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Why You Should Design with Mobile in Mind This Holiday

2014 October 23
by Chris Shindelbower

Google’s Holiday Shoppers Intention survey reported two intriguing facts that should drive your mobile strategy this holiday season:

  • 75% of consumers plan to use their mobile devices shopping in-store this season
  • One third of all shopping research happens between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Why the huge intention to rely on mobile? Consumers are better at searching, finding and ordering on their mobile devices than they were last year. The technology to deliver relevant advertising on mobile devices has also matured — capabilities like geolocation or beacons — along with the presentation of content on a small screen.

The weird hours are also easily explained. Given the time constraints during the holidays, people are planning their shopping lists on mobile devices — and often during “off” hours. Brick-and-mortar sales may be moving closer to 24 hours of operation on big shopping holidays, but mobile is always 24/7.

mobile holiday shopping

Mobile Design Concepts to Keep in Mind

If a shopper is on their mobile device, they likely have time and bandwidth constraints, and are more susceptible to distraction. It’s important to keep the smaller screen in mind while developing the layout, design and functionality.

Store location finders need to be front and center. Shoppers use this feature as much as everything else and, as they plan their busy day, they want to know where the store is.

Overall, we should be providing content that will help the consumer most when they are mobile. Defining the composition of information on the screen based on the relevance to the shopper is paramount.

On the other hand, tablets are unique because obviously not a lot of people go on an excursion with a tablet. But they are an important screen at home, particularly if someone is intrigued by a televised offer and wants to get more information. This is another reason why having a multi-screen approach for any campaign is so critical.

Take Full Advantage of Mobile on Big Shopping Days

Black Friday will still be big … but it has creeped into Thanksgiving. I have seen it called “Grey Friday” now as a lot of the deals start around dinner on Thanksgiving. Shoppers skip dinner or go shopping right after the Thanksgiving turkey, instead of using that time to do research for Black Friday. Retailers are trying to get a head start and are putting some offers online as well. The net result is that consumers are researching earlier than they used to — and primarily on their mobile devices as they try to figure out both their in-person stops as well as their online orders.

Shoppers are going to use mobile devices to seek out major retailers for the greatest deals on hot items like toys, apparel and consumer electronics. The latter category has always been a big draw as mobile offers a tremendous solution to compare prices and features. This also opens the door for cross-promotion—if you’re buying toys, you need batteries; if you’re buying a gaming system, you need games. A noncompeting, complementary brand has the opportunity here to jump in and contextually offer the right content to accompany the products shoppers plan to purchase for holiday season.

How is your brand planning to capitalize on mobile throughout the holidays?

New Year, New Digital Strategies

2014 September 16
by Path to Purchase

Even in September, some of us are still trying to nail down our 2014 New Year’s resolutions. The same can’t be said for advertisers —many of whom are already mapping their digital strategies for 2015.

Their main focus? Full speed ahead on digital.digital strategy

Digital strategies may help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending.

“Many of our advertisers have now hired a digital manager or a team in order to keep up with the quickly changing media landscape.  For those who have not, now is the time,” David Morgan, VP of Sales and Talent Development at Triad Retail Media explains, “Many traditional agencies have now developed entire digital divisions when a few years ago digital might have been an afterthought.”

Spending on TV advertising may be safe now, but Magna Global predicts it will take the biggest beating over the next few years as digital strategies gain more traction. It projects digital advertising will top television advertising by 2017. This is due in part to the growing popularity of online video, with sites like YouTube, Hulu and full episode players (FEP) from broadcast networks like ABC and CBS. So, television: You have two years.

Increased traffic from mobile devices and social sites has also helped push digital to the forefront — social represents 32% of the digital market share and mobile 51%.

While it’s important to assess strategies year-round, the promise of a new year can help put things in a new perspective. Take this chance to review the state of the industry to better prepare for where it’s headed. Come January 1, 2015, expect to see digital alignment at the top of advertisers’ resolutions lists—right above joining a gym and cutting back on sweets.

