instagram financial times

Weekly Roundup #48 – Smartphone Shopping, Email & Financial Times

Well into our weekly roundup series now, so you’ll no doubt know how it goes. Every week we provide you with a roundup of the finest news and resources surrounding email marketing, SEO, social media, eCommerce and more. If you want these delivered right to you as they’re published, you can subscribe at the end of this post. If you missed last week’s article on AI messaging, SEO copy and homepage carousels, check it out here. 

Digital Marketing News

40% of Millennial Shoppers Ask Their Friends Before They Spend More Than £60

A study commissioned by Maybe – a platform that advises consumers on shopping decisions – has found that 42% of millennial shoppers turn to Facebook to ask their friends’ opinions before spending over £60. The study involved 1,978 young adults between the ages of 16 and 34 to understand how this group of shoppers makes purchasing decisions.

Between 65% and 85% of respondents claim that feedback validates their opinions. Polly Barnfield, the founder at Maybe said:


“Researching how consumers shop has opened our eyes to the variety of different ways people choose to purchase products. The report highlights that price, location and inspiration all impact how we shop. Whilst price and location are obvious factors, what’s really interesting is the amount of validation people seek.”


She continued:


“The majority of us like to ask for our friends’ opinion when shopping if they’re physically present, but it seems that many of us also like to broaden the scope of feedback, especially if we’re spending a lot. Facebook can be an easy mediator for a tricky purchasing decision.”


Former chief operating officer of Super Group and owner of the Superdry label commented on the findings: “It’s understandable that as the cost of a purchase goes up, so does the amount of deliberation.” “What stands out most to me is that feedback from friends, family or even forums are so important when making a buying decision.” She added: “From a retailer’s perspective, this is something that they should be focusing on. If they can help shoppers validate their purchases with their peers, subsequently they’ll be more inclined to spend in store. I think it’s an important element of the shopping process that retailers are missing out on.”



Smartphone Shopping Official : 20% Fully Shopping and 60% Willing To

New research from Tryzens, a managed service provider of eCommerce solutions has released some interesting new research on smartphone shopping. Its research of 1000 shoppers who have completed at least one online purchase in the past quarter found that smartphones are the preferred shopping device of 65% of the sample, replacing laptops as the way to shop.

This reflects a growing mood for shopping online with a mobile “anytime, anyplace, anywhere” says Andy Burton, the company’s CEO.


“Whilst laptops formally remain the favourite device used by consumers when online shopping, the biggest year-on-year change has been the stratospheric growth of expectation around the ability to shop solely on a mobile device,” he explains. “The smartphone is now rated as the preferred device by 65% of our research base and tablets by 52%. Desktops have dropped from second preference to fourth in a year! This really is a move to shop anytime, anywhere and on the move.”


Eighty-two percent of shoppers who buy in-store research their purchase online first, but it’s the freedom to shop at any time that’s cited as the most significant benefit of mobile shopping according to 85% of women and 77% of men. Following this is the ability to find the widest range of products quickly and efficiently (63%), and the ability to access the best price before purchasing (63%).

The research shows that fashion and apparel retailers need to take heed more than others because they have very different pressures on them when trading online – ranging from a need for richer content experiences to convey look and styling, to making links from social media, blogs and shoppable content to the eCommerce site. Clothing retailers must also make it easy to order the right size to mitigate returns.

Burton says:


“The Swiss Army knife of the modern digital world – the smartphone – has come of age. Improved connectivity, faster processors, bigger and better screens and a huge range of apps have now made its core function one of access to digital content and data rather than voice,” He continues, “It is now a permanent part of a consumers’ day-to-day life and as rich application technology has finally caught up with the device our research is clearly indicating that the smartphone is the device of choice in the critical 16-45 year age group.”


Interesting stuff. Better get optimised – it’s official.



Social Media

Instagram: The Financial Times Finds Unexpected Social Success

instagram financial times

Source: eConsultancy


The Financial Times have found unlikely success on social media platform Instagram – showing brands who aren’t ‘photogenic’ that they can still get their post’s worth. Lucinda Southern at Digiday, FT, detailed how they have invested heavily in their digital efforts and grew the number of followers on Instagram from 40,000 last year to over 286,000 this year. That’s pretty incredible.

