Category Archives: Marketing

Programmatic branding is used for advertising campaigns by 62% of marketers

Programmatic Branding Report Statistics

Programmatic Branding Statistics

According to the latest Programmatic Branding Report, programmatic branding is being used by 62% of marketers for brand campaigns. The Report was produced in partnership with Quantcast and is based on a survey of 100 senior marketing professionals in the UK and US. The report reveals that brands have been trying to reach audiences online by using programmatic methods. It was found that 37% of marketers expected to increase their budget for programmatics in 2016 and 2017. The survey asked for marketer’s perception of programmatic branding and this is what they said:

  • 64% said that programmatics increased efficiency in branding campaigns
  • 58% agreed that it reduced overall advertising costs
  • 56% opined that programmatic advertising targeted the right audience in real time
  • 52% said that programmatic methods gave them the opportunity to leverage first party data
  • 52% said that they had a higher ROI from programmatics
  • 49% stated that they could build more effective cross device campaigns
  • 49% of marketers said that they could gather better data and insights to understanding their customer
  • 48% agreed that programmatic had the ability to achieve scale
  • 45% of marketers said that programmatic advertising reduced time to launch campaigns
  • 45% said that programmatic advertising helped to leverage 3rd party data

Defining Programmatic Branding

Programmatic advertising is a way to buy media space in real time; the real time bidding is a digital strategy that is set to be the main form of advertising by 2020. In 2014 alone, revenue from real time bidding reached $1.6 billion. The main benefit of programmatic buying is in the automated system that helps to target audiences and save the marketer time. In real time bidding, the marketer can set the bid price and network reach in addition to adding behavioural parameter and other customer data. In other words, programmatic advertising is a sophisticated way of targeting a defined audience and adding many variables at the same time. Algorithms help to filter target the potential customers according to behavioural data, thus giving marketers more time to work on other things.

Using data that is relevant to a branding campaign, programmatics can serve ads that are optimised at the impression level. Running targeted ads based on customer behaviours is an efficient way of promoting a product. This building of a custom pool of consumers is what makes programmatics so attractive to marketers. Programmatic advertising has been compared to the stock market in the sheer size and scale of ‘trading,’ ad impressions.

Virtually any online business can benefit from programmatic advertising. The precision of programmatic is superior to paid ads where there can be inefficiencies in targeting the right customer. It is cost effective and operates well on cross devices as well. All the mechanics of real time bidding-such as setting a reserve price, displaying unsold inventory in real time and scoring higher bids adds to the transparency of the process. Ergo, you only bid for ads that your customers want to see.

Whatsapp messaging for B2C could be a new feature for the instant messaging app

WhatsApp Messaging For B2C

WhatsApp Messaging Is Changing

Facebook’s chief financial officer David Wehner has announced that B2C, or business to customer interaction could be  a feature for the Facebook acquired instant messaging app WhatsApp in the future. Unlike Facebook, WhatsApp is not known for business user bases. People using WhatsApp were not businesses looking to engage with potential customers. In addition to being more appealing for brands, the proposal could lead to more revenue if WhatsApp goes ahead with the new feature. WhatsApp has a user base of more than 800 million people and this is very promising for brands to build relationships with users.

Will WhatsApp Messaging be the last place to remain advertisement free?

Facebook already has Businesses on Messenger app that allows customers to be informed about shipping and orders of products. The B2C strategy used in Businesses on Messenger is effective because customers only get information when they want and only after signing up. If this initiative is anything to go by, then WhatsApp could really help consumers to stay in touch in real time with brands that they have opted in to hear from. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion, they said that there would not be any advertisements on the instant messaging service. However, this is entirely different from permission based advertisements where the user wants to be actively informed about brands. There will be choices for users of WhatsApp if the B2C messaging feature goes ahead: people can opt in to receive B2C messages from brands or they can opt out.

Implication for marketing and WhatsApp users

The advantage of using WhatsApp is connecting with other users around the world. Although SMS marketing in commonplace in the US, it is not so in other countries where email and more traditional forms of marketing are used. If WhatsApp was to go through with the new initiative, it will open up communication of brands with customers all around the globe in a seamless manner. As long as marketers adhere to the rules of SMS marketing such as timing, relevancy and quality control of content, the scope for international SMS marketing is huge through WhatsApp.

The implications for consumers if the move goes ahead will be manifold. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that WhatsApp will need to scale to 1 billion users before it is a meaningful business. How, the benefits of a SMS based eCommerce may make the implementation occur faster. As mentioned before, Facebook has a business on Messenger feature already where customers are offered support, updates and payment options for buying products. The international dimension will make sending payments via SMS very appealing to users of WhatsApp. The ease and personalisation of SMS payment will make brands eager to adopt this eCommerce feature.


