What Should Marketers Do About Facebook Third Party Data Changes?

April 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

The big stat:  83% of female internet users and 75% of male internet users are Facebook users. There are 207 million Facebook users in the United States. 

Are advertisers concerned about the Facebook scandal?  We should.  Some 45% Facebook users say they are going to use Facebook less.  And let’s be real here. We need Facebook users and their data.  Because without the data, it could limit our ability to target specific audiences on Facebook and Instagram.

One agency exec James Douglas, head of media at Reprise, a digital agency owned by Interpublic commented, “If advertisers were suddenly unable to target certain segments, because of regulation—such as political affinities, income or wealth accumulation, or race/age/gender—that might challenge advertisers to look elsewhere for options.”  We rely on data that can be anonymized and aggregated, and doesn’t infringe on users’ privacy.

As advertisers, we have been able to target audiences on Facebook using three sets of data –

  1. Data from Facebook, which collects user data and profile info.
  2. Data from the advertiser, such as email lists used in look-alike audiences.
  3. The Holy Grail Data from 3rd Party providers like Experian and Acxiom who provide purchasing behavior information.

With the new changes Facebook is implementing, marketers will be limited to using only their own data and Facebook data. The third party data (from groups like Experian and Acxiom) has provided behaviors such as income, people buying a house or people having a baby. Facebook has also announced it is dropping audience reach estimates for custom audiences.

So what should we be doing to get ready for these changes?

  1. Rely on your own data more. Marketers may need to depend on their own data and possibly find similar audiences on Facebook and target them. Growing your own email list and using that to define a look-alike audience has always been possible. With reach estimates going away, it will be necessary to watch campaigns closely to see the audience reach delivered. Over time Facebook will figure out how to expand their data.
  2. Don’t step away from Facebook,  but think about expanding your social media platform usage to insure reach.  Marketers need to include more media than just Facebook in the media mix. Now’s the time to think about Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Waze, Instagram and more.
  3. Use Instagram more if it fits your demographic. Instagram fits a young adult audience, it’s growing and currently represents 28% of Facebook mobile dollars. No doubt it will continue to grow in older age groups as Facebook fatigue sets in. Instagram purchasing is going to give marketers an enlarged audience and great info on buyers.
  4. Don’t panic.  Facebook is not going away even if some users begin to use it less.  It is the Gorilla.  In 2018, the number of Facebook users in the United States is 207 million.

 

 

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Convenience is the New Currency

February 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

We do a good bit of research on what drives purchases in retail. Our research among female retail consumers points to the truth that convenience is today’s currency. In fact, it is so important that it might be the most powerful force shaping our lives and economy, according to a recent New York Times article called it “The Tyranny of Convenience”.

Just think about the types of convenience that exists today – mobile banking, Amazon shopping, grocery pick-up and delivery services, all kinds task apps, movie apps, on-demand movies, ride-sharing, meal services, clothing services and more.

While conventional wisdom might think that women spend more time shopping,; men spend three hours shopping, versus women spending two and a half, and men are twice as likely to visit more stores than women do.

For your business to have cultural relevance today, it is imperative to understand what convenience means to your customers. What is convenient for your business may not be convenient for the customer. To your customer, their need may be same-day pick-up, self-checkout, more convenient hours or online chat to facilitate online shopping. It may be omni-shopping with the ability to shop online and pick up at the store.

A new research study by Catalyst, a marketing agency specializing in the retail sector, found that the top five motivators for brick and mortar shoppers were convenience, efficiency, good customer service, and product quality, with value important to all.

Time Well Spent. It seems that if shoppers are going to take the time to come to your store, you need to provide them with an experience that equates to value and convenience. Think about an Apple Store with its live demo of products, workshops, informed sales representatives, and iPad checkout.

Do a convenience audit of your business. Talk to your customers about what they value in the shopping experience. Don’t be afraid to make changes.

Super Bowl Audience Drops

February 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

The football industry and women are having an interesting time.  This year’s Super Bowl saw their audience drop while still being one of the most watched events. The number is down 7% from the 111.3 million that tuned in for last year’s Super Bowl, making it the least-watched Super Bowl since 2009.

Half of the viewers of the Super Bowl are women.  But declining football viewership may have been affected this season by player protests, domestic violence reports and continuing health concerns about players.

