In a world of digitized transactions, face-to-face commerce can feel downright old school. We’ve grown accustomed to the convenient wealth of information available to us as part of the online consumer journey. Of course, this has made a web presence imperative to every successful marketing strategy. But there are plenty of industries which still rely heavily on in-person interactions. Fortunately, these established touchpoints can now leverage augmented reality (AR) technology to create customized engagement opportunities able to compete with the unique experiences brands can offer via the Internet.
AR is a real-time view of the physical world that has been altered with computer-generated stimuli such as graphics, video or sound. AR marketing enhances consumer encounters with personalized content that fosters a meaningful connection. And it can do so across industries where live exchanges with consumers inevitably mean more revenue. Here are three traditional in-person experiences that could stand to benefit from the modernization inherent in augmented reality.
1. Brick and mortar shops.
With competition from delivery services like Peapod and AmazonFresh, customer retention is of utmost importance to conventional grocery stores. Some chains have rolled out loyalty cards to satisfy their customers’ needs by tracking and offering discounts on frequently purchased items…and to give their cashiers more things to ask you about during checkout. According to Supermarket News, when retailers use shopper data mined from such programs and apply it to pricing, promotions and assortment, they can see a 4%-7% increase in gross profits.
Now imagine a customer loyalty platform which allows access to additional layers of purchaser information by incorporating augmented reality marketing in the form of personalized touchpoints that build a bond between the consumer and retailer. A PwC poll showed that 52% of respondents felt the in-store experience is a major feature that brings them back. So an app that scans the produce section, offering tips to help pick the freshest fruits and vegetables, or gives meal prep advice and side dish suggestions when selecting meats would give the store a competitive edge over its e-retailer counterparts by adding value to the shopping trip.
2. The real estate industry.
The real estate industry could use AR technology to take the home buying experience to the next level. Currently, agents spend up to $2,500 “staging” a property for potential purchasers by making it look like a cozy and comfortable model home, not unlike you do the first time you plan to invite a date back to your place. Tactics may include depersonalizing and decluttering or minimalizing furniture to show off the size of the space. By positioning a property in its best possible light, it will spend 72 percent less time on the market and generally sell for more money according to the Real Estate Staging Association.
But what if staging could be customized based on applying buyer preferences with augmented reality technology? A family likely to update a traditional home with modern design elements could view these modifications through a realtor’s AR app, or they could turn what was a basic guest room into an inviting children’s playroom by seeing bright colors on the walls and an overflowing toy chest. An empty backyard could be altered with images of a perfectly placed fire pit or a party-friendly pool and hot tub. By offering these visualizations, augmented reality tools can take buyers beyond the limitations of virtual video tours, actively making a house for sale feel less like someone else’s space and more like their very own dream home.
3. Entertainment and event marketing.
An effective hashtag can be crucial to promoting an event as these callouts help attendees organize their experiences and stay virtually connected to the occasion, which is why bridezillas now agonize over generating the perfect one. Better still is for marketers to actually provide participants with unique content they can share via social media to pique their friends’ and followers’ interest in what they’re up to.
An augmented reality application could easily place the image of a concert-goer on center stage right next to the performer, allowing them to forgo the expensive meet and greet tickets to get virtually up close and personal with their favorite singer or band. Similar technology could layer a photo of an excited football fan into a shot of the end zone without the risk of getting tackled by players twice his size. By including a feature that allows these generated photos to be screengrabbed and shared straight to Facebook, Instagram, etc. the interactivity of the event has been heightened with unique pictures far surpassing the average cell phone shots taken at concerts and games. Given that a Ticketfly study showed that almost a third of 18-34-year-olds are using their phones during half of an event or longer, organizers can and should be using AR to steer this usage in a way that will help sell future tickets.
From small businesses to large events, a variety of traditional industries could stand to benefit from these unprecedented augmented reality marketing opportunities. The sky truly is the limit, and it could very easily be augmented, by any organizations willing to take advantage of AR.