3 Cornerstones of Digital Holiday Strategies

2014 August 21
by Path to Purchase

As back-to-school promotions give way to fall, advertisers are quickly switching gears to plan their digital strategy for the holidays.

This year’s efforts should be focused on reaching the omnichannel consumer. A recent study found that 31% of customers who used digital channels for their last purchase used multiple devices. The ability to target consumers anywhere, anytime and on any device is critical if we want to influence the purchasing decisions of today’s shoppers.

 

Mobile is Imperative for Holidays

Last December, mobile accounted for 19.1% of all online sales. This year, Big Blue is predicting that mobile will account for 20% of online holiday sales and more than 43% of site traffic by November.

Brands and retailers have been ensuring that mobile is a huge part of their holiday marketing plans. But Will Cohen, Triad Retail Media’s Senior Director of Emerging Media and Product Innovation, says, “It is now imperative to include mobile into your consumer experience planning.”

Get ready to see a new shift in technologies and how retailers communicate with their shoppers in-store. Tactics such as beacons, geo-fencing and image recognition are just a few of the ways stores can reach consumers personally.

Bring Out the Big Tools for Social

While eMarketer dubbed 2014 the “year of social acceptance” and predicted more marketers would allocate more to paid social media advertising, post-holiday results from Custora revealed that social only claimed 2% of total eCommerce sales; Facebook drove 80% of the sales Custora tracked, while Pinterest drove 15% and Twitter drove 5%.

The key for brands now is to step outside of the traditional social marketing box. It’s no longer about ads, reach or impressions. It’s about creating compelling content, engaged communities of brand loyalists and social experiences that stand out.

“The power of social for brands has only just begun to be tapped, because so many of them have limited themselves to only the most basic tools. It’s time to put down the screwdriver and have a little fun with that industrial power drill,” says Heath Fogelman, Triad’s Director of Social Marketing.

Fuse Entertainment and Advertisement With Video

A few months ago, BI Intelligence reported that online video ad revenue will reach nearly $5 billion in 2016. Given the number of new features unveiled by social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the market seems to be anticipating an influx of video ads this year.

“Our dependence on video to explain, demonstrate and endorse a product is unrivaled,” Peter Bavaro, VP of Video Advertising at Triad Retail Media explains. “Online video stands at the crossroads of entertainment and information, and has ushered in a new era of shopper reliance on the format. There really is no better way to communicate a brand message.”

As the line between social and mobile continues to blur, and as video permeates both, it’s no longer a choice between one or the other. The most successful brands will do all of the above — and blend them in meaningful and impactful ways — to create experiences that demand consumer attention.

Why All Your Campaigns Should Be Optimized for Mobile

2014 May 27
by Path to Purchase

The average American carries at least two, sometimes three,  mobile devices with them. It sounds like a lot, until you break it down—there’s the omnipresent smartphone, a tablet or maybe an e-reader, an MP3 player … it’s pretty easy to get to three.

The_iOS_family_pile_(2012)

So many devices. So little time. Photo courtesy Blake Patterson.

Tom Boisvert, Triad’s VP of Product Innovation, wrote on Retail Online Integration about how critical it is to optimize advertising programs for mobile. He explained different tactics to optimize a retailer’s mobile presence, but we wanted to give you six more reasons to start optimizing for a mobile strategy:

  • More digital content is being consumed on mobile devices. U.S. adults will spend 23% of their time consuming media on a mobile device this year
  • Tablets are increasingly used for online shopping. Tablets are projected to bring in $76 billion in online sales, twice that of mobile devices
  • Mobile ad spending has exploded—and is expected to hit $31.45 billion this year. By 2018, mobile ad spending is projected to top $94 billionMobile devices lead to in-store purchases. 52% of U.S. shoppers have used a mobile device to research products while browsing in a store
  • Age makes no difference:  69% of older Baby Boomers and 97% of Gen Yers use their smartphone to shop while in stores
  • Mobile advertising on social channels is critical too. For the first time, social mobile advertising revenues surpassed social desktop ad revenues

As Tom said, “[Shopping] can begin in-store and end on a smartphone, or vice-versa. If any of these entry points is lacking in any way—e.g., the path to purchase isn’t clear and direct—consumers will get lost.” Whether at home or at their local retailer, consumers are using their multiple devices to complete the path to purchase.

