It’s no secret that people are making more purchases, and purchase decisions, online. Consumer purchase behaviour is undergoing a dramatic shift that is getting more pronounced every day, and unprepared retailers are seeing declines as a result.
Over the course of the last week or so, there have been several revealing statistics released to support that consumers are not only spending more time shopping online, but that brick and mortar shopping behaviour is being influenced by digital interactions, which of course includes social media.
These changes are even more apparent coming out of Black Friday, which is typically the United States’ biggest shopping day, with consumers flocking to stores hunting, and in some cases fighting, to get a great deal in preparation for the holidays.
Defying the trend toward online shopping in recent years, Black Friday has managed to sustain steady growth, until now.
This year, brick and mortar retail shopping on Black Friday was down for the first time since 2009. Bloomberg reported the decline to be 3.9 percent, which seems marginal, but considering that tens of billions of dollars are spent on this crazy shopping day, is actually quite significant.
Brick and mortar shopping is down, while shopping online is up… way up
It’s no major revelation to learn that while brick and mortar retail shopping has decreased, online shopping has largely filled the void.
But, the dramatic truth of this is how sharply favour has shifted to shopping online. A recent Nielsen study revealed that nearly half of consumers – 46 percent – stated that they intended to shop online on Cyber Monday this year instead of facing the crowds on Black Friday. Now for the dramatic piece of information; that’s a 16-point increase from 2012, just one year ago, when that number was 30 percent.
You don’t need to be a statistician to see how dramatic of a shift that is.
Digital interactions are even affecting consumer behaviour when brick and mortar shopping
Digital interactions aren’t just causing consumers to make more purchases online, they’re actually affecting the way that consumers shop when they visit brick and mortar retailers. It’s worth noting here as well that social media is playing an increasingly important role in shaping even non-social experiences online, which makes it doubly important.
Around the world, shoppers are making fewer shopping trips, and when they do shop, they’re making a smaller number of purchases.
They’re visiting stores prepared, armed with the information they need to make a purchase with a very specific product in mind. The days of impulse buying might not be behind us, but that behaviour is certainly waning.
The auto industry is a prime example of this. Adweek recently reported that where car buyers used to visit 7 dealers to make a purchase decision, today they visit an average of 1.2.
That’s targeted and informed shopping, which is reminiscent of the trends observed this Black Friday. The idea of ‘shopping around’ when it comes to automobiles is virtually nonexistent, and this behaviour likely isn’t isolated to this category.
Where there is change, there is opportunity
This, of course, isn’t all doom and gloom. Not even close. In fact, these trends are hugely positive for those who are openly embracing the power of digital media channels be they owned or paid.
As you’ve undoubtedly observed, and this article has hopefully illustrated, it is no secret that consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions online. They’re researching competitive products on brand websites and comparing prices with apps like Amazon’s Price Check.
They’re also turning to social media to ask questions, discuss products and brands with their social graphs, gain unbiased perspectives, and weigh pros and cons of ownership.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to embrace digital and social media
If you haven’t already embraced the power of digital and social media for your business, now is the time to wake up and come to terms with the fact that consumer behaviour has long since shifted.
These aren’t flash-in-the-pan trends we’re observing. After all, we’re talking about the Internet and social media, which clearly aren’t going anywhere. Also, the explosive and exponential penetration of smartphones is giving consumers constant connection to both, so the influential interactions they’re having online, are also happening at shelves in physical stores.
The proof of shifting consumer purchase behaviour from this Black Friday and Cyber Monday I believe to be precursors to even more dramatic change moving forward.
Where there are rules, there are certainly always exceptions, but I believe the reality for many businesses is that if they don’t have a strong presence online and on social media, it’s not going to be long until they won’t have a presence at all.
Are you braving the crowds to do your shopping for the holidays?
Or, are you doing the bulk of your shopping online?
Are there certain categories of products that you prefer to buy in-store versus online?
It would be great to chat with you about your thoughts on this subject, and learn a little bit about your own shopping behaviour in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
If you are going to invest time in monitoring and optimizing your Facebook ad buy, it is my recommendation that you virtually always opt to pay for impressions (CPM) versus clicks (CPC).
There it is.
After much experimentation with Facebook ads, what I’ve consistently found is that with nurturing – monitoring and optimization – it is fairly easy to create ads that outperform Facebook’s recommended bid rates for CPC ads with a CPM buy, and outperform them significantly.
If you’re used to purchasing CPC ads, at the beginning of your next buy, do a test and purchase all of your ads based on CPC and CPM, and let them run for a day or so. When you review the analytics at the end of day one, do the simple calculations to determine how much you are paying for each of your CPM ads to accrue each click:
(Total Impressions / Total Clicks) / 1000) * CPM
What I think you’ll find is that the ads that naturally perform well will be more efficient to run paying for impressions than clicks. After your analysis of the performance of your ads, eliminate any under-performing ads from your mix and place increased budget behind those that are yielding great results. Continue this cycle of monitoring and optimization for the duration of your campaign.
If you’re finding that paying for clicks across the board is more efficient, my guess is that there is something about the ads you’re running that isn’t resonating with your target, and they could use some adjusting. Revisit your ads to ensure the basics of high-performing Facebook ads are covered – that you’re using an eye-catching visual, strong headline, and compelling call-to-action. I’m all but certain that with some adjustments you’ll be able to reduce your cost to accrue a click to well below Facebook’s recommended bid price.