“Augmented Reality” presents a world of opportunities just waiting to be visually altered by smart brands taking advantage of this multi-dimensional tool for enhancing user experiences. Studies have shown that over 60% of consumers see clear benefits in using AR technology in their daily lives, and there are now hundreds of AR startups on AngelList with an average valuation of $4.6 million.
Enriching the physical landscape with imagery and videos in real-time is both attention-grabbing and memorable, the pinnacle of marketing campaign effectiveness. But to reach the ultimate trifecta of ROI it also needs to be build a connection between the brand and the consumer. Here are some of the best practices now commonly used to create augmented reality content that drives the highest levels of engagement.
1. Building It
The first thought that comes to mind when you hear “augmented reality” may be a giant head-mounted display that takes away from the coolness factor of being an early adopter. After all, people had some choice things to say about the first wearers of Google Glass. But AR technology can be used on all sorts of screens including less cumbersome mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The easiest and most cost-effective way for brands to get into this space is by utilizing an existing augmented reality viewer to build a campaign. This allows for testing the waters to learn what consumers respond to best before investing time and money into building your own app which can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $700,000 for high-level functionalities.
2. Perfecting It
Once you’ve established the right technology to wow your audiences it’s time to determine how you’ll encourage users to interact with their environment. Brands that have gone all in on AR campaigns will utilize mapping technology to let consumers virtually try on makeup or they’ll gamify a day at a theme park to make it somehow even more stimulating. But on the most fundamental level, augmented reality viewers are designed to simply place virtual objects in the real world, making this innovative technology well-suited to liven up even the most basic ad offerings like direct mail campaigns.
3. Promoting It
With the pieces in place to launch your augmented reality campaign, the final step is driving audiences to interact with it. Simply put, people won’t accidentally open an augmented reality viewer and take a look at your content. The only way users are going to know you have an AR experience is if you make sure they get that message loud and clear. That is why all the most successful AR marketing programs have one thing in common – strong calls to action. Virtually every consumer touchpoint should contain a reminder that an app on their device can expose them to a whole new world of exclusive content.
With predictions that augmented reality could hit $120 billion in revenue by 2020, now is the time for your brand to explore the technology and get comfortable using it. By making smaller investments while learning what works best to reach your consumers, you’ll have mastered the art of the AR campaign by the time all those AngelList startups have matured into the marketplace.
The U.S. real estate market is well on its way to recovering from the 2008 collapse and in part, has China to thank. In 2015, according to a study from the Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group, Chinese investors pumped $37.1 billion into American commercial and residential properties. By 2020, that total is projected to reach a staggering $218 billion.
As the population of China’s high net worth individuals continues to grow at rates which exceed the world average, American real estate agents can capitalize on their known propensity to invest in opportunities abroad. Here are some ways that you can be sure potential Chinese investors will keep you in mind when looking for overseas properties.
1. Establish a Presence
Studies have shown that about 45% of Chinese consumers learn about products through social channels, websites or blogs so it’s crucial that you utilize these owned touchpoints to connect with buyers. Customized landing pages featuring well-designed listings give your brand credibility and blogs are great for educating investors about what you’re selling. Social media is now an absolute necessity as it’s ideal for interacting directly with prospects. The key is to make yourself accessible. Because if your exes can’t track you down on the Internet, then your buyers won’t be able to find you either.
2. Know the Influencers
Luxury brands have found great success leveraging the impact that online influencers have on Chinese consumers, not only by utilizing key opinion leaders but also by working with “Micro-Influencers” who enjoy fewer but more devoted enthusiasts. China has the largest population in the world so marketing to its entirety is like casting your net in a giant ocean. Instead try hitting a much smaller pond by targeting the niche audiences of lesser known fan favorites. You should seek out and then build a relationship with a personality that has some established following as well as expertise in applicable areas like real estate, architecture, etc.
3. Be Culturally Sensitive
Though Chinese buyers often purchase American properties sight unseen, they are known for being cautious consumers. To help them feel comfortable, you should be aware of their customs and prepare to answer their questions in appropriate ways. You should also tailor your pitch to ensure it resonates with this audience or, more importantly, that it doesn’t scare them off. For instance, the number 4 is a homonym for the word “death” in Chinese. So you should avoid using this number whenever possible in pricing or marketing materials lest these targets associate your listings with their own demise. Ultimately, educating yourself on the specific needs and spending habits of China’s luxury goods consumers will pay off when it comes time to close long-distance deals.