While this presents an opportunity to win customers, this also means retailers have to work twice as hard to make sure they don’t get lost. To ensure that, you need to implement cross-device mobile strategies that will keep the potential customers on the path to purchase with you.

E-Commerce & In-Store Sales On One Path to Purchase

2014 May 19
by Path to Purchase

“U.S. retail e-commerce will continue its torrid growth in 2014.” If your livelihood depends on  e-commerce, you’ve got to love any report that begins that way. eMarketer’s U.S. Retail Ecommerce: 2014 Trends and Forecast  highlights both overall growth and the increasing interplay between online and offline retail.

eMarketer Digital Shopers & Buyers

Some key findings:

  • U.S. retail e-commerce will continue to grow in 2014, with sales predicted to hit $304 billion (up 15.5%)
  • 90% (nearly 197 million) of U.S. Internet users over the age of 14 will shop online this year
  • 163 million of these shoppers will complete a purchase digitally this year

There seems to be a discrepancy between the last two points, but they show how buyers are integrating digital channels into their shopping process. Even if the consumer does not complete the transaction online, the impact of digital interactions on the shopping process has become increasingly  important.

As e-commerce grew, retailers were initially afraid of the “showrooming” phenomenon, where shoppers would browse in a store but buy online.  But an Accenture study found 72% on U.S. shoppers had showroomed, while 78% had webroomed, or browsed online before buying at a store.

Consumers today are going digital at some point on their purchase journey, whether they’re researching or in the store looking at a product. This trend makes it crucial for retailers to examine how they integrate their digital properties into the shopping experience and direct consumers to products while browsing online and in-store.

The real issue isn’t how a shopper buys, but how they buy with a certain retailer.

 

Hitting the Mark for Mother’s Day

2014 April 9
by Autumn Kindelspire
Autumn Kindelspire, Content Manager

Autumn Kindelspire, Content Manager

Mother’s Day gift ideas—from sparkling jewelry sets to luxurious spa day packages—are already popping up all over the Internet. For retailers, Mother’s Day is a lot more than flowers, cards and candy. It’s the third-largest retail holiday behind Christmas and Back to School.

 

Mommy Money

Mother’s Day shopping promises big check-outs for retailers: The average consumer spends about $168.94 on gifts for Mom and overall spending for Mother’s Day reached $20.7 billion last year.

If you’re still planning your Mother’s Day advertising copy, remember this: Emotion matters. Mom is often the first person with whom we create a deep, emotional bond. She feeds you, clothes you, cares for you and she also lays down the law when you’re out of line. It’s a complex relationship that may change over time but rarely loses its resonance with consumers.

Give a gentle tug on your customers’ heartstrings by reminding them how special Mom is and why the product you offer is the best gift to reflect the special bond they share. It’s not about the size of the gift; it’s about the sentiment the gift represents.

 

(Photo Courtesy Paul Scott)

(Photo Courtesy Paul Scott)

Mother’s Day is Digital Too

Nearly 3 in 10 Americans will buy Mother’s Day gifts online. Why the surge in online shopping? One factor might be Millennials, who are perfectly comfortable researching and purchasing products online. And their purchasing power is impressive. Millennial purchasing power is an estimated $170 billion annually. In 2011, Millennials between 25 and 34 spent approximately $191.35 on Mother’s Day, and the younger Millennials (18 to 24) came in a close second at $183.38. This may be a bit of double-duty gift-buying. Many Millennials are themselves, new parents—80% of U.S. births are now to Millennial parents.