In your experience, which do you find to be more efficient – CPC or CPM?
Do you have any experience or ideas to share on how to run an effective Facebook ad campaign?
If so, please share in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer (Photoshopped and put in layout)
At the end of each year there is a flood of year-in-review content, and content that looks forward to the year ahead. It’s a natural time to take a step back from the minutia we stress over during the year to look at the big picture.
So, being just a few days into 2013, now is a perfect time to not only enjoy some of the end of year content, but it’s also a great time to reflect on your own year in social media marketing, and think about and plan for your year ahead.
REVIEW YOUR PERFORMANCE DURING THE LAST YEAR
Take some time to review the performance of your social media, digital and content marketing efforts in 2012. Similar to tracking performance in the stock market, social media marketing is naturally full of small ups and downs that are magnified by the incredible amount of information we are fed through our monitoring and insights tools. A full year perspective, however, may shed new insight on what worked well, and what didn’t that you couldn’t pick up on while monitoring your activity through the year.
ADJUST YOUR STRATEGY
After reviewing your performance from 2012 and identifying what worked well, and what didn’t, make some adjustments to your strategy, how you engage, what types of content you produce, where you publish your content, what social media networks you are using, what your objectives should be, how you amplify your content, and on. Don’t get caught in a rut just because you’ve been doing something one way for some time. Social media is inherently dynamic and your strategies and tactics need to be equally as fluid to remain successful.
SET NEW GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND KPIs
Looking forward, think about what your goals, objectives and KPIs will be for 2013. Continue working toward the objectives that are driving results for your business, and set goals and KPIs that will push your efforts for even greater success. Looking forward is incredibly important to guide and justify the numerous decisions you’ll be making thought the year to continuously optimize your social media marketing efforts.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Continue making smart, informed decisions, but go ahead and try something new. With so many tools, tactics, platforms, varieties of content, technologies, and techniques at our disposal, there is undoubtedly something that could positively impact your business that you haven’t tried yet – so go do it! The very worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work and you can stop, lesson learned, and no worse for the effort.
How did your social media marketing efforts perform in 2012?
How are you planning for the year ahead?
Are there any interesting things you’ll be doing differently in 2013?
Do you have a New Year social media resolution you’ll be pursuing?
It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial. Cheers, and happy New Year!
Photo Credit: Veer
More and more, people are using multiple devices simultaneously or sequentially. In fact, a recent Google study showed that 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially, moving between devices to accomplish their goal. While the study didn’t provide an equally all-encompassing stat for simultaneous device use, they did state that 77% of people who watch TV do so with another device (49% with a smartphone, and 34% with a PC/laptop), so it’s safe to say that a huge percentage of people are using multiple devices simultaneously.
A challenge for marketers is how to tap into this behaviour in a way that will amplify your brand’s message, provide value to your targeted consumers, and provide a seamless experience from device to device.
Following are three tips for how to tap the power of consumers’ simultaneous or sequential multi-device use:
OPTIMIZE YOUR CONTENT FOR EACH PLATFORM
Your content needs to be optimized with each device’s strengths and weaknesses accounted for. Your 40 page downloadable .pdf probably provides a huge amount of valuable content to consumers using a PC, but on a mobile device, it’ll take forever to download, might require a separate app to open, and involves a time commitment to read that is probably longer than the average person’s session time on a mobile device. In this case, keep your points short and concise for people on mobile devices and forego the option to download your .pdf as it will provide a poor experience and might frustrate your consumers.
ENSURE CONTEXTUAL RELEVANCE
It is critical to have a firm understanding of how your targeted consumers use various devices. When you get to know how they use their smartphones, tablets, PCs, televisions, e-readers, and mp3 players, you’ll be better equipped to provide a seamless experience for your consumers on the devices they naturally use for various tasks. Further to this, try to avoid forcing your consumers to use a device in a way that isn’t contextually natural to them. They won’t change their usage behaviour just because you want them to, so don’t waste your time trying. To gain a better understanding of how people use various devices, I encourage you to read Brian Solis’ article, We are now a society of multi-taskers and multi-screeners. To quickly highlight a few key observations, people tend to use PCs to be productive and keep informed, smartphones to stay connected, and tablets for entertainment.
TAP SIMULTANEOUS DEVICE USE TO ENRICH EXPERIENCES
I’m willing to bet that you can’t think of the last time you watched television without your smartphone, tablet or laptop at least partially dividing your attention. Think of ways to create meaningful brand experiences on these devices that are relevant to the content your consumers are watching on television to provide truly immersive brand experiences. An example of a brand that hit an absolute home run providing an immersive multi-screen experience is Heineken’s Star Player football app that allowed fans to apply their intuition and knowledge of football to a competitive real-time smartphone game when watching Champion’s League matches on television.
Simpler, more cost effective ways to tap the power of a simultaneous multi-screen experience include augmenting your content calendar to generate relevant discussion during programming you know your consumers will be watching, or creating contests or promotions that require viewing relevant content (think digital scavenger hunts or trivia questions).
Consumers’ attention is becoming increasingly fragmented across devices, which means you need to figure out how to engage with them in ways that use this fragmentation to your benefit. Finding ways to streamline consumers’ experiences when transitioning from one device to the next, or enhancing experiences with simultaneous device use, is key for engaging consumers in a multi-screen, multi-device world.
What considerations do you take into account when creating content or brand experiences for your consumers?
Do you have any case studies you’d like to share of who has done this particularly well?
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please do so in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial