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Mobile drives significant changes in coupon-related behaviors

(Posted on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:43AM )
The number of ecoupons redeemed by consumers is expected to double over the next three years, driven in large part by mobile, which is impacting how consumers search for, store and redeem offers, according to new research from Juniper Research.

Consumer behavior is evolving to incorporate online or mobile coupon search, resulting in a sharp rise in traffic to coupon sites and an increase in coupons being stored on mobile devices, per the report. However, food brands have, for the most part, failed to capitalize on the opportunity in digital coupons, according to separate research from L2.

“More and more, consumers lives are becoming interconnected with their smartphone device,” said Brian Hoyt, vice president of communications at mobile couponing app RetailMeNot. “Millions of consumers are walking around in their day-to-day activities with a computer in their pocket and use location-enabled mobile devices to quickly find more relevant, often personalized information to help them make better decisions.” 

Seamless redemption

Mobile coupons have been gaining steam for a several years but now seem poised to really take off thanks to the growing adoption of mobile and the way that consumers are increasingly integrating mobile into their everyday lives.

The number of ecoupons redeemed will top 31 billion in 2017, up from 16 billion this year, per Juniper Research.

Additionally, the merchants and third-party app developers involved with mobile coupons continue to make more coupons available on mobile while also fine-tuning how the coupons are delivered, stored and redeemed to make the process as seamless as possible.

Brands lag behind
However, many brands continue to lag behind when it comes to addressing the opportunity in digital coupons.

According to a recent report from L2, the majority of food brands have not realigned their coupon programs to meet the quickly shifting online and mobile needs of their customers.

 For example, while nearly 61 percent of the brands reviewed by L2 offered coupons on Amazon, only one out of three offered coupons on Walmart or Target. Even less distribute digital coupons on Peapod or FreshDirect and 25 percent of brands do not distribute digital coupons at all. 

A growing number of retailers, such as CVS and Walgreens, offer the ability for loyalty members to download coupons onto a loyalty card, but only 18 percent of brands push coupons to the CVS site and only 9 percent to the Walgreens site, per L2.

The food brands with the highest number of commerce partners for coupon distribution include Hormel, M&Ms and Dole.  

Mobile coupon search

Juniper predicts that while there will be some growth in print-at-home digital coupons, the increase in redemptions for digital coupons will be primarily driven through in-store, bar code-based redemptions and online redemptions.

Supporting the forecasted growth in digital coupon redemptions is an evolution in consumer behavior, with shoppers increasingly incorporating online or mobile coupon search prior to either remote or in-store purchases.

As a result, there has been a sharp rise in visits to the couponing section of retailer sites as well as to aggregator sites.
Consumers are also increasingly storing coupons on their mobile devices in a wallet such as Passbook, Samsung Wallet or Google Wallet and redeeming them at a later date.

One potential development that could boost digital coupons is if couponing platforms are integrated with leading social media platforms, providing an opportunity for targeted offers, per Juniper Research.

However, digital coupons face some hurdles, including a lack of scanning infrastructure at retailer point-of-sale.

Vibrant in-store experiences
The opportunities in mobile couponing are not going unnoticed.

The RetailMeNot coupon application this week unveiled an updated and redesigned app, with a more personalized savings experience on deals that are relevant to a user’s retailer or brand preferences. On the app’s home page, users can now access the top offers for their favorite stores, see what other offers are trending among the app’s users and find the best new deals of the day.

Other couponing apps continue to grow while new ones continue to hit the market.

One of the newest is BluePromoCode for iPhone, which provides a daily feed of coupons from users’ favorite stores. The app enables users to claim coupon codes, shop sales and download in-store coupons.

“Retailers and brands are in the early innings of this ball game when it comes to taking advantage of the mobile opportunity to drive traffic, brand awareness and sales through mobile marketing channels like the RetailMeNot app,” RetailMeNot’s Mr. Hoyt said. “There is a bigger opportunity than just serving retailers' e-commerce channels.  “Mobile offers also are making the in-store environment a more vibrant, relevant experience for consumers,” he said. “What was once a test and explore mentality with a small group of retailers wading into mobile offers is becoming an increasingly sophisticated omni-channel tactic within a retailer’s marketing toolkit to use services like RetailMeNot to drive sales.

  “Ultimately, retailers and brands want that sale to happen, and the mobile app helps increase the chance of a transaction with higher ROI both online and in-store.” 

Final Take

Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Reposted from Mobile Marketer

3 Steps to Launching a Successful Contest Campaign

(Posted on Aug 30, 2014 at 10:46AM )
By MAURA RODGERS  Co-Founder at Strutta

Contests are an incredibly effective entry point to building loyal relationships with consumers. Whether they’re hoping to win concert tickets or submitting their favorite travel photos, consumers are more inclined to connect with your brand if they’re rewarded for doing so.

