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.    Today, we officially launch Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated as the essential read for conscientious marketers seeking to explore and exploit the latest consumer and industry advancements for brand growth. The 75+ page report addresses some of the most pressing aspects of modern marketing including; the battle for attention, wholesale changes in data privacy, and the emergence of assisted commerce.    Combining evidence-based research with interviews and responses from over 200 brand marketers in 29 countries, the Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated report delves deep into the challenges and opportunities faced in the current global climate and within the immediate media landscape. And, convenience and relevancy of media to the consumer is key, as 61% of marketers, polled for the report, considered ‘building a highly convenient experience for the consumer’ as the most powerful lever to generate business growth.i    The content of this sixth edition of the Future Focus series typifies the intricacies of bringing brand and performance together to achieve growth.     “Despite the challenging times we live in, I believe there have never been so many opportunities in media. With our new and unique approach of performance-driven brand building, we are firmly optimistic about the future and resolved to make it happen, today. With Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated as their guidebook, I hope all marketers will be able to leverage the growth potential afforded at these significant intersections of media, data, commerce and culture.”  Amanda Morrissey, Global President of iProspect    The findings showed that around 2 in 5 marketers (42%) still think the linear path to purchase is as relevant today as it was decades ago, despite the rise of digital. While at the same time 32% of marketers feel that expanding commerce capabilities is important for the 2021 roadmap, however 26% see this as one of the most difficult challenges this year.ii      Practical advice to marketers.   In addition to discussing and dissecting the impact of major global industry trends and innovations, the report spotlights the relevancy and opportunity for brands, regardless of sector, to capitalise on these seismic shifts in the media landscape. Examples of the report’s advice and guidance for marketers worldwide include:    #1: Commerce is Everywhere    Organisations should strive to build and maintain an accurate picture of their commerce capabilities across five key dimensions: desirability, availability, findability, buyability, and repeatability. This will help them define the most profitable commerce model for their brand, better integrate their e-commerce and stores into an actionable omnichannel strategy, explore new growth channels, and turn media opportunities into transaction opportunities.    #2 The Battle for Attention  Brands should consider factoring attention into their media optimisation and measurement efforts to elevate the impact and efficiency of their investment. To maximise audience attention, they should ensure the content and experiences they design truly align with consumer intent, and that the campaigns they develop do not relegate diversity and inclusivity as afterthoughts.  #3 The New Data Playbook    On the data front, organisations should embrace the new privacy-conscious world by re-evaluating the value exchange they offer to their audiences and anticipate technological changes to minimise business disruption. This is the occasion to explore opportunities for automation, evaluate the quality of the data they collect and process, and more broadly reflect upon how data is effectively used to inform decisions.    The last point is of particular significance as the report found in some circumstances there are huge disparities between what the consumer and brand marketer think, when it comes to assessing data value. Only 9% of marketers believe helping a company improve products or services is an incentive for consumers to share their data, while 44% of consumers believe it is a good enough reason to release personal identifiable information (PII) to the brand.iii      Download your copy of Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated now.    -----------------------------------------   [i] Proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey, 12 Oct–11 Nov 2020, 202 respondents. [ii] Proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey, 12 Oct–11 Nov 2020, 202 respondents. [iii] iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey (Oct 2020) and iProspect and Microsoft Advertising, Consumer Privacy and Data Survey (Mar 2020) 0

4 mins read

dentsu bolsters global media offering by bringing together iProspect and Vizeum brands to form future-focused iProspect brand globally

dentsu bolsters global media offering by bringing together iProspect and Vizeum brands to form future-focused iProspect brand globally

London, Jan 12th - dentsu today confirmed its intent to integrate iProspect and Vizeum to create a new, future-focused, end-to-end global media agency under the iProspect banner. By integrating these two award winning agencies, dentsu brings Vizeum’s media strategy and planning, storytelling, and brand building capabilities together with iProspect’s digital expertise, audience knowledge, and performance mindset. Clients will have access to the unique capabilities of both agencies, all from one integrated team leading the new territory of performance-driven brand building by delivering digital-first media strategies underpinned by data and technology at every touchpoint in the consumer journey. The new iProspect media agency will draw from the broader dentsu capability set, allowing clients the flexibility to seamlessly build bespoke and specialised teams with resources from across the network. Clients will gain access to expansive new audience insights, integrated and more effective strategies, market-leading planning and activation, and unparalleled business performance. Carat and dentsu X clients will continue to access industry leading digital performance services through our dentsu Media Scaled Services. The new iProspect entity will be led by Global President Amanda Morrissey, bringing together more than 8,000 media and performance specialists across 93 key global markets. “iProspect is designed for clients at the intersection of brand and performance. We believe brand drives performance, and performance drives brand. We no longer exist in an ecosystem where these elements can be planned and bought separately. We must look at business and brand goals through a combined lens, bringing accelerated growth for our clients,” said Amanda Morrissey, Global President, iProspect. “By focusing on how consumers behave in their digital world and applying that to real world scenarios via a highly connected and creative use of all channels, we position our clients to combine the learnings from the short and long term to drive more effective business growth today and tomorrow.” Peter Huijboom, dentsu international Global CEO Media & Global Clients, said, “At dentsu our goal is to help our clients to make meaningful progress and thrive in a world of change. Because we know people better than anyone else, we deliver human-centric solutions designed to drive growth for our clients and good in society. By bringing iProspect and Vizeum together we are creating a global digital-first, end-to-end media proposition. This will give our clients a scaled choice that sits alongside Carat’s brand-first approach and dentsu X’s experience-driven approach while also allowing greater access to our Creative and CXM service lines.” The new agency will now be launched through a phased market plan over a three-month period with a target completion date of 31st March 2021. This integration is a proof-point of dentsu international’s strategy to simplify how it operates to deliver even greater agility and flexibility for clients through a more focused portfolio of six leadership brands. 0

