Well now: Mobile usage is even bigger than you think

Study: Time spent on smartphones has double in just the past three years

We laughingly say we’re addicted to our phones and joke about finger injuries caused by too much texting.

But do you know exactly how much you use your phone? Do you know how much we all do?

It’s become a shockingly dominant pastime. In fact, Millennials spend more time on mobile than they do watching live TV, and TV’s big advantage among adults 35-49 is shrinking.

That’s according to a new report from comScore, which examines cross-platform media consumption.

It finds that smartphone usage has not simply grown over the past three years. It’s actually doubled.

In that same period, tablet usage is up 26 percent, while desktop usage is down 8 percent.

Interestingly, time with smartphones doesn’t seem to be replacing desktop – it’s not shrinking fast enough to draw that conclusion. Instead, smartphones offer people additional time on the internet when they wouldn’t have otherwise been going online, such as when they’re out of the house or watching television.

The study found the average person spends two hours and 51 minutes a day on mobile. Per month, that translates into more than a trillion minutes of smartphone usage across America.

ComScore notes that’s roughly double the usage for desktop at its peak.

Mobile now accounts for 70 percent of all digital media time. It’s little wonder, then, that advertisers are rapidly moving their dollars to mobile. They need to be where the eyeballs are.

A recent forecast from ZenithOptimedia predicted that worldwide mobile spending will top desktop for the first time this year, and eMarketer puts mobile at nearly one-fifth of overall U.S. ad dollars.

Catching up to TV
Among young people, mobile has already caught up to TV in time spent. Millennials spend 23.1 hours per week on their smartphones, compared with 19.1 hours watching live TV.

By contrast, adults 35-54 remain more devoted to live TV (26.6 hours) than their phones (18.5 hours), but the gap is getting smaller.

This is, in part, why digital overtook TV as the No. 1 advertising medium last year. Advertisers want to reach young people, and the place to find them is now online rather than via TV.

Mobile vs. desktop
Perhaps another question is how long until desktop disappears entirely—will that ever happen? ComScore notes almost one in eight internet users currently are mobile-only. The number’s much higher among younger users, with nearly a quarter of women 18-24 mobile-only.

Does that mean desktop will someday die out? Probably not entirely. Desktops remain practical options for work, and some people simply don’t have the desire to be connected 24-7.

Still, that number is clearly dwindling—and the people who do use desktop are of less interest to advertisers than the Millennials who are chained to their smartphones.

Source: medialifemagazine.com; 23 March 2017

Millennials Crave Consistency, Connection With Brands

To be favoured among Millennials, brands should lean less on blanket traditional advertising and more on how they can relate to their daily lives.

After reviewing more than 15,000 responses from Millennials over the past five years (2013-17), St. Louis branding agency Moosylvania found brands that continually win Millennial favour do something for the Millennials’ personal brands.

While the top 10 brands (which includes Apple, Nike, Samsung, Amazon and Coke) are blue-chip, well-advertised brands, some further down the list, like shoe brand Vans (No. 34), outrank heavy advertisers like Budweiser (No. 94), which may have less daily relevance to the demographic.

“Pretty much everything here is: ‘Make me look good. Make me feel good, or keep me entertained,’ ” says Norty Cohen, CEO of Moosylvania. “All these [top] brands are doing something for Millennials’ own personal marketing. When you look at these brands, they’re helping them market themselves.”

Using five years of data, the study also found brands that consistently engaged Millennial consumers continued to rank high over time, he says.

“There were some brands that came and went,” Cohen says. “They did one thing and then [went away]. It’s the idea of consistency driving the connection — staying with it every day.”

Along those lines, the study also found peer influence and conversation was a more effective way to drive trial among Millennials than traditional advertising.

According to the research, peers talking about a brand produced a significantly greater chance of new brand adoption than TV, Facebook and YouTube advertising combined, Cohen adds.

Noting that Millennial consumers are now aging into different life stages, the study separated the demographic into two age groups: 17-27s and 28-37s. In doing so, Moosylvania found older Millennials showed more loyalty and digital connectivity to brands than their younger cohorts.

Source: mediapost.com; 17 August 2017

AI-Powered Search Engine Aggregates Audio Clips

Audioburst, an AI-powered audio content platform, has launched a search engine for desktop and mobile allowing searchers to find and share audio files aggregated from sites like BBC World News, The Brian Joyce Show, and CT on the Hill.

