tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/performance-marketing Latest Performance marketing content from Econsultancy 2018-03-02T11:29:00+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69832 2018-03-02T11:29:00+00:00 2018-03-02T11:29:00+00:00 Four challenges that any paid social strategy should consider Nikki Gilliland <p>However, it’s not always a case of guaranteed success. The world of paid social presents its own unique set of challenges for marketers, but understanding and tackling these issues can be the key to gaining a competitive advantage.</p> <p>There’s tons more on paid social in Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-social-media-advertising/" target="_blank">Best Practice Guide</a>, including case studies and optimisation tips, but in meantime, here’s more on the challenges afoot.</p> <h3>Increased competition (and costs)</h3> <p>As the amount of people on social platforms continues to grow, so does the amount of competition. When brands vie for the attention of the same target audience on the same platform, congestion can occur. This can then result in campaigns failing to take off, and cost per action massively increasing.</p> <p>In order to combat this, brands should re-consider how they are targeting users (in comparison to what competitors are doing). For example, if a rival brand is targeting people within a certain demographic, e.g. age or gender, it would be wise to delve deeper into specific segments such as interests or past browsing behaviour. </p> <p>That being said, it might ultimately boil down to ensuring that creatives are strong enough to cut through the channel noise. This is where testing and optimisation comes in – both crucial steps for driving results.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2546/paid_social.JPG" alt="" width="295" height="572"></p> <p><em>(Michael Kors Facebook ad)</em></p> <h3>Unrealistic expectations</h3> <p>A lack of strategy can often let down paid campaigns, with a failure to set realistic KPIs bringing down overall value. This can also lead to a lack of support from senior management, especially if they are unaware of the social landscape to begin with, or the benefits of paid advertising.</p> <p>To avoid this, it’s vital to have realistic expectations about paid social campaigns, and to set KPI’s in relation to this framework. It’s also important to avoid vanity metrics, and focus on KPI’s that are in line with your end-goals - whether that’s campaign engagement or clicks and conversions.</p> <h3>Ownership and budget</h3> <p>One problem that plagues paid social is where it sits within an organisation. After all, a paid campaign might be an objective for PR and communications, display teams, or wider marketing. Essentially, this also means that there are different ways campaigns can be measured. </p> <p>In order to avoid confusion, teams should come together to support one another and discuss how to create and execute campaigns to best achieve overall business objectives.</p> <p>Budget can also be an issue, with investment often being required to prove the capability of the channel. However, if those involved are unaware of the benefits of paid social, securing this can be a big hurdle. Preparing case studies that prove value can help, as well as ensuring that paid social is included in overall marketing planning. </p> <h3>The question of influencers</h3> <p>Speaking of ownership, another grey area is influencer marketing. Does it even come under the same umbrella as paid social? There is not a clear answer, as not all organisations have the same definition – some class it as earned media while others are adamant it is paid. </p> <p>Regardles, it’s certainly becoming a big priority, with many brands now recognising the power of influencers, and how the strategy can help to reach and build credibility with new audiences on social.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2548/influencers.jpg" alt="" width="480" height="491"></p> <p><em><strong>For more advice on paid social, including tools, optimisation, and measurement tips, subscribers can download our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-social-media-advertising/" target="_blank">Paid Social Media Advertising Best Practice Guide</a>. We also offer <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-paid-advertising">paid social training</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69826 2018-02-26T13:27:00+00:00 2018-02-26T13:27:00+00:00 Could a pharma company shun sales reps and be successful? Ben Davis <p>I spoke to Lowe about what he has seen across pharma and healthcare marketing, and the skills that are currently lacking in the industry. He painted a picture of pharma companies that are "certainly patient centric, they just don’t always behave like it online." </p> <h3>B2B and B2C are blurring</h3> <p>"The healthcare and life sciences industry needs to understand, I believe, that doctors are consumers like anyone else, and so are patients and carers and nurses and pharmacists," says Lowe.</p> <p>He adds that though most people's first point of contact when looking for medical advice is a search engine [<a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/deloitte-uk-connected-health.pdf">62% of UK patients</a>], "currently pharma has this decentralised model - a plan gets handed out and it’s very much based on sales force and market access – understandably, because that model has delivered significant returns for many, many years."</p> <p>Such an approach has to change if pharma is to keep up with agile tech companies. Lowe mentions Amazon and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69761-three-huge-employers-are-going-to-try-to-disrupt-healthcare">JPMorgan Chase</a>, saying "they have digital woven into the fabric of how they operate - pharma doesn’t, so trying to be agile and define how it engages with audiences is going to be a slow process."</p> <h3>Patient-focused content will impact the bottom line</h3> <p>The process of building website infrastructure and online content is one where Lowe sees a breakdown in patient focus – he describes websites as "built based on the ambition, critical success factors, brand and strategic imperatives of the pharma company," but adding that "patients don't care about any of those things. They care about solutions when they need it most, whether it’s a stubbed toe or multiple myeloma."</p> <p>"For the companies that have the most data on these solutions, the way they use that data is really bad. I get asked sometimes - ‘Do people want information from a big pharma company?’ - and I genuinely think people don’t care where the information comes from, if it’s well balanced, useful, relieves anxiety, or helps with the next best step."</p> <p>This sort of content often benefits communities dealing with a particular condition, such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems, but Lowe asserts that the value of this approach for pharma also impacts on harder metrics, not just the softer ones.</p> <p>"From a financial aspect," he says, "if people are better controlled then concordance is better (compliance, persistence, adherence) people stay on drugs longer, there's more effective up-titrating and it affects the P&amp;L very positively."</p> <h3>Analytics and planning skills are lacking, for now</h3> <p>Pharma is stereotyped as being a laggard in some areas of digital. Though this is perhaps too easy an assumption to make, Lowe characterises the typical campaign or website build involving perhaps "a social listening exercise, maybe a keyword planner" but not truly understanding "insights informed infrastructure".</p> <p>According to Lowe, marketers need to look at a slew of search and behavioural data and decide "what to avoid, what is useful based on semantic search behaviours, what kind of content is engaged with, on which platforms, with what frequency, and in which formats."</p> <p>This type of activity will help set "domain strategy, url taxonomy, site structure, and onsite and offsite keywords", but according to Lowe the industry needs to recruit better skills in technology such as "tag management, advanced analytics, Google search console etc." </p> <h3>Pharma needs to join the dots with performance marketing</h3> <p>Once campaigns and content are live, the next task is optimisation of performance marketing. Again, knowing how to track users and understand the success of content is key.</p> <p>Lowe gives the example of event tracking, such as how many doctors are watching videos on up-titration of a complex medicine, or tracking consumers downloading a helpful PDF. Combining event tracking with acquistion through social media, and landing page optimisation is the kind of marketing industry standard conversion funnel that pharma needs to properly implement.</p> <p>In order to do this, says Lowe, "investment in new people, new behaviours and new skills" is needed.</p> <h3>The rest of the world isn’t standing still</h3> <p>Many of these techniques of performance marketing are fairly well established now, but pharma marketers shouldn't be complacent and think that bringing their capability up to standard will be simple. Tech continues to evolve, with innovation such as blockchain creeping into paid media.