3 mins read

Optimisation of Checkout Flow on the Mobile

Optimisation of Checkout Flow on the Mobile

Want to improve your website's checkout flow on your mobile in order to increase your conversions? 9 out of 10 Danish webshops miss sales.   By focusing more on your users' experience through the flow, it is possible. In this blog post, you will get some pointers on what a good user experience (UX) is on mobile and how you can improve your checkout flow on mobile with a focus on UX.   What is good UX on mobile - and what is not? There are several different definitions of what good UX is. However, the core definition centers around meeting the specific needs of users in specific contexts. By focusing on mobile, you will also be ready for Mobile-First indexing.   When we talk about good UX for mobile, there are some best practices that are an important part of the design process, such as: ·       Prioritise the user ·       Make the navigation intuitive ·       Focus on the user's goals ·       Make the user’s tasks easy to do ·       Build speed into the UX ·       Give feedback to the user ·       Minimise the amount of extra information ·       Layout the design according to the user's hand (see image below)       By having these best practices in mind, you can create a better user experience for users who either visit your home page via mobile or app. Remember that the future of search is about one overall user experience.   How do I create a better checkout flow? Buy-ready users often leave the checkout flow because they experience some form of frustration during the buying process, giving them a poor user experience. Below are some best practices for how you can minimise the users’ feeling of frustration in the checkout flow and thereby give them a better user experience. Getting started with conversion optimization is easy.   Visualise the curve It should be easy and clear for the user to understand and control what is in his/her basket. A rule of thumb is that the user must have clarity about the product, which includes product images and information, such as price and delivery costs. In addition, the user should have the feeling of control when it comes to making changes to the curve. Therefore, the user must be able to update the number, colors, size, etc. as well as remove products from the basket.   Save for later The Save for later feature can be an important factor in the checkout flow, as it allows users to save a product on the page itself and come back to buy it later. Some users assume that websites or apps automatically store the information in the basket, which can create great frustration when they return and discover the basket is empty. Delivery information Filling out a long form is both time consuming and can result in errors and frustrations among users. Therefore, minimise the number of fields to make it easy and fast for users to enter their information. Another thing you can do to optimise the process here is to insert a field with the option to use shipping address as billing address. This eliminates the need for users to enter the same information twice. Auto-fill and error One of the primary purposes of auto-fill is to make it easier and faster for users to fill out a form. At the same time, auto-fill reduces the risk of user error which creates a better user experience. There are several different types of auto-fill options, such as filling in delivery information or finding an address by entering a postcode. Should it happen that a user enters information that contains an error, it is important that the user receives feedback on this. This could be, for example, if the user has entered his telephone number with a 7 or 9 number instead of 8. Then it must be clear in the form where the error is, so that the user can easily and quickly correct the error. The feedback that helps the user detect the error provides a better experience as the user can quickly and easily locate and correct the error. Order overview In the order overview, it is important that the structure of the information is organised in a way that will help streamline the users' checkout. Therefore, the shipping address should be at the top where users have the option to change it. Then the number of products and their details should be displayed to avoid the user going back in the process to make sure that they are the right products. Discounts, delivery costs, VAT and the total price should also be included in the order overview. This way, you avoid an unexpected cost for users later in the process, which prevents them from converting. Payment methods For many users, entering card information on their mobile phone can be cross-border and time consuming. Therefore, you can create a better user experience by offering different payment methods - including the ability to use MobilePay. That way, users avoid entering card information, and some users perceive the method as more secure compared to entering it directly on the website. Another way to create a great user experience is by displaying security and verification images in the payment step. It gives users a sense of confidence and security in the checkout flow.     Purchase confirmation Last but not least, a purchase confirmation contributes to a good user experience, as users now know that the transaction has been completed and a confirmation email has been sent. There are several elements you can consider including in the purchase confirmation to create an even better user experience. For example, you might add an image or illustration that clearly shows the purchase has been completed. Here, users get a sense of a successful checkout process and confirmation  they completed their goal, namely, to buy a product. How do I know if it works? As mentioned earlier, good UX is characterised by meeting the specific needs of the users in specific contexts. The optimizations that are meet your users’ needs and work for your business may not work for another business and their users. It is important to be clear about what your optimizations should improve. The easiest way to do this is to set up different KPIs. With a KPI framework, you always have an overview of what to measure and how it goes. Although the previous sections provide examples of best practices in UX optimization of a checkout flow on mobile, it is not possible to know in advance whether the optimizations you make on your website or app will work with your users. Therefore, it will be important to perform A / B split tests of the optimizations before they are implemented. Here, the different versions are tested against each other, making it possible for you to find out whether the optimizations perform in your checkout flow or not before they are implemented. You should never implement anything without testing it first.   Need help getting started?   You are always welcome to contact us if you want to hear more about how we can help you optimise your checkout flow and UX. We are happy to help you get started, so that together we can create a digital success that drives business performance. 0

6 mins read

TikTok's Uncertain Fate Paves Way for Instagram Reels, As Triller Climbs To No. 1 In App Store

TikTok's Uncertain Fate Paves Way for Instagram Reels, As Triller Climbs To No. 1 In App Store

With the future and fate of TikTok remaining unclear, Instagram Reels and Triller are taking center stage in the short-form category.

