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You have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before. But not many people have heard about YouTube SEO and channel and video optimization on the world's second largest search engine. The more a video is optimised, the better it will rank and the more positive its effect on the rest of the channel. In this YouTube SEO guide, you can learn a lot about how to optimise your presence on the video platform. I will take you through all the important steps. Why work with video and YouTube at all? In 2021, video will account for 82% of total internet traffic. At the same time, video consumption on mobile is up 22% YoY. And there is nothing to suggest that growth will stop any time soon. Four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Source: Search Engine Land We also pay more attention when we are on YouTube. This is especially important to those who are running advertising on YouTube.     Source: Ipsos/Google, Think With Google, Google Video plays an important role in the user journey because it has become a natural part of the way we search for products and services. Accordingly, YouTube has also become an integral part of the user journey before, during and after the purchase.   You can read more about how to work with your YouTube SEO and strategy in the following sections. How to Create a YouTube Optimization Strategy It is important to have a clear strategy for your YouTube channel and content. As with all other marketing, having a clear strategy helps you make good decisions. There are two main types of content on YouTube. Hygiene content is by far the most frequently used and it is likely this is the kind of content you want to maximise. But there is also hero content, which can be quite extraordinary. Examples of hero content are Volvo's Epic Split and Nike's video with Colin Kaepernick. What is the purpose of your channel? Would you like to raise awareness about your brand? Or are you using the channel as a customer service extension? Are you going to run YouTube advertising while doing organic YouTube optimization? There are many options. Typically, it takes 24-48 hours for a video to be properly indexed on YouTube once it is uploaded. Therefore, it may be a good idea to wait a bit to start advertising, as YouTube does not initially know what your video is about and its relevant audience. Starting advertising right away can have an effect on your ROI. Once you have made your YouTube strategy, you can start breaking it down into smaller - and more manageable - goals and sub-goals. Give each goal a clear KPI so you can see if you are successful with your YouTube optimization. End with identifying audiences. By doing this you go from having a typically generic strategy to having multiple direct measurement points and actions. It is easier to do YouTube SEO when you know how to be successful. Need help with your strategy and goals? Keep track of your KPIs here.   What can be optimised on your videos? There are a lot of things you can optimise with YouTube SEO. This applies to both the channel itself, playlists, and videos. On some things you can have influence directly, while you can only indirectly influence others. You can read more about the most important things to optimise later in the blog post.   This word cloud highlights many of the factors affecting your SEO ranking. Some aspects, like channel age and video age, cannot be changed or optimised. Yet an older video and channel can have an advantage, just as the age of a website also has something to say in regular SEO. The sooner you start with YouTube SEO and optimizing your content, the sooner you can reap the benefits. You can optimise several of the factors that you cannot directly influence. We will tell you more about this in How to grow your channel with YouTube SEO. How to do keyword research for YouTube  Finding relevant keywords for your YouTube SEO can be a little difficult. This is because, among other things, there is no direct access to search volume on YouTube keywords, as there is on Google. But fear not. It is still possible to find keywords and learn more about the keyword volumes. To do this, use the following tools: ·       Keywordtool.io ·       Keyword Planner ·       Google Trends ·       YouTube You identify relevant YouTube keywords with Keyword Tool and YouTube. Keyword Planner and Google Trends will help you determine how big your potential search volume is. Keep in mind that Keyword Planner gives you the number of monthly searches on Google - not YouTube. How to find YouTube SEO keywords? As you can see, there are many steps in a YouTube keyword research. However, it is important that you spend the time to find your relevant keywords as they are crucial to your success. Ahrefs.com also has a YouTube keywords explorer for you to use. Bear in mind that there are many other keyword tools out there. It is important that you constantly think about your keyword relevance. If your keywords are not relevant to the video, your work will be wasted. You cannot cheat your way to relevance. The users and YouTube will decide this swiftly and without hesitation. Do not solely look at volume. At first, go more for niche keywords that are not dominated by major international channels. The content and quality of the video has a lot to say, but it is virtually impossible to compete with the very large channels - especially if you are a new channel. Keep in mind the value of Google and video views. Some Google searches naturally return video results while others do not. By spending some time checking this, you are better equipped to have your YouTube video appear in a Google search result. Rich media, such as videos, takes up an increasing amount of space and provides a good user experience. Therefore you should embed your YouTube video on a related page of the website whenever possible – and relevant. You can get the embed code for a video by right-clicking it. You can do this with all videos, not just your own. The addition of videos helps make your site more valuable to users while increasing watch time - which is even more important. There are several different tools that can help track YouTube placements and find relevant keywords. I focus on the free tools in this blog post. How to grow your channel with YouTube SEO It may sound simple, but there are just a few steps to growing a channel. But, as you have probably guessed, that does not mean it is easy to succeed in creating a successful YouTube channel.   