</p> <p>As ever, digital transformation is a journey, not an endpoint. Whether pharma needs its sales reps or not, the skillset for pharma marketers is changing.</p> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy subscribers can now read <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/pharma-trends-and-developments/">Healthcare and Pharma - Digital Trends and Developments</a></strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69708 2018-01-09T11:08:00+00:00 2018-01-09T11:08:00+00:00 Five trends for online advertising strategy in 2018 Jeff Rajeck <p>The reason? Marketers are simply keen to know which ad platforms, styles, and formats are working for other brands so that they can compare their results and get some new ideas.</p> <p>So at a recent Econsultancy event, it was no surprise to see that the Online Advertising table was one of the most popular and had some of the liveliest discussions.  Hosted by Veronika Lugina, VP, Digital &amp; Content, HSBC, client-side marketers there revealed some of the trends which will be driving their online advertising strategies in 2018, five of which are summarized below.</p> <p>Before we start, we'd like to let you know about some related training. Econsultancy will be holding a <strong>Social Media &amp; Influencer Marketing course</strong> on the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-influencer-marketing-malaysia/dates/3355/">8th and 9th of February, 2018 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia</a> and on the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-influencer-marketing-singapore/dates/3359/">15th and 16th of March, 2018 in Singapore</a>. Click on the respective links for more information and to book your spot!</p> <p>So, according to brand marketers, what are the online advertising trends for 2018?</p> <h3>1) Building up internal ad teams</h3> <p>One of the first and most-agreed-upon trends discussed was that brands are going to stop relying so heavily on agencies in 2018 for media buying. Instead, participants said, marketing heads are now hiring online advertising experts to be part of the in-house team.</p> <p>The reason for this, according to attendees, is that the quality of the traffic and leads are higher from internal campaigns and so the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) ends up being lower than those from agency-led efforts.</p> <p>Participants felt that agencies still have a role to play in the media buying process, but they want their agency partners to diversify and improve on what they can offer.  </p> <p>Marketers, it seems, are no longer willing to pay a premium for a routine ad-buying strategy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1521/online_advertising_1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>2) Focusing on mobile and social media</h3> <p>Another trend which was mentioned by most attendees was that brands will continue to focus on mobile and social media for their advertising strategy.</p> <p>Participants stated that, in 2018, mobile will remain the best place to reach a wide audience and that social media will continue to provide the highest-quality leads.</p> <p>On the other hand, many participants were less enthusiastic about programmatic advertising. Those that had taken it in-house said that they had experienced mixed results with programmatic buying last year and may use it less frequently in 2018.</p> <h3>3) Trying new ad ideas</h3> <p>Another interesting trend was that brand marketers are looking for new content for their online advertising campaigns.</p> <p>Some attendees said that they will be leveraging 3rd party content in their ads, such as news articles from major publishers, as it has more authority than the run-of-the-mill brand message.</p> <p>Others said that their online advertising will include more branding content and thought-leadership pieces, and have fewer direct-selling ads. Some said that they struggled to get buy-in for these types of ads, though, as they do not improve their KPIs, such as click-through-rate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1522/online_advertising_2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="600"></p> <h3>4) Becoming friends with legal and compliance</h3> <p>Another challenge which marketers will take up in 2018 is to get on better terms with their legal and compliance departments.</p> <p>Part of the reason this is a trend for the coming year is that (as per #1) many brands are moving online ad buying in-house, and so the marketers themselves will be directly accountable for the ad content.  </p> <p>But another reason for this trend is that marketers, especially in the banking and insurance space, feel that they could do a lot more with digital ads if only legal and compliance understood the online advertising market a bit better.</p> <p>Some attendees suggested that brand marketers should look to find a champion in either legal or compliance and invite them along to digital marketing events to better understand the challenges and opportunities of digital marketing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1523/online_advertising_4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>5) Developing a nurturing strategy</h3> <p>Finally, many marketers lamented that their online advertising efforts were not widely appreciated at their company. The reason for this, one admitted, was that digital lead generation rarely turned into actual sales. </p> <p>So to improve the perception of digital marketing, some said that the big push in 2018 will be to create a more effective nurturing strategy. This will include ensuring that leads are followed-up systematically so that conversion rates improve.</p> <p>While all participants agreed that this is desirable, many also felt that it will be difficult to do, especially for B2B marketers.  At most B2B organisations, programmes such as lead nurturing will require working closely with the sales team.  And, while sales and marketing should be working together already, the reality is that many still are not.</p> <p>So participants concluded that striving for improved relations between online advertising and sales is probably another trend for 2018!</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank our table host Veronika Lugina, VP, Digital &amp; Content, HSBC for guiding the discussion about what marketers should expect in online advertising in 2018.</p> <p>We'd also like to thank all of the marketers who attended Digital Cream Singapore and shared their valuable insights. We hope to see you all at future Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1524/online_advertising_3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="560"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69639 2017-12-06T16:30:00+00:00 2017-12-06T16:30:00+00:00 China: Tips for marketers taking a new digital role in the country Kestrel Lee <h3><strong>1) Come into China prepared with training, research and expertise</strong></h3> <p>For the past six and a half years in China, I have prepared for every meeting with C-class executives as if my life depended on it. What are they impressed with?</p> <ul> <li>In-depth knowledge of the behaviour of their end users and consumers as well as city-region level variation of their media and purchasing habits,</li> <li>An understanding of their companies’ needs,</li> <li>Firm grasp of the brand and products,</li> <li>Awareness of their competitors' movements online i.e. search and social.</li> </ul> <p>For a professional new to China, your company and your clients will <em>not</em> give you time for on-the-job learning. Go for training, workshops and orientation before you start work in China.</p> <h3><strong>2) Leave your non-China expertise behind</strong></h3> <p>Industry peers in China have told me that they find it refreshing to talk to professionals who use their own research and applied work to support their ideas and strategies.</p> <p>They have no reason to believe anybody who cannot put their own professional beliefs into action in Asia, for Asians.</p> <p>When in China, focus on doing work for Chinese consumers and end users, especially since Facebook, Google, Instagram, Skype, Whatsapp, YouTube, Pinterest, Google Play are blocked in China.</p> <h3><strong>3) Your ideas are only as great as your China market insights</strong></h3> <p>China is one of the most data-orientated markets. This trend heavily influences local brand managers’ tolerance for risk when it comes to experimenting with global or well-known brands under their care, which are already success stories in overseas markets.</p> <p>To sell disruptive breakthrough ideas, it is important to lead with a highly relevant user, product or market insight, supported by a digital strategy backed by the type of creative executions you have in mind. Such insights provide cover for the brand manager, as well as an easy lead-in for him and her to pitch the idea to the brand’s decision maker.