To entice your customers to connect with your company, we’ll delve into:

  • How to target the right customers and pinpoint where those customers spend their time.
  • How to take advantage of each platform (and other tools that can help you make the most of them).
  • How to craft your contest — and your prize — to attract an audience.
Crate & Barrel, in an effort to engage consumers online and drive gift registry creation, hosted an Ultimate Wedding Contest. It asked newly engaged couples to upload photos and share their stories for a chance to win a $100,000 dream wedding. As a result, they gained $35 million in gift registries, 16,000 entries, 500,000 votes, and more than 3 million page views.

However, you don’t have to be a big brand to reap the benefits of social promotions. Small businesses, nonprofits, and established companies can use contests to spark more meaningful conversations with their audience. Here’s how to make contests work for your brand:

1. Determine what success looks like.

Creating a promotion is easy, but as with any marketing initiative, you should:

  • Define your goals. What do you want to get out of your contest? Do you want to drive leads, “likes,” or sales, boost engagement, or reward your existing audience?
  • Understand your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What motivates or interests them? Where do they spend their time online?
2. Choose the right social media channel.

Once you define your goals and understand where your audience spends its time, you can determine which social media channels are right for your campaign. Here are four sites to consider:

Facebook: Facebook is making it harder than ever for brands to reach and connect with fans organically — the social media platform recently changed business pages’ organic reach, ostensibly to even the playing field for small businesses. This means it may become more expensive for some brands to land on users’ News Feeds. With 1.23 billion monthly active users, however, it’s still a channel worthy of your consideration.

The businesses that find the most success on Facebook are the ones that tie their contests into their customers’ personal interests and habits. But remember that you want users to engage with your brand’s offering — not just attract lots of “likes.” This concept will truly apply to marketers in the next three months, as Facebook recently announced its decision to kill business’ ability to incentivize Facebook users with a contest prize in return for a “like.”  Although the news came to some marketers’ displeasure, this change will rid brands of empty Facebook fan bases — people who want a contest prize, but have no real interest in your regular services or products.

Take a look at this contest from Eggo, which asked participants for their best recipes using Eggo waffles. The contest promoted the brand’s waffles through tasty-looking photos, asked users to share voting links with friends, and recommended that voters try making the recipes prior to voting — a subtle call to action to attract more buyers.

Instagram: With more than 200 million users and 60 million photos uploaded daily, Instagram could be the right channel for you if you’re looking to garner unique, user-generated content. Your Instagram campaign can be as simple as asking your audience to answer a question or upload a photo with a unique hashtag.  

Instagram is particularly appealing for contests because all it asks of participants is that they click on images, which fuels brand awareness. To promote its “Untamed Americas” series, National Geographic Channel hosted an Instagram contest that asked fellow Instagrammers and explorers to submit photos that fit with the show’s theme. The prizes — cameras, a Glif, Nat Geo swag, and “Untamed Americas” DVDs — attracted exactly the demographic that the company wanted to engage with on Instagram.

Twitter: Unlike other social channels, you can have your Twitter promo up and running in minutes; with more than 575 million users, there’s potential for large-scale success. Be sure to include a unique #hashtag and @reply to effectively monitor conversations, track entries, and communicate with your audience.

Gear your efforts toward Twitter on the weekends (when engagement is 17 percent higher), make sure to use one or two hashtags (which will double your engagement), and ask for retweets (which can multiply your number of retweets up to 23 times). Over the Rainbow did a great job of seeking casual, funny entries for its “Mom Jeans” Twitter contest, asking followers to tweet the worst examples of Mom jeans — with the absolute worst example winning a makeover.

Pinterest: Companies like Anthropologie frequently host #PinToWin contests, asking consumers to upload images and create pinboards with their favorite items from the catalog. Participants need to disclose that their boards are entries in a promotion to comply with FTC guidelines.If you’d prefer to drive traffic to your domain, a contest microsite or an iFrame promotion on your website may be your best bet.

Sony did a great job of promoting its version of a “Pin It to Win It” campaign, placing a variety of its products on its “Pin It to Give It” board. Each time an item was repinned, the brand donated money to the Michael Phelps Foundation. This not only enhanced Sony’s product awareness but underscored its desire to give back, making it stand out in a sea of similarly positioned contests.

3. Use simple third-party tools.

After you choose your channel, you can then create, launch, and manage your social campaign using the following tools:

SaaS social promotions platform: The right platform will make it easy to build and share your promotion across multiple social channels as well as ensure fairness, identify brand advocates, and measure the effectiveness of your overall campaign.

Google Analytics: A free tool to help you measure the success of your promotion, Google Analytics uses specific UTM codes to examine where your traffic is coming from and track your conversions.

