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Five Data Analytics Trends for 2022 You Should Start Leveraging Today

By Analytics, Insights & News No Comments

Customer behaviors have permanently changed over the past two years. As more and more business – both B2B and B2C – is being conducted from home, it’s never been more critical to utilize data to create connections throughout the entire funnel.

In fact, data analytics is no longer merely an option for business success. In 2022 and beyond, data analytics will become a must-have for everything from product development and innovation to delivering successful customer experiences.

Here are the top five ways data analytics will transform your marketing strategies in 2022 and why you need to shift your approach today.

  • Predictive analytics is on the rise

Predictive analytics forecasts possible future outcomes and explains the likelihood of those events happening. This kind of forecasting helps marketers plan more effectively, set realistic goals, and avoid unnecessary risk/spend, thereby empowering teams to make better decisions faster Predictive analytics is expected to reach $22.1 billion by the end of 2026.

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

With advancing NLP capabilities, platforms will become more accessible to more users. Depending on the source, it’s estimated that only one quarter to one-third of employees use data to inform their decisions. NLP utilizes data queries in a more natural language with written or spoken words. As NLP gains critical mass, companies and marketers will increasingly lean on AI to help improve data quality and discovery. We expect to see improvements in NLP tools understanding the nuances of language including synonyms, words that sound similar and words that have multiple meanings based on context. With these improvements, we will see NLP grow in usage.  

  • Auto Machine Learning (AutoML)

Natural language processing and automated machine learning will grow rapidly in 2022. AutoML tools enable self-service data science. Using no-code/low-code tools, marketers can build, train and deploy data modes for deep analysis. The process of automating the tasks of applying machine learning to real-world problems, AutoML will cover the complete pipeline from the raw dataset to the deployable machine learning model.

  • Cloud-native analytics solutions will be necessary

Cloud Native Analytics allows you to identify seasonal patterns of events and temporal event groups while running on a container platform. This transforms analytics and business intelligence as marketers can better understand how data is exposed across workflows, and platforms. 

  • Data Analytics Becoming an Essential Business Function in 2022

No matter how you slice it, all indications point to data analytics finally becoming an essential business function. No longer will analytics be a “nice -to-have” asset with reports and intelligence delivered and set aside. The pandemic proved that companies need real-time, accurate data in order to develop fluid strategies. Moreover, implementing live dashboards will be necessary for businesses to immediately access relevant information. In fact, look for new on Acronym’s new live dashboards in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, if you need assistance with the identification, collection, and analysis of you brand’s data, please contact us. Acronym’s Analytics team is standing by to help.

AI to Empower SEO in 2022

By Insights & News, Machine Learning, SEO No Comments

Artificial Intelligence is set to transform the market and deliver increased relevance and visibility in SEO in the coming year.

The use of AI in SEO increases not only the effectiveness, but also the efficiency of the resources used. Machine learning tools quickly analyze the relationships between sites, content pages, and search engine rankings, delivering fast, actionable, and even automated tactics to help brands out-optimize the competition.

Even complex strategic insights that drive personalized content development, improved conversion and usability optimization can be handled by AI both faster and more reliably than traditional methods. However,

Through technical optimization, AI in SEO will increasingly dominate the market at breakneck speed in 2022. Based on machine learning processes, no optimization opportunity will go undetected. Gaps in SEO can be quickly addressed with specific articles and entire websites will be given greater relevance in search engines thanks to tools like Acronym’s AI-driven KO and Synergy, both of which align paid and organic campaigns to assess and overlap/efficiencies. Acronym’s use of AI in SEO will help brands validate and integrate actionable data for a holistic approach to all of Search.

Acronym utilizes AI in our patented/proprietary tools to help brands:

  • Uncover/Promote important (low ranking) SEO Keywords​
  • Uncover/Reduce paid bids on KW with high SEO visibility
  • Reduce/Optimize overall campaign Cost ​
  • Easily visualize (and reduce) brand cannibalization​
  • Know what customers consider ”quality content”
  • Optimize coverage specific to competitive rank

A primary benefit of using AI in SEO is efficiency and speed.