</p> <p>For such insights, try social media listening when you can and follow highly informative China-based reports from sites such as <a href="http://www.chinainternetwatch.com">China Internet Watch</a>, <a href="http://www.iresearchchina.com%20">iResearch China</a> and <a href="https://www.digitaling.com/">Digital Ing</a>. </p> <h3><strong>4) Remember that idea and media need to work as one in China’s digital and social media scene</strong></h3> <p>Having a keen finger on the most current media behaviour is critical to selling your ideas for a digital and social media campaign. In China, media agencies tend to have the ear of their clients when it comes to digital and social media ideas. A deep knowledge of user behaviour on various social, app and ecommerce platforms is critical to selling your idea.</p> <p>Simply put, media agnostic thinking does not work in China. In China, every idea requires positioning it within the right media environment or social context/occasion to best position the idea to the client as a workable one.</p> <p>Some research insights for the China market:</p> <ul> <li>The Chinese start everything with search before consulting colleagues, friends and family. 内事百度知,外事谷歌晓。(Translation: For local, domestic or home affairs, ask Baidu. For international matters, check Google, which requires a <a href="http://startuplivingchina.com/best-vpn-for-china/">VPN in China</a>)</li> <li>Business decision makers are increasingly using the internet to do research on the market and competitors.</li> <li>Social media impacts decision making in China as the opinions of your peers and colleagues matters when it comes to brand preference and purchase considerations.</li> </ul> <p><strong>5) To secure large budgets for digital and social media campaigns, avoid proposing siloed campaigns</strong></p> <p>Don’t go in with a social gaming idea, a WeChat account launch campaign or even a pure online video campaign that is a one-off siloed initiative. Think of ideas that can be presented as an integrated brand idea or promotion that can cut across media, technology, brand strategy and communications.</p> <p>Note that every brand is contemplating spending on social, ecommerce and digital media in China. The question is – 'how much?'<br></p> <p>For example, as a brand marketer or an agency executive, you may get around 500-800,000 RMB for a 12-month retainer if you pitch a WeChat account launch and management initiative to a company.</p> <p>But if you can show how to link your social media efforts with the company’s ecommerce efforts, branding building initiatives, corporate social responsibility campaigns plus SEO, you have a better chance of going after a far larger budget. Do you have the expertise to make your strategy scalable?</p> <p><strong>6) Push the ROI question to linking social media buzz to an increase in search volumes for the brand, product or campaign</strong></p> <p>In China and many parts of the world, digital media has split into four areas: traditional/paid, PR/editorial, owned and social media. With media fragmentation and advertising clutter, people need to hear something multiple times from different media sources in order to believe it, giving precedence to peer-reviewed social media such as WeChat and Taobao. </p> <p>When it comes to customer intent to research or purchase, nothing beats increasing organic search volumes to show an increase in intent. Drive search volumes with the help of social referrals of your brand’s content and product, and increase in sales will often follow. This is my experience with digital and social campaigns in China and Southeast Asia.</p> <p><em><strong>If you are keen to know more about launching your brand in China via digital marketing and ecommerce, please check out these upcoming courses with Econsultancy: </strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-commerce-strategies-in-china/">Social Commerce Strategies in China</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/using-wechat-for-branding-sales-and-marketing/">Using WeChat for Branding, Sales and Marketing</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-marketing-strategy-in-china/">Social Media Marketing &amp; Strategy in China</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/fast-track-digital-marketing-in-china/">Fast Track Digital Marketing in China</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69491 2017-10-17T10:00:00+01:00 2017-10-17T10:00:00+01:00 Why digital out-of-home advertising is not really digital (yet) Nick Hammond <p>With this investment comes greater impact (e.g. increasing use of video), flexibility and of course income for the vendors. Alongside this burgeoning focus on digital creative delivery, there is attention on how the medium could be sold more efficiently – more like other digital channels and less like traditional out of home. </p> <p>Moving from a cost-per-panel approach and with access to more detailed, real time audience information on the horizon (rather than periodic panel data) the ability to trade on an audience model isn’t far off. For example, in Canada Outfront Media has launched its own real-time analytics platform, having agreed a partnership with mobile network Cellint.</p> <p>By tapping into available data, the platform will allow tracking of hourly impression numbers, including the proportion of those that are unique views. In the UK Transport for London has a considerable amount of data garnered from 5.6m mobile phones connected to Wi-Fi on the Tube. This mobile data can be used to track interchanges, and even walking routes and platform use within a station.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9753/dooh.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="353"></p> <p>Whilst these developments provide considerable opportunities for advertisers and OOH vendors alike, a recent piece <a href="http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/jcdecaux-we-ensure-outdoor-doesnt-fall-pitfalls-digital-media/1446445?bulletin=campaign_breakfast_briefing&amp;utm_medium=EMAIL&amp;utm_campaign=eNews%20Bulletin&amp;utm_source=20171005&amp;utm_content=Campaign%20Breakfast%20">in Campaign</a> highlights how out of home’s convergence with the digital world could have its downsides. </p> <p>OOH vendor JCDecaux has launched a brand charter which is seeking to avoid problems that have been plaguing the mainstream digital sector. These include accountability, viewability, measurability, transparency and brand safety. JCDecaux commented at launch, 'we must ensure outdoor doesn't fall into the pitfalls of digital media'.</p> <p>This charter aims to set a gold standard of best practice across the digital out-of-home industry and in this brave new world JCDecaux will ensure its metrics and measurements are independently verified by Price Waterhouse Coopers; who will provide a quarterly compliance report to ensure transparency.</p> <p>This is an interesting development as out of home has a history of being one of the more opaque advertising channels in terms of the buying process, audience measurement and invoicing.</p> <h3>OOH automation </h3> <p>In the UK, digital buying practices are moving into the OOH sector in the shape of increased automation. </p> <p>From the Campaign piece – ‘Also mirroring the wider digital market, JCDecaux has launched a new external smartsuite platform, SmartBRICS, which allows advertisers and agencies to place their own DOOH campaigns for the first time. The platform has been used internally for the past two years but (now).. will be available to external users through an API. Users will now be able to plan, budget and create their own campaigns based on the platforms in-depth rules and filters on its dashboard.’ </p> <p>So, what are the challenges and opportunities for digital practitioners? We are already seeing digital experts’ influence spreading across traditional channels such as TV, which is increasingly being bought <a href="http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/06/13/get-ready-programmatic-tv-advertising">in an automated fashion</a> (see <a href="https://www.skyadsmart.co.uk/">Sky AdSmart</a>), and this is beginning to happen with OOH as well, as observed above.</p> <p>Clever recent activational examples in DOOH were featured in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69100-six-clever-examples-of-what-dynamic-outdoor-advertising-can-do">this Econsultancy piece</a>. I particularly liked the FT’s use of digital billboards at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to target passengers travelling to six pre-selected US cities. It was achieved by tapping into Heathrow's flight data via an API.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9752/FT_heathrow.jpg" alt="" width="568" height="400"></p> <p>Guinness devised a dynamic campaign in London that allowed posters to direct RBS 6 Nations fans to nearby pubs to watch the games. </p> <h3>Is DOOH digital?</h3> <p>So, just how digital is digital out of home? For DOOH to become fully digital in terms of trading (as well as delivery of creative), the key area will be around improved audience assessment. It is achieving this, which will allow a mainstream programmatic digital approach including real-time bidding, behavioural and contextual targeting.</p> <p>Because of the size of the OOH medium, the variety of locations and the challenge and cost of quantifying and assessing audience behaviour, the measurement of OOH has traditionally been restricted to periodic panel research – OSCAR, then <a href="https://www.research-live.com/article/news/postar-to-measure-90-of-outdoor-media/id/2000079">POSTAR</a>, and now <a href="http://route.org.uk/research/">ROUTE</a>.