Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

Why Isn’t Your Social Strategy Based on Mobile Users?

social media on mobileNo one is asking social marketers to make safe assumptions.  The shift to social media being consumed on mobile devices is here TODAY, and very real. But with many brands still in “catch-up” or “wait-and-see” mode regarding social, many existing strategies are based on the unsafe assumption social is still a desktop/laptop thing.

Comscore says we in the US spend 52% of our “digital time” on mobile apps. Mobile comprises 60% of digital media usage…a percentage that’s rising at a pretty rapid clip. Social, along with games and music, dominate mobile app usage, with Facebook the clear #1 for audience size and time spent.

When you drill down to how the individual social networks are predominantly engaged, 98% of the time US users spend with Instagram is on mobile. For Pinterest it’s 92%, Twitter 86%, and Facebook 68%. So taking these kinds of statistics into consideration, an aware social marketer would have no choice but to start thinking about social solely in terms of how it plays out for users on mobile.

Brands and advertisers start doing damage to their company when they comfortably jog far behind real changes in consumer behavior.

And here’s what that behavior looks like. There are more people in this world that own smartphones than own toothbrushes. 4 out of 5 consumers use them to shop. 52% of Americans use mobile for in-store research. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. People that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop/laptop. Mobile offers the best use of hyper-local targeting and context marketing. Those using mobile are out and about, living their lives and ready to socially engage.

Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet report brought us some curious figures that illustrate a disconnect between where the public is spending their media time, and how much ad spend goes there. For instance, print usage is at 5% and dropping, yet the spend by advertisers comfortably jogging behind consumer behavior is 19%.

Looking at overall mobile ad market trends, however, things look like they’re heading in a reasonably right direction. BI Intelligence says it will grow the fastest amongst digital options, going over $32.6 billion in 2018 with social leading the way. eMarketer thinks mobile ad spend will surpass desktop PC advertising by 2016, then TV advertising by 2018, with Facebook controlling at least 71% of the mobile ad market.

The conclusion this brings us to is that here in September of 2014, a strategy centered on paid social mobile looks like the smartest play. The relationships you’re building with your customers on social, using the data they’re handing you via social + other enterprise data, with content served up at a time and place of high relevance, targeted and amplified with mobile ad options, is the increasingly obvious path to pursue.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Jun 03, 2014

Bad Spot to Be In: Playing Catch-up with Mobile Advertising

You probably noticed, there’s a mass migration going on from online desktop/laptop usage to smartphone/tablet usage.  It’s an indicator of how we live our lives in the modern world: always on the go, with no intention of being disconnected while out there. Consequently, paid as it relates to mobile advertising is taking the social spotlight.

eMarketer estimated that in 2013, US adults would spend about 2 hours, 21 minutes a day on mobile, not counting talking time. More people in the world own smartphones than own toothbrushes (bad news I suppose if you’re marketing toothpaste). They’re using those mobile devices to access social networks, consuming at least 17% of their mobile time on them.

Frankly, you don’t need a deep dive into mobile usage stats to know what’s going on. Just look around you in any store, venue or coffee shop. It’s really obvious…our mobile devices are now where we “are,” so that’s where marketers can increasingly reach us. And it’s a smart place for them to do just that.

Mobile devices can be viewed more and more as shopping facilitators. Usually when someone is on mobile, they are not in passive research mode. They are likely standing near a store or in front of a product, using their mobile to seek reassurance that buying that product is the right move. They are the hottest of hot prospects.

Consider that 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop, 52% of Americans use mobile devices for in-store for research, 70% of mobile searches lead to online action inside of an hour, and people that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop or laptop.

But what are marketers doing? Enter statistics from Mary Meeker’s latest State of the Internet report. Common sense says you buy advertising where people are spending their eyeball time, right? But while mobile is 20% of media use and rising, the ad spend there is 4%. Conversely, while print usage is at 5% and falling, ad spend there is 19%. We all love nostalgia, but come on.

There are reasons marketing dollar migration to mobile has not matched user migration, including the availability of mobile ad products and the ability to measure user response to mobile ads. But interesting things are happening now.