The increase in efficiency can even be quantified in monetary terms. Content creators can work faster and more efficiently with the support of AI in SEO to help them better understand the types of content and topics most desired by a target audience. Machine learning or deep learning is not only helpful in strategic planning  but also in improving content over time. Currently, relevant content is generally only revised after publication when reports show that the content is rising or falling in search rankings. AI supports the ongoing monitoring and (human assisted) maintenance of content and ensures a largely constant high relevance for search engines.

Meanwhile, Google’s AI algorithm RankBrain is expected to become one of the most important factors in ranking on Google’s SERPs as click-through rate and time spent on a page will play key factors when RankBrain prioritizes content.

How can you get a leg up on the competition?

Refresh Content: It’s easy to create content and then forget about it once it’s published. Instead of allowing stale content to feed into algorithms, remove what’s no longer relevant and add what’s new. While the age of the page can aid in its search ranking, don’t risk allowing that published date to label your piece as irrelevant. Update published dates by re-sharing older – but still useful content. The visit history will still carry over and help your content in ranking, even though it appears to be new on the surface.

Automate your SEO Processes: Automation makes life easier so invest in software or partners like Acronym to help automate repetitive tasks like tracking your position, monitoring brand mentions, analyzing keyword intent and more.

Long-Form Content Dominates: In the past, experts have insisted limiting written content to around 800 words. But, in 2022, where time spent on a page impacts ranking, longer-form content from 2,000 – 3,000 words or longer-form videos will help you secure that top rank position.

When it comes to videos, you will want to ensure you offer transcriptions. This allows bots to utilize the additional text to help you rank for more searches.   

Implementing AI into your SEO strategy will play a large part in your business staying competitive. If you’d like to learn more about how AI in SEO can help you score more wins in 2022, please contact us today.

Top Media Trends for 2002

By Insights & News, Paid Media No Comments

Today, we are looking at the top programmatic and media trends that will matter in the coming year according to Acronym’s SVP, Performance Media, Gregg Manias; VP, Media Integration, Joanna Cohen; and VP, Performance Media, Peter Semetis.

Display and programmatic will continue to grow in importance.

Programmatic lowers the barrier to entry enabling smaller brands to leverage media types that were originally unattainable for them. With programmatic, brands can reach people in different areas in a cross-channel environment to deliver contextual targeting. This is becoming more important because of the changing viewing habits of customers.

“Programmatic display is like using a scalpel to pinpoint precisely where your money is going,” explains Peter Semetis, VP, Performance Media. “For comparison, consider a highly rated program, like the Super Bowl, where a wide audience is watching your ad for floor tiles versus an online video about how to tile a floor targeting someone who recently purchased a home. That’s the power of programmatic – getting your message directly in front of the person most likely to want it.”

Another clear advantage of programmatic is tied to the increase in video consumption. Media consumption today is video based and with scrolling behaviors changing, the amount of media consumed in a given moment has grown exponentially. For example, more TikTok videos are watched in duration than on YouTube today. The consideration of how people engage with video content has changed and as such, their engagement with programmatic display is changing as well.

There will be a continued rise in CTV.

There are more connected TV subscriptions in the U.S. than cable subscriptions today. With this wider audience, comes more opportunities for incremental reach.

“We’ve seen connected TV growth surpass previous expectations, with viewability metrics eclipsing mobile devices” Semetis said. “The industry expected to see this kind of growth over two years, but with everyone at home during the pandemic, consumers began cutting the cord at an accelerated pace.”

Streaming services are focusing on the “hold-out” content that kept some users watching cable, specifically sports content. Helping clear up the misconception about sports content streaming services, YouTube TV has been the premiere sponsor for sporting events like the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the World Series. This additional programming is expected to drive even more cord-cutters in the coming year and that’s good news for marketers.

“There are clear advantages to CTV and addressable video media opportunities”, said Joanna Cohen, VP, Integrated Media at Acronym. “With CTV, I know who my target audience is and what they are watching. Rather than targeting content and programming as a proxy to reach an audience, I am able to target an audience directly using data (set-top box and digital identifiers) and furthermore onboard and activate first, second, and third party data to prescriptively locate and address an audience in real-time. In the world of integrated media, data-driven targeting and addressable media opportunities represent a significant breakthrough – enabling far greater cost efficiencies, lower waste, and targeted reach – yielding improved brand experiences and performance results on behalf of the brands and marketers we serve.”

First-Party Data will become the best defense and offense for all brands.

