November 7, 2013 § Leave a Comment
As you can imagine our seasonal consumer study (http://bit.ly/17gxvol) produces reams of data – much of which doesn’t make it into the final report. One of the points that caught my eye and reminded me of findings we used to see in our household studies is the fact that 1/4 of moms say they shop online because “there are no store hours to worry about.” At face value that seems to imply that convenience rules in a hyper busy world – but in today’s near 24/7 brick-and-mortar retail experience I’m not so sure that is entirely what it means. I think comfort comes into play – comfort in being able to browse without someone asking “can I help you”, comfort in abandoning the shopping cart without guilt, comfort in taking your time, comfort in comparing price, and comfort in knowing that you just can walk away. As we roll into the peak shopping season retailers should look at the online experience they provide and if it doesn’t feel comfortable – fix it.
November 5, 2013 § 6 Comments
Halloween is in the rear view mirror—and all eyes are on the upcoming holiday season.
If there ever was one, this is the year for mobile. According to our latest Online Insights study, where we surveyed 993 US online adults about how and when they plan to shop for the holidays, nearly one-half of consumers will use a smartphone to shop this year. That figure is up 51% from our 2012 study. Two-fifths will use a tablet for holiday shopping—a 190% increase over last year!
Considering Hanukkah starts before Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday falls in December for the first time since 2008, the respondents to our survey are ready to hit the malls and shop online. In fact, of respondents of who specified when they would shop for holiday gifts, a plurality (44%) says they will start shopping after Thanksgiving. And that means marketers and retailers have distinct opportunities NOW to pinpoint and engage their target consumers.
Remember though—engagement is the key! Presenting captivating creative that allows shoppers to research and compare offerings, find a location where they can purchase products and grab coupons or sales promotion codes should be paramount.
Grab the full “Spending Season 2013” Online Insights here (PDF), and check out our Spending Season 2013 infographic below.
September 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A bit of history – once the phone was an essential decorative object in the household. It was wired to the wall – and had a rotary dial on it which a caller would use to enter the number they wished to reach. But like any technology device time did no favors – soon there was the keypad and the rotary phone went the route of the Dodo bird. The story has been repeated countless times and continues today. IDC today published a report that tablet-computer shipments will top personal computers for the first time in the 4th quarter of this year. The dramatic shift of consumers away from PCs to mobile devices is having an extraordinary shift in not only the the technology industry, but also the advertising industry. The shift is only going to accelerate as the market for smartphones and tablets matures, and lower priced models become more available and popular. We’re at an interesting junction where consumer mobility is becoming the driving element to a brand’s marketing strategy. The mobile revolution is already annointing the technology winners (Apple, Samsung, Google etal) and losers (HP, Microsoft etal) – I don’t think we are too far away from making the same list for consumer brands.
September 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Mark Kaefer is the marketing director for Burst Media.
The NFL season kicks off today, and fantasy football is all the rage. A Google News search on the topic currently yields about 46.2 million results.
Last month, an article quoted Tom Brady (the NFL’s VP of content, not the New England Patriots’ quarterback) as saying that fantasy football players consume seven times more NFL-related media than fans who don't play the game -- and that such fans “bring their laptops and/or tablets to sports bars every fall Sunday so they can meticulously track fantasy stats over hot wings.”*
September 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
So KISS of course is one of the greatest bands of the 1970′s. Its also the principle by which most of us operate as we weave through life. Keep it simple – saves time, money and invariably leads to a better outcome. In our world of media, impressions, platforms, eyeballs and consumers the KISS principle is taking root. The kinetic pace of acquisition activity is clearly a sign that the media (and agency) industry see an integrated, vertical stack as the best way to serve marketers needs. It makes sense – consumers don’t parse their time by platform. So why should marketers be forced to parse their programs by platforms. A consumer is a consumer – regardless of where and how they access content. That concept to me is the essence of KISS to our industry – and will be the driving force behind more consolidation and the anointing of winners and losers.
April 19, 2011 § Leave a Comment
MediaBistro’s FishbowlNY had this to say about the Pulitzer given to ProPublica for the series by Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger on the role played by banks and hedge funds in the - still reverberating - financial crisis. It says it all.
“While all the Pulitzer winners deserve recognition, FishbowlNY wanted to highlight ProPublica.org, which won the first Pulitzer awarded for a series that didn’t originate in print. Read that sentence again, because this is huge news.”
Quite huge, and it comes only two years after Pulitzer’s rules changed to allow entries from digital only participants.
Congratulations ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger,
March 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
We were discussing Content Ascending in this space a few weeks ago. How about Media Ascending? This was essentially the point of David Carr’s column in the New York Times describing the evolving mission of Google from Technology Company to Media Company. “In essence,” he wrote, “Google, which cracked the code on the Web advertising model, has come to realize that if content becomes just a commodity, then advertising will follow suit.”