First came Facebook’s mobile ad, which let app developers pay to get potential downloads. Then their mobile ad network was announced at F8, allowing marketers to target users across non-Facebook apps while leveraging the wealth of diverse data Facebook has on those users, a big deal since Nielsen has pointed out mobile apps make up 89% of the media time spent on mobile. Twitter has a similar play in motion with their MoPub acquisition.

And now mobile deeplinks have arrived, which can take users straight to sub-pages of mobile apps for a faster, more direct shopper/researcher user experience. The sooner the gratification, the smoother and faster the conversion.

To be clear, growth in mobile ad spending is well underway. After posting $13.1 billion in 2013, Gartner expects global mobile ad spending to reach $18 billion this year, then go to $41.9 billion by 2017. Cheap smartphones and data plans are spreading worldwide, further fueling the shift to mobile. Mobile usage in India alone should grow 400% by 2018. And, of course, there’s the famous statistic that mobile should overtake desktop Internet usage this year.

How can we as marketers mess up this opportunity? Two ways. We could position ourselves in perpetual “catch-up” mode and keep spending ad dollars where the public used to be. And we could annoy mobile users with horrid old-school marketing practices. Two-thirds of users told Forrester they think interruptive in-app ads are more annoying than TV ads.

Make sure your brand’s social marketing technology platform is delivering a crystal clear picture of your social connections so the mobile touch point is highly relevant, mobile optimized, and delivering real value and satisfying experiences. Otherwise, all we’ve done is find a new way to be unwanted.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Kate Mallatratt, freeimages.com

Friday Sep 06, 2013

Mobile Social Raises the Customer Experience Stakes

pokerAs organizations embrace the realization that today’s consumers are empowered in ways like never before, the task becomes meeting customer experience expectations when those customers engage their brands on mobile and social.

Boy is that easier said than done. In a recent Social Media Today webinar, VP Product Strategy for Oracle Cloud-Social Erika Brookes and 60 Second Communications CEO Jamie Turner agreed that mobile and social are no longer two separate things. They’ve merged into the primary way consumers want to interact with providers of goods and services.

They also agreed customer expectations of brands today aren’t necessarily new, just different. When consumers have a need, they want to be able to reach the brand, they want the brand to answer, and they want an actionable solution within a reasonable period of time. What Mobile Social does add to the equation is that it doesn’t allow brands to quietly get away with failing miserably at customer service.

Nor will it allow a brand to get away with bringing up the rear technology-wise without paying a price. If there is no clean, useful mobile experience that accomplishes what customers want to do, they will a) publicly bash you for it, b) leave and go look for someone else who can give them what they need, or c) both a and b.

Studies show that 67% of people are more likely to purchase from a brand with a mobile-friendly site, and more likely to return to that site. Yet only 1/3 of businesses say mobile optimization is a top priority. Brookes thinks that number should be much higher because mobile is where CX is being played out. A non-existent or negative mobile social experience is akin to trying to drive with the emergency brake on.

It’s the C-suite that has to take the emergency brake off, sending down the firm message that it matters and understanding the business value of CX. For instance, Turner feels social is stronger as a customer retention tool than as an acquisition tool. Stats say if you can reduce churn 5%, you can increase profits 25-125%. Yes, marketers have led the way, but this is not a marketing-only endeavor. Departments must integrate for a seamless, personalized customer experience that affects P&L.

Brookes says it’s an internal revolution that’s not going to happen overnight, but there’s a huge opportunity to take signals from social and use them to initiate one-on-one customer service interaction. To make that happen, integrated tools are a must. The age of the standalone solution is slipping away as a much larger, shared view of the customer is required in order to meet them where they are and get them what they need.

They’re expecting nothing less.

Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

Social Mobile: Catch the Customer If You Can

gingerbread manWe’ve mentioned that more than ever, social is mobile. And while we’re at it, we should also point out that Internet connectivity is also mobile. There’s an old song called, “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Lyrics that were a fantasy in 1932 are now a literal expectation. We expect access to all the world’s information in our pocket, all the time, no matter where we are. No strings attached.

We also expect to accomplish whatever we need to get done, no matter where we are. That’s right, most mobile users are now surprised and even a little ticked off when an organization they need to interact with can’t be reached via their device. For social marketers, the opportunities are earthshaking. But at the same time, the task is ominous.

Consumers are moving at the speed of life, and you have to match that speed. It’s getting increasingly unlikely they’ll patiently wait for you and not look for alternatives.