The collection and utilization of first-party data has always been a priority for marketers. This data can create a clear and accurate picture of the customer, which allows marketers to better understand their mindset, wants and needs. With the expected dissolution of cookies, brands are placing a greater importance on first-party data in the coming year – along with data purchased from retail marketplaces. (Learn more about how retail leaders have allowed brands and agencies to combine their first-party data with marketplace data here.)  

“The more we understand who the customer is, what types of content they like and the types of products they want, the more personalized we can be in the content we deliver to them,” explains Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media, at Acronym. “Having data that you can buy through an auction site or marketplace or through other partners, alleviates the burden of not having cookies for targeting and measuring.”

With first-party data marketers can better capture the demographics of a customer and what they’ve bought, enabling brands to build a more honest and direct relationship with their customers. With all this data, we will also see an increase in neuromarketing as it becomes more powerful and subtle. (Learn more about Acronym’s approach to neuromarketing here.)

“First-party data is the best offense and defense for brands facing bigger players in their space,” Semetis added. “Brands leveraging CRM data are starting to realize what it’s worth and the fact that only you have access to it, gives you an advantage. Brands just need to be sure they don’t just sit on this data – they need to use it.”

If you are unsure how to best leverage your brand’s first-party data or want help combining it with marketplace data and the right CTV or programmatic campaigns in 2022, contact us. We’re happy to help.

POV by Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media; Joanna Cohen;, VP, Media Integration; and VP, Performance Media, Peter Semetis.

CRO and UX Will Take Center Stage in 2022

By Analytics, Design, Insights & News, Optimization, Web Analytics No Comments

CRO? UX? You may have heard these terms in the past, but they are especially important now as companies with teams that operate on budgets are increasingly investing in these specialist roles to maximize their spend and improve their websites.  

So, what is CRO?  

Testing different versions of web pages to improve conversions and deploying the “winning” version is referred to as  Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), also known as A/B or Multivariate testing and website optimization.  

Most people are familiar with the term “A/B testing” which refers to tests that compare a variation to a control, but multivariate testing examines multiple variations at a given time. Both A/B and multivariate testing allow CRO strategists to find optimization opportunities that are backed by user behavior data. In other words, it’s statistically sound without any guesswork.  

How does it work? 

A CRO strategist will collect your website performance data and user feedback/behavior to form a hypothesis to test. In tandem with data analysis, a web page variation is created based on the hypothesis that this new variation will improve the web page’s performance. By testing against a control or against recorded data, the CRO strategist can attribute any measurable change in performance to the test. 

CRO teams help companies save time and money. This is especially valuable for companies that operate on budgets, such as paid media teams, because CRO and testing do not require any additional paid media efforts. CRO teams can help to improve ROI since UX reduces user friction and subsequent wasted spend. Marketing teams spend time and money to drive users to their websites, so having an optimal website experience is imperative.  

Why is CRO important?  

It’s also important to note that a CRO team’s job is never done. Websites will never be fully “optimized” due to the ever-changing digital landscape and evolving industry best practices. A CRO team must follow the optimization process:  

What about UX?  

The term UX stands for user experience, meaning how a user interacts and emotionally responds to a website. But how does UX play a role in the world of a CRO team? UX is an important component of any optimization process because improving lead generation starts with improving the user’s experience on the site. 

Think of it this way: Let’s say your website needs to have 100 sign-ups by the end of the month. Your buyer persona has a high-quality rate – meaning s/he is more likely to become a lead - but you notice halfway through the month that you’re not going to meet your sign-up minimum. What’s going on? Why aren’t your users signing up? 

This is a great example of how the user’s experience directly impacts the conversion rate which, in this example, is the rate at which site traffic converts to a lead by signing up. Even with a good product or a great offer, the user is less likely to become a customer if they are left feeling frustrated after interacting with your site.   

How you can leverage a CRO team?  

If you’re interested in learning more about CRO and are considering adding a CRO strategist to your team, contact us today and our team of CRO strategists, UX experts and analytics leaders can outline the best approach to achieve your goals.  

And please stay tuned to our blog because we will release a whitepaper on CRO and UX in the new year.   