But what enabled them to grow their ranks so substantially? The answer, is uh… “chart porn”. Southern explains:


“Last week, for instance, [the FT] posted two charts and one graphic to the platform. One on Microsoft’s share price reaching an all-time high since since its IPO was the most liked Instagram image of that day with 1,400 likes. It also featured a graphic on how debates have historically affected the U.S. presidential campaign and a chart on the space journey of the Schiaparelli probe. These are a mix of charts taken from the paper, or made specifically for social media, which have a different color-scheme and a black background.”


So, sort of like food porn then, but charts.

They aren’t trying to translate its Instagram content to referral traffic to its site, at least not directly. Instead they’re trying to differentiate themselves by using a platform like Instagram in a unique way. Financial Times social media journalist Jake Grovum told Digidayl, “It’s important to make sure we’re not just joining in with what other publications are doing, that we have our distinct voice and identity.”

Taking the above post as an example, a graphic detailing the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic generated over 1,300 likes in a day and a video animated chart showing US household income in 2014 dollars had produced over 15,00 views within 24 hours of being posted. The Financial Times are posting things that aren’t necessarily Instagram-friendly, but perhaps that’s exactly what Instagram users need, and want to engage with? A little bit of a change could be a great thing. And surely we’ve seen enough food and yoga pics to last a lifetime?

The concept that there’s demand for a wide variety of content on Instagram – even chart porn – has been heavily underestimated. This could be great news not only for publishers like the Financial Times but also for brands and companies in the financial sector. Obviously it isn’t straightforward to calculate ROI on platforms like Instagram, but we’ll see if other people follow suit in the next few months.




See How Google is Showing Even More Shopping Ads on Desktop This Season

google ads

Source: Google Search 


Since product listing ads continue to resonate with consumers and drive clicks for advertisers, Google has experimented with showing more of them on the search results page over the years. As Holiday Season 2016 approaches, they’re continuing to increase the count and are showing PLAs in cards rather than single ad packs.

On some search queries Google shows as many as 15 product listing ads on phones and tablets and even up to 18 on desktop thanks to the scrolling slider of ads. There’s now a new slider treatment being tested with more ads showing in the right-hand column on the desktop this week.

If you remember how the ads were before, you can see these ones are bigger and shown in individual cards. Google made PLAs bigger over a year ago. Because the ads are larger there are five ads displayed at one time instead of 6, but the full slider can fit as many as 15 ads. You can also see the “More on Google” link there that gives users more than one way to get to the Google Shopping search results.

When PLA’s aren’t featured in a scrolling carousel at the top of the results page, Google is showing more ads in the ad packs on the right-hand side. Google has been playing around with this for ages now, but here’s an example of how Google is using that right-hand real estate:


google PLAs


Good to see growing potential in Google Ads, especially over the holiday season.



Which Vertical Sector is the King of the Hill for Email Marketing?

Digital marketing has changed a lot over the last decade and since, it has brought email marketing to its centre. This is evident when you consider that email marketing’s ROI has increased from 66% in 2008 to 73% today – that’s spectacular growth compared to other marketing mix channels. Ten years of increased integration between channels and technologies now means better segmentation, highly sophisticated personalisation and customer-driven marketing.

Data collected for the Adestra eConsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2016 looks at the top 6 sectors: retail, mail order, print/publishing and media, charities/ government & non-profit, financial services & insurance, travel and hospitality and technology & telecoms. A survey of over 1,100 digital marketers around the world and analysis on each sector revealed: which one is producing the best return for the budget allocated to email, the strategies and tactics they use, time spent and how they focus on mobile and implementation automation and at last and their outlook on the future.

We decided to focus in on one of the sectors: Retail/Mail Order, since it’s relevant to us. The ROI has grown considerably from last year for the sector, and email performance is just keeping above the overall email industry average. Retailers also score above the industry average for mobile optimisation strategy. While they keep time spent on tactical activities on the lower side, they’ve lost little focus on strategy. Their use of tactics overall has dropped back since last year, however firms are seeing modest improvements in success when implementing automated email programmes. When discussing the future, retailers are the most innovative sector and they feel most strongly about innovating with creative behavioural triggers.

If you’re wondering who’s top dog though, the answer is media and publishing. They have produced the most consistent results across the board. Publishers have seen email performance shoot up since last year and they top the chart for total sales attributable to the email channel. Media and publishers make use of the broadest number of ESP services and lead the way in optimising email for mobile.



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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

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