The audio clips are categorized by U.S. News, World News, Business, Tech, Sports, Health, and Entertainment. On the platform, users can search for live and pre-recorded audio segments from radio shows and podcasts.

Sites like National Public Radio offer a way to search for audio clips, but Audioburst claims that the larger search engines like Google and Bing don’t do an adequate job of indexing this type of aggregated content from multiple sites and serving it up on search engines. For instance, typing “Charlottesville” into the search box on Google or Bing basically returns written news articles and videos.

Each one- to three-minute audio clip stored in Audioburst’s Content Library is retrievable through the company’s search engine and major engines such as Google, Bing and Safari.

Source: mediapost.com; 15 August 2017

An insight into the listening habits of Malaysians

From GfK’s most recent Radio Audience Measurement report, it’s quite apparent that video has not in fact killed the radio star — not in Malaysia at least.

In their press statement, GfK stated that findings from the first wave of the Radio Audience Measurement 2017 conducted by GfK in partnership with Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM) reported that 20.0 million (97.2%) listeners tuned to a radio station each week.

“From the measurement results, radio continues to be the most preferred medium when it comes to being a companion thanks to its role of entertaining and relaxing the listener,” said Selinna Chin, Managing Director of GfK Malaysia.

From the March 26 till May 6 2017, 6,000 unique individuals aged 10 years and above were sampled. GfK utilised 4,800 paper diaries and 1,200 e-diaries that provided valuable insights into the strength and scope of radio listening across the country.

Two primetime windows stood out with vast numbers from the sampling. Some 14.1 million people aged 10+ listen to breakfast shows aired on weekdays (Monday to Friday, 6AM – 10AM), while drive time shows (Monday to Friday, 4PM – 8PM) reached 14.5 million listeners from the same age group.

The study also showed that the largest listenership from weekday breakfast shows were aged 50 years old and above. In contrast, the largest listener pool for night shows (airing Monday to Friday, 8:00PM – 12:00 midnight) comprised the younger group aged 10 – 19 and 20 – 29 years with the highest reach of 2.1 million respectively. The next age group is aged 30-39 with 1.7 million listeners.

A whooping 15.4 million listeners still tune in through their cars or vehicles. No real surprise there, but in comparison to a previous survey conducted in 2016, a spike was seen in the number of listeners tuning in via television (up 13.4% with a reach of 7.3 million) and smartphone (up 6.8% garnering a reach of 4.6 million).

President of Commercial Radio Malaysia Datuk Jake Abdullah credits radio’s stronghold on relevancy to the “instant convenience and immediate companionship it provides”.

“Lifestyles change and media technologies become more advanced, yet radio has managed to sustain itself by adapting to newer technologies thereby making it easily accessible to listeners,” said Datuk Jake who is also CEO of Astro Radio.

Astro Radio remains the most popular radio network in Malaysia, with 15.6 million listeners every week accumulatively through its nine brands, accounting for 77.8 percent of Malaysia’s radio-listening audience.

Source: marketingmagazine.com.my; 26 July 2017

Streaming TV Viewers Complete 98% of All Video Ads, According to New Study

The OTT audience also tends to be younger and more affluent

The OTT television landscape is now a full-blown dominant force in the video viewing environment according to a new report from FreeWheel, part of Comcast’s advertising solutions teams.

The OTT viewer is young and affluent: according to FreeWheel’s findings, the median OTT viewer is 23 years younger than linear TV viewers, and OTT streaming households tend to make $10,000 more per year than traditional TV households.

OTT services provide benefits for consumers (a customizable viewing experience when they choose to stream), publishers (a premium platform that reaches non-traditional TV viewers) and marketers (a targetable audience of highly engaged viewers).

“New sources of premium inventory coupled with the ability to align delivery with changing consumption habits allows us to better connect with the consumer and ultimately drive more brand value for our client,” said Jon Anselmo, president at Omnicom Media Group.

“A focus on this area now ensures our clients are ready for a future that one could argue is already here,” he said.

FreeWheel found that OTT viewers, on average, complete 98 percent of video ads as compared to ad completion rates on other devices. Tablet users complete 91 percent of video ads, while smartphone users finish 86 percent.