This is a simplified user journey on YouTube. Sometimes it can be a long time from when a user first sees your video until she subscribes. And it can happen in minutes in other instances. It is all about creating relevant content that engages the user and adds value for that user. You may ask: ·       How do I get discovered? ·       How do I maintain my target audience? ·       How do I get subscribers? ·       How do I get my users to see even more content on my channel? The answer to each of these questions is quite simple. You do this by making good and productive videos and subsequently optimizing them. Just as you would do with a website. You can have the best content in the world but if the website is not optimised (both on-page and technical), no one will see it. Great content is the foundation on which all successful YouTube channels are built. With YouTube SEO you can take your users through the entire user journey from discovering your video to watching your video and clicking "subscribe" to seeing even more of your content. There are a lot of ways you can optimise your videos in terms of both visibility and CTR as well as guiding users further along, when they discover you. It will be a great waste of effort to get users to watch your video and not retaining them afterwards. As I wrote earlier, there are many factors that influence your rankings and YouTube watch time and retention. The number of minutes and hours users watch your videos is one of the most important factors. You can increase this by creating great content and optimizing it to have more people discover and watch your videos. It is helpful to provide viewers with sneak peeks that entice them to continue viewing other videos on your channel. Never write something in your title or thumbnail that you cannot live up to in the video. Using cards and end screens, you can keep users in your YouTube universe (see example of a good end screen below). Once your video ends, serve new and relevant content to the user. Many people discover and watch new videos that are presented to them directly, so remember to make playlists - and optimise them. I wrote earlier that it is important to have relevant keywords because relevance promotes retention. Yet there will always be some users who will drop out after about ten seconds – especially if the video is not relevant according to the title and/or keywords. Your goal is for each user to watch as much of the video as possible. It is a clear indicator of quality. If most people quit after a short time and no one watches through to the end, it is likely a sign you have either the wrong keywords or a poor-quality video. You can optimise the channel itself (layout and tabs), playlists and videos. Next, I will take you through the most important optimizations for YouTube SEO. Get control of upload, optimization, and subtitles I am not able to address all the possibilities for optimization in this blog post. Some, such as cards and end screens, I will only mention in passing, as entire blog posts can be written about these optimizations alone. Sizes and dimensions of banners, files, and thumbnails are important to keep in mind. The optimal size for a YouTube thumbnail is 1820 x 720 pixels. It all starts with the channel.   Step-by-step Guide to YouTube SEO 1. Create your channel In fact, YouTube SEO starts even before you upload your first video. If you do not have a YouTube channel, create one.   2. Give it a good name Give it a good name. The name is not visible on the page, but it will be used in the channel URL. You can change the name afterwards. The name should be easy to remember and include the brand or company name. If possible, include keywords in the name as well – but do not keyword stuff it. 3. Create a Brand Account  Next, you need to create a Brand Account - not a personal one. If you already have a channel but have doubts about the setup, you can easily check it out. 4. Apply for the YouTube partner program Once the channel is big enough, apply for the YouTube Partner Program. You must have 4,000 valid public watch hours and more than 1,000 subscribers before you can apply for the partner program.   5. Upload your video   Before uploading your video, provide a filename, thumbnail, and subtitle/closed caption (CC) file with a relevant filename that contains your keywords. It is not the most important factor when we look at YouTube SEO, but even if it is a smaller ranking factor, you should include your keywords. It can be the deciding factor in the competition with other videos. Video quality also plays a role. It is important that the quality is good enough - preferably HD or above. Many cameras and cell phones today can film in such high quality that you can use the videos on YouTube. 6. Optimize your video’s title Title is the most important part of video optimization. You can use up to 100 characters and include your primary keyword as early as possible. Secondary keywords should also be used here, and they do not have to be an exact match. It is worth noting that if you stay below 70 characters, your title will not be truncated by YouTube. The most important thing for a title is that it makes the user curious and awakens some kind of emotion in her. A good example of an effective title is this one from REMA 1000.   