Dont Be Blinded By The Ad Strength An Experiment On The Impact Of Ad Strength

Dont Be Blinded By The Ad Strength An Experiment On The Impact Of Ad Strength

Now that Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) have become the default ad type, ad strength is becoming more important. Therefore, we set up an experiment to understand the influence of this metric on performance. Surprisingly, the results revealed that ad strength is actually less important than you might think.  No correlation between quality score and ad strength At first, we investigated if there is a correlation between quality score and ad strength by comparing those two metrics among 5.000 ad groups. The results reveal that there is no correlation. Correlation -0,02 (+300.00 clicks) The experiment We wanted to do a more thorough experiment to further investigate what the impact is of ad strength on performance. To do this, we set up a drafts and experiment for Albert Heijn, a big Dutch retail client, in which we manipulated the ad strength. How did we manipulate the ad strength? To tweak ad strength and discover the possible differences in performance, we made use of pinning and unpinning headlines and descriptions. In the control group, we pinned all headlines and descriptions which resulted in good ad strength. In the experiment, all the headlines and descriptions were unpinned which resulted in excellent ad strength.  How did we limit the influence of external factors? To get a solid and clean experiment, and to make sure the only thing that could affect the outcome was ad strength, all conditions were kept the same such as: - Fixed bids - Equal keyword scope - Same extensions - Same content of the RSAs - No ETAs - Distribution of impressions: the data was cleaned by removing ad groups where the difference in impressions between the control and experimental group were >+10% The results Finding 1: a higher ad strength doesn’t mean better performance (!)  For us this came as a big surprise, as we thought that a higher ad strength would indicate higher quality ads and thus better performance. However, we saw that an excellent ad strength showed a lower click-through-rate (CTR), a lower conversion rate and a lower quality score compared to a good ad strength.  Results experiment Possible explanation for finding 1 What we’ve experienced in the past is that unpinning is a really important factor for Google to determine the ad strength. Google states that by unpinning, different combinations can be tested which will potentially increase performance. However, we think this will also lead to less relevant combinations which will negatively influence performance. This is supported by the fact that in our experiment the lower quality score was mostly a result of the ad relevance (92%) and the expected CTR (8%). So, unpinning does lead to a higher ad strength, but the less relevant combinations ultimately lead to a lower CTR, conversion rate and quality score.  Finding 2: time did not positively contribute to better performance Even though Google will also test less relevant combinations, we expected it would learn from the less relevant combinations causing the quality score to improve over time. However, further analysis showed that this was not the case.  Quality score over time Next steps Don’t be blinded by the ad strength! A higher ad strength doesn’t mean: better CTR, better conversion rate or better quality score. Keep the focus on performance, even though it might mean pinning your headlines and descriptions and therefore having a lower ad strength.  Keep in mind that RSAs and ad strength are still in development, so the results we presented might be different in one or two years. For this reason, we recommend to not only conduct a similar experiment yourself, but to also leave this experiment running so you can keep a close eye on the impact of the ad strength.   This article is published on July 15th, 2021 on PPC Hero. 0

4 mins read

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 Acceleratedreport 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) Content 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. Content 0