9 mins read

Enhance Customer Engagement with Voice

Enhance Customer Engagement with Voice

Welcome back to this two-part blog series focusing on all things Voice. ICYMI, part one covered the top 6 lowest hanging fruits to make your website content Voice Search ready. In part one, we learned that winning Position 0 is critical to gain Voice Search visibility. However, conversational AI technologies and voice user interfaces (AKA: Voice-based applications) offer opportunities for brands to engage with consumers beyond the search engine results page.  When we take a step back to look at the evolution of media consumption it becomes clear that consumer behaviour and purchasing habits have shifted following the succession of technological revolutions. With the rise of the Internet of Things and Smart Devices, interactivity has become the new standard. We went from passive mediums such as print, radio, and TV to user-generated content, to customer-initiated communication with mobile and tablets.  As a result, simply producing a piece of content and hoping it reaches your target audience, is not enough. Much more must be done for brands to respond effectively to how humans and machines interact. As it stands now, Voice Search does not necessarily allow brands to measure user engagement and understand trends to improve user experience. Also, most voice answers about a specific brand come from other highly authoritative sources (ex. Yelp, Wikipedia), which are not controlled by a brand. As a result, brands risk weakening their customer experience and even losing market share to competitors who are Voice ready. That's where Voice-based applications come into play. So, What is a Voice-based Application?  A Voice-based Application or Voice App is a conversational interface designed to extend the functionality of voice-enabled devices such as smart speakers (just like screen-based apps would do on mobile). Users can interact with this easy-to-use voice-directed technology using its invocation name. A few favorite examples… H&M Home Stylist The H&M Home Stylist voice application allows users to ask questions on décor inspiration for different rooms in the house. How it works: Ask for help with a specific room Choose from a range of styles such as classic or modern Receive inspiration and mood boards based on your preferences See example products from H&M Home, along with suggestions for materials and colour schemes Mystery Oreo Mondelez turned to Alexa to promote a new Oreo flavour contest. The purpose was to boost awareness, interest and engagement with the brand as part of a two-month long “Mystery Oreo” campaign.  How it works: Users activate the voice technology with the query: “Alexa, what’s new with Oreo?”  User receives weekly flavour cues When prompted, order cookies via Amazon  Domino's Anyware As part of the Domino’s Anyware initiative, the restaurant chain launched voice-activated pizza delivery for pizza lovers. How it works: Speak to a voice device (Google, Alexa, Siri) and ask it to "Talk to Domino's" Build a new order from scratch or reorder a most recent order Integrates with Domino's Tracker Also integrates with Slack and Facebook Messenger Voice expert lives in the Domino's app to take voice orders  In my opinion, these examples prove that the best voice interactions are usually not approached as an advertisement but as an extension of the brand experience. How are Voice-based Applications Being Used by Consumers? Voice devices are everywhere. They are often in shared spaces in the house (living room, family room) such as smart speakers like Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home. They are usually on your mobile (Siri, Bixby). They are also on-the-go in your Car or Smart Watch. Voice devices are mainly used for education (asking questions to a bot), utility, and entertainment. People enjoy interacting with Voice Apps while multitasking to get things done faster (save time from not having to type) or enhance daily routines (to-do list, commute times, weather, reminders). Taking the first steps towards launching your own Voice-based Application may seem daunting without in-house expertise or a proven roadmap. When working with clients in developing an Application, we focus on 4 key considerations. Consideration no.1: Find your “Why” When thinking about how to engage with Voice, the first thing to do is identify how your brand can provide value within the voice ecosystem. The goal here is to figure out what are the top use cases for Voice Applications, understand different ways in which customers approach these cases and how it refers to your products and services. That is going to allow you to find natural connections between your brand and consumer needs. This can be done by applying a creative approach. You can begin by brainstorming and ideating with your team. You can also adopt a data-driven approach by taking an in-depth look at your internal data. Whether they are coming from a website chatbot, call transcript, or findings from a digital footprint analysis, all data is welcome. We have identified 3 ways that brands can bring value to the customer in a business setting. Product Extension: Extending the value of the product through a Voice Experience (ex. Unboxing moment, instructions on how-to put a piece of furniture together)   Content Strategy: The brand may have existing content that can be translated into an interactive experience on Voice platforms (e.g. Educational, curated lifestyle advice, tips, CSR). Customer Support: Makes any information a customer might need accessible through Voice with ease and convenience.  Once you have decided what the main focus of your app will be, you will then need to decide what phrase or invocation name will be used to activate it.  Consideration no. 2: Put the User at the Center of the Design Process If it is not easy and enjoyable to use, it is not likely to succeed. In order to design meaningful user experiences that work through voice-enabled devices, it is important to take into account how people naturally use their voice to communicate, and what they expect from a voice interaction. We recommend the following: Do not settle to a machine's limitations. Instead, be willing to stretch technology to meet user expectations. Your voice app should be able to accommodate multiple variations of the answer, rather than just requiring the question be answered precisely the way you phrase it. Think of the best way to help users and then consider the level of technical complexity required. Allow users to use natural language. All of us use slang and have unique ways of saying the same thing. So, if you know your niche audience, it is essential to adapt the speech and tone accordingly. We recommend spending some time thinking of how users will interact, what questions they will ask, and how you intend to respond. Take context into account. Not every consumer will interact with your Voice Application under the same conditions. They could be experiencing it at home or on-the go.  It is essential to adjust the experience and level of information to the user's context. Give users a good reason to come back by providing new and returning visitors with relevant information. People are most likely to go back if the content is updated regularly. Consideration no. 3: Don’t be Afraid to Iterate We are at a tipping point in the adoption of Voice Technology where an early majority of Canadians have started using Voice-activated devices. Close behind, brands, marketers and agencies are still trying to figure out what to do to attract consumer's attention. At this stage, it's important to not focus on having the perfect Voice Application from the get-go, but to have something out on the market and see how your customer base interacts with it. We recommend focusing on proven use cases and low effort implementation. The sooner you launch, the more time you will have to experiment, learn and improve your voice-based application. Consideration no. 4: Promote your Voice App There are currently over 100.000 Alexa skills and over 33,300 Google Assistant Actions available. Unlike mobile apps, when it comes to the voice ecosystem, there is no popular distribution platform to promote your voice application. This general lack of awareness about what voice-based applications can do and how to find them makes driving voice discovery and engagement a critical challenge for brands to overcome. In order to get more users, we recommend integrating Voice with existing digital & offline channels as support. Discoverability is hard in the voice assistant market. Voice experiences seem to do a better job at creating a deeper user engagement than creating awareness.  The scale is not necessarily the metric by which the success of Voice application should be measured. Looking ahead... Times are changing and search is not just about keyword rankings anymore. While optimizing on-page content for Voice Search is a good first step towards entering the Voice ecosystem, we believe there are several moments within the customer journey where the effective use of voice-enabled applications could create a game-changing shift. A smart voice-first strategy should start with putting a simple voice application out there to see how users interact with their AI assistant. Keep in mind this is a new channel for both your customers and your brand so there is lots of experimenting to be done - but the time to get started is now.   0