And because OTT viewers spend more time watching programs, the odds are high that they’re seeing plenty of those ads. About 36 percent of OTT viewership is for visits of at least an hour; of that amount of time, 60 percent is spent streaming live content.

All of this adds up to higher brand metrics across the board. OTT viewers showed higher aided awareness of brands and brand favourability than desktop or mobile users, while mobile users still tend to show higher purchase intent.

“OTT and the increase in dynamic advertising opportunities in the living room represent a very valuable opportunity for our clients to use precision methodologies to reach viewers who have diversified their viewing habits to include OTT,” said Jonathan Bokor, svp and director of precision video at Publicis Media Exchange.

“We believe that the future of TV will marry the best of linear and digital and when OTT is transacting at scale with more standardized measurement, it will realize its full potential for brand marketers,” he said. “Today, despite the measurement challenges, it represents incremental reach and value for our clients, and we continue to seek out creative solutions to tap into these audiences.”

FreeWheel also found that OTT viewers tend to stream TV throughout the day; streaming peaks slightly in the morning as viewers watch morning news reports, but there is a clear peak on all OTT services for primetime programming.

FreeWheel Advisory Services selected a sample of its U.S. clients who represent 95 percent of OTT-driven impressions and combined those findings with data from Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings for desktop and mobile statistics to complete this report.

Source: adweek.com; 2 Aug 2017

Here’s What You Need to Know About Voice AI, the Next Frontier of Brand Marketing

67 million voice-assisted devices will be in use in the U.S. by 2019

Soon enough, your breakfast bar could be your search bar. Your lamp could be how you shop for lightbulbs. Your Chevy or Ford might be your vehicle for finding a YouTube video, like the classic SNL skit of Chevy Chase’s send-up of President Gerald Ford, to make a long drive less tedious. And you won’t have to lift a finger—all you’ll need to do is turn toward one of those inanimate objects and say something. Welcome to a future where your voice is the main signal for the elaborate data grid known as your life.

Two decades ago when Amazon and Google were founded, only a seer could have predicted that those companies would eventually start turning the physical world into a vast, voice-activated interface. Artificial intelligence-powered voice is what perhaps makes Amazon and Google the real duopoly to watch (sorry, Facebook), as their smart speakers—2-year-old Amazon Echo and 8-month-old Google Home—are gaining traction. Forty-five million voice-assisted devices are now in use in the U.S., according to eMarketer, and that number will rise to 67 million by 2019. Amazon Echo, which utilizes the ecommerce giant’s voice artificial intelligence called Alexa, owns roughly 70 percent of the smart speaker market, per eMarketer.

“Our vision is that customers will be able to access Alexa whenever and wherever they want,” says Steve Rabuchin, vp of Amazon Alexa. “That means customers may be able to talk to their cars, refrigerators, thermostats, lamps and all kinds of devices in and outside their homes.”
While brand marketers are coming to grips with a consumer landscape where touch points mutate into listening points, search marketing pros are laying important groundwork by focusing on what can be done with Amazon Echo and Google Home (the latter of which employs a voice AI system called Assistant). With voice replacing fingertips, search is ground zero right now when it comes to brands.

But how will paid search figure into it all?

Gummi Hafsteinsson, Google Assistant product lead, says that, for now, the goal is to create a personalized user experience that “can answer questions, manage tasks, help get things done and also have some fun with music and more. We’re starting with creating this experience and haven’t shared details on advertising within the Assistant up to this point.”

While Hafsteinsson declined further comment about ads, agencies are now preparing for them. “In the near term, [organic search] is going to be the way to get your brands represented for Google Home,” says 360i president Jared Belsky, who points to comScore data that forecasts 50 percent of all search will be via voice tech by 2020. “Then ultimately, the ads auction will follow. You’ll be bidding to get your brand at the top of searches. I believe that’s the way it will go. Think about it—it has to.”

Jeremy Lockhorn, vp of emerging media at SapientRazorfish, remarks, “The specificity of voice search combined with what any of the platforms are already able to surmise about your specific context [such as current location] should ultimately result in more personalized results—and for advertisers, more narrowly targeted.”

Brands—which are accustomed to being relatively satisfied when showing up in the top five query results on desktops and phones—should brace for a new search reality, Belsky warns, where they may have to worry about being in either the first or second voice slot or else risk not being heard at all. “There’s going to be a battle for shelf space, and each slot should theoretically be more expensive,” he says. “It’s the same amount of interest funnelling into a smaller landscape.”

