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Popping up everywhere in product advertising, content marketing and online web stores is video. Companies like Buzzfeed and Dove were among the first to witness the effects of viral marketing through short popular three minute movie clips but it’s no longer businesses with large budgets that are taking advantage of a growing audience preference for moving visuals.

Samsung Galaxy S8 video ad that automatically plays upon page load. Source: TheStreet

Tools like Facebook ad format Collection and Facebook Live focus on video content to boost retail sales given that video posts have a 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. An Adidas’ campaign promoting various apparel items resulted in a 1.8X decrease in cost-per-conversion, according to the brand.  

SMEs in Thailand running an online auction through Facebook Live to sell products, usually clothing and accessories.

Based on majority of statistics floating around the web, data points to a healthy customer engagement with “video storytelling”.

According to Cisco, video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019 and Forrester estimates that a video included in an email campaign will garner a 200-300% increase in click through rate.

Versus a still image, video content is more emotionally compelling and reinforces the messaging behind a brand and its product.

Watching a video is simple enough, but do they directly impact consumer behavior?

A recent whitepaper by Nielsen, “Cross Platform Report 2017”, conducted a survey to find out how Indonesians react after interacting with online video ads.

Respondents between the ages 21 – 49 were most likely to connect with a brand – call, go to store, purchase online – after watching an online video advertisement. Those over 50 years old were less likely to be affected by video content.

 

Source: Nielsen Cross Platform report 2017

But all that’s video is not gold

The message isn’t that every brand manager should grab a camcorder and throw their marketing budget into producing a product video.

Findings from market research firm in the US L2 Inc shares a cautious message,

“Brands invest heavily in video on a variety of platforms, including TV, YouTube, and social media. However, videos on the homepage can have a negative effect on site engagement metrics.

L2 found that the 56% of brands with video on the homepage actually saw shorter site visit times, fewer average pages per visit, and higher bounce rates than brands without video on their homepage.”

It may be too soon to judge whether video is the best method to achieve higher direct retail sales but companies such as ViSenze are creating technology that enables contextual advertising within a video.

On the other hand, video has been and remains one of the most effective ways to improve brand awareness and educate consumers. Just think of the heart-tugging Amazon Mother’s Day videos.

Data analytics is the process of collecting and utilizing data to identify patterns to aid a specific function. It’s a field that encompasses a lot of what digital marketers do – tell stories about consumer behavior.

Analytics reveal which channels, campaigns, keywords, or target audience are top and flop performers, which are all critical to improve the bottom line for online businesses. Despite this, a solid analytics setup and understanding are very often overlooked- this applies to even the biggest names in the industry.

While these companies may spend a staggering amount of dollars on marketing, findings from E-Nor, a US based digital analytics consultant, suggests that analytics is an area where there is under-investment of money and time.

Only 3% of the biggest global brands are using digital analytics correctly.

Source: E-Nor

E-nor’s optimization framework below shows us a bottoms-up approach to grow any online business, where the peak of the pyramid represents success.

Source: E-Nor Optimization Framework

Obviously, business impact at the top means different things for everyone – it could be driving online sales, leads, traffic, ad revenue, or something else altogether – but in order to climb, a business must have a great product and strategy at the foundation.

The focus here is a sound strategy. There is very little point in investing in analytics and optimization without it and only after developing a clear road map and setting KPIs is it time for execution.

What could go wrong?

The three stages that build on the foundation are what veteran marketers find the kryptonite of many online businesses across Southeast Asia: implementation, reporting, and analysis.

Installing web analytics tools like Google Analytics (GA) properly is one thing, but setting up the account and understanding what the output means is a completely different skill set. GA is an insightful tool but can only be as accurate as its implementation.

Imagine if GA was installed in the wrong place or triggered at the wrong time on the website, it would be dangerous to rely the entire business on this data because according to the upstream of the pyramid, poor implementation cascades to poor reporting, analysis, optimization, and in turn affects the business as a whole.

Too often do businesses try to jump straight into ad or web optimization before ensuring the data captured is accurate or if the right metrics are being tracked.  

The focus here is actually a key framework that outlines the entire scope of data analytics that can be structured into these 5-steps:

  1. Audit
  2. Implement
  3. Training

  4. Analyze

  5. Visualize

Demand for all these five components has been growing audibly in recent years, but there is a shortage of talent equipped with the experience and expertise in such niche skill-sets, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Source: aCommerce Analytics

Audit & Implementation

“Data hygiene” doesn’t take care of itself, it requires constant maintenance. In order for GA to track how much traffic and conversions a website is generating, GA tags must be placed wherever these “events” can happen using Google Tag Manager.

