Marketing Healthcare to Women: Google Search Joins with Mayo Clinic

February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment.  This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond.  But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.46.10Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way.  Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided.  Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.

And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers.  The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs.  The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information.  For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information.  Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph.  Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph.   A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.

According to Google,  “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”

The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments.  Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.

This initiative is huge in Google.  Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:

1.  One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.

2.  Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.

3.  The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.

4.  35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.

5.  One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.

6.  31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.

The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information.  Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.

Five Things to Know About 2014 Back-to-School Marketing

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

UnknownBack-to-school is in full swing now.  The traditional back-to-school season has changed and marketers need to make note.  The reason for many of these changes are year-round school schedules, just-in-time shopping, online shopping habits and budgets.  The back-to-school season has become more of a pinnacle of an ongoing activity than a confined season.

How big is back-to-school?  The average family will spend $670 on shopping this year, up 5% from 2013 according to the National Retail Federation.   However, 21% of families with children in elementary, middle school or high school reported in a NRF survey they will spend less this year.

Did you know?  Combined school and college spending was estimated at $72.5 billion, making it the second-biggest season for retailers. Winter holiday ranks first at $84 billion and Mother’s Day comes in at third at $21 billion.

Here are five things to know about this year.

1.  Back-to-school shopping starts in July.  Americans began their search as early as June last year.  Google conducted a study during the 2013 season and found that 23% of respondents began back-to-school research before July 4, with nearly two-thirds (65%) starting by the end of July. In contrast, only 35% said they made a purchase by the end of July.  174621

BTS-Content-ConsumptionThe spending is spread out over several months, with traditional spending in August and September.  The early shoppers take advantage fresh merchandise, early bird sales and comparison shopping, while the later shoppers are necessity shopping and maybe taking advantage of end-of-season sales.

One difference in the early and traditional shopper may be their form of shopping.  The early shoppers are using their desktop and tablets to shop, while the more traditional are using mobile devices and shopping in-store.

During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012.  There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

2.  Just in time shopping.   The mall has been replaced by online and teens are constantly shopping for new ideas.  The world of disposable fashion has lead teens to take advantage of affordable retailers and wait to see what their friends are wearing.  Digital-native students are shopping constantly throughout the year, even if they’re not buying.

Just-in-time shopping also shows that as many as 50% parents only buy what is essential for back to school and then buy additional needs during the holiday season, when they expect the best deals.  It is a way of spreading out the shopping expense to make it more manageable for their budget.  And parents are saving money by buying store-brand items, shopping sales and using coupons.

3. Online is #3 destination.   eMarketer forecasts that digital sales for the back-to-school season will increase 16.0% in 2014.  One-third of all back-to-school shoppers will make an online purchase, and 45% of back-to-college shoppers will head online.  According to Deloitte, among top back-to-school shopping destinations in 2013, 36 percent of consumers shopped online, moving online shopping to the third destination behind discount and office supply/technology stores, a significant jump from the No. 8 position in 2012.

9754-1652-140701-Back_to_School-l4.  College Online Spending Big.  More than $3 of every $5 aimed at back-to-school clothes and supplies is spent on college-bound students.   A PM Digital report shows online shoppers stealing 37% of this market as the online college segment spends over $1,100 per family.  In fact, shopping expenditures are higher online – with 37.3% K-12 and 37.1% college students buying through e-commerce.

5.  Smartphone Tool for Shopping.  During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012. There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

What should marketers do this season?

1.  Make sure your campaigns are live now and active through September.  To stand out, thing about using video and consumer stories to help tell the story.  Search should be already in place.

2.  Make sure content is available on tablet and mobile.  Don’t forget social. Hashtags like #stapleshasit and L.L.Bean’s #packmentality, which leapt from social media into display, email and print last season, will proliferate in 2014.

3.  Solicit stories from your customers to drive positive reviews.

4.  Time your sales (early-bird and end of season) to match buying periods.

5.  Differentiate between back-to-school and back-to-college.

 

 

Marketing to Women: Third of Purchase Conversions Occur on Mobile

September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

ipad_1791235bWhether 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.

 

Hello Instagram Video! Goodbye Vine?

