Customer Loyalty Highly Influenced by Brand Response Rate

Consumer research company Apptentive released the results of a recent survey they conducted in which respondents expressed a “do or die” attitude towards brands. Apptentive’s study involved 1,200 online participants who completed surveys during December of 2015. Surprisingly, more than half of respondents reported that they abandon a brand and its app if their feedback is seemingly ignored.

Apptentive feedback survey

Apptentive survey participant data

Additionally, two-thirds of respondents reported that their in-app questions and complaints never receive a response from the brand. These numbers suggest that mobile consumers are seeking constructive communication with companies, and will not generally tolerate feeling dismissed or ignored.

One last facet of the survey that sheds light on the consumer perspective was the component that asked participants about their reason for providing feedback via mobile channels. The most popular response was “to help other customers,” followed by “to help the company improve their services in order to grow their business.”

According to the survey, “the top two reasons cited were to help other customers, and to help the companies improve their service in order to grow their business.” This suggests that customers are invested in helping one another and in helping improve the businesses they favor. While past studies have been framed to understand the more “me” motivated aspect of the consumer mind, Apptentive’s reveals that consumers are using mobile and web channels constructively and collaboratively, in order to help one another and to help their favorite brands succeed.

 

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Are Web Messengers the Future of Company-Consumer Relations?

During Facebook’s F8 Conference presentation in San Francisco last week, it was announced that Messenger would be opened to third party developers. Additionally, David Marcus (head of Messenger), announced that tool kits will be available for the creation of AI “bots,” which can be used as a customer service strategy.

Greg Sterling of Marketingland postulated that messenger-based communication may be the future of company-customer relations. He cited that due to Messenger’s 900 million unique, active users and the presence of 50 million company pages on Facebook, Messenger may become the quickest and most direct way for future consumers to communicate with brands.

The potential functions of Messenger go beyond basic consumer inquiries directed at bots, as shopping, initiating returns, and negotiating shipping details are all within the reach of Facebook’s proposed technology. Dan Miller and Chris Messina have used the term “conversation commerce” to illustrate that the future of communication is likely instant, mobile, and informal.

There have been questions in the past about the dearth of SMS marketing and communication initiatives by companies; new data strongly supports the argument for investments in Messenger over SMS, as Messenger and WhatsApp are now reported to comprise 3x the daily message volume as text messages (globally).

At this early stage, Facebook has already announced 33 brand partners for its third party marketing initiatives via Messenger, including Bank of America, Burger King, CNN, Expedia, Fandango, Salesforce, Shopify, StubHub, Thrillist and UNICEF.

Projections, Speculations

While I do believe that bots are a natural next step in company-consumer communication, I am aware that the transition may not be completely smooth. Casey Newton of The Verge made a video of his attempts to communicate with bots via Messenger in this early stage, and it was not without mishaps and miscommunication. During his attempt to ask a bot about the local weather, there was an attempt to get him to subscribe to daily updates, yet his initial inquiry remained unanswered.

I feel that the desire to use bots in order to automatically push out offers, requests for subscriptions, and other (sometimes) unwanted promotions may well be a headache consumers will be faced with. To me, this is a counter-intuitive use of the technology, as the entire premise and advent of bot interactions is premised around simple, quick, and effective communication.

However, in spite of this probable pitfall, I am personally convinced that Messenger communication will become the norm in the coming years. Kiosks have replaced face-to-face interactions, apps and automated systems have replaced traditional phone communication. In many consumer areas, people have demonstrated their preference for non-human interaction, and it is easy to project this as the natural evolution for businesses. The real question may be “how will brands express their identity and personality through AI” and “how will consumer loyalty function with decreased direct company-to-consumer interactions?”

Free Service Makes Mobile Analytics Accessible

The Basics

The new service, Pyze, allows managers of apps to track, segment, and analyze their marketing data. While these service already exist, Pyze’s launch is note-worthy because it’s the first free service of this type. Pyze has the ability to track and analyze installs, usage times, engagement, and risk for app abandonment. This degree of information tracking, until now, has been an exclusive privilege of large brands with extensive budgets for advertising and marketing analytics. Below is Pyze’s promotional video which gives a thorough summary of the benefits and applications of its services:

The President of Pyze, Prabhjot Singh, revealed in an interview with Marketing Land, “Our goal is to democratize access to this intelligence.” Another benefit of the service is that it negates the need to install a Software Development Kit (or SDK), which can prove a difficult task for individuals unfamiliar with the process; Pyze can be connected to an app by adding a single line of code. Below is a screen capture of Pyze’s user interface:

Pyze Menu

Pyze’s User Interface

What Does it Mean?

Just as social media and online marketing have given small businesses and start-ups a voice and much-needed visibility in the consumer marketplace, initiatives like Pyze are working to grant new brands access to the same tools and advantages that well-established and high-revenue brands use. Prabhjot’s point about democratizing the world apps is exactly right. Data and data analytics are vital for optimizing notifications and in-app advertising, in addition to effectively promoting user engagement. As digital technology progresses, entrepreneurs and marketers have an ever-increasing opportunity to promote their brands alongside industry giants; I believe that this will ultimately benefit the consumer by allowing individuals to choose their preferred apps and brands based on merit, not just visibility.