A unique hashtag: This encourages conversation and brand recognition and tracks engagement. Before launching your promotion, do a search on Twitter or to make sure your campaign hashtag isn’t already in use.

Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or Promoted Tweets: Once you launch, a targeted ad campaign can help raise awareness and drive traffic to your online promotion.

MailChimp: Add new leads who join through your promotion to your database to stay in touch after your contest has ended and nurture these relationships in the future.

Buffer and HootSuite: Social media dashboards allow you to share posts on multiple channels, track mentions, and actively participate in the conversation around your promotion.

By following these three steps, you can easily create and launch a fully branded social campaign that helps grow your audience, boost engagement, and provide you with the opportunity to turn a “like” into a long-lasting relationship. How have you used contests to engage customers?

Reposted from SteamFeed

Hispanics Ahead Of The Digital Curve

(Posted on Aug 28, 2014 at 11:38AM )
Picture According to an analysis of strategies of leading brands and forward-thinking marketers by Lisa Gevelber, Vice President of Americas Marketing, U.S. Hispanic demographic trends indicate a 163% increase in population between 2010 and 2050, making up 30% of the population by July 1, 2050, and one trillion dollars in buying power in 2010, rising to $1.5 trillion next year (an increase of 50% in just five years).

Marla Skiko, senior vice president and director of digital innovation at SMG Multicultural, says "… marketers may think they trail… general market in adoption of new tech… (though) they are far ahead…  should be among the first prospects for marketers… to grow their consumer base…"

A survey of a panel of senior-level marketers, says the report, saw 11–25% of their company’s growth coming from this demographic in the next three to five years, but most brands didn’t have a marketing strategy for this audience.

The analysis found that, in looking at the strategies of leading brands and forward-thinking marketers, "U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption."

Selections of the data supporting these observations and conclusions are included in the report…

Fabian Castro, senior vice president, multicultural marketing for Universal Pictures, notes that they promote “close to” to 80% of its releases annually to the U.S. Hispanic audience. The average Hispanic spends more than eight hours watching online video each month, over 90 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to Nielsen.

According to Think With Google, YouTube views of top U.S. Hispanic channels are up 1.25x year over year. In the two years since the launch of the bilingual multi-channel network MiTu, the network has grown an audience of more than 36 million subscribers, one-third the number of subscribers to HBO, a forty year old network. Brands are tapping into this growth through endorsements and sponsorships.

A lot of Hispanic video watching happens on mobile, says the report, as smartphones are becoming the "first screen." Nielsen reports that 10 million Hispanics watch mobile video for an average of more than six hours per month. Among smartphone owners, Hispanics are 17% more likely than non-Hispanics to access the web more through their phone than through a computer, and more likely to upgrade or replace their mobile headsets and buy tablets. According to a Google Consumer Survey, Hispanics are 1.5x more likely to buy mobile apps and digital media than non-Hispanics.

Too often, marketers think they’re reaching U.S. Hispanics by simply translating ads and websites into Spanish, suggests the report, but there is a big opportunity to reach these consumers in both languages. A recent Google Consumer Survey showed that the majority of U.S. Hispanic mobile users typically search in English or a mix of English and Spanish. At the same time, the number of Google searches that include common Spanish-language question words nearly doubled over the past three years.

Language isn’t enough, though, notes the analysis. To speak to this audience one needs to be culturally relevant as well. As Castro puts it, "Culture is the new language.”  The U.S. Hispanic audience will only gain cultural and economic prominence in the coming years. This isn’t just sheer numbers; it’s technology, concludes the analysis and report.

Reposted from MediaPost

For additional information from Think with Google, please visit here.

more on Marketing to Hispanics

Image courtesy of Univision

4 ways to avoid the risk of responsive design

(Posted on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:59PM )
Picture By Ari Weil
While responsive design can be a great tool for retailers and ecommerce brands looking to reach mobile users, more marketers are finding out the hard way that it can actually hurt Web site performance and sales.

The reason: Cramming all the content from a full Web site into a small screen can slow down site speed and degrade the customer experience. That is a serious problem in a world where more consumers are powering up their mobile devices to connect with the brands that are important to them.  

Too often, responsive design backfires by causing slower rendering and page load times. So while marketers think it will lead to better mobile engagement, they are surprised when their site analytics show a decline in key metrics such as time to render, time on site and conversion rates.

According to an estimate by the Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay in page load time can reduce conversions by 7 percent. So for mobile consumers on 3G or 4G networks, heavy content and rich media can slow load time to the point where they abandon a page in frustration.

It turns out that responsive design is not the magic bullet for mobile Web sites. But with a little more planning, marketers can ensure it improves the customer experience as originally intended.

Tips for optimizing responsive design sites

A study by Nielsen showed that United States adults spend more time on the Internet using mobile devices than desktops, and 87 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices for shopping.