Moms are beginning to hold their sons back from the sport.  Even Justin Timberlake said he didn’t want his son playing football.  Today Show reported the issue of allowing children to play football has become part of a national conversation over the safety of the sport, particularly among youth. Many parents have become skeptical about letting their kids play football because of numerous studies over the link between repeated concussions and lasting brain damage.

On the flip side, women are looking at football as a career.  Women make up roughly half of all NFL fans but currently just a third of league employees with no female head coaches or general managers.  But the NFL is helping women get on the path to a career in the game with forums on the finer points of coaching, scouting players, and more.

On the advertising side, the 3% Conference were rating the advertising to women.  The #3percentsb hashtag asked viewers to rate spots on whether there was a woman in the spot, whether she was defying stereotypes or was she the hero.  This year there were less women spokespersons and some tone deaf ads were panned like the Dodge Ram MLK spot.  One tweeter said @jtimberlake has more backup dancers and band members that are female than all of the Super Bowl advertisements that have aired so far, combined.

Facebook Losing Its Cool?

February 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

Well, the facts don’t lie.  This year, for the first time, less than half of US internet users ages 12 to 17 will use Facebook  at least once per month. New users being added to Facebook are from older age groups.  eMarketer estimates Facebook will lose 2 million users ages 24 and younger this year. Where are they going?

The move to Instagram by younger people seems the obvious answer but eMarketer said it expects Instagram to add only 1.6 million users under the age of 25 this year. Snapchat is expected to add 1.9 million users in the same demographic and by year’s end, it’s expected to be the leader in users in the 12 to 24 age group.

And for those older users who never quite got Snapchat, the platform is being redesigned for easier use.  Of course, if older folks find Snapchat, younger users might move on like they did on Facebook.

Another issue that Facebook is facing is the backlash from advertisers threatening to pull ads from both Facebook  if the platform continues to provide a space for hate, creating division or failing to protect children.

Staying cool is hard.  And as always, marketers need to stay on top of these changes and experiment with new media to reach their audience.

Self Purchasing Women is Growing Consumer Segment

September 30, 2017 § Leave a comment

Beyonce’ may have had a hit with Put a Ring on It but there is a growing consumer trend among young adults who are not married, not living with a partner and are without children. These women are “single indies” and they are an emerging consumer segment buying their own rings – and everything else.

There are some 31 million “Indie Women” constituting about a third of all adult women; they tend to have more disposable income than other women, spending $1 trillion each year — $22 billion on vehicles (five times more than independent men), $20 billion on entertainment, and $50 billion on food; they over-index for television by 12%, watching 15% to 64% more late night programs than average women; and they are multi-screen users.

They are also more socially engaged online both as info seekers and as advocates, being 6% more likely to pay attention to online consumer ratings and reviews, and 12% more likely to say their friends ask them for health and nutrition advice. And they are 10% more likely to say they are pretty much first among friends to shop at a new store.

And they are successful, being the first generation of women to reverse the ceiling in school and at work. They are 57% of undergrads, 59% of masters degree holders, and 52% of managerial positions.  The appeal of this market is beginning to grow among brands seeking to reach the younger audience.

2014 was the first year there were more single American adults than married ones in the U.S.

One of the interesting purchase trends is jewelry. A study on jewelry purchases by the market research firm Mintel, conducted in 2012, showed that more than half of the women who bought for themselves did so simply to treat themselves.  Occasions for women buying jewelry for themselves include marking an important life event such as birthday, career success or certain occasion, a bonding experience with someone like a friend or child, or anniversaries like surviving cancer.

And back to Beyonce’ — it seems that women are really buying diamonds for themselves instead of waiting on a groom. The disposable household income of the independent women buying diamonds is more than $90,000.

The idea of “Treat Yo’ Self” was born out of a 2011 Parks and Recreation episode in which Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Donna Meagle (Retta) spend a day celebrating themselves by buying stuff like “clothes, fragrances, massages, mimosas, and fine leather goods.” When it aired, the “treat yo’ self” catchphrase immediately became part of millennials’ vocabulary.  So now advertisers have used the phrase to connect with this self-purchase trend.

Marketers are developing new approaches and new language for self-purchasing women, trying to appeal to them.