</p> <p>The resultant audience information is therefore nowhere as detailed and current as that available across other digital channels. JCDecaux’s charter is well timed, especially in terms of brand safety, but from an audience perspective the PWC verification is only happening on a quarterly basis.  </p> <p>For DOOH to really align with digital media, it will need to achieve accurate, real time, detailed consumption data that can fuel truly digital trading methodologies.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68051-six-case-studies-that-show-how-digital-out-of-home-advertising-is-changing"><em>Six case studies that show how digital out-of-home advertising is changing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67414-is-this-the-next-step-in-programmatic-out-of-home"><em>Is this the next step in programmatic out-of-home?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69424 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 Marketers have more data than ever, so why aren’t they better at experimentation? Frederic Kalinke <p>As marketing is being transformed by advances in our ability to collect and manage data, the industry is becoming more ‘scientific’. This is why every day it becomes more important for marketers to heed Feyerabend’s advice.</p> <h3>A hypothesis about data</h3> <p>The crucial element in the recent evolution of marketing has been data. The collection of comprehensive data about customers and their behaviour promised marketers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of their efforts, including of course <a title="How retail marketers can ensure they deliver the ‘right’ customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67526-how-retail-marketers-can-ensure-they-deliver-the-right-customer-experience/" target="_blank">where they should spend more</a> and where they had been wasting their budget.</p> <p>Consequently, marketing began to worship at the altar of data, eventually giving rise to the fascination with the nebulous “<a title="Ten Ways Big Data is Revolutionizing Marketing and Sales" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/05/09/ten-ways-big-data-is-revolutionizing-marketing-and-sales/1" target="_blank">big data</a>.” Marketers now have the ability to collect data on almost anything they want.</p> <p>The fact that the underlying principles of marketing have remained much the same throughout this process (sell more stuff by putting what you’re selling in front of the right people in the right way) therefore begs the question: <strong>Why aren’t marketers doing better?</strong></p> <h3>How not to do things with data</h3> <p>Marketers have been getting their relationship with data the wrong way round. Simply, the answer is never in the data. In fact, the best way to get answers is to forget about the data.</p> <p>In scientific inquiry, trawling through existing data is rarely conducive to innovation. Trying to piece new things together from the mass of what you already know is an aimless, hopeless endeavour. You become a prisoner of conventional wisdom, reaching ever narrower, less original conclusions, with an increasing likelihood of being wrong.</p> <p>Scientific research shares at least this much in common with marketing. For example, we have data on the most shared headlines for content marketing. (<a title="We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here's What We Learned." href="http://buzzsumo.com/blog/most-shared-headlines-study" target="_blank">Buzzsumo collated 100 million of them</a>.)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9053/buzzsumo.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="900"></p> <p>According to the data the top three-word phrases to use in article headlines for maximum shares are “will make you,” “this is why,” and “can we guess.” Widely-shared articles also begin with “X reasons why” or “X things you,” and very frequently include appeals to emotion.</p> <p>However, as Marketing Profs’ Ann Handley correctly noted in response, marketers should not “take this information and conclude that the best headline to use forever and always is something like 10 Ways That Will Make You a Better Headline Writer (and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!).”</p> <p>What this demonstrates is a problem with attempting to draw useful conclusions from data alone. While there are many things we can conclude from Buzzsumo’s impressively comprehensive analysis, not many of them are useful for content marketers attempting to come up with headlines.</p> <p>In fact, Handley gets it absolutely right when she urges marketers to “get a little creative with headlines.” Not only will different types of headlines work differently in different contexts (we cannot all be Buzzfeed, and we definitely should not try to be) but it is only by being creative that we actually end up writing better headlines.</p> <p>Simply mimicking the headline formats that currently work well will create not only an artificial ceiling over how successful content can be, but suffers inevitably from <a title="Regression towards the mean" href="https://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/regrmean.php" target="_blank">regression towards the mean</a>. This is what happens when marketers limit themselves according to convention.</p> <p>If the answer is clickbait, you asked the wrong question.</p> <h3>How to do things with data</h3> <p>A marketer trying to come up with more effective headlines for her content does not need an answer to the question, “what are the most popular phrases in headlines?”, she needs an answer to a specific question, “is my content going to perform better if I use this phrase or that phrase?”</p> <p>These questions are easy to confuse. The crucial difference is that our hypothetical marketer cannot use the answer to the first question to make any sort of conclusion about how to act. She will simply learn more about what has worked for others and be restricted to coming up with derivative ideas.</p> <p>Just because something worked for somebody else, it does not mean it will work for you. And when it comes to the over-saturated world of online content, the fact that something worked for somebody else means precisely that it is less likely to work for you.</p> <p>It is the second question, a specific one about some actual ideas, that represents the best way to go about dealing with this problem. It is a practical question that makes data useful and this is because it puts new ideas ahead of old conventions.</p> <h3>What does genuinely experimental marketing look like?</h3> <p>A particularly clear recent example of this is <a title="Why AS Roma revel in being the weirdest football club on social media" href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/08/31/why-roma-revel-being-the-weirdest-football-club-social-media" target="_blank">AS Roma’s successful approach to social media video</a>. In an industry where <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68696-digital-transformation-in-the-premier-league-southampton-fc-s-fan-first-strategy/">all the major football clubs</a> (and a lot of the minor ones) are stepping up their digital marketing and where almost every player transfer is announced with slick professional video on social media, Roma succeeded by doing something different.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Schick?src=hash">#Schick</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASRoma?src=hash">#ASRoma</a> <a href="https://t.co/JAIvKGYS7P">pic.twitter.com/JAIvKGYS7P</a></p> — AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) <a href="https://twitter.com/ASRomaEN/status/902546975681388544">August 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>These idiosyncratic videos embody Feyerabend’s “only principle that doesn’t inhibit progress.” Where their competitors acted like sheep, <a title="Roma fan explains latest transfer announcement video on Twitter" href="http://www.asroma.com/en/news/2017/8/roma-fan-explains-latest-transfer-announcement-video-on-twitter-" target="_blank">Roma chose goats</a>. They forgot about the data on what worked for their competitors and instead asked “what if we do something else?” They chose to experiment.</p> <p>As the categories of data available to marketers have multiplied, the possibilities for experimentation have grown exponentially. However, in practice this has not led to the proliferation of a diverse range of experimental approaches to marketing. Instead, there has been a succession of “next big things” (such as <a title="How AI will impact marketing and the customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68722-how-ai-will-impact-marketing-and-the-customer-experience" target="_blank">AI</a>), which seem to sweep the industry each year. The prospective benefits of each of these potential innovations and the specific uses for them end up being submerged by the hype. Brands frantically attempt to emulate their competitors to avoid being seen as technological laggards. The appearance of innovation trumps real experimentation.