Fast Growth of Mobile Marketing

Global mobile users statistics 2015

2014 was the tipping point for the number of mobile compared to desktop users

Every where you look, people are using smartphones, tablets and hybrids to keep connected with the world around them. The Digital, Social and Mobile survey conducted by We Are Social in January 2015 shows that 3.6 billion people use mobile devices with a penetration of 51%. In that same survey it was found that there was a 5% increase in the unique mobile users from January 2014 to January 2015.

According to GO Gulf Web Design Dubai, conversion rates on mobile devices is 300% that compared to a desktop. Mobile devices already accounts for a third of all sales transactions online around the  world and the figures point to growth for 2016 and beyond. In the State of Digital Marketing 2015 infographic, it was found that 80% of people primarily accessed the internet using their smartphones.

Implications of mobile marketing growth

Mobile marketing is taking over desktop marketing. What are the implications for marketers and brands?

1. There will be an increased investment in mobile apps

The Adobe Mobile Marketing Survey 2014 found that there has been increased investment in mobile app development. Although it is possible for brands to market using Facebook and Twitter (there are 1.2 billion Facebook monthly active users with 30% only ever logging in from a mobile device), marketers will want to write their own code for apps. A mobile app has the advantage of being user friendly for customers and for data collection, targeting, location tracking and push notifications. Customers will be notified immediately when a special offer or advertisement is published; it is hyper targeted marketing.

2. Created for mobile users

Mobile marketing requires responsive design and mobile first features

The tipping point occurred for mobile when the number of mobile users surpassed desktop users (ComSCORE, 2014). The implication of this statistic is that marketing should be focused on being mobile first. A mobile-first approach includes mobile responsive website designs, touch friendly ad banners, optimally placed CTAs, QR codes and other ad placements.

3. Marketing based on location

mobile marketing can use more GPS and geofencing to target prospective customers

Real time location based marketing is a powerful method to target customers. The technology requires GPS and geolocation; there is insufficient advances in this area so far. Location based targeting is different from check ins where the customer does not receive ads prior to checking into a location. Implemented properly, location based marketing can track customers and adopt different personas for ad campaigns. Customers can be notified of special promotions when they are in close proximity to a venue. There is greater scope for interaction and customer conversions when the mobile technology senses a lead.

4. Personalised for mobile

The close proximity of a smartphone to their user makes this more personal compared to tablets and laptops. The ease of access implies faster intake of information. 76% of people in a survey by SAP 2014 said that they were more likely to read a message delivered via SMS and that SMS was the best way for businesses to contact them.  The psychology behind mobile marketing is increased personalisation. Getting the mobile user’s attention using their name, recent purchases and updates on discounts are all examples of mobile personalisation. Allowing the mobile user to opt out and disable notifications when in different time zones should be considerations.

5. Payments via mobile

Mobile security and customer’s perception of mobile security has been increasing in recent years. Mobile payments are now completed through mobile apps when the customer finds the product in store and there are many retails outlets that participate in mobile payments. PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are the mobile apps available in 2015 but marketers are interested in customers paying through their own apps. Mobivity, a patented technology that drives sales, has projected a 60% increase in mobile payments for 2015.

6. The serious matter of privacy

Any device that collects data will be vulnerable to hacks and other privacy breaches. A mobile app contains a lot of sensitive data which is why customers are reluctant to opt in. Sometimes, the benefits will override the risks, such as personalised ads and promotional offers. Customers are willing to hand over data only if the marketing is clear about what will be done with the data and if there are parameters of data usage. Difference Data Protections laws should inform mobile marketers about how to deal with sensitive data.


Mobile marketing is growing fast and will disrupt the way ecommerce companies target and advertise to customers. The statistics supporting this growth should give marketers plenty to think about in the coming years. Mobile marketing is no longer a matter of speculation-it will happen and it will be led by customer demands for mobile friendly shopping.



Mobile Search ads on Google are shown to be effective for retailers

Mobile Search Ads Are Doing Well

Mobile Search Ads Are Effective For Retailers

According to mobile search findings by Google, people were more likely to follow through with a purchase on mobile search ads than desktop search ads. If anyone has enjoyed concrete results, it is giant retailer Target, who saw customers making a purchase through 33% of their mobile search ads on Google.

The success of Google mobile search ads has increased retailer’s confidence in placing ads for smartphones. Hundreds of retail stores have seen an increase in purchases after putting mobile search ads. Kristi Argyilan, a Target store senior VP has commented that,“We know from Google’s store-measurement data that our mobile search ads greatly influence in-store sales.”

