Keeping up to date with the most recent market trends, and making timely adjustments to your business’ strategy and operations, is critical for business owners and entrepreneurs—especially in tech. The recently released Internet Trends 2017 Report from the Code Conference offered several key insights into the current trends and future forecasts of the online ecosystem. Based on the report’s data, the following 4 areas will be critical for online business owners to focus their marketing and advertising efforts:
1: Dynamic Creative Ads on Mobile
Owners should shift their focus and marketing budget from desktop to mobile advertisements.
Concurrent with rising absolute digital media consumption is the growing proportion of time spent using the internet on mobile devices. On average, people use Internet for three hours a day on mobile devices – this is three times higher than an average of one hour a day 5 years ago. Focusing the advertising budget on mobile is the best way for the businesses to capture this market demand and capitalize on it.
Specifically, the best way to deliver sponsored content is through dynamic creative advertisements. The DCA structure is so effective that Facebook shut down their FBX desktop ad exchange program in November 2016 in favor of dynamic product ads, which should be an indicator to business owners that it’s time to make the switch. Dynamic Creative discusses their API success for inventory-based companies with the DCA structure here, expounding on benefits from real time price and quantity updates to campaigns that can be developed 480 times faster than static ads allow.
These ads evolve automatically based on information about the viewer, like behavior and location, and seem to be successful in their ability to increase viewer engagement. Companies like AdRoll even boast a 2x higher click through rate when using these ads over their static counterpart. SaaS business owners would benefit from an ad that makes a viewer more likely to see the benefit of the product in a short amount of time, especially since they often have offerings which are innovative and useful, but sometimes not always intuitive to a viewer.
2: User-Generated Ad Content
Business owners should seek to sponsor their content through partnerships with online influencers, as it has shown to be an effective way to convert customers.
As may be expected, social media continues to shape digital advertising spaces as consumers are increasingly likely to trust social media celebrities. According to a 2017 Mavrck study, clear and effective user generated content on Facebook can generate almost 7x more engagement with advertisements than brand generated content. The closer the sponsored content can resemble a real post from the influencer, the more engagement from an audience who won’t immediately scroll past.
With innovations in ad user interfaces like scroll to browse products, and swipe up to buy, ads on social media and content sharing sites are increasingly serving as the storefront through which consumers will purchase products. Customers are more willing than ever to make a purchase driven by ads they see on Facebook. In fact, 26% of people who click a Facebook ad make a purchase, while 7