3 mins read

Women in Tech Festival

Women in Tech Festival

Hanna and Anastasia joined the Women in Tech Festival in mid-November. We wanted to know why the ladies are so interested in this topic and what they took back from the conference. Introduce yourselves, who are you? Anastasia: Hi, I am Anastasia, 24 years old, moved to the Netherlands around 3 years ago from Moscow, Russia. I am now working at iProspect as a Technical Product Owner and a Software Developer. Ever since I was a little girl my dad has always challenged me to understand how things work from the very beginning. He taught me to be curious and to never give up. I remember being around 10 years old, sitting underneath a desk with my dad next to a computer case. He was explaining to me how every part was connected and what it was responsible for. This has really developed my analytical and logical thinking and brought me into studying business informatics. I have now been working in tech for over 5 years. Hanna: Hi, I am Hanna, 24 years old. I moved to Amsterdam from Belarus in April to join iProspect as a Software Engineer. Love of mathematics led me to a technical university, where I began my professional development in software engineering.  I have been working in tech for 5 years.  Why did you want to join this conference? Hanna: My interest in the “Women in tech” topic started to grow many years ago. In my university 90% of the students were guys. I was observing that I had to put much more effort into learning and even wanted to quit the studies. Now I’m so glad I didn’t have the courage for that! The next challenging period was when I started to work. I was the only girl in the team. My male colleagues were good professionals and the knowledge I received while working with them was really valuable. But at the same time, I had to face disrespect and mistrust towards me because I was a girl. As a result, I got lots of questions about self-confidence, team work, further career growth, networking and life balance.  Luckily, I found out that even in Belarus we had “Women in tech” community and moreover they were launching the first mentoring program for young women. I was selected as a mentee and had 3 months full of workshops, networking, communication and support. At that moment I felt the importance of having more experienced women next to me, whose life motivated me to move forward.  Now, after a year since that moment, living in the Netherlands and working from home, I started to feel a bit lost and depressed with all the COVID restrictions. To meet new women online and get inspired by their career and life was my motivation. And it was amazing to notice how my mood and mindset were changing with every wonderful speaker at the conference! Which sessions were the most exciting? Anastasia: The whole conference was very inspiring and motivating. Despite the “new normal” and online format of the festival, everything was perfectly arranged and even made it easier to connect with other attendees and reach out to speakers with questions. My personal top 3 sessions were: Being Agile vs Doing Agile: An Exploratory Introduction (Ruth-Louise Scholefield, Senior Agile Delivery Lead, Kin + Carta Create) In our team at iProspect we follow Agile & Scrum methodologies, so I was very curious to learn if we could further improve our ways of working together. During the session speakers explained that to be Agile it is not enough to just adopt and surround yourself with existing practices and tools but living its values and principles, having a mindset of continuous learning and improvement is something that is a very important part of it. The key take always and examples of being Agile would be: Do not use same tools and approaches for all problems and projects but rather apply right tools, right job at the right time; Regularly reflect on self and share\receive feedback not only during retrospectives, make it less formal; Encourage the whole team accountability, focus on quality and trust that team does the work to its best. It’s OKAY to cry! (Alison Tierney, GVP, EMEA, Snowflake) At the moment our tech team at iProspect has almost 50/50 women and men. However, in tech industry it happens quite often that women representation is very small. This is usually associated with difficulties of finding “common language” with your pears and fears of showing emotion for women. The speaker told a very inspiring story about her own experience working in a male dominated culture, and eventually even bursting into tears after a very stressful period of her life at a meeting. She stressed the importance of not being afraid to stay your true self, and to always remember that the way you think others perceive you is not always what they would actually think. Why Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone Will Get You Ahead (Sope Agbelusi, Managing Director, Mindset Shift) In order to move forward in life, develop yourself and simply be happy it is very important to learn how step out of your comfort zone. The speaker has mentioned that, statistically speaking, most people operate most of their life in the comfort zone. The whole process could be divided into these four sequential areas: Comfort Zone – where you feel safe and can control the situation; Fear Zone – where you seek excuses, sometimes do not have confidence or are affected by others opinion; Learning Zone – where you start extending your comfort zone and acquiring new skills; Growth Zone – where you can live your dreams, be happy, set new goals and objectives, find purpose. It is important to learn not to step from Fear back into Comfort Zone but rather accept opportunities and situations, even if they scare you, and move forward into Learning and Growth Zone. What were the most interesting ideas or tips you heard from speakers? Hanna: Firstly, I wrote down the quotes and tips for young women provided by each speaker. I am going to create a collage and put it on the wall to remind myself of simple and important facts such as “Be authentic”, “Embrace yourself”, “Go for the opportunities life is offering you”, “Seeing a problem as an opportunity”, “It is normal to cry releasing emotions” etc. Secondly, many women noticed the importance of reflection. And my way to do it is writing a diary. A year ago it was not so often that I wrote something down and now I do it almost every day. It helps to free your brain from random thoughts and to analyse your worries and goals. Moreover, it is quite interesting to read “the story of your life” afterwards. Also one of the speakers proposed to have the page with your achievements and I will definitely do that. It might help to revise your successful moments and return back the confidence at the moments of sadness. I think it will also help in writing your annual self-review at work :) Thirdly, there was a really nice approach on how to deal with imposter syndrome that I want to try. The steps are the following: 1. Picture your imposter syndrome 2. Put it in the box 3. Close the box 4. And put it into the closet.  While doing this just focus on something that has to be done.  And add “Worry time” to your daily/weekly schedule to reflect on your worries :) Tips for other girls that want to become a techy? Anastasia: With so many technologies and platforms, it is extremely easy to learn and acquire new skills every day. In tech industry it is essential to continue learning and developing yourself every day. However, it is also very important to filter out information that is misleading and incorrect. Always make sure that the resource you are using is trustworthy. What I find very important to move forward in your career is to: always be prepared and make sure that you understand the topic very well but never be afraid to admit that you do not know something. This way your team can not only better estimate, plan their work and achieve goals, but also there are created better opportunities for you to learn and get support from more senior peers. Hanna: Looking back at my 5 years’ experience I would say that most important is to find work and life balance. Just find some enjoyable activities/hobbies that can help you to change the focus and relax. Of course, you will have to study and work hard to be a competitive specialist but remember - work hard play hard.  Another advice is don’t be afraid to ask “stupid” questions. No one will judge you as everybody at some point in the past was in your shoes. You will definitely find people who are ready to help you not to get lost in such a changing industry. So don’t be afraid to meet new people either. 0

