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DIGITAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS
How Marketers Can Respond
to Price Concerns
Consumers are feeling price conscious after months of historic inflation and a looming recession that some say the US has already entered. What exactly are consumers feeling, and how are marketers to respond?
Ted Rogers, chief revenue officer at Digital River, checked in with Street Fight to share results from the company’s latest consumer survey.
Digital River’s research shows that consumers are feeling price-conscious given inflation.
Sixty-four percent say they want help from retailers to deal with inflation. How should retailers respond?
It’s difficult to say in definitive terms how retailers can help ease the inflationary burden on customers, especially when they’re also affected.
A good start is to offer a variety of shipping options, from free to expedited, with transparent pricing and no surprise feeds on delivery.
Offering flexible payment options like buy now, pay later could be an olive branch, but shoppers should also be wary of the debt risks that can be associated with these services
Fifty-four percent of consumers say they’ll be shopping online more.
What does this suggest about the stability of the post-COVID ascent of ecommerce?
The fact is, while ecommerce has seen exponential growth since it first burst onto the scene, the pandemic turned it from an occasional habit to an everyday practice.
The rumored recession will be a litmus test for the space it occupies in an unstable economy, but new habits aren’t easily broken. Consumers know that they can reliably and conveniently buy essential products online, and a recession may not change that.
Thirty-eight percent of consumers say they’ll spend less on Christmas this year. Two-thirds are reducing spending on non-essential items.
How can retailers encourage consumers to choose them during the holiday season?
In times like these when the state of the economy is in flux, consumers will naturally be more selective in their shopping decisions and rein in unnecessary spending. That means that consumer attention, to an even greater degree, will need to be earned.
The ecommerce stores that find the most success in tough times need more than just quality products; they need to deliver an experience that removes stress from the purchasing equation instead of adding it.
Secure checkouts, a variety of payment and shipping options, and agreeable storefronts are all necessities, but those that can master the nuances of selling online will set themselves apart in a competitive market.
How do pricing and messaging complement each other as marketing tactics to drive gains during a recession?
Pricing and messaging are individual variables in the larger marketing equation, and dissonance between the two could scare customers off.
If a brand needs to make a price hike, transparency is the best policy, as it demonstrates an effort to foster customer understanding.
How Netflix’s Entry into Advertising Will Shape the Future of TV Marketing
Netflix’s imminent dive into the world of advertising will initiate the video advertising industry’s biggest event since the rise of TikTok.
Curt Larson, chief product officer at omnichannel supply side platform Sharethrough, believes Netflix will push the whole TV ad industry forward.
Here’s my conversation with Larson on Netflix’s move and the future of TV advertising.
You see Netflix’s entry into advertising as having broad implications for the TV advertising industry.
Netflix’s entry intro advertising will impact the TV advertising industry for a variety of reasons. So far, CTV has adopted the same design paradigm as linear TV when it comes to ads by continuing to show interruptive 15 and 30 second ad breaks that display full- screen, advertiser content.
This ignores the innovation that a digitally connected smart device makes possible in terms of displaying creative, new ad formats.
Netflix has a massive opportunity to experiment with new ad formats at scale and from that scale potentially push new ad formats into the entire ecosystem.
So, if advertisers start creating assets designed for new contexts, they will have those assets available to run on other services besides Netflix.
As interruptive ad breaks have become widely used, consumers are not paying attention or interacting with currents ads. Better ad experiences can drive platform adoption and in turn accelerate innovation on all platforms.
What are some of the innovative ways advertisers can make TV ads more effective?
Given the success Netflix has seen with its recommendation algorithms, we’ll likely see it extend that approach to its rollout of ads.
Interruptive ads can be jarring and increase the likelihood that viewers will check their phones or grab a snack during commercial breaks.
By ensuring the ad is relevant to the content they are already watching and displaying ads on a small portion of the screen while a show or movie is playing, Netflix will be able to keep users engaged during a time when they’d typically become distracted.
Additionally, there’s an opportunity to take advantage of secondary experiences, such as channel guides, pause screens, and screen savers, which are mostly untapped for ad inventory and are also non-interruptive.
How crucial is interactivity to the future of TV advertising?
For now, interactivity will remain a small part of the overall ad experience due to the inherent, passive experience of watching TV.
That said, interactivity will be extremely significant to the future of TV advertising, especially as consumers become even more accustomed to the personalized nature of their social media feeds, where the content is always fresh, a thumb-scroll away, and underpinned by their social networks.
Innovations in the past couple of years have made great progress with enhancing interactions consumers have with ads. For example, QR codes allow consumers to engage when they’re interested in a brand or product, and they bridge the critical TV-to- phone divide. Other technologies need to focus more on the TV-to-phone divide for interactivity, and one possible step to breaking that divide would be to push an alert to a user’s phone if the user clicks OK for a particular ad with their TV remote.
Most streaming services, like Netflix, have a phone app to stream their programs already, so the app could be utilized to push alerts after ads come up.
Godfrey recommends that brands do their best to “unlearn” the traditional advertising techniques they’ve used until now. Once that is done, they should aim to embrace more advanced CTV advertising techniques that adopt a similar kind of agility as their social marketing strategies — real-time stories that are agile, nimble, and highly-responsive to external events as they happen.
“I see the days of ‘one ad fits all’ being a thing of the past and replaced by a future where every viewer is having a unique and compelling story delivered to their living room,” Godfrey says. “The future of CTV advertising will offer brands a degree of agility so acute that their message can literally change with the weather.”
Do you see developments like this transforming TV into more of a performance channel?
Innovations that bridge the TV-to-phone divide like QR codes and phone alerts can make inroads to TV becoming more of a performance channel in the future. However, it will take time to shift the consumer mindset away from the traditional lean-back, passive experience.
