tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/advertising Latest Advertising content from Econsultancy 2017-02-23T14:22:11+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68780 2017-02-23T14:22:11+00:00 2017-02-23T14:22:11+00:00 The growing politicization of brands in a polarized world Patricio Robles <p>Target, for instance, chose to weigh in on a 2016 North Carolina law that required individuals in government buildings to use the restroom that corresponds to the gender specified on their birth certificates. The law sparked debate around the country and in response, Target announced that its policy was to allow customers to use the bathroom of their choice based on which gender they identify with. "At the end of the day, Target is all about inclusion. We want everyone to feel comfortable in our stores," the company stated.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, Target's announcement was met with praise and criticism, and a firestorm ensued. Critics called for a boycott of Target, and boycott leaders claim to have collected nearly 1.5m signatures online. Since Target made itself a center of controversy, its sales have fallen by more than 7%, but while the company acknowledges that it's difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of the sales decline, it believes the decline isn't related to its bathroom policy. Boycott organizers, not surprisingly, disagree.</p> <p>In an apparent effort to appease everyone, Target has since announced that it plans to spend $20m building single-toilet bathrooms at more of its stores.</p> <h3>Brands do battle</h3> <p>Target isn't the only brand that has found itself in a politically-charged fight. A boycott of Breitbart, a conservative news site that has drawn criticism from the left, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/12/01/brands-pull-ads-breitbart-nissan-stays-put/94732782/">has reportedly resulted in more than 800 advertisers agreeing to pull ads from the site</a>, which has been accused of publishing racist and hateful content, among other things. These include major brand advertisers like Audi, Charles Schwab, CVS, REI and Kellogg's. In response, Breitbart <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/dumpkelloggs/">launched a #DumpKelloggs boycott</a> of its own, which it claims has garnered over 400,000 signatures online.</p> <p>Battles like this seem to be increasingly common. Case in point: following President Trump's executive order temporarily halting immigration and travel from seven nations, Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, who had made no secret of his disdain for Donald Trump and support for Trump opponent Hillary Clinton prior to the presidential election, announced that Starbucks would aim to hire 10,000 refugees over the next 10 years.</p> <p>In <a href="https://news.starbucks.com/news/living-our-values-in-uncertain-times">his announcement</a>, which was sent to Starbucks employees with the title, "Living Our Values in Uncertain Times," Schultz also commented on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and President Trump's plans to build a border wall with Mexico, two politically-charged topics.</p> <p>As one would expect, Starbucks' move drew praise from those who agree with Schultz's positions and criticism from those who disagree with him. Not surprisingly, the former rallied to state that they'll support Starbucks while the latter called for a boycott of the coffee chain.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Had a <a href="https://twitter.com/Starbucks">@Starbucks</a> latte this morning. If you support refugees, I support you. Thanks <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Starbucks?src=hash">#Starbucks</a></p> — Kat (@mockingjay617) <a href="https://twitter.com/mockingjay617/status/827167616808677379">February 2, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>But Starbucks' move didn't just draw a response from consumers. In response to the firestorm, Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC), a "veteran owned, small batch, roast to order coffee company" based in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced that it would hire 10,000 veterans.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our mission has never changed. Spread the word and join the coffee revolution. <a href="https://t.co/g7WMB6iZqG">pic.twitter.com/g7WMB6iZqG</a></p> — Black Rifle Coffee (@blckriflecoffee) <a href="https://twitter.com/blckriflecoffee/status/827338950788386816">February 3, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>In <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/veteran-owned-black-rifle-coffee-company-stands-up-for-small-businesses-and-america-while-disgusted-by-starbucks-propaganda-300402198.html">a press release</a> and on Twitter, the company took aim at Starbucks, and the company has since seen its message go viral. While it's not clear that BRCC has the scale to follow through on its goal, the company's website currently states "Due to an increase in demand for Black Rifle Coffee customers will experience delays of two weeks in shipping timelines," so it would appear that the company's message has resonated with some consumers.</p> <p>What's more, BRCC's campaign appears to have attracted Starbucks' attention, as the world's largest coffee chain <a href="https://news.starbucks.com/news/message-from-starbucks-armed-forces-network">posted</a> "A Message to Customers from Starbucks Armed Forces Network" that aims to "set the record straight" about the company's support for veterans.</p> <h3>The problem with brand politics</h3> <p>As the Wall Street Journal <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/politics-and-business-dont-mix-in-trumps-america-1481305844">notes</a>, "until recently it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for a company to wear its political leanings on its sleeve." For years, many companies have supported causes that are directly related to politics or have political overtones. But in today's highly-polarized environment, it's increasingly difficult for brands to make statements that are political, or could be construed as being political, without creating controversy.