As more consumers turn to smartphones for ecommerce, retailers must change their mindsets and start designing pages for small screens first and then tailor their sites for desktop.
Here are four tips to help retailers improve responsive design performance and enhance the mobile experience for consumers.

1. Get outside and test the real thing: One thing that catches many of our customers off guard is the experience of actually using their site like a mobile consumer.

Synthetic and real-user monitoring can be helpful for testing, but nothing compares to seeing the real thing.

Everyone involved in your Web site – from the business team to the engineers to quality assurance – should be encouraged to access your site at lunch, in the elevator and while they are traveling between cell towers.

In other words, get outside and off of your high-speed Wi-Fi connection. The insight into where the gaps occur in the user experience is invaluable to making and prioritizing the right decisions for your Web site project.

2. Put mobile first: Many solutions exist for adjusting page layouts or grids for the user’s screen size, but a collapsing grid can become a conversion killer if not done correctly.

If you are still trying to scale your desktop site down for mobile devices, you are likely to damage the page layout and inadvertently alter the buyer’s journey on a given page – a critical call to action may be buried below the fold, fixed-width ads may challenge the collapsed layout, and rich media and third-party content may overpower the rest of the page.

With that in mind, it is crucial to design your grid for mobile first to ensure that information is organized for small screens. Scaling up is simpler, too.

3. Incorporate dynamic serving: Dynamic serving is a critical aspect of responsive design that changes the HTML code of a site based on user device and other factors.

This creates a customized user experience because retailers can resize, compress and sequence images for each site visitor.

Dynamic service creates rules defining how content is delivered based on factors such as location, device and connection speed – meaning the online shopping experience is optimized for each individual visitor.

So while desktop and tablet users might get served rich media, mobile users experience a much leaner site that loads faster because it is not slowed down by complex content and media.

4. Prioritize your content: Sequencing your application’s content allows brands to deliver important page elements such as product details first and serve rich media information at a later time, depending on the user’s time on site and on-page interactions.

This helps site owners improve site speed and conversion rates on responsive design Web pages by waiting to load large site features and content until the user is ready to access them. 

Also, this just-in-time content approach ensures that visitors do not have to wait to see a page getting bogged down by elements such as social media widgets and videos.

WHILE IMPLEMENTING responsive design might result in a functional, good-looking mobile Web site, marketers have to consider more than just aesthetics.

By also focusing on user engagement, brands will ensure that responsive design actually meets the goal of improving the mobile experience.

Ari Weil is vice president of products at Yottaa, a Boston-based cloud-based acceleration platform. Reach him at 

Reposted from Mobile Marketer
I was out for an afternoon walk recently and was walking along the edge of a wooded area when a maturing fawn with its fading white spots ran up to within 20 feet of where I was standing.  I was so influenced by its natural beauty and the wonder I have for all things wild that I could not move and somehow felt connected to that young deer and could not wait to share my experience.
The influence this young deer had on me is just one of the many ways we have been being influenced and influencing for millennium. The internet being a fairly recent addition offers a host of new opportunities to influence others.
Through an active online presence of blogging, commenting, participating in forums and on social networks or through word of mouth we all are in a way looking to influence and find influencers. Those that are actively involved in particular areas may be researching, simply voicing opinions or trying to draw attention to a product or service albeit from a positive or negative aspect.

Using influencers to increase market awareness among target markets is a method that can increase your visibility and culminate in getting known in circles that can have a huge impact on one’s success.

All of us who are actively involved in social networking whether it is online, offline or a combination of both are all looking to influence others to further ourselves and or our business in some way.

Getting noticed by these influencers whether it be a decision maker in a company with whom you would like to do business, one who is well connected with key people in your industry or a current or potential customer can often act as an accelerator for business.

According to Wikipedia, Influencer Marketing, as increasingly practiced in a commercial context, comprises four main activities:

Identifying influencers and ranking them in order of importance.

Marketing to influencers to increase your awareness within the influencer community

Marketing through influencers, marketing with influencers and turning influencers into advocates of the firm.

Influencer marketing is enhanced by a continual evaluation activity that sits alongside these four main activities.

 In many circles it has become increasingly accepted that companies should be identifying and engaging with influencers. Exactly what is included in Influencer Marketing depends on the context (B2C or B2B) and the medium being utilized.

Marketing experts Keller and Berry note that “Business is working harder and paying more to pursue people who are trying to watch and listen less to its messages." Targeting influencers is seen as a means of amplifying marketing messages, in order to counteract the growing tendency of prospective customers to ignore marketing.