That said, demand is strong for branding, and TV ads are likely to stay more branding- focused, but the interactivity within those ads can make progress toward transforming TV into more of a performance channel.
WE HAVE NEW TEAM MEMBERS!
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I have worked in the sales and marketing field for more than six years, and have experience working with clients from various industries such as health and fitness, neuroscience, education and more.
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Social Apps Are Creating a New UX for Local
In July at the Brainstorm Tech conference hosted by Fortune, Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan let slip a statistic that made the tech press sit up and take notice. Internal research at Google suggests, according to Raghavan, that some 40% of people aged 18 to 24 prefer TikTok or Instagram to Google Search and Maps “when they’re looking for a place for lunch.” In other words, local search, according to Google, has already largely gone social with the youngest cohort of adult consumers.
My own thoughts in response to this news closely mirrored those of Rand Fishkin, who posted on Twitter, “Young people — help me out here. How do you search for good lunch spots near your location on Instagram? Or TikTok? When I try searches like that on those platforms, the results are terrible.”
The discussion thread Fishkin kicked off with this tweet was fascinating. One respondent, Rich Bradley, quoted “one of the Gen Zs on my team”: “I would say it definitely works better for big cities / popular locations (if I searched for lunch spots in my hometown in Connecticut, I probably wouldn’t get much). But for NYC in particular you can get results down to the neighborhood.”
I decided to try this myself and was surprised to discover that there was a decent set of results on TikTok when I searched for “restaurants in San Luis Obispo”
— my midsized hometown in California.
Posted videos included “Restaurants in San Luis Obispo Perfect for Date Night Part 1,” “Welcome to the Pinkest Restaurant in California” (a video profile of the locally famous Madonna Inn), and “What I Ate in San Luis Obispo.”
Engaging video footage of dishes, ambience, room decor, and local settings such as the pier at Pismo Beach were typically complemented by a soundtrack, short captions, and sometimes voiceover commentary. The typical video lasted 10 to 20 seconds.
“Restaurants San Luis Obispo” on TikTok
The TikTok experience offers a strong contrast to traditional local search. Google Search and Maps convey information first, and experience, if at all, second. Google is clearly acting on its demographic research to try to push local search in a more visual, immersive direction; but in typical Google fashion, the company’s approach to a visual interface is based on cutting-edge information technology. Google uses its Vision AI to analyze the content of images, pulling photos from its GBP galleries when they match the intent of a text query.
TikTok, on the other hand, proceeds from an assumption that the information is out there if and when you need it but is not particularly interesting. Discover a new local eatery on TikTok, and you can later use Google Maps to figure out how to get there or whether they’re open on Sundays; Maps is a needed tool but no longer the star of the show.
Most of the content related to San Luis Obispo was uploaded to TikTok by people who seemed to be ordinary users, each with a modest follower count. But when I tried the classic local search query “sushi San Francisco,” I saw something else entirely — local content creators with massive followings and dozens of videos covering area eateries, bars, outdoor spaces, and things to do.
One of these influencers, who goes only by Millie and whose TikTok handle is @millie.lai, has nearly 70,000 followers; her content has generated 1.8 million likes. This in contrast to the San Francisco area account of The Infatuation, a popular restaurant recommendation site, which has fewer than 5,000 followers and only about 35,000 likes on TikTok.
The well produced but still personable videos posted by @millie.lai seem representative of a new entry point for local search and discovery that upends the information-first models of both the traditional directory and the modern navigation app, in favor of immersive content that is image-heavy and data-light.
And at this point, content produced by ordinary humans is outperforming content produced by traditional publications.
Some of @millie.lai’s content looks as though it might be sponsored by the profiled business, though no videos are clearly identified as sponsored. Whether or not money is changing hands, there’s a definite blurring of the distinction between self promotion and paid advertisement. People seem interested these days in starring in commercials that feature themselves, both to their own benefit and to the benefit of whatever they’re promoting.
Or from another prospective, one might view local influencer videos as the next phase of the online review. Like reviews on Yelp or Google, they offer a peer’s perspective on the quality of a business, but videos are much more immediate and, in a sense, more trustworthy. A review that says “the restaurant’s ambience was romantic” asks you to take someone else’s word for something that, in a video, your own senses can confirm or deny.
Instagram recently made its map searchable, enabling users to look up business profiles by city, neighborhood, or business category. Snapchat has been slowly adding features to its Snap Map including profiles for businesses. But even without any of these features, the TikTok community has built out a sizable niche of content that points to a new consumer- driven way of thinking about local.
Google's John Mueller explained that for some sites, the model and fundamentals the site was built upon are "just no longer feasible." He explained this when someone asked how long it would take to see recoveries after a Google algorithm update. John said "fundamental quality issues" can take longer than just a month to resolve and sometimes never.
John wrote, "Fundamental quality issues wouldn't get resolved in a month -- sometimes the model a site is built on is just no longer feasible." "And changing a site significantly will generally take significant time to be reflected in search engines," he added.
Earlier he wrote that "Maybe they're [the websites] not as irrelevant as you think? Sometimes honest & direct feedback is important."
It is hard to say a site you've been working on is no longer feasible from the model it was built on but sometimes that is true... So yea, we know quality changes take months for Google to pick up on and trust going forward. And yes, some business models are simply no longer relevant and thus probably should not be ranking anymore. So sometimes, yea, you need to step back and look at your site objectivly. Easier said than done...
Google: The Model Your Site Was Built On Is No Longer Feasible
Here are the relevant tweets quoted here:
So if your fundamental site was built on a business or content model that is just no longer feasible or relevant - maybe it is time to move on?