</p> <p>In reality, many of the most polarizing topics today, such as immigration, are highly complex and nuanced. It's simply not possible for brands to craft simple messages around them that aren't bound to offend large numbers of people who hold reasonable but opposing views. Given the amount of hyperbole and spin present in today's media landscape around these topics, brands are all but asking for controversy when they try to make simple statements about complex matters, no matter how well-intentioned they are in doing so.</p> <p>Some argue that the impact of such controversy is still minimal, if it exists at all. For every person who boycotts Starbucks, for instance, another person will support Starbucks. Or so the thinking goes. But as the Target case study demonstrates, it's hard to correlate political controversy, and the increasingly common boycotts that accompany it, with sales increases or declines. That means it's all but impossible for brands to quantify and analyze the risks, short-term and long-term, of their politically-charged statements and initiatives.</p> <p>Major brands that serve millions of consumers should recognize that their customers come from all walks of life and more often than not can't be easily segmented based on their beliefs around the most personal and political subjects. </p> <p>This doesn't mean that brands shouldn't <em>live their values</em> to quote Starbucks' Schultz, but brands should also consider that there's a huge difference between true values and political positions and consider how their statements, initiatives and decisions can unnecessarily conflate the two, dividing their customers and turning themselves into political props in the process.</p> <p>Perhaps it's time for brands to add humility to the list of values they prioritize, especially in light of the fact that <a href="http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/294348/maybe-its-time-brands-just-deliver-on-their-promi.html">according to</a> a Havas Media Group study, consumers "wouldn't care" if nearly three-quarters of the brands they use "just disappeared."</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68810 2017-02-22T14:09:14+00:00 2017-02-22T14:09:14+00:00 Four ways AI is already being applied to sales and marketing Patricio Robles <p>Here are four examples.</p> <h3>Chorus.ai helps companies analyze their sales calls</h3> <p>While the phone call is an ancient phenomenon to many individuals, companies large and small still conduct a lot of their sales activity over the phone. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, tracking, analyzing and improving the performance of salespeople on phone calls is a much more challenging task than, say, tracking, analyzing and improving the performance of email sales.</p> <p>But a number of companies, including Marketo, AdRoll and Qualtrics, are using "conversation intelligence" company <a href="https://www.chorus.ai/">Chorus.ai's</a> platform to record sales calls, transcribe them and analyze the content using AI technology.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/4099/chorus_ai-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="189"></p> <p>Currently, that AI technology can identify key points in phone conversations, such as when a potential customer talks about features, reveals a pain point or mentions a competitor. This AI-based functionality can be used to develop market and customer insights, help develop best practices and scripts for sales teams and aid sales managers in mentoring individual members of their teams.</p> <p>In the future, Chorus.ai's AI tech could be used to display content to salespeople in real-time as a conversation is taking place. For example, if a customer raises an objection, Chorus.ai could surface content that a salesperson can use to address the objection.</p> <h3>Cosabella Lingerie uses AI to boost email revenue</h3> <p>Since high-end lingerie retailer Cosabella Lingerie adopted the Emarsys Marketing Cloud in October 2016, it has doubled its email subscriber base and <a href="https://www.emarsys.com/en/press-release/cosabellas-revenue-surges-60-percent-using-emarsys-ai-enabled-b2c-marketing-cloud/">grown email-driven revenue by over 60% compared to 2015</a>.</p> <p>Emarsys added an Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) component late last year. It can be used to apply AI technology to a number of email marketing optimizations. Specifically, it offers automatic incentive management, "an AI-driven discount personalization layer that analyzes each recipient’s behavioral history to determine who should receive discounts, and for what amount," as well as send time optimization, which predicts when emails should be delivered to specific customers to maximize open rates and engagement.</p> <p>Because of the success of its email initiative, Cosabella says that, "The roll out of the Emarsys platform is the next big step in Cosabella’s move into AI integration during 2017."</p> <h3>IBM allows Watson to manage its programmatic ad buying</h3> <p>One of the most talked-about AI platforms is IBM's Watson. But rather than just pitching the software to its customers, the software giant is eating its own dog food, and one of the ways that it is applying Watson to its business is by allowing the AI to manage its programmatic buying of digital ads.</p> <p><a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/ibm-s-watson-programmatic-yielding-big-returns-ibm/304946/">According to</a> reports last year, IBM's use of Watson's AI tech led to an average cost-per-click decrease of 35% and as much as 71%. With IBM spending tens of millions of dollars a year on digital display ads, it's no surprise that the company was eager to make plans to have Watson manage all of its programmatic ad buying by the end of 2016.</p> <p>"Because of the volume and the dollars involved, trying to save those fractions of a dollar, or fractions of a cent, really matters to us," IBM's VP of marketing analytics, Ari Sheinkin, told AdAge.</p> <p>Watson's AI is capable of tracking and analyzing vast amounts of data – far more than any human ever could – and learning as it sees more campaign results, which means that despite its apparently already-satisfactory performance, IBM could find that the ROI from using Watson increases even more over time.