Scott Linzer, vp of owned media at iCrossing, adds that consumers may not “find it an inviting or valuable-enough experience to listen to two, three or more search results.”

Marketer interest in voice search is downright palpable in some circles. Fresh off a tour of client visits in Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, 360i’s Belsky reports that “every CMO, every vp of marketing and, especially, every ecommerce client is asking about this subject first and foremost. And they have three questions. ‘What should I do to prepare for when voice is the driver of ecommerce?’ The second one is, ‘What content do I have to think about to increase my chances to be the preferred answer with these devices?’ And, ‘Will all my search budget one day migrate onto these devices?’ There’s not obvious answers to any of these questions. Being early to all of this means you get the spoils.”

National Public Radio may not seem like an obvious media brand when it comes to being an early AI adopter, but the 47-year-old news organization has moved quickly in the space. Its news, music and storytelling app, NPR One, is evidently infused with machine learning, offering listeners curated options based on their shown preferences. And the organization extended the reach of NPR One’s content by inking a deal with Amazon Alexa in February. Since then, the phrase, “Alexa, play NPR News Now,” has been regularly heard in 400,000 homes that use the service. Additionally, NPR One has functionalities that its corporate sponsors have appreciated for some time; in particular, letting brands get extended audio mobile messaging when consumers want to hear more.

“They can press a button on the phone to hear more about what [carmaker] Kia is doing around innovation,” says Meg Goldthwaite, NPR’s marketing chief. Is voice-enabled digital advertising—where the listener asks for more Kia content and perhaps even fills out a test-drive form—right around the bend for NPR? “It’s absolutely possible,” she says.

Goldthwaite is probably onto something. Last year, IBM launched Watson Ads, which lets viewers “talk” with a brand’s ad and request additional info. Toyota, Campbell Soup and Unilever have tested the units, often averaging between one and two minutes of engagement, per Big Blue. “We have already begun to see that consumers are spending more time with these cognitive ads than with other digital ads,” says Carrie Seifer, CRO for the IBM Watson content and IoT platform.

Imagine being able to talk to video ads via Amazon Echo Show, a smart screen that comes juiced with Alexa voice functionalities. Costing $230, the device shipped in late June and provides a glimpse into next-gen households of the 2020s with talking screens, holograms, appliances and vehicles that Amazon exec Rabuchin alluded to.

“Voice is a productivity tool,” remarks Linda Boff, CMO of GE. Her company provides an intriguing business-to-business example of how AI-based utilities will soon help enormously expensive products like locomotives, jet engines and turbines sell themselves. For instance, GE has developed a prototype that lets an otherwise insentient locomotive send a voice message to a repair technician describing what needs to be fixed. It’s part of GE’s Digital Twin program, which creates 3-D representations of industrial assets and can process information gathered from individual machines globally to better inform decisions. It’s essentially machine-based crowdsourcing for when trains need to fill up on digital feedback instead of diesel fuel.

“The twin can call you and tell you, ‘I have an issue with my rotor,’” explains Colin Parris, vp, GE Software Research, who reveals that his brand’s voice AI features will roll out widely in 2018. “It can provide basic information that a service rep would want. Like, ‘What was the last journey you took? How many miles did you travel?’”

General Electric’s Digital Twin program has turbines and trains learning how to speak to their customers.

Staples also plans to flip the switch on its b-to-b voice AI initiative early next year. In partnership with IBM Watson, the retailer’s Easy Button—a fixture in its TV spots—will add an intelligent, voice-activated ordering service, which already has been tested in recent months by office managers with enterprise clients.

The business supplies chain is practically providing a step-by-step tutorial on how to build such an Echo-like device. Teaming with conversational design and software company Layer, Staples first built an AI-anchored chat app and carefully analysed the conversations.

“It helped us narrow down our use cases and create more robust experiences around the core challenges we were trying to solve,” says Ian Goodwin, head of Staples’ applied innovation team. “Once we got a really good idea of what our customers were asking on chat channels, then we built the voice experience with the Easy Button. It was really a gradual ramp-up rather than just going out and doing it.”