POV By Maria Vera, CRO Strategist, Analytics 

  

Top HR Trends for 2022

By Insights & News No Comments

There is no question that business is anything but usual these days, particularly when it comes to human resources and recruiting. The events of the past two years have forever transformed the employer-employee relationship including how and where people work, employee expectations and needs and hiring challenges and increased attention to and concern for work/life balance.

With this in mind, we’ve identified the top HR trends for 2022 and how to optimize the good trends and reverse the bad ones.

High turnover rates continue: Nearly 55% of HR leaders say turnover is higher than it was before the pandemic – and they don’t expect that will change anytime soon. So, how can businesses combat it?

Here at Acronym, we enjoy unprecedented employee retention because our leadership team takes the time to connect with all members of their respective groups. Whether through townhalls, team chats, cross-functional collaboration or just personal check-ins, group leaders regularly to listen to team members and address concerns.

In any business, open dialogue is critical. As the saying goes, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. Put another way – the first step to solving a problem is to recognize you have one. Creating an environment where everyone knows their voices are heard ensures that problems are solved.

Hiring and onboarding remotely will continue. Because remote work is here to stay, creative virtual/online interviews and onboarding practices will be needed in 2022 to create a clear and compelling process. We’ve implemented three new HR systems this year, including Greenhouse Recruiting and Onboarding platforms as well as BambooHR for HRIS.

These tools streamline the virtual process of application-to-hire for the new employee as well as the hiring manager. No more clumsy attachments of paperwork sent from some faceless void. A fully digital experience not only serves our commitment to sustainability, it also enables new hires to begin their paperwork prior to their first day (when appropriate.) This ensures their time spent onboarding is useful and engaging.  

Greenhouse Onboarding also introduces all new hires to their “buddy” who helps them culturally navigate the organization. And, it isn’t just the new hire who benefits from this “buddy system.” As one employee, Emily Kernan, reports,

“As someone who joined Acronym in a remote setting, I was really excited when we started our onboarding system, because it brings more communication between analysts in a remote setting. Being a New Hire Buddy has introduced me to new team members, while giving me the opportunity to help someone have a smooth onboarding transition. This initiative helps us build relationships and share experiences with coworkers while working from home.  

BambooHR is our new HRIS system which enables leaders to have access to their teams’ information, to easily run necessary metrics, and creates confidence in the data we use to make all people related decisions. BambooHR also has a great universal dashboard enabling everyone to see who is in or out of the office, and to keep up with employee birthdays, tenure celebrations, and new hire introductions.

As mentioned earlier, communication remains the key to success. But you don’t want to rely solely on these kinds of digital communication tools for employee engagement. For example, Acronym’s CEO holds small “coffee chats” with new hires to continue the kind of open environment we had when someone could just walk down the hall. So, even as you embrace digital tools, never forget the value of that live conversation – even if it’s a video chat – it can make all the difference when welcoming new hires.     

Recruitment challenges will increase. Almost 50% of small and mid-sized businesses reported having job openings they can’t fill, forcing companies to get more creative in how and who they recruit.

Frankly, this has been the hardest job market in the nearly twenty years I’ve worked in Human Resources, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. However, now is the time to lean into doing the right thing not to lean away out of desperation. 

Our goal is to find people who not only fit culturally with our team but, even more importantly, we look for those individuals who are a culture add. We believe companies should strive to identify candidates who come from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds, and we utilize sources like Professional Diversity Network, the Google Coop Talent Match, and of course LinkedIn. 

Our leaders and hiring managers are active in the search process and utilize their own social platforms and networks as well. So, often companies forget, their greatest ambassadors when it comes to quality candidates are their own employees. Acronym offers a robust employee referral program and Greenhouse recruiting makes sharing links for open roles even easier with tags to the employee’s name for those referrals. No more manual tracking!

If anyone wants to combat the current recruiting challenges, start by rewarding your existing employees for referrals and get the word out on what makes your company different. In today’s market, you need to show people why they should choose you and your own happy employees can tell that story better than anyone else. 

Remote and/or hybrid models are here to stay. Employees have proven they can be as or even more productive working from home and 85% of surveyed office workers prefer to work remotely, even to the point of leaving jobs that don’t allow at least a hybrid model.

Even before COVID-19, Acronym was comfortable with remote workers and the past two years have only made that commitment easier. Studies indicate that remote and hybrid-remote structures lead to happier, healthier employees. And we know happy and healthy employees deliver quality work because they aren’t dealing with burn out.