</p> <h3>LeadGenius brings AI to B2B lead generation</h3> <p>As its name suggests, B2B SaaS startup LeadGenius is in the business of generating leads. Historically, lead generation has been a highly manual process involving human research and categorization, but LeadGenius applies AI to this process to significantly reduce the labor involved, saving customers like fraud prevention solutions provider Signifyd lots of time and money.</p> <p>John Livett, a sales manager for Signifyd, says that LeadGenius' tech saves him 15 hours each week, hours "that would have been spent trawling Google, LinkedIn, etc."</p> <p>The AI applied by LeadGenius to the lead generation problem helps the company identify individual businesses and determine how frequently their information should be retrieved based on an analysis of how long information is likely to be reliable; determine whether a company is "in-market" for a particular product or not; and identify buyer roles based on business titles.</p> <p>LeadGenius also applies AI to MailGenius, a salesperson-focused email client it created. MailGenius uses AI to craft email templates, track performance as responses come in and apply optimizations.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/key/3BYRspyKizEA5N" width="595" height="485"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68806 2017-02-15T10:36:00+00:00 2017-02-15T10:36:00+00:00 A day in the life of... a Chief Media Officer Ben Davis <p>Remember, if you're looking for a role yourself, why not have a look at the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy jobs board</a>.</p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job.</h4> <p><em>Alistair Dent:</em> I’m the Chief Media Officer at iCrossing, I run the department that handles digital media planning and buying, across channels including PPC, SEO, display, social and more.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>I report to our UK CEO, Mark Iremonger and work alongside other C-suite members, including the CFO and head of operations.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>I firmly believe that a Chief Media Officer needs to be a media expert. Whilst leading a large department requires management and leadership expertise, leading by credibility is the easiest way to get all stakeholders (boss, team, peers, suppliers and clients) bought into why our way of working is different and better.</p> <p>In an industry where anybody has access to amazing tools and technology, our people and expertise need to be the differentiator.</p> <p><em>Alistair Dent</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/3889/alistair_-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="alistair dent" width="350"></p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Tell us about a typical working day…</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>Today I:</p> <ul> <li>attended a quarterly review with a large, high-street retail client to discuss what we did differently that led to such a good Christmas, as well as how we can replicate it through the year. This was preceded by a breakfast briefing from my team who delivered the work.</li> <li>delivered a lunch-and-learn session at a travel client to teach their team about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/">artificial intelligence</a>: how it works, what machine learning really is, and how we can use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">chatbots</a> to help our customers.</li> <li>reviewed the outcomes from several second round interviews so that we could hire some amazing new team members.</li> <li>had a strategy session about what new services we might offer to our clients.</li> <li>planned a panel appearance at a supplier event.</li> <li>attended an industry dinner to discuss the latest news and ensure that iCrossing continues to be at the heart of our fast-moving sector.</li> </ul> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em>AD:</em> I love people. Whoever they are, the chance to geek out about digital marketing and learn about somebody’s unique situation is super enjoyable, so I relish the time I spend with my clients and my team.</p> <p>The most difficult portion is undoubtedly balancing time. I feel bad whenever I have to move a scheduled meeting because my days have been shifted around.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h4> <p><em>AD:</em> Obviously my purpose is to improve the performance of our business, which is measured through metrics relating to new business wins, revenue growth, client upsells, staff turnover, etc.</p> <p>But where it gets more interesting is in the fuzzier metrics: do our team love working here? Are we doing cutting edge work? How many of my team have I made famous for their expertise?</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>I need to be very structured in my day or the volume becomes overwhelming and things get lost. I live my life by my Outlook calendar, I connect it to OneNote for task lists, and I use these on my phone as much or more than on my laptop.</p> <p>The real secret to being able to handle this much volume: having a team I can trust and delegate to. I can’t go to every meeting that would be beneficial. I can’t follow up with every vendor or every email.</p> <p>By empowering my team to make decisions that they know I’ll back them up on, I can trust that these are being handled just as well (or better) than I’d be able to handle them myself.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>I got into digital by accident: I worked as a management consultant in the City but I was travelling too much. I had built up some skills as a developer and looked for London-based roles building Excel and VBA tools.</p> <p>I started at a young specialist agency of nine people, and left six years later when the agency was 100 people. Since then I’ve moved around the industry in leadership roles at performance agencies, and expect to continue to work across all digital channels to do the coolest media campaigns I can for innovation-friendly brands.