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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

90% of people buy from the brands they follow on social media. But the role of social media in brand building is more complex than it used to be.

Brand saturation, creator communities, and more have changed the way that people interact with brands on social media. You can’t just build a brand with a great logo, quirky copy, and a pleasing palette. Audiences today are looking for something more.

The Role of Social Media in Brand Building

To successfully build your brand on social media, you can start with creating a great visual brand. But you can’t stop there. You need to dig deeper into your users and what they’re looking for online. Let’s talk about the big ideas that impact branding on social media.

1. Social media is where subcultures connect.

While pretty much everyone you know is online, they’re not there to talk to just anyone. On social media, it’s common for users to connect with small groups of people with similar interests.

These small groups usually stand out for a specific interest or topic. Together they look for ways to stand out from what’s typical.

For example, Amino Apps is a space where members of K-Pop, Anime, and other fandoms connect. In these communities, they share original art, memes, and other content.

These online spaces empower members of subcultures a place to engage and grow their interests. They are also a powerful space for businesses to engage with vocal influencers.

Tactical tip: Target a specific group and have something useful to say.

It’s tempting to go for the largest possible audience with your advertising budget. But social media has changed the way that businesses connect to an audience.

Instead of using your resources to create a big audience, seek to build an engaged one. Do your research and connect with online communities that are relevant to your business.

Once you find these groups of potential buyers, don’t spam them with ads. Subgroups tend to be wary of popular culture and are quick to call out the fake and superficial.

Take time to learn about these communities and their likes and dislikes. This information can help you shape your product and make updates that can improve sales.

Role of social media in brand building example: Subculture communities like Amino

While it used to be the norm for branding to shy away from politics and other divisive topics, buyers today want brands to take a stance. When you do choose to post and respond, show your awareness of the group and how they feel about current events.

Use social media to prove that if you’re not already part of the group, you have something useful to offer.

2. Every social media platform is unique.

Businesses tend to approach social media based on ROI. But it’s different for users. Many things impact which platform you spend the most time using, including:

  • Posting format
  • Algorithms
  • Brand message and values
  • Privacy
  • Where your friends are

Each user factors these ideas into their decision about which platform to use. And even if they have every app on their phone, they’re bound to use some more than others.

These decisions lead to the data that businesses use to choose the right platform for brand building. Because there is so much data out there, brands sometimes try shortcuts.

For example, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business. This might lead a business to build a brand only on Instagram, even if the customers they want spend more time on Pinterest.

Buzz around the brand says that most of Pinterest’s users are female. But a closer look at their demographics shows that 45% also have an income over $100K.

It’s important to trust your gut, but don’t jump on the superficial differences. Instead, use the uniqueness of each platform to choose the right social media platform and hone your branding strategy.

Tactical tip: Choose the right platform for your target audience.

After you’ve built a detailed buyer persona, do a deep dive into the specifics of each platform. There is a lot to consider, including the number of users, demographics, and features. If you’re not sure where to start with your review, this article can help you choose which social networks are best for your brand.

Next, create test accounts and spend some time interacting in the spaces where you think your target audience will be. This research won’t only help you get a sense of which social media platforms are best for your brand. It can also help you decide what kind of brand content you want to create.

Role of social media in brand building example: Experimenting with social media in platform

And don’t forget about emerging platforms. These could be the best place to connect your new brand with an audience that’s looking for the exciting and new.

While you CAN post the same content to every platform in an attempt to save time and resources, it’s not a great idea. Each social platform is distinct. You’ll want to post content that reinforces your brand identity for the specific audience on each platform.

3. The average person spends 147 minutes a day on social media.

That’s a lot of time. These users are sharing and posting photos and videos. They’re building their personal networks and discovering new skills, hobbies, and events. While some social media users are there to watch, many others want to take part and grab some attention.

But brands are seeing lower engagement on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This shift is leading many businesses to spend more on social advertising and to post more often. But are these efforts the best strategy?

Tactical tip: Show up every day.

Consistent authentic communication builds trust and awareness. Regular posting can help your brand build consistent imagery, colors, and voice with public feedback.

But a constant flood of posts may not be the best approach for your chosen platform. In fact, algorithm-based platforms may create a frustrating experience for your followers. This guide to publishing frequency can help you create a rhythm that works.