7. Write a strong video description Your video description must be unique and can hold up to 5,000 characters. We recommend you use them all. There may be some cases where YouTube determines your text is too long, even if you have not used all 5,000 characters. So always keep a few hundred characters below the maximum. In your description, you must describe what the user sees. Feel free to link to products and other videos so there is a natural next step in the description. Also, consider using questions to drive engagement. Be aware that less than 1% of viewers read the description. Even so, you should write in a natural language - not just an endless stream of keywords. It is a good idea to link to your other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc., and encourage users on those sites to subscribe to your YouTube channel by providing a link. You should use your primary keyword more often than you would in a plain SEO text as keyword density still matters in YouTube. 8. Create video tags You can use up to 500 characters in your tags. Just like with the description, you should keep a few characters clear of the maximum, since YouTube does not always let you use the maximum number of characters. Tags should be based on your keyword research, video topic, relevant searches, etc. and are an important part of YouTube SEO. You should keep your tag strategy as tight as possible in terms of subject matter. Otherwise you end up confusing the algorithm. The image under Description earlier in this article also shows an example of tags for a video. It is the words on the right side of the picture. In this example, there are various flæskesteg (pork roast) keywords combined with sprød svær (crispy crackling) keywords. 9. Add Thumbnails Thumbnails play a huge role in YouTube SEO. 90% of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails. That is because they can multiply your CTR if used properly. YouTube makes it possible to select between three screenshots when uploading your video. However, you should always make a unique and custom one and it does not have to be from the video. Your thumbnail should: ·       Make a user want to click / watch the video ·       Be unique ·       Clearly tell / show what the video is about ·       Be consistent across channel and brand   These are two good examples of thumbnails. The first clearly shows the video is about flæskesteg (pork roast) in both the image and applied text. Typically, this will be the kind of thumbnail that works best. The second one is from a gamer, Welyn. It is a unique style to him and makes it easy for fans to spot his videos.   10. Add video subtitles - Closed Captions (CC) Subtitles help users know and understand your content, and they also help YouTube robots understand your content. While you must specify the language of the video, it is certainly possible to create your video in one language, for instance English, and have subtitles in different languages. You can add your own subtitles rather than relying on auto-generated subtitles which are not available in some languages. Because speech recognition is not working 100% yet, the quality may vary, so you should always check your subtitles. Use subtitles even if your video is in your audience’s native language. Bear in mind there are many who watch videos without audio. Therefore, subtitles are generally a good idea and they can be switched on/off in the video player if they are not hard-coded. Have you considered live streaming? YouTube is much more than pre-recorded videos. For example, you can also create live streams where you give your users new content while interacting with them directly. Live streaming does not require a large setup and you can live stream with a regular webcam or mobile device. Live streaming basics The most important thing is to use adequate technology. You will not be successful if your internet is too slow or there are problems with the software. As a rule of thumb, you must have the following internet speed if you want to achieve the following video qualities: ·       Standard Definition Video - 3 Mbps ·       720p and 1080p High Definition Video - 5-10 Mbps ·       4K Ultra High Definition Video - 25 Mbps   There are various encoder software products you can use for live streams. Several are verified by YouTube, and it may be beneficial to test a few of them before making your first live stream on YouTube.  The easiest way to live stream is to use a webcam - no encoder is needed for this. You can also live stream directly from your mobile from the YouTube app if you have more than 1,000 subscribers. With an encoder however, you have additional options that are not available for webcam or mobile streaming, including the option to use multiple cameras. Keep in mind that if you have not streamed before, it can significantly change the way your users view and interact with your content. You make it easier for them (and yourself) by clearly communicating future live streams (also on your other platforms) as well as letting them know, what the subject of the live stream. Live streaming is a golden opportunity to have a more meaningful interaction with your users. You can find answers to most YouTube live streaming questions on Google's support pages.     Use the integrated YouTube Studio analytics YouTube has its own analytics called YouTube Studio. Here you can see the reach, engagement, audiences, and revenue for the videos separately and for the channel overall. You can also see how users find you and how successful you are at converting them.   So dive into the analytics data to learn how your videos, playlists and channel perform. Get a YouTube SEO audit of your channel today If you already have a channel and would like to get started with YouTube SEO, it might be a good idea to have a channel audit first. That way you get a clear idea of where you are right now. When we perform a YouTube SEO audit, we look at videos, playlists, and the channel – the whole package. We then provide recommendations on how to optimise each part. If you need help with the optimizations themselves, we have many years of hands-on experience with YouTube. Contact us today to help you optimise your YouTube performance. 0