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>Nobody is doing it as well as it can be done, because the scope of “good” changes so frequently and varies between sectors and brands.</p> <p>For me doing digital well means talking to customers where they want, rather than forcing them into the channels that are most efficient or effective for the brand.</p> <p>A seamless (and sequential) experience across all channels and devices is hard to achieve vs. the performance metrics it can deliver, but the long term payoff of being an early adopter is that you’ll never miss the chance to ride the unicorn.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Do you have any advice for people who want to work in digital?</h4> <p><em>AD: </em>Don’t be afraid to build and then believe in your own expertise. It’s tough to become a master of an area, but if you can describe the complexities of a channel to your clients so that they can understand it then you’ll always be a valuable advisor.</p> <p>Work somewhere you get the time and support to learn and develop your mastery.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68801 2017-02-13T15:08:38+00:00 2017-02-13T15:08:38+00:00 The WSJ ditches Google's ‘First Click Free’, falls back on stronger paywall Patricio Robles <p>First Click Free allows publishers to have their paywalled content fully indexed by Google. In exchange, publishers agree to allow the first article requested by a reader through a Google News referral to be accessed without a subscription.</p> <p>Under the First Click Free program, publishers are allowed to limit the number of articles that readers can access through Google referrals, but are required to allow users coming through Google to access a minimum of three free articles per day.</p> <p>According to Google, First Click Free is the company's "preferred solution" for publishers that operate a paywall since "it can benefit both our users and our publisher partners. It allows Googlebot to fully index your content, which can improve the likelihood of users visiting your site; and it allows users to view the article of interest while also encouraging them to subscribe."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3871/Wall_Street_Journal.png" alt="" width="800" height="447"></p> <p>But apparently, the WSJ found that First Click Free isn't the best solution for driving subscriptions and, as explained by Digiday's Lucia Moses, <a href="http://digiday.com/publishers/wall-street-journal-close-google-loophole-entirely/">will be abandoning First Click Free</a> in its entirety this week, shutting out some of its non-paying readers, who have used the company's First Click Free participation as a loophole to access WSJ articles for free.</p> <p>The WSJ initially switched off free access for 40% of its audience to test the impact on subscriber rates. It then switched off free access to four news sections entirely for two weeks, resulting in a whopping 86% jump in subscriptions. In the past three months of 2016, the WSJ saw a record jump in subscribers by 110,000 to 1.1m.</p> <p>As well as the impact of the US election, this increase is attributed to a stronger paywall and better messaging. Specifically, the WSJ says that its subscription calls-to-action place pricing information front and center and that it reiterates the ability of subscribers to cancel at any time.</p> <h3>Built to last?</h3> <p>But the WSJ's subscriber growth probably isn't simply the result of tightening up free access to its content. Special offers, such as a $12 for 12 weeks deal, probably helped the WSJ convince a number of users to subscribe when they otherwise wouldn't have paid the nearly $400 annual price for print and digital access.</p> <p>So it remains to be seen whether or not the WSJ's subscriber growth will be sustained, and how much it will be able to profit from subscribers who signed up for discounted access.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3873/Wall_Street_Journal_paywall.png" alt="" width="800" height="472"></p> <p>Of course, one might argue that while discounting has its risks, in the super-competitive environment publishers find themselves in today, it might be better to face retention challenges than acquisition challenges. After all, if the WSJ can acquire a new customer, even at a discount, it has already overcome perhaps its biggest hurdle: getting a consumer to pay for content.</p> <p>Convincing a subscriber to stick around and pay more, although difficult, might be an easier hurdle to overcome.</p> <h3>Monetization optimization</h3> <p>Unlike most publishers, the WSJ generates more of its revenue from subscriptions than it does advertising, but even so, the company is being strategic about how it seeks to monetize its content.</p> <p>"We had a paywall that's 20 years old and hadn’t really been changed," CMO Suzi Watford said. "We asked, how can we optimize it for subscription sales but continue to work for advertisers?”</p> <p>For example, because video content is capable of generating higher ad revenue, the WSJ is keeping its video content outside of the paywall. And while the 127-year-old publisher is ditching Google's First Click Free program, it isn't totally removing the ability for individuals to access paywalled content without paying.</p> <p>As a "membership benefit," articles shared through social media by WSJ subscribers will be accessible to non-subscribers free of charge.</p> <p>That obviously means that the WSJ's paywall will still have holes in it, but it would appear that the company is getting smarter about where it places those holes and who it allows through them.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68733 2017-02-08T15:00:57+00:00 2017-02-08T15:00:57+00:00 Advertisers love programmatic, but what about publishers? Patricio Robles <p>A survey <a href="http://www.operative.com/blog/blog/programmatic-stay-learn-profit/">conducted by</a> ad tech firm Operative concluded that "when it comes to programmatic...publishers are from Mars, advertisers are from Venus."</p> <p>While advertisers are increasingly spending through programmatic buys, because of the complex nature of the programmatic ecosystem, much of the money advertisers are spending is being gobbled up by middlemen and not finding its way to publishers.