Connect with us

MARKETING

How Mobile Ads Are Powering a Social Commerce Surge This Holiday Season

Published

on

Shopping on social media is set to surge this holiday season as consumers are given additional ways to buy things on their smartphones, experts say. Meanwhile, newer technologies that integrate phones with TV shopping will be less prevalent, but still show promise for cross-channel commerce platforms as video and interactive media converge for more seamless browsing and buying experiences for TV viewers.

Mobile platforms are the biggest driver of social commerce, with the percentage of people saying they’ve used a smartphone or tablet to buy a product through social media rising to 57% in Q3 from 53% two years earlier, according to GlobalWebIndex. Mobile’s growth has contrasted with the decline in social shopping on desktop computers and laptops.

Those trends are forecast to continue through this year’s holiday shopping season as social sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube double down with fresh e-commerce features. Even newcomer TikTok, the social video app that’s popular with Generation Z and teens, has begun testing shopping ads to capitalize on this burgeoning consumer interest.

“Shopping through social platforms will see a good amount of traction this holiday season,” said Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path, a provider of e-commerce software. “Social commerce allows brands to reach people when their attention is already on an item of value — even when the transaction isn’t happening fully in the app.”

A boom in online shopping in recent years, including mobile and social, has pushed Cyber Monday to become more important than Black Friday for every age group, a Deloitte survey found. The consulting firm reports that 53% of people have increased their focus on the Monday after Thanksgiving for shopping, compared with only 44% who said the same about Black Friday.

Thanksgiving day also is emerging as a key shopping moment as people get an earlier start with their mobile devices.


“Across Facebook’s products, the company has brought commerce into areas typically dominated by advertising rather than purchasing. The gap between promotion and purchase is closing and making the experience more seamless.”

Darin Archer

Elastic Path, chief strategy officer

Advertisement

“There are more people than ever before shopping on their smartphones — they are sitting at their Thanksgiving dinner tables, and they are shopping,” said Julie Van Ullen, U.S. managing director at Rakuten Marketing. Last year, her company saw a 59% jump in purchases on Thanksgiving day, outpacing growth for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Seamless experiences

While plenty of social ads direct users to retailer websites for further browsing and purchasing, social media companies are working to make shopping a more seamless part of the in-app experience. Instagram, the image-sharing app whose U.S. user base is forecast to lift 6.7% to 107.2 million this year, this year introduced a checkout feature to keep people locked into its platform while adding a new revenue stream that could strengthen the appeal of its advertising. About 60% of Instagram users have followed a new brand on the app after seeing an appealing ad in its vertical feed or in Stories, per a study by video technology startup VidMob.

“Instagram’s move earlier this year to embed the transaction in the app was a big step toward reducing friction in the consumer’s purchase journey,” Archer told Mobile Marketer. “Brands are navigating the challenges of integrating the social commerce experience with mobile and web commerce touchpoints.”

Instagram is a key part of parent company Facebook’s broader push into social commerce amid a growing threat from Amazon, which has a fast-growing ad business. Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger messaging apps are adding social commerce features that broaden their capabilities, similar to Tencent’s WeChat app in China that acts like a complete lifestyle hub.

“WhatsApp’s launch of product catalogs is another example of how mobile advertising and commerce are coming together,” Archer said. “Across Facebook’s products, the company has brought commerce into areas typically dominated by advertising rather than purchasing. The gap between promotion and purchase is closing and making the experience more seamless.”

That power to keep consumers engaged is a key advantage for marketers seeking to drive online sales through social media advertising.

“As a consumer, your guard is down and you are looking for ‘shopper-tainment’,” said Brian Walker, chief strategy officer at Bloomreach, a maker of digital personalization software. “Really, this is a threat for large retailers. Consumer brands of all types need to pay attention. TikTok and Instagram may not be making a big dent yet, but it is a threat.”

Advertisement

Social shopping strategies

The growing significance of social shopping during this year’s key holiday season and into 2020 means that marketers need to adapt their strategies with the right mix of customer experience (CX), ad creative and even newer technologies like augmented reality (AR) that can help to demonstrate products and give shoppers ways to better visualize how they’ll look in real life.

Higher visitor traffic from mobile users is a key time to make a good first impression through ads and AR-powered virtual try-ons, with the goal of converting new shoppers into loyal customers.

“The key to securing their loyalty is a faultless CX — and that starts on the landing page,” said Jonathan Cherki, CEO of ContentSquare, a tech company focused on consumer connections with retailers. “Making sure whatever page visitors land on is consistent with the message in your ad, and makes customers feel that they’ve landed in the right place, is key.”


“Really, this is a threat for large retailers. Consumer brands of all types need to pay attention. TikTok and Instagram may not be making a big dent yet, but it is a threat.”

Brian Walker

Bloomreach, chief strategy officer


Capturing the attention of mobile shoppers who are likely scrolling through their social media news feeds is the first step, which requires a strong “thumb-stopping” creative pull.

“Ads need to be relevant and engaging for mobile, not just desktop ads resized for smaller screens,” Elastic Path’s Archer said. “Your mobile shoppable experience should recognize fingers, for example, and create a checkout experience that is relevant for that context rather than desktop.”

While AR technology has mostly been a novelty for marketers, social media companies are working to boost its adoption by integrating more tools to give users immersive shopping experiences within their respective platforms. Facebook and Snapchat stand out as notable examples boosting AR capabilities as they vie for consumer attention.

Advertisement

“The power that AR gives brands to virtually place their product into the hands of consumers delivers a compelling and visually engaging way for consumers to experience products that were never before possible,” said Robert Rothschild, VP and global head of marketing at Smartly.io, a social media ad platform. He predicts AR is on the cusp of mainstream adoption following Facebook’s introduction of interactive AR ads this fall.

Snapchat, on the other hand, has made AR a key part of its user experience for several years, and this holiday season has showcased its Portal Lens that lets mobile users step into immersive, computer-generated worlds. Italian luxury brand Gucci, department store chain Kohl’s and Toys ‘R’ Us Canada this fall have sponsored Portal Lenses as part of the holiday-themed promotions to stand out on social media.

Shoppable TV

Popularized by QVC, shopping directly from traditional TV has been around for years, but mostly required viewers to call a toll-free number or to visit website to purchase. Interactive TV also has been promised since Time Warner Cable experimented with its now-defunct Full Service Network in the 1990s. It had promised on-demand video, shopping and gaming, but didn’t deliver a positive experience for consumers. The technology is seeing renewed interest as more households have broadband service and connect their TVs directly to the internet to gain access to streaming platforms. The popularity of smartphones also is helping to give consumers more flexibility in interacting with TVs, and voice-powered technology may enhance that further as users increasingly look to link their various devices throughout their smart home.

NBCUniversal last month introduced Shoppable TV ads that let viewers use their smartphones to buy products featured in shows by scanning QR codes that pop up to indicate when a product is available. The technology is unlikely to have a profound effect on consumers shopping behavior this year, but may see more traction in the future.

“New shopping experiences will only become truly significant if they make shoppers’ lives easier and more seamless,” Elastic Path’s Archer said. “I don’t know that shoppable TV is quite there yet, but QR codes are definitely having a resurgence. If consumers find these shoppable TV experiences valuable and convenient we could definitely see an uptick in adoption as players like NBC roll out shoppable TV.”

Socialmediatoday.com

Advertisement
Advertisement

MARKETING

How To Plan a Content ‘Season’ Like a Hollywood Showrunner

Published

on

How To Plan a Content 'Season' Like a Hollywood Showrunner

What should we talk about in our content?

This question plagues many content marketing teams. The brand message might be crystal clear. The products have clear value propositions and differentiators. The marketing team understands its paid media schedule, the agency is working out the creative elements, and the PR team is readying news around new hires, products, and partnerships.

The content team, however, struggles with topics.

Content marketers often approach this by getting a meeting together to brainstorm.

Here’s how that usually goes:

Someone from the demand generation team suggests creating a list of all the questions buyers might ask about the company’s particular approach.

The product marketing manager likes that idea and says, “We could create articles answering those questions and then sprinkle in how we solve those challenges.”

Advertisement

The brand marketing manager says, “Why don’t we write some posts about our new brand mission and how our products and services are helping solve climate change?” They punctuate their suggestion by throwing a copy of Simon Sinek’s Start With Why onto the table.

The product marketing manager chimes in: “Yes, and we could sprinkle in a bit about how our product solves those challenges.”

“I know,” says someone from PR, “let’s write posts that feature profiles of our executives and their thought leadership in the market.”

The brand marketing manager nods in appreciation. “Yes, great idea. That’s storytelling. It’s got a hero.”

The product marketing manager stands up and says, “I like it. And maybe the executives could talk a little about how our product solves difficult challenges.”

Only the content marketing team sits silently, looking down at their notebooks. They’ve taken exactly zero notes.

The pizza arrives, and the meeting ends. The brand marketing manager says, “I don’t know what you all were so worried about. We’ve got tons of things to talk about.”

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Advertisement

Finding the bigger story

I work with content marketing teams for brands all over the world. I’ve noticed that when teams struggle to find a focused editorial direction for their content platform, it’s usually because they haven’t set the foundation for a bigger story.

Without a focused story (or stories), any alternative feels valid. As a result, their blog feels like an ad hoc collection of answers to FAQs. The resource center is a random collection of promotional materials and case studies. Their webinar program is just a catch-all featuring whoever is available to talk about how their product solves things.

I’ve discussed the importance of planning before. But within that planning process description lies the assumption that the relevant teams have met to decide on a bigger story to use as a foundation for planning.

But what if that hasn’t happened yet? How do you go about finding that bigger story?

As it turns out, you can learn a lot from media operations.

An overarching story helps #Content end the struggle to find editorial direction, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

What TV showrunners know

Television series are created by teams representing all aspects of producing great content. There are writers, directors, actors, editors, production specialists, and so on.

Similarly, multiple teams come together when a brand’s content marketing team embarks on a thought leadership program or content marketing initiative. These teams also rely on diverse experts: writers, designers, subject matter experts, and others.

Advertisement

Both teams face similar problems. This chaotic, creative process requires participation from many different groups.

How do you align all those disciplines and develop a cohesive story?

The question in Hollywood: “What’s the story?”

The question in content marketing: “What’s the story?”

Here is an approach that I’ve seen work in both situations.

Find the story – then plan it out over a season

The first thing I advise content marketing teams to do is this: Find the focus for a story they want to tell over a specific period on specific platforms.

I’ve talked before about the approach of using your brand story to find your content stories and even rebooting your story from content you’ve written before.

But another (often overlooked) aspect of this first step is to plan how your story will play out over time.

Advertisement

Hollywood showrunners do this by bringing all the writers together to generate ideas about episodes and character development arcs.

Content marketers can learn from this. Why not bring the team together to plan out a bunch of ideas that would help you tell a complete story?

Think of it like planning out an entire season of content. For example, you might theme your editorial strategy for the coming quarter, build it around a curriculum, or even align it to the seasonal calendar.

With this approach, you’ll end up with more than a list of titles of articles, posts, or assets to create. You’ll have planned different chapters (or episodes) of a broader story that may end up as many kinds of digital assets for different platforms.

Think of #content planning like plotting out an entire TV show season, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Outline the chapters – then create your packages

The next step for showrunners is to create outlines of the episodes that make up the show’s season. These detailed story outlines help the other professionals understand when things like specific locales, guest actors, or bigger budgets may be necessary.

In content marketing, outlining your story’s upcoming chapters can help you decide which formats would work best. For example, you may decide that for the initial “episode,” you want to create an article and a blog post. But you want to combine the second episode with a white paper, a webinar, and a blog post.

Deciding on these packages separates the content development from the digital assets you’ll package them into. Creators get a heads-up that they’ll need to write the content for the various interfaces selected to optimize accordingly. Designers will have a complete portfolio of content that they can use to create all the assets needed.

Advertisement

Planning at this level of detail enables the true benefits of a content calendar. All the teams can see plans for the story to unfold and all the different platforms where it will be told. They may start to see that the content season will meet their needs – reducing the demand for ad hoc assets.

Planning a full season of #Content lets internal teams see how the story will meet their needs, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Create the content ­– not necessarily the assets

In the next stage, Hollywood showrunners assign the writing for the various episodes. All the writers know the story and the outlines for upcoming episodes so that the showrunner can choose the optimal writer for each episode.

A content marketing team might assign the first couple of episodes to one writing team, then assign another team to take up the project for episode three.

Think of it like this: If you’ve mapped out your entire story, you and the team know what’s coming. You can work on the chapters simultaneously, knowing that things can change if needed. More importantly, this approach lets you work ahead instead of constantly chasing deadlines.

The key here is to write the content, not necessarily the digital assets. The goal is to have the stories created well ahead of the deadlines in your story schedule. For example, one successful content marketing team I’ve worked with makes a “content digest” for each of their episodes. This single document includes all the written content for all the places it will live (e.g., promotional ads, blog posts, social posts, long-form articles, etc.) and a creative brief for all the asset elements the content will be packaged into. Once the content reaches production, the creative team creates all the design containers simultaneously.

Approaching content separately from production means you may have 10 or more episodes ready to go before the first one even publishes. This lets you adjust the production schedule as you learn from each episode as it rolls out. If episode 1 goes exceedingly well, for example, you can make changes to episode 6.  You’ve seen this in action with your favorite series. A character becomes a fan favorite in episode 1 – and suddenly has much more screen time by episode 5.

Additionally, it’s a much more efficient process. You know episode 3 (which is already written) will need a thought leadership paper, a webinar, and a blog post. Fantastic. Now, you know how to help the production team schedule their efforts. And, you have the room to change if the first webinar is so successful that you want to add more.

Advertisement

One story to rule (out) them all

Setting the bigger story in place and working the plan through cross-functional teams does more than give you production efficiency. It also provides focus. You can weigh any proposed idea against something important: the bigger story.

So, when that inevitable “Yes, and can we sprinkle in a little more about how our product solves that challenge” comment comes in?

You can look down at your copious notes and say, “I’m sorry, that’s not part of this particular story.”

Remember, it’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

DON'T MISS ANY IMPORTANT NEWS!
Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Trending

en_USEnglish