47% want to buy on social media

September 25th, 2014

buy_buttonBy Maura Mitchell

Almost half of all Millennials would like to buy items while engaged with social media. In fact, 25% have already made a purchase via a social channel.

Social networks are jumping to meet consumers’ needs. In July, Facebook announced it is experimenting with a buy button in its app and website. Twitter unveiled a similar small test last week. Both social nets are spending significant time reassuring consumers that their privacy and credit card information will be completely secure.

Pinterest has taken a slightly different approach with its Gift Feed. The feed includes special product pins complete with pricing and buying information. Users can click through to purchase or repin items for later. If the price of a saved product goes down, Pinterest automatically notifies the repinners via email.

Instagram, the current “it” network, does not yet have an integrated buy button. However, Nordstom and Target are testing the Like2Buy platform. It inserts links connected to ecommerce channels into Instagram posts so consumers can purchase from their feed.

Marketers have long talked about the potential of social commerce, but nobody has cracked the code yet. Facebook gifts were a flop, as were Facebook stores. Are buy buttons the key to success?

Consumers’ Take on The Internet of Things

September 11th, 2014

internet_of_thingsBy Maura Mitchell

Don’t know what the Internet of Things really means? You’re in good company. 87% of consumers don’t either. (It is defined as everyday items—from watches to thermostats to cars—being connected to the Internet.)

Once Americans understand the devices that will soon be able to send and receive data via the Internet, they are very interested. 69% plan to buy a connected home appliance in the next five years, and 50% intend to purchase a networked wearable device.

Currently, 7% of Americans own wearable technology and 4% have a connected in-home device. Fitness trackers and home monitoring systems are the most popular choices. Smart clothing is at the bottom of consumers’ list.

While they are intrigued by the potential of connected devices, consumers also have serious hesitations. A significant group questions their value, especially given current high prices. A full 60% have concerns about security and privacy.

When asked if they would be willing to freely share data from their Internet of Things devices, only 9% of consumers said yes. However, 40% would trade their data for incentives from companies—including discounts, coupons, and free services.


Beacons: What Consumers Want You to Know

August 22nd, 2014

onyx-beaconBy Maura Mitchell

Marketers love the idea of beacons: technology that lets them track shoppers in-store and send location-specific marketing messages to their smartphones. In fact, over half of the top 100 US retailers are testing beacons this year, and many plan to roll them out in 2015.

Consumers are not half as excited about beacons. 50% definitely do not want to be tracked in-store, and an additional 24% want to know more before consenting. Only 27% say they do not mind having their movements monitored. Men are slightly more open to tracking than women, but not by much.

Americans have a number of concerns about location tracking. Security and privacy top the list. Smartphone owners over 30 years old are more worried than those in their 20s.

When asked what incentive would induce them to share their location with companies, exclusive discounts is the most frequent answer. Surprisingly, shorter checkout lines comes in second.

In order for marketers to leverage beacons, smartphone owners must leave both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled when they enter a store. Plus, they must have downloaded an app with location-based services. That means if shoppers do not want to receive beacon-enabled marketing messages, they can thwart them.


8 Facts You Must Know About Twitch

August 7th, 2014

twitch_logoBy Maura Mitchell

What the heck is Twitch? It’s the website 50 million people visit each month to watch live streams of others playing video games.

Why would anyone do that? It’s like Monday Night Football, but for people who love video games. Viewers flock to see players compete in League of Legends and other popular games. They cheer for their favorite competitors, gather game tips, chat with other fans, and sometimes stream their own gameplay.

How many people do it? Today, over 50 million people visit the site per month, up from 3.2 million in 2011.

How much time do they spend? The average viewer engages for 106 minutes each day. 58% of Twitch users watch more than 20 hours per week.

Really? Yes.

Who is on Twitch? The average age is 21, and 76% are between 18 and 49. My guess is Twitch membership skews male.

Is this going to last? Yes. Twitch is so popular that it is now baked into the newest game systems—Xbox One and PlayStation 4—so players can stream video with one click.

Why should I care? Twitch is capturing a hard-to-reach demographic and engaging them for big chunks of time. It is a great medium for video ads, but few advertisers are there. Plus, Google just bought them for a cool $1 billion, so they have momentum and money on their side.


66% Feel Deceived by Content Marketing

July 25th, 2014


Content MarketingBy Maura Mitchell

Content marketing is one of the hottest marketing trends, but the majority of consumers dislike it. In fact, most would prefer to interact with banner ads instead of sponsored content, one of the mainstays of content marketing.

Why? The majority of Americans do not know what “sponsored content” means, even when it is clearly labeled. The most common misperception is that an advertiser funded the article, but did not influence its point of view.

When consumers understand that the content was written for a brand, 54% of them distrust it. That means native ads are trusted as much as a company’s website, but less than a banner ad.

Only 18% of Americans think native ads are more engaging than banner ads, undercutting a key rationale for content marketing.

The more educated the consumer, the more negatively they feel about sponsored content and the less likely they are to engage with it.

Despite these issues that emerged in a recent survey from Contently, there is hope for content marketing. Whether consumers read and trust native ads correlates with how much they like the sponsoring brand. Plus, the more creative the content, the more likely readers are to engage with it.