Is Paid Social Media Advertising Becoming Obligatory?

Underperformance of Social Media Advertising

Recent data has suggested that fewer brands are experiencing provable benefits from their social media marketing efforts. Last year, Manta’s survey found that 59% of the small businesses that participated did not see an ROI (return on investment) from their social media involvement. Last month, CMO found that 40% of the brands that involved in their study saw an under-performance of their social media marketing. It’s important as marketers to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of social media – even within individual platforms. While there is no singular consensus regarding the culprit of this lackluster performance from social media efforts, there is strong support for increasing paid advertising in order to obtain better reach.

Social Media Advertising

CMO’s Findings on the Contribution of Social Media to Marketing Performance

The Decline of Organic Reach

Nathan Smitha of Simply Measured defines organic reach as “the number of unique people who saw your content in their news feed, ticker or on your page.” Organic reach is limited to unpaid posting done by the brand, and does not include content sharing by users, which is relative to viral reach.

Current data suggests that organic reach is declining, which is the working to reduce the efficacy of unpaid social media advertising. A few weeks ago, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert made a strong argument for the need to increase paid advertising on Facebook or focus your social media marketing efforts elsewhere. The chart below provides a clear explanation for the trends in advertising on Facebook.

Facebook advertising

Facebook’s Organic Page Reach Vs. Stock Price

Facebook is strengthening its own value by granting greater visibility to paid ads and burying organic ones. This means that new brand will less likes and smaller marketing budgets will need to adapt or increase their ad spending. Blaise Lucy for Marketing Land aptly summed up this predicament, writing

Organic social isn’t dead. It’s dormant. Without your wallet, your efforts have a very slim chance of reaching your audience on Facebook, and soon, it seems like the chances will be similarly slim on Twitter and Instagram.

The Take-Away

While there will always be newer social media frontiers for marketers to explore, it seems to algorithmic and paid marketing is slowly permeating younger platforms (like Twitter, Instagram, and soon, Snapchat). Organic reach is becoming more illusive, but is still possible. Succinctly, I would encourage marketers to make a move soon, whether that be re-allocating marketing budgets or finding a platform that facilitates greater organic reach.

 

Proximity Advertising and the Physical Web

In class last week we discussed the integration of digital technology and innovation into everyday life and the physical world, namely the Internet of Things and “Enchanted Objects.”

Yesterday, Barry Levine covered the MyStop project, which is a mobile platform which is transmitted by Bluetooth throughout select London buses. MyStop does not require any app download or purchase and allows passengers to access information about upcoming stops and ETA of upcoming destinations.

Kennsington Station

MyStop Interface Example

I see this as a perfect example of an application of the Internet of Things, or IoT, because not only is MyStop providing a service to passengers, it is effectively miniaturizing and disseminating map and navigation data in such a way that nearly all passengers can gain discrete, equal access.

Though MyStop is a platform accessed through mobile devices, and New York’s LinkNYC is a network of high-speed internet kiosks, I understand both as contemporary steps towards more connected physical landscapes. The digital world is being integrated into our lives in order to provide us with great convenience and information. In this way, information for all is perceived as a social right.

Implications for Marketers

In 2014, Greg Petro of Forbes shared some of JiWire’s data regarding the efficacy of proximity marketing. The marketing research company found that:

  • 53% of consumers are willing to share their current location to receive more relevant advertising.
  • 57% of consumers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising.
  • 62% of consumers share local deals with friends.
  • 63% of consumers feel a coupon is the most valuable form of mobile marketing.

These strong numbers suggest that proximity-based marketing is appealing to consumers and has the potential to be quite effective. This represents a strong opportunity for brands to strategically home in on physical areas in order to drive sales and buzz. Densely populated cities are a great example of a prime location for proximity marketing, whether that be through popular services like MyStop, through services like LinkNYC, or through WiFi and Bluetooth technologies. The future of the IoT will invariably mean infusing the digital world into our commutes, lunch breaks, and weekend excursions. This stands to benefit the consumer, but also as an opportunity to advance the relevance and efficacy of real-time marketing.

Instagram: From Chronological to Algorithmic

Overview

Instagram announced on March 15th that it will adopt a new algorithmic approach to displaying content for users with the intent of helping individuals see more of the content which is predicted to be important to them. The Instagram team cited “people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds” as the primary motivator for implementing the new system.

As with any change, there will be users who are displeased. Cara Rose DeFabrio, a contributor for Fusion, expressed her unhappiness with the announced change, writing:

Instagram is the last place on my phone besides the clock and calendar that is tethered to the real world construct of time…time is baked into the very fabric of the Instagram brand. It’s called Instagram: an instant glimpse of views from other people’s lives. I get the FOMOS scrolling through my Instagram feed more than any other platform because it reflects what my friends are doing in that very moment.