</p> <p>In fact,<strong> Operative says that half of the publishers it polled said that programmatic generates less than 10% of their digital ad revenue.</strong></p> <p>According to Operative, there are a number of reasons that many publishers are struggling with programmatic...</p> <blockquote> <p>When we asked publishers what limited their success, it became clear that they didn’t have the support and resources needed to succeed. The reasons for low programmatic CPMs were numerous, from lack of sales expertise to the complexity of dealing with conditional metrics for advertisers. Programmatic operations teams are also often dealing with lower quality inventory and unruly data sets, making it hard to justify higher prices.</p> </blockquote> <p>But there's a potentially inconvenient truth that suggests publishers may struggle to profit from programmatic, even if they manage to address some of the addressable challenges they face. As Michael Hubbard of Media Two Interactive, a media planning and buying agency, <a href="http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/293458/publishers-say-less-than-10-of-digital-ad-revenue.html">commented</a>...</p> <blockquote> <p>It makes sense to me that their percent revenue is so low, [because] we use it for audience specific targeting - not publisher targeting, and that allows us to buy at extremely discounted rates off say a premium direct buy. That said - if all of our audience reports came back showing the users were on "x" web site, I guarantee you - I'd be buying more premium.</p> </blockquote> <p>Put simply, advertisers can use programmatic to reach large numbers of members of specific audiences across many properties. Because they know which users are members of those audiences, and have some idea what they're worth, and the publishers don't, there is information asymmetry that leaves publishers at a disadvantage.</p> <h3>A threat to the programmatic ecosystem?</h3> <p>For now, advertisers clearly have the upper hand. After all, "he who has the gold makes the rules." But if over time publishers don't see tangible financial benefits from programmatic, it could pose a threat to the burgeoning but still-nascent programmatic ecosystem. </p> <p>Fortunately, there are signs that the market's evolution could make programmatic more equitable for publishers.</p> <p>First, more and more premium publishers are creating private exchanges, and with research indicating that ads on premium properties <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68086-ads-on-premium-sites-drive-67-greater-brand-lift/">deliver significantly higher brand lift</a>, publishers with viable private exchanges have what appears to be a legitimate value proposition.</p> <p>Second, technology advancements could benefit publishers. For example, <a href="https://adexchanger.com/ad-exchange-news/header-bidding-goes-server-side-6-things-know/">server-side header bidding could change auction dynamics</a> in ways that result in publishers realizing much greater revenue.</p> <p>So while publishers might have reason to be skeptical about or frustrated with programmatic, those that are strategic and make smart moves could soon find that programmatic is a boon for them too.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-cmo-s-guide-to-programmatic/"><em>The CMO's Guide to Programmatic</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68687-my-nightmare-trying-to-understand-header-bidding/"><em>My nightmare trying to understand header bidding</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68775 2017-02-07T14:47:00+00:00 2017-02-07T14:47:00+00:00 Retailers beware, Amazon could be about to shake up Google PLAs Patricio Robles <p>In the last two weeks of 2016, performance marketing agency Merkle <a href="https://www.merkleinc.com/blog/reversing-course-amazon-testing-google-product-listing-ads-may-be-ramping-efforts">noticed</a> that PLAs for Amazon began appearing and seemed to focus on the home goods category, where it ramped up quickly:</p> <blockquote> <p>Where Amazon does show, its impression share for PLAs generally started in the mid-teens and remained there through December 23rd. Amazon’s share then jumped over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (the most recent day that is populated in the Auction Insights report) and is now already high enough to make Amazon a top five competitor for some programs.</p> </blockquote> <p>While Amazon's intentions are not clear – it could simply be running a test – Amazon's use of PLAs seems to have grown in January. <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2017/01/24/big-quarter-googles-plas">According to</a> Internet Retailer, Merkle "found that Amazon only appeared in four of the reports in late December, but by mid-January, Amazon appeared in more than 20 reports," suggesting that if this is a test, Amazon is expanding it.</p> <h3>An increasingly important part of Google's business, and perhaps Amazon's too</h3> <p>Google PLAs were launched in 2012, but while Amazon has continued to buy AdWords ads, it has not been a buyer of PLAs.</p> <p>According to Merkle's senior director of research, Mark Ballard, "The conventional wisdom around why Amazon had refused to participate in Google Shopping has been that doing so would strengthen Google’s position in the battle to be consumers’ first destination for product searches by making Google’s results more complete.</p> <p>"That and Amazon would have to cut a (bigger) check to Google every month for traffic that Amazon may have eventually captured anyway."</p> <p>Amazon's refusal to buy PLAs hasn't hurt Google. PLA spending rose 30% in Q4 2016, and clicks grew by 43%. For retailers, PLA clicks now account for almost half of their total Google ad clicks.</p> <p>Interestingly, Amazon's absence from the market might have been a good thing for retailers. After all, PLAs give them the ability to target and sell directly to consumers and not having to compete with Amazon and its big dollars has probably made the market less costly than it would had Amazon been bidding up PLAs.</p> <p>But Ballard hypothesizes that Amazon no longer has the luxury of sitting on the sidelines...