Study: Brand loyalty key on Black Friday

December 1, 2015 – MediaLife Magazine It turns out brand loyalty played a big role in which stores people visited on Black Friday.

That’s according to the mobile insights and advertising company UberMedia, which analyzed a sample of 1.7 million shoppers who visited 13,000 retail locations over the course of the Black Friday shopping weekend.

According to the analysis, while Black Friday shoppers visited multiple stores, they overwhelmingly visited the same retail locations they normally do on non-holiday shopping trips.

“Holiday shoppers are religiously visiting their favorite stores,” UberMedia chief revenue and marketing officer Michael Hayes said in a release.

“This seems to indicate that the retail experience matters and that brand loyalty trumps ‘door buster’ deals from competitors trying to gain market share.”

Among other findings: Store openings and overnight deals over Thanksgiving weekend bring in a slightly less affluent crowd, with median income about 4 percent lower on average.

Also, those looking for Black Friday deals are willing to travel farther to get them, with the median travel distance up 16 percent from a typical shopping weekend.

This article was originally published by MediaLife Magazine.

Brand Loyalty Not Dead Yet

November 30, 2015 – Website Magazine Mobile advertising and measurement firm UberMedia recently conducted a cross shopping affinity analysis and found that retail brand loyalty is apparently alive and well in the hearts of U.S. consumers this holiday season.

UberMedia’s Mobile Behavioral Analysis revealed that although Black Friday holiday shoppers visited multiple stores, these shoppers visited the same retail locations they normally do. While the study focused on offline shopping behaviors of consumers, the lessons is clear: loyalty is alive and well and merchants (be they online or off) should focus on developing experiences that built confidence, trust and loyalty – perhaps some referral marketing tactics.

“As the competition for holiday shoppers heats up, one thing is very clear, holiday shoppers are religiously visiting their favorite stores. This seems to indicate that the retail experience matters and that brand loyalty trumps ‘door buster’ deals from competitors trying to gain market share,” said Michael Hayes, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer at UberMedia.

“As consumers, our mobile devices are always on, always connected, and always with us. UberMedia helps marketers understand the mobile clues that help identify their customer. These mobile digital breadcrumbs are powerful signals of interest and intent that if analyzed can reveal powerful insights for retailers in understanding the heart of their holiday consumer and their shopping journey.”

This article was originally published by Pete Prestipino for Website Magazine.

Location Could Play Big In Holiday Season

November 13, 2015 – MediaPost Forrester recently reported that Americans will spend $95.5 billion in online shopping, and (based on social media comments) are growing dissatisfied with Black Friday while Cyber Monday gains popularity. The research firm predicts that mobile will drive much of the growth.

Savvy marketers will be looking to leverage mobile location data to drive in store visits and online conversions this holiday season, but how exactly does that work?

One approach, which UberMedia, a cross-screen mobile ad platform, takes is to combine location data with individual interests based on social media signals (who they follow, what they like, etc.) to build audiences for advertisers. UberMedia owns several social media apps and uses their own 1st party data to build audiences.

CMO Michael Hayes says that location data can tell advertisers when consumers are at a physical location, and that social signals can help to tell whether they match the audience profile for a certain product.

But all of this requires clean location data.

Duncan McCall, CEO of PlaceIQ, a location firm, says that between 40% and 60% of the location data that marketers receive is either misreported or fraudulent, and that many location firms treat inaccurate data as a marketing problem, rather than cleaning up the stack.

PlaceIQ layers observed consumer behavior and movement data on top of a first dimensional base map of location data, ingesting somewhere north of 1 trillion data points to build profiles of audiences.

Hayes, speaking about companies like Johnson and Johnson, says that the top 50 advertisers sell things in the physical world, not online. The holiday season also produces the “blockbuster effect” where ¾ of revenue comes from 1% of the products. Marketers will have much to contend with to get noticed in the holiday season, and good location data will be one way to stand out.

Both Hayes and McCall agree that it’s early days for mobile location-based marketing, but both see a bright future.

“Location will be the next KPI,” Hayes says. “I mean, if you were BMW, would you rather measure someone looking at a photo gallery online or seeing the car in an actual store?”

This article was originally published by Ben Frederick for MediaPost

Top Three Tips For Better Geo-Targeting

October 16, 2015 – BizReport Location-based marketing isn’t dead by any stretch of the imagination, but according to one expert there are ways to be location marketing right, engaging customer. And there are ways that won’t bring any more customers in to your business.