Indeed, the stakes are very high for advertisers in this regard, where the separation between soap-the-brand and soap-the-commodity is wafer thin. Content and creativity are the only things keeping the affects of advertising from being overwhelmed by price and promotion. Commoditize content and the burden upon creative to make the case for brands will exceed advertising’s ability to create compelling messages. It is just too hard to produce great creative - which is why so much advertising depends on the ability to intrude on consumers with the volume up.
…But, as to Media Ascending:
The pattern was pointed out in an iMedia column long ago: every new media revolution starts with technical innovation, followed by rapid adoption, a dominant technology culture and then, finally, a media proposition grounded in content. Most recently, of course, it was television and radio. Once their respective boxes had been packed and shipped and switched on in the parlors of America, manufacturers saw the need for content to keep their enterprises growing. They built networks, as David Carr describes:
“RCA commercialized a spectacular invention called radio, but by the mid-1920s the company realized its new wonder needed great content, so it bought and merged several radio stations to form a media company called NBC. Later, RCA did the same trick with another catchy invention: television.”
Today, RCA’s legacy is NBC. And nobody – nobody – sits at home marveling at the fact that the picture on their tube is bouncing off a satellite over the equator. There is, instead, only, ever, one question on their minds: what’s on?
It is a media question.
March 10, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Peering through the lens of search engine optimization (SEO), over at the Nieman Journalism Lab, Richard J. Tofel looks into the future of the World Wide Web and reaches this conclusion, or so it seems: the media business model will reset around the value that binds a reader to content. Call that value loyalty and intent.
Tofel is tipped-off by two events. First is the widely discussed action that Google has taken to shore-up the quality of its search results against the tide of search engine manipulators, optimizers, content mills, etc., that has been building for years. Second, is the sale of The Huffington Post, a reputed master of SEO, to AOL for $315 million. In these things, Tofel sees the signs of backlash and correction. He writes:
“…SEO itself is an inefficiency, a transaction cost rather than a value-creator — it is a technique designed entirely to compensate for the failure of the search engine to correctly analyze site content, searcher desire, or both. Over time, economics teaches us, inefficiencies tend to be wrung out, and transaction costs reduced.”
And then, later, referring to the Huff Post/AOL deal:
“But if it is true that most entrepreneurs sell out near the top, and it is, then perhaps we have just been sent a signal by one of its masters that the dark arts of SEO have peaked and that the century’s second decade will see them fade, perhaps into near nothingness by the third decade. In other words, it seems increasingly likely that, when the history of this era is written, SEO will turn out to have been a transitional phenomenon.”
Transitional from what to what? If I may, the short answer is from big to small. But that’s not a complete answer. Richard Tofel would probably say transitional from an advertiser-centered media business to a reader-centered media business, with the difference being that readers will substantially subsidize the cost (if not the profits) of the media through their wallets, or their loyalty.
“…a focus on readers rather than advertisers as the heart of business model will, inevitably, create a more segmented dynamic, as the strongest appeals to readers tend to be in niches, and as, to venture an impolite reminder, some readers are a great deal more valuable than others. This is not only because some readers have more money to spend on content (as they do, admittedly, on the goods and services offered by advertisers), although that is true. But it is also, and ultimately more importantly true, that some readers are willing to spend more time, to develop greater loyalty to particular content, to value it more highly.”
As a media consumer I can say unreservedly that this is what the internet has meant to me from the beginning: the value of particular content. I can also say unreservedly that search engines have never been especially good at connecting me with that value. The process has always been awkward and imperfect and time consuming. It has always been inefficient, just as Tofel observes.
The search engine business model, however, and its exploitation by publishers, with both good and bad intentions, mimics our experience – what we have known – with traditional media. Long ago media started playing an audience game, which mostly continues today. Richard Tofel is describing the results of SEO, but he could be just as easily describing the results of media business behavior the past 30 years when he observes:
“SEO has been, more than anything, about growing pageviews and unique visitors — any pageviews, and any unique visitors, the more the merrier. It is a force, therefore, for lowest-common-denominator publishing. And after a decade of SEO, a lot of lowest common denominator is what we have.”
How about after three decades? The Real Housewives of New Jersey, anyone?
I suspect Tofel is rooting for a backlash against lowest common denominators. I’m with him. Advertisers, if they could be persuaded to stop chasing sticks around the yard, would do well to root for a backlash, too. A more “segmented dynamic” media world exists to give them what they need for their “segmented dynamic” brand world. It is not more audience. It is loyalty and intent.