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Carlsberg Group ernennt iProspect zur neuen globalen Mediaagentur

Carlsberg Group ernennt iProspect zur neuen globalen Mediaagentur

Die Carlsberg Group hat iProspect zu ihrer neuen globalen Mediaagentur ernannt.

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iProspect ist neue Mediaagentur von ING Deutschland

iProspect ist neue Mediaagentur von ING Deutschland

Die dentsu-Tochter iProspect verantwortet seit kurzem Mediastrategie, -planung und den -einkauf für alle Mediengattungen wie TV, OOH, Radio, Print und Digital für die ING Deutschland.

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iProspect @ CES

iProspect @ CES

Bei der CES ging es wie immer stark um Zukunftsthemen. Hier entdeckten wir neue Trends.

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iProspect gewinnt globalen Media-Etat von Zalando

iProspect gewinnt globalen Media-Etat von Zalando

Das internationale Modeunternehmen wählt iProspect nach kompetitivem Pitch als seine globale Media-Agentur.

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BMW macht iProspect zur Media-Agentur

BMW macht iProspect zur Media-Agentur

BMW und Mini bündeln ihre Offline-Medien für 24 europäische Märkte bei iProspect.

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Christoph Mauerer wird Geschäftsführer

Christoph Mauerer wird Geschäftsführer

In dieser Funktion ist er gemeinsam mit Werner aus den Erlen für das iProspect-Geschäft in Deutschland verantwortlich.

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Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

The new iProspect Future Focus report explores the intersection of consumer attention, commerce and data.