8 mins read

Google just became Amazon's biggest competitor

Google just became Amazon's biggest competitor

Google is reinvigorating their marketplace product Buy on Google (formerly called Shopping Actions) by removing commission fees and giving control of the brand experience back to the hands of merchants. These updates represent a direct effort to compete with Amazon and evolve Google’s online shopping experience at a time when people are shopping online more than ever due to COVID-19 closing down physical stores and altering consumer habits.   The announcement made last week highlighted several major changes. Google showcased new payment service platform partnerships with PayPal and Shopify and also expanded data feed integrations within Merchant Center. Google also passed back responsibility to brands for managing customer support, shipping, and returns. Finally, Google has even created a solution which builds feeds directly from Google’s own database.   Buy on Google will disrupt small and large retailers.  A streamlined checkout process has several highlights that are covered in a bit more detail below. 0% commission fees: This is a major change which will encourage all retailers to rethink their Buy on Google strategy.  A comparison that highlights the magnitude of this change:  Previous commission rates on Shopping Actions for apparel product categories was 12%! Updated merchant and financial requirements: The requirements to sell on Shopping Actions are now gone and Google is pulling out all the stops to remove excuses for brands to not onboard. Marketers no longer need a US bank account after linking to GMC with an approved payment service platform account (PayPal and Shopify, to start with). Barriers of entry have been removed: Google has relinquished complete control of payment transactions, managing customer support, as well as returns & shipping. Returning ownership of important brand-owned processes back to the retailer shows that Google is confident in brands meeting customer expectations for purchases made on Google Shopping. Product feed integrations: Google Merchant Center is supporting non-Google product feed uploads, by their greatest ecommerce and marketplace competitor - Amazon. Focus on supporting small businesses: Consumers will soon be able to filter and view products sold by small business merchants specifically.   What was missing in the announcement Google has been slowly rolling out new features and updates over the past several months around other organic and unpaid feed-powered listings. Retailers activating on the Buy on Google program can also opt-in at the same time to these free Google products listings called Surfaces Across Google. The same product feed powers both programs so merchants not only have commissions removed for Google’s marketplace but their catalog will now serve across multiple shopping experiences without paid media.  We predict that in the near future to see Buy on Google checkout options begin to show on organic search results, such as on the Knowledge Graph - a previously paid ad listing placement. While this experience is what we expect next, the details still follow suit on aggregating paid and free product listings to their specific ad placements across Google properties. Shopping Actions:  A solution in search of a problem...until now The Google marketplace (Shopping Actions) has struggled to burst through the bubble of mass adoption by merchants with spending the last seven years expanding and rebranding the program. The removal of commission fees is a unique value proposition and explicit advantage against marketplace rivals like Walmart and Amazon, but also a deep benefit for small businesses that started digital ecommerce on eBay and Etsy. The payment system partnerships have made up for years of minimal merchant integrations. To compensate and attempt to counter Amazon’s two million+ small businesses already selling on that marketplace, Google chose to integrate the Amazon catalog into Google Merchant Center. This has never happened in the history of Google and is unprecedented. What Google now has is a data set of product information far more robust than their own catalog. Shopify has a small business customer base of one million (and growing) on the platform which now brings a larger assortment of products, and new small businesses that have minimal reason to not now sell on Google marketplace. What does this mean for your business? Brands who have refused to launch on marketplaces like Amazon now have minimal hesitation to begin selling on Google. Nike has refused to sell on Amazon for some time due to not being able to own the customer experience. Brands should focus on evaluating their media plan and product feed strategy. This would entail identifying product lines, seasonality SKUs, and less profitable products to be specifically assigned as eligible to serve in a marketplace, organic/unpaid listings or paid campaigns. This granular setup is especially important due to limited reporting features and forecasting features within the Google Merchant Center--feature gaps which will hopefully be addressed by Google in the future. Google is placing a strategic bet on small businesses to lean into their marketplace by removing commission fees and reducing barriers to entry. These changes were driven by Google’s Bill Ready, a former PayPal executive, executive leader at Braintree & Venmo, and supporter of small business commerce for over a decade. When it comes to steering a ship such as Google marketplace in a new direction, his vision shows the understanding of how small businesses are driving the future of marketplace commerce. However, even if the primary focus of these changes appears to be small businesses, if large brands don’t take the time to review their current Google Shopping approach and leverage these new features, they will be the ones missing out on a major commerce opportunity during this coming holiday season. 0