Onsite social communities are an extremely effective and low cost method in which to engage with and gain valuable knowledge from influencers both in B2C and B2C.
It is making more and more sense to have an onsite community. According to recent data form  33Across, in a recent article at MediaPost “Dark Social” or private social represents 71% of all social sharing. Enlisting employees, current and potential customers can be very effective in getting your message out and to reach this private social community.

Onsite social communities act as ground zero to allow businesses not only to connect, follow and be followed by existing and potential customers but also to engage with their employee base. This is a centralized non-intrusive way in which to communicate with, retain and turn your existing customers and employees into marketing influencers and brand ambassadors.

It is said that one in every 10 Americans is what they call an "influential." These people have a tremendous impact on the rest of society because their ideas and opinions are sought out by the colleagues, friends, family, and community members around them. The conversations they hold and the examples they set have the power to shape behaviors and attitudes across your digital marketing and social media channels.

Based on this statistic, how many untapped influential customers or employees might already be in your database or working within your organization? And with a one in ten chance of finding an influencer and making them an advocate for your business through an onsite community it is an economical avenue worth pursuing that can provide substantial long term rewards and help you adapt to trends in social networking.

William Cosgrove

Digital Coupons Significant In Shopping And Purchasing

(Posted on Aug 22, 2014 at 01:12PM )
By Jack Loechner center for media research

According to a recent Forrester study, digital coupons are keeping up with the times, and are very relevant as omnichannel retail becomes the norm. The report says that, among 500 consumers who have used a digital coupon within the past three months, 59% stated that digital coupons and coupons codes are most likely to influence their purchase decision compared with other types of digital promotions. In addition, a strong majority of consumers will redeem a digital coupon code within three days of receiving it, and nearly one-third will redeem it immediately.

Times Using A Digital Coupon, Offer, Or Online Promotion Code In The Past Three Months

Times Using ≤ 3 Mos.

% of Respondents

1 to 5


6 to 10


11 to 20


21 to 49


50 or more


Source: Forrester Consulting/RetailMeNot, August 2014 

Given these salient data points, says the report, it is clear that retailers need to master the digital coupon process and identify the right partners. According to Forrester, the study yielded five key findings: 

  • Consumers are using tablets and smartphones to view digital coupons as well as redeem them either online or in-store; however, the desktop and laptop computer are still the primary devices by which consumers view digital coupons and promotions
  • The primary means by which coupons are received continues to be email. However, native apps using location awareness technologies and coupon sites are also on the rise and being put to use by leading-edge retailers
  • There’s a real opportunity for retailers to master the digital coupon process. Easy redemption, mobile-formatted coupons, and a balanced marketing plan will drive users to the store and online properties, which provides opportunities for conversion and increased spend by consumers 
  • Customers continue to believe that coupons do not dilute brand perceptions; in fact, they strengthen loyalty. This perception continues to hold true as much as it did since the last commissioned study in 2011
  • Customers are likely to spend more than anticipated in-store when using coupons, so it’s critical for retailers to make the redemption process part of the customer-selling model

Over a three-month period, 68% of consumers today have made between one and 10 purchases online. Of those, 86% have used a digital coupon. Consumers continue to make purchases in the typical areas that one would expect. Restaurants, bath and beauty, and home and garden tend to be the most top-tier categories where consumers have made their purchases online or in-store. The next group of retailers, where purchases tend to be made more online than in-store, includes consumer electronics, books, movies, and music, as well as gifts and flowers.

Purchases Made Online In The Past Three Months


% of Respondents

1 to 5


6 to 10


11 to 20


21 to 49


50 or more


Source: Forrester Consulting/RetailMeNot, August 2014 

An overwhelming 59% of consumers stated that of the different types of promotions a retailer can employ, digital coupons still hold the most sway when it comes to influencing a consumer’s purchasing decision (see Figure 2). This continues to reinforce a key finding from Forrester’s 2011 Thought Leadership Paper.

Types Of Digital (Online Or Mobile) Promotions Most Likely To Influence Purchase Decisions

Promotion Influence

% of Respondents

Coupons or coupon codes




Daily deal vouchers


Source: Forrester Consulting/RetailMeNot, August 2014 

Coupons continue to positively affect brand and loyalty. What also continues to be true from 2011 is that 68% of customers strongly believe that digital coupons have a positive impact on a retailer’s brand, and 68% of consumers also stated that coupons generate loyalty. Similarly, a digital coupon increases the potential for conversion when consumers are in the cart and checkout phase of a purchase and plays a key role in combating shopping cart abandonment. 63% percent of consumers surveyed said a promotion or a coupon often closes the deal if wavering or undecided on making a purchase.