The other advantage of mobile search ads is their relative affordability compared to other desktop ads. Many retailers assumed incorrectly, that customers would never follow through with purchases on mobile device. If recent data from Google is anything to go by, mobile search ads are currently an affordable and effective way of getting users to buy in stores.

Once retailers realise the effectiveness of mobile search ads, the prices of placing such ads will increase. Indeed, the price of mobile search ads are increasing every year.

How are connections between customer and in store purchases made?

Mobile search ads customer data works using cookies on the user’s phone web browser. It is important that the user accepts cookie in order for the ads to work. When a smartphone user clicks on a mobile search ad, the cookies stored on their web browser can be matched with that user’s email account. The associated account details will be used for making connections between the purchaser in store and their email addresses.


New video viewability statistics published by Google May 2015

Video Viewability Statistics By Google

Video Viewability Guidelines

According to Google’s latest findings, 54% of promotional video clips has viewability on phones, desktops and tablets. YouTube had 91% viewability and it was found that the larger the video format, the higher the viewability. To determine what content is viewable, Google has published a guide.

Video viewability statistics reflect responses on different screen formats

According to Google’s findings:

  • Audibility was an factor in influencing customers. People who heard a YouTube ad recalled that brand 33.1% more frequently than people who did not hear anything.
  • The main reasons for video ads not being seen is due to being played in the background on a hidden tab (76% of cases) and because the user skipped them in under 2 seconds (26% of cases).
  • Size matters for viewability. The most viewed ads were also the ones played on larger video screens (88%). To generate views, a video has to take up 50% of the screen.
  • Only 19% of video ads use the largest 848 X 477 video format.
  • Videos had more viewability on mobile devices than on desktop; 83% of videos were viewable on smartphones.
  • Page position mattered for video viewability: the most viewed position was just above the fold of the page
  • The most viewable ad sizes were vertical units
  • However, being positioned above the page fold did not mean being viewable: 68% of ads above the fold was viewable
  • Contents that held the viewer’s attention were the most viewable across all industries.
Facebook Instant Articles will deliver timely news straight to users timeline

Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook Instant Articles To Retain Readers

Facebook Instant Articles is a new feature that will make reading the news even faster and easier, without leaving your Facebook profile. Currently, the only way to read news online is through news organisation websites; Facebook Instant Articles is poised to change the habits of millions of people.

Publisher of news article that appear on Facebook timeline now has the option of monetising through Facebook’s ad programme or by selling native ads. Since Facebook provides a lot of traffic to news organisation websites, it seems like a natural progression for publishes to post their stories directly on Facebook.

From 13th May, the Facebook Instant Articles will be launching on the Facebook iPhone app; users can read news stories from The New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, NBC and The Atlantic amongst other publishes who have signed up to the revenue sharing scheme. In time, other publishers are likely to join in as well.

News sources will, “deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.” Chris Cox, Facebook chief product officer.

Publishers can feature their own ads using Facebook’s audience network and with the help of analytics tools. To make their content stand out, publishers can also use embedded videos and animated gifs on Facebook. This allows for a more engaging experience where the fast loading time and content optimised for readers will rival news organisation sites. In addition to a wider reach, Facebook Instant Articles allow readers to engage more with the journalists and publishers using social media.

Facebook Instant Articles provides speed and audience data

One of the reasons BuzzFeed decided to take part in Facebook Instant Articles is the instantaneous video uploading feature. Fast upload times and auto-play are essential to a good user experience and the data gleaned from Facebook is valuable for BuzzFeed to create better content.

Vertical videos are preferred by mobile users

Shoot Vertical Videos For Apps

Vertical Videos Format Is On The Rise

Years ago, shooting your videos vertically was an amateur mistake that no one wanted to make. Watching vertical videos on a normal laptop screen format was a nightmare because of the black bars around it. However, things are changing fast in the digital space and horizontal video format are no longer de rigeur amongst tech savvy people.

The mass adoption of apps such as Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat have changed our thoughts about conventional video marketing. Videos shot in a horizontal format looked bad on these new apps and where new apps lead, video formats must follow. Some will argue that due to the ephemeral nature of live streaming, the vertical video formats naturally compromise on quality. If you are looking to shoot a video masterpiece, therefore, a horizontal format is still preferred.