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There are multiple benefits of automation for brands, from more consistent user experiences across platforms to a competitive edge in performance optimisation to reduced media waste. According to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, about one marketer out of two has already automated data and analytics (54%), search (50%) and programmatic (47%) activities – at least partially. One out of three (32%) has automated social efforts and one out of four (24%) has automated effectiveness measurement. As automation is increasingly accessible to brands, with increasing numbers of automation focused solutions made available by vendors and tech platforms, it is relatively easy for brands to launch decent campaigns – but it also makes differentiating from competition more difficult. This is why structured data and feeds continue to grow in importance.   Structured data and feeds power automation Structured data and feeds are collections of data (e.g., price, product availability, weather) with useful associations that can be used consistently across a large array of marketing channels (e.g., search, social, email). By organising information to be understood and utilised by various systems, structured data is the true cornerstone of automation, powering the brands’ ads across many verticals, such as airlines (e.g., flight rates), hospitality (e.g., hotel listings) and automotive (e.g., nearby dealerships). Structured data is becoming increasingly important for three reasons: Structured data can be used to automate the integration of any data signal into the media ecosystem, especially the brand's products and service details. Products and service data sets do not include personally identifiable information (PII) data and are not impacted by data privacy concerns, which means marketers can confidently invest in these specific structured data to deliver the best value for audiences regardless of the ever-changing privacy landscape.   Six marketers out of ten (61%) declare the most powerful lever to business growth is building a highly convenient experience for the consumer (iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey). Feeds enable marketers to make the most of shoppable media opportunities, which make the consumer path to purchase more convenient. They also improve the relevance of ads through more personalisation possibilities. For instance, iProspect helped a retail apparel company to dynamically adjust which product image to use for each product via the feed and connect it to media campaigns. Analysing performance data, we realised that for women's products, images featuring models performed much stronger than images of the product by itself. For men's products, it was the exact opposite. We were able to increase the relevance of ads by optimising the images featured for each product, resulting in stronger engagement and increased average order value.   With the current recession putting marketing budgets and resources under pressure, structured data and feeds can make media management more efficient. For example, campaigns can automatically be paused when a product is momentarily out of stock, reducing media wastage. They also make maintaining ad accuracy of large catalogues more efficient. For instance, we augmented the feed of all the properties managed by a real estate client with point-of-interest data and neighbourhood data - both critical to how people search for properties - so that the ad copy could be updated automatically with minimal human intervention.   How to get started with structured data and feeds There are three challenges most marketers will face when exploring how to use structured data and feeds to create a positive value exchange: identification, access and execution. The following considerations are key to overcoming these challenges. Data signal audit (People): Conducting a thorough data audit to understand what data sets are available to you and what signals are relevant to your brand is the first step to tap into structured data. When it comes to automation, bad data input can quickly turn into a very bad output, which is why collaboration is critical at this stage. Involving internal stakeholders (e.g., IT department) to align on how to structure data sources and setting quality standards for third-party feeds is a good practice to prevent potential issues later. Data acquisition (Platform): Securing continuous, real-time access to the right data signals requires identifying a technology platform able to both connect to your own internal data systems to pull in relevant data and ingest third-party data sources into a single data environment, such as iProspect’s FeedConnect and iActivate. Data management activation (Process): Connecting structured data to active media programmes can be challenging, as each platform has its own technical integration, and each channel its own requirements. For instance, paid search keyword campaigns typically call for short titles of products without brand names, while product listing ads and organic search require longer titles and descriptions. On top of technical know-how, it is important to include a complete testing strategy to make the most of each data signal in the feed and inform campaign management decisions, for instance, by factoring product seasonality to adjust bids throughout the year, or by including margin data to the feed to optimise against bottom-line performance.      Product-to-audience affinity is the future of structured data We believe the future of structured data leans toward optimising how likely a given audience segment is to purchase a specific product, and we predict there will soon be an opportunity to use additional data signals to maximise the affinity at the product level. It could mean using analytical data at the CRM and product SKU levels to determine which products drive the highest contributions to a consumer's lifetime value, looking at the types of products that most often drive a second purchase to boost them through advertising and drive customer retention, etc. For instance, a smartphone brand will be able to use structured data and feeds to increase the bid of ads featuring their most recent device - and not the bids for its entire smartphone range - when communicating specifically to early adopters.   The possibilities are endless, but it is crucial to coordinate between departments to create models with tangible applications.   Need help getting started?  You are always welcome to contact us if you want to hear more about how we can help you with structured data.  We are happy to help you get started, so that together we can create a digital success that drives business performance.    This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

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Hello and welcome, I have the great pleasure of introducing the new iProspect, a brand new digital-first media agency which will define a new era of performance-driven brand building at a global scale. As Global President for iProspect, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a front row seat at the creation of this new agency as we’ve fused together skillsets, teams, and resources into something new and something different, with enhanced capabilities to accelerate our clients’ brand growth.  The essence of this new agency and its people is rooted in a single, fundamental belief: We are an agency where the promises of tomorrow are our building blocks for today, where uniting performance and purpose creates brands that can change the world by getting better one moment at a time. Simply put, iProspect is a new agency born at the intersection where the science of performance marketing and the art of brand building come together.  This unrivalled perspective, grounded in deep digital specialism, married with brand building strategic firepower enables us to optimise in real-time and with precision in order to accelerate brand growth in the short and long term. And, we can do all of this at scale. At iProspect we focus on how consumers behave in their digital world and apply that to real world scenarios via a highly connected and creative use of every media channel.  As digital specialists, our perspective allows us to rapidly optimise our work and adapt to ever-evolving human intent at those pivotal intersections in life where culture, content, data, and technology meet. We also understand people are different and behave differently the world over and it is through rich insights and our network of iProspect and dentsu teams globally that we can adapt, flex and scale to meet unique client, consumer and market demands.  We are an inter-operable organisation which builds solution-orientated teams via our agile teaming platform, underpinned by data and technology enabled infrastructure.   The heart of this agency is our immensely talented people and their unparalleled understanding of media, of local culture and, of course, their clients. We have built our new brand working with teams in more than 90 markets to ensure we have both global consistency and also local relevancy in everything we do. In short, this new iProspect is powered by our shared passion and restlessness to create momentous work which makes us proud, transforms brands, provides effective business growth, and sets us on a path to change the world by getting better one moment at a time. We want to drive growth for good through our commitment to a fairer, equitable and sustainable society that works for everyone. We are a different type of agency built for the future.   Amanda Morrissey 0