June 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Will there be a shoot-out between Vine and Instagram?  After it’s debut in January 2013, Vine detonated the boundries of social media with its six second streaming videos.  This week, however, Instagram has announced a similar upgrade allowing videos to be posted and edited on their site.  This severely damages the distinctive quality found in Vine, and people are starting to wonder if Vine will fade altogether.

abc_instagram_video_facebook_thg_130620_wg

Is this goodbye for Vine?

Vine, created by Dom Hofmann and Rus Yusupov, was intended to allow users to quickly launch a video from smartphones to share with family and friends.  Within a matter of months after launch, it became the most used video-sharing application on the market, and by April 2013 was the most downloaded app within the entire iOS App Store.  Vine was a huge success.  Similarly, Instagram took the app world by storm, changing the look and feel of pictures across the iOS and Android world.  Instagram, however, was designed for picture filtering and editing, only allowing a square-shaped picture similar to old fashioned polaroids.  But Instagram’s merge with Facebook, the popular photo app took on new features such as additional filters, zooming, and focusing.  The new feature this month is video streaming.

Differences between Instagram and Vine:

1      Time:  Instagram now allows a whopping 15 seconds compared to the six Vine allows for their sharing.

2      Loop:  Vine will constantly play the on-screen video, while Instagram is “one and done” when it comes to playing time.

3      Shoot:  Vine allows the entire screen to be touched for recording, while Instagram has a centralized button.

4      Focus:  Why does Instagram use a specific button for shooting?  Because the screen can be used to focus. This means foreground and background transitioning for those video savvy users.

5      Stabilize:  Instagram wins the stabalizing award, allowing users to opt-in for better quality shoots for shakey hands.

6      Delete:  Instagram implemented a feature allowing users to delete.  (Much needed!)

7      Filter:  And what Instagram would be complete without one of the signature filters?  These are available to use for Instagram videos as well.

8      Convenience:  Instagram allows you to video within its app, essentially making it an app within an app.  Vine, on the other hand, is standalone letting you be that much closer to capturing that golden moment.

Similarities between Instagram and Vine:

One of the biggest and most noticeable features that both apps incorporate is the shoot-pause-reshoot option.  This allows a video to show progression, not just an instant period of time.

The Winner?

There are clearly more differences than similarities between these two medias, but which one wins out?  It’s all a matter of preference.  Depending on what people are looking for in an app, both media will be successful in the smartphone world.  In the future we can expect more groundbreaking features to be implemented in both applications, giving the public more reasons to shoot and share!

And what will marketers use?  Maybe both.  Lululemon was among the first brands to use the new Instagram video.  But other brands like Kate Spade, Lowe’s, Urban Outfitters, Lucky Magazine and Nordstrom are using Vine to provide sneek peeks, DIY ideas, new fashions and more in 6-second samplings.

Guest Post by Claire Whorton.  An App-Savvy Digital Native living in Nashville, Tennessee.

Marketing to Women: Shopability and Mobile Research

June 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

best-iphone-shopping-apps-4I just like to say “Shopability”!  But retailers today need to be able to say it and do it.  All retailers need shopability to compete in today’s mobile world.  Technology advances are changing shopping behavior at lighting speed. With the democratization of information and the multitude of shopping venues online and offline, retailers must be much more engaged with consumers.

eMarketer reports e-commerce sales in the U.S. were at an impressive $225.5 billion in 2012, and they are on track to reach a staggering $434.2 billion by 2017.

Mobile is so important to today’s retail activity.  According to findings in the 2013 Mobile Path-to-Purchase study, fifty percent of respondents said they use their mobile devices to start the search process; 46 percent use mobile exclusively when performing research online.   Even Google noted last year that 65 percent of online searches began on a smartphone.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-22-at-5.34.42-AM-600x246The study also shows one out of every three respondents use a mobile device throughout the entire purchase process. Sixty percent of smartphone users across the categories examined in the study – banking/finance, gas/convenience, insurance and retail in the U.S. – completed purchases related to their mobile activity.  And 57% of smartphone users go directly to the brand’s app or website.