Warning: Numbers Ahead:

  • Number of mobile subscribers around the globe: 5 billion.
  • Using smartphones to access social apps: 1 billion.
  • Number of times the average smartphone user checks social daily on mobile: 20.
  • Twitter time spent on a mobile app: 96.5%.
  • Facebook usage that comes from a mobile phone: 80%.
  • Amount of their online time mobile users spend on social: 30%.
  • Number of tablet units in usage today: over 70 million.
  • Amount of public Wi-Fi connections represented by mobile: 60%.
  • Time Pinterest’s audience spent on it via mobile app: 120,486,00 minutes.
  • What the number of Android activations exceeds: the US birthrate.
  • #2 tablet activity for users age 18-29: shopping.

To effectively execute as marketers on social, maybe we should think of ourselves as personal shoppers. Personal shoppers know what their clients like. They know when they’re going to need something. They know where the best choices and prices are. They’re not only responsive when the client reaches out, they’re proactive and do the reaching out if they have something they know will be of interest. They’re also readily available after the purchase in case something’s wrong. The keys to being the best personal shopper to your customers:

Know Them:
Use social listening tools to gather as much preference and behavioral data as you can. They don’t mind. One fourth even say ads on social don’t bother them provided the message has been tailored to them and makes their life easier.

Get Them What They Want:
Info, help, and goodies. Amazon’s PriceCheck app can scan an item in-store and show you the price and availability on Amazon. Instant reassurance you’ll get the best price. That’s your target, instant reassurance and gratification. As for help, 47% of consumers used social customer service, with 1 in 3 preferring to contact companies that way vs. phone. Goodies? Only 48% who used a check-in service got an incentive of any kind as a reward. That sure doesn’t pass the “why should I” test.

Be There 24/7:
Waiting until their need for you has passed isn’t going to do you any good. Better to have a proactive or real time strategy than to only operate in “crisis response” mode. However, for real time marketing to work, brands have to get a lot more nimble and empowered to respond.

Be Where They Are:
About 26% of tablet owners and 15% of smartphone owners look up product info after seeing a TV ad. Yes, 45% use their phone to compare prices while shopping, but a whopping 67% actually use their phone at home to shop and compare items. So don’t assume mobile means “not at home.”

Make it Easy:
The experience has to be fast, attractive, and relevant. If you’re going to make an app, make sure you know what your customers want to do on it first. Otherwise, keep your mobile site clean, simple and optimized. 90% report having to zoom to enlarge product text or images on mobile sites. Blah. Also, consumers are using more than one device, and using each differently. So consider relevancy not just in content but also in device context.

Photo: posterize, freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Apr 02, 2013

It’s Personal: Reaching Mobile Via Social

Now that we’re learning the degree to which mobile is taking over the world, we’d better figure out how to best reach those devices, what content to employ, and how to do that without fostering negative vibes toward our brands.

mobile dateFirst, a reminder mobile is indeed taking over the world. Mobile accounts for 13% of global Internet traffic, with over 1.1 billion smartphone subscribers. Comscore says mobile channels now account for 1 out of 3 digital media minutes consumed. The US smartphone market has exceeded 50% market penetration, and the number of smartphone subscribers has gone up 99% from 2 years ago.

Second, a reminder of how strong social is on mobile. The eMarketer webinar “Social Media Marketing on Mobile Devices” showed an increase in users who engage in Facebook exclusively on mobile. In just one quarter, such users jumped from 126 million to 157 million. The time spent on mobile social apps grew 387% during 2012, beating out media/entertainment (+268%) and shopping (+247%) apps.

So it starts getting clear that social, be it a social app or social components threaded through other app experiences, is the key to the kingdom. Why? Because social is familiar and intimately personal.

Why reinvent the wheel? Why put up an interface users have to “learn” when there’s already something they know and love? Weave familiar social actions through everything you do and the wheels are greased for the kind of engagement you want.

A Rhythm NewMedia study shows mobile campaigns that incorporate social calls-to-action are on the rise, and working. 30% of interactive in-stream campaigns included social buttons in the creative, which boosted engagement 36%.

Intimately Personal:
Public as it is, users tend to regard their social space as controlled, highly customized to their specifications, and personal. They use social to share with “friends,” making it an intimate place. Does this shut you out? Quite the contrary, it presents an incredible opportunity.

