CES 2013: Three magic inventions enable new brand power

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Some day, I have to be at CES, just to say I have been there, I assume. But time is money and the more projects you are juggling on a daily business, the less time there is for events. And the questions is if it all worth the traveling. So, the CES 2013 passed without me but the three main web connected inventions that caught my attention, shall be summarized briefly in this post.

Magic Cars
At different events in 2012 you could hear many speakers talking of the car becoming the most expensive but also most connected mobile device in our lives in the future. CES speakers were following kind of the same lines. When Will Smith was handling many issues while driving his car in iRobot, it seemed all too far away for us those days. Now, just some years have passed and AUDI is already showing the first prototype that allows drivers to travel via autopilot with the option to check emails and social channels when driving under 30 miles per hour. More and more, the car is emerging towards a connected multimedia vehicle which also offers new advertising and marketing approaches through mobile and navigation systems that bridge new opportunities for brand integration. This Beet.TV interview with Rob Norman, Global Chief Digital Officer at GroupM, tells us how…

Magic Glass & Augmented Reality
When we have written about the Google Glass and the short film „Sight“, the vision of integrated and intelligent augmented reality technology seemed even further away from reality. At CES, another company called Innovega showed their version of augmented-reality eyewear. They previewed their invention of a wearable transparent heads-up display, enabled by iOptik contact lens technology, which delivers mega-pixel content with a panoramic field-of-view. An unbelievable „enjoyment of immersive personal media“? Well, the video shows us in two parts Innovega’s glasses why the approval of the FDA would be welcomed soon. And then I can see a future, where we will have the latest content and ads from our brand right in front of our eyes…

Magic Audio
Do you still think, TV commercials are one-way communication? You might think again. Audible Magic, an audio fingerprinting and recognition technology company, will be able to detect content and then react on a second screen. The company will partner with three advertising companies (Accelerated Media, DG Mediamind and Cheshire Duo) to create interactive commercials. Those ads shall trigger users by detecting relevant content and then send „relevant“ brand content to the viewer. Imagine you are watching a new James Bond film on TV with all their great commercials around „Skyfall“, Audible Magic’s technology recognizes the content and sends you a coupon or a video commercial on a second screen with a nice discount offer.

Audible Magic

Although I have listened to Ford’s Community with similar visions where via GPS billboard content shall sync with a smartphone app to be remembered while passing those billboards, it still sounds quite far away.

But the other innovations have shown that the future is just around the corner sometimes. Maybe I need to go to CES 2013 next year to find some more brand power options. You never know…

Paid search ads strategy – Consumers do more research before purchase

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Is paid search part of your advertising strategy to generate sales? Then, you better think about your paid search bidding strategy, if you don’t want to spend too much as a retailer.

According to a research by NetElixir -done amoungst 32 large retailer clients that spend at least $75,000 a month on search engine marketing- consumers are clicking more on paid search ads before buying products. The problem is that the cost per click went up by 16% in a period from January 2011 to January 2010, explains Udayan Bose, NetElixir founder and CEO.

“It’s a sign of the times. Consumers want to check out the best deal before committing their money to someone,” Mr. Bose concluded.

Some key insights…
– Consumers click 3.1 paid search ads before purchasing products (January 2011). Two years ago, it was 2.7 clicks.
– Consumers take more time to shop around (time between first click on a paid search ad and final purchase). This is a 12% increased in two years
– Consumers (52%) clicked on retailer’s display ad, a listing on a comparison shopping site, an ad on an affiliate site or social network, or on an organic search result before making a purchase. The interesting part is that all the activity came after the first clicked on the paid search ad from a retailer. This equals an increase by 30%.

Spot On!
We know that the time period between first click and purchase is long. The study and another one by GroupM and Comscore shows that brands and retailer need to extend their expectation for the time period from promotion to sales to 20 or 30 days, not only 14 days. It is not the last click we should monitor when bidding on generic keywords. Ideally companies and brands should not stop bidding on more general keywords that consumers type in early in their research. It is the best way to get consumers early in their purchasing process to meet the latency effect, and to become an evaluation partner for the later sale.

Study: Search and Social amplify purchase decisions

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One thing leads to another. Today we could transfer this quote to: One search leads to another social activity, and vice versa. And this interconnection of web-strategy tactics amplifies the user’s purchase decisions.

A new study from GroupM and comScore states that 40% of consumers who search for products to purchase are taking a social activity as a next step to finalize their buying decision. And the activity can be seen from the other direction as well: 46% of consumers who use social media are searching for products to expand the basis on a product range to take a decision.

58% of users begin their journey to purchase with search. Company websites come in at 24% and social media by 18%. The opinion of „friends“ on the purchase decision is highly rated in social networks and cannot be underestimated these days from brands and retailers any longer.

The study reveals interesting insights in the time period that make the essential change in the buying decision process. The „late kick“ comes 30 days prior to purchase when brands and companies have to engage with their audience – and can leave search tactics behind. A difficult topic to handle in the B2C industry but for B2B very helpful.

„There are still many brands who haven’t figured out why they’re in social media. We still talk to brands that are trying to determine if they should be in social media. The data suggests the two most important subsets in social are user reviews and category blogs, rather than sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.“ Chris Copeland, CEO, GroupM Search

Some important findings on how social and search are linked together…
– 86% see search engines important in buying decisions – Consumers use search in buying cycle as a pricing tool (research products and select purchase location)
– 45% use search throughout the buying cycle
– 26% use search at the beginning of their research and shopping process
– Social is essential in the consideration process
– 30% use social media to create a shopping short-list
– 28% say social media has a valuable impact in creating awareness for brands and products

Spot On!
The study shows the impact that the combination of social and search have on the purchase decision. The challenge for companies will be to understand in which way to balance their tactics between search and social in reference to seasonal sales timing, marketing opportunities while not destroying maximum margin, and customer loyalty programs to amplify brand buzz. Another study by econsultancy also illustrates how undervalued social media and search are from a sales perspective. The study says that Social Media „gets eight times less credit for its direct contribution to sales than it should“ and „Generic SEO gets credited for 14 times less sales than it deserves“.

What comes first when you take buying decisions? Search or Social? And how does it amplify your buying process? Interested in your thoughts…

News Update – Best of the Day

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daily1Viral videos are becoming more and more popular. After the Evian roller babies success, a lot of companies try to find the secret on ‚what makes a video go viral‘. Jesse Poe found two interesting cases that give answers…

Good news in a recession are always welcome – especially for the industry we are working in. A new study by GroupM takes an outlook that the internet will take 15% of global ad spend in 2010.

Oh, yes… sometimes we Germans can create really funny commercials.