Archive for category So what’s next in digital?
Let’s start with a little factoid; The average transaction amount increased by 15% over 2011 Christmas period.
So, great news for brands who offer online transactional capabilities to their users; due to seasonal trends your sales will soar. But also, with this in mind, it stands to reason why there is a correlation with sales organically increasing over holiday times and that months prior to these are when marketers starts focusing their attention on their brand presence, transaction rates and ROI.
Is this right though?
Isn’t this something that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind all year round? For me the mid Year is a great time to review this process and ensure its perfect for the remaining year ahead.
With that in mind maybe our email brains need a lobotomy and our e-commerce ones need to see the light of day, because to have a truly balanced digital marketing strategy we need to ensure we are using all the information we have available to us to create one succinct marketing objective and ultimately guarantee our business makes money. What I’m talking about in this instance is integrating our web analytics with email marketing to help us gain a better understanding of our subscribers’ online habits and allowing that data to drive abandoned basket campaigns, in turn increasing website revenue generation.
Your ESPs reporting tool can only follow subscribers up to the point where they click off your email and land on a website. After that click, web analytics takes over; however, an ESP platform that can integrate with your analytics package can give you the complete picture of your subscribers’ behaviour. This is why it is so important to intertwine these two as the more you know about your audience; the more likely you will be to turn them into customers.
Using your analytics to track the page views of the subscribers that clicked-through from your email you can learn which subscribers then added a product to their shopping cart but abandoned it before finalising the purchase. It’s this information you need to create specific remarketing campaigns directly targeted to those subscribers that have shown interest in your email offer but failed to transact.
Abandoned basket remarketing is another great step-by-step process that opens the lines of communication between brand and subscribers attempting to bridge that gap between the two. As technology evolves, the complexities of segmenting, and managing your email lists and campaigns are becoming more sophisticated. The more data you have, the more accurate your trending reports will be across multiple campaigns and combining both your email tracking features and web analytics data, you’ll gain a complete understanding of your subscribers. Once you know this information, you can use it to create relevant email campaigns that are essential to your subscribers’ needs.
The more you know about your audience; the more likely you will be to turn them into customers. – Samuel Reynolds
Google is taking the biggest step towards its own social network (without actually building its own social network) then it has ever dared to with the “+1″ button release. As much as it appears to be a copycat of Facebook “Like” that’s already become a web standard, Google’s biggest selling point for this feature may be the ability for users to filter search results into something more manageable. The +1 icon will start to appear throughout Google’s search engine allowing you to instantly review what you have just read. To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful for the +1’s to then start appearing in Google’s search results. (See demonstrative illustration below)
Google, explain it In their own words by saying “for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area”. You will be able to control items you’ve +1′d and you’ll be able to share pages with everything you’ve +1′d also, but remember that anything (and EVERYTHING) you’ve +1′d can show up in Google’s search results for all to see. Of course, at the end of the day, search is still the one place where Google dominates. Enhancing search to make the results more relevant is central to Google’s strategy. So undoubtedly this will take off, however, not without its obstacles.Obstacle 1. Google said it plans to work with Web sites to get +1 buttons on those sites the same way that Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons appear. Until that’s part of the equation, +1 is an incomplete tool. People want to recommend sites that they’ve visited and like – not the ones they found in search results as they have yet to formulate their opinion of said site at that point.
Obstacle 2. Facebookers have shown to love “liking” a site/email etc as they know it’s like telling their friends and acquaintances that they’re happy to promote that site or email article or video etc, without having to justify why into context. For me, my friends know that I’m a digital geek so a “like” from me, the person they know (and see as reputable… well maybe not) on means something to them (I hope). Moving this logic over to people around the Internet who I don’t know putting their “+1″ stamp on my search topics, it doesn’t do much for me.
Overall, as Google’s answer to the “like” button +1 was an inevitable catch up move. We can’t always be the first to market with concept, though I can’t help but think it would have been better if it had been rolled out as a button on individual web pages, instead of on the results pages. Given all of the other enhancements that Google has done to get Web searchers out of the results page and into the sites they’re seeking out, it doesn’t seem that users will really get to know +1 right away.
Marketers! We’re in the midst of a time where video engagement is at an all time high online! People are watching more video, on all types of mediums for longer periods.
Yeah, we all know this you say! …but are you utilising this?
Companies who have introduced video into email are reporting significant improvement in quality of content and consumer interaction. Recipients are not only increasingly receptive to video content and its message but they are also interacting with it more than they would with normal imagery or text. I’m seeing companies increasingly turning to video to help build and strengthen their branding as well as their message to the recipient with resounding success.
However, it is by no means an easy next step in email marketing. Various elements need to be assessed, potential limitations broached and best practice implemented. The advice below may read as obvious but trust me, ignore it at your peril.
Firstly, HTML5. For video in email to function it necessitates the browser that the email is being opened in is coded in HTML5. All latest browser versions are in HTML5 but this doesn’t mean your whole audience has updated their browsers with the latest update or even know they need to for video to run. HTML5 not being fully functional in all your recipients’ browsers means a big chunk of your audience will be unable to view the email (approximately 70% of your list I hear on the industry grapevine i.e. it is completely dependent on your own list and can’t be generalised here). So companies have to create an alternative way for users to still get their message if they are not able to view the video.