Kristina: Tell me about UberMedia’s LVO offering. What does it offer brands that they can’t get from simple geo-targeting?

Michael Hayes, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer, UberMedia: Location Visit Optimization (LVO) optimizes mobile ad campaigns on real-world visits to a desired location(s). For example, it optimizes ad performance in real-time based on actual visits to retail stores, quick service restaurants, auto dealer lots, shopping malls, movie theaters, etc.

Simple location targeting is optimized by hand or automatically by click through rate (CTR). Some of this work could even be done post campaign.

The problem with CTR is that most advertisers’ business is not driven by clicks. If you look at the top 25 advertisers in the U.S., most of them sell product in the physical world. With a few exceptions, clicks are a proxy or are of little relevance to them.

UberMedia’s Location Visit Optimization allows the marketer to optimize in real-time on what matters most: real-world retail traffic and/or events. This has never been done before and is an incredibly powerful tool for marketers.

Kristina: What are your top 3 tips for brands to better use location to engage customers?

Michael: Tip #1: Re-target consumers who have visited your location and conquest your competitors. This works well to drive repeat visits and steal foot traffic from competitors.

Tip #2: Use location aware creative. Leverage location cues as a means of serving dynamic hyper-relevant creative with custom imagery, video and your nearest retail location. In short, relevance works best in advertising.

Tip #3: Measure your Incremental foot traffic. It’s best to measure your visit rate, plus the incremental lift you get in foot traffic by activating these types of campaigns.

This article was originally published by Kristina Knight for BizReport. 

Expert: What Is Working, What Isn’t In Local Marketing

October 14, 2015 – BizReport When geo-targeting first came on the scene it was based on a cyber ‘fence’ around a business. That fence seemed like a good idea, but just having one of these fences around a business didn’t identify audience members. One expert tells us how to better use geo-targeting.

Kristina: Geo-targeting/location targeting has been around for a few years now. What is working and what isn’t with the current crop of geo-targeting?

Michael Hayes, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer, UberMedia: [One issue is] that the boundary geo-fence misidentifies audiences. Meaning, if you wanted to target customers at a Kia car dealership, you likely also served ads to people that were at the BMW dealership next door, those at Target down the street and anyone driving by on the highway. This resulted in a lot of wasted advertising because none of those other misidentified audiences were likely in the market to purchase a Kia.

The next evolution was to use 100 meter by 100-meter tiles and target users within a tile or a few tiles. This wasn’t much better as retailers often crossed over in multiple tiles. The tile method also misidentified audiences with other irrelevant locations, residential areas, highways, etc. After all, 100 meters is the size of a football field and not all businesses are that large.

Kristina: Are marketers still using this kind of targeting?

Michael: There are still mobile publishers/vendors that target with these sloppy systems, and the feedback we hear is that they get below average results. What works best is to identify audiences precisely based on their location context. We accomplish this with our Polygons, which are drawn precisely around a specific location, that are accurate within three feet. This solves the issue of misidentifying audiences and works incredibly well.

Kristina: Some have said geo-targeting in retailers is the best way to engage customers, but you disagree. Why is that?

Michael: If your strategy is to serve ads only to people inside a retailer, for the foreseeable future, this is a poor tactic. The reason this tactic tends to lead to underwhelming results is because some locations don’t get very much foot traffic in any given time period. For example, how many people are at a pizza restaurant during dinner? A few hundred? That’s not many ad impressions. Further, most location ad solutions can’t identify enough consumers inside a location. In short, scale is usually an issue.

What’s interesting is to identify the type of people inside a location or a competitor location, to expand that audience through advanced modeling and then re-target those users with your advertising message. We call this “real-world location behavioral targeting.”

More from Michael and UberMedia later this week, including his top 3 tips for better geo-targeting.

This article was originally published by Kristina Knight for BizReport.

10 Tips To Avoid A Holiday Marketing Meltdown

September 24, 2015 – CMO.com Someone said that Sept. 1 is the last day of the year after which you can’t be sure you won’t hear a holiday song somewhere. Yes, folks, it’s that time of the year again. The holidays are right around the corner, and, with gift buying happening earlier and earlier all the time, marketers are already going big with their efforts to target early-bird shoppers.

And rightfully so. Last year, Nielsen reported, 22% of consumers began their holiday shopping as early as October. That percentage is expected to increase this year. For marketers looking to capitalize, it is important to remember that the rules of engagement change when it comes to holiday shoppers.