Extent Of Agreement With The Included Statements(5=Strongly Agree; 1=Strongly Disagree


Strongly agree

Strongly disagree


Don’t know







MORE likely to buy a product or service at full price later from a company that offers online coupons or promotion codes







MORE likely to be loyal to a brand that offers online coupons or promotion codes







LIKELY to tell a friend about a company that uses online coupons or promotion codes







Source: Forrester Consulting/RetailMeNot, August 2014 

In addition to being loyal, customers are also very open to trying a new brand when receiving a coupon on a smartphone. In fact, 47% of those surveyed stated they are open to doing so. These points all add up to good news for retailers and continue to reinforce that this marketing tactic can make all the difference when it comes to generating new customers, encouraging existing customers to spend more, and driving customers to a retailer’s brick-and-mortar locations.

Likelihood Of Action Upon Receiving A Digital Coupon, Offer, Or Online Promotional Code On Smartphone While Shopping In A Store 

Likelihood ToTry a new brand

% of Respondents

   Not at all likely


   Probably not likely




   Somewhat likely


   Very likely


Likelihood To Switch brands


   Not at all likely


   Probably not likely




   Somewhat likely


   Very likely


Source: Forrester Consulting/RetailMeNot, August 2014 

Digital coupons are still primarily delivered the good old fashioned way through email, and consumers are increasingly using tablets and phones to both find and redeem them. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed for this study stated that they used at least three digital coupons on their tablet, slightly outpacing the use of the desktop computer (see Figure 5).

However, retailers can’t ignore the momentum of mobile adoption. The report predicts that US mobile phone and tablet commerce will top $114 billion by the end of 2014. While smartphone revenue in 2014 should total $38 billion, tablets are expected to top that, with a total of $77 billion.

30% of those redeeming a coupon on a tablet redeem it immediately, says the report, and 60% of consumers receiving a coupon via a smartphone redeem it immediately or within several hours. Receiving a deal or savings via digital coupon can be the tipping point for a consumer to “press buy” online or to walk into a store and make the purchase in real time.

For more information from RetailMeNot, please visit here.

Reposted From MediaPost
Photo courtesy

Enlist Consumers As Brand Ambassadors In 'Dark Social'

(Posted on Aug 20, 2014 at 01:31PM )
By Tyler Loechner a reporter for Media Post
Madison Avenue is swimming in “dark pools,” and consumers are turning the lights off themselves, at least in social.

Speaking at the Mobile Insider Summit on Monday, Richard Rabbat, Tango’s VP of platform, said consumers are moving toward what he calls “private social.” Instead of publishing the “latest selfie” and watching the “Likes” rack up, Rabbat said, consumers are having more social interactions in private -- or in the “dark.”

Things like private Pinterest boards, Facebook messages, or the ultimate ephemeral platform -- Snapchat -- can't be overlooked. “Dark social” represents 71% of all social sharing, according to recent data form 33Across.

Facebook doesn’t even let its app users message within the Facebook app -- they have to download an entirely new app. That's a clear separation of “public social” (the Facebook app) and “private social” (the messaging app). 

“Brands need to starting thinking not of how many likes they will get on their Facebook post,” Rabbat said, ”but how they will get their story distributed by their audience.”

The ultimate goal, he reckons, should be using your audience as ambassadors. Now that would give interesting new meaning to "audience-buying."

Reposted from MediaPost

"Audience targeting" image from Shutterstock.

Are All QR Codes Created Equal?

(Posted on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:06PM )
The QR code has had a rocky road over the past two decades. Initially developed for the automotive industry in Japan in 1994, a QR code – or quick response code – is an optic label that contains information about the item to which it is attached, and can be read by machines. It has become widely popular outside its original intended use due to its fast readability. QR codes can also contain more information than the standard barcodes used on most products.

In South Africa, QR codes have been heralded as the next great marketing tool, accused of being an overly complex piece of technology that no one wants to use, and dismissed as an unsightly and impractical addition to marketing collateral that adds little value to the marketer’s campaign or the customer’s experience thereof.

For the most part, you only really found QR codes on print advertisements and billboards in South Africa. Marketers used them as a way of drawing consumers away from printed material into a digital experience, but all too often these experiences were little more than mini-websites that were bizarrely not optimised for mobile phones. People got tired of being taken to poor digital experiences, and stopped using QR codes. Marketers soon abandoned them. Even in the US, in technologically advanced cities like San Francisco, only 11% of consumers even knew what a QR code was – and this was in 2011!

A sudden (worldwide) explosion

Over the past few months, however, you will have noticed QR codes springing up everywhere as newly launched mobile payment services gain traction among consumers. Snapscan is the most famous example and can be found at any of more than 10 000 stores and merchants countrywide, but any recent dining experience would also have exposed you to Zapper, while a trip to a vida e caffe for your morning latte would have introduced you to FlickPay. QR codes, it seems, are suddenly everywhere.

The 2014 Nielsen Mobile Wallet Report, which sourced data from nearly 4000 smartphone users who have used their phone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days, showed that consumers are quite comfortable with QR code based payments.

