November 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s the time of the year when we begin thinking about sending holiday greetings to friends and family far and wide. Will it be an online greeting this year or a sentimental real paper card with pictures of the family and a special note? Will it be written in cursive or typed away on a convenient laptop? Will it be mailed with a 46-cent stamp or whisked through the web at no cost?
Have we lost our social graces? Or are we entering a new phase of how we relate our love? It seems we are in a cultural shift brought about by technology, budget concerns, digital natives and time deprivation.
Decline of Traditional Greetings
The United States Postal Service, which has its own problems, reported that the number of greeting cards mailed within the US declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2010 and is still dropping. A perfect storm of migration to online services, a financial recession, busy lifestyles and younger digital consumers are creating new traditions for holidays and special days like birthdays.
A greeting cards industry report this year from IbisWorld says the sale of traditional cards has fallen by 60 percent over the last decade, to $5 billion a year. Last year Hallmark reported that their 2012 card sales dropped to 5 billion, from 6 billion in 2011. And American Greetings has had to go private after a 60% decline in revenue.
Growth of Digital Greetings
Remember your birthday this year? Chances are you got more Facebook Birthday greetings than you ever received cards? Why? Well, it’s so easy. Facebook reminds you. And you can even send a gift card if you want to really express some love. With Facebook, those annual holiday letters are not as important anymore. We see regular updates of our friends and know what is going on in their lives.
All the while, e-greetings are growing. Online card sales (both e-cards and custom printed ones) have grown to $3.5 billion in 2012 from just $65 million a decade ago. Both Hallmark, the number one provider, and American Greetings, the number two, have digital greetings divisions. And there are a plethora of other greetings companies like Egreetings, Blue Mountain, someecards and Dayspring. The trends are to more personalized or more irreverent cards than the traditional drugstore cards.
Growth of Handmade Cards
At the same time, there is a resurgence in small companies that provide special handmade cards. With a higher price than normal cards, the handmade card is actually the gift itself. There is also a big business in crafting for card making. Just ask the ladies at my church who make very special cards with special design stamps, craft supplies, pictures and glue.
So what’s your choice this year? Let me know how you will share your holiday greetings?
September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment
Whether we have the latest smartphone or a second generation tablet, we are all using them to shop! A recent study by AOL showed that the conversion rate for mobile purchases grew 28%. What does that mean? Well, it means that people actually made a purchase while on their mobile device. A whopping 31% of conversions across four verticals occurred while using a mobile device. And the industries with the highest conversion rates were telecom, retail, auto and travel.
Mobile Device Share of Online Conversions (% on Smartphone and Tablet; August 2013) The findings are based on analytics from more than 500 billion online ad impressions and 100M conversion events across all devices, such as mobile phones, desktop computer and tablets.
Telecom – Purchase of a new plan or device – 37%
Retail – Make a purchase – 35%
Auto – Find dealer, request info, configure, travel – 22%
Travel – Book hotel, flight or car reservation – 20%There has been a misconception that mobile really means only mobile – that we are using devices only on the go. But actually 25% of our digital is spent at home and that is where we are viewing and purchasing many things. And 75% of all mobile ad impressions were viewed within the home. A lot of that has to do with the amazing adoption of tablets, iPads in particular.
“What we’re learning is that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices in much the same way they do with their computers when they’re at home,” said Chad Gallagher, director of mobile for AOL networks. “Looking at holistic impression volume, 25 percent of all digital impressions are consumed on a mobile device at home – which speaks to why users are performing complex functionality on their mobile devices. The data means that companies must understand mobile tracking and enable technology that can run across all platforms to account for the massive business opportunity on mobile devices. Net-net, we need to re-think how we market through the tablet. Marketers are realizing that they can’t afford to run desktop-only campaigns anymore.”
Historically, advertisers focus on branding or driving the purchase of mobile-centric offerings. The AOL points to an opportunity to drive conversions for a much wider array of products and services through mobile.