Indeed, voice AI probably shouldn’t be rushed to market. One company that understands that is Trunk Club, a Nordstrom-owned men’s clothier that recently rejected an offer from Amazon to be a fashion partner for Echo. Justin Hughes, Trunk Club’s vp of product development, isn’t AI-averse—he’s hoping to use voice activation in the next 18 months to spur his company’s subscriptions-based sales. But the timing with Amazon wasn’t right for his brand.

“If you are going to purchase between $300 and $1,000 of clothes, we don’t want it to be a weird experience—we want it to be something you return to often,” Hughes says. “There is so much imperfection in voice AI right now; it can be clunky.”

The vp also pointed to an elephant in the room—data ownership—when it comes to retailers partnering with Amazon or Google. “We just don’t want to give them all of our talk tracks,” Hughes says.

What’s more, hackers in the future might find a way to siphon off data collected from various “listening points” in homes and offices. Just last spring, Burger King caught considerable heat from privacy advocates after its television spot—which, in spite of the brouhaha, won a Cannes Grand Prix—hacked Google Home devices around the country.

The last thing voice-focused marketers want is Uncle Sam on the case. “As in-home, voice-controlled AI technology becomes even more prevalent and evolves in terms of substance—more capable of offering real answers to real questions—marketers will need to be increasingly careful to properly follow FTC disclosure and advertising guidelines,” notes advertising lawyer Ronald Camhi.

And since voice AI could greatly impact search-driven commerce, it’d probably be wise for Amazon and Google to encourage industry best practices. Then again, they might want to actually form a larger circle that also includes Facebook, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft. Facebook last week purchased AI start up Ozlo and is rumoured to be developing speaker technology of its own. Apple has star power in Siri, and Samsung in late July debuted voice capabilities for its assistant, Bixby. Also, Microsoft will continue to market its AI assistant, Cortana, in hopes of getting a significant piece of voice real estate.

Says Abhisht Arora, general manager of search and AI marketing at Microsoft, “Our focus is to go beyond voice search to create an assistant that has your back.”

A Rube Goldberg apparatus for the marketing history books

What do you get when you jerry-rig six Google Homes, six Alexa Dots, six laptops, six soundproof boxes and four extension cords? You get an apparatus that’d make Back to the Future’s Doc Brown proud.

Along with a bottle of Puerto Rican rum for the technicians, those are all of the ingredients that were poured into 360i’s VSM, or Voice Search Monitor, which is the brainchild of Mike Dobbs, the agency’s long-time vp of SEO. This makeshift system is designed to give clients like Norwegian Cruise Line an edge as smart speakers increasingly influence consumers’ purchase decisions.

VSM asks Google Home and Alexa Dot (Echo’s little sister device) thousands of questions around the clock, and whether the queries are answered automatically gets recorded on an Excel spreadsheet. An early round of testing found that for the travel category, Google answered 72 percent of questions while Amazon responded to 13 percent of the queries. In the second round of testing for finance, Google answered 68 percent of questions while Amazon answered roughly 14 percent.

Dobbs thinks unanswered questions present brands with an opportunity to become the search result with targeted, voice-minded digital content. “That’s one interesting thing that we believe is going to be white space that marketers need to explore,” he says. “They can raise their hands to take conversations on when major systems don’t have the data sources or depths to [provide an answer].”

Right now, his team is focused on speakers. But how long before they have to pivot and figure out how voice-powered refrigerators and other appliances impact clients’ needs?

“I don’t think it’s 2025—I honestly think it will be in the next two to five years,” Dobbs predicts. “Those technologies are not as elegant as they need to be right now. But, yeah, in five years—we’ll be there.”

Source: adweek.com; 6 Aug 2017

Amazon India Gets RBI Approval To Launch E-Wallet Services

After Flipkart and Snapdeal, Amazon is set to enter the digital payments market in India.

Amazon India, on Thursday, said it has received Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approval to operate a Pre-Paid Instrument (PPI), or its own digital wallet, giving the Seattle based e-commerce giant an opportunity to grab a part of the growing but increasingly crowded digital payments pie.

The development was first reported by Medianama.
“We are pleased to receive our PPI license from the RBI. Our focus is providing customers a convenient and trusted cashless payments experience.”
Sriram Jagannathan, VP Payments, Amazon India.