</p> <p>This is because too much marketing data is not collected with a specific purpose, it is simply collected in a way that encourages marketers to emulate their competitors and reinforce the status quo. A successfully experimental approach to marketing therefore requires marketers to put their own creativity first.</p> <h3>How to experiment in marketing</h3> <p>Professor Byron Sharp recently mentioned how important it is for marketers to learn how to run “<a title="Ritson and Sharp reveal their marketing heroes and the biggest challenges facing the industry" href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/09/04/ritson-sharp/" target="_blank">proper controlled experiments</a>,” something which most formal business educations dearly lack. He is correct that experiments are only useful if they are carried out according to rigorous scientific principles (with control variables and so on).</p> <p>This emphasises the connection between the scientific and creative aspects of experimentation; marketers cannot truly have one without the other. They therefore require a consistent experimental method that can be applied repeatedly and which maintains a complementary relationship between data and innovation.</p> <p>First, an experimental method requires marketers to come up with hypotheses, i.e. “I think our content might perform better with this sort of headline” or “I think our social media engagement would be improved with this sort of video.”</p> <p>It then requires marketers to collect data for the specific purpose of testing a hypothesis. Generally this is done through A/B testing (and specifically with <a title="Using data science with A/B tests: Bayesian analysis" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65755-using-data-science-with-a-b-tests-bayesian-analysis/" target="_blank">Bayesian statistical inference</a> rather than frequentist statistical inference, given that it is <a title="What is Bayesian A/B Testing and Why is it the Best Choice for Marketers?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/blog/what-is-bayesian-ab-testing-for-marketing?ast=C8zHl9" target="_blank">better suited to getting answers quickly</a>). This approach to data allows it to inform marketers’ hypotheses in a way that complements their creativity rather than inhibits it.</p> <p>This process of testing hypotheses can then be repeated in an iterative cycle that allows marketers to try out as many new ideas as possible in order to increase the chances of a major breakthrough. This process aligns neatly with the concept of <a title="What is Agile Marketing?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/what-is-agile-marketing" target="_blank">agile marketing</a>, which perhaps goes some way towards explaining the current vogue for that term.</p> <h3>The balance of power</h3> <p>Technological advance has given marketers access to invaluable quantities of information and as a result marketing and data have become intensely-linked. However the outstanding question about this relationship is simple. Who is in charge?</p> <p>Is marketing led by the hackneyed conventional wisdom represented by existing data or is it led by marketers’ own creativity and critical thinking? Where the balance of power leans towards the data, marketers are inhibited. Where it lies with the marketers, the data can yield genuinely useful conclusions and help marketers to come up with their next great idea.</p> <p><strong><em>Need to improve your own content marketing efforts? Book yourself onto one of Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">upcoming training courses</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69392 2017-09-04T15:00:00+01:00 2017-09-04T15:00:00+01:00 Amazon turns Twitch into an influencer sales platform Patricio Robles <p>Even to this day, there are still <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2014/8/25/6066509/why-it-makes-sense-for-amazon-to-buy-twitch">different</a> <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-970-million-purchase-of-twitch-makes-so-much-sense-now-its-all-about-the-cloud-2016-3">theories</a>, but whatever Amazon was thinking at the time, it is now aiming to use Twitch to drive sales for its retail empire.</p> <p>On Thursday, in the lead up to the PAX West video game conference, Twitch announced a new program under which users who stream through Twitch will be able to feature products they like and receive a commission from Amazon for sales they refer. As Bloomberg's Spencer Soper <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/amazon-turns-thousands-of-twitch-streamers-into-product-pitchmen">detailed</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Gear on Amazon feature will let Twitch streamers showcase their favorite products as a widget on their page. Viewers who click the widget are routed to Amazon, where they can buy the streamer’s favorite items. The streamer gets a commission of as much as 10 percent on each sale, Amazon said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Currently, Twitch has over 100m monthly visitors and claims to reach more than half of all millennial males in the U.S. More than 2m of its 10m daily active users actually broadcast their own streams and nearly half of Twitch users consume more than 20 hours of content on the service weekly.</p> <p>Put simply, even though Twitch is niche, it boasts a ton of highly-engaged users and now Amazon is going to try to turn some of the most prolific into salespeople.</p> <p>According to Tobias Sherman, who used to head the esports division of entertainment agency giant WME-IMG, Twitch's influencers "are a massive market."</p> <p>"They are the same as sports figures in being able to convert eyeballs and fans into dollars and cents. Everyone plays games and it tethers everyone together," he explained.</p> <p>Twitch's Gear on Amazon program will be open to tens of thousands of Twitch users who are members of its partner and affiliate programs. These, like the YouTube Partner Program, are designed to reward popular content producers with the ability to earn money for publishing their content on Twitch.</p> <p>Gear on Amazon could make participation in these programs far more lucrative. After all, popular Twitch streamers who are able to take advantage of their influence to help sell physical products for which they receive commissions of up to 10% could find that affiliate commissions add up a lot more quickly than ad revenue shares do.</p> <h3>Amazon's influence on influencer marketing</h3> <p>It seems there are few markets that Amazon doesn't have a hand in, and the ecommerce giant is clearly interested in putting its imprint on the influencer marketing space.</p> <p>Gear on Amazon is the second program Amazon has launched this year that seeks to turn influencers into affiliates. In April, the company <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68961-amazon-tries-its-hand-at-influencer-affiliate-marketing/">launched a beta of an invite-only Amazon Influencer Program</a> "exclusively designed for social media influencers with large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content." </p> <p>Influencers who participate in the Amazon Influencer Program get the opportunity to curate their favorite products on an Amazon-hosted page that has a vanity URL. As TechCrunch's Sarah Perez described it at the time, "Basically, it's a more exclusive step up from Amazon Affiliate linking, and offers a better browsing experience."</p> <p>While it remains to be seen whether or not Amazon will actually find success trying to merge influencer and performance marketing, there are a growing number of reasons to believe that performance marketing will indeed become a more prominent part of influencer marketing. These reasons include:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing">Measuring the ROI of influencer marketing</a> continues to be a challenge for many marketers.</li> <li>Fees charged by top influencers have been skyrocketing, causing some marketers <a href="https://digiday.com/marketing/confessions-social-media-exec-no-idea-pay-influencers/">to question</a> whether the costs can be justified.</li> <li>Emerging threats <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69343-are-marketers-underestimating-the-fraud-threat-to-influencer-marketing">such as fraud</a> could undermine the market.</li> <li>Big platform owners like Facebook <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69355-is-facebook-preparing-to-tax-influencer-marketing-campaigns">could seek to tax</a> influencer marketing campaigns on their platforms, increasing costs. </li> </ul> <p>Tying influencer compensation to sales could help address many of the challenges the influencer marketing ecosystem is facing and if any company is capable of pushing the ecosystem in this direction at scale, it's Amazon.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69164 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 Should sales be used to measure the ROI of influencer marketing? James Collins <p>According to research from Linqia, marketers are predicted to spend $50,000 - $100,000 per influencer marketing programme this year (doubled from 2016’s $25,000 - $50,000). If you’re spending big budgets, you need to know why you’re considering influencer marketing as part of your marketing mix, and how you’re going to measure it.