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Case studies: 5 online tricks high street brands have used to reel in buyers

Camelbak UGC hubEngageSciences CEO, Richard Jones, reveals five ways his company has helped clients involve consumers, and what the results have been–Ed.

Whether it’s leveraging persuasive user-generated content, an interactive tailored quiz, or lucrative media partnership, retail brands today need to be relevant, ready and well-equipped. Here’s how they do it:

1. Social hubs

Brands launch and create pages on their website and digital channels which they infuse with user generated content. They pull and curate the best contributions from multiple social channels, such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to influence and engage consumers.

Bauer Media’s Grazia magazine partnered with fashion brand Marc Jacobs, to launch their “Minute by Minute” London Fashion Week campaign. Their website included a real-time social hub, featuring tweets and Instagram posts from customers, using the hashtag #LFW, which saw over 11,000 readers engage with its content.

The UK needs to up its emoji game

Cadbury's Mumsnet emojiYes, the OED may have caused some mild consternation last week by announcing that an emoji was its word of the year, but when it comes to other British brands picking up the emoji baton, the UK has been slow to react.

Along with the increasing popularity of emojis in western culture, Apple’s release of iOS8, allowing third-party keyboard integration, last autumn, really paved the way for brand involvement, and the US was first out of the starter’s blocks.

Do users ‘like’ the new Twitter update? The results are in

Twitter heartsNumbers don’t lie – Twitter’s user growth has slowed quite steadily over the past four years. As such, the social network is seeking new ways to engage users, as other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat continue to grow at a fast pace. On 3 November, Twitter changed the way we interact with content, installing a like button with a heart icon that replaced the favourite star. At The Organic Agency, we strove to find out how this would impact user engagement on the social network.

We analysed the top ten brands, celebrities and media providers in the UK, according to follower numbers. In each case we looked at the last 20 tweets before and after the change, taking into account the effects of paid promotion and virality. In the end, we found there had been an overall average increase of 17.33% in the number of likes since the adoption of a like and heart button.

How much is a Christmas advert worth? Or, how to measure the impact of a Christmas marketing campaign

Jeff Goldblum in Curry's PC World Christmas campaignMoggies, moon man, muppets and Jeff Goldblum: Christmas marketing campaigns are often highly expensive and creative endeavours. Conventional wisdom is that this is money well spent. Research conducted last year by Shoppercentric suggested that 65% of shoppers consider Christmas ads effective. However, there’s a big gap between understanding that a Christmas ad or marketing campaign makes people feel “Christmassy” and linking a specific element of a campaign to an actual purchase.

At this point, you’d be forgiven for shaking your head at me for touching on the perennial attribution problem in marketing. Nevertheless, for every John Lewis spending £7 million on one commercial, there are tens of thousands of other companies spending money on smaller, but as a proportion of their businesses much more costly, marketing campaigns. So it is worth considering if Christmas campaigns are still worth it.

The Daily Poke: Stop, play, pause

Stop, play, pauseWe’re a nation of gym bunnies. We pump iron, guzzle protein shakes, and NEVER skip leg day. So why don’t we take as much care when it comes to our mental health?

The Black Friday shopper vs the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day sales shopper

Black Friday shopperThe advent of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has fundamentally changed both the retail calendar and consumer demand in the run up to Christmas. A few years ago, the festive calendar followed a familiar pattern, with the Christmas peak being the time of the year retailers would make their greatest profits, driven by stronger consumer demand. While most retailers ensured keener prices at this competitive time of the year, there was less need for deep discounts because shoppers needed little encouragement to buy in the run up to Christmas.

However the creation of short, sharp shopping events such as Black Friday has led to a far greater degree of competition and complexity in the retail world and an interlinked expectation of deep discounts among shoppers. There is little doubt the changing retail landscape has already also divided the consumers into two distinct groups: the Black Friday shopper and the Boxing Day & New Year’s Day sales shopper.

5 social trends you need to know for 2016

Facebook Instant ArticlesHot Cherry’s Harry Cymbler offers his guide to the year ahead. Pay attention, his predictions for this year were pretty sound.

1. The Uberisation of service industries

What it is: Platforms that create two-way rating relationship between businesses and consumers which allow brands including Uber to rate you as a customer, and vice versa.

Why it will be hot in 2016: Two-way review systems present a way to level the playing field between companies and their customers.

Why this is good for brands: Rating relationships will help companies improve their reputations, sell favourably and offer their best service. This will help to build priceless trust and a deeper, more meaningful, relationship with consumers.

What digital evolution will look like in 2016

Apple TVWe only saw the start of programmatic video, contextual commerce and data pooling in 2015, but the evolution of the digital media landscape in 2016 will see these transform from concepts into tangible tactics. Here’s how we at AdRoll are predicting these developments will make for an even faster paced online ad space in 2016.

1. Contextual commerce will finally take off

For a while now, we’ve heard the term contextual commerce being the next step in how consumers shop for new products. But it hasn’t quite taken off, despite the industry’s anticipation that soon transactions will occur within the context of another app, rather than on a brand’s own digital property. There simply haven’t been many great examples of companies bringing the contextual shopping experience to consumers – and there hasn’t been a strong consumer demand for it.

But now we’re starting to see the development of better tools to make it happen. Facebook, for example, is coming out with new ways to get transactional experiences within the News Feed, making in-app shopping a more integrated and seamless user experience.

Matching the right platform with the right products to the right people is still the big challenge, and this is where predictive algorithms will come in as the bridge to connect consumers to contextual shopping.

As technology emerges to close the gap between what people are shopping for, what ads brands are showing, and where these interactions are happening, contextual commerce will finally take flight.

2. Programmatic video will bring mobile shopping to TV

Advertisers are starting to find new ways to take advantage of the two-way flow of information between television screens and connected devices. By using this information, advertisers are able to deliver more tailored, customised ad experiences that speak to the programs consumers are watching, as well as what they’re browsing on desktop and mobile devices.

Programmatic video will hinge on the success of products like Apple TV, which bring the mobile experience to a stationary device. As programmatic video gains more adoption, there will be a proliferation of TV apps. By the end of the year, you’ll be able to watch your favorite show, and within the same screen, purchase the outfit your favourite character is wearing.

3. Quality and creativity will override ad blocking issues

There has been much speculation around the impact ad blockers will have for advertisers. But as an industry, we need to acknowledge that there’s still a lot of room for improvement as far as privacy and irrelevant ads, to make the experience better for consumers.

Next year, to help the entire industry fight the rise of ad blockers, we can expect to see increased efforts in easy options to opt out of entire network campaigns with one click, as well as improved cross-targeting solutions and optimised ad formats, especially on mobile.

As the industry works together to beat the challenge head on and as publishers find ways to deliver a more seamless ad experience to users, ad blockers are unlikely to stand in our way.

Marius Smyth is managing director EMEA of AdRoll

The Daily Poke: Good old fashioned soda

Good old fashioned sodaYou might think that soft drinks brands always jostle to own the newest, trendiest flavours. (Matcha is big for 2016, apparently. Want to try? No?) But, for their next offering, PepsiCo is taking inspiration from the 19th Century.

Hey publishers, let’s stop the metric inflation bullshit

Buzzfeed referral impressionsA few weeks ago Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti published an internal memo to staff giving an update on the direction of one of the most important media businesses of our time, or in his own words, a “cross-platform global network”.

One number in Peretti’s post really stood out, and it’s a number that was subsequently widely reported in the tech press: 5 billion content views. This is the total number of views generated across Buzzfeed’s content; from their site, app, Facebook page, Snapchat story or YouTube account to name but a few.