It’s one week until Christmas and you’re joining us for our second last weekly roundup of the year! If you missed us chatting about Instagram stories, gift guides and product names last week then head on over here. If you’re all up to date then prepare yourself for our latest instalment which features some home truths we think you need to know about.
Facebook Debuts Live Audio
This new feature that Facebook is introducing into News Feed gives media owners a new way to serve content to audiences – and it particularly benefit users in areas of poor cell phone coverage.
London-based radio station LBC, BBC Worldwide, Harper Collins and authors such as Britt Bennett and Adam Grant have participated in the early phases of the rollout which is set to be extended in the coming weeks. A blog post revealed that early participants were able to go live and engage audiences by using only the Facebook Live API or “by adding a still image to accompany their audio content”.
The blog post, co-authored by Shirley Ip – Facebook Product Specialist – and Software Engineer Bhavana Radhakrishnan says: “From interviews to book readings, we’re excited about the layer of interactivity that Live Audio brings to both the broadcaster and listener. Just as with a live video on Facebook, your listeners can discover live audio content in News Feed, ask questions and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast, and easily share with their friends.”
The post doesn’t include any indication that they plan to introduce paid-for media opportunities with the new feature but knowing Facebook’s previous track record it’s probably likely to follow. The digital audio advertising sector is set to heat up next year with the medium taking significant strides when it comes to inclusion in media plans. Research published earlier in 2016 stated that US marketing and media professionals allocate an average of 11.6% of their ad budget and inventory to digital audio placements by mid-2017. This is almost double the share of investment made two years ago. Interesting.
Further Reading: Facebook Remarketing Vs Google Remarketing
3 Ways Marketers Manipulate Subscribers and Why It Should Stop
Passive Aggressive Sign Up Language
Have you ever seen those email capture forms that pop up and the ‘No’ equivalent is listed below but with some strange passive aggressive statement like ‘No thanks, I don’t want to learn anything new’? We’ve all come across at least one. Implying that people are stupid or lazy because they don’t want to receive your email newsletter is not a good foundation for starting a relationship. You might think you’re being humorous but really it’s just a bit of a phallic move. Even if that type of language does shock them into thinking twice about handing over their email or closing your pop-up, guilt shaming prospects and customers is a sure fire way to damage your brand.
Using Misleading, Vague or Overly Clever Subject Lines
The goal of a subject line is to increase openers who are likely to convert, not to generate opens. Misleading subject lines or ones with little substance will only attract people who are mildly curious (or just bored) which can lead to opener’s remorse and above all a loss of brand trust, email fatigue and spam complaints. Instead use descriptive subject lines. Support this with descriptive preview text – which is really under-optimised – to attract genuinely interested subscribers.
Hiding Unsubscribe Links
Only 81% of the top 200 eCommerce sites are using “clear and conspicuous” unsubscribe links in their marketing emails, compared to the 97% that were in 2015 according to the Online Trust Alliance. That’s some alarming news since it indicates more deliverability problems for brands. When people find it difficult to unsubscribe, they use never-fail report spam buttons instead. And unlike unsubscribers, spam reports can hurt you. Marketing Land recommends you use a two-click unsubscribe process: No more than one click in the email and one on the landing page. Anything more than that and you’re making them jump through hoops which will cause frustration and make that spam report button even more appealing.
Small Business Owners: Creating Filtered Analytics Reports
“Over a 5 day period in late November to early December, we noticed a huge spike in traffic to the Huff Industrial Marketing Website – most of which was coming from Reddit and Lifehacker. Unfortunately, it wasn’t server-crushing traffic referring back to a blog post that someone had linked to. Instead, it was referral spam. How did I know? The website has two Views in Analytics. The spike was showing in the Raw Data View but not in the Filtered View — and when I visited the referring Reddit page, I could see from the comments that others had been hit by this fake traffic as well.” says Dianna Huff at Search Engine Land.
Since small businesses don’t have the robust link profile of other larger businesses, the referral spam completely took over the Top Referrals Analytics report.