So, to help make the holidays very merry for our readers, here’s a list of 10 tips from industry experts for ways to ensure that your holiday marketing result in cheer.

Tip 1: Throw Out Conventional Thinking
Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize, told CMO.com that disaster is often the outcome of working from an old marketing playbook.

“In this frenetically morphing mobile era, a six-month-old playbook could be outdated,” Hasen said. “For the 2015 holiday season, throw out much of the so-called conventional thinking.”

For example, the holiday-shopping season is no longer between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even the days of the week for purchasing change, with more purchases on the weekends versus the rest of the calendar, a Nanigans study showed.

“Plus, many of those who fail in holiday marketing wait way too long to build a relationship with a consumer,” Hasen said. “The time to solidify a relationship is now. Actually, it was in the spring and summer, long before back to school and the coming holiday period caused consumer distractions.”

The good news, Hasen said, is there is still a window remaining for brands to entice consumers to join loyalty clubs, for example, which is critical since only 26% of shoppers stay loyal during the holidays, according to a sessionM study.

“Waiting for the leaves or snow to fall is a recipe for disaster,” Hasen said.

Tip 2: Don’t Leave Customers On Hold
Each year, consumers make 270 billion 1-800 calls and get put on hold 80% of the time, according to Alon Waks, VP and head of product marketing at LivePerson. Waks suggested marketers look to messaging for one-to-one interactions with customers. Messaging is fast and efficient.

Tip 3: Use Real-Time Data To Avoid Lost Sales
During the holidays, product stock often shifts quicker than usual due to the increased purchasing cadence. Marketing needs to keep up, said Jess Stephens, CMO of SmartFocus.

“Use real-time optimization in emails to show live stock numbers that populate when the customer opens the message, not when it is sent,” Stephens told CMO.com. “This increases urgency to buy and avoids disappointment as items can be switched out automatically once out of stock, even after the email has been sent.”

Tip 4: Strike Early And Often
According to Michael Hayes, chief revenue and marketing officer at UberMedia, brands such as Kmart are launching their holiday promotions as early as September, and 48% of Christmas shoppers complete the majority of their shopping before Cyber Monday.

“Your holiday marketing needs to strike early, be bold, and rise above the snow flurry of clutter,” Hayes advised.

Tip 5: Be Fast
Today’s consumer expects instant gratification, according to Waks. LivePerson research found that online consumers won’t wait more than 76 seconds for support. “Any longer, and they’re as good as gone,” Waks said. “Offer access to digital communications, like chat and text, to enable quick responses, especially during peak holiday hours.

Kevon Hills, VP of research at StellaService, said that consumers have an increased expectation for customer service during the holidays, which overwhelmed retailers often struggle with, particularly during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday busy period. StellaService research from 2014 showed the average response time from the top 40 retailers from Black Friday to Cyber Monday was two minutes and thirty seconds. On opposite ends of the spectrum, the top 10 performers responded in 42 seconds, while the bottom five took eight minutes.

“To avoid a hoard of angry customers who expect immediate service this holiday season, make sure your customer-service bases are adequately staffed at the busiest times of the year,” Hills told CMO.com.

Tip 6: Optimize For The Opportunity
SmartFocus’ Stephens said customers are more open to influence at this time of year, when they are looking for inspiration. “Brands should complete an audit of their sales funnels online to ensure every touch point contains personalization designed to help the shopper with recommendations whileincreasing average basket size,” she said.

Additionally, for those brands that have personlization tactics active, they need to carefully watch algorithms before and after the holiday period.

“Your solution should be adaptable to account for the larger amount of gifting in the period,” Stephens said. “For example, if you use personalization on the Web based on click behavior, don’t assign a male persona to my record from first click when I might, in fact, be female browsing for gifts.”

Tip 7: Throw Out Last Year’s Media Plan 
Just like that ugly Christmas sweater, it is time to give up on that outdated media plan. This will be the most connected holiday shopping season to date, and there is no denying that strategic digital campaigns must include mobile, UberMedia’s Hayes told CMO.com. Emarketer expects U.S. mobile commerce sales to rise 32.2%, more than doubling the increase forecast for retail e-commerce sales. Further, consumers spend more time with their mobile devices than watching TV.

“Recognize the rise of mobile and adjust your media plan accordingly,” he said.

Tip 8: Don’t Overdo It
Matt Kates, VP of strategic services at HelloWorld, said that one of the biggest disaster risks is “overcommunication.” Because the holidays are a critical selling time for companies, they make the mistake of increasing communication with consumers by asking for more opt-ins for channels such as mobile and email.

