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

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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


“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.

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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.”

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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.

“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.

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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

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MARKETING

What should you focus on in 2022?

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What should you focus on in 2022?


Happy New Year! Somebody asked me what my predictions for 2022 would be, and I answered, “I don’t know what you can predict because there’s something crazy happening all the time.”

Take 2021, the year we thought everything would start getting back to normal. I even suggested dusting off your 2020 marketing plan and updating it. Then the Delta variant threw everything into flux again, followed by Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, inventory shortages, the Great Resignation, and Omicron. Who knows what’s next?

Many companies had to file away the grand innovation plans they developed in 2020 and concentrate on getting through 2021. After diving deep into their data storehouse, others took what they learned, moving to agile marketing and finding new ways to use marketing technology more effectively to stay ahead of covid-driven uncertainty.

One thing that has stayed the same — it’s January, and marketers are looking at 2022 and evaluating what they can do given the continued business uncertainties. 

Friends, we have plenty of opportunities to use what we have learned over the last two years to create an effective marketing plan for 2022. But first, let me caution you with an anecdote from my own work life.

A few years ago, I was on the verge of starting a new job, and I was full of ideas about the things I would accomplish in my first 100 days. A friend listened to me as I went through my list, and he laughed.

“Why are you over-promising when you know you’ll under-deliver?” he asked. 

Whether you just stepped into a new position or you’re solidifying your budget and marketing plan for 2022, the best place to start is to identify the biggest gap in your program. This will help you set concrete goals to address it.  

1. Examine how your email programs are performing now and find ways to fix them quickly

Follow these three steps to discover what to focus on first.

Audit your email program

  • Look at your program as if you had never seen it before. Look at the foundational items first. These include your acquisition strategy, welcome/onboarding, promotional emails, marketing automation for transactional and triggered messaging, and your opt-out process. They’re the keys to any email program. 
  • Review how these programs performed according to your KPIs. Does each part have its own set of stats? Are they trending up or down? Did they deliver as expected, such as a steady influx of valuable email addresses or meaningful and relevant messaging that attracts and retains customers and moves them to act?  
  • Look at what makes money in your email program. Is your creative content up to date? Does every email align with your brand? Do they reflect current conditions because of COVID or supply problems?
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Create a hit list

As you go through your audit, put together a hit list of things you need to do to fix gaps, errors or inconsistencies in these programs. Sort them into three groups: 

  • Quick wins: Housekeeping items you can do quickly, like fix typos, broken or incorrect links, or outdated store hours or contact information and company policies.
  • Short-term goals: These will take a little more time, maybe a month or so. They can include tech or database requests, design updates, anything that requires approval. 
  • Long-term goals: These are year-long plans that will take major lifts to accomplish, like new integrations, changes in data, lots of approvals and sign-offs, meetings, turf battles, RFPs and the like. Pick one you can knock out of the park.

Put everything in a slide deck

Why a deck instead of a spreadsheet or document? Because it will help you organize your thinking. In a slide deck, every slide is a new thought. You can progress through them in an orderly and systematic process. This objective method also helps you anticipate what’s coming next.

2. Send that deck to an agency

When you do that, whether you have an agency partner now or you’re vetting new agencies, you can get their feedback. What could they do to help you? You’ll also save a lot of discovery time by doing the legwork upfront. Your agency can see your issues, your priorities and what you envision for both short-term and long-term goals. 

You’ll benefit from accelerated innovation through partner enablement. You don’t have to commit at this initial phase; you’re just kicking tires to see how much it would cost and what they could do for you. 

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If you see a net gain in revenue over your investment, you can present your plan to your boss. Your agency can help you here, too. Give them an opportunity to help you sell your plan inside your company.

3. Review and update your KPIs

When working with clients or prospects, I ask to see their dashboards. Often, they’re fairly simple. Every once in a while, I’m impressed to see a spreadsheet like the one I would create, with 12 to 16 tabs Excel sheets with every stat you could dream of. 

I often find a lot of aggregate reporting in client dashboards, where every statistic is thrown into a single report. Don’t do this. 

