Weekly Roundup #88 – Digital Spend, Customer Experiences & British Shoppers

We’re back with another round up of the past week in digital advertising! If you happened to miss last weeks, we covered how to read A/B test results, Snapchat’s ‘Context Cards’ and how the GDPR will create better quality marketing… Back to this week, where we take a look at the following :



Mobile is the Top Driver for Small Business Digital Spending

Spot Studio mobile marketing news

Both Google and Facebook have committed to the new ‘gold standard’ programme by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) in a bid to clean up digital advertising. The IAB initiative hopes to, “Raise the standards” and to address ad fraud and brand safety in online advertising. Launched on October 18th the IAB’s ‘Gold Standard’ programme has put forward three key actions that they hope will substantially improve the standards of digital advertising:

  1. Ads.txt will be implemented on all sites carrying ads, meaning that publishers and distributors will be forced to declare who is authorised to sell their inventory, which will provide far greater transparency for progammatic buyers.
  2. The LEAN principles by the Coalition for Better Advertising Standards, which will improve the digital marketing experience for consumers as ads will have to be light, encrypted and non-invasive.
  3. Work with the UK body JICWEBS to increase brand safety, through benchmarking best practice for online trading with a view to becoming certified or maintain certification.

These are the fundamental aims of the IAB, however it is likely that they will be expanded upon in their aim to tackle issues around audience measurement and viewability. Tim Elkington, the IAB’s chief digital officer stated that, “Everyone agrees that digital advertising standards need to improve to keep this industry sustainable and thriving. The IAB Gold Standard is a practical measure that demonstrates media owner commitment to making this happen”.


The Value of Prioritising Customer Experience

The airline industry is providing an interesting case study in contemporary customer service. Major carriers have always differentiated themselves from their low-cost challengers by providing high quality customer experience, however 2017 has seen established airlines receive negative media coverage for their treatment of customers. The stories that have emerged over 2017 have cast doubt over their ability to provide better customer experience, which will surely be reflected in their profits…

Whilst negative experiences can be blamed on a single flight attendant or reservations agent, it seems more likely that the culture of the organisation is to blame. A company’s approach to customer service is defined by three elements – the boardroom attitudes, employee empowerment and training.

Consistent and excellent customer service is always a reflection of its leadership, and a product of its internal culture. If board members do not think customer experience is a priority then the customer-facing teams will feel the same – focusing instead on the KPIs that the board have issued.

One key change that companies can make is to empower their employees – giving customer service teams the resources and autonomy to actually help people. Provide service teams with technologies that put customer data at their fingertips for a more personalised service, and give each representative a small discretionary budget to resolve individual cases. In this way, the customer-facing teams are more engaged and motivated as well as more likely to have provided a positive customer experience.

In our day and age, where self-service is the preferred option, it is safe to assume that those who call a representative have a complex issue. Service teams must be trained to add value in these situations, thinking beyond the screen in front of them.

Whilst it is would be ideal to fulfill every customer request and to solve every customer problem, this is simply not possible. Instead customer service should be about making a good impression on each customer every time they make contact, so that they know you tried your hardest to resolve their issue. Over time these positive impressions build up to create a well-established and well-thought of brand.


Facebook tests a ‘Subscribe’ Button for Instant Articles

As planned, Facebook has begun the process to start testing a subscription program for Instant Articles. Initially, the test will be limited to mobile only, and even then to those who access Facebook through Android phones.

Testing in the US and Europe, the plan will enable publishers to sell subscriptions against their Instant Articles, which Facebook hopes will keep publishers from pulling back on its proprietary article format – as this provides Facebook with inventory to sell to advertisers.

Facebook is giving publishers two subscription options – the first option is a metered paywall that allows a reader to access 10 Instant Articles in a month for free, but requires a subscription and payment for any further reading. The second option follows the freemium model, whereby the publisher can choose which articles to make available to only the paid subscribers and which to have as free material for anyone on Facebook.

Both options will be controlled by the publishers, and Facebook is not taking a cut of the revenue. According to a Facebook blog post,

“The publisher and subscriber relationship will work the same way it does on their own sites today where the publisher has direct access and full control, including setting pricing and owning subscriber data”.

You will soon see that Facebook adds a ‘Subscribe’ button in place of the ‘Like’ button for Instant Articles, as well as as inserting subscription calls-to-action buttons within Instant Articles…


How to Sway the Loyal British Shopper…

The results of YouGov’s BrandIndex survey have shown the fierce loyalty that British shoppers have for well-established brands. Measuring customer perceptions of brands’ quality, value, impression, satisfaction and reputation, the UK list of results was made up predominantly of long-standing brands such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

As a comparison, 79% of UK respondents said they were loyal to 1-5 brands, whereas just 65% of US consumers said the same. With this being so, where does this leave new brands or foreign brands who are looking to move to the UK?

The route to success in the UK is to use data-driven personalisation to create customer interest, purchases and eventually loyalty. A Qubit report has shown that personalisation is valuable – with half of UK respondents saying that they like and enjoy receiving personalised, relevant product recommendations, whilst the same survey also reported that only half of the UK respondents feel that their favourite shopping sites actually do so. This appetite for a personalised experience proves that there is space for new competitors in the UK market.

Qubit has also reported on the most effective e-commerce techniques, which showed that scarcity tactics, social proof and urgency messaging had the greatest impact on revenue, whilst redesigning a site, changing navigation and moving buttons had a neutral or even negative effect on revenue.

As an example, Thomas Cook Airlines noticed that 93% of their travellers were either searching online, or expressing a preference for booking online. Using this information, Thomas Cook decided to make persuasive personalisation their key strategy for creating compelling customer experiences, ensuring that visitors return to their site to book a flight.

Thomas Cook increased urgency, by showing what other customers on the same flight route were purchasing, which was combined with social proof and machine learning to bring about a 1.6% increase in purchases.


Data Management Platforms – the Future of Digital Marketing?

Creating relevant material across a broad range of channels is a new challenge for marketers. Ideally, marketers would be delivering consistent and contextually-smart messages across multiple channels, from social media to email, video and point of sale. However, customers find themselves growing increasingly frustrated by experience that are disjointed, impersonal and ineffective…

To combat customer frustrations, digital marketers must anticipate their customer’s needs by adopting more sophisticated approaches to managing and activating data. This will turn isolated marketing campaigns into always-on journey orchestration which is truly personalised.

Instead of sending one email to everyone on the mailing list, it is vital to focus on one-to-one personalised customer journeys across all touch-points, both on and offline. This will increase customer loyalty whilst also acquiring meaningful customer data that can be used at a later date to further personalise each individual customer’s experience.

There are various technologies that can be used to help create this new digital marketing environment, such as a centralised data management platform (DMP). The most effective DMPs are agile and easy to set up, whilst also providing sophisticated customer journey orchestration and complete flexibility in terms of the business systems and customer channels they connect with. Such a platform can be adjusted in real-time with specific business goals, and then used to anticipate the marketing journeys that customer are looking for, no matter how specific or niche.

DMPs are thought to be compatible with future channels as well as the current ones, which is shown in their ability to work with emerging trends such as beacon technology. DMP technology will prove to be invaluable in a digital landscape that is ever-expanding, providing a future-proof marketing strategy that will deliver personalised and effective customer journeys.


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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

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