“This can have a devastating long-term effect, as consumers may get so frustrated with the inundation that they actually opt out of a brand’s communication altogether,” Kates said. “Whether it’s for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas, understanding the pitfalls of overcommunicating is crucial.”

Kates isn’t suggesting that brands just stick to the same old thing during the holidays. Brands can increase their communication, but it is important to test that the frequency of communication matches the ability to add fresh value to the overall objective.

“Simply reiterating more of the same information can lead to consumer fatigue and frustration, in any case,” he said.

Tip 9: Tie Together Bricks And Clicks
From a multichannel perspective, the industry is moving away from online only and other channel-exclusive offers. According to Stephens, the holidays are a good time to build a multichannel strategy and to stop forcing customer behavior into silos.

“Any offers should work across bricks and clicks; better still, online promotions can drive in-store behavior where merchandising can increase basket size beyond just the item the customer intended to purchase,” she told CMO.com.

Tip 10: Think Long Term
According to eConsultancy, 70% of companies said it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one, and 49% said they achieve better ROI by investing in relationships over acquisition marketing.

Aim for real connections with consumers. They can boost, or sink, a brand with their social media megaphones and tales of interactions with online service. One LivePerson client, online retailer Backcountry.com, employs backcountry enthusiasts to handle live chat. They’ll chat on and on about products and adventures even if a sale isn’t imminent. The idea: A connected customer will be a long-term customer.

This article was originally published by Giselle Abramovich for CMO.com.

For Cross-Platform, A Mobile-First Strategy Is A Must

August 20, 2015 – GeoMarketing Mobile ad platform UberMedia is predicated on the idea of omnichannel marketing strategies becoming the predominant way that physical businesses reach and engage their consumers.

At the center of those many channels lies the mobile device. UberMedia claims to be the only mobile ad platform that combines more than 1.5 billion first-party mobile data signals to deliver “hyper-focused, custom ad campaigns” for brand advertisers such as NikeLexusWendy’s, and others. CMO Michael Hayes offered to make the case of why mobile needs to be among the first things that marketers think about when it comes to driving offline store lift.

GeoMarketing: What is UberMedia’s approach to cross-platform advertising in general and to mobile advertising in particular?

Michael Hayes: UberMedia is a cross-screen mobile advertising platform that uniquely combines social interests, location data, and we build custom audiences for advertisers and then we run campaigns to those audiences at the advertisers. We have a series of tools that helped us kind of optimize the campaign for advertisers that are somewhat unique in the industry for mobile. In its most simplest form, we’re a mobile, programmatic ad platform.

Most of the mobile space, historically, has grown up in the direct response phase, app installs and things like that, which is pretty common in the digital space. The early adopters are typically direct response advertisers. That was true with being searched and true even with banner ads, and that was also true for mobile. Interestingly, most of our advertisers are very large brand advertisers, like the Disney Company, Coke, Pepsi, Verizon, AT&T, BMW, Lexus, Unilever, Adidas, Nike, so you know those are large advertisers if you look at the top twenty-five, top fifty advertisers in the country we do lot of business with the majority of them so, so it seems to be working pretty well.

Where do you think mobile fits in the whole cross-channel world? Do you see it as central and connecting all those different channels or is it just one piece of the puzzle?

My view of this is, and our view at UberMedia is, that mobile is the first screen rather than TV. TV historically has been the first screen. Many people spend most of their time in front of a television set, but that was eclipsed probably two years ago, maybe a little longer than two years ago. Time spent with mobile devices in front of the mobile screen eclipsed television time, which was big in the industry.

I would argue that mobile, as a marketing medium, is the first screen. Which means if you were building a marketing plan, or even a media plan, for advertising you would want to really think about how to use mobile to intercept consumers to your brand or your store or whatever you’re trying to market. Unfortunately, like most things in life including the story of digital, most of the dollars are still spent in television. Most advertisers and their agencies still spend the vast majority of their money in television, and I’m talking more than fifty percent, and in some markets it’s 80- to 90 percent.

Little by little that’s been changing.

So do you perceive a delay between customers moving to mobile and advertisers adapting to that?

There are some things that are holding mobile back, so yes I think it’s going to take a period of adjustment. I would argue that these last two years, maybe year and a half or so, we’ve seen mobile spend grow significantly. You’re seeing big shifts with large companies. Most of the revenue that’s coming from places like weather.com or even Facebook is through mobile.