Don’t worry though; code can be implemented so that it will replace the previous video code if it is not viewable in the browser the email is opened in. This means that you can sleep easy in the knowledge that your entire audience will be able to view content in your e-mail. You could have your video replaced by text or even an image that will allow them to view/click-through. Ok, so it’s not as dominant as video but having this as a backup will considerably increase conversion rates for those who use browsers not supporting HTML5.
Secondly, most people are inclined to have the video on auto-play with sound, meaning on opening the email the video will kick in and play straight away. Unexpectedly, it is being shown that videos on auto-play with the sound can increase your complaint rate. So, if you are going to use video email when messaging your list, by all means code it to auto-play on opening. However, be sure to have the video on mute, giving your viewers an option to turn on the sound if they desire. This will reduce the potential aggravation a user may find in being blasted with sound from the video and also speed up interaction time by them un-muting the sound when they become interested in the video they are viewing.
Content consumption continues to climb throughout the online arena, it is our responsibility to keep the world’s eyes on our own brands. Whilst this becomes increasingly difficult in the market, evidence is vastly proving that video in email is becoming a more prominent role for this. So as you said at the start;
“Yeah, we know!” …but are you utilising it?
QR codes, they show up in magazine ads, maps, food packaging, posters, leaflets, business cards, emails, websites and even on the sides of buses. They’re everywhere, however, a lot of people still don’t know what they are or how to use them.
Simply, a QR (Quick Response) Code is a two dimensional barcode. These codes are square in shape and made up of black and white squares. It is capable of encoding large amounts of data, such as a link to a video or website, contact information for a person or business, marketing promotions etc. An example (my personal favourite) of QR in action is McDonald’s using them on packaging in Japan so consumers can access nutritional information and review the amount of calories, fat, and carbohydrates in their meal. (Although if you’re eating McDonalds whilst concerned about watching what you eat, then perhaps you’re in the wrong establishment). The code fits on the packaging better then lines of text and allows the dietary information to hide from anyone who isn’t overly eager to be reminded they’re eating rubbish. All users have to do is to take a picture of the code on their smart phone with a QR reader (free from an app store) and they will be directed to the desired information. A QR Code is a hard link between the physical world and virtual. A business could create offline magazine ads with a QR Code linking to their website with the information on that landing page changing every day.
A few brave souls in the UK have tried to crack it, most notably Pepsi, last November, by printing codes on 400,000,000 cans (and some great off-line shots of Kelly Brook) with very limited success. People simply didn’t know what to do and the explanations offered, whilst helpful, weren’t enough to get over the education chasm.
At present QR Codes are not in widespread use in the UK yet, but all the required technology is in place and ready to be exploited for it to flourish. The platform is mature and is effectively used by companies and consumers predominantly in Asia. QR Codes are perceived to be cutting edge (even though they have been around since 1994) and are so easy to use, as well as versatile, that they provide instant value to individuals and companies alike. This technology has the opportunity to play an enabling role in mobile marketing strategy for product sales, information access and customer engagement but if a half naked Kelly Brook can’t get people taking a photo i don’t know what will.
After monitoring (and living) the ongoing Microsoft vs. Consumer battle of Outlook 2007. I have been recently delving deeper into the 2010 release. After downloading the 60 day trial I must admit the functionality and interface changes have evolved and presents you with a much stronger solution than the 2007 edition. On this basis I could see the 2010 release penetrating the corporate market and becoming the standard. However, as a best practice marketer who works extensively with web standards and creative design, the following is why on principle I hope it won’t.
After testing the latest beta of Outlook 2010 with HTML creative’s you can instantly see the same pitiable web standards support as 2007, all confirmed last year by the Outlook team stating their plan to continue using Microsoft Word to render HTML emails.
The initial decision from Microsoft to move away from using Internet Explorer to render emails (as they happily were pre-2007) demonstrated their confidence in emails using a MS Word engine rendering correctly across all web browsers. Unfortunately, as web standards go they were wrong!
Coming from the shambles that was the 2007 release was the creation of fixoutlook.org. I was elated to see a growing community of people wanting to make our lives better, rising up against the Microsoft giant, hoping to make sure they took note of the global discontent and that they need to listen to the consumer. So what did MS say?
“Don’t worry people, we’re listening.”
Unfortunately not hard enough as they decided to keep the Word rendering engine for 2010. At least we tried though and I look forward to joining the new protest.
Towards the end of last year Hotmail released the industry’s first real “interactive e-mail” solution. Providing users with dynamic emails that update when opened and allow you to interact directly within the email itself.
A monumental move for email interactivity and the only real step in this area since the move from text-based to HTML emails that occurred back in the 90s. Based on the results of initial beta providers (only extended to Linkedin, Orbitz, Monster and Netflix) the industry seems excited about the potential Active View offers to marketers across all verticals.
If you watch the official walk-through on You Tube by Windows Live the obvious benefit strikes out. By cutting down the number of steps in moving the user through the conversion process Active View will reduce user abandonment. In a marketers mind that screams one thing only: increased ROI.
Marketers who understand the potential it offers and are patient enough to figure out the science behind it and how best to utilise this will no doubt see great return.
If this style of functionality proceeds to develop, it could really open up opportunities in offering new types of content in the inbox that have never been feasible before. A hefty move in e-mail evolution and a stimulating move in digital marketing for 2011.