</p> <p>This is something many marketers have been aware of for a long time: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/">a recent Econsultancy report</a> revealed that measuring ROI on their influencer initiatives is the biggest challenge for 65% of marketers.</p> <p>So what’s stopping marketers understanding the value their influencer marketing activity is driving? There’s already a wealth of research out there on this fiercely debated topic – and there’s one question that comes up time and again: should influencers be judged on sales?</p> <p>The short answer is yes – if that’s what your objective is. To clarify:</p> <ol> <li>It depends on what you want to get out of your campaign. Marketing basics: start with your objectives and determine how you’re going to measure performance from there.</li> <li>As consumers are often exposed to brands and products through influencer marketing at the earlier stages of the buying cycle, measuring the impact on sales across the whole user journey – not just at the last click – is essential.</li> </ol> <h3>What do you want to achieve with your influencer marketing?</h3> <p>Understanding what you want your influencer marketing to achieve will not only shape the tactics used but also how it will be measured. </p> <h3>Raising awareness and reaching new customers</h3> <p>Many influencer campaigns are about awareness and brand positioning. Here, working with brand-relevant influencers that offer the potential of long-term partnerships and ambassadorship is key. Awareness has always been tricky to measure but things are getting more sophisticated. Tools now exist to help brands measure KPIs such as sentiment and share of voice, taking the understanding of performance beyond simple ‘reach’. </p> <p>Logically, brands want to raise awareness among their target audiences – those people who are likely to go on to become customers. One way to measure this is to look at how much new customer web traffic is driven by your influencer campaigns. Rakuten Marketing data shows that 84% of the revenue driven by content publishers (including influencer bloggers) is from new customers, indicating that they are effective at reaching new audiences.</p> <p>This data can then be used to generate positive KPIs, such as cost per new user. These stats can help build a stronger case for influencer activity as an effective means for new customer lead generation. </p> <h3>Engagement</h3> <p>Web traffic in general – whether that’s from new or existing customers – is still a common indicator of success for influencer marketing, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">The Rise of Influencers report </a>showing that 79% choose it as their most important metric. </p> <p>But how much can just looking at amounts of web traffic really tell you? Not a lot. It’s the action that consumers take once they visit your site that’s truly important. How long do they spend on your website? How many different pages do they visit? Are they visiting high value areas of your site, or did they just bounce and disappear? Measuring the onsite activity of those people referred by influencers gives more meaningful engagement metrics.</p> <p>Measuring engagement is about measuring the impact of your influencer marketing beyond sales and comparing it to other types of marketing. This type of measurement is particularly pertinent for retailers that don’t rely on ecommerce – for example, household brands stocked by supermarkets.</p> <h3>Sales and conversions</h3> <p>All that said, let’s not forget the importance of sales and revenue. Trying to get budget for campaigns that may not have a provable ROI is a huge pain point for marketers. According to another Econsultancy report – <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-face-of-luxury-maintaining-exclusivity-in-the-world-of-social-influence">The New Face of Luxury</a> – the biggest challenge to implementing influencer marketing for luxury brands (a key sector taking advantage of influencer marketing) is budget.</p> <p>When budgets become constrained, the activity that can’t be linked to revenue generation is commonly the first to be cut. But, as we’ve discussed, influencer marketing is often about raising awareness through aspirational content, with a view to generating purchases further down the line, rather than pushing immediate sales. </p> <p>Rakuten Marketing data backs up this hypothesis: it shows that content publishers, including influencers, start more converting customer journeys than any other affiliate publisher type. As well as this, of all the revenue driven by content publishers, 54% sits in the first position in the user journey.</p> <p>The visualisation below, based on aggregated data from Rakuten Marketing affiliate clients, shows that social networking and content publishers (two key channels for influencer marketers) commonly appear at the beginning of the user journey.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6666/affiliate-category-sales-funnel-small.jpg" alt="Affiliate category sales funnel" width="800" height="411"></p> <p>This demonstrates that if you are going to measure influencer marketing using revenue, analysing and reporting on data across the whole user journey, rather than just at the last click, is essential. </p> <h3>Understanding the multi-channel view and seeing incremental value</h3> <p>The need for better attribution to measure influencer marketing was cited as the most common request in eMarketer’s recent Measuring Influencer Marketing guide. This demand is only going to increase in line with the demand for better measurement of the ROI of influencer marketing.</p> <p>Using attribution and analytical tools that provide a multi-channel view across the whole user journey is essential to demonstrating the impact influencers have on sales. Having this view enables performance marketers to understand the value of influencers in the context of their other marketing channels, wherever they appear in the user journey.</p> <p>Even if the objective of your influencer campaigns is to increase brand awareness or engagement, being able to tie those newly engaged visitors back to sales further down the line will help give you the power you need to secure your influencer budget.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68983 2017-04-11T13:05:00+01:00 2017-04-11T13:05:00+01:00 You're (still) not tracking CPA properly and here’s why Depesh Mandalia <p>Every business for decades has struggled with two common things: which channels to focus marketing spend on and how much return every dollar spent returns. This isn’t as simple a question as it may initially look.</p> <p>Marketing channels have evolved hugely since television, radio and print ads were key ways to reach a mainstream audience. Despite the advancement in tracking technology and ad platforms, the question of how best to utilise each marketing dollar remains a challenge, even for the most advanced marketing operations and platforms (despite what they tell you) and here’s why.</p> <h4>Scenario 1 - a customer sees an ad in a single channel and purchases there and then</h4> <p><strong>CPA challenge:</strong> ensuring there is tracking in place, which for digital is usually in the form of digital analytics and for offline is primarily in the form of promotion code.</p> <p>How often does this scenario occur? There will be a good percentage of your acquisitions that only ever see your one ad on one platform or through a single medium and decide to buy all within the same ‘session’. For clarity we define a session here as a stream of events all happening one after the other.</p> <p>For simplicity I'm focussing on a visit to a website as the journey to complete a transaction (as opposed to a shop visit or app download via an app store). So:</p> <ol> <li>Customer sees ad</li> <li>Customer clicks/responds to ad</li> <li>Customer visits website and adds item to cart</li> <li>Customer buys item</li> </ol> <p>In this scenario, the customer does this without a break to browse other sites or coming back later. For a business with limited brand and product awareness, it is less likely that someone will see an ad for the first time, click <em>and</em> buy in one go.</p> <p>Of course, we marketers would love to think our ads are spot on <em>and</em> the target audience have been reached in one hit <em>and</em> that audience is in the mindset to buy <em>and</em> they visit your website <em>and</em> buy without even thinking about other important things in their day like what's for dinner or the latest cat gif on Facebook.</p> <p>There are also factors around trust which affect consumer behaviour - trusting how legit the company and website is, whether the product quality can be trusted, whether the product price is going to be the best you can get etc.</p> <p>What kind of company has enough <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66013-brand-activation-and-its-role-in-driving-consumer-engagement-and-awareness/">brand awareness</a> and product range association that seeing a single ad will prompt you to both trust the business and purchase in one go? Amazon comes to mind as a company that can do this, as may other well established businesses, where the consumer is fully trusting of the brand and broadly aware of the product range. But how quickly do you need to increase sales? And how long have Amazon taken to establish themselves?