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Pardon this Interruption for a Quick Mobile Ad…

December 13, 2012 Leave a comment

“New research suggests that users find mobile ads far more interruptive–and annoying–than those on TV.” Personally, I could not agree more. At least TV ads can be entertaining, mobile ads have the cheap, sketchy quality that many skeezy banner ads display. I hate when mobile ads are delayed and flash while I am in the middle of my next task. I’ve even had mobile ads that have blasted sound, despite the fact that my phone was on silent. 

70% of users surveyed said that automatic app-ads were interruptive and two thirds of respondents found them annoying, which was a higher percentage than those who said they were annoyed by TV and web-based advertising. 

One researchers suggests that this is because a consumer finds using their mobile phone to be more of a personal experience than they do watching TV or surfing the web. There is a special and personal bond between a person and their phone. Think about the quick experiment we did in Rob’s class where we briefly switched phones with the person sitting next to us. Clearly, mobile is personal. 

Only 12% of users find mobile ads engaging, 14% find them relevant, and 17% find them interesting. Mobile marketing has clearly built a negative reputation. How can mobile marketers get themselves out of this rut?

Mobile marketers need to overcome their image as seedy and irrelevant. They need to connect with consumers by respecting them and not interrupting their personal time. A potential way to combat this might be to offer personalized offers to app subscribers through ads. This way consumers feel they are getting special treatment and not being shown a generic, uninteresting ad that may not relate to them. Mobile marketers need to take their consumers and their interests into consideration in order to create engaging ads. 

Mobile marketers need to acknowledge the current negative image they have and consider how they can effectively engage consumers without invading their privacy and personal time. 


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Showrooming: Friend or Foe of Brick and Mortar Retailers?

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Consumers comparison shopped long before the advent of mobile technology; however, mobile technology has taken comparison shopping to an extreme and the trend of showrooming has become a real issue for many brick and mortar retailers. So much in fact that 80% of retailers expected to be impacted and store retailers are predicted to lose 5% of holiday season sales through showrooming.

Showrooming is just as it sounds. Consumers are increasingly using brick and mortar retail stores as showrooms where they can come and test out a product, but they do not have to necessarily purchase it there. While in store they can run a quick price comparison analysis on their phone or tablet and order the product elsewhere online. Showrooming is a trend that is here to stay: during the 2011 holiday season, one in four shoppers used their mobile phones to compare prices while in stores.

This is a huge problem for brick and mortar and retailers and marketers alike. “The good news is that retailers can put strategies in place to help counter the effects of showrooming by engaging showroomers actively, integrating their online and offline channels, and prioritizing their investments to counter showrooming.”

Since the start of the trend, showrooming has been a particularly big issue on Black Friday when the top concern of consumers is getting the best deal available. In an effort to combat this issue, brick and mortar retailers have begun offering deals earlier and earlier, with many starting on Thanksgiving day. Another method to combat showrooming is price matching policies, which Black Friday behemoths such as Best Buy and Target have employed. Some retailers such as Macy’s have also launched Black Friday apps where consumers can use the app in store to receive special promotions and sales.

Although showrooming presents a crucial threat to brick and mortar retailers, there are many strategies to make it work in favor of these retailers. In my opinion, the best option is for retailers to train their front-line sales force to speak to customers about the benefits of buying in their store in that instant. For example, one benefit could be an in-store service warranty. Also, let’s not forget that comparison shopping may also drive a customer to purchase the product in your store if you are offering the best price or benefits at that time. At least for now, showrooming here to stay. It is up to retailers to use showrooming to their advantage and avoid losing customers to online retailers.

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Watch. Click. Buy.

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

We all know that YouTube has become an incredibly useful and engaging marketing channel for brands, big and small alike. However, it is often difficult to measure a direct correlation between video views and sales. We can assume that consumers are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a brand’s YouTube channel if they had a positive impression of it, but there is simply not a way to measure whether there is a direct link from video views to sales. Until now.

Although the concept of a “shoppable video or ad” has been in development for quite some time, YouTube has recently improved its technology around shoppable ads to make it a reality for brands. The idea behind a shopppable video is that consumers can watch a branded video and a muted box will hover over items that can be purchased. If a user clicks on one of these boxes, a new web page is opened where the consumer can browse the shopping page and purchase the exact item featured in the video.  However, one problem the technology still faces is that when a user is brought to the shopping page, the video is paused creating a disruption to the consumer experience.

This new technology has been especially attractive to fashion retailers. The 2012 Digital IQ Index: Fashion found that “90% of fashion brands maintain a YouTube channel and their investment in digital video is driving engagement and traffic.” According to YouTube, four in ten shoppers visited a store in person or online after watching a video and 34% or apparel shoppers said they were more likely to make a purchase after viewing an online video.  Shoppable videos will allows brand to calculate an exact number of correlation between video views and purchase.

Although the technology is still in beta, major fashion retailers Juicy Couture and ASOS have employed the new technology. Juicy launched a shoppable video on YouTube earlier this month that features supermodel Candice Swanepoel poolside “California dreaming” about an alternate universe where maids carry pink packages and cats wear jewels. During the video, you can click on bathing suit and jewelry Swanepoel is wearing and purchase it on the Juicy Couture site. Juicy Couture is also promoting its shoppable video through social media using the hashtag #GiveMeWhatIWant along with in-stream ads in the video.  ASOS’s shoppable also features a celebrity, Ellie Goulding, in her holiday music video and users can hover over items featured in the video to be taken directly to the ASOS site.

The shoppable video technology is currently free on YouTube; however, both Juicy Couture and ASOS have purchased ads on YouTube to promote the shoppable video.

Lisa Green, head of industry apparel at Google, explains “the idea is to help people, advertisers in particular, drive from YouTube to an actual site. It makes it more actionable and specific…it’s about  being able to take advantage of that magic moment when you’re watching a video and want to buy it.” This explains the inherent value it has to brands and marketers alike. It creates an avenue for brands to integrate their e-commerce sites with their videos in a more seamless manner. With just one click, consumers can purchase what they want when they see it. It is important that marketers integrate this new technology with other marketing efforts.

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