For example, if you have a separate mobile site or a website in multiple languages, failure to place tags on all these versions and platforms is an instant red flag. It would mean that reports would be based solely on either desktop traffic and conversions, or collect data coming in from only a Thai version of the website.

A website and its visitors are also constantly changing, mandating a QA process to ensure that those changes do not affect how your analytics tags respond and fire. Since the tags are capturing data directly from the website code, any changes to this code may result in unpredictable and undesirable outcomes.

Once tags are properly implemented, GA account settings need to be tailored to accommodate the features of each website. These tweaks include referral exclusions, spam filters, channel grouping, and AdWords linking. They not only result in more accurate data, but also a cleaner view of data.

Whether it’s having someone audit your current setup or setting it up from scratch, recommended practice is to do this right from Day 0, because the bulk of the data in GA is dead as soon as it has been parsed, meaning there is very little room to retroactively adjust past data.

Once setup is up to standard, we have peace of mind to trust incoming data and derive actionable conclusions from the numbers.

Training

With quality data flowing into GA, the next sensible step is to provide training for those who rely on it daily. GA reports consist of four main components (AABC): audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversions.

Online resources are a great place to start, Google provides free online resources covering topics on GA, but like acquiring any new skill, working with certified instructors can save company employee’s valuable time and accelerate deeper understanding.

Analysis & Visualization

The final pieces of the analytics puzzle lies in data visualization and the analysis itself. With a whole host of reports, metrics, dimensions, and abbreviations to learn and recall, finding trends and actionable insights from huge datasets can be an overwhelming task.

One might have to dive into five different reports from multiple marketing tools in order to answer an everyday question like what were the ad impressions, spend, web traffic, and sales generated from one of our Facebook campaign yesterday?

The ultimate pain point is having to manually map ad impressions and cost data from Facebook, and sales data from our CRM to complement GA sessions.

With a dashboard, imagine a canvas with all the key metrics and charts that can be monitored at a single glance. The setup may be tedious, but a dashboard with automated workflows ensures that this will become a one-time effort.

Google recently released Data Studio- a data visualization tool that makes dashboards centralized, interactive, automated, and shareable.

As often as it gets overlooked, data analytics is a crucial aspect to any online business. Its scope spans beyond a simplistic approach of making analyses and drawing conclusions, but also involves a multifaceted process of auditing and implementing tags, setting up a leak-proof analytics account, and deriving actionable insights from reports via visualization.

From data collection, cleansing, consolidation, to presentation, a strict set of standards and best practices are required in a market where not many are qualified for this expertise.

However, if the business can overcome these hurdles and translate its top-line objectives into metrics, they will only be a few steps away from a strong digital marketing strategy.

By Watasit Chindakawee, Associate Internet Marketing Manager & Analytics Team Lead at aCommerce

As email marketing is essential for businesses to continue growth and more than half of marketers in Southeast Asia are using some form of automation such as email triggering, it’s important to know what channels and platforms their customers in the region prefer.

A recent survey by JakPat, one of Indonesia’s open survey platforms, revealed that Gmail by Google is the leading email service in Indonesia used by 96% of respondents followed by Yahoo!Mail with 56% users.

The JakPat survey showed majority of 987 respondents use two or more email accounts, up to as many as five, but most respondents claim using Gmail the most. 9% of respondents use email domains given by the workplace or university, 8% use Outlook and 4% use iCloud email service.

Number of email accounts Indonesians use

Source: JakPat, Which and Why: E-mail Service and Web Browser of Choice, Jan 19, 2017, n=987 respondents who use email aged 16-39

The popularity of Gmail in Indonesia offers several benefits for ecommerce marketers. First, businesses can use Gmail ads to advertise to Gmail users at the top of their inboxes.

The interactive ads look like normal emails and have responsive designs, making it great for viewing ads on mobile phones.

 

The Gmail ads come in several formats – a single image or catalogue view – offering businesses options to be creative about the message they want to communicate to their consumers.

 

The inbox ads also offer a range of targeting options – affinity segments, topics, interests and targeting users who have received emails containing contextual keywords. It also allows targeting based on the domain of emails, including that of competitors’.

Secondly, Gmail made image loading safer a few years back meaning that images in emails are displayed by default and users are able to see the rich photos or promotions. Note, there is still an option for users to disable images for incoming messages.

Ecommerce software platforms such as Shopify also offer several integrations with Gmail, for example, adding a customizable contact form to your online store.