Each foundational program should have its own KPIs, tracking and review process so you can see results over time. This division of results can reveal a decrease in one program offset by increases elsewhere.  Aggregate reports might not reveal that weak area.

Develop a new approach

I was working with a client that was dealing with a blocklist problem. We changed a step in the process, and the next day, the client was asking to see results. That was too soon.

You can’t rush through changes and expect to see an immediate impact. That’s why you review your KPIs over time. Upload new stats every week or even every day. Watch for performance fluctuations. You might fail one day and succeed the next.

  • Adopt a new metric.  Look for a metric you’ve always wanted to measure and haven’t yet. Maybe you’re trying to find out whether Apple’s MPP is affecting your performance to the degree where you can measure it. Is this change being reflected at a program level? 
  • Review your KPIs. Take time beginning this month to review your KPIs, update your tracking and analysis, and start measuring more things that matter.
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Read next: How email marketing is changing and what marketers should do about it

Wrapping up

January is supposed to mark a fresh start for those of us whose marketing year follows the calendar. But I’m just as exhausted in this first month as you. We’re all just trying to get through the day and find a win when we can. 

One thing we’ve learned over the last couple of years is that no matter what life throws us, we can handle it if we work together systematically and lean on our team members.

In 2022, try to find something that improves your program and helps you take your mind off the never-ending crazy train.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.



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MARKETING

15 Content Marketing Metrics Your Platform Must Track

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)


You’ve probably read a million articles about content marketing by now, but with 88 percent of B2B marketers using the process every day and another 76 percent planning to in the future, you’d better start taking content marketing seriously. Your competitors are using it, and you don’t want to fall behind.

But it’s not enough to use content marketing. You have to use it properly.

Otherwise, what’s the point? But using it properly requires you to measure your content marketing’s success in a meaningful way.

Tracking the success of your content marketing not only measures how effective it is but tells you what you need to improve. But by what metrics do you measure the success of your marketing?

More than 60% of marketers surveyed ranked “leads” as the most important KPI for measuring the success of their content marketing program. However, while leads are important, they don’t always give you the specific data you need to make your campaigns better.

The key is to find metrics that will lead to actual results and improve your ROI. The more ROI you get from your marketing efforts, the more successful you will be as you get more out of doing less.

Let your marketing drive your traffic and sales!

This guide will look at metrics that will measure the success of your content marketing. We will specifically be looking for metrics that give you data-driven methods to improve and increase your ROI.

Social shares

Social media is a significant hub for content marketing, and how often your content is shared is an excellent way to keep track of how engaged your audience is with your content. Most social media platforms have analytics that give you much of this information, but you may want to dive deeper.

A tool like BuzzSumo can help you identify which topics and articles are being shared the most, giving context to what is being shared and why. Of course, what tools you use and what data you gather depends on the goals of your content marketing campaign but what content is being shared is a fast way to estimate your success on the platform.

Assisted conversions

Assisted conversions can be found in Google Analytics and give you an idea of which channels a prospective client used before taking whatever action you want them to take. The closer to zero the analytic is, the better.

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You are looking for someone consuming the least amount of your content while still performing the wanted action. This metric shows that the piece of content they consumed, specifically, drove them to your site to give you a better sense of how your marketing is working.

SERP ranking

SERP stands for social engines research page and measures how well Google thinks your content responds to a customer’s search question. This ranking is, of course, vitally important as most people are not going to be looking specifically for your content when they search Google for something.

Your SERP ranking can be broken down into several specific categories depending on your marketing goals and give you an idea of what content is driving the top of your funnel. In addition, because this metric tracks the connection between a potential client’s query and your content, it gives you a better idea of what your customers are searching for.

Pageviews

A pageview is a basic but valuable metric that tells you how often your page has been viewed. Although it does not tell you what action the customer took after viewing the page, it does give you some measure of how engaging the content is.

You can look at how often your page was viewed or the average time people spend viewing your content. Either way, it gives you a place to start when wondering about the effectiveness of your content marketing.

Unique pageviews

Like pageviews, this is a fundamental metric to understand how often your content is being engaged; however, unlike ordinary pageviews, this tells you only when you are attracting new visitors. So, although customer retention is more important, you still want to find out when you get unique views.

