Category Archives: Path to Purchase

What is this fuckery called retargeting?… Is it effective?

Remember when you were in the market for a fresh pair of kicks or a new top to impress that not so special someone on your recently memorable for all the wrong reasons tinder date? You jumped onto ASOS and when overwhelmed with the choices thought “Fuck it I’ll look later.”. No? Well, facebook sure seems to think you did. Next thing you know your sitting in class, at work, on the train and you stumble your way online only to see banner ads from ASOS for the exact category you were perusing. Creepy. But hey no harm no foul you shrug it off right? And that weekend you’re out shopping with friends and low and behold find that perfect pair of shoes, tie, whatever, no need to keep looking but that’s not what Facebook thinks…next thing you know all you see for the next few weeks are ads for shoes over and over again to the point of irrational anger. Or is it rational?

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This is just one example of how technology is influencing advertisement and is more commonly known as ‘Adtech’. The example above highlights one of the most notorious forms of Adtech called retargeting where it roughly works like this; a website uses cookie-based technology that uses javascript code to follow those who visit the page around the rest of the web. This is done so anonymously and is done so in a way that the ad will only target those who have visited the said website. The purpose of this, of course, is so that even though Bob didn’t make it all the way to the ‘check out’, maybe he got distracted or something came up, brands and websites can subtly remind Bob about the new ultra shiny garden hose reel and other similar categorical items and hey, maybe Bob will complete the purchase at a later time and think fondly about that website.

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But is this ethical? Is Bob only buying that hose reel because he kept seeing images of it everywhere he went and now only bought it based on one initial passing thought, turned action off of subliminal advertising? More and more consumers are becoming irritated and fed up with the constant feed of adverts in their lives opting for web browser extensions that block all ads and it even caused big companies like Apple to start building these types of ad blockers into their own web browsers which have then been used as part of a selling point of their products. Innovations in technology have brought about a lot of new and amazing streams in which the advertising industry can play with but is the industry just being lazy?

The term ‘brand engagement’ is thrown around a lot these days where big brands want consumers to ‘engage’ with them but tactics like retargeting has had the exact opposite effect where consumers are actively trying to disengage with brands and ads so they can have a moment of peace from the bombardment of products and services shoved down their eyeballs. If you rely heavily on retargeting your potential consumers for your products and or services are you even offering anything of worth? Perhaps its time to think more creatively and do something that has consumers wanting to engage with your website and or brand.

Programmatics – WTF?

Programmatic ads have changed the game in online advertising, but there’s still heaps of confusion around what it actually is and how it all works. So let’s break it down. Programmatic buying refers to any ad space bought automatically on a web page these can be bought by 1. Bidding for one space or two. Buying it directly. These spaces are bid on its called programmatic real-time bidding (RTB) this is what serves internet users with display advertising on the web.

But where do they do all this buying and bidding? Well, all the interesting stuff happens on Ad exchange.  Ad exchange will auction off the space to the highest bidder, then the add will appear when the page is done loading. So basically as a page loads, if it has ad space on it that’s available to be bid on, info about the web page and who’s viewing it is passed on to an ad exchange and an auction will be held. The prices of the ad spaces completely depend’s on how much buyers are willing to pay.

You’ve probably confused, how could there be an auction in a matter of seconds that it takes to load a page?! But that’s exactly how long an auction on ad exchange will take. It happens so quickly because advertisers use a fully automated software demand side platform (DSP) to help them decide which ad space to purchase and to bid on ads for them. This does remove the need for human sales people, negotiation skills and a huge amount of time as these decisions are made immediately and simply the highest bidder wins.

The Use of RTB means advertisers no longer have to purchase ad space for a set amount of money for a set amount of time on websites they assume will bring them traffic instead ads can be specifically targeted to relevant audiences across a wide range of sites and prices and can all be managed in real time!

Programmatic advertising has taken a lot of stress off agency’s when buying ads as the process of buying has become much more efficient and cheap. Agencies no longer have to research the best ad space to place an ad, rely on an admin heavy process and manually place the ad before the ad is even running. Now thanks to programmatic advertising’s marketers can now have faster access to ad inventory, complete pricing control and immediate and seamless delivery.

Sophie Robertson

The Death of Traditional Demographics

Caitlin Thomas looks at the rise of Big Data in Media and Advertising agency’s strategy and evaluation.

As a brand, to flourish in today’s marketplace, you need to understand that the ‘typical consumer’ is no longer typical! And furthermore, will not just slot right into the traditional marketing model of demographics. With the help of technology, consumers have access to multiple touch-points to gain knowledge and interact with brands, they have obtained an element of control. Take away the age, race and sex and focus predominately on the personality of the target market and you will see that the use of traditional demographics is no longer relevant in today’s society.

When you hear the word ‘Demographic’, it will usually be accompanied by a few other ‘graphics’, one of which I believe is the most important tool for uncovering the target market and that is ‘Psychographic’. This segment should be embraced now more than ever. Why? Simply put, the world has changed, and the way consumers categorise themselves is beyond the outdated model. With an abundance of new ways to identify ourselves, marketing to a target audience has progressed far beyond predicting what a ’25-35-year-old Australian Female’ will buy or how they will interact with a brand, as today, the social norms that predicted the purchasing behaviours of these targeted groups are fading away. Right now, it is all about diversifying these stereotyped groups and focusing on the interests of individuals.