8 mins read

Automated campaigns with Pinterest together with Albert Heijn

Automated campaigns with Pinterest together with Albert Heijn

“Innovation is an important part of the collaboration between Albert Heijn and Dentsu, ever since we started with this collaboration in the end of 2018. With Social Advertising specialists of Albert Heijn and Dentsu we are constantly looking for new ways and opportunities to be there for Albert Heijn’s customers: innovating and automating advertising improve customer experience while making the process more efficient.   After automating Albert Heijn’s weekly offers on Facebook and Instagram with the help of Smartly.io’s Digital Circular – solution, we spotted the opportunity to be the first in Europe to push the same approach on Pinterest. Pinterest facilitates the ability to reach people who are already in a “cooking” mindset; actively looking for recipes or where to buy these products.    Moreover, KANTAR analyses proved Pinterest to be a valuable platform for Allerhande, one of Albert Heijn’s sub brands. Together with Dentsu, Albert Heijn emphasizes the importance of Allerhande advertising contributing to the Albert Heijn brand. Hence, combining both Allerhande recipes with Albert Heijn offerings in social ads would be a perfect solution; especially serving it on a platform such as Pinterest where the audience has the right mindset.     With Smartly.io’s Digital Circulars for Pinterest, we were able to create automated campaigns showing Allerhande recipes and Albert Heijn’s product suggestions. Combining these recipes with the right offerings in a visually appealing way. We are excited to pioneer this solution in Europe together with Smartly.io and look forward on innovating this format further. First results already show 75% higher click-through rates than industry benchmarks generating nearly 50% new users on the website.“   Automated campaigns with Pinterest together with Albert Heijn 0

2 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

News

Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

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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

Search automation Whitepaper 2020

Search automation Whitepaper 2020

The landscape of Paid Search has changed forever in recent years. Automation and machine learning are essential drivers of this change. In this whitepaper, experts, including our PPC strategist Marcel Smal, explain practically how you can integrate automation into the entire Paid Search strategy. They discuss the automation of manual processes (such as campaign creation, bid management, and quality controls) and how you get the most out of automation by activating your own data.  Download the whitepaper. Search automation whitepaper 2020 0

1 mins read

How to Achieve Your Podcasts Goals in 2020

How to Achieve Your Podcasts Goals in 2020

Podcasts are increasing in popularity. This highly consumed medium requires low effort to engage with, is mobile friendly and has many on-the-go listeners and watchers! Find out what podcasts can do for your business and start today. Contact your SEO consultant for more information.  Download here. How to Achieve you Podcast Goals in 2020 0

1 mins read

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