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Desire, confidence, shock, delight. Emotions play a critical – if not the most important – role in communication. They capture hearts and minds, build relationships, and urge action. Yet, according to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, a third (34%) of marketers declare the lack of emotional connection is a challenge for increasing long-term consumer trust in their brand. Here are three inspiring and recent examples of companies embedding emotions such as excitement, fascination, and surprise at the heart of their communications to build attention-grabbing experiences.   Enhanced reality Brands able to add a new layer of reality to everyday experiences and provide a new perspective, as a result, can deliver a deep yet scalable immersion into their world. Not all experiences have to be grandiose and high tech - simple ideas with impeccable execution are often the best. To promote tourism amongst New Yorkers, the Austrian Tourism Board designed an immersive AR audio wherein Vienna’s most famous son, Beethoven, guided users through specific Manhattan locations that are related to Austria. Through the combination of geofencing, 3D sound effects, and exciting stories, people were able to discover the Austrian connection of locations such as Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, Café Sabarsky and Carnegie Hall. By letting New Yorkers experience their city in a whole new way, this campaign created five times more impressions through owned and earned media than paid media budget.   Where music and culture meet  Sonos have always focused on ensuring their products deliver greater sound quality than the competition and wanted to showcase this in a campaign that would deliver premium sound messaging through environments where music and culture meet.  To do so, Sonos used out-of-home (OOH) advertising to deliver visual impact across iconic locations with a connection to music such as the Opera station in Paris and the Hamburg docks. To own relevant cultural environments, Sonos also used OOH during an audio exhibit at Barbican station in London and around the major music complex Philharmonie in Paris. This OOH strategy increased aided awareness by 82%.  Additionally, Sonos partnered with popular podcast hosts, specifically those who were Sonos fans, to give authentic testimonials to their audiences about the sound quality of Sonos products. This strategy delivered a 19% uplift in consumers’ association of Sonos with superior sound quality and a six-fold increase in unaided awareness vs. control.  Sonos also created a bespoke “Brilliant Sound hub” on Amazon Prime offering discounts on select films with quality sound and connecting their brilliant sound proposition with the big screen. More than 40% of Prime users clicked to view the hub, and that increased consumer searches for Sonos products on Amazon.    Multi-sensory experiences As most brands mainly rely on visual cues to communicate their messages, the ones leveraging other senses as well stand a much better chance of creating deep-rooted memories. Sound drives brand recognition like nothing else, while smells are a shortcut to emotions. Hendrick’s Gin wanted to offer a surprising and refreshing detour to Londoners during the dullest time of the day: their commute. The brand used a 1,000-square-metre vinyl wrap to cover the floors and walls of the 74-meter-long tunnel in the capital’s busiest station with illustrations from its imaginative world, such as floating beluga whales, hot-air balloons, and dapper gentlemen atop unicycles. The installation featured 20 scented posters immersing commuters in Hendrick’s signature scent, a rose-and-cucumber infusion. More than 400,000 people experienced this multi-sensory and distinctive campaign, and five times as many through the pictures shared on social media by delighted commuters. Guides such as Lonely Planet even featured the experience as a must-visit in the city.   These examples show how brands can build powerful experiences to capture the attention of new and existing consumers. By combining emotional value for people and fidelity to their brand territory, marketers can turn attention into memorable experiences that build their brands, one moment at a time.   This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download "Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated"  for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