</p> <blockquote> <p>As more and more searches shift to mobile though, [Amazon's] stance may be less tenable and profitable for Amazon, as Google’s status as the default search provider on the two major mobile platforms has meant that Google’s already commanding lead in the search business has only grown in recent years. With less competing real estate on phone results, PLAs also generate a higher share of ad clicks on mobile than desktop.</p> </blockquote> <p>Supporting this hypothesis is the fact that Amazon appears to be more aggressively bidding for PLAs on mobile devices. As Internet Retailer notes, "its impression share of phone PLAs is about twice as high as it is for desktop PLAs."</p> <h3>Bad news for retailers?</h3> <p>If Amazon commits to buying PLAs and scales up its efforts significantly, it could be unwelcome news for retailers not named Amazon.</p> <p>A greater Amazon presence in the market would almost certainly make it more difficult for retailers to maintain their current share of impressions, and depending on how aggressive Amazon gets, it's possible that some retailers would have to spend more just to maintain their current level, or even a lower level, of impressions.</p> <p>Needless to say, retailers advertising through Google Shopping will want to closely watch Amazon's efforts.</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>Search marketing training courses</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/"><em>Paid Search (PPC) Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4395 2017-02-06T10:00:00+00:00 2017-02-06T10:00:00+00:00 Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium <p>Econsultancy's <strong>Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a comprehensive collection of the most recent healthcare and pharma statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media.</p> <p>The report will be <strong>updated twice a year</strong>.</p> <p>Like our main <a title="Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium">Internet Statistics Compendium</a>, this report has been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the healthcare and pharma internet statistics you need.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p>Areas covered in this report include:</p> <ul> <li>Digital healthcare market trends</li> <li>Consumer internet and mobile usage</li> <li>Digital health investment / funding</li> <li>Digital strategy</li> <li>Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables</li> <li>Online pharmacies</li> </ul> <p><strong>A free sample document is available for download.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68774 2017-02-03T14:12:04+00:00 2017-02-03T14:12:04+00:00 10 interesting things from Snapchat's IPO filing Patricio Robles <p><a href="https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1564408/000119312517029199/d270216ds1.htm">Snapchat's S-1 filing</a> with the SEC revealed lots of information about the company and its business. Here are 10 of the most interesting titbits.</p> <h3>Snapchat's revenue is pretty big and getting bigger, but its losses are pretty big too</h3> <p>Snapchat is generating just over $400m in revenue annually, up from just under $59m in 2015, but it lost $514m last year, up from nearly $373m in 2015. While such losses are not uncommon for fast-growing consumer digital media company, and Snapchat has raised billions in capital from investors, the company's S-1 warns that it "may never achieve or maintain profitability."</p> <p>That standard risk disclosure language would probably be easier to overlook if it wasn't for the fact that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68763-can-snapchat-survive-instagram-s-aggressive-copycat-tactics/">Facebook's Instagram seems to be taking away some of Snapchat's shine</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3673/snapchat_logo.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="243"></p> <h3>Snapchat's younger users are more engaged, but they could be more fickle</h3> <p>Snapchat's S-1 revealed that "the majority of our users are 18-34 years old" and this group is the most highly engaged...</p> <blockquote> <p>For example, users 25 and older visited Snapchat approximately 12 times and spent approximately 20 minutes on Snapchat every day on average in the quarter ended December 31, 2016, while users younger than 25 visited Snapchat over 20 times and spent over 30 minutes on Snapchat every day on average during the same period.</p> </blockquote> <p>While its young demographic makes Snapchat an especially ideal platform for many advertisers, the company acknowledges that "this demographic may be less brand loyal and more likely to follow trends than other demographics."</p> <h3>Snapchat has 158m DAUs...</h3> <p>In December, 158m people on average logged onto Snapchat every day globally. That's up from 110m in December 2015.</p> <h3>...but user growth is slowing</h3> <p>Is Snapchat the next Facebook, or the next Twitter? The company's ability to continue growing its user base will largely determine the answer to that. While Snapchat experienced significant growth earlier in the year, growth has slowed considerably since Instagram launched Stories, highlighting the challenges Snapchat may face as Facebook targets its upstart competitor.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Snapchat net growth in millions. Crazy spike in the first two quarters. Then Instagram launched Stories in August. <a href="https://t.co/RlZLOuCsAc">pic.twitter.com/RlZLOuCsAc</a></p> — Ben Sandofsky (@sandofsky) <a href="https://twitter.com/sandofsky/status/827297063763259392">February 2, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Snapchat wants to reinvent the camera</h3> <p>How can Snapchat ward off Facebook? The company's S-1 suggests that Snapchat believes it's not a social network or mobile app. Instead, the S-1 states, "Snap Inc. is a camera company." It goes on...</p> <blockquote> <p>We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way that people live and communicate. Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.