Role of social media in brand building example: Twitter weekly clicks for scheduling

It’s also important to remember that people on social media want attention just as much as you do.

An effective social media strategy should be more than a posting schedule. It’s about honest engagement with a community. The best place to start engaging is by posting comments on relevant threads.

4. People are always looking for something new and interesting.

It’s difficult to create something completely new. Being creative, fun, and business-focused is even tougher. But those aren’t the only challenges of building an original brand on social media.

People aren’t just spending a lot of time on social media today. For many, these online communities are where people spend the majority of their time.

This means that they don’t just see a meme once or twice. For 55% of Gen Z and 48% of Millenials, viral social media content is more valid than the latest song, movie, or video game.

This is a cultural shift to consider as you build your brand identity on social. Many people aren’t passively consuming your brand content. They see social media content as a starting point. They want to add to or change the conversation.

People are sharing 3.2 billion images and 720,000 hours of video every day. This means that your brand messaging can’t just look great on a mobile device, it has to stand out. This volume of media consumption also creates a healthy amount of skepticism. Any brand message on social media today needs to stand up to close examination by a global audience.

Tactical tip: Be yourself.

Originality can seem like an impossible goal. So, if you can’t be original, be honest. While it’s tempting to riff off what’s already out there, the best strategy for any brand is to just be you.

It can be uncomfortable getting personal and showing your imperfections online. It’s also a huge business risk. It’s not unusual for global brands to use test audiences and surveys before any campaign launches.

But with the growing awareness of social media audiences, honesty is opportunity. Influencers like Elyse Meyers and Ajani Huff are growing audiences of millions being their authentic selves.

Instead of seeking perfection, audiences are looking for brands that are clear about what they stand for and ask them to engage. Brand building this way on social media is scary, but it also may be your best path to success.

5. 76% of U.S. consumers expect brands to respond to social media messages within 24 hours.

13% expect a response within ONE hour. While most people spend an hour and a half or more on social media every day, that time isn’t consecutive. According to Accurion in 2021, Americans check their phones 96 times a day.

Once they’ve sent a message, part of what they’re checking is whether they’ve heard back from you.

But most businesses don’t check their social media accounts on their phones. They might schedule social media posts from a third-party platform but rarely log in. A customer service team might check social messages once a week or less if social isn’t connected to the tool they use to respond to customer inquiries.

To put it simply, there are a lot of chances for a brand to miss customer outreach. That can harm your branding efforts.

Tactical tip: Talk back.

To develop your brand on social media, find a way to be available to anyone who reaches out. This might mean:

  • Shared social media schedules
  • Clearly posted hours to set response expectations
  • Community message boards
  • Connecting your service portal to social media

Role of social media in brand building example: Community groups for social media service

85% of surveyed service professionals say that customers are likely to share their experiences with others. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, social media is for sharing opinions.

What can your brand do to make it easy for you to give your customers the social media service they expect?

6. Social media audiences are more likely to listen to each other than a brand.

Social listening can help you pay attention to what people are saying about your brand. But how can you insert yourself into the conversation?

Tools like AdRoll can serve ads that build awareness of your brand through social media, but this strategy may impact trust. It can erode the brand relationship if your brand shows up too often or in a place the user isn’t expecting.

To find their favorite brands, most people contact someone they’re comfortable with. 60% of shoppers refer to friends and family for shopping advice.

So, the best way to build your brand is through networks of connections, not just specific users.

Tactical tip: Leverage influencers.

Social media influencers and creators are starting to impact buyer decision-making. The reach of social media makes it easy for influencers to build your brand with their reputation.

Influencer marketing platform market size graph

And an influencer doesn’t have to be one of the top influencers on Instagram to make a difference. Nano influencers can be less expensive to work with and may be more effective at targeting the right subgroup to boost your brand identity.

Role of social media in brand building example: Instagram influencer Saudah Saleem

If you haven’t already started working with influencers for branding, start now.

7. Audiences want brands to keep up with what’s happening.

Your brand isn’t just competing with friends, family, and other brands for their attention on social media. According to Pew Research in 2021, about half of the consumers in the U.S. get their news from social media.

Number of Americans who check the news on social media

While brands that comment on current events sometimes get it wrong, users want to know where brands stand in politics and culture. And 58% of consumers feel that social media is the best place for these conversations.