In March, the RBI issued draft guidelines suggesting higher capital requirement for entities offering PPIs and tougher know your customer (KYC) norms for customers using these services. According to the draft proposals, all entities seeking fresh approvals to launch PPIs will need to have an audited net worth of Rs 25 crore, which must be maintained at all times.

The RBI also proposed to tweak an earlier provision where you could hold up to Rs 10,000 in a ‘minimum information’ PPI account. PPI issuers will now have to convert every ‘minimum information’ account into a fully KYC compliant account within 60 days. In the interim, customers can hold up to Rs 20,000 in the account.

In his statement, Jagannathan said that the company hopes the regulator will continue with the existing simpler KYC norms to ensure that the use-case for wallets does not diminish.

“RBI is in the process of finalizing the guidelines for PPIs. We look forward to seeing a continuation of the low limit wallet dispensation with simplified KYC and authentication,” said Jagannathan.

Amazon has been inching towards an entry into digital payments for the last few months.

In December Amazon had launched its Pay Balance service to encourage cashless transactions, where customers can fund their prepaid balance using internet banking or credit and debit card. However this service was restricted to transactions on Amazon.

Last February, Amazon had acquired Noida based payments solution provider EMVANTAGE Payments Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount. The same month it also roped in former Citibank executive, Sriraman Jagannathan to head its payments business.

Amazon had applied for a wallet license last year in the name of Amazon Online Distribution Services Private Limited. The license was issued to Amazon on March 22 and is valid till the March 31, 2022.

The approval for Amazon’s e-wallet comes at a time when all major e-tailers, Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal, have launched their own wallets. The volume of transaction through PPIs has also risen, particularly in the months after demonetisation. According to RBI data, volume of payments through PPIs rose from Rs 1320 crore in November to Rs 2150 crore in March.

Amazon venturing into the digital wallet space could provide some competition to Paytm, said Harish HV, partner at Grant Thornton.
“This will not only boost their sales, but can give good competition to Paytm which has been ruling the wallets game in India, if they plan to run it as an independent business. How serious is Amazon about the wallet business remains to be seen.”
Harish HV, Partner, Grant Thornton

PPIs are one part of the broader digital payments space, which also include newly launched services built on platforms like the United Payments Interface (UPI). The government promoted BHIM is one such service. BharatQR, a QR-code based payment service, is another competitor to PPIs. According to a recent report by advisory firm IMAP, the volume of payments on digital platforms in India could hit $500 billion by 2020.

Source: bloombergquint.com; 12 April 2017

Micro-Moments Now: Three New Consumer Behaviors Playing Out in Google Search Data

Two years ago, Google introduced the concept of micro-moments. We put a name to a behaviour that, thanks to mobile, was becoming pervasive. People had started to expect an immediate answer in the moments they wanted to know, go, do, and buy. The concept of micro-moments was perhaps as truthful, observable, and relatable a consumer behaviour trend as any marketer could wish for.

Illuminating this behaviour and the associated consumer expectations proved to be really useful for marketers. In many ways, the micro-moments conversation has provided a reset and a roadmap for companies who sought a simple mental model for how to approach the otherwise daunting force that is mobile. It helped marketers think about which moments mattered most, and it created urgency. It also inspired an evaluation of a range of legacy habits and approaches—from how to think about share of voice and how to measure business results, to how to deliver useful experiences.

Now, midway through 2017, it’s clear that the centrality of micro-moments—for consumers and marketers alike—is as important as ever. It’s an entrenched behaviour—micro-moments are only multiplying. People can’t remember what it was like to not be able to learn, do, or buy things when the need struck by reaching for the device in their pocket.

New consumer behaviours up the ante

Micro-moments have been accelerating consumer expectations for “right here, right now” experiences. People take for granted that information is at their fingertips and tailored to their specific needs. But the thing about human beings is they never stop wanting that little bit extra. It’s becoming evident that they’ll keep raising the bar, wanting more useful information, more personalization, more immediacy. My team wanted to dig into these evolving expectations and understand how consumer behaviour has changed since we first introduced micro-moments. Here’s a glimpse of the consumer taking shape behind the data.

The “well-advised” consumer

Think about the last time you used your phone to find an answer or guide a decision. For some of you, this might have been about something big—like that safe family car you’re hoping to buy, or the Yosemite adventure you’re planning. But for others, it might have been, well, more mundane—like knobs for kitchen cabinets, best home remedies for wasp stings, or the least stinky sock for hiking.

