Weekly Roundup #33 Snapchat, Discounts and Ad Blocker

Last week we were having a chat about online influencers, email outreach and ad fraud.  This week’s roundup is going to be discussing the ageing user base of Snapchat, whether or not Amazon is abandoning its discounts, as well as taking a look at the effect of ad blockers on today’s digital marketing. It doesn’t stop there though, keep reading to find out the rest. 

The Rise of Adblocker Is Affecting Digital Marketing

So, the marketing industry invests a lot of money in generating greater profits, spending millions fighting for that increased ROI and slightly higher percentage of engagement. But there’s a new threat to your marketing efforts: ad blocking. New data from eMarketer has predicted that the growth of ad blocking software is exponential.

In 2014 just over 15% of users in the US were using ad blockers, but now that number is expected to increase to above 26%. By 2017, almost a third of internet users are expected to be using ad blocker software. Senior Analyst Paul Verna at eMarketer says “Ad blocking is a detriment to the entire advertising ecosystem, affecting mostly publishers, but also marketers, agencies and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue. The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences that consumers won’t want to block.”

If marketers can create a compelling ad experience, it could stop users from implementing ad blockers in the first place. But at the same time, your competitors might not be creating compelling ads, and as a result of that you might be blocked out by default also. Quite simply, users want their online experience to be non-intrusive. eMarketer’s data also suggests that almost 30% of US internet users already use the software on their smartphones and the use of smartphones is set to increase by 62% this year alone. Major threat.

The industry has dropped the ball on this one and has been slow to react. We know that subscription services such as Spotify Premium and Youtube Red exist, which only highlights the drive to respond to user demands for an ad-free user experience. The difficulty with that one is that most ad blockers are free, therefore the services who are offering an ad free experience need to up their game on the UX to make it worthwhile.



Facebook Debuts Its Wireless Access Platform

It seems that Facebook is hell bent on providing access to its platform in remote parts of the world. It is ramping up its efforts by implementing the new platform named ‘OpenCellular’ – and pushing its own products in the process. The OpenCellular is an open source wireless access platform designed to decrease the set-up costs of cellular networks in places it was traditionally difficult to do so. It’s designed to provide the tools needed to set up a complete network – from the physical equipment to the software that runs it.

Mark Zuckerburg shared images of the device on his Facebook, saying: “OpenCellular is the next step on our journey to provide better, more affordable connectivity to bring the world closer together,” and Kashif Ali, Facebook Engineer adds: “Traditional cellular infrastructure can be very expensive, making it difficult for operators to deploy it everywhere and for smaller organisations or individuals to solve hyperlocal connectivity challenges … It’s often unaffordable for them to attempt to extend network access in both rural and developed communities.”

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tried to bring connectivity to the developing world. In India, for example, the launch of Free Basics was met with scorn from those who considered Facebook to be giving themselves an unfair advantage over local internet companies. The service was then suspended which prompted Marc Andreessen, a Facebook investor to tweet that the move was “anti-colonialism”. You can bet that tweet was removed swiftly and controversy ensued. We’ll keep you posted.



Is Amazon Ditching Its Discounts?

Discounting has been the bread and butter of many retailers for a number of years, but also the bane of their existence. David Streitfield of the New York Times has pointed out that Amazon has traditionally used list prices to highlight discounts – but they’re disappearing. Boomerang Commerce for example identified that only one year ago, half of the 100 pet food products it identified as being sold at a discount to their list price still had that list price displayed. The Times observed a similar trend.

So what’s the deal, why is it happening? We think legal issues could be a motivator. Various online retailers have been subject to criticism due to displaying discount information based on inaccurate price lists. Over two dozen lawsuits alleging the violations of California law that forbids deceptive advertising have been filed in 2016 alone against retailers like Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren and Macy’s.

Although, legal considerations might not be the only motivator. Amazon has got to a point where it increasingly doesn’t need to compete on price. It has such a loyal base of customer that are likely to purchase from Amazon even if they know they can get a better deal elsewhere. Why’s that? It’s the customer experience. Amazon now offers half a billion products for sale, and thanks to Amazon Prime those products can be delivered in two days or less for free. Consumers trust Amazon to do that. They’ve got other ways of making themselves a bigger part of their customers’ lives too – through access to streaming movies, books on Kindle and more.

This doesn’t mean that Amazon thinks it’s a cut above the rest and doesn’t need to be price competitive, but it’s quite possible that Amazon has got to a point where it doesn’t need to play by conventional retail rules.



Snapchat’s User Base Is Getting Older: So What Do We Do?

snapchat older user base

Source: Snapchat 



Snapchat is changing. According to comScore data, in May 38% of US mobile users aged 25-35 and 14% of those older than 35 were using Snapchat. That’s a significant increase from 5% and 2% respectively. The Wall Street Journal’s Yoree Koh stated: “An aging demographic is inevitable for many apps that first catch fire with teens.”

comScore’s data suggests that the popularity of Snapchat amongst teens is declining. We can consider how the use of Snapchat by older individuals might change the way younger users view the app, but other social media platforms like Facebook “grew up” and still remained dominant. So we can safely bet it won’t have that much of a detrimental effect.

If you’re now wondering why this matters, it’s because even if the risk of a younger user abandonment is small, demographics could still have an effect on the overall behaviour on Snapchat. For example, older users might demonstrate different usage patterns than the younger ones, or the younger ones may even change how they act to deal with the whole “my mother is my friend on Snapchat” sort of attitude we see coming into play.

The other point is that the growing number of older users means Snapchat can create new opportunities for brands. We don’t need to see Snapchat as a platform exclusive to teenagers, but by diversifying the ages we could target and reach multiple types of audiences.



Selfridges Body Studio: Blurring the Lines Between In-store and Digital

selfridges body studio

Source: Danor Engineering 



Buying lingerie has always been a pain for women. The unflattering lighting and unrealistic advertising only adding to the experience. But Selfridges are out to combat that. The creative project ‘Body Studio’ is capitalising on the wellness trend, and it’s an entirely new in-store and online department based around hosiery, lingerie, sportswear and swimwear.

The advertisement itself took a refreshing turn. ‘Incredible Machines’ is a short film designed to promote the campaign, and they’ve certainly set a different tone. In the video a number of inspirational women chat about their relationship with their own body, which not only creates conversation, but it promotes their core message. By promoting an ethos rather than a product they make it automatically much more memorable.

The in-store space has been described as a “statement space” and the Body Studio is Selfridges attempt to make the previous negative experience of lingerie shopping a pleasurable one. Instead of dedicating a small corner of store space to lingerie etc, they’ve made it the core focus of the store. They’ve also focused on the entire experience as a whole. There’s a healthy eating cafe and a “Fit Studio” as well as two beauty rooms and a Daniel Galvin hair salon. They’re taking it back to the old days when shopping was a day long experience.

Their digital experience is very cleverly done. They have features that advertise products, but there’s also recipes and interviews online which make it more of a publication than an advertisement and this only adds to the experience. As you can imagine, all their promotion points down to instore, effectively blurring the lines between online and real life. The digital hub provides interesting insight into the Body Studio but it is above all an advertisement for the in store flagship department, which we find pretty interesting.



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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.