Think this is only for big brands? Think again.  Mobile research for local is BIG.  Sixty percent of consumers expect a business to be within walking or local driving distance from their current location. One out of every three smartphone users search for a business’s contact information.

What does all that research add up to?  Seventy-four percent of smartphone related purchases are completed offline in-store, and 54% of tablet related purchases are completed online through personal computer or mobile device.

For today’s shoppers, you have to be able to navigate these surfing habits and ensure no bad research, shopping or purchase experiences.  Irrelevant content, slow-loading sites, poor search, and lack of engagement lead to no purchase, and even worse, no future visits.

Marketing Travel to Women: Get Smart About Apps

April 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

travel-appsIt is becoming hard to say travel without talking about mobile devices today.  By 2014, smartphones and tablets are on track to capture nearly one in five travel dollars. And those who are marketing travel to women should take note of some of the opportunities and challenges.

Travel Decisions Made by Women

Some 80% of all travel decisions are made by women and 40% of travel is planned using a mobile device.  The tablet is the preferred device for planning travel and the smartphone is the choice for booking trips while on the go.  In fact, three-quarters (76%) of us reach for the smartphone when booking travel on the go.

Poor Mobile Experiences

So you know the drill – you are traveling and something happens to cause you to change your airline reservations.  You go to your handy app.   But you have a hard time loading the information, it gets confusing and then, you just call the airlines or the hotel or the car rental or the restaurant because it was a hassle figuring it out on that handy app.  It’s happened to me before – and apparently, lots of others.  A ResearchNow study released by Mobiquity shows the top negatives:

  • 60% of smartphone owners, 52% of tablet owners found mobile travel sites slow to load
  • 51% of tablet owners rated search and selection options on travel apps as complicated
  • 20% of tablet owners were disappointed the apps were not integrated with their loyalty programs

Poor mobile experiences can cause travelers to take an alternative course and could result in decreased revenue for travel brands.  More than a third (35%) of connected travelers would be less likely to book again with the travel brand after a slow, confusing of non-optimized experience when research or booking travel on a mobile device.  Some of the issues in addition to slow load time are  complicated search and selection, poor navigation, not linked to loyalty programs or not designed.

Top Mobile Travel Apps

The top mobile websites mostly include airlines and travel aggregators, such as TripAdvisor and Priceline.com.  Of the 8% of iPhone users that use travel apps, the top airline apps are:

United Airlines  (1.6%)
Southwest Airlines (1.5%)
Fly Delta (1.3%)
American Airlines (1.3%)
JetBlue (0.5%)

Some of the other popular apps for travel are included in the following infographic:

onavo-data-eating-booking-data

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/198843/travelers-expect-more-from-mobile-on-the-road.html?edition=59193#ixzz2RWRst23x

Marketing to Women: Mobile Advertising Yet?

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.

mobile-adsWith 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

mobileimage2So 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!

Marketing Travel to Women: Going Mobile

March 31, 2013 § 3 Comments

When looking at travel, women are the primary decision makers – making 80% of all decisions.  And we women are going mobile.  TripAdviser says some 40% of us use a mobile device to plan a trip.

A recently post on instant.ly identified two groups who are shaping mobile usage for tourism – Generation X and Digital Natives.    Gen X are the  ‘digital travellers’ making use of all  technologies in all stages of the customer journey  (mobile devices, tablets, desktop PCs etc.).  The  ‘digital natives’ (20th century kids) have grown up with technology and have interacted with digital technology from early stages in all lifetime situations.

According to Intrepid Travel, who booked over 100,00 US passengers for 2012,  63% were female (this is on par with the global figure of 64%).  The majority of  travellers were aged between 25 – 39 (46%).  So female travelers between the ages of 25 and 39 are their biggest market. Some 24 percent of American women have taken a girlfriend getaway in the past three years, and 39 percent of American women plan on taking one in the next three years.

iflymobiSocial Media, Location Based and Mobile (SoLoMo) Marketing

SoLoMo marketing is increasingly becoming a critical and pivotal tool for tourism marketing. It combines social media, location and context based marketing as well as mobile devices. Interactions are becoming digital real-time experiences at a physical location.

