Stats, facts and future trends November 2015

Stats, Facts & Future Trends November 24th, 2015

This month, discover the importance of engagement in social media marketing, why sponsored social messages are particularly effective, and why ad avoidance is preferred to ad blocking.

Increasing audience engagement key objective in social media marketing

Marketers are constantly ramping up their social media marketing skills to not only drive brand awareness, but also increase audience engagement, according to an October 2015 study by Ascend2. The study asked 294 marketing, sales and business professionals worldwide what their most important social media marketing strategy objectives were, and found that:

  • Almost two-thirds said that increasing audience engagement was crucial. Other intentions included increasing brand awareness, lead generation and website traffic.
  • 82% of respondents said that creating compelling content is key to achieving strategic success through tactical effectiveness.
  • That content is very likely to include video, which respondents rated as more effective for social media marketing than any other type of content. Infographics and blog posts made up the top three.
  • However, half of marketing professionals surveyed said the inability to measure ROI was a leading obstacle. Others pointed to the lack of in-house skills and resources.

While marketers will have to overcome these hurdles to better reach their objectives, there’s no doubt that social media marketing is still growing, albeit fairly slowly in the US where the market is mature. By 2015, 88.2% of US companies will use social networks for marketing purposes, and by 2017 that number will grow to 89.4%.

Sources: eMarketer, Ascend2

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Digital marketing is mainstream

Digital marketing is now mainstream, according to a new report which finds that 98% of marketers say online and offline activities are merging. Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2015-16 included responses from business leaders responsible for marketing in large companies in North America and the UK, and also found that:

  • One third of respondents said that digital techniques were now fully incorporated into their marketing operations.
  • 10% of respondents were expanding the role of marketing to create new digitally-led business models.
  • Digital commerce now accounts for 11% of the digital marketing budget, up from 8% in 2014.
  • 65% of marketers ranked social marketing as their top priority, with digital commerce (64%) as second. Marketing analytics (61%) and customer experience (56%) were next, followed by advertising operations (54%).

“Marketers no longer make a clear distinction between offline and online marketing disciplines,” said Yvonne Genovese, group vice president at Gartner. “As customers opt for digitally led experiences, digital marketing stops being a discrete discipline and instead becomes the context for all marketing. Digital marketing is now marketing in a digital world.”

Sources: Warc, Gartner

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Sponsored social posts the most effective marketing channel

Social media users say sponsored social messages are equally—if not more—effective as other types of marketing tactics, according to the results of a July 2015 survey. Data from online marketplace Izea, Lightspeed GMI and the Halverson Group found that nine out of the top 10 most effective marketing tactics comprised sponsored social messages.

  • Sponsored social messaging on platforms such as Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram scored higher than on ‘traditional’ social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Other platforms that scored highly for marketing effectiveness of their sponsored messaging were LinkedIn, Tumblr, Vine and Pinterest.
  • TV commercials were the only non-social marketing tactic in the Top 10.
  • Other traditional-media and older digital tactics such as search and print were lower down the list, while website banner ads were rated the lowest.

B2C content marketers are less positive about social tactics, but a growing number say social is an effective platform. In an October 2015 survey by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Marketing Profs and TrackMaven, 61% of B2C content marketers in North America said promoted posts such as Promoted Tweets were effective, with an increase in effectiveness compared to 2014.

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Consumers want Christmas content earlier

A new study from content discovery platform Outbrain highlights content consumption trends for the 2014 Christmas holiday season from November to New Year’s Eve. Beginning in early November, consumption of Christmas-related content began to steadily rise while the amount of content struggled to keep up.

  • Christmas content creation peaks around November 4 with the initial marketing push. Nearly 1,500 articles are published on this day.
  • But 25% of consumers have already begun Christmas shopping before October 31.
  • December 23 2014 marked the highest consumption of content across the season, up 457% on 2013’s peak.
  • Seven out of the top 10 keywords that correlate to the highest engagement with Christmas content are related to food, with ‘egg’ being number one.

“There has been a seismic shift in media that has changed consumer consumption habits. When it comes to holiday marketing, marketers should be aware of offering audiences content earlier on in the year,” said Avi Zimak, Outbrain North America general manager. “Our data shows consumers are eager for holiday content much earlier on in the buying cycle, and heavy content consumption is occurring in the weeks before Black Friday, Cyber Monday and again, right before Christmas.”