While we hope to open the office to a voluntary hybrid model, we will not do so until it is safe. Until then we will continue to make great strides in our business, meet our clients’ needs, and have fun together over video meetings.

With remote work here to stay, employee engagement will get more creative. Most experts agree remote work is here to stay, but remote workers may start to feel isolated, and businesses may face challenges in establishing or maintain a consistent company culture. Companies must find new ways to demonstrate appreciation, create collaboration and professional development opportunities and ensure a strong culture foundation.

We hold monthly townhalls to ensure everyone is engaged and included. It gives us time for business updates and – more importantly – for celebrations and to acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond in these wild times. Our DEI Group holds also various events through the year (all virtual) ranging from guest speakers to cooking classes taught by Acronym team members, which is a special way to spotlight our different cultures through food.

We also schedule 30-minute “hang outs” where work talk is strictly prohibited. Instead, we focus on new Netflix obsessions or tips on how to keep your plants alive. These virtual happy hours ensure we chat as people and not as someone’s media partner. And, these moments are critical – especially in a remote environment – to maintaining a company culture and closely connected team.

Mental wellbeing takes center stage. Burnout and work/life balance are top concerns with today’s talent. It’s never been more important for companies to help their employees find that healthy balance.

I am the first to tell you that no matter what is going on in the world, life can just be really hard sometimes and asking for help is the best thing anyone can do. Everyone finds the help they need in their own way, of course. The pressures of being at home with family exclusively for so long, worrying about family members health, navigating remote schooling, and living through such a challenging a time in history is mentally exhausting. We offer EAP (Employee Assistance Services) though our health insurance where our employees can get needed support.

There is no question the world of HR is changing. This is the time for HR leaders to lead the way through adaptable, resourceful, and useful tools that engage employees and prospective hires creatively and compassionately. After all, that’s why it’s called human resources.

POV By Sara Gould, VP, HR

GenZ’s Preferred Social Platforms and The Behaviors That Drive Them

By G-Commerce, Insights & News, Social Commerce, Social Media No Comments

eMarketer released a new report on Gen Z’s preferred social media platforms. The monthly usage breakdown is:

  • Snapchat (42.0 million)
  • TikTok (37.3 million)
  • Instagram (33.3 million)

eMarketer predicts these will remain the most popular among Gen Z over the next four years. However, they say TikTok will pass Instagram to claim the number one spot by the end of this year.

They also state that Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Reddit have relatively large followings among Gen Z and predict that the reach on those platforms will grow as the generation ages out of more teen-focused sites and apps.

Meanwhile, according to Pew Research, Gen Z’s use of devices continues to increase. According to their report,

Recent data revealed that 98% of them own a smartphone and that in the third quarter of last year, they averaged more than 4 hours a day on apps — and that figure doesn’t include gaming time.

So, how are these Gen Z’ers using these platforms?

Social commerce, especially, continues to dominate Gen Z behaviors as algorithms learn their preferences and suggest relevant products, while delivering a personalized shopping experience. In fact, the majority (97%) of Gen Z consumers say they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration; 65% say they use social media to find entertaining content; and 61% of them are specifically interested in watching more video content.

Proof of the popularity of social commerce can be found in the fact that the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has of 2.3 billion views on TikTok, and #amazonfinds has more than 6.7 billion views. 

Pew also reported increases in the popularity of G-Commerce, something Acronym’s experts discussed earlier this year, as a way to keep Gen Z interacting with your brand through gamification and rewards that drive purchase.

To capitalize on these growing trends, we recommend brands deliver a seamless experience from discovery to checkout to move buyers through the funnel quickly, easily and securely.

If you need assistance leveraging social commerce or G-Commerce to better connect with Gen Z audiences, please contact us. We’d be happy to help.

Navigating the Modern Retail Landscape

By Brand Engagement, eCommerce and Marketplaces, Insights & News, Paid Media No Comments

Since the pandemic began, we have seen an accelerated convergence of brand and performance media where now all brand outcomes are measured.

While millions quarantined and conducted business from their homes, we witnessed a massive expansion in the retail world as retail-built networks (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kroger) and retailer partner networks (e.g. Criteo, Ad Citrus, Promote Iq, etc.) began to monetize their first party data.