Hilary Milnes of Digiday speculated on the possible implications for brands that use Instagram as a marketing tool. She postulated that brands will need focus on the three content types which generate the most user interaction (product posts, celebrity content, and user-generated content) in order to maintain enough traction to retain the current visibility of their posts.

My Projections

The new Instagram algorithm signifies the need for a filtering of content on the average user’s feed. More content means users are following more accounts and those accounts are, on average, posting more frequently. The algorithm can be understood as digital Darwinism; in a network of endless competition for users’ attention, Instagram is enacting a system which applies data (pertaining to likes and comments) in order to give “stronger” posts priority over less popular ones.

I contend that this will increase competition among brands on Instagram and also make it more difficult for newer or lesser-known brands to gain traction on the platform. The same maneuvers will remain effective – acquiring influencers to promote your brand, having users generate positive content, and snapping a shot of a celebrity enjoying your tea or jogging in you sneakers. While the algorithm will potential slant what is currently a more level playing field, it will also necessitate that existing brands optimize their Insta strategies and that new brands learn and adopt winning ones.

As a user, I agree with DeFabrio. Instagram is appealing to me because it is a real-time window to the outside world. Each post starts at the bottom, with similar opportunities as others, and gains attention for its quality, personality, or ability to entertain. However, as a marketer, I see the switch to an algorithmic approach as another layer of challenge. Brands must ensure that each posts matters and has the approach and content necessary to be effective.

The Demographics of Social Media

A 2015 study by the prestigious Pew Research Center analyzed the social media usage of various demographic groups in the U.S. This study has some very valuable information for marketers, as different social media platforms have unique audiences with unique interests, preferences, and lifestyles.

Five social media platforms were included in the study: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

For my analysis, I wanted to compare some of the usership data between social media platforms which are believed to be similar in purpose and function. More specifically, directly from Pew’s data, the demographics of the users of Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook is comprised of a user base roughly three times the size of Twitter’s. However, Twitter has a greater portion of younger (one-third of its users are 18-29), non-white participation. Twitter is also comprised of a greater percentage of highly educated individuals. Finally, the average twitter user is more likely to come live in an urban setting than the average Facebook user.

So what could this mean for prospective marketers looking to advertise using emerging media? While this study didn’t examine the psychographics of platforms’ users, a good marketer should examine the product or service they will advertise with the data “snapshot” they have.

Some of the more obvious rhetorical inquiries could be: are you advertising a product which appeals to urban or rural users? Are you looking to reach younger or older consumers? Is your goal to reach more non-white consumers?

However, examining the qualities and identity of your brand or your client’s brand is equally important. Is this a product which is reliant upon younger consumers and trend-setters? Does Twitter or Facebook better represent our desired or target consumer? What is our brand’s personality and which platforms best align with it?

Facebook and Instagram Users Highly Engaged on Daily Basis

Social Media Daily Engagement

One last consideration is frequency of use. Pew found that Facebook and Instagram were more frequently visited by users than Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Ad buys should suit the platform they upon which they are featured, but they should also reach a large portion of that platform’s usership. While the usage of emerging media is constantly evolving, statistics from 2015 suggest that Facebook and Instagram provide the biggest opportunity for ad buy visibility.

Here is a link to Pew’s website, so you can see in greater depth the details and methodology of their study. What are your impressions about the personality and user makeup of social media platforms? Have any changed or evolved over time?

Photo Composition of Instagram Ads

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012; three years later the app was opened to advertisers. Since then, participation in Instagram by advertisers has grown rapidly. One company, Nanigans, saw 31% of their clients using Instagram advertisements by November of 2015 (which was just three months after API ads were allowed on the app).

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Instagram Advertising among Nanigans Customers

According to Marketing.com, in the fourth quarter of 2015, Instagram ads were responsible for one-quarter of all app ad clicks. In light of the impressive growth and success of ads on Instagram, I wanted to explore some of the techniques and strategies marketers have been using to construct enticing ad content on the platform.

Lighting and Styling – A Page From Commercial Photography’s Book

As a primarily visual app, aesthetics are highly influential in capturing the attention of users and generating ad clicks. A Marketingland.com contributor suggested that natural lighting and high quality images are integral to the success of Instagram ads.

Regardless of the product or service, utilizing attractive lighting, photography, styling, and photo editing is a must in order to both fit in and stand out in the world of Instagram ads. These practices are the same ones used in the production of billboard and magazine ads. Below are some examples of product photography techniques in action on the app.

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Flattering lighting, appealing composition, attractive color work, and good photo proportioning (remember the law of thirds from photo class?) are all present. In both the Ben & Jerry’s ad and the Jasper’s Market ad, the photos evoke feelings of harmony and desirability. It should be appealing to advertisers that Instagram spots are so formulaic in nature – the morays of the app have already been established. There is still room for creativity, but there are clear norms and styles to which to adhere.