Mall Shopping No Longer Cool

April 18, 2016 § 1 Comment

1110_macys-nyc_650x4551The mall is no longer the cultural center of consumerism.  The crown jewels of mall shopping like Macy’s, J Crew and Sears are suffering.  Some predict 15% of malls will fail or be converted into non-retail space within the next ten years. In 2015 major retailers saw sales move away from brick and mortar stores while online giant Amazon increased sales 97%.

There are many reasons contributing to this decline but most importantly, there is a new savvy shopper out there who wants or needs new experiences.

  1. The mall as a hangout or destination is no longer necessary. Young people used to go to the mall to see and be seen. Today, social media, text messages and video chats replace some of that social activity. Movies can be downloaded. And goods are accessible online. So, the number of retail visits continues to fall. Time saving is paramount for many.
  1. The middle class shopper has moved on. Only upscale shopping centers are surviving. The affluent are keeping luxury brands in business, but middle class shoppers have left semi-luxury brands in favor of cheaper alternatives. The middle class shopper is less financially able to shop malls. Upscale malls in “super zip codes” are doing well, but the middle class mall is suffering. Middle class shoppers are seeking out dollar stores and stand alone retailers like Walmart and T. J. Maxx.
  1. Savvy shoppers are in control. Educated shoppers know where to get the best deal. Shopping decisions start online with price comparison. Some 87% of smartphone and tablet owners use a mobile device for shopping activities according to a Nielsen report. While 59% said online shopping was actually their favorite way to shop, many still prefer going to a store after checking prices online. Purchases are moving online, particularly with the prevalence of free shipping at many online retailers. Purchases are going to mega sellers like Amazon, department store online shops, boutiques, designer sites and buying clubs like Gilt and RueLaLa. With this type of price scrutiny, retailers have moved to heavy promotional selling.
  1. Fashion is moving to more year-round clothing. Traditional seasonal shopping has been replaced by just-in-time shopping to more closely follow current weather patterns. Year-round shopping and the prevalence of discount fashion like H&M has changed patterns and total expenditures.
  1. The retailer options have continued to grow. Premium outlet centers has replaced the mall for many bargain seekers and sales continue to grow. But discounting by major retailers and the continued growth of online shopping may make outlet centers less attractive for savvy shoppers in the future.

 

 

 

Barbie Talks Her New Look and What It Means for Girls

February 11, 2016 § 1 Comment

We couldn’t believe it when Barbie stopped by to talk to us about her new curves.  Was it Beyonce29barbie-web-master675 or Barbie? Oh well, her new dolls now strut four new body types and, even more skin tones and hairstyles.  It seems her bosses at Mattel have been putting Barbie through a transformation in the past two years to make her more like real girls.

There has been a long-time criticism of dolls that do not portray accurate body images. Since her introduction in 1959, the Barbie doll has been at a center of debate because of her unattainable female image, seen as harmful to shaping children’s sense of ideal. Adult women still agonize over their shape and weight.

Barbie says Mattel has responded to create images of women that give girls and boys a better reflection of diversity and body types. She wants to move into a new era of body acceptance that is represented by not one but 33 different versions of Barbie – four different body types, 22 eye colors, seven different skin tones, different face shapes, and 24 hair styles. The original 11.5″ Barbie represents a woman whose figure measurements were 38-18-34.

The new debut is not solely a matter of cultural relevance. The once trendy Barbie powerhouse brand has suffered in recent years as girls have turned to other toys and electronic options. The brand has experienced double-digit declines in recent years. Yet, some 92% of American girls age 3-12 have owned a Barbie.

Children seem to understand and appreciate that the new Barbie dolls now look more like them with different types of hair and body shapes and feet that will fit into running shoes as well as runway shoes.

Mattel has been working to shape Barbie into realistic body standards including feet that are not perpetually shaped to fit into high heels.

Barbie told us the new shapes will be available for sale March 1, with some 33 new versions of the fashionista available.

Barbie says she hopes the new dolls will be a better reflection of what true beauty is. But Barbie says that even her new look is not without criticism. Some say that the doll is still focused only on appearance, fashion and stereotypical interests of women.

As I talked to Barbie, I thought about my own childhood. I never owned a Barbie doll but I did have lots of dolls, beautiful ones that did represent more normal shapes. Was my mother ahead of her time? I don’t know but I do know that self-esteem is shaped by more than a doll.

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