</p> <p>In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones. This is because images created by smartphone cameras contain more context and richer information than other forms of input like text entered on a keyboard. This means that we are willing to take risks in an attempt to create innovative and different camera products that are better able to reflect and improve our life experiences.</p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, Snapchat appears to be betting the farm on its ability to out-innovate other companies that are building cameras and camera-centric products and services, suggesting that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68333-what-brands-need-to-know-about-snapchat-spectacles">Spectacles</a> is just the first product in a physical product pipeline.</p> <p>In fact, the S-1 alerts prospective investors to the fact that they should expect Snapchat to spend lots of money on these efforts...</p> <blockquote> <p>Many of the products we create leverage new technologies and may be considerably different from what is already available. This means that we often make large investments and take substantial risks to develop and launch them.</p> <p>Some of our products have high production costs and long development timelines, and we expect to see an increase in our costs and expenses due to the launch of Spectacles and future capital-intensive projects.</p> </blockquote> <h3>It's all about advertising</h3> <p>Despite the fact that Snapchat is calling itself a "camera company," it generates almost all of its revenue today from advertising and will for the foreseeable future. Like Facebook in its earlier days, the company says that it is focused on creating great products that users want to engage in, and that it might not monetize those products for "a long time."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3674/snapchat_spectacles.png" alt="" width="750" height="428"></p> <p>But when it does decide to monetize, expect Snapchat to follow common models. For instance, the company notes that it allows advertisers to purchase geo-filters in a self-service fashion, and to purchase ads through an API.</p> <h3>Snapchat's ARPU lags Facebook's</h3> <p>In Q4 2016, Facebook's average revenue per user (ARPU) in North America approached $20 per user. For comparison, in the same quarter, Snapchat's North American users had an ARPU of just $2.15.</p> <p>Snapchat's ad business is obviously much more nascent, and it's worth pointing out that Facebook's ARPU for North American users was approximately $5 when it went public. So prospective Snapchat investors will need to decide whether Snapchat will be able to grow ARPU the way Facebook did, or not.</p> <h3>Snapchat is spending a ton of money with Google</h3> <p>Snapchat's founders, investors and many of its employees will make lots of money when the company goes public, but one of the biggest beneficiaries of Snapchat's success is Google.</p> <p>According to Snapchat's S-1, "We have committed to spend $2bn with Google Cloud over the next five years and have built our software and computer systems to use computing, storage capabilities, bandwidth, and other services provided by Google, some of which do not have an alternative in the market."</p> <h3>You know what's cool? $25bn</h3> <p>Snapchat is aiming to go public at a valuation of $25bn, raising $3bn in the process. That's quite a bit lower than Facebook's IPO, which valued the social networking giant at more than $100bn, but it's still a significant valuation that will make Snapchat's IPO the biggest consumer tech IPO by valuation in years. </p> <h3>Public shareholders won't have much of a say in Snapchat's business</h3> <p>Will investors be eager to invest in Snapchat despite the losses, competitive risks and questions over what the company actually is? Interestingly, those considerations might prove to be less important than the fact that the class A shares the company is offering to the public will have no voting rights. That means investors who own these shares of the company will effectively have no ability to influence the company's decisions.</p> <p>While corporate structures that give founders and management effective control over their companies are more and more common in big tech, a number of observers have noted the fact that apparently no other company has gone public and not offered shares with voting rights, so Snapchat will be the first to test the market in this way.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68768 2017-02-02T14:41:08+00:00 2017-02-02T14:41:08+00:00 What marketers need to know about Pinterest's new search ads Patricio Robles <p>Here's what marketers need to know about Pinterest's new ad offering, which had previously been tested by a number of major brands.</p> <h3>The ads are inserted as Pins into the search results page</h3> <p>On Pinterest, when a user enters a search query, Pinterest displays a search results page consisting of pins that match the query. On average, there are about 55 pins displayed per search results page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/3619/pinterest-target-ad-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="313"></p> <p>Search ads are simple: they insert advertiser pins into the search results page and are marked as being promoted. Pinterest dynamically determines the number of ads that appear on a search results page.</p> <h3>Search ads are auction-based</h3> <p>Pinterest sells search ads the way Google sells its search ads: through an auction-based system in which advertisers specify how much they're willing to pay for each click on their ads.</p> <h3>There are two campaign types</h3> <p>Pinterest's search ads come in two campaign types: keyword campaigns and shopping campaigns.</p> <p><strong>Keyword campaigns</strong> allow advertisers to target their ads using keywords, which can optionally be grouped. Because the keywords that users search with on Pinterest might be different from other search engines given the visual nature of the service, Pinterest will suggest keywords that might be appropriate for a particular image.</p> <p><strong>Shopping campaigns</strong> give advertisers the ability to auto-generate ads from product feeds they supply to Pinterest via FTP. In the future, advertisers will also be able to use feeds through integrations with feed management providers. Shopping campaigns, because they are feed-based, give advertisers an easy way to quickly create campaigns at scale.