In the past, a shopper marketing strategy focused on traditional tactics such as in-store promos, circulars, and co-op tv spots. However, over the last decade these strategies evolved to include co-op digital media such as search, display videos and social media that – for the most part – was run by the retailer on behalf of the brand.

During the pandemic, this changed as retail leaders such as Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Kroger, Target, etc. allowed brands and agencies to combine their first-party data and leverage the retailer first-party rich audiences to buy media within their own media platforms, and in return receive a wealth of measurement metrics such as sales data. This ability to analyze the shopper at a more intimate level allowed both shoppers and brands to develop better marketing mixes that target the retailers’ consumer with more precision and develop more persuasive marketing strategies to target the general category consumer as well.  

This is important as we move to an uncertain world without a cookie identifier, brands are seeking ways to leverage their first-party data. Moving forward, brands are focused on spending retailer dollars with a maximum use of data that allows them to make smarter decisions with their investment choices. This can help mitigate wasteful spend and provide a self-serve space that allows retail media performance to be directly tied to brand outcomes.

Brands know about their category and retailers understand the consumers who are buying in that category. The combination of this intelligence through a omni-retail media mix can result in precision targeting with persuasive messaging in the upper funnel and creates the ability to capture demand from onsite search.

While these brands will always need a traditional national branding strategy, they now can focus less on national branding and more time, budget, and attention on supporting retailers with connections to the outcome. This can be particularly advantageous when retailer contractual commitments continue to grow, reducing brand media dollars.

What has caused brands to gravitate to retail media?

  • The ability to understand media’s correlation to SKU outcome and to access a retailers’ first-party data..
  • Using co-op dollars on self-serve media platforms for measurable outcomes
  • Retailers built their own on-site search platforms. Kroger, Amazon and WMT (O&O only) have also built their own programmatic platforms for offsite media.
  • DSPs like Tradedesk and Data Onboarding tools are fighting to help these retailers and brands partner together to build full self-serve models that allow the combination of first-party retail and brand audiences to be targeted across a funnel approach including ad exchanges and media types (OTT, Display, Remarketing, etc.).         
  • Brands can understand a shopper at an individual level and through retail media strategies, they can better understand what drives a consumer to purchase.

Why do shoppers lean into this?

  • Having a media mix that is both tied to Media Mix Models and digital measurable outcomes enables shoppers to build a better omni-channel mix using data.
  • Almost everything is measurable; they no longer need to rely just on in-store promotions and coupon clipping.
  • By combining a Performance Media and Shopper Strategy, brands are better able to understand the consumer more intimately. This allows them to drive a better omni-channel mix.
  • Omni-channel support that is targetable and trackable not only drives in-store and online sales, but media that is also married with in-store makes the insights more useful than just what we have mined from digital. This can also help inform future creative testing ideas.            
  • Understanding consumer behavior better than they can with their own first-party, brands have the precision of targeting that allows for more effective persuasive messaging.

POV By Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media

Neuromarketing

How Neuromarketing Creates Connections and Conversions

By Brand Engagement, Content Marketing, Insights & News, Paid Media, Uncategorized No Comments

With customer data and AI driving digital engagement, brands need to take a human-first approach to create value through personalization and relevance. Enter neuromarketing.

What Is Neuromarketing?

Acronym’s VP, Integrated Media, Joanna Cohen is a neuroscientist and brand marketer. She explains,

“In its simplest sense, neuromarketing focuses on the psychology and brain physiology behind customer decision-making. Neuromarketing gives brands the ability to create more effective campaigns by understanding the way we perceive and process information. It helps us identify the emotional and perceptual triggers that are key to a customer’s decision-making and purchase process.”

How Does Understanding Neuromarketing Improve Brand Experiences?

The subconscious, specifically, emotion, plays a large role in influencing behavior. It can even change the way a certain brand, product or image is internalized in the brain. Most marketing strategies approach buying behaviors as a rational, conscious decision as illustrated below.

However, the human brain is much more motivated by emotions and the subconscious thought process, which is driven by the customer’s hopes and fears; their emotions and ego; their experiences and expectations; existing attitudes and beliefs (including social and political) and their behaviors. The process is actually more closely related to the below illustration.

