Month: July 2015

Social & Search ‘Buy’ buttons, and what SMEs can learn about Mobile Commerce

Despite the fact that most of us have been addicted to our smartphones for the last five or six years, not many companies have truly perfected the art of getting consumers to actually buy things on their mobile device. Few have truly cracked the concept of Mobile Commerce. Most of us shop online at least some of the time, but while we tend to search a lot on our mobiles, when it comes time to actually opening our virtual wallets and parting with our cash, consumers have shown time and time again a preference for taking to a desktop to complete the purchase.

This could be because it’s a pain in the ass filling out payment information on a small screen, or it could be due to a psychological pre-disposition from a consumer behavior point of view. Either way, online retailers haven’t been helping themselves by generally having pretty crappy e-commerce set-ups on their site. Things are improving all the time though, and in the last year alone we have seen many of the biggest players in the space starting to lead the way in encouraging, and facilitating, mobile shopping.

google purchases

Just last week Google announced a new feature called ‘Purchases’ which adds a BUY button to mobile search ads so that users are prompted to make a purchase there and then. This takes you to a product page hosted by Google where you can find out more information about the product and complete the purchase using your stored payment information while the order fulfillment is carried out by the merchant as per usual.

Facebook and Twitter have also been using similar BUY buttons in their product ads on mobile over the last year, with both Instagram and Pinterest following suit over the last couple of months too. It’s clear that this is quickly becoming a standard feature across most of the big tech platforms’ advertising offerings but of course this means that to take advantage of these features, you have to be running ads with Google AdWords, Facebook etc. in the first place. It is essentially just another way to increase the direct impact of an ad to encourage impulse purchases.

The main aim of these features is to reduce the friction of making a purchase on a mobile device when engaging with Search and Social, but I think there is a more important lesson to take for smaller companies with regards to their own online sales experience. It’s all well and good optimizing an ad on a digital platform for selling on a smartphone, but if the buying process on your own mobile website isn’t up to the same standard, than you are putting your company at a disadvantage. Many brands today put a lot of effort into digital and social media marketing, and that’s great, but it’s not much use if you lose the sale at the final hurdle by having a terrible mobile e-Commerce process.

Don’t rely on the big tech companies to convert your sales for you. Invest in a decent mobile e-Commerce experience.

Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Mobile

Apple Music, Facebook Video Ads, Airline Co-branding, and Man United Marketing

First impressions of Apple Music look pretty positive

The launch of Apple Music on 30th June was the undoubted tech / media story of the week, and first impressions seemed quite positive across the board. Despite some minor gripes about it being a bloated service with a questionable user interface, people seem to like it. Whether it will be enough to persuade the legion of dedicated Spotify users to switch allegiances, or more importantly, to convince a chunk of the 800 million iTunes users to start paying a monthly subscription fee, only time will tell. Streaming music will likely become somewhat of a commodity product over the next few years, and the fact that Apple Music is baked into every iOS device will likely be their ace-in-the-hole when it comes to whether they come out on top or not.

Facebook is starting to ramp up it’s video ad revenue generation service for publishers

It’s been clear for the last couple of years that video is becoming an increasingly popular medium and that Facebook are keen on stopping YouTube from hogging all the action. Over the last few weeks it seems that they have begun testing in-line autoplay ads on ‘suggested videos’ and in doing so, making it more rewarding for content publishers to push video directly on the platform. YouTube has traditionally been a more valuable platform for content publishers as they can earn money from the ads served before their videos start. While this is harder for Facebook to deliver because the vast majority of video views come from directly in the timeline (i.e. users will likely keep scrolling if an ad plays before a random video in their timeline), playing ads before ‘suggested videos’ that users actively pursue (and might be willing to suffer through an ad for) gives them a way of getting in on the action.

What global brands can learn from Manchester United’s marketing playbook

This is an interesting piece from AdWeek’s current Sports Issue detailing the multiple different ways that Manchester United have blazed a trail when it comes to creating a truly global brand. From being one of the first teams to embark on regular international pre-season tours all over the world, to launching their own television channel (MUTV), bringing out branded credit cards, signing multiple region-specific partnership deals as opposed to finding broad global sponsors, and generally being one of the first global sports teams to truly embrace unique digital content, there’s plenty of lessons to learn for brands in general and not just sports teams.

Co-branding opportunities in the premium airline / travel market

Another great post from Skift, this time discussing the different ways that airlines might be able to add value through premium co-branding initiatives. Air travel is becoming a much contested space, especially at the premium end of the market with the likes of Emirates, Etihad etc. constantly trying to out-do each other in offering the most outlandish experiences in the air (Emirates introduced on-board showers and cocktail bars to their A380s in 2008. Not to be outdone, Etihad answered back with their first class apartment suites last year). With such an onus on airlines wanting to position themselves as premium brands, why is there not more collaboration between airlines and other premium brands that compliment each-other? Bulgari already makes the first-class amenity kits for Emirates, but that is only the tip of the iceberg – “there could be Louis Vuitton First Class suites, … Millennial-focused rows at the back offering free connectivity and music streaming, courtesy of Apple. There could be Happy Meals in the Family cabin for the kiddies. Starbucks could offer everything from Lattes to Teavana, from scones to healthy sandwich options, to those Gen-TREP passengers in a dedicated Connected cabin. Beautyrest could sponsor special bedding and more comfortable seat cushions for a Rest Zone cabin.”

Posted by Rob in Apple, Branding, Facebook, Links of the Week