When it comes to adapting to the needs of millenials, digital marketing statistics for videos don’t lie. Snapchat reported in April 2015 that vertical ads were viewed nine times more frequently than horizontal ones. People using Snapchat watched videos with their mobile the right way up, the way it should be. The challenge for digital marketers will be to change the way they’ve been producing video content for the last 10 years. Despite the disruption in video marketing, changing the video format is inevitable as more smartphones are being used by consumers as their primary internet browsing device.

The popularity of video mobile advertising

Popular apps that stream vertically are also the ones used to reach millennials. Adding vertical video marketing is a smart move that will pay off in terms of engagement with millenials. In addition to short lived visuals, Snapchat also offers a network of media channels such as Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan and ESPN.

Vertical videos format for a new medium

Snapchat is a relatively new platform and many marketers are apprehensive about changes to a vertical format. In comparison to vertical video apps, other horizontal video sites have wider distribution. This may change in the future but the new medium is still at the early stages of implementation.

The Apple Watch will change the way digital marketers think

The Impact Of Apple Watch On Digital Marketers

Wearable Technology And Digital Marketers

The Apple Watch is finally here after years of anticipation. Aesthetically pleasing and intuitive to use, this piece of wearable technology certainly has the wow factor. The price point may not be for everyone, but the idea of wearable technology is. The Apple Watch is a sign of things to come and as technology becomes more integrated in our lives, we can expect to rely more on it.

The Apple Watch was designed to be worn at all times, and this is a shift towards ubiquitous wearable technology. The smartwatch is capable of doing much more than telling the time; users can engage with their Apple Watch, consume content and even use it to store personal information. The relationship that people will have with wearable technology is much more personal. The screen is much smaller too, which will change the way that people consume information.

Instead of ignoring the smartwatch format, digital marketers must adapt to emerging technology. Digital marketing methods are informed largely by advances in technology and consumer behaviour so it would be unwise not to go where the consumers are.

Digital marketers must adapt to consumer behaviors towards technology

The biggest difference in appearance between the smartwatch format and a laptop/tablet/mobile device is the size of the screen. The Apple Watch is tiny-only 1.5 inch to 1.7 inches-in comparison to a generous 4.7 inch screen on the Apple iPhone 6, and an Apple iPad 2 tablet’s 9.7 inch screen. If you thought digital marketing on a mobile phone device was fiddly, wait till you are confronted with an even smaller screen size!

Well, what does this all mean for digital marketers in the future when personal wearable technology gets smaller and sleeker in size? Here are some possible changes that digital marketers will have to make to their marketing strategy:

1. Social media marketing will fit on smaller screens

The future of social media is big, but the screen on which people consume social media will be getting smaller.  Instead of having to look on an unwieldy mobile device, social media users can now engage and tweet/post/share from their wrist. Social media content must get snap happy, shorter and straight to the point if marketers want more engagement. Bite sized information will become the norm for small smart watch screens.

2. Geofencing technology will change marketing for retail businesses

Apple app developers are moving towards technology that uses geofencing to alert wearers of Apple Watch when they pass by a specific location. The implication of this is huge for digital marketers. The way that retailers and businesses reach out to customers will change completely: they can communicate in real time about deals, special promotions, sales and other new stock in store. Geofencing can be set up in retail stores and other local businesses to ensure that they get the smartwatch wearer’s attention when they walk past.

3. Marketing smart watch apps will be a different ball game

Apps for smart watches will have to take into account different functionalities (e.g heart sensors) and screen sizes. Apps for smart watches also need to convey information without needing keypad input and long form content. At the moment, owners of an Apple Watch must have an Apple iPhone so this allows for complementary apps for the smaller smart watch screen. In the future, digital marketers may have to find ways to market stand alone apps made just for the smart watch format.

4. Digital marketers must find tactile ways to get attention

The taptic engine used in Apple Watch allows alerts to be felt by wearers. At the moment, digital marketing relies on visual, textual and audio content. The future of digital marketing may involve more tactile ways to convey information.

virtual reality technology is transforming the way retailers can market to consumers

Virtual Reality Technology in Retail

Virtual Reality Technology Changes The Shopping Experience

Virtual reality (VR) technology has had great press coverage thanks to Facebook’s $2bn acquisition of Oculus VR company in 2014. Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of this acquisition on Facebook explained why he believed so strongly in VR technology for the future: 
you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.
Many people have heard of virtual reality technology but have not experienced the immersive environment that Zuckerberg talks about. That is, until now.
An industry that thrives on great customer experience and shared feedback/reviews, retail is a hot target for virtual reality. This was tested at London’s Westfield this March and April when shoppers were invited to put on an Oculus Rift virtual headset and see themselves as avatars on an interactive screen. Westfield partnered with Inition to create this experience for shoppers and many were able to create styleboards and browse the latest fashion styles in 3D. 