Marketers and brands should take common emotional triggers into account when planning their digital campaigns. In fact, according to an IPA dataBank Study, marketing campaigns that focused on emotional drivers (the Feel, Think, Choose approach) were 31% effective as compared to campaigns that used the rational drivers (Think, Feel, Choose), which were only 16% effective.

How Can Brands Create an Emotional Connection with Customers?

So, if customers feel before they think and choose, how can brands tap into those emotions? The answer is visual imagery.

To begin with imagery is essential. Implicit memory, which is primarily visual, affects the way brands are perceived and this is encoded in our memories.

We’ve all heard the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Consider that two-thirds of the stimuli reaching the brain are visual and about 80% of learning is visually based. In fact, facial signals are encoded in the brain and have a much more immediate effect on customers’ attitudes than words.

Brands can shape customer attitudes by tailoring perceptual cues through the use of color, image selection, wording – including font style and size – facial expressions seen in images, messaging sequence and storytelling. In other words, focusing on how the brain stores information and the psychology and physiology behind customer decision-making, brands can reach individuals across the customer journey with the right messaging.

The more brands understand how their customers make decisions, the better they can leverage insights about the brain and how it stores information to design memorable and effective marketing strategies that target both the conscious and the subconscious mind.

If you’d like to learn more about how neuromarketing can improve your digital marketing approach, contact us today.

POV by Joanna Cohen, VP, Integrated Media.

What is the Future of Social Media?

By Content Marketing, Insights & News, Social Media No Comments

Are hashtags as valuable as they once were? With all the endless noise in social media, can brands really get noticed online? What are future trends in the social media space?

On her live broadcast, Technology Revolution: The Future of Now, Bonnie D. Graham discusses these questions and more with:

The Six Best Practices that Deliver Programmatic ROI

By Insights & News, Programmatic No Comments

The latest Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising survey reported the percentage of advertisers investing more than 41% of their display inventory via programmatic methods increased to 70% in 2020 from 55% in 2019.

Data-informed programmatic ad targeting optimizes ad campaigns and ensures brands put their budget where it will deliver the greatest results by eliminating irrelevant segments and focusing spend on targets with predefined traits like demographics, age, gender, geolocations, browsing history, and online activities. 

Some other key findings include the use of video as a key driver of programmatic investment amongst agencies; 54% of agencies now buy more than 41% of their video inventory programmatically compared to 50% in 2019. And, with the rise in advertiser investment in programmatic, ads.txt inventory purchasing is increasing, as is awareness. 52% of Publishers meanwhile said they were selling more than 81% of their ads.txt inventory.

Today, the buy-side continues to evolve towards hybrid models. In 2019, 15% of advertisers stated that they had a hybrid model for programmatic trading. This has increased to 30% in 2020.

What Are the Best Practices in Programmatic Ad Targeting?

So, as more brands embrace programmatic, what are the best practices to improve your ROI?

1. Behavioral targeting: This is an important way to connect with customers by delivering relevant ads based on their behavior signals such as search history, browsing habits, social media interactions and purchase behaviors. 

2. Hyper-local targeting: Multi-location brands can leverage programmatic ROI by focusing on specific geographical locations. Google and Facebook, for examples, deliver hyperlocal targeting to serve specific users right down to their street addresses.

3. Ad-spend optimization: Marketers use predictive customer lifetime value (CLTV) to analyze future revenue generation by existing customers. This strategy optimizes downstream behavior like purchase decisions, app downloads and online engagements.

4. Relevant intent signals: Actionable data insights sourced from diverse touch points enable tighter ad targeting as brands can run – and adjust – campaigns based on real-time campaign performance. This is an important way to maximizes ROI and avoid wasteful spends.

5.  Frequency caps: We recommend brands differentiate cross-channel users and prevent them from viewing duplicate ads. Our Analytics teams help ensure you controls each users’ ad impressions on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis. This makes better use of programmatic media budget by avoiding repetitive ad displays to the same users.

6. Attractive brand visuals: As the Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising study showed, video remains the preferred visual media to drive the best ROI. Consistency breeds trust and brand relevancy. To make your ads more recognizable, make sure you follow your own brand guidelines and deliver not only a consistent message, but also a consistent look and feel.

If you’d like assistance in developing the right programmatic campaigns for your brand, contact us today.