</p> <p>Trusting that a company like Amazon aren't going to defraud you, are going to deliver your product, and are going to deliver a known quality - these are questions which for most people are answered on the Amazon site or through strong brand association. You, the smaller brand, simply can't match that.</p> <p>Chances are that if your data suggests that a given transaction occurred from the first ad the customer saw in the same session, there's something else at play. Let's look at scenario 2.</p> <h4>Scenario 2 - a customer sees an ad, doesn’t interact, but comes back later to buy from you via the website directly <em>or</em> via another marketing channel.</h4> <p><strong>CPA challenge:</strong> tracking the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-state-of-marketing-attribution/">attribution</a> of the source channel due to the lack of connection to the final conversion channel. </p> <p>This is a very common (if not the most common) scenario and essentially how brand-led campaigns make their mark by creating an uplift on trackable channels. In this scenario a customer will see an ad, for example on TV, outdoor display, a leaflet, print ad or even digitally such as Facebook or Youtube as follows:</p> <ol> <li>Customer sees ad</li> <li>Customer doesn’t interact with ad</li> <li>Customer visits website directly at a later time/date and adds item to cart</li> <li>Customer buys item. Ka-ching! </li> </ol> <p>If you’ve ever run or been involved in a brand campaign you’ll know what a struggle it can be to truly measure the impact of the campaign on bottom line numbers. As a performance marketer you’ll know how fluffy ‘brand awareness’ can seem as a metric.</p> <p>To fully measure brand impact requires many more tools such as a brand impact test which measures trackable channel performance with and without the brand campaign, baselining your organic/non-paid channels to measure uplift and things like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">paid search</a> brand keyword uplift in particular.</p> <p>That being said, not every 'brand campaign' is big budget, massive exposure stuff. Every supermarket carrier bag shows branding at play. Every time you read a newspaper with the logo facing outward branding is at play. Branding plays a big part in our everyday interactions with companies, whether we notice it or not. And as a marketer, the impact of brand awareness is often neglected when calculating the ROI of your dollar spend.</p> <p>If you’ve scaled a business, you’ll know the importance brand plays in creating the foundation for sustainable growth. Sustainable growth is that which doesn’t rely on any single marketing channel (eg Facebook ads) and has a good blend of non-paid acquisition acquisition channels.</p> <p>Scaling a business solely focussed on the hard metrics of spend, sales and CPA will hide the subliminal impact your marketing is having, like how <a href="https://www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html">Pavlov had his dogs salivating</a> at the sound of a bell, or how those that have dined there, have an instinctive, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201108/7-reasons-we-cant-turn-down-fast-food">uncontrollable reaction to seeing the Golden Arches</a> through the release of dopamine.</p> <p>Find me a direct response ad that can release dopamine better than a well placed brand campaign. Are you tracking the DU (Dopamine Uplift) of your marketing campaigns? Surely this will trim your CPA by a percentage or two, yet we're often having to make budgeting decisions based on the reaction of the rational brain when neuroscience studies confirm the unconscious, deep thinking part of your brain as being a key driver to decision making, including what and where we buy.</p> <p>The brand funnel is about creating awareness in defining your <a href="https://www.startwithwhy.com/LearnYourWhy.aspx">‘who’ and ‘why’</a> - who you are and who you are relevant is what creates meaning and connection to your target audience. Too often, businesses focus on what they do, completely bypassing the customer need. This is a typical sales-led approach to growth and not a customer-centric view.</p> <p>It is the channel CPA-centric view that drives marketers and businesses to focus heavily on what they do and this isn't what your target audience will primarily care about. Give them a reason to not just be interested, or to like you, but to love you as a brand and watch those CPAs fall. </p> <h4>Branding 101</h4> <p>Below is a good illustration of the brand journey and impact on your acquisition funnel - moving from a wide audience, some of which are not your target consumer, and funneling those that are toward your business.</p> <p>As a business, if your audience is everyone, then whilst your product may well cater for every single person you can market to, until you create relevance for that person you’ll struggle to help them determine how your product improves or complements their life. This is the role of brand marketing, to sift out non-consumers and attract potential consumers from a wide funnel of prospects.</p> <p>The ‘indifference’ stage noted in the diagram refers to the fact these people have no positive or negative opinion on the business.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5367/1.jpg" alt="brand funnel" width="400" height="295"> </p> <p><em>Via <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/demystifying-brand-funnel-sean-kelley">Sean Kelly on LinkedIn</a></em> </p> <p>The relevance of this user journey scenario is this: whilst you may measure and try to improve acquisitions that come through to the website or through brand searches, do you really know what the first interaction for that customer was? If not, then deciding where to place that next dollar is not going to be entirely fact or numeric based.</p> <p>As a Chief Marketing Officer your growth decisions need to rely on a variety of datasets to analyse impact, performance and future actions.  </p> <h4>Using multi-data points for indirect attribution analysis</h4> <p>An important and often used piece of attribution analysis is a question asked to customers after the point of purchase: "how did you hear about your us?".</p> <p>Don't underestimate the importance of this simple question. Although we have the ability online to track the channel from which a visitor landed on a website (eg search engine, facebook, youtube, affiliate etc through web analytics), this question gives us a valuable first-touch data-source for channels which we can’t track so well such as TV and print media.</p> <p>In the case of ecommerce companies, many rely on promotion codes in order to track the marketing source but in this scenario, where a customer has seen an ad in one source and purchased via another source, you’ve lost the originator marketing channel.</p> <p>For example if you distribute leaflets and a customer sees one, then goes online and purchases through an affiliate code, you have no concept of the performance of the leaflet and may make the incorrect decision to stop distribution of inserts due to low uptake. </p> <p>At toucanBox we use a post-transaction survey to ask customers how they heard about us at the point at which we are front of mind. The reason to have this in the checkout confirmation page and not in the confirmation email or later is because it would otherwise only serve to dilute the quality of response.</p> <p>The positive impact brand awareness has is best demonstrated when we look at TV advertising performance. We have a certain CPA target we are aiming for and use a promotion code on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMy9bFitXBM">the TV ad</a> to help us track customers coming directly via the TV ad. However, if we follow scenario 1 above and assume all customers that see the TV ad, will come <em>directly</em> to the website, our CPA looks quite astronomical and unprofitable. Decision? Let’s trash TV it clearly doesn’t work! Ah but if you add additional data points, it tells a very different story. </p> <p>If we look at just one of our many paid search keywords related to brand searches (see below), we see that there was a rise and fall of searches on that particular keyword when we ran TV advertising in February, denoted by the rise, peak and fall which correlates with TV spot timings. This gives as an additional attribution back to TV because the increase in paid search hits for this one keyword can be directly matched back.</p> <p>We analysed all brand keywords that we could track, alongside those people directly visiting the website and those coming through non-paid search and found similar patterns. The uplift in visits also correlates with an uplift in transactions confirming both volume and quality of TV impact for this keyword.