While JakPat wanted to know if email usage habits differ among students and employees, it found no significant difference.

Two thirds of respondents named creating a social media or ecommerce user account as one of the key purposes to use email, second only to corresponding.

Among other reasons named for email usage are knowing notifications from actively used social media (44%) and receiving shopping promotions (31%).

Some other behaviors to take note of:

  • 81% of respondents use a mobile phone to check a new email while only 19% use a computer and of those who check email on their phones, 86% do it via an application.
  • 81% of respondents who use email have allowed a notification and 31% open the inbox to check when a notification about a new email pops up.
  • Half of respondents check their email two and more times a day, 13% do it once a day.

The JakPat data on email usage frequency contradicts the findings from the latest Digital In 2017 report, according to which only 14% of respondents in Indonesia check their emails weekly. The significant differences might be explained by different survey methodologies, including demographics and geographical dispersion.

The overwhelming support for Gmail, which is used not only as a private email service, but also powers business correspondence most likely stands true.

Businesses and digital agencies should keep up to date with new Google features that will allow them to optimize their marketing efforts such as Gmail ads to best communicate with their Southeast Asian audience.

Since its launch in December last year, Facebook Live has presented everyone an opportunity to share a live moment in real time, and this feature has become an important addition to the world’s largest social network. As with other products, Facebook has been pushing people to use Facebook Live, either by inspiring to launch an out-of-home awareness campaign or more directly adding a live button on the app’s homepage. The social network also ranks live videos higher than other types of posts to encourage users to interact and ‘be in the moment’.

Facebook Live – Be in the moment

Despite all the effort, brands and publishers in Southeast Asia seem to take a wait-and-see approach as for now they don’t produce many live videos as can be seen on the Live video map. Lack of ideas and expertise in creating this new type of content which differs from traditional promotional videos are the main factors that have hampered adoption of Facebook Live in the region.

On the other hand, Southeast Asia’s Facebook merchants who use the social network to showcase and advertise their products are in the forefront. They’re taking advantage of live videos to engage with customers and sell products in new ways.

How to capture the shifting consumer attention?

As 50% of consumers feel increasingly overwhelmed by brand marketing messages on social media, consumer attention and engagement is scarce. According to Facebook, people spend three times more time watching a video when it is live compared to when it is not broadcasted in real time.

With this change in mind, brands should capitalize on campaigns in the format of a high quality live video. Here are three ways Facebook merchants in Thailand are capitalizing on Facebook Live:

1. Host an auction in real time

One prevalent example how the live video feature is being used is to host in real time an auction of new or second hand fashion products such as bags, dresses, or even items like electronics.

The way it works is similar to a typical auction, just when the auction is hosted on Facebook Live, the bids are submitted as comments. When the broadcast ends, the merchant and the winner arrange the details of the payment and delivery.

2.  Showcase products and answer questions in real time

A number of merchants also use Facebook Live to demonstrate their products. Customers in the comments section can ask questions about the price or details of the product for the seller to answer.

Similar to hosting a live auction, broadcast viewers who want to purchase products can send a Facebook message directly to the merchant to arrange payment and delivery.

3. Attract viewers with games, prizes, Q&A sessions

Hosting interactive games or quizzes and giving away prizes for sharing a Facebook Live video with friends is also a tactic used in Thailand to attract more viewers and followers.

The owner of cosmetics brand B’Secret Chonnipa Wisedsuranun is a live broadcaster who has successfully leveraged this strategy. One of her Facebook Live videos generated over a million views and almost as many comments.

She uses live video to engage with her customers and build a fanbase by asking viewers to share her live video during which her cosmetic brand is mentioned throughout. To incentivize customers to share the video she gives away prizes like iPhones, cash, gold, and more. This technique allows her to garner a huge amount of viewers and fans in a short period of time.

By doing so, she also creates awareness of her products without paying a dime to Facebook for advertising.

Chonnipa also often uses Q&A games where viewers who answer correctly in the comments section to a question she asks win a cash prize.

Facebook Live provides brands and retailers an alternative way to grow their followers, engage with a wider target audience, and drive sales without directly paying money to Facebook for ads. Businesses that still rely primarily on Facebook ads will eventually experience growing advertising costs due to the nature of auction-based advertising that makes bidding more expensive when there are more advertisers.

In contrary, businesses that can effectively leverage this interactive video format are likely to capture the  attention of consumers at a lower cost.

BY KORAVUT PAVITPOK, ACOMMERCE INTERNET MARKETING MANAGER

 

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