Virtual reality technology coming to a high street near you

Virtual reality is here to stay and retail stores are adapting to this new technology. Stores such as Debenhams and TopShop have already ventured into digital realms. Topshop in Oxford Street staged a Topshop virtual reality catwalk show at their store in 2014 and Debenhams allowed shoppers at select stores to change their outfits on an app as far back as 2011! The purpose of the virtual reality catwalk show was to engage potential consumers in a way that videos can never achieve. Upmarket fashion has an exclusive audience at their catwalk shows but the emergence of virtual reality technology may make this more accessible to everyone without the fashion connections. From a sales point of view, virtual reality is effective in making customers remember the brands and has potential for better lead nurturing.

7 for all Mankind embraces virtual reality technology

For their Spring 2015 campaign, 7 For All Mankind will be sending DoDoCase cardboard VR viewers to customers in order to view their ‘Visions of California’ on Android devices. The stunning VR campaign (produced by VR company Jaunt) will feature palm trees, sounds of the sea of visions of beautiful models in 7 For All Mankind Apparel. Traditional forms of fashion campaigns would feature 2D models with a static pose. The VR fashion campaign allows fashion designers to showcase their new collection in a more memorable and impactful way. Viewers can connect better with the model and buy into the story of the product.

Websites that are not mobile friendly will be penalized by Google's mobilegeddon

Getting Ready For Mobilegeddon

Mobilegeddon 2015

From 21st April 2015, Google will overhaul the algorithm to penalize sites that are non-mobile friendly. The extent of penalties are unknown, but it has been suggested that this change will be ‘significant.’

The news about Google using mobile responsiveness as a signal for ranking is nothing new. In 2012, it was announced at the iSEO panel that Google preferred a mobile responsive website whenever possible. Arguably, the mobilegeddon of 21st April is nothing but a reminder by Google to make that transition to become more user friendly for smartphone owners.

Many websites are still not optimized for mobilegeddon

Many websites are still not optimized for mobile. They include: Versace, Nintendo, Windows Phone, The European Union website, the British Monarchy’s page, American Apparel, P&O Cruises, Cotton Traders, RyanAir. What this indicates is that the user experience is not great for visitors to these sites through their smartphone. Since mobile phone traffic to websites is second only to laptops and tablets, websites that do not have mobile friendly websites will lose many potential customers. Their profits are likely to dip after Google’s mobilegeddon.

What businesses can do to prepare for mobilegeddon

Updating to a mobile responsive website cost money and effort, which is why some businesses are willing to assess the effect of mobilegeddon on their search rankings before calling in the website developers.

Some of the actions that businesses can take include:

  • Use the Google Mobile Friendly Test to determine if your site is mobile friendly
  • Plan your website’s design around being more mobile responsive. For example, thinking about the clarity, aesthetics and user friendly layout of your new website should inform you about how you would like your new website to look.
  • For smaller websites it is worth comparing different website developers and deciding what design and fee to go with.
  • For websites that were created using software such as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, it is best to refer to the respective guides about mobile optimization.
  • For websites that were created by an outsourced design agency, ask if they are familiar with responsive web design (RWD) and inquire about their past client’s portfolio to see examples of previous work.

When the mobilegeddon catches you by surprise

There are many businesses out there that are not aware of mobilegeddon and the implications for their bottom line. Even if these businesses were aware of mobilegeddon, they may not take any action. Here are some reasons why:

1. The business in question do not rely on smartphone traffic or internet traffic at all. They rely on other forms of advertisement.

2. The business did not see drastic changes to their page rankings since Google implemented the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and Humming algorithm changes. They assume there to be no drastic changes to their search engine ranking page (SERP) after mobilegeddon either.

3.  The business finds it too bothersome and costly to change their entire website.

As you can see, reasons (1), (2) and (3) may all cost the business loss in future profits if they do not adapt with consumer use of mobile devices.

At the same time, there are many businesses that are panicking about the impending changes in Google’s algorithm. A fine balance should be struck between inaction and action towards making changes!

Panicking about mobilegeddon will not change the fact that your business website will rank a little lower than competitor websites that have mobile responsive sites. Google will still rank your website, only this time less favourably than before.

Instead of worrying about your website dipping in popularity,  you could hire mobile responsive website developers to redesign your website to fit different screen formats, or design a separate mobile friendly site altogether. Businesses still have time to do this after April 21st and they should be thankful that Google has given them this reminder. The future of internet traffic will be through smartphones and other smart device so this is the direction businesses should be heading for their future marketing.