Social media gives you a chance to add to important conversations as they’re happening. This helps you define your brand by its character, not just how it looks and sounds.

Tactical tip: Use data to keep pace with your audience.

Your audience also wants to know what you stand for as a company. They want to know how you are putting those sentiments into action.

But if you are tight on resources, it can be tough to know what’s most important. Many brands get stuck figuring out how to get their ideas in front of their audience at the right time.

Social media offers extensive data for brand analysis and improvement. You can use this data, along with alerts and social listening, to guide your social content.

Role of social media in brand building example: Social media management tracking in Hubspot

For example, using HubSpot’s social media management software you can track specific keywords. Besides tracking brand mentions, you can use this tool to follow relevant news in the areas that you and your users care about most.

6 Examples of Brands Thriving on Social Media

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you need to do, let’s take a look at some brands that rock branding on social media.

1. HubSpot

There are a few key ways we encourage discussion of the HubSpot brand online.

First, build an awesome product. If you create a powerful product, people will talk about it and build your brand for you. You can’t pay for comments like this one:

Social media and branding example: HubSpot

They’re authentic, and the only way to cultivate them is by creating an authentically great product.

Next, create a strong company culture. Share information across your company and encourage your employees to use social media. If you do this, and you hire great employees, they will help define your company’s brand for you every day.

2. Seasum

Also known as TikTok leggings, Seasum’s high waist yoga leggings took over the popular social video platform in late 2020. Hashtags like #TikTokMademeBuyIt and #tiktokleggings amplified the brand’s reach. And most videos show users’ surprise and delight as they try on the leggings and see their lifting and shaping effect for the first time.

Social media and branding example: Seasum

The leggings continued to dominate in 2021. The story of their viral popularity got a boost from many media outlets including Seventeen, People, and ET Online. To succeed on social media, start with a great product.

3. Planet Money

This NPR program is a favorite on social media because their social strategy matches the vibe of its programming. It uses Twitter to answer listener questions, creates offbeat low-fi educational videos for TikTok, and its Facebook posts offer a simple news feed of recent articles.

4. Louis Vuitton

This luxury brand uses powerful visuals, including mesmerizing product videos, to cement brand impact on social media. Some luxury brands were slower to embrace social platforms. But Louis Vuitton engaged early and continues to shift its strategy with the times. A recent example is this celebrity collaboration with the pop group BTS.

Social media and branding example: Louis Vuitton

5. Oreo

This brand takes every potential opportunity to engage audiences on social media. They do this with careful planning and thoughtful promotion of user-generated content.

Oreo uses current events, cultural movements, and customer suggestions in a considerate, fun, and respectful way. These are long-term strategies that come off as simple but take awareness, sensitivity, and effort.

Social media and branding example: Oreo

Whether they’re commenting on the Super Bowl or collaborating with Stranger Things in India, this brand has some great examples of real-time social engagement.

6. Fenty Beauty

Another way to stand out is to support creators. Fenty Beauty launched its own TikTok house in 2020. Creating a space for creators to experiment and push boundaries amplified the voice of the brand while also expanding its reach.

Social media and branding example: Fenty Beauty

7. Vans

This brand learned about the value of collaboration early on, sponsoring members of the Zephyr skateboard team in the late 70s. They’ve succeeded by continuing to highlight the value of creator communities. One example is this 2022 project with artist communities across the country.

Social media and branding example: Vans

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these branding success stories for the most popular social media platforms:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

TikTok

You Are the Secret to Social Media Brand Building

Branding on social media isn’t the same as it was just five years ago. But any brand can still grow with a personal touch and the power of social media. Keep building your brand, following your instincts, and putting yourself out there. You never know what could happen.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2009 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

Streaming


By Emily Sullivan

Netflix, the streaming giant known for binge-watching and award-winning originals, sent shockwaves through the industry in 2022 by announcing an ad-supported tier. This move was likely fueled by a desire to reach new audiences, combat rising subscription costs, and potentially even fend off competition from other OTT platforms. These ads could lead to strong growth potential with advertisers eager to tap into Netflix’s massive user base. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how Netflix works, it’s important to know that Netflix is an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform, meaning it delivers streaming content directly over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite providers. It’s one of the most popular OTT platforms globally, but in the ad supported video on demand (AVOD) space, Netflix is a relative newcomer. Understanding this new facet of Netflix is crucial for marketers looking to capitalize on this advertising opportunity.