Top US Travel Apps / Sites

When looking at the top U.S. travel apps and sites, consumers seemingly prefer apps for guidance and the mobile Web for trip planning.  Seven out of the top 10 Travel apps during June 2012 featured a map/navigation function, while the top mobile websites mostly included airlines and travel aggregators, such as TripAdvisor and Priceline.com.  Nielsen_Travel-Apps-Sites_June-20121Interestingly, during a summer when gas prices were on the rise, GasBuddy, which lets users search for local gas prices, ranked as the number-two Travel app with nearly nine million users. Along with Google Maps, MapQuest and Southwest Airlines appeared on both lists but had more mobile Web users than app users.

Marketing to Moms (and Dads): The State of the American Mom 2013

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

FE_DA_BabyPlayTablet_071712The 2013 State of the American Mom report is out – and interestingly, they actually looked at opinions of both Moms and Dads.

Here are some of the results important for marketing to moms – and dads:

Men shop around too.  An equal amount of Moms and Dads, 78% and 76% respectively, shop at more than one grocery store weekly.  Most make the extra trip for the best sale prices.

Smartphones are the tool of choice.  Almost 60% of moms have a smartphone, compared to 44% in 2011.  It is certainly the primary organizer of life.  The report shows Moms are playing games (64%), looking up stores/locations (58%) and finding nearby restaurants (50%).

Baby wants a smartphone and a laptop too!  Of course, you know children won’t even know how to turn pages in a magazine or a book.  43% of Moms report their children start using a laptop or desktop at 3 – 6 years, and 25% of Moms say that’s when they start using a phone or tablet.

What are the trends behind these facts?

Multichannel Shopping.  Consumers are challenging retailers and brands to keep up with their multichannel shopping behaviors.  Two-thirds of all shoppers regularly use more than one channel to make purchases.  While the Mom report is talking about physical grocery stores, many are shopping online, warehouse stores, farmers markets, specialty stores and grocery stores to fill their pantries.  Some 70% still use bricks and mortar stores, but 47% are online.  And all research begins online before those “reality” shopping trips.

Life on a Smartphone.  We just feel smarter with a smartphone. Nielsen says in their 2013 Mobile Consumer Report that 61% of all adults have a smartphone and 94% have some type of mobile phone. Of course, we don’t actually talk on our phones.  We send and receive an average of 764 text messages versus 164 calls sent/received on our phones.  We use our phones for a variety of activities – email, music, shopping, location services and internet browsing.

Digital Children.  Hilary DeCesare, a cyberbullying expert and CEO of kids’ social networking site Everloop, thinks in an increasingly digital world, it’s important to expose children to different technologies early so that they are prepared to adapt and thrive in more advanced professional settings. The digital expert thinks kids as young as 2 can benefit from tablet use, as long as the parent “is monitoring what [the] child is watching.”

Marketing to Women: Get a Mobile Mindset for 2013

January 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Nielsen has released a new report containing facts on how US consumers use different forms of media and devices. The information on  the top 8 activities performed on mobiles is fascinating, or at least I think so.

Nielsen-Share-of-Mobile-Time-by-Activity-January2013-300x195

The top activity is texting, consuming 14.1% of our time.  Messaging (texting, email and instant messaging) compose 14.1% of our time, or one-fifth of our time on our mobile devices.  The lifeline for most of us is our texts and emails.

The second most consuming usage is social networks because we evidently all have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), so we spend a whopping 10% of our time on social networks.  Actually dialing someone up and having a conversation only consumes about 5.5% of our time.   The other usage is consumed with browsing the internet, listening to music, using maps and our camera.  The mobile usage differs from our computer usage – which is geared to a variety of other activities.  One thing is the same – we spend a lot of time on social media.  Computer usage of social media is 20.1%, versus 10% of our mobile time.

And in terms of usage, 56% of mobile users have smartphones.  Eighty-five (85) million of us use social media apps on our smartphones, compared with 164 million have access to social media from their computers.

The bottom line is that each month, consumers are spending more time with more media, across all devices, and smart marketers need to understand the role of mobile in our daily lives.  We use mobile to stay connected, to manage our schedules, and the shop.  Some 78% of us use our smartphones to find a store, 63% check prices online and 22% comment on purchases.

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