report from TrackMavens</a> found that businesses are spending on average nearly twice as much on dark posts as they are on boosted posts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1531/Dark_post_average_spend.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="514"></p> <p>However, despite this increased spend resulting in greater reach and more page likes, boosted posts appear to garner more engagement overall.</p> <p>The average boosted post on Facebook receives 643 total interactions, while the average dark post on Facebook receives 559 total interactions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1532/Dark_posts_interactions.JPG" alt="" width="718" height="411"></p> <p>With the latter having more longevity - staying active for around 42 days - it appears that dark posts are being used as more of a long-term strategy for larger brands.</p> <h3>Should you use dark posts with caution?</h3> <p>While dark posts mean improved targeting and testing, brands do need to be wary that they don’t enter into ‘creepy’ marketing territory.</p> <p>Instead of increasing engagement, using super-personal details like names has the potential to alienate users instead of attracting them.</p> <p>However, if used correctly, these types of posts can undoubtedly be a valuable tactic for brands online.</p> <p>The chance to carefully measure how an ad performs, as well as tailor it to a target demographic, could easily outweigh the high cost and potential pitfalls.</p> <p>With a recent survey finding that <a href="https://www.iabuk.net/about/press/archive/15-of-britons-online-are-blocking-ads" target="_blank">46% of users use ad blockers</a> due to annoyance over irrelevant ads - it's sometimes better to be left in the dark.</p>