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According to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, the main advantages of a better integration of brand and performance are a more effective measurement of marketing ROI (60% of respondents), more consistent consumer experiences (54%), and more efficient touchpoints that build customer relationship (38%). On the flipside, one out of two marketers (51%) sees the difficulty in measuring the contribution of brand initiatives to business performance as a key barrier to brand and performance integration.   In the context of less predictable shopping patterns, a shoppable-by-design approach, wherein brand interactions offer consumers a convenient path to transactions at any given time, can help marketers make the most of both their brand and performance efforts to elevate the consumer experience, maximise impact and track business results.   Shoppable media connects brands and commerce Shoppable media is nothing new for digital advertising which has embedded interactivity since its infancy. One could also argue that traditional channels have had shoppable mechanisms for a long time (e.g., newspaper coupons, direct response TV). However, technology is now driving an acceleration in this space, bringing commerce features to media without compromising brand experiences. All the main digital platforms have recently intensified their efforts to create more shoppable formats. For instance, people can now use the Google App to simply tap and hold any image in order to shop the exact item featured in the image or similar items. On YouTube, brands can pair their video ads with a browsable catalogue, so that while the video showcases the brand key message, the catalogue facilitates navigation towards the product page that matter. The TV industry is also active in this space, and networks have been leading the charge. Following the launch of ShoppableTV (a QR code-based solution for letting viewers shop products featured in shows they’re watching), NBCUniversal has announced Checkout, a unified shopping cart across its TV and digital properties, and recently partnered with PayPal to facilitate payments on the platform. TV manufacturers are keen to get their share of the shoppable media pie as well. For example, LG has announced a solution powered by artificial intelligence enabling its clients to easily purchase what they see on screen. These types of solutions could improve how brands measure the profitability of product placement and TV ads, and lead to new product personalisation opportunities (e.g., selling a limited edition tailored to what is happening on screen). In the long run, they may also change the nature of TV investment through the development of commission-based business relationships alongside the more traditional GRP-based trading. In the meantime, brands should focus on collecting insights through testing and building consumer habits through clear instructions when content is shoppable.     Livestreaming reinvents TV shopping channels for the digital age Today, the most dynamic place for creating shoppable-by-design brand experiences sits at the intersection of social platforms, influencer marketing and livestreaming. By combining the unique strengths of these three channels - collective experience, personal touch and sense of urgency - brands have a powerful recipe at their disposal to boost their commerce strategy. The most emblematic example of this convergence is TikTok, which has seen a spectacular audience growth over the last twelve months and is now expected to join the very exclusive club of +1B monthly active users in 2021. The platform has rolled out a series of shopping features that natively fit the content from creators, such as Shop Now buttons, shoppable livestreams with in-app transactions, and shoppable ads in partnership with Shopify - all of that while topping the other major digital platforms in terms of ad equity according to Kantar. It is no surprise that brands targeting Gen Z are investing in TikTok. For instance, Levi’s tapped into the #oddlysatisfying movement and partnered with TikTok influencers to create customised denim products that consumers could buy for a limited time. Livestreaming is an important growth opportunity for brands selling through third-party commerce platforms as well. In China, Taobao Live (Alibaba Group’s livestreaming channel) alone generated roughly $48B in gross merchandise value in twelve months. In Japan, the department store Isetan used Instagram and YouTube livestreams to introduce products to a user base larger than what would show up in-store. As livestreaming continues to grow, marketers should explore how they can make the most of this format that connects entertainment and commerce to design experiences improving both the image and sales metrics of their brands.   Technology advancements prefigure better shopping experiences The future of online shopping has never seemed so bright. Many of the technologies that were much anticipated over the last years are finally getting into consumers’ hands, opening new commerce possibilities for brands. Certainly, the most discussed is 5G, and, to a lesser extent, Wi-Fi 6. As coverage increases and the list of compatible devices grows, consumers are starting to experience these new networks that promise lower latency (e.g., enabling better livestreams) and higher reliability in environments congested with connected devices (e.g., enabling a smarter home). These improved connections could lead to smoother brand and shopping experiences, but they could also heighten consumers’ expectations, for instance, in terms of speed standards for brands’ websites and apps. Another exciting technology, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), is gaining increasing attention. It uses laser pulses to scan the environment around the device and create high-fidelity three-dimensional maps. While most of its applications to date have been reserved for professionals, it is now literally at our fingertips, with the latest iPhone flagship models featuring a LiDAR scanner. For consumers, it is an opportunity for more accurate augmented reality (AR) experiences, which can help visualize items at scale before purchasing. For instance, Apple announced that the IKEA Place app (which enables users to place furniture in their home in AR) will feature a new Studio Mode harnessing its LiDAR scanner. Tech platforms are also seizing this opportunity, with Snapchat now enabling brands to create LiDAR-powered lenses. These examples are only a glimpse of the various technologies that already, or will soon, make it easier for consumers to shop and easier for companies to create compelling experiences that bring brands and commerce together. Now is a good time for marketers to examine how they can make the most of these opportunities in the near future to bolster their commerce capabilities.     This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated.  Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

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