5 mins read

How to Gain Visibility Across Voice and Conversational Search

How to Gain Visibility Across Voice and Conversational Search

The Voice revolution is here and is drastically changing how consumers are searching for information and interacting with brands. Virtual assistants have reached a 20% adoption rate in Canada and 88% of English and French speaking Canadians are reported to use voice at least once a week. As a result, Voice Search is gaining considerable momentum and is anticipated to cause a lasting change in consumer behaviour. My opinion? I think we’ll witness the most significant shift in consumer behaviour since mobile adoption. Looking at the evolution of Fortune 500 companies between 2000 and 2018, 52% of these companies missed the shift from desktop to mobile and never recovered from this technology change. Repeating the same mistake with Mobile and Voice would present significant consequences for brands.  Don’t panic. There are different ways for brands to win with Voice and Conversational Assistants. In this two-part blog series, we’ll provide tactical recommendations on how to get your brand started on the right foot. In part one, we’ll explore the top 6 lowest hanging fruit to make your website content Voice Search ready. Hey, Google! - Let’s get started No. 1: Optimize for Position 0, AKA:  the Featured Snippet Position 0  is the information search engines show at the very top of the search engine result pages (SERPs). SERP features are enhanced to draw user attention on the results page with a visually appealing, information-rich search results experience. This includes featured snippets, local pack, recipes, reviews, featured videos, video carousel, etc.   When the Conversational Assistant is asked a question, the device returns a unique response. This makes winning position 0 or the featured snippet for informational queries one of the biggest challenges with Voice Search. To increase chances of winning position 0, it is key to have content properly marked up and surfaced. To achieve this, structured data can be used for web pages, blog posts, news articles, events, how-to’s, job postings, local businesses, organizations, persons, products, recipes, and videos. This will help your content be considered for position 0 or for the People Also Ask (PPA) section. There are various ways of annotating your content with structured data including Microdata, Microformats, RFDa, Schema.org, Open Graph, and JSON-LD. However, Google recommends using JSON-LD for structured data whenever possible. No.2: Optimize Content for Long-Tail Queries and Questions Unlike typed searches, most voice searches are performed in the form of a question, using human language. Do you have enough educational and informational content? Can you repurpose existing content pieces?   To optimize for long-tail queries, it is key that you examine your existing content to identify the pieces that present the most relevant and valuable information.   Focus should be placed on long-tail keywords and conversational language. Once you have selected high potential content pieces, we recommend the following:   Create a short answer for all questions. The sentence should include 25 to 30 words. Beyond word count, it is important to be mindful of the syllable count since it will affect the time duration of the speech. Enrich your content and explore topics more in depth by integrating questions (what, where, who, when, why, how) in the title and heading of your pages. This way, users landing on your website will not only find a concise answer to their question, but also additional relevant information around that topic. No.3: Optimize for Local Search According to a Bright Local study, 58% of users perform a voice search to obtain information on businesses close to home. Therefore, local business listings play a critical role in allowing users to find your business when using a voice device. Make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across all online platforms, directories and locations. Consider submitting the website to directories such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo Local, Manta, ShowMeLocal, Hotfrog, Better Business Bureau and FourSquare.     No. 4: Optimize the Website Structure for a Seamless Mobile Experience  More often than not, Voice Search happens on mobile. Solving for Voice starts with ensuring your website and content is working properly on mobile devices. Make sure the website structure is optimized for a seamless mobile experience. Improve page speed. The page load time is the time it takes to fully display the content. In addition to being an important ranking signal, a fast page load time offers a great experience for users. Faster pages rank and convert better. Additionally, search engines have limited resources to crawl the internet, therefore a faster page load speed means an increase in the number of pages crawled. Having more pages indexed means more ranking opportunities. Consider the user experience on small screens by minimizing content, simplifying navigation, restricting user inputs, and ensuring continuity and consistency. No.5: Identify Search Intent with Data Gathering Understand how spoken commands and searches will differ from typed commands, for example: words to use, two-way interaction between a consumer and the device. The first step is to determine the intent behind voice searches.  What questions are being asked?  What keywords do we need?  Instead of relying on assumptions, we recommend using keyword tools to generate a list of questions about your industry and business. The more comprehensive the better. Perform a keyword research You can use tools such as Answer the Public, Ahrefs, Text Optimizer and SEMrush Keyword Magic. As each user is unique, there are multiple ways to say the same thing.  Identify and regroup different ways to formulate questions by expressing the same idea with alternate words. You will need to cluster questions based on the theme, persona, search intent, and/or stage of the customer journey to which they refer.   No.6: Adopt the FAQ Page Format Usually websites only have one FAQ page. This makes it difficult for search engines to assess the topic or keyword the page should primarily rank for. Creating topical resource pages will allow questions and answers to be hosted in a relevant fashion. A quick win is to have a dedicated page for each FAQ, with an optimized title, description, and h1. -- In part two of this blog series, we’ll go a step further and uncover the strategy to build a voice-based application that allows businesses to take advantage of the field of possibility the Voice Search revolution has to offer.    0