Digiday asked several experts what mobile’s next big opportunity is for brands. Most answers spoke to knowing the customer so incredibly well that highly customized, personalized experiences can be delivered. Anticipatory content delivery, targeting, personalized product research, and certainly attentive, rapid, personal customer service can get brands in customers’ intimate circle of trust. Execute that on what most users regard as a highly personal item, their device, and you’ve achieved the prime goal of welcomed access to them through that device.

An integrated, holistic, enterprise-wide social management suite is a foundation of that intimate knowledge of the customer. We at Oracle would love to get a snapshot of your mobile world. Take a minute and tell us what you have and what you want in the below survey.


Friday Feb 01, 2013

Surprise! Social IS Mobile

Woman with phoneYou probably saw the headline in at least one place this past week, “Facebook is Now a Mobile Company.” Yes, in the grand tradition of the social space moving ahead at an unrelenting pace, our working concept of what “social” is must already change.

Many brands and enterprise organization still haven’t caught up to the old concept of social. Now here they are confronted with a fundamental shift in social technologies and how the public wants to use those technologies.

What does it mean that Facebook is now a mobile company?

First, it means the public is increasingly deciding they want to access social networks on mobile devices as opposed to desktop/laptop. 680 million people, 64.2% of Facebook’s users, are using it on phones. For the first time ever, more daily active users are going on Facebook via mobile than desktop.

One infographic nicely summarizes why mobile is where social networks, social marketers, and anyone invested in social data want to be. Users are researching products on mobile while they’re in a store. They’re searching for local info, then calling or visiting brick and mortars afterward. They’re buying things on tablet and smartphone.

So Facebook had/has two pressing tasks; improve the mobile experience so users stick around longer, and capitalize on the revenue growth potential mobile offers…without tainting that positive user experience.

Moving away from the one-size-fits-all HTML5, the network focused on app design for each mobile operating system to maximize speed and features. In a year, they went from fewer than 24 mobile app engineers to hundreds. On-campus classes are held on Droid and iOS mobile operating systems. Mobile traffic responded positively to the new focus.

Now for the revenue part. Mobile beats every other kind of Facebook advertising when it comes to engagement. Average CTRs on mobile News Feed ads hit 1.738% compared to 1.254% on desktop, while overall mobile CTRs went up 34% for the quarter. The power of a smooth-running app presenting relevant value to customers wherever they are helped Facebook’s mobile revenue go from 14% to 23% quarter to quarter.

Questions remain. Can Facebook pull in mobile ad network buyers and close the gap with Google, with its 57% share of the US mobile ad market according to eMarketer? Can they find the sweet spot of how many mobile News Feed ads users will tolerate? Will App Install Ads, now used by 20% of the top 100 grossing iOS apps, keep growing? And can Facebook excel at creating its own mobile-first experiences like Poke?

Let Facebook worry about that.

All you need to know is none of this would be happening if the public weren’t broadcasting their intentions to use social on mobile, where they’re more likely to reward your presence there with engagement.

Adjust your mobile strategy accordingly, and make sure you’ve got an integrated socially enabled enterprise system by your side to wow those mobile customers and maximize the data they’re offering you.

Photo: Ambro, freedigitalphotos.net

Monday Sep 17, 2012

Mobile Deals: the Consumer Wants You in Their Pocket

special offerMobile deals offer something we talk about a lot in social marketing, relevant content. If a consumer is already predisposed to liking your product and gets a timely deal for it that’s easy and convenient to use, not only do you score on the marketing side, it clearly generates some of that precious ROI that’s being demanded of social.

First, a quick gut-check on the public’s adoption of mobile. Nielsen figures have 55.5% of US mobile owners using smartphones. If young people are indeed the future, you can count on the move to mobile exploding exponentially. Teens are the fastest growing segment of smartphone users, and 58% of them have one. But the largest demographic of smartphone users is 25-34 at 74%. That tells you a focus on mobile will yield great results now, and even better results straight ahead.

So we can tell both from statistics and from all the faces around you that are buried in their smartphones this is where consumers are. But are they looking at you? Do you have a valid reason why they should?