Even the word ‘individuals’ should provide an insight of why brands need to focus on the behaviours and interests over age and sex. An example of the various types of individuals and the declining usefulness of demographics comes from the globally launched, paid streaming service, Netflix. The VP of Product Innovation over at Netflix shared some insight into consumer behaviour at the 2015 SWSX Festival, claiming that demographics are ‘almost useless’ at predicting what Netflix users will watch. “What we’ve learned over time is: it’s not who they are in a superficial sense – like gender, age, even geography. It’s not even what they tell you. It’s what they do. There are actually 19-year-old guys who watch Dance Moms, and there are 73-year-old women who are watching Breaking Bad and Avengers.” You see, it’s no longer about at what age will somebody buy a product, of what race, financial status or level of education will a product interest the most but about the personality and preference of the person, the individual.

This is not the end of the world for brands, no need to restructure a marketing model or drastically forego demographics but instead, focus on the kind of people you want consuming the brands products and interacting with the brand. Brands can still, of course, have their ‘golden target’ with an ideal age bracket, gender etc. The only difference is that the traditional marketing model just won’t cut it with the individuals present in today’s society. A good way to think of how consumers and brands interact can be viewed similarly to how people interact with one another. This form of communication and connection has always been unique, our friendships and relationships are chosen on compatibility so why should that be any different between brands and consumers?

‘Who’ are the consumers in terms of biology and financial status is less important, ‘who’ they are psychologically is the question needing to be asked and answered to effectively speak to the target audience, to best reach consumers, connect and create relationships between the brand and audience as to allow for consistent product recall, brand trust and brand loyalty.

Social Media and the Path to Purchase

Social Media and the Path to Purchase

Jaime-Lee Mills explores the role Social Media now plays in the irrational world of buyer purchasing decisions and analysis.

Much of today’s marketing and advertising is still based around the path to purchase. Traditionally this involves; problem awareness, consideration of alternatives, intent, purchase and finally post-purchase evaluation. This path to purchase is still widely adopted, and generally seems to give some rationality to the irrational consumer’s decision. BUT does the addition of social media change this path to purchase, or more importantly offer a short cut to the end goal?

There is no denying that the rise of social media makes targeting easier as people openly provide their location, education, interests, likes, age and much more. It is possible that this specific targeting can be used in the awareness stage to predict consumer’s needs or wants based on their likes and interests. For example, if they have ‘liked’ multiple beauty blogs, targeting can be used to make them aware of a new product and the beauty ‘problem’ that has now been solved with this product. To an even greater extent social media has changed the consideration stage; with consideration now being based on peer reviews, friends recommendation, Instagram/Facebook bloggers or simply putting the question to their social media community. As a result consideration is no longer controlled by brands in the safety of their owned media channels and so product and service is more important than ever, as people seek authenticity when considering alternatives.

It is possible that an understanding of how your consumer operates on social media could unlock a measurement metric that can lead to a better bottom line for brands. Research shows that one-week after a sharing a product on social media, roughly half of these purchases have been made. Three weeks after sharing that figure jumps to 80%. This is probably an example of how important social media is during the intent stage of the path to purchase. By the time a consumer has shown favouritism towards a particular product on their social platforms (as a result of the consideration stage), they have already slightly committed to the purchase of that product. As humans have an innate desire to achieve consistency, these purchases are made out of a need to be consistent with what they have portrayed (shared/liked) on their social media platforms.
How effectively this actually impacts the bottom line can sometimes be a matter of which social channels are being utilised. It has been shown that Pinterest is the most likely to drive people to purchase impulsively but of course has a lower reach. Platforms like Pinterest are brilliant for high frequency, high engagement and likelihood to purchase due to the nature of the platform and ability for brands to appear organic in this environment. Facebook on the other hand has a huge reach, and is utilised for larger considered purchases more than any other channel.

Once a consumer has intent to purchase this is where social media can really impact the bottom line for B2C brands. The convenience of social media paired with the strong targeting means that impulse purchases and upselling are more likely to occur. This works in particular with the case of the abandoned cart. Many online shoppers particularly women will know the feeling of shopping online and filling the cart with things way beyond their means. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline to walk away and abandoned cart without purchase. Only to find the next day, through advertisement banners, the things you abandoned in said cart would follow you around like the ghost of unpurchased product. Your Facebook has most likely by now become your worst enemy, as you know you had the strength to walk away from those really expensive shoes once, but you aren’t sure you can do it a second time or in some cases a third, fourth and fifth time. This is where social media can infiltrate the intent stage of the path to purchase and push you impulsively into the purchase.

Whether or not social media produces a short cut on the path to purchase, I think is a matter of brand. Knowing and understanding what role and purpose is appropriate for a brand on social media is paramount. Not all bad things are bad, not all good things are good and not all brands belong on your newsfeed.