6 mins read

Online to offline: Supporting store re-openings through paid search

Online to offline: Supporting store re-openings through paid search

As we find ourselves approaching the four-month point since the national lockdown was introduced in the UK, it is interesting to consider just how much the population has adapted to the restrictions imposed; cluttered kitchen tables have transformed into office spaces, re-arranged living rooms into stay-at-home workout areas and Zoom chats have come to substitute, well, pretty much any social event that we can virtually re-imagine! In a similar way, digital platforms became almost the only way for brands to maintain engagement with their consumer base after the closure of high street stores on the 24th March. Uplifts in the number of consumers exploring e-commerce made these platforms more valuable than ever to brands, evidence of which can be seen in many cases through increased investment in digital development and advertising. Some brands adapted to these changes in consumer behaviour like ducks to water whereas others faced immediate challenges, at times attracting un-wanted media coverage in the process. Limitations of platforms came under increased scrutiny and issues at production level were exacerbated by social distancing measures, but overall, digital has stood up well in these testing times, and now provides businesses with a path for growth. Prior to stores re-opening there was a feeling of ambivalence towards the predicted number of consumers feeling comfortable enough to visit them, and concerns around how this would affect in-store performance. However so far, the signs have been positive in favour of a high-street recovery; store footfall jumped up by 38.8% on the 15th June as non-essential shops re-opened and footfall on England’s high streets specifically measured 50.5% higher than the week previous (econsultancy.com). These statistics suggest that consumer confidence hasn’t been hampered as severely as first thought, and the demand for physical stores still holds viability for brands. Nevertheless, recent events have no doubt led to a further blurring of the lines between online and offline retail, making it now an important time for brands to re-evaluate the ways in which their online activity can complement their offline strategy. The role of online activity within the consumer journey is highly regarded by many marketers, and a publication from JRNI reported that 73% of users in the UK say that they research digitally before going on to purchase in store. Bridging the gap between online and offline retail was a developing area within Google paid search long before the days of toilet roll shortages and Tiger King-mania, which began with the introduction of Google My Business to help drive footfall to stores via maps and directions. In reaction to widespread adoption and strong performance, advertisers now find themselves with an ever-increasing arsenal of technologies becoming available. One of the first Google Ads features to appear in support of physical stores was the location extension, which has since been utilised by many brands. Featuring across the Google search network, these extensions commonly appear beneath paid search ads to provide information about stores local to the user. When delivered on a mobile device they can also display a “call” button, making these extensions a particularly useful feature for businesses that rely on real-time conversations, or apprehensive shoppers wishing to check stock availability before venturing out. ‘Local campaigns’ were another evolution of Google’s online-to-offline offering when they were introduced last year, allowing advertisers to dedicate budget entirely to the pursuit of in-store footfall via paid search platforms. These campaigns use a combination of text, image and video assets to reach users across Google search platforms and give brands more power to communicate with consumers at the right time. As stores can appear to users within Google Maps without actively searching for them (in the form of a branded drop-pin), local campaigns can hold value in supporting upper funnel tactics. Figure 1: Example of a branded drop-pin and ad within Google Maps (Google) Conversion tracking is also available to advertisers that meet Google’s eligibility criteria, the requirements of which include sufficient store locations and traffic amongst other attributes. Once set in place, conversion tracking allows advertisers to see within Google Ads exactly which campaigns, keywords and devices drive the most store visits. These metrics are extremely useful in understanding return on investment and better evaluating the effectiveness of your messaging. As well as providing geographical information about store locations, Google also make it possible to integrate the availability of in-store stock via the use of local inventory ads (or LIA for short). Working in a similar way to shopping campaigns, these ad formats require the set-up of a dedicated feed into the Google Merchant Centre and give users the ability to browse products local to them within a Google-hosted virtual shop called the ‘Local Storefront’. With a reported 50% of shoppers globally checking online before considering an in-store purchase (Google), this feature holds a great advantage for brands looking to create synergy between their online-to-offline shopping experience and provide a seamless user journey. Figure 2: Example of LIA on a mobile device (Google) Aside from the many inherent benefits they offer to consumers including added convenience and avoidance of delivery charges, click and collect services have provided an attractive prospect for brands wanting to turn online traffic into physical store visits for several years. The availability of click and collect through Google as an accompaniment to LIA now means that more and more brands can implement this tactic as a part of their online-to-offline strategy. The features covered in this blog are only a handful within Google’s current repertoire, and the tech giant have made no secret of their plans to expand this area of paid search significantly over the coming months. With so many options available for brands looking to bolster their online-to-offline strategy, understanding how each can support your business objectives is conducive to a successful strategy. Just like many marketing exercises, testing offline campaigns in unison with your existing digital activity is the best way to gauge their impact upon your performance. Starting out with a small, focused strategy around a few stores before slowly scaling up can be a good way to gain valuable insights without spending a fortune. Early adoption within fast-developing areas such as online-to-offline can often hold advantage for brands willing to dip their toes in the water. It could also prove instrumental in building consumer relationships and driving performance within a post-Covid world.   This article was written by Rick Hewitt. Rick is a Paid Search Executive with over two years’ experience at iProspect and a prior background within the advertising and marketing industry. His current role specialises in the planning and activation of paid search strategies for an international fashion brand across EMEA markets. 0