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5374/2.png" alt="keyword uplift from tv" width="800">  </p> <p>Now if you tally up the additional sales TV brought in as the originator channel into the trackable channels (brand paid search, organic search and direct visits) the combined CPA comes in within target. The correct decision therefore based on this data is to continue with TV advertising. I may not know the complete, numerical positive impact TV has across all channels but I can be convinced with this data that it is worthwhile. </p> <p>Another data point we used was the post-transaction survey mentioned earlier. In response to ‘how did you hear about us’ we gave some relevant options such as TV, print, search etc. When analysing the data for the same period, the majority selected ‘TV’, which was of course great news but unsurprising.</p> <p>However where this was even more interesting was matching this back into Google Analytics as an event and analysing those that said they heard of toucanBox via TV and the final channel they converted on. Through this we also found TV impacted sign ups that came via Facebook ads, online partnerships and affiliates.</p> <p>Essentially we added a layer that analytics tools cannot yet add - where did they remember seeing or hearing about the brand first? This is important because we're looking for the trigger ad that prompted them to move from the indifferent stage to the like stage for the brand.</p> <p>TV for toucanBox had played an even bigger part in uplifting the entire marketing mix. Without the additional data points, a singular view of CPA and attribution would have led us to making the wrong decision and hindered growth. </p> <h4>No surprise, CPA tracking is still an issue </h4> <p>Despite this level of insight and understanding, can we answer how best to place every single marketing dollar?</p> <p>No we can’t, because the true CPA of every channel, considering what percentage of the customer journey each channel contributed, is a thing of data science beyond the scope of this article. You can search for and sift through <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=multi+channel+attribution">tens of thousands of articles</a> written on this subject in the last 5-10 years yet we’re still not able to 100% define a true CPA.</p> <p>The challenge is that typical tracking of budget and transactions, from channel to channel, device to device, across web analytics and crucially your customer database rarely match up. This occurs because of how each tracking system sees the view of a single transaction.</p> <p>If a customer visits the site from a Facebook ad, based on the attribution window you are looking at Facebook will record it as a transaction via Facebook, regardless of whether that person converts subsequently via another channel or not. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics register the last channel the customer came through and although GA offers a way of <a href="https://www.kaushik.net/avinash/multi-channel-attribution-modeling-good-bad-ugly-models/">viewing multi-channel attribution</a>, at best some marketers and analysts are still inexperienced with how to use it for budget decision making and at worst are not even aware it exists.</p> <p>GA will also often under report against what your customer database shows due to cookie/tracking issues and so as a marketer it is a constant struggle to optimise channels, marketing-mix and internal KPI reporting. The screengrab below is a typical view of what our customer journey might look like from first click to last. Quite the journey. And if last click was all we went on, we might ditch email or organic search from our marketing mix.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5375/3.png" alt="attribution" width="800"></p> <p>Whilst at toucanBox we are highly data-driven in our marketing analysis and decision making, we’re also in fast-growth stage and so require a balance between data accuracy and growth agility which often increase inversely. Making decisions on hard, measurable data points isn't enough to make a fully qualified decision to assigning the true CPA for a given campaign or a channel.</p> <h4>So after all of that, how exactly do you evaluate the return on your dollar spend? </h4> <p>The simple answer is through complex data modelling, tracking and attribution. Well no, actually the simpler answer is you don’t.</p> <p>Instead marketers will often take stock of a blended view of marketing in order to determine the success of a campaign. If tracking and accounting the return from every dollar is your priority (and there's no reason it shouldn't be) then you will need to have the time and resource available to create a system which at best, will get you close to answering this.</p> <p>However if you’re a fast-growth company looking to make the the next best decision to that, on how your marketing performance stacks up, then a combination of in-channel optimisation to get the best from your macro metrics such as cost per click (CPC) and clickthrough rate (CTR) on top of a blended view of marketing performance might just get your growth machine whirring that much faster.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68961 2017-04-06T14:07:52+01:00 2017-04-06T14:07:52+01:00 Amazon tries its hand at influencer affiliate marketing Patricio Robles <p><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/31/amazon-quietly-launches-its-own-social-media-influencer-program-into-beta/">According to</a> TechCrunch's Sarah Perez, the program functions like the company's affiliate program in that participants are paid a commission for product sales that they drive. It is not known if the commission structure differs from Amazon's affiliate program.</p> <p>Unlike Amazon's affiliate program, which requires that affiliates link to Amazon products from their own websites, Amazon is offering influencers vanity URLs, such as <em>https://www.amazon.com/shop/whatsupmoms</em>, on which lists of products they curate are displayed. As Perez notes, "Basically, it's a more exclusive step up from Amazon Affiliate linking, and offers a better browsing experience."</p> <p>One of the early participants in the Amazon Influencer Program is WhatsUpMoms, which claims to be the top parenting network on YouTube. Its president and COO, Liane Mullin, says that the program was a natural fit. "We are constantly asked by our community for product recommendations and about the products used in our videos. Now that we have our own Amazon store it makes it much easier to have a curated collection all in one spot," she told TechCrunch.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5232/amazoninfluencer.jpg" alt="" width="878" height="322"></p> <h3>The appeal of performance marketing for influencers</h3> <p>Amazon's desire to team up with influencers isn't at all surprising. After all, influential social media entities like WhatsUpMoms, which counts more than 1.5m subscribers to its YouTube channel, have the ability to promote products to broad and often loyal audiences. And there's <a href="http://www.latimes.com/fashion/la-ig-bloggers-20160809-snap-story.html">strong evidence that influencers <em>can </em>convert their followings into<em> </em>sales</a>.</p> <p>For that reason, it's reportedly not uncommon for brands to pay the most prominent of influencers – those with millions of subscribers on popular social platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat – well into the five figures, and in some cases even six figures, for each promotional post.</p> <p>Given the large sums being paid in the upper echelons of the market, brands tapping influencers to promote their wares will increasingly seek to justify the spend <a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/">by tracking ROI</a> and ensuring that their deals make financial sense. Performance marketing payment structures, which align compensation directly to customer acquisition or sales, could help them do just that in a very straightforward manner.</p> <h3>But will influencers embrace performance marketing?</h3> <p>For those earning thousands of dollars or more for sponsored posts, the prospect of giving up a guaranteed payment for a percentage of sales generated or a set fee for each customer acquisition might not be all that appealing. While some arrangements could theoretically offer significant upside, the truly influential influencers aren't likely to see the benefits of taking on increased risk unless the market dynamic changes completely and they are forced to.</p> <p>Instead, so long as their sway is growing and bringing with it negotiating leverage, expect to see more top influencers focus on long-term <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/09/16/loreal-on-why-other-brands-are-using-influencers-the-wrong-way/">partnerships</a> in which they might even work with brands to co-create product lines that they have a real ownership stake in. And expect to see the most ambitious influencers try to follow in the footsteps of social media stars like Michelle Phan, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2015/10/05/how-michelle-phan-built-a-500-million-company/">who has built</a> her own business empire on the back of her YouTube popularity.</p> <p>Of course, none of this means that the Amazon Influencer Program is destined to fail. But absent a bigger hook than an Amazon page on which influencers can curate lists of products that are sold on Amazon, it seems unlikely that the influencers with "large followings" Amazon is courting would have good reason to give their Amazon Influencer Program links top billing.</p>