Thankfully these days Google has a handle on referral spam and it’s easily removed from Analytics reports by simply turning on bot filtering. In addition to referral spam, Analytics traffic data can be skewed by your own internal traffic. This can happen especially if you have customer service people who walk customers through the pages or forms on your website. To gain a more accurate picture of data you should create a “Filtered View” in Analytics, where you create filters that exclude both referral spam and internal traffic.
Additional Resource: Custom eCommerce Dashboards for Google Analytics
How to Get the Most Out of Your Christmas Data
As you can see, the busiest shopping period of the year has started. This should be your time to shine since consumers are throwing their money at companies this time of year, but since people are also bombarded with ads constantly for a whole bunch of crap they usually don’t even need it has never been more difficult, or important to understand your customer.
Marketers these days know that data is the bread and butter of modern marketing, but despite this understanding, Marketing Tech News’ recent research of UK marketing professionals revealed that 71% of marketers feel overwhelmed by data and 69% of them say spending time on data distracts them from their core marketing duties. And even worse, 29% think they lack the necessary skills to analyse it. So below are some top tips for marketers to turn their data into actionable insight to drive their business forward:
Understand Your Critical Data
It’s possible to considerably reduce marketing costs by using fewer, but higher quality and more reliable sources. There’s plenty of cross sell and upsell opportunities that exist for your current customers, but the key is having the right data to reach out to them at the right time. It’s well known that the best customer experiences are those that are tailored to the individual. Having a better understanding of their behavioural triggers can help you out a lot with this. For example, look out for data that indicates a change in lifestyle or life change as this could be a calling card for purchasing intent.
Quality Over Quantity
Setting out a plan for your data management and cleansing is absolutely essential. Successful data management is making sense of all the information and this requires collating, organising and updating and managing all customer data so that only the highest-quality and most relevant sources are utilised.
Nailing the quality of your data can have a significant impact on other marketing costs down the line and by targeting a smaller pool of higher quality leads reduces production costs as well as your spend on media buying and distribution, leading to improved ROI across the board. A busy Christmas period can provide you with tons of data, so effectively using that to boost consumer engagement or enhance their shopping experience is more important now than during any other time of year.
Make Sure It’s Compliant
If you don’t know what’s compliant and what’s not then it’s important that you work with a data partner who understands the complexities surrounding GDPR and PECR. Working with expert data scientists who have the ability to comprehend these statistics, algorithms and programming languages needed to leverage the masses of available data is key.
Holiday Discounts Are a Bad Idea
With Christmas ads at critical mass, retailers are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to entice customers with holiday discounts. Companies offering 50% off or BOGOF deals are spoiling consumers are over half of this year’s holiday online orders to date were made with some sort of promotion thrown in.
That’s an increase of 36% over the same period last year, according to Dynamic Action which studied $3 billion of online purchases made with US retailers. Findings showed that the number of online orders including some type of promotion have more than doubled from a year earlier between November 1st and December 18th.
Online purchases that include some kind of incentive ranged from 52% to 86% of daily orders during the studied timeframe. Last year by comparison, the percentage of daily orders placed using a promotion ranged from 12% to 73%. Sarah Engel, Senior Vice President of global marketing at Dynamic Action said “Retailers can’t get through the clutter of email inbox and social media feeds without having the attention-grabbing promotions,” she continues “They keep pulling that promotional lever. Consumers begin to expect a deal. Retailers are all chasing themselves down this path. They get into the discounting-addiction spiral.”
Their study doesn’t track whether the level of discounts retailers have given this holiday is deeper than prior years however. The impact on the retailer’s profit would also depend on whether promotions or discounts are planned in advance and already budgeted. If they’re just buckling under the pressure of trends, then it could mean bad news. “If the customer is used to waiting for a sale or buying a product at a discount, that becomes the new value of what your product is worth in the shopper’s mind,” Engel said. “Deep discounts and excessive promotions are an addiction that retailers will have to wean themselves off of in order to survive and thrive in the year ahead.”