Millennials are equally comfortable to purchase items online or in-store, but their first inclination when researching products is to grab their laptop, tablet or smartphone. Earn their attention with helpful buying guides, creative Mother’s Day gift ideas, and emotional, uplifting stories. They also love a good deal, especially if it’s promoted on their favorite social media. In an eMarketer study, more than half of the women and 44% of the men surveyed said they used Facebook or Twitter to receive notifications for sales and specials.

 

Forget About the Flowers

Flowers are a big seller on Mother’s Day. About $1.9 million goes toward bouquets and other floral gifts for moms. But they are hardly the biggest Mother’s Day gift category. Jewelry and electronics top the gift charts, with average spending at $4.2 and $2.3 billion, respectively.

Make your shopper marketing dollars count with media placed where shoppers are likely to be browsing for Mother’s Day gifts on major retail and auction sites, as well as social media.

There are an estimated 2 billion moms in the world, but she’s always one in a million to the people who love her. With the right digital marketing strategy, your product can be the one gift that makes her day.

What Retailers Need to Know to Thrive in the Visual Web

2014 April 3
by Chris Shindelbower
Chris Shindelbower, Vice President of Creative

Chris Shindelbower, Vice President of Creative

With so much content vying for user’s time, visual content is the perfect medium for time-crunched consumers. To hold their attention, especially when 42% of online adults are scrolling through multiple social feeds, content needs to be instantly appealing. Enter the visual web, where 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily, there are now 150 million users on Instagram and Pinterest now has 70 million users. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to say or sell: if you want to be heard, it’s time to break out the camera.

What is the “Visual Web”?

The “visual web” is a paradigm shift from using visuals (e.g., images, videos, gifs, Vines) as supporting media to using visuals primary method of delivering engaging content (think Buzzfeed). It’s the online manifestation of a picture being worth a thousand words.

The shift makes sense. Humans are inherently visual creatures. In fact, 30–40% of the surface of the brain is dedicated to processing visual information. We can process an image much faster than any page of text.

visual web

Retailer Success in the Visual Web

With the massive influx of content from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Buzzfeed and other entertainment sites, and Tumblr, shifting the focus to visual might be daunting. But the online shopping experience stands to benefit from the visual web trend; it might even be a major factor in eCommerce’s growing popularity. So, if you’re still treating images like a side dish, now is the time to take notes.

Capture Attention Quickly

In most cases, visual content will be surrounded by other visual content, whether the user is on Facebook or in your storefront. The image should:

  • Attract viewers
  • Be immediately identifiable and high quality
  • Generate interest
  • Convey the feeling and driving point of the story

For example, if you have an image of a consumer product, it should send a message about the product while keeping the audience in mind. Treat the development of visual content the same way you would write a well-constructed paragraph of copy. Consider the tone of the product and the sentiment of your audience.

If images or video are outside of the strategy of your campaign, consider giving key product details a visual treatment by using an infographic. Infographics are easily sharable and can visually reinforce your brand while providing useful information that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Test, Optimize and Share

Use online channels as a chance to test and optimize your visual marketing and merchandising in a relatively inexpensive and lower-risk environment, as opposed to in-store display or broadcast media. If something’s not working, images are much easier to adjust for optimal user engagement, not to mention you can test what works among audience segments.

Social media is powered by the visual web —Did you know images on Facebook get 104% more comments than the average post? — so it should be an essential part of your strategy. As a bonus, it can also provide an effective way to measure, optimize and communicate with their audience.

Embrace Mobile

The visual web is ideally suited for the mobile experience, where image grids outperform lists of links and romance copy. Mobile users are, by definition, on the go. They don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for what they need — they want to glance down and get going.

When you’re considering the mobile experience, remember to tailor the image to the mobile shopper and don’t let those high-resolution mobile displays go to waste.

Is the written word dead?

No. There’s always room for clever copy. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a short paragraph can clearly convey an idea that might be outside of interpretation. Consider your audience, intent and product to understand where text, image or a combination of the two will be most effective and appropriate.