Everybody likes a good deal. BIA/Kelsey says US consumers will spend $3.6 billion this year for daily deals (the Groupons and LivingSocials of the world), up 87% from 2011. The report goes on to say over 26% of small businesses are either "very likely" or "extremely likely" to offer up a deal in the next 6 months. Retail Gazette reports 58% of consumers shop with coupons, a 40% increase in 4 years.

When you consider that a deal can be the impetus for a real-world transaction, a first-time visit to a store, an online purchase, entry into a loyalty program, a social referral, a new fan or follower, etc., that 26% figure shows us there’s a lot of opportunity being left on the table by brands.

cashierThe existing and emerging technologies behind mobile devices make the benefits of offering deals listed above possible. Take how mobile payment systems are being tied into deal delivery and loyalty programs. If it’s really easy to use a coupon or deal, it’ll get used. If it’s complicated, it’ll be passed over as “not worth it.”

When you can pay with your mobile via technologies that connects store and user, you get the deal, you get the loyalty credit, you pay, and your receipt is uploaded, all in one easy swipe. Nothing to keep track of, nothing to lose or forget about. And the store “knows” you, so future offers will be based on your tastes.

Consider the endgame. A customer who’s a fan of your belt buckle store’s Facebook Page is in one of your physical retail locations. They pull up your app, because they’ve gotten used to a loyalty deal being offered when they go to your store. Voila. A 10% discount active for the next 30 minutes.

Maybe the app also surfaces social references to your brand made by friends so they can check out a buckle someone’s raving about. If they aren’t a fan of your Page or don’t have your app, perhaps they’ve opted into location-based deal services so you can still get them that 10% deal while they’re in the store. Or maybe they’ve walked in with a pre-purchased Groupon or Living Social voucher.

They pay with one swipe, and you’ve learned about their buying preferences, credited their loyalty account and can encourage them to share a pic of their new buckle on social.

Happy customer. Happy belt buckle company. All because the brand was willing to use the tech that’s available to meet consumers where they are, incentivize them, and show them how much they’re valued through rewards.

Tuesday Aug 28, 2012

Moms on Mobile: Are They Way Ahead of You?

woman working with babyYou may have no idea how much and how fast moms are embracing mobile.

Of all the demographics that can be targeted by marketers, moms have always been at or near the top of the list. And why not? They’re running households, they’re all over town, they’re making buying decisions, and they’re influencing family and friends.

They, out of necessity, become masters of efficiency and time management. So when a technology tool, like mobile, comes along that assists with that efficiency and time management, we would obviously expect them to take advantage of it.

So if it’s obvious, why are so many big, sophisticated brands left choking on the dust of moms who have zoomed past them in the adoption of mobile, and social on mobile?

Let’s break down some hard truths as presented by a Mojiava report:

-Moms spend 6.1 hours per day on average on their smartphones – more than magazines, TV or radio.

-46% took action after seeing a mobile ad.

-51% self-identify as “addicted” to their smartphone.

-Households with an income of $25K-$50K have about the same mobile penetration among moms as those with incomes of $50K-$75K. So mobile is regarded as a necessity for middle-class moms.

-Even moms without smartphones spend 2.5 hours on average per day on some connected mobile device.

woman working on tablet-Of moms with such devices, 9.8% have an iPad, 9.5% a Kindle and 5.7% an iPod Touch.

-Of tablet-owning moms, 97% bought something using their tablet in the last month.

-31% spend over 10 hours per week on their tablet, but less than 2 hours per week on their PCs.

-62% of connected moms use shopping apps.

-46% want to get info on their mobile while in a store.

-Half of connected moms use social on their mobile. And they’re engaged. 81% are brand fans, 86% post updates, and 84% comment.

If women and moms are one of your primary targets and you find yourself with no strong social channels where content is driving engagement and relationship-building, with sites not optimized for mobile, or with no tablet or smartphone apps, you have been solidly left behind by your customers and prospects. And their adoption of mobile and social on mobile is only exponentially speeding up, not slowing down.

How much sense does it make when your customer is ready to act on your mobile ad, wants to user your iPad app to buy something from you, wants to be your fan on Facebook, wants to get messages and deals from you while they’re in your store…but you’re completely absent? I’ll help you cheat on the test by giving you the answer…no sense at all.

Catch up to momma.


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