Apps Are Taking Over The World

July 10th, 2014

mobile_appsBy Maura Mitchell

In May, apps became the #1 way consumers interact with the digital world. 51% of Americans’ digital content consumption now occurs via a mobile app. Time on a desktop, laptop, or a mobile device directly accessing the web pales in comparison.

Today, the average consumer spends over 30 hours per month on apps. That’s up 65% versus two years ago. How much time people dedicate to apps varies by age, but not as much as you might imagine. 18-23 year olds log 37 hours per month while those over 55 years old clock a respectable 21 hours.

Consumers are spending dramatically more time with apps, but they have not significantly increased the number of apps they use. In 2011, the average American was active on 23 apps each month. That number inched up to 27 in 2013.

Smartphone owners spend the bulk of their time with just a handful of those 27. Over a third of app hours are allocated to search and social. Another third is spent on entertainment, like games and music.

There are now over 2.4 million apps available for the iPhone and Android. That means competition is fierce for one of those 27 spots on consumers’ phones and for the remaining 10 minutes per month of app time.


Online Shares Increase Purchase Intent +9.5%

June 26th, 2014

woman_thumbs_upBy Maura Mitchell

After years of wondering what impact social media has on sales, marketers have a quantitative, well supported answer thanks to research by ShareThis.

Across diverse products, positive comments shared via social nets or email increase consumers’ likelihood to buy by +9.5%. For consumer products, the influence is even greater at +11.2%. Social sharing is more powerful than most other input, including online professional reviews, consumer ratings, and consumer reviews. Only in-person recommendations from friends/family hold more sway.

Positive social posts have more influence than brand or price on many CPG purchases. An excellent endorsement shared socially can offset a roughly 5-10% price premium.

Breaking social shares into their component parts shows that how positive the comment is has the most effect. The review location and who shares it are less important. However, shares from friends/family have more influence than those from professionals or strangers.

On the other hand, a negative comment that is shared socially decreases CPG purchase intent by -12%, and a negative professional review has virtually the same impact.

While social sharing increases all consumers’ purchase intent, it is especially powerful among Hispanics. They are five times more likely to post about products and twice as likely to purchase those items.


Increase Your Social Effectiveness by 58x

June 5th, 2014

instagram_rainbow_bannerBy Maura Mitchell

Pictures on Instagram receive 58 times more consumer response than posts on Facebook and 120 times more engagement than ones on Twitter. Those are the results of Forrester’s analysis of over 3 million consumer interactions with brands on social media.

On average, over 4% of a brand’s followers engage with each Instagram post. While that number isn’t overwhelming, it is way ahead of Facebook’s .07% and Twitter’s .03%.

Instagram also drives frequent interaction. 57% of Instagram users check the network every day, very close to the percent that do so on Facebook. Twitter’s and Pinterest’s daily visit stats are much lower (46% and 23% respectively.)

Users spend more time per visit on Instagram than any other social network except Facebook. In fact, users are on Instagram almost twice as long as on Twitter.

Instagram captures a somewhat unique audience vs other social nets. Only about half of all Instagram users are on Twitter and roughly a third are on Pinterest.

The number of consumers on Instagram doubled in 2013 and continues to grow rapidly. It currently has over 200 million active monthly users, and 37% of 18-29 year olds have an Instagram account.


Mobile: The Key To In-Store Sales

May 22nd, 2014

mobile_shopping_in_storeBy Maura Mitchell

Forget their role in m-commerce. Smartphones’ and tablets’ biggest impact is on in-store sales.

According to the latest numbers from Deloitte, smartphones influenced 19% of all in-store purchases in the past 12 months, up from 5% in 2012. That means almost $600 billion of brick and mortar retail sales were impacted by mobile devices. For comparison, total annual m-commerce sales were $40 billion.

Americans spend more in retail stores because of their mobile devices, not less, as businesses fear. 18-29 year olds are especially likely to have increased brick and mortar spending due to their smartphones. 29% say their in-person shopping grew because of their devices vs 15% who assert it shrunk.

How are mobile devices impacting physical store sales? Over 50% of consumers prefer to look up an item price, get product information, and check stock availability on their mobile rather than talk to a sales associate. Almost as many would like to find the location of items and pay for purchases on their device as well.

Deloitte projects that the impact of mobile on brick and mortar sales will increase dramatically throughout 2014 as more and more consumers transition to smartphones and acquire tablets.


Six Reasons to Advertise on Snapchat

May 1st, 2014

last_selfie_tigerBy Maura Mitchell

When Snapchat first catapulted onto the social media scene, most business people thought it had no marketing applications. What could an app that sends pictures that disappear do for a brand?

Two years later, It turns out the answer is, “A lot. Really a lot.”

Here are six reasons why your brand should be active on Snapchat.

  • Millennials love Snapchat. 77% of college students use it daily. Users send over 400 million snaps each day.
  • Users are likely to engage with brands on Snapchat. Almost 70% of college students say they will follow brands on Snapchat, and even more plan to open messages from brands.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s fresh. When was the last time you saw Facebook marketing and thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting?”
  • Other brands are doing fascinating things. The Danish branch of the World Wildlife Fund is running a campaign called “Don’t Let This Be My Last Selfie” with disappearing pictures of animals that are on the verge of extinction. What great coordination of media and message!
  • It’s authentic. You don’t have a lot of freedom with formats on Snapchat and you certainly can’t photoshop pictures. That means you have to be yourself—and consumers love brands that are real.