</p> <p>To help advertisers manage shopping campaigns, Pinterest allows advertisers to dynamically update these campaigns as inventory changes.</p> <h3>The size of the opportunity could be large</h3> <p>Pinterest says that every month it handles around 2bn search queries. While that pales in comparison to Google, which handles over 3.5bn searches per day, it's still not an insignificant number.</p> <p>What's more, Pinterest isn't Google. It's a visual search tool, so the value of a search to brands, particularly those in industries like retail and fashion, differs from the value of a Google search.</p> <p>While it remains to be seen just how productive search ads will be for advertisers, a volume of searches in the billions should give advertisers more than enough to work with.</p> <h3>Most searches are unbranded</h3> <p>The news gets better for brands active on Pinterest: according to Pinterest, 97% of its searches don't include a brand name, giving advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers who might be interested in a particular type of product but who haven't already decided on a specific brand or product.</p> <p>Pinterest's global head of partnerships, Jon Kaplan, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/pinterest-rolls-out-search-ads-1485950403">told</a> the Wall Street Journal that this has produced "new demand" for advertisers who participated in early testing of search ads.</p> <h3>Pinterest is targeting the upper funnel</h3> <p>Pinterest sees its search ads a powerful tool for marketers looking to reach consumers in the upper funnel. According to Kaplan...</p> <blockquote> <p>When people come to Pinterest, they’re starting earlier in their decision-making process. We saw this with the holidays — people were pinning holiday ideas as early as August. For brands, the implications to our business, that’s an amazing opportunity to reach someone at the earliest stages of decision-making.</p> </blockquote> <p>So while it's possible that clicks on Pinterest's search ads will convert quickly, Pinterest is positioning search ads as a driver of awareness, not conversions.</p> <h3>Search ads are now available to Kenshoo clients<br> </h3> <p>Initially, search ads are available to advertisers who are using the marketing software suite offered by Kenshoo, which is used by many search advertisers. Thanks to its integration with Kenshoo, Pinterest is now listed as an option alongside other search providers Kenshoo clients can run campaigns with, including, of course, Google.</p> <p>Pinterest will reportedly add partnerships with other companies that operate ad buying platforms in the near future.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68725 2017-01-23T15:05:47+00:00 2017-01-23T15:05:47+00:00 Pfizer lures consumers to text with Viagra discounts Patricio Robles <p>As FiercePharma's Beth Snyder Bulik <a href="http://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/text-to-save-drugs-pfizer-s-latest-vaigra-ad-includes-text-promotion-for-discounts">describes</a>, "The ad opens with the now-familiar woman in a dark blue dress who asks, 'Guys, want to save 50% on a yearlong supply of Viagra for ED?' A mobile phone close-up then takes over the screen with the promotion and text keyword 'VSAVE,' and she explains in voice-over how to get the discount."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/3288/viagracommercial-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="264"></p> <p>Before receiving the discount code, consumers must reply to a text message that opts them in to receiving multiple text messages from Pfizer every month.</p> <p>The opt-in also gives Pfizer the ability to collect additional information, such as names, phone numbers and birthdates. Consumers who opt in can opt out at any time via text.</p> <p>Obviously, to use the discount, consumers must have a valid prescription for Viagra from their doctor.</p> <h3>A smart investment?</h3> <p>Text messaging-based marketing programs like Pfizer's are common in the consumer marketing world, but as Bulik notes, the Viagra campaign "seems to be a first for a pharma company." It might not be the last, however. Indeed, there are a number of reasons why similar campaigns could be smart investments for pharma companies in 2017.</p> <p>First, pharma companies' <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67747-pharma-marketers-should-use-storytelling-to-improve-the-industry-s-reputation/">reputational woes</a> are <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68120-as-tv-ads-lose-their-sway-pharma-marketers-need-to-adapt/">reducing the sway of television ads</a>. While this will realistically require a multi-pronged response over the long term, an immediate tactic for making the most of television could be to develop campaigns that offer discounts in return for a meaningful exchange.</p> <p>Second, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67227-ban-on-consumer-ads-could-make-pharma-s-digital-shortcomings-more-costly/">the specter of a ban on direct-to-consumer ads</a>, it behooves pharma companies to find ways to develop channels through which they can communicate directly with patients who use their drugs.</p> <p>Text messaging programs that are built off of discount offers are an especially practical means to do this, especially in light of the fact that pharma-owned and operated web properties have much lower usage than non-pharma owned and operated web properties, limiting pharma companies' ability to drive engagement through their websites.</p> <p>Finally, given the proliferation of generic drugs, anything pharma companies can do to establish direct relationships with patients who use their drugs might prove valuable in the future.</p> <p>While Viagra won't come off-patent in the US for several more years, Pfizer has struck deals that will see generics hitting the market this year, so having the ability to communicate with patients currently using Viagra could help the drug maker maintain the market for the brand name product.</p>