Interestingly, less than a third would pay for goods by scanning a QR code at a store, while nearly half of all respondents were comfortable to do it the other way around: by presenting a QR code on the device’s screen for the cashier to scan. This type of mobile payment is also by far the most popular, currently beating out NFC (as found in Google Wallet and Isis) and the Square model of payments, where a device is attached to a smartphone to enable credit card transactions (as Absa’s Payment Pebble and Emerge Mobile’s iKhokha do locally).

Quick maturation is the key to lasting success

So are QR codes here to stay? It all depends. QR codes can present some serious security issues that need to be addressed if they are to survive in the long term. Think about it: by scanning the code with your phone, you automatically initiate a process that could be anything. That static printed QR code at the organic farmer’s market? You might think that you’re just quickly paying for your organic free-range eggs, but a criminal may have pasted his own code over the merchant’s and all your sensitive password and mobile banking details could already be in the hands of a fraudster.

Turning the process on its head: QR codes generated ‘in-app’ on a consumer’s own handset that are then ‘read’ by a scanner at the till point actually offer an additional layer of security to the end-user, when compared to card payments in particular. Opportunities for manipulation of the code are eliminated by either the merchant or the consumer, and no personal information is handed over during the transaction.

Not only that – point-of-sale integration unlocks opportunities for additional ‘in-app’ QR code initiated services that can add even more value and convenience to the consumer’s life. Regular customer? Have a free coffee. Redeeming a coupon or voucher? Easy – just scan your QR code at the till point and enjoy the rewards.

The current generation of prevalent QR code based payment apps have created a thriving ecosystem of alternative payments that has opened consumers’ minds to the possibilities of a cashless future.

It is imperative that all stakeholders evolve their QR code -based apps and services to ensure consumers (and businesses) are as protected as possible, while still offering the most value in terms of convenience and experience. Anything less will put consumers off, and force the search for an alternative technology solution, which may take another 20 years to gain traction.

Image: Bauke Karel via Flickr.

Reposted from Memeburn

Engage Hispanics: Marketers Are Still Not Investing Enough In Digital Media

(Posted on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:03PM )
 By Lee Vann founder and CEO of Captura Group
Picture Every year around this time I am excited to analyze the Advertising Age Hispanic Fact Pack from a digital perspective. Every year I am optimistic that marketers will finally realize that U.S. Hispanics spend most of their time consuming digital media and allocate their marketing budgets accordingly.

And every year I am disappointed to find that marketers are not capitalizing on the Hispanic digital opportunity despite clear and compelling data.

U.S. Hispanics Spend Most of Their Time Consuming Digital Media

U.S. Hispanics can’t get enough digital media. What’s more, relative to Non-Hispanics, U.S. Hispanics spend less time watching TV and more time consuming digital media. According to data from Experian Marketing Services published in the 2014 Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack, here is how U.S. Hispanics consume media on a daily basis:

  • Watching TV: 3.3 hours per day
  • Using Internet on home computer: 3.3 
  • Playing video games on tablet: 2.2 
  • Playing video games on gaming console: 2.1 
  • Watching videos online: 2.0 
  • Using Internet on tablet: 2.0 
  • Listening to Internet radio: 1.9 
U.S. Hispanics not only spend more time with digital media, they also have positive attitudes towards it. The same source found that relative to non-Hispanics, U.S. Hispanics are more likely to engage with brands on social media and make purchasing decisions because of social media interactions. The following findings cited in the Hispanic Fact Pack clearly illustrate this point, with Hispanics being more likely than non-Hispanics to:

  • Purchase products advertised via social media (10.9% versus 8.3%)
  • Purchase products recommended by friends via social media (18.3% versus 17.8%)
  • Like brands on social media sites (23.5% vs. 20.2%)
  • Spread the word about brands via social media (23.9% vs. 20.2%)
Only 7% of Hispanic Media Budgets Go to Digital Media

Given that U.S. Hispanics spend the majority of their time consuming digital media, you would think that marketers would invest the majority of their U.S. Hispanic media budgets on digital, but this is not the case. In fact, marketers invested only 7% of Hispanic media budgets on digital. According to the Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack, marketers invested a total of $8.3 billion on U.S. Hispanic media in 2013, broken down as follows:

  • TV: $6.10 billion up 5.3% from 2012
  • Print: $1.15 billion up 13.5% from 2012
  • Digital: $580 million up 31.8% from 2012
  • Radio: $466 million up 8.0% from 2012
Yes, investment in U.S. Hispanic digital media grew the fastest between 2012 and 2013, but still is nowhere near commensurate with how U.S. Hispanics consume media.

Why Aren’t Marketers Investing More in Hispanic Digital Media?