6 mins read

Brands for Good

Brands for Good

At Dentsu Aegis Network we are proud to be a member and founding partner of SB Brands for Good+, which mission is to make sustainable living easier and more rewarding for people around the world. We, along our members, work with experts on the leading edge of sustainability, innovation and marketing to harness our mission’s reach, resources and influence to make the “good life” more attractive and attainable at scale.    We joined because we believe this is more than the “right thing” to do. Consumerswill follow and reward the brands who lead with more delightful products and experiences, more meaningful relationships and more measurable actions that help them live better today and create a more sustainable future for all. In 2019, our iProspect Chile office, along with B&W Communications and George Films went to Cannes Lions to find others that share the passion of SB Brands for Good+, finding exemplary people, work, and organizations that are doing just that: building brands for good.  We invite you to watch the first ever Chilean documentary of Cannes Lions focused on what matters: Brands focused on genuinely making this a better world.     0

1 mins read

Google Ads 2020 Product & Feature Announcements: “Be Helpful”

Google Ads 2020 Product & Feature Announcements: “Be Helpful”

The bad news:  Google Marketing Live, Google’s premier digital marketing summit, isn’t happening this year.   The good news: While we won’t personally experience the incredible coordination and thoughtful details that elevate every Google event, the evolution of Google Ads has not slowed one bit. This week Google announced several new marketing tools and features designed specifically to help small businesses respond to the challenges of the global pandemic. This week's update is the first in a series of product announcements, interviews, and virtual roundtables Google will feature throughout the coming weeks. From annual event to ongoing content Google’s annual marketing event has gone by  multiple names  over the past seven years (I still have an “AdWords Performance Forum” power bank from 2013), but until 2020 it has always been an in-person event. After a livestreamed opening keynote filled with the biggest announcements, the doors were closed and attendees had a wealth of opportunities to learn from and provide feedback to the Googlers designing and building the future of Google Ads. Like every other company, Google has pivoted for 2020. Rather than try to condense and virtually recreate the experience of a live multi-day event, Google will instead share inspirational and educational content on an ongoing cadence throughout the coming weeks and months. Google has some extremely exciting advertising product announcements planned, but rather than drop them all at once these features will be unveiled in a phased approach over the next three months. A new video interview series called “The Update” will launch on Think with Google, featuring industry leaders. New episodes will be released weekly. Feedback sessions are my favorite part of any Google event, so I was very pleased that Google will recreate this specific element of Google Marketing Live virtually, connecting marketers with product managers in a series of virtual roundtable sessions. In Google’s words: “The crisis accelerated the use of technology, and technology will accelerate our path out of the crisis and play a vital role in our economic recovery.” The new features announced today (and those that will be announced in future weeks) leverage Google’s massive data and unparalleled reach to provide tangible tools that businesses of all sizes will find helpful. Today’s product announcements: Helping both consumers and businesses In 2019 Google grouped their product announcements under three themes: “Be There,” “Be Useful,” “Be Responsible.” This year there is one simple, overarching theme: “Be Helpful.”  Two of today’s announcements are brand new tools which tap into Google data to provide insights that businesses (particularly small businesses) can leverage to improve their digital presence.  It’s always a good idea to learn from the competition, and the Grow My Store tool provides a personalized benchmark showing exactly how a brand’s digital experience compares to the top players in their industry.  Another new tool, the Local Opportunity Finder, offers on-demand personalized tips to improve a company’s Business Profile on Google My Business. Both of these tools represent a move by Google toward providing more transparency across their entire suite of products and opening up their data to provide powerful insight.  These tools are initially only available in the U.S. only.   Small businesses outside of the U.S. should plan to test Smart Campaigns, which are now rolling out globally to 150 countries. First launched two years ago, Smart Campaigns are built on the old AdWords Express foundation and drastically lower the barrier to entry for advertisers who want to leverage Google but don’t have the bandwidth to debate the finer nuances of esoteric topics like “Top of page rate” vs “Absolute top of page rate.” As an added bonus, advertisers leveraging Smart Campaigns will also be eligible to utilize Promoted Pins on Google Maps for free through the end of September. Two other new features are aimed at helping consumers connect with businesses, and highlight how effectively Google cross-applies effective solutions across different contexts. Taking a cue from Purchases on Google, Local Service Ads are getting a new “schedule” button that lets customers book directly from the ad. The consumer-facing Local Services mobile site is also getting a new look and feel.  The overarching focus is around helping consumers manage their interaction with these services over time, reminiscent of the helpful reminders I see when looking for hotel rooms in a city I’ve visited before (e.g., “You stayed here three months ago.”). Google is also providing more options for businesses to manage timely local information such as curbside pickup or in-store inventory. This data will be shown in local store organic units which will pull information from a variety of sources, such as Local Inventory Ads feeds and Google My Business listings, giving store owners more ways to update their information.   More announcements coming soon These are only the first few initial announcements from Google, with many more to come throughout the upcoming weeks and months.  Make time today to check out the first episode of “The Update,” and look for ongoing perspectives on upcoming announcements as they happen from iProspect’s team of experts. 0

5 mins read

Marketers Accelerate on Content Commerce and CRM in the Midst of the COVID Crisis

Marketers Accelerate on Content Commerce and CRM in the Midst of the COVID Crisis