Interested in learning more about Netflix and its advertising offerings? You came to the right place. In this post, we’ll cover the foundational elements of Netflix ads including ad types, specs, advertising best practices, and more. 

Why Did Netflix Start Offering Ads?

In November 2022, Netflix introduced an ad-supported tier. This move marked a significant shift, as Netflix was previously known for its commitment to an ad-free experience. The decision likely stemmed from a desire to tap into new revenue streams. With consumers increasingly cost-conscious, an ad-supported tier provided a way to attract budget-minded viewers while still offering a premium ad-free option, similar to established AVOD providers like Hulu and Peacock.

Initially, the launch was off to a slower start, with few people signing up for the ad supported tier and Netflix failing to meet guarantees, but things are quickly turning around and savvy advertisers are taking notice. Netflix boasts a massive user base, with roughly 270 million paid subscribers – a household name with immense reach. In fact, 40% of new Netflix sign-ups are choosing the ad-supported tier, translating to a total of 40 million users. Netflix’s ad platform presents a unique opportunity for marketers looking to reach a large and engaged audience.

“Our goal isn’t just to offer the same products and tools the industry has come to expect — although we’ve made a lot of progress on that front over the last year. It’s to build something bigger and better than what exists today. We want to shape the future of advertising on Netflix and help marketers tap into the amazing fandom generated by our must-watch shows and movies.”

Amy ReinhardPresident, Advertising at Netflix

How to Start Advertising on Netflix

So, you’re interested in capitalizing on Netflix’s massive audience? Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways to buy ads on their platform:

1. Netflix Ads Manager

This platform, powered by Microsoft, allows you to directly purchase ad space on Netflix. However, be prepared to meet their minimum spending requirements, which can be substantial and offer little room for negotiation.

2. Partnering with an Agency

While the minimum spend might be high for direct buys, streaming agencies like Tinuiti can be a valuable asset. They can not only help you navigate the intricacies of Netflix advertising, but also:

  • Consolidate Streaming Data: The streaming landscape is fragmented, with viewers spread across multiple platforms. Agencies can collect data from these various platforms and turn it into a unified, actionable strategy for your advertising campaign.
  • Expertise and Negotiation: Agencies bring a wealth of experience to the table. They can leverage their knowledge of the advertising landscape and potentially negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf.

3. Ad Tech Partners

Companies like Microsoft offer ad tech solutions that provide technical capabilities to streamline your advertising efforts. These partners typically take a more hands-off approach compared to agencies, focusing on the technical aspects of ad delivery and optimization.

The best option depends on your budget, experience level, and campaign goals. If you’re a large brand with a significant budget and an in-house marketing team, going directly through Netflix Ads Manager might be a good fit. However, for most businesses, partnering with an agency or ad tech provider can offer valuable support and expertise.

Ad Types & Specs for Netflix Ads

Now that you understand the different avenues for buying ads on Netflix, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of ad formats and specifications:

Netflix Ad Types

Example of a Netflix Ad Featuring Smartfood and Love is Blind

Currently, Netflix offers two main ad types, pre-roll ads and mid-roll ads. Netflix notes that users can expect to see a few short ads per hour and that they aim to place ads during natural plot breaks for a more seamless experience.   

Let’s take a look at each option… 

  • Pre-roll Ads: These commercials play before a program or movie begins, similar to traditional linear TV advertising.
  • Mid-roll Ads: These ads appear in the middle of a program, typically inserted during natural breaks in the content.

During paused playback, ad breaks are displayed on the progress bar. As an ad break begins, the upper-right corner reveals the number of ads included in that break.

While Netflix advertising is fairly new, the platform has made a few important announcements to look out for in 2024. Netflix plans to introduce a new binge ad format for global advertisers, offering viewers an ad-free fourth episode after watching three consecutive episodes. Additionally, QR code integration in U.S. advertising will launch early in the year. Sponsorship opportunities, including Title, Moment, and Live Sponsorships, are also now available in the U.S. and will expand globally in 2024.