4. Climb the Firewall
Targeting Chinese investors means working around China’s very strict laws about Internet content and usage. For example, your marketing efforts should avoid incorporating platforms such as YouTube, instead using Chinese video hosting sites like Youku, Qiyi or Tudou. You’ll also want to make sure your site is optimized for Baidu, China’s version of Google. And as for that social media presence we suggested you establish, consider building one on popular networking sites like WeChat or Weibo. Just be sure to keep in mind that half of all Chinese citizens use the Internet, so presenting unique content is imperative to cutting through the clutter. For example, because these consumers have shown to be drawn to narratives about things like love and success, consider incorporating such forms of storytelling to make your listings come to life and draw prospects into your pitches.
5. Embrace Mobile Marketing
China is now home to over 1.3 billion mobile users and nearly everyone in the country owns a cell phone. Therefore it’s no surprise that mobile advertising spends make up over 22% of total ad spends there, a higher level than any other market in the world. When building out your Chinese marketing strategy, be sure to include mobile marketing opportunities that will showcase your available properties to investors on the go.
Given that in 2015, the average price for an American home purchased by Chinese buyers was $831,000, this is a group clearly ready and willing to make large investments in U.S. real estate and one that you should absolutely target with culturally appropriate efforts that will reach potential consumers in China.
With its rapidly growing middle class and their increasing disposable incomes, it’s easy to understand why your organization should consider advertising in China. But it’s quite difficult for a brand to effectively expand into this market with no knowledge of its unique customs and tastes. Once you’ve established a budget for your marketing yuan and figured out the differences between Renren and Tencent, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the cultural distinctions that could make or break your interactions with Chinese consumers.
1. DO present e-commerce opportunities.
Increased access to smartphones and social media among the country’s burgeoning middle class means the Chinese are now able to buy products online…and that they’re even more glued to their devices than we are. Pricewaterhousecoopers found that 75% of consumers in China shop online weekly, compared with a global average of 21%.
2. DON’T forget about “Singles’ Day.”
This Chinese shopping holiday was supposedly started by university students celebrating their independence by buying themselves presents on November 11th. While American retailers focus on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Chinese brands know Singles’ Day is their time to cash in, with $20 billion in sales projected for 2016.
3. DO understand the importance of relationships.
Confucius knew his stuff and based on the principles of Confucianism, the Chinese value harmonious relationships. Therefore, they may respond better to marketing messages that place emphasis on family and friendships as opposed to those accentuating individual pride and autonomy.
4. DON’T ignore your new customer feedback.
Chinese consumers rely heavily on product recommendations from online reviews and are very likely to post their own. With over 200 million users, China’s Dianping could give Yelp a run for its money. According to Forbes, about 75% of all online users provide purchase feedback at least once a month, compared to less than 20% in the U.S.
5. DO take advantage of their tastes.
Tmall.com is China’s largest website for authentic branded goods and its shopping patterns indicate that Chinese consumers choose American brands for several reasons including better quality, product safety and lack of domestic availability. In fact, per a report from the Boston Consulting Group, 61% of China’s consumers are willing to pay more for a product made in the U.S. so if you sell it, they will come.
Due to the distinct behaviors of its consumers, entering the Chinese market may at first seem daunting. But by adopting a culturally sensitive approach to marketing, outside brands can capitalize on the opportunity to expand into this lucrative emerging market.
As the Chinese middle and upper classes enjoy increased disposable income, their tastes have grown more expensive. In 2015, luxury good spending in mainland China reached $19.3 billion or about 31% of the global market. But before you rush to get your pricey products listed on Alibaba or Tmall, consider these interesting facts about Chinese buyers willing to shell out more yuan for international indulgences.
1. They’re not just shopping in China.
Many Chinese consumers now buy luxury items in Europe and other parts of Asia, where lower taxes make prices significantly cheaper than in the mainland. In fact, it was estimated that 80% of China’s total luxury spending was made overseas in 2015. Though efforts are being made to slow down the “gray market” that has arisen for international purchases, for now Chinese travelers are as likely to buy expensive items abroad as they are cheap souvenirs.