July 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
How is this for a fact! The $32.2 billion Google made from Google Ads last year is more valuable than the country of Panama and the 31 poorest countries in the world combined!
Some more fun facts are included in this infographic about Google – like the most expensive keywords.
July 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Are you part of the two-screen world yet? I bet you are. If you ever use a mobile device (your smartphone or tablet) while watching television, you already are. We use our devices to communicate with friends and family, look up information related to what we are watching, or multi-task.
The Facts about Dual Screen Viewing
The facts vary, but the trend is clear. According to Nielsen, more than 39% of Americans use their smartphone while watching TV at least once each day, and 62% do so multiple times each week. Google recently reported that we use on average three different screen combinations everyday, including tablets and smartphones while watching TV. And, research from Yahoo! and Razorfish shows that nearly 80 percent of consumers are on mobile devices while watching TV.
More than half of all mobile device users say they visit social networking sites while watching TV. And the social aspect of watching TV is important too: 21% of tablet users and 18% of smartphone users say they read conversations about the program on a social networking site, and 20% of tablet users shop for products or services being advertised. Some even watched a particular TV program because comments on a social media site.
The Top Categories for Dual Screen Viewing
We use dual screen viewing for a variety of types of events. The top five show categories that attract multitaskers are reality, news, comedy, sports and food. I think we can understand why. You are not as intellectually engaged to a plot in these type of shows – leaving room for net surfing.
But how do marketers take advantage of this new behavior?
1. Apps are being built that enhance your viewing. Major media companies, like Discovery Networks International, are already taking advantage of new App Cloud solutions to build rich dual-screen experiences for their broadcast properties.
2. Synchronized Advertising may be around the corner. A national ad runs on the television while a mobile device delivers up a geo-targeted companion ad that gives you local dealer information.
3. Interactive applications allows an interactive quiz or game to be broadcast on television and viewers respond on their tablets, with results giving in real time.
4. Special offers are delivered on television driving consumers to their mobile devices to redeem the special offers.
The future of marketing to women will be exciting as we determine how to combine media for the richest engagement.
April 23, 2013 § 1 Comment
Smartphones now comprise 57% of the mobile market in the United States. By next year, there will be more mobile devices than there are people in the world and more mobile phones than desktop PCs.
With all that mobile action, why then is mobile advertising not growing as fast as smartphone adoption? According to IAB, some 53% of agencies say they don’t have experience in mobile advertising. And 70% say they would purchase more if clients understood it better. Translation: Agencies and clients need to go to school on mobile.
The Google Factor
So here’s a tip for all the late adopters: Mobile ads work! Or at least that’s what Google says. Mobile ads appear to be the most effective paid method of driving page likes, and Google reports that smartphone users are unusually responsive to advertising. Forty-two percent of users click on mobile ads they like, found the Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users survey. Of those, 49 percent go on to make a purchase, while 35 percent visit the advertiser’s site, and 27 percent call the business in question. A lot of that clicking is on local sites; 95% of people look for local info on their smartphone.
All that smartphone usage leads to smartphone shopping. While strolling the aisles, 49% of us compare prices, 44 percent read reviews of stuff while we shop, and 34 percent are using their phones to check the store’s inventory.
Gender differences in shopping: In a new study by Millennial Media and comScore, findings show men are more likely to use phones to check product availability, compare prices, find deals or make online purchases. Women are more likely than men to use phones in stores to text or call friends about products, send pictures of products, or research product features.
Mobile-Optimized Sites and Apps Necessary
Those that will win in mobile will have sites that are responsive and won’t have roadblocks like Flash. I was working with a client recently, and I tried to view her website on my iPad. Because her site was built in Flash, it was not at all accessible on any Apple devices.
Right now, people spend more time on apps than mobile websites. Tablets seem to be the online shopping tool of choice. Important features include side-by-side product comparison, 360-degree zoom, customer ratings, and an easy checkout process are most important to shoppers.
So let’s go mobile!