Most of the traffic from Facebook is coming through mobile, for example. Most of the traffic of Twitter is coming through mobile. Most of the people looking at weather are coming through mobile. Which means the apps that are getting those huge chunks of money, advertisers are supporting, but there are limitations to mobile that advertisers haven’t really figured out how to grapple with yet because the industry is fairly new. Television has had forty years to figure itself out. Banner ads have had more than twenty, and paid search has been around since the late 90′s, so there’s been a long time to figure how to leverage paid search or banner ads and it’s really only been, I would argue, maybe four years, five at the most, for agencies to try to figure out mobile apps and how to grapple with tracking that.

When you are designing a campaign how would measure success? What kind of things do you look for to make a successful campaign and what kind of things do you look for to make a specifically UberMedia campaign?

Advertisers determine what the criteria are for success, typically. That’s not to say we don’t influence them but you know they come with a predisposition of what success would look like in their eyes. They rely on us heavily to be the experts in mobile and so we tend to talk to them about location and measuring the activity of advertising to a location visit. That’s assuming the advertiser has a location to send them to, but a lot of them do so that works pretty well.

That can be a hotel visit, it could be a auto lot visit, it could be a retail visit, a restaurant visit, anything like that works incredibly well. For the majority, if you think about it, there are a lot of advertisers that have a brick and mortar presence that ultimately, that’s what they’re trying to do. If you were a marketer sitting for a car manufacturer you’re interest is, at least in the United States, to drive traffic, the traffic to auto dealers to buy cars. If you worked for Taco Bell, your interest is to sell tacos at those retail locations, and Home Depot is to sell hardware and so on and so forth.

For most of these large retail driven businesses, their interest is to drive foot traffic to retailers and we can do that incredibly effectively. That’s typically what we provide advice on and how to do that, what the campaigns kind of look like. In addition to that, we certainly can track other things and measure other things including other key performance indicators that might happen on a website or mobile app site. Or it can be as simple as a click-through rate. I would argue that click-through rate isn’t a great indicator of success,

We tend to specialize in tracking real-world conversion events, meaning sending people to locations and that’s what the campaigns are designed to do and tend to work pretty well. Which is why our top advertisers tend to be very retail-centric.

How has the Local Visit Optimization tool performed since we checked in earlier this summer?

When we released LVO at that time, we ran a few beta test advertisers. Since then, we started to roll it out little by little. I would say that it is in its early stages. Advertisers don’t want to change their entire campaign at once because they want to see if it works first. Marketers tend to take a piece of a campaign, and say, “Let’s optimize it differently to target location with us.” That’s what’s in the works.

For example, we have a couple hotel chains, autos, and retailers running campaigns with us. Depending upon the advertiser, you can imagine that dictates the longevity of that test.

Therefore, if you were a quick-service restaurant you know people come into your outlet and make certain purchases within a few hours, if not one day. But if you’re a hotel chain, you may book a room and not arrive at that hotel for two months later, you know, or three weeks later.

The optimization efforts that are real-world need time to kind of work and so we will be getting results for you probably for the next several weeks at the earliest, and that would probably be much more of the low-consideration retail-type advertisers versus long-consideration advertisers like a car purchase or a hotel stay or a car rental or something like that and those would come in time.

What are UberMedia’s plans and focus going to be on during the latter half of the year?

The mission of UberMedia is to understand consumer behavioral signals that allow us to reach our audience. I like to call those signals digital breadcrumbs. People leave these little digital breadcrumbs, or footprints, and we’re able to make sense of them to build these audiences. We have some of that figured out, we don’t have all of it figured out.

There’s a lot more green pasture to kind of explore, so without giving away exactly what we’re doing yet, we’re interested in any mobile, behavioral signal that we can leverage that will provide campaign success.

We’ve also been working to attach purchase data to the campaigns. For packaged-goods companies, for example, if Coca-Cola wants us to send somebody to WalMart or a Target we can do that. But they don’t know just because we track and we say “x number of the people that saw your campaign went into WalMart” they don’t know if that was to buy Coca Cola. They wouldn’t know if they purchased Coca Cola or Tide Detergent. There’s no way to know, so we’re working with them to pull in purchase data to append that to the campaign so that we can track and measure purchases of products.

I wouldn’t say that’s a new strategy but it’s one we’re working on now.

This article was originally published by Daniel Parisi for GeoMarketing