Netflix also offers live opportunities including WWE Raw (launching January 2025), which will air live on Netflix 52 weeks of the year, and the NFL Christmas games which Netflix just secured the rights to. These live events provide advertisers the opportunity to reach ad and ad-free members of Netflix in a live environment with traditional ad formats.

Last but not least, Netflix recently announced they are adding Pause Ads to their suite of custom ad units. This is currently in beta and is expected to be rolled out to the general marketplace in H2 2024.

Netflix Ad Specs

When it comes to advertising specs, it’s important to follow Netflix’s guidelines which include the following… 

  • Supported Lengths: Netflix accepts ads in 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60-second durations.
  • File Format: Ads must be submitted in MP4 or MOV format.
  • Aspect Ratio & Resolution: Maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of either 1920×1080 HD or 1280×720 HD.
  • QR Codes on the Horizon: Netflix is preparing to support QR code integration within commercials, allowing viewers to seamlessly access additional information or promotions.

Hot Tip: Stay tuned for updates, as Netflix is constantly evolving its ad platform.

Why Advertise on Netflix?

Advertising on Netflix offers several unique advantages for advertisers including… 

  • Massive Reach – Netflix boasts a massive subscriber base worldwide (globally, there were around 270 million Netflix subscribers in Q1 2024), providing advertisers with access to a vast and diverse audience. These viewers are often highly engaged, spending significant time on the platform consuming content. In fact, Over 70% of Netflix’s ad-supported members watch for more than 10 hours a month – which is 15 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor according to Nielsen.
  • Targeting – Netflix collects extensive data on user preferences and behavior, enabling precise targeting of advertisements based on demographics, interests, viewing history, and more. This targeted approach increases the relevance and effectiveness of ads, maximizing ROI for advertisers (more on this below).
  • Global Reach and Localization – With a presence in numerous countries around the world, Netflix offers advertisers the opportunity to reach audiences on a global scale. Additionally, the platform’s localization capabilities enable tailored advertising campaigns to resonate with specific regional or cultural audiences.
  • Unskippable Ads – Unlike some streaming advertising platforms, Netflix ads are unskippable, guaranteeing your message reaches viewers.
  • Positive User Experience – Netflix prioritizes a positive user experience, so it’s unlikely viewers will see the same ad twice in a single episode. However, there’s a chance you might encounter the same ad later during your viewing session. It’s also important to note that children’s profiles maintain their ad-free experience.
  • Ad Delivery & Blocking – Since ads are delivered server-side, ad blockers are ineffective on Netflix. Additionally, playback automatically pauses if you minimize the window while an ad is playing, ensuring your message is seen.

Best Practices When Advertising on Netflix

When advertising on Netflix, it’s essential to understand the platform’s unique capabilities and audience targeting options to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns. Check out a few best practices you need to consider… 

Explore Audience Targeting Capabilities

Netflix offers several audience targeting capabilities for advertisers on their ad-supported tier. These capabilities focus on three main areas: demographics, viewing habits, and content context. Here’s a breakdown:

Demographics:

  • Age: Advertisers can target users by age groups, like 18-34, 35+, etc.
  • Gender: Ads can be shown to specific genders (male or female).
  • Location: Targeting can be set by country or even state (in the U.S.).

Viewing Habits:

  • Genre: This lets advertisers target users based on the genres they watch, like comedy, drama, action, etc.

Content Context:

  • Top 10: Ads can be placed before or after shows and movies on Netflix’s daily Top 10 list, ensuring high visibility.

Advertisers also have the option to choose where they don’t want their ads to appear. For example, they can avoid showing ads on programs with mature themes or content that may not align with their brand values.

By using a combination of these targeting options, advertisers can reach a more precise audience interested in their product or service. This increases the ad’s relevance to viewers and potentially improves the ad campaign’s effectiveness.

It’s also important to note that Netflix now has the ability to target advertiser first party data. The platform currently has two approved DMPs: Liveramp or Adobe. Advertisers who work with either of these DMPs can upload first party data for targeting or suppression.

It’s important to note that Netflix’s ad targeting is still evolving. While it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced options found on other platforms, they are working on expanding their capabilities.