2. It isn’t about logos.
Chinese consumers have evolved beyond simply loving labels, so brand alone no longer determines a product’s success in this market. A survey conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners showed that China’s luxury buyers now place the highest value on product quality (74%), style (70%) and comfort (70%) when making fashion purchases, while Bain & Company found that 39% of wealthy Chinese don’t find logos to be a priority. That collective sigh you hear in the distance is from Louis Vuitton’s marketing department.
3. The consumers are younger than you’d think.
The average age of Chinese luxury consumers, at home or abroad, is 33.1 years. And more than 80% of all Chinese luxury consumers are between the ages of 25 and 44. This is a generation of shoppers that has grown up on luxury marketing campaigns and which embraces the concept of “Treat Yo’ Self.” But in China they call it Singles’ Day.
4. The Internet is where you’ll find them.
Chinese consumers are quite likely to research luxury brands on the Internet or apps, and are open to developing a relationship that goes beyond the point of sale with the companies behind them. Albatross Global Solutions found that about 75% of China’s most affluent consumers follow brands online and that almost 90% of them want to be contacted by brands they have purchased. Organizations now take advantage of these stats by allocating about 35% of their marketing budget to digital efforts, and that number is growing.
5. The brand story matters.
According to McKinsey&Company, Chinese consumers are now finding that the allure of luxury products can be driven by a brand’s cultural heritage. For that reason, outside luxury brands have found success in promoting their history and craftsmanship as selling points. But there’s also something to be said for assimilation as one-third of luxury consumers expressed a preference for items that incorporated Chinese imagery or that were designed specifically for China.
Thanks to rising incomes, the availability of products online and more openness towards displaying wealth, Chinese consumers now feel increasingly comfortable investing in luxury items. This presents an incredible opportunity for marketers accustomed to targeting less cost-conscious consumers if they’re willing to take the time to understand the nuances of this growing market.
You’ve been here before. Yet another one of your compelling articles was picked up by that highly acclaimed publication you targeted. The article gained great traction and the shareability rates went through the roof. It was even syndicated across multiple blogs. While monitoring the article’s activity on buzzsumo, you’re yet again ecstatic about the engagement your content managed to spark.
After doing your utmost to promote the article on your owned channels, you see the momentum starting to fade. Despite the fact that the article will live on forever online, you wish you could continue to ride this wave of success and spread the value of your content (and promote your brand) to even more people.
Here is where native advertising comes in.
Spreading your content via earned and owned channels is a cost-free way to test how well your content can perform. Despite the power of UGC (User-Generated-Content), paid channels (native advertising) allow you to control exactly where your content gets “exposed”. Contrary to earned media; native advertising gives you the freedom to place your pre-tested content in the hands of influencers of your choice.
It is all about scale. Instead of your article being syndicated from 1 online publication, by transforming it to a native placement, it can now be syndicated from 25 different publications. For example: Your content is now moving from being amplified by 350 influencers and consumed by their 70,000 end consumers to being amplified by 8,750 influencers and consumed by their respective 1,750,000 end consumers.
See the difference in numbers here – If your content was compelling/entertaining/insightful/interesting enough to be forwarded by 350 influencers in the first place, why would it not be worth spreading to more influencers and a bigger pool of consumers? It is all so simple. Spread the wealth.
Set up your content via native
In order to maximize the output when implementing your content through native platforms, there are some steps to consider.
- Identify your content – Before you even select a native ad platform, you need to consider the type of content you’re intending to distribute. If your content is an article, Nativo is a good platform to use while Virool would be the platform of choice for any video content. With a wealth of options it is imperative to choose the platform that can deliver your content in the best way possible to the right people at the right time.
- Enhance your content – You are now paying to distribute this piece of content. Consider all options of enhancing your content to maximize benefit, but be careful so that it does not remove the novelty nature that made the content so extraordinary in the first place. For example: Consider embedding links and buttons to drive the reader directly to the landing pages of your choice. Give your content additional editing rounds to ensure it is completely spot-free.