Before the COVID-19 crisis, Dentsu Aegis Network's survey of 1,000 CMOs found that 79% believed they must transform, not just optimise, their businesses through digital technologies. A new report by Dentsu Aegis Network, The Reality of Recovery: A Post COVID-19 World, based on the responses of 700+ clients across 36 markets, shows that if we are to derive one truth from the current events, it is that the pandemic accelerates brands’ transformation, especially regarding their digital capabilities.     1.  Content is king in times of crisis, and investment in content is likely to stick    When the crisis amplified and lockdown measures spread, many brands made theirs the ‘First, do no harm’ adage, by quickly adapting their content to not appear out of touch with the current events. More than half (55%) of respondents have adapted their creatives and content to respond to the consequences of the pandemic. It is by far the measure the most frequently taken by marketers (it ranks #1 across all regions), and 50% declare they will need to invest more in content over the long term.     What does it mean for brands?        To generate a consistent consumer response, brands must have a clear understanding of the content created across the organisation, even when it is not under the direct responsibility of the marketing department. The buck doesn’t stop with rolling out an emotional hero TV commercial, and brands should not neglect the other types of content that serve consumers from either an emotional, informational or transactional perspective. A successful content strategy encompasses many facets such as delivering accurate information about logistics (e.g., up-to-date store hours in maps), temporary customer practices (e.g., clear return policies), product information (e.g., stock levels in search ads), etc. Making sure the content is consistent from the first interaction to the product page is fundamental.    In the midst of the pandemic, brands should consider the following when reviewing their content strategy:    Culture and process: How resilient is the creative process in the new ways of working? While working from home can provide more focus to creative teams, how does the organisation compensate for the missing energy of the office?  Content optimisation: How is the existing content optimised for performance? Is the information easily accessible when people go to search engines or land on the brand’s website? SEO, UX and CRO should not be afterthoughts.   Technology: Is the business equipped to update content fast while minimising the risk of mistakes? Solutions like Product Information Management platforms can help brands centralise information so that each environment can be updated at once.  2.  The pandemic acts as an e-commerce catalyst    It is clear the current crisis will accelerate the adoption of e-commerce, both in terms of consumer usage and in terms of investment from brands. A third of respondents (33%) have already expanded their e-commerce presence amid the crisis. The push for e-commerce has been particularly strong for offline-driven businesses (37% vs. 17% for online-driven businesses) and for industries relying heavily on retailers (49% of FMCG and 53% of F&B respondents expanded their e-commerce presence) in an attempt to partially offset their lost offline sales. As many people still don’t feel comfortable leaving home (e.g., 48% in the US according to the Dentsu Crisis Navigator) and are still relying on online channels for their daily purchases (e.g., +74% online demand YOY for fashion collections in the NL according to iProspect), this e-commerce arms race shows no signs of slowing down in the immediate future. It should also continue beyond the pandemic, with six respondents out of ten (59%) declaring they need to invest in their e-commerce capabilities on the long term.         What does it mean for brands?  Growing online sales to be both profitable on the short term and viable on the long term is no easy feat. What worked for traditional retail isn’t guaranteed to work online, and the volume of parameters to consider, from logistics and technical infrastructure to advertising and customer support, can be overwhelming for brands, especially for the ones playing catch up. How can we make the most of marketplaces in a limited time? How can we quickly optimise our existing tech stack to optimise sales? How can feed management provide flexibility to adapt media efforts to real-time inventory? All these questions are all the more difficult when the company doesn’t have e-commerce specialists among its ranks.     In 2019, we introduced the Commerce Success Framework (CSF) to help marketers drive their commerce strategy across four key areas: Availability, Findability, Buyability and Repeatability. In these challenging times, the CSF can provide marketers with a useful lens to prioritise the key actions necessary to build or maintain a robust commerce presence.       3.  The pressure to get closer to customers has increased    With media budgets under pressure, many marketers have paid particular attention to their existing customers: 32% of respondents increased their CRM activity, and 45% believe they will need to invest in CRM long term. Online-driven businesses, which typically have more direct relationships with their consumers, have been leveraging CRM more than their offline-driven counterparts. We can see clear differences between categories with stronger CRM programmes and the ones that don’t have access to a lot of customer data due to intermediation: while more than 40% of respondents in the Finance & Insurance, Travel & Tourism and Automotive categories have increased their CRM activity, only around 20% in the FMCG and F&B categories have done so. This deficit in direct access to customers is not news for categories depending on retailers, and many have started Direct-To-Consumer initiatives and tried new models (e.g., subscriptions) over the last few years to regain control over customer relationships (and data). By shutting down many points of sale, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed remaining disparities in CRM maturity.    What does it mean for brands?    Upgrading CRM capabilities is not an investment that proves useful only in times of crisis, it is a winning strategy in the long term. New depth of customer data can help the product development team adapt the product portfolio to address emerging consumer needs. It can help marketing and creative teams tap into new insights to build messages more aligned with customer priorities. It can be leveraged to build new services (e.g., customer frequent questions can help build a simple support chatbot in a few hours). First-party data can also power media targeting and help customer acquisition (e.g., modelling of similar audiences), and becomes all the more important as browsers are cracking down on third-party cookies and as legislators around the world are promoting more restrictive policies around data practices. All these applications for CRM enable stronger customer experiences, which are critical in a period where big life changes push consumers to reconsider their routines and purchase habits.    It is particularly important for brands to have a clear strategy according to the engagement levels of their clients, and to avoid alienating customers and draining their existing customer base. Too many brands fell into the trap of suddenly mass emailing every single person who bought their products once, taking the risk of appearing opportunistic and damaging customer relationship. Additionally, brands need to have the technical infrastructure in place to support their long-term CRM ambition, and should avoid panic buying oversized solutions that are not be adaptable to their future growth needs or are inconsistent with their data strategy.    Download your copy of the The Reality of Recovery: A Post COVID-19 World report today.    0

7 mins read

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