To read the full article, click here

UK digital buyers prefer emails from retailers

Email continues to be a reliable tactic for retailers looking to reach consumers and, according to a July 2015 survey, UK digital buyers prefer this method when receiving communications from retailers. Ecommerce solutions provider Tryzens surveyed 1,000 consumers who had made a digital purchase in the past three months and found that:

  • Search engines were the primary source consumers used to find a retailer’s website or promotion, with almost half (48%) of UK digital buyers using this method.
  • However, email was not far behind, with 42% of respondents surveyed relying on it.
  • More than three-quarters of online buyers preferred email when receiving communications from retailers.
  • 59% of respondents used Amazon as their primary purchasing site.
  • 22% purchased mostly from other retailers, including IKEA, B&Q and Boots. However, 77% of those same respondents also found these retailers to be the most difficult to use.

Therefore, even popular retailers should have websites that are easy to use—especially since consumers expect it. In addition, almost all UK digital buyers polled said that being able to navigate easily on a website across multiple devices was an important ecommerce feature. The consensus was almost equally strong among women (99%) and men (97%). Both genders also agreed that access to the best prices, an effective search engine, free delivery and a simple return service were key features of ecommerce sites.

Sources: eMarketer, Tryzens

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Ad avoidance preferred to ad blocking

Around one in five UK mobile users has installed a mobile ad blocker in the past two months but almost half aren’t even aware of the concept and most simply avoid ads they find irritating. Instantly, a provider of audiences and insights tools, polled 984 people in the UK to explore consumer perceptions around mobile ad blockers, and found that:

  • Just 47% of respondents had heard of ad blockers.
  • However, more than half (55%) said they found mobile ads generally annoying and disruptive, and chose to skip or ignore them.
  • Half the respondents (50%) said they had never clicked on mobile banner ads, while 55% always skipped ads on YouTube.
  • 18% had installed an ad blocker in the last two months and 39% said they would install one if it was offered to them

“Ad blocking is currently being discussed in the news on a daily basis, but all the stories are focusing on the media itself and not the consumers,” said Ben Leet, UK MD of Instantly.

Leet also argued that simple implementation tweaks and the use of programmatic advertising would help increase click rates and decrease the perceived need for ad blockers. “When messaged correctly, programmatic advertising will be favoured by consumers as well as media buyers,” he said.

To read the full article, click here

Mobile users drive UK social usage

The new eMarketer report, ‘UK Social Media Usage: Young Mobile Users Pioneer Uptake of Additional Platforms’ details the popularity of social media, particularly among teens and millennials. The report also states that:

  • There will be 34.9 million social network users in the UK in 2015, equivalent to 53.5% of the total population and 68.0% of its internet users.
  • The UK will rank 11th globally when it comes to the share of internet users who access social networks. This is well behind Russia’s leading rate of 79.3%, but above the worldwide average of 65.6% and not far off the US average (69.4%).
  • 72.1% of UK smartphone users will use those devices to access social networks at least once per month in 2015.
  • The report projects that more millennial internet users will be social network users in 2015 than any other age group in the UK, led by 95.5% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 88.6% of 25- to 34-year-olds.
  • This is well above the 68.0% average among age groups in the UK overall.

The report goes on to say that younger cohorts are leading the charge toward diversifying social network usage, with mobile the preferred access route. However, mobile usage habits across the broader population also have an impact on the UK social media landscape. Smartphones, for example, have engendered an always-on approach to social networking, and an approach that very often spans multiple platforms.

Source: eMarketer

To read the full article, click here

Mobile browsing set to replace desktop in fewer than 18 months

According to Adobe Digital Index’s (ADI) 2015 Mobile Benchmark Report, brand marketers should focus their time and money on both mobile apps and the mobile internet. That’s because both mobile app and mobile web usage continues to grow.

  • Leading brands see between 50% and 70% of their contact with consumers via the mobile app and mobile web channels.
  • Mobile browsing is on track to replace desktop in 18 months or less, with visits up 16% YoY (Q2 2014 to Q2 2015).
  • Meanwhile, the amount of app sessions launched increased 51% YoY.
  • During peak periods, such as Christmas shopping, the proportion of mobile traffic to specific sites often surpassed 70%.

“The complementary nature of desktops and mobile devices reinforces the need for marketers to fully understand what people do, not just what devices do,” says Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI. “This can best be accomplished by thinking of the specific uses across devices and stitching the cross-device journey together.”

Sources: Campaign, Adobe

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