The gap between U.S. Hispanic media consumption and investments in U.S. Hispanic media is clear, what is not clear is why the gap exists. Several factors might explain this phenomenon.

Consumers move much faster than marketers. The 30-second TV spot dominated the marketing landscape for a long time and marketers are still trying to adjust to the new digital reality. Add to that factors that specifically impact the Hispanic market and the reasons behind the gap become clearer. 

First, marketers need a specific expertise to successfully reach U.S. Hispanics, and there are simply not enough Hispanic marketing professionals out there. In addition, the current “Total Market” conversation has led some marketers to believe that they can succeed with U.S. Hispanics through general market campaigns. Finally, when it comes to the U.S. Hispanic market, budgets have traditionally been small.

Regardless of why the gap exists, Hispanic digital remains a huge opportunity for those that are willing to invest in it and I hope to be writing about just that when I analyze next year’s Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack.

More on marketing to Hispanics

Reposted from

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How Measurment Can Kill Your Content Marketing Strategy

(Posted on Aug 16, 2014 at 12:07PM )
By Eric Wittlake Director of Media at Babcock & Jenkins

The measurement tail is wagging the marketing dog … and it’s turning your marketing into a dog. Unfortunately, few marketers have the insight needed to illustrate the problem, and even fewer have the guts to take it on within their organizations.

Content marketing strategy begins with an understanding of audience and context — everything from analyzing your competition, to assessing economic pressures and exploring competing priorities. Based on that understanding, you identify the opportunities or challenges marketing needs to tackle.

  • Are you losing opportunities because of a perception problem?
  • Are you not in the consideration set at all because of low awareness of what makes your solution different?
  • Are you not being discovered when people look for a solution to the problems you solve?
  • Is the problem that your product or solution addresses a challenge that has simply become accepted as a part of doing business today and is no longer seen as a source of pain?
Now you should be ready to establish your strategic plan. But instead, you are going to toss everything you just did and cave to the demands of the measurement dictocrats.

Here are just a few of the changes you will make. By the time you are finished, there won’t be anything left of the plan you could have created — or the difference it could have made. 

You will ignore the biggest opportunity you have. You could create a great article, white paper, and video that address the opportunity or challenge you identified and ensure they are broadly distributed, consumed, and discussed. For many marketers this is probably appropriate.

Not so fast. You need to measure that effort and definitively tie it back to revenue. Easy enough: You add a registration form.

Now you know who actually saw your content (not just how many times it was seen) and can tie future revenue back to that form completion and your marketing effort. There are just two elephant-sized problems you are overlooking: You decimated the distribution of your content and replaced your original content marketing strategy with rote lead capture.

Sure, your results look OK on paper, but you are now all but ignoring the biggest challenges or opportunities you have.

You will sacrifice the customer experience. Creating a great experience is critical, right?

Unfortunately, there is often a trade-off between measurement and experience. Usually marketers opt for the measurement and end up leaving results on the table. Here are three examples that are far too common:

  • Social-sharing buttons that require authorizing a new application before sharing: Sure, you get some great data, but at what cost to the visitor experience or the social distribution of your content?
  • Limiting RSS feeds to headlines and abstracts lets you track views of your content but increases the distance between your audience and your content. You created that content because you wanted people to see it; now you are making it more difficult.
  • Unnecessary thank-you pages make measurement a snap but they often become a dead end, keeping visitors out of the experience you were drawing them in to.
Every break point you add to the experience gives you a way to measure activity or collect additional data, but each additional step may compromise customer experience and your ultimate results.           

You will slowly adopt the most obnoxious marketing tactics. Strategy is not infallible, but measurement is not either.

Visits, sign-ups, sales meetings, and closed deals may be in nearly every report, but you will never see a line for the number of people who screamed, “I am sick of Acme Company!” because of an aggressive appointment-setting firm you hired.

You likely know to avoid aggressive telemarketing, but what about these common content missteps? Would your strategy lead you down these obnoxious and destructive roads, or just your measurement?

  • Interruptive online ads — like the not-at-all-welcoming welcome ads major publishers sell — deliver traffic from everyone who missed that tiny Close button by just two pixels. That includes practically every mobile visitor to the site. How many of them frantically hit the back button in frustration while your landing page loads?
  • Sensational, yet misleading, headlines increase traffic but leave your visitor feeling duped and wary of clicking again.
  • Expanding your retargeting program: I recently saw five retargeting ads for a single company on one page, each one bought through a different provider. Measurement, not strategy, made an agency do that.
Obnoxious marketing tactics look great in reports, but are they really great for your business?

It is time to resurrect strategy and stop sacrificing real results for the sake of misleading numbers on a piece of paper.

Reposted from the Content Marketing Institute

Cover image by Joe Kalinowski