Test Your Ad Creative

Just like any other marketing campaign, testing your ad creative on Netflix is vital for optimizing performance. Here are some key reasons to test your ads:

  • Discover What Works: Testing allows you to compare different ad variations and identify which elements resonate most with your target audience. This could involve testing variations in messaging, visuals, calls to action, or even ad length.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Testing provides valuable data and insights. You can track metrics like click-through rates, completion rates, and brand recall to see which ad versions generate the best results. Don’t rely on guesswork. Testing helps you move beyond assumptions and identify what truly connects with viewers.
  • Meet Audience Expectations: Netflix viewers anticipate premium content, including ads. Testing ad creative ensures that your commercials meet these expectations by delivering high-quality, engaging content that resonates with the audience.
  • Optimize Performance: Testing allows you to refine your ad creative to achieve optimal performance. By experimenting with different elements such as messaging, visuals, and calls to action, you can identify the most effective combinations that drive engagement and conversion.
  • Enhance Relevance: Testing helps ensure that your ad creative remains relevant to your target audience. By continuously testing and refining your approach, you can adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends, ensuring that your ads stay impactful and resonant.
  • Maximize ROI: Effective testing enables you to make data-driven decisions that maximize ROI. By identifying and scaling the best-performing ad creative, you can allocate your advertising budget more efficiently and achieve greater results.

Measure and Analyze Your Results

Netflix doesn’t offer 1:1 conversion measurement for ad buyers (yet) – but they do have brand awareness and lift studies they offer advertisers so keep this in mind when measuring and analyzing your results. 

The platform did recently announce that this summer, Netflix will expand its buying capabilities to include The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite who will join Microsoft as the main programmatic partners for advertisers.

Starting in the second half of 2024, Netflix just announced that the following third party measurement partners (partnering to measure and verify the impact of advertiser campaigns) will also be added: Affinity Solutions, iSpotTV, NCSolutions, Videoamp, DCM and TVision.

They also announced Netflix will launch an in-house advertising technology platform, by the end of 2025. This will give advertisers new ways to buy, new insights to leverage, and new ways to measure impact. 

Is Netflix Advertising Right For Your Brand?

Overall, Netflix advertising offers the unparalleled reach of a massive, highly-engaged audience. This can be a strategic choice for brands seeking broad awareness and brand association with premium content.

If you’re interested in exploring advertising opportunities on Netflix for your brand, consider reaching out to the Tinuiti team. Our expertise can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of advertising on the platform, maximizing your campaign’s effectiveness and ROI. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your brand on one of the world’s largest streaming platforms—connect with Tinuiti today to get started.

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

The bar has been set by the industry leaders in UX and Merchandising, and our customers have stated their claim clearly – “to grow our market share, we must have an enterprise search experience that drives conversions.

Optimizely offers baseline search experiences within our commerce platform, which are designed to help companies get started with organizing and delivering SKUs to customers. These experiences utilize out-of-the-box algorithms and methods for sorting, categorizing, and customizing.

While Optimizely provides a foundation for search experiences, we knew there were users ready to take their search capabilities to the next level. This is where the Xngage and HawkSearch partnership promises to redefine how you approach search-driven experiences within Optimizely Configured Commerce. Our highly experienced partner Xngage has developed a seamless integration connector, a best-in-class accelerator for harnessing the power of HawkSearch.

The powerful partner in search

HawkSearch is known for its expertise in search-driven engagement, AI-powered product discovery, and no-code customizations. With a strong history of serving B2B customers with enterprise-level search solutions, it was a perfect choice to make HawkSearch directly available within Optimizely’s platform.

The expertise of Xngage made this connector a reality enabling Optimizely’s Configured Commerce customers to:

  • Easily plug directly into the HawkSearch service to share your products and their relevant data.
  • Utilize powerful unit of measure conversions, ensuring your customers can find exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Customize sorting and facets to deliver highly relevant results to customers.
  • Craft a personalized user experience with features like auto-complete and the new ‘instant engage’.

Customers can further explore HawkSearch’s capabilities in this on demand webinar and recap, which highlights the benefits and use cases of the Xngage connector for HawkSearch.

A powerful partner in digital growth

Xngage complements Optimizely perfectly, as they deliver robust solutions in the realm of digital content and commerce experiences. The development of the Xngage connector to HawkSearch is a part of their broader mission to empower manufacturers and distributors to serve their customers digitally. This alignment seamlessly fits with Optimizely, making our partnership with Xngage an ideal choice. 

Furthering their goal of digital growth, Xngage offers a range of holistic and complementary professional services, including:

  • User research & user experience design (UX)
  • Enterprise architecture & ERP integration
  • Product information management (PIM)
  • Ecommerce Implementations, and digital growth services.

To learn more about this highly experienced digital commerce partner visit Xngage.com.

The future of the partnership

This partnership is just the beginning. Xngage and HawkSearch are committed to working hand in hand to empower you with the tools and insights you need to elevate your ecommerce site. Stay tuned for future blogs, webinars, and resources that will help you make the most of this transformative alliance.

The future of ecommerce search has never looked more promising, and we’re excited to have you on this journey with us.

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

With the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers have unprecedented opportunities to expand their reach, streamline their operations, and enhance profitability. Amidst this digital revolution, adopting Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is pivotal in optimizing production processes, quality control, and resource management.

As the lines between traditional brick-and-mortar sales and online commerce continue to blur, manufacturers increasingly realize the need to adapt and thrive in this new digital landscape. This article explores the top 3 strategies manufacturers can employ to succeed in e-commerce.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is specialized application software designed to solve the tasks of synchronization, coordination, analysis, and optimization of production output within any production. MES systems belong to the class of shop floor-level management systems but can also be used for integrated production management at the enterprise as a whole.

MES collects and analyzes production processes, product demand, and inventory data. This allows manufacturers to adapt more quickly to changes in the market, reconfigure production to meet current requirements, and closely monitor trends. As a result, manufacturers can more easily predict and meet customer needs, which helps increase online sales.

MES helps in maintaining accurate inventory records and managing inventory turnover. This avoids overstock or shortages, which can affect a company’s ability to meet online demand and maintain customer service levels.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enhance transparency and automate operations, reducing human errors and operational costs. Integrating Manufacturing CRM streamlines customer data, allowing manufacturers to tailor products, respond to market changes, and offer competitive prices in online stores. The synergy between MES and CRM creates an agile manufacturing environment, optimizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Content Marketing

Kapost’s research shows that companies in the B2B segment that blog get 67% more leads on average than companies that don’t. However, it’s worth remembering that content marketing requires a lot of resources to prepare and regularity in publishing it. This content can be, for example, brand identity and E-commerce logo, articles and videos, webinars, research, and interviews.

The content should help solve a specific problem to create the image of an expert and thus influence the decisions of potential customers. The topics discussed should not be chosen randomly. A little research in Google Trends will help select the main topic, discussion areas in the video, phrases, and words that should be included in the article. Publishing content based on such a prepared analysis allows you to achieve high positions in search engines. It provides a good user experience for customers looking for answers to product/service questions, comprehensively covering the subject matter.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are free traffic, increased user confidence, and the creation of an expert image.

Content marketing is a form of promotion that requires patience and time. Its effects will also depend on the quality of thecontent itself, its optimization, and promotion methods. No specific terms can be specified here.

YouTube channels as a form of content marketing

You can discuss your production process and show and test products on your YouTube channel. If someone is looking for information about a product and is unsure which brand to choose, they will likely find your video and maybe make a purchase. Remember to choose a title that matches the search query and prepare a video description with product links. You can send out an email to announce when new videos are released. Whenever you have particularly compelling videos, you could also promote them via texting notifications to drive even more traffic.

Utilize user-generated content and social media

Not utilizing the content that your users generate is a huge issue. This is because it’s not easy to refresh an e-commerce website and keep it alive. But photos and videos taken by real customers are great for this purpose.

Adding a “widget” that connects your online store’s website to its official social media accounts brings significant benefits. These include revitalizing your social media accounts, increasing your credibility as a manufacturer, inspiring other customers to buy, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Snapchat Planets

Snapchat’s “Planets” feature provides a unique and interactive way to engage with your e-commerce store’s audience. Here are some creative ideas on how to leverage Snapchat Planets to create engaging content:

  • Virtual Store Tours: Use the AR feature to create a virtual tour of your store. Each planet can represent different sections or categories of your store. For instance, one planet could showcase your latest collection, another could highlight bestsellers, and another could offer exclusive deals.
  • Product Launches: Announce new product launches by creating a cosmic journey. Users can travel from one planet to another, each unveiling a new product with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of excitement and discovery around new arrivals.
  • Interactive Shopping Experience: Create interactive shopping experiences where users can explore products in a fun and engaging way. For example, users can navigate through different planets to find hidden discounts or special offers, making shopping more interactive and rewarding.
  • Customer Rewards and Loyalty Programs: Develop a loyalty program where users earn points or rewards by exploring different planets. Each planet can offer unique rewards, such as discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to new collections. This gamifies the shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.
  • Themed Campaigns: Align your marketing campaigns with planetary themes. For instance, during holiday seasons, you can create a holiday-themed planet where users can find special holiday deals, gift ideas, and festive content.

By leveraging Snapchat Planets, you can transform your e-commerce store’s content into a captivating and interactive experience that keeps your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more.

Use newsletters to captivate your target audience

Newsletters can strengthen the connection with the consumer and demonstrate that shopping with you is safe and profitable. Remember that the more personalized the message, the more effective it will be. It should contain a call to action (CTA), such as a button that redirects to products.

Don’t forget to put a box to check for consent to process personal data when subscribing to the newsletter. Also, add an option to unsubscribe from the newsletter in each email.

A regular email account is not adapted for the newsletter, so do not use your everyday email address. This way, you risk being blacklisted by spam filters. The benefits of newsletters are optimizing advertising costs, increasing loyal audiences from different channels, and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Print and PDF Channel

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In the digital landscape, the significance of Print and PDF channels cannot be underestimated for manufacturers engaging in e- commerce. The tactile experience of print offers unique psychological advantages, enhancing comprehension and retention, which are vital for technical manuals and complex product details. PDFs merge this benefit with digital accessibility, ensuring wide reach while maintaining format integrity. This dual-channel approach not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also bolsters marketing efforts, making technical content more engaging and understandable. Utilizing catalog software further streamlines the integration of Print and PDF channels into e-commerce strategies, enhancing product presentation and distribution efficiency.

Contextual advertising: Google Ads

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If you want the advertising you invest in to have an immediate effect, it’s worth turning to Google Ads. Google displays paid ads in search results and on Google’s network of partners (on-site ads in the form of banners).

You bid when you search for a keyword for which advertisers have set up a campaign. The search engine determines who will appear in the search results and at what position. When assigning bids, the quality of the landing page, the quality of the ads, and the stated maximum bid per click are all considered.

To start setting up your campaign, simply login to your Google Ads account. Using the service is free, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials on creating a campaign. However, you may find that it won’t generate valuable traffic if you don’t set it up optimally. Your budget will be wasted on clicks that won’t lead to conversions. This is why most companies resort to the help of agencies, including specialized agencies.

There is probably no industry in which Google Ads campaigns cannot be used. However, advertising can be moderately profitable if there is a lot of competition in the industry and margins are low.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are large audience reach, the ability to get the target audience as accurately as possible, and very detailed statistics on results.

The effect of launching a campaign should appear almost immediately. A properly set up campaign will increase traffic to the website. By systematically optimizing the campaign, you can achieve much better results.

You also can use paid Facebook Ads post promotion. It is important to pinpoint your target group, but how do you do it? A popular way is to draw up a customer portrait, that is, to make a collective image of your customer.

This considers age, gender, income level, location, interests and hobbies, and online behavior. Such a person will display a group interested in your services or goods.

Implement personalized product selections

Recommended product block and cross-selling are very powerful internet marketing strategies. In addition to the recommended product block, which shows the analogs of the product being viewed, it is worth paying attention to the website’s functionality.

As a rule, the products in the “You may also like” block are selected based on the pages previously viewed by the customer, his previous purchases on the website, as well as what was purchased by other customers with similar tastes. If this functionality is implemented technically sound, it can lead to additional items added to the shopping cart. “You may also like” block partly acts as an alternative to the advice of a specialist or consultant.

With blocks for cross-selling related products is a similar situation. Usually, in them are placed products from the same product line, collection, or simply those that perfectly match the product being viewed. You can use AI-powered live chats to proactively engage in customer conversations and suggest products based on their behavior.

Conclusion

E-commerce for manufacturers is a vast field, and in this article, we have presented the most popular and most effective forms of selling online. Remember, no effective e-commerce strategy exists. Each industry and business will have specifics. Try combining the above mentioned e-commerce strategies to maximize your chances of success and increase your profits.

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