People today want to be empowered to make the right decision, big or small—and they’re turning to their phones for advice to guide them. We can see this in the data. Mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years. And again, it’s not just for high-consideration items or weighty topics. Because they can, people are turning to their phones for information on just about everything. For example, toothbrush searches have grown more than 80% on mobile and searches for “best toothbrush” have grown more than 100% on mobile in the past two years.  Before mobile, doing the research might have been more effort than people cared to expend. Now it’s easy and fast, so we can be confident in any decision we’re making, big or small.

The “right here” consumer

People also expect digital experiences to be made just for them—including experiences that are tailored to the location they’re in right now. Several years ago, marketers were able to deliver this type of relevance by taking explicit cues people gave them. For example, if someone wanted to find a sushi restaurant nearby, their search query would likely include the zip code, area name, or even “near me.” Today, people expect brands to gather enough contextual information to deliver location-specific responses without someone having to search for anything more than just “sushi.”

These expectations transfer to site and app experiences, too. Compared to just a year ago, smartphone users are significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.  Today, people just assume their smartphone will know where they are and will deliver information accordingly.

The “right now” consumer

Ever needed a restaurant reservation at the last minute? What about a hotel room? Or a pharmacy? People turn to mobile more than any other source to help them get things done, make decisions, or purchase. And every day, people are becoming more reliant on their smartphones to help make last-minute purchases or spur-of-the-moment decisions. In fact, smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago.

Mobile empowers people to be nimble. They can organize themselves as much (or as little) as they like because they know their smartphone is there for them. And, they expect brands to respond by understanding their needs and addressing them right now.

Looking ahead

These consumer shifts are an inevitability we can plan for. Expectations will only continue to rise. People will want to be more informed, have more personal experiences, and get things done even faster. And as these expectations ratchet up, so do the requirements (and opportunities) for marketers.

Source: thinkwithgoogle.com; July 2017

Qualtrics’ New Asia Pacific Study Reveals Top 10 Customer Experience Trends That Will Dominate the Region

Qualtrics, the leader in experience management software, has released its inaugural study on Customer Experience (CX) in Asia Pacific. Surveying 1,100 consumers across Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, the study titled “The Asia-Pacific Region’s Changing Customer Experience Environment” reveals differing consumer perceptions in various markets and highlights the top 10 CX trends across the region.

CX has increasingly become a key differentiator for top Asia Pacific brands and can make all the difference between an organisation’s success or failure. Yet the reality remains that brands are still missing the mark with 80 percent of CEOs believe they are delivering a superior experience and only 8 percent of customers agree, according to Bain & co.

“Consumers in Asia Pacific have a wide variety of choice and if they do not like the service an organisation delivers, they will simply find another organisation that does it better. Ultimately, brands need to understand that nailing customer experience management can generate immense rewards, while getting it wrong will result in loss of customers, decreased revenue, reduced market share and even a damaged brand reputation.”, said Bill McMurray, Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Japan at Qualtrics.

With 63% of business leaders in Southeast Asia having listed CX as their top business priority, according to Forrester, more businesses in the region will recognise the need to increase their efforts across all customer touchpoints, and international companies will also need to pay more attention to localising their customer management initiatives. The study reveals these top ten CX insights across Asia Pacific:

Customers demand action – Approximately 75 percent of Singaporean and Hong Kong consumers indicated that it is very or extremely important for organisations to respond to their feedback, markedly higher than Australia (64 percent) and New Zealand (52 percent).

Ignoring feedback is a fireable offence – An average, 39 percent of respondents in the Asia Pacific region are unlikely to continue doing business with an organisation that does not respond to their feedback. Singaporeans are the most unforgiving – only 23 percent are likely to continue using that brand if their feedback is ignored.

Fix it the first time – Just 2 percent of respondents feel that first-time resolution is anything less than moderately important. Some of the top frustrations cited are having to ask for the same information multiple times, and not having issues resolved the first time.

Respond today, not tomorrow – Nearly half of all respondents (46 percent) expect a response from an organisation within the same working day. Hong Kong customers appear to be more demanding, with 68 percent expecting brands to reply to their feedback on the same day.

Beware of the experience gap – Organisations must prioritise minimising the amount of effort customers exert to have their issues resolved. Companies must learn what customers’ value most in the experience you provide to them and then ensure that these aspects are executed at the highest level.