Taking a Moment to Congratulate Brian Quinn

2014 March 27
by Path to Purchase

BQ Award StillWe’d like to take a quick moment to congratulate our Chief Revenue Officer, Brian Quinn, for earning the prestigious ad:tech Industry Achievement Award, which honors those who provide outstanding service, create breakthrough ideas and foster industry growth.

Brian has been a contributor to the industry for nearly 20 years. He founded the influential 212, New York’s leading organization for the digital advertising industry, which now has more than 5,000 digital media, marketing and advertising professionals in its membership. Brian currently serves as co-chairman on the IAB’s Sales Executive Council, which is dedicated to furthering the interests of ad-supported interactive properties.

At Triad, Brian oversees all sales and marketing activities for the company’s digital retail site partners, including Walmart, Sam’s Club, eBay, Sears, Asda, CVS, Toys“R”Us and Dollar General.

From all of us at Triad Retail Media, our heartiest congratulations to Brian!

Why Retailers Need to Stop Thinking and Start Offering Video Advertising

2014 March 10
by Sean Cheyney
Sean Cheyney, VP Sales & Business Development

Sean Cheyney, VP Sales & Business Development

As a consumer, you are accustomed to video content across your usual online content destinations. On news, entertainment and sports sites, you know and expect at least some video content. Video content keeps users engaged, holds them on the site and, most importantly, keeps them coming back. Of course, a component of the video ecosystem you are also accustomed to is video advertising in the form of pre-roll or sponsored content.

So, if consumers have a certain level of expectation for video content on their favorite websites and they are used to video advertising as an “entry ticket” to be able to watch that video content, then why has video content and video advertising opportunities failed to gain significant traction outside of pure content destination sites?

Retailers are missing an opportunity to achieve their primary objective of selling more products.  Unlike Amazon, retailers don’t have to invest in video creation resources on their product pages to be successful. A simple invitation to suppliers (whether monetized with advertising or not) to submit helpful video content to assist with the sale will help jump start video content on their site.

Currently, video advertising demand outweighs supply across quality sites. This offers opportunities for publishers to sell their inventory directly at high CPMs or put their inventory into an exchange where advertisers can bid programmatically and fight over the existing inventory. Publishers who have figured out how to utilize video content not only as a way to enhance the site experience, but also as a way to substantially impact advertising revenue are cashing in.

The big question for retailers is, why continue to sabotage the customer experience, site sales, and monetization opportunities while Amazon is mastering video and reaping the rewards?

Retailers Are Also Publishers

Most video content associated with advertising opportunities have been limited to content publishers as opposed to traditional retailers and other ecommerce players. Why? Video content enhances the site experience. While the purpose of the video content is different for retailers (focused on informing purchase decisions) as opposed to pure information and entertainment, retailers are clearly missing the boat in terms of capitalizing on the multiple streams of revenue video can generate.

Many retailers hesitate because they don’t want video to clutter up and interfere with the buying process. While their first objective always should be site sales or a clean experience that leads to an in-store sale, retailers miss a major opportunity to hit both of those objectives. This is where retailers need to start seeing themselves as both publisher and in-store sales assistant.

Now That’s an Opportunity!

Say, I need to buy a washing machine and dryer within the next 12 months.  I have a price range in mind but, other than that, I am completely clueless about which make and model I should purchase. I visit a series of retailer websites to research, but spend my time clicking through product pages just reading product specs. In the end, I’m left without knowing what factors I should consider when selecting my washer and dryer and I’m no better off than when I entered the product consideration cycle.

Imagine how helpful it would be if the retailer presented me with a short video to help me understand what to consider when making my purchase. Sounds simple, but most retailers do not take this step. For the few retailers that offer this video resource—ABT for example—they are missing an opportunity to monetize the video with short pre-roll content or sponsorships. Retailers and brands have an opportunity to reach me as a shopper and have a large brand impact, during a valuable time – when I am in the purchase consideration mode.

Another opportunity can be found in the next place a consumer is most likely to turn if they can’t find what they’re looking for: Search. If a consumer is already exhibiting purchase intent and site search produces video results (such as a branded product video), there is no greater efficiency for a brand message to affect a sale.

Follow the Money Like a Publisher

Video advertising revenue is no joke. Take AOL. They haven’t exactly been a model of success in the past several years, but they posted their biggest revenue growth in the past 10 years this last Q4. Their purchase of Adap.tv and the subsequent revenue results show that the purchase and sale of online video through real-time bidding pays off.

For the retailers worried about demand, stop. Demand for quality video advertising opportunities has never been higher. The ability to purchase video programmatically (like AOL has with Adap.tv) allows advertisers to leverage publisher first-party data in order to get in front of their targets when they are likely to be in-market for a specific product or category of products… a true goldmine for an advertiser and a major revenue opportunity for the retailer.

AOL isn’t the only publisher to cash in on video advertising. Amazon just announced a partnership with technology partner FreeWheel that could be the first step toward creating their own video ad network. With Amazon’s huge product listings and their current use of product page video, it is somewhat surprising that it has taken them this long.

The real question for more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers is: How long will you wait to follow the money and begin thinking like a publisher?

Stretching 60-Second Ads to Weeks of Brand Exposure

2014 February 5
by Path to Purchase

First off, a hearty congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for their dominating performance, impeccable defense and impressive offense. (The only place where Broncos dominated was on Twitter.)

 

Like most Americans whose teams didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, we were sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the next commercial break. Was that a dream or did the 80s seriously just rob RadioShack?

Just a decade ago, Super Bowl ads used to have a limited shelf life. Viewers would laugh and get back to the game. Trade and business publications would highlight the best ads later, but that was pretty much it.

Now, Super Bowl ads live long beyond their 30–60 seconds, even before the ads air. This year, many ads were released online before the game and many more had teasers encouraging fans to tune in for the event. Budweiser’s full “Best Buds” spot was uploaded the 29th of January and Oikos’ Full House reunion had already taken over brand conversations on social media.

 

Social Media for Brand Exposure

In addition to early releases, brands realized the critical role social media would play in extending the value of their 30 seconds of airtime before and after the game. (In fact, Newcastle realized this and skipped the $4 million spot altogether.) Brand exposure tactics included:

  • Hashtags: #AmericaIsBeautiful, #UpForWhatever, #SaluteASolider … the list goes on. But #EsuranceSave30 probably won the day
  • Early Release: While it certainly lengthened the amount of brand exposure, it sort of took the surprise out of the commercial breaks during the game
  • Shazam: Determined not to throw in the towel, Shazam (an online music service) partnered with brands to give away free music downloads and product information for users who “tagged” during the game and commercial broadcasts

 

Twitter Scores 24.9 Million Tweets During the Game

From 6:20–10:10 p.m. EST, users sent more than 24.9 million tweets about the program (up from 24.1 million last year).  Other insane social stats from Super Bowl XLVIII include:

  • When Percy Harvin returned the first kickoff in the first quarter, users sent 381,605 tweets a minute [Twitter]
  • DiGiornio, about two hours into the game, sent the following tweet, which was retweeted 17,458 times [Twitter]

  • Esurance’s post-game commercial resulted in 301,400 tweets in the minute it aired [The Wrap]
  • Coca-Cola’s spots (“It’s Beautiful” and “Going All the Way”) won the night with 169,013 social media mentions [AdAge]
  • 50 million Facebook users had more than 185 million interactions during Super Bowl Sunday [Facebook]

Will any advertisement this year go down in history like Apple’s “1984” or “Mean Joe Green” from Coca-Cola? It’s hard to say. What is easy to say, though, is that the ads of today — and tomorrow — will be just the opening remark in a relationship with consumers. Brand exposure will be drawn out over a series of interaction, instead of just one funny and expensive ad.