- Implement your content – When you are uploading/setting up your content to the native ad solution make sure that the current format fits the template of the platform to prevent the risk of any aesthetic issues. Create a compelling native ad unit that uses a variety of different headlines and imagery that are consistent with the story of the content. Think of creative ways to find new copy. For example: What did the previous influencers have to say about your content? If there was something said that was smart, funny, insightful – maybe it can work as a terrific headline. Just be sure to give the influencer credit.
- Target your new influencers – Now you have a vast selection of options where to place your content, but choose wisely. Ask yourself what type of influencers you are looking to reach and identify the type of influencers who previously interacted with your content. Use resources like quantcast to quickly find out the demographics, interests and behaviors of influencers by domains. You now have the opportunity to spread your content across influencers and consumers at a scale your earned media efforts could never even dream of achieving.
Now release your content and watch it be embraced once again. Only this time it is being embraced by a much larger audience. Congratulations, you have successfully prolonged the impact of your content and established a new solid trust in your brand.
This can now be your new content marketing mantra – Test your content with earned/owned efforts. Promote your best content with paid efforts.
This article was originally featured on The Native Advertising Institute
Photo Source: Stanislav Novak
By: Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO of Xumo
As well-adjusted adults, we may have learned to suppress our self-indulgent tendencies in favor of social etiquette, but that doesn’t mean the inner voice demanding instant gratification is ever truly silenced. I don’t know about you, but my inner voice sounds remarkably like Queen:
“I want it all.
I want it all.
I want it all.
And I want it now!”
The time has come to take these words to heart.
“On-demand” (as it relates to products and services) is something that has characterized the last couple of decades, but the truth is, we—as a consumer culture—have always desired and championed on-demand access to the various things we consume. This is why disruptive tech and business models like Amazon Prime and Uber are so successful. Today’s connected consumers know exactly what they want, when they want it, and where to get it—and successful brands are the ones that are able to deliver on all counts. This intersection of technology and an on-demand culture represents a great shift in how brands win customers. The customer experience is paramount, and convenience is the name of the game—and this attitude is changing the parameters of success across all industries.
The television industry is no exception. Not only do people watch less TV than they used to, cable companies are raising prices in a desperate attempt to offset demand, pushing viewers even further away. Still, TV revenue is expected to grow by five percent until 2017. Why, despite lower viewership, is TV still likely to come out a winner? Because consumers’ appetite for unique engaging content is increasing and digital services are picking up the slack that traditional multichannel video programming distributors (i.e. cable and satellite providers) are leaving behind. In fact, eMarketer estimates that 93.7 percent of millennial Internet users will watch digital video content in 2016, a number that is expected to grow as digital content becomes more relevant and accessible.
In response to this upswing in interest for on-demand content, major players in the publishing sphere are stepping up their digital video presence and increasing production on the kinds of content viewers want to consume. Hugely popular digital brands like Buzzfeed, Vogue, and GQ now have channels that are accessible directly on TVs, with no cable bill required. This content extends beyond movies and traditionally formatted shows, and encompasses everything from news, podcasts, educational videos, and more—all of which can be viewed on connected TVs, on demand, and across devices with seamless viewing experiences.
So what’s making this new way to TV possible? The answer is OTT (over-the-top) services that are surfacing content that more and more people actually want to watch and making it easily accessible all in one go. It’s estimated that 72.1 percent of US Internet users will use OTT video services by 2019 (nearing saturation of the market), indicating a dramatic new direction for television as we know it. Indeed, consumers are no longer bound by (or bundled into paying for) the programs and schedules mandated by cable and satellite providers. Instead, they’re gravitating towards technology that enables them to access the exact types of content they want, when and how they want to view it. This is the reason that cord-cutting attrition more than doubled in 2015, netting pay-TV companies a loss of 385,000 subscribers—and it also explains why Internet-connected TV ownership saw a 14 percent surge between 2014 and 2015.
The Digital Age has granted each of us greater access to information and insights into pretty much everything we could ever want, which provides us with valuable leverage against competing brands; those that can’t give individual consumers more of what they want will lose out to brands that can. The new era of TV is a perfect example. Instead of being stuck watching and paying for content that isn’t relevant, technology is helping to create platforms that are united for the purpose of delivering the best experience for each individual consumer. These collaborative partnerships help both brands and consumers get a step closer to the promise of “I want it now.” It is definitely an exciting time for the empowering Freddie Mercury voice in all of us and it means that instead of resentfully paying for a bunch of programs and services we don’t care about, we can all sit back, relax, and be free to TV any way we want.
Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO of Xumo
As CEO of Xumo, Colin believes that getting content to television needs to be democratized. He has successfully partnered with the world’s largest television manufacturers to revolutionize the way TVs are programmed. With traditional Linear TV viewership declining, he recognized the need to change things up. As a result, he spearheaded an initiative that combined Linear TV with over-the-top (OTT) content creating a viewing experience that put content and the viewer first. Colin has led a team of engineers to create Xumo, an intelligent and intuitive application that seamlessly integrates with Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and desktops. Colin has also demonstrated expertise in content development by successfully brokering several relationships with Digital Networks, Traditional Media Brands, multi-channel networks and individual Makers to make the most sought after digital content available through Xumo—streamable on any device. His extensive background in establishing and building worldwide advertising networks has afforded him insider knowledge on how to best monetize digital content that is then passed along to each partner. To learn more about Xumo and Colin’s plans for the company, visit www.xumo.com.
Photo Source: Gable Denims
History will now confirm that 2015 truly was the year ad blocking came to stay. It stole the spotlight mid year and numbers were released that had marketers at the edge of their seats. Ad blocking usage had grown 41% in the last 12 months and $10.7 billion in U.S. ad revenue was expected to be lost throughout the year. A staggering 2/3 of Millennials block ads, which is a legitimate concern considering that advertisers spend 500% more of their ad budgets on Millennials than all other generations combined. Piece this together with a significant lack of interest and engagement we can argue that the chunk of campaign spending on display ads is money thrown into the fire.
With Apple embracing ad-blocking software in September, consumers were left with a voracious appetite to utilize it and became far more cognizant of their abilities. At this point the concern amongst marketers led to novel viewpoints that shifted into opportunism and sparked a sense of rethinking. A higher awareness for user experience and an increased affinity for creativity has steamrolled marketers to turn their heads 180 degrees – Content marketing, native and social initiatives are now in full view of marketers’ eyesight. These practices are laying the foundation for a vast market with many niche branches.
Ad blocking is not only contributing to these practices flourishing but has opened up the room for an entirely new sub segment of digital analytics – ad-blocking analytics. A study conducted by Cxense and Editor & Publisher found that only 16.9% of publishers are able to track the ad-blocking activity occurring on their websites. Compounding this information, those using Google Analytics can track the use of AdBlock, but not any other ad-blocking software. This causes a transparency issue for publishers whom are unable to demonstrate if and how many ads are blocked. Now, will we see a wave of ad blocking analytics software breeze in to the market? Numerous digital marketing analytics companies may only be a few steps away from creating an additional solution or add-on that will measure ad-blocking activity.
Let’s also take into account that ad blocking is a global occurrence. With 668 million online users, China is now quickly raising its awareness towards ad blocking. Reports confirm that 10-12% of ads delivered to personal computers are being blocked. In Europe ad blocking is being highly embraced with countries like Sweden and Germany both boasting a +30% ad-blocking rate. Where ad blocking lives, so does the need for ad blocking analytics software, presenting innovators with a worldwide selection of markets to explore.
Publishers also revealed that they are in dire need of consulting, with 52.8% reporting a complete lack of strategy to address ad blocking and 32.6% reporting that they are unaware if a strategy is in place.
Publisher uncertainty and inability is fueling a new development of analytics. Keep eyes and ears open – this new wave of analytics integration, consulting and a plethora of new market activities may just be around the corner.
Photo Source: Hero Images
Team EI loves helping the industry make sense of the rapid shifts occurring in the digital media space. This document lists just a small sample portion of where we have helped provide a bit of thought leadership and a lot of insight.
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