Make customers believe – Make sure your consumers know that you are listening and acting on their feedback. While Asia Pacific customers are keen to provide feedback, with 83 percent being likely to complete a customer experience survey from an organisation they deal with, 37 percent of these customers are uncertain as to whether organisations listen to and act on it.

Invest in the online experience – Online processes and offerings makes organisations more efficient and enable rapid, effective scaling. Results show that more than half of Asia Pacific customers (58 percent) are open to making the leap to online-only offerings.

Be one easy call away – While customers are more open to online channels for services and feedback, brands should still make it a point to have their phone numbers readily available to customers in the case they feel they need to contact the organisation. 84 percent of customers thought it was important to have a company contact number on the homepage or within a single click of it.

Put security first – Customers do not always “see” your security, but they want to know that it is there. Walk the fine line of having publicly accessible information about the company’s security measures, without revealing too much information to potential data thieves. 87 percent of the respondents believe that it is very important to be able to trust organisations with their customer data.

Welcome new technology – 48 percent of customers would be satisfied dealing with an organisation staffed by artificial intelligence. However, companies must understand which customer experiences to optimise through technology versus the human touch.
When it comes to consumers’ preferences in Singapore, locals ranked service (22 percent), quality of product (21 percent) and value for money (18 percent) as the top three attributes they value when dealing with an organisation. In terms of communicating with a brand, Singaporeans listed email (49 percent) as their preferred mode of interaction over other channels such phone (23 percent), online chat (15 percent) or face-to-face (13 percent).

On the other hand, the majority of Hong Kong consumers found the product quality to be far more important (55 percent), followed by service (54 percent), and trust (43 percent). In contrast, they prefer to interact with an organisation via phone (31 percent), instead of email (30 percent), face-to-face (20 percent) or online chat (18 percent).

For most brands, creating a positive experience for existing consumers is the key to customer acquisition and retention. Qualtrics believes that companies are witnessing an “experience gap” – which is referred to as the gap between the experience that companies believe they are delivering and the experience their customers are actually receiving. Businesses today are awash with operational data (O data), which tells you what has happened. What they need to start collecting is experience data (X data), which will allow them to garner insights into why things are happening. Having both data sets will allow companies to reduce the experience gap and hence, positively impact the operational metrics of the business.

The multi-country customer survey was conducted online across four Asia Pacific markets, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Nationally representative samples of customers were obtained in each country, with fieldwork taking place in January 2017.

Source: thetechrevolutionist.com; 2 August 2017

Millennials want to buy from companies led by outspoken CEO

Nearly half of millennials (47%) believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society, far outpacing the sentiments of Gen Xers and Boomers (28% each).

An even larger six in 10 millennials (56%) say that business leaders have a greater responsibility to speak out now than in years past.

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This is according to CEO Activism in 2017: High Noon in the C-Suite, a report commissioned by Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research.

“When dozens of CEOs spoke up about the new administration’s decisions regarding issues like climate change and travel to the US from select countries, for example, social media ignited, protests erupted and media attention exploded. Navigating how to communicate a company’s point of view in this environment is becoming increasingly complex and important. Future generations will only pay closer attention to how companies communicate around their values when it comes to deciding where to work or who to purchase from,” said Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick.

Millennials’ buying decisions influenced by CEO activism

CEO activism positively affects millennials’ purchase decisions, according to the survey. Half of millennials (51%) say they would be more likely to buy from a company led by a CEO who speaks out on an issue they agree with. This rate has increased since 2016 (46%). This form of “voting by wallet” is not to be ignored as companies fiercely compete for customers. By comparison, CEO activism is less likely to affect the purchase decisions of Gen Xers and Boomers.

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The risk of silence

This survey also asked consumers what they think the risks are of not speaking out. Half of Americans (47%) believe the biggest risk of a CEO not speaking out on a hotly debated issue is some form of criticism, whether it comes from the media (30%), customers (26%), employees (21%) or the government (9%). Top perceived risks do not differ by generation.

“For companies looking to increase sales, recruitment, innovation and word of mouth, millennials’ bias toward CEO activism should not be overlooked. This generation is heavily purpose-driven and is already changing the game when it comes to how we work and where people want to work,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist of Weber Shandwick.

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 1 Aug 2017