Presumably, an increase in unique pageviews means your new content marketing project is engaging. As new people visit your content, you have a hope of converting them into regular customers.

Customer retention

While you always want to be adding new customers, it is even more important to keep your old ones coming back. Retaining old customers is much cheaper than getting new ones, so to get a good ROI, you want as high of a customer retention rate as you can get.

By looking at this metric, you’ll get an idea of how often a customer visits your content and how much time passes before they return. This information will help you decide when to add new content to keep your old customer coming back.

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Sales cycle velocity

It stands to reason that if your content marketing is working the way it is supposed to, you should see a reduction in your “time to sale.” But, again, you can use analytics to track this or have your sales team catalog when first contact happens to when a sale occurs and compare that to your average “time to sale.”

Pages per session

Pages per session track how many pages a viewer looks at in a given session. By looking at this number over time, you can understand how enraging your content is.

If your pages per session stay high, your content is being successful at engaging customers. If low, it might be time to switch up your content marketing campaign.

CTR (click-through-rate)

CTR lets you know how your keywords and meta descriptions get people to click on your content. After all, your content marketing can’t succeed if no one can find it.

Creating meta titles and engaging descriptions is a skillet all on its own. If your CTR is low, you need to find someone who is better at getting people invested in your product.

Customer sentiment

The most accurate test of how people feel about you is what they’re saying about your product on social media. Many apps can find any mention of your brand’s name and alert you to what is said.

A true test of how well your content marketing is working is if it’s actually changing your audience’s perspective. If you can see your audience’s esteem grow in real-time, you’ll know your project has your desired effect.

Traffic sources

Traffic sources let you know where the traffic to your website is coming from, whether it’s referrals, direct, or from searches. Traffic sources ignore any traffic you are getting from paid ads so that you better understand how your content marketing is driving traffic.

The analytic also give you an idea of what channel people are taking to your website. Whether they’re fending you by word of mouth or keywords are good enough that people are finding you through a Google search.

Bounce rate

Looking at the negatives gives you as much information as the positives. For example, bounce rate lets you know how many people left your site without interacting.

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Your engagement may be high, but if your bounce rate is also high, people are coming to your site but not following through. When this happens, you need to retool your marketing measure to take what action you’d like people to take more straightforward.

Post engagements

How and if a person reacts to your content reveals how successful your marketing campaign is. Comments let you know that your customer cared enough about what you created to say something.

What your customers say helps you redefine what your marketing campaign will look like. Similarly, a lack of comment may mean that your content isn’t creating enough of an impression to be commented on.

Pipeline contributions

It’s great to have people at the top of your funnel, but at some point, you want them to come down the pipeline and become customers. Looking at pipeline contributions metrics helps you know how your webinars and EBooks drive traffic to your site.

The whole purpose of content marketing is to drive traffic to your site, but if you aren’t converting them, you need to rethink your strategy. Knowing how well your pipeline contribution works lets you know if you need to rework your marketing efforts.

Page depth

Page depth lets you know how many pages people visited on a trip to your site. It also gives you an exciting way of analyzing the engagement produced by your content marketing.

Although, ultimately, you want your customer to buy your product or service, a high page depth can give you an indication that your content is creating curiosity about your product. Then you need to figure out how to convert that curiosity into sales.

How Welcome can help

Now that you’ve analyzed the metrics of your content marketing project, how do you take the next step? If you want to leverage‌ ‌real-time‌ ‌search‌ ‌data‌ ‌and‌ ‌recommendations‌ ‌that‌ ‌help‌ ‌inform‌ ‌your‌ ‌content‌ ‌strategy,‌ ‌optimize‌ ‌content‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌ranks‌ ‌well‌ ‌for‌ ‌search,‌ ‌and‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌it‌ ‌resonates‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌audience, Welcome can help.‌‌‌ 

Ready to take your content marketing to the next level? Get started with a free Welcome account today!

 



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MARKETING

Everything You Need To Know About Performance Appraisals

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Everything You Need To Know About Performance Appraisals


As a manager, your ability to inform your teams about the successful high-impact behaviors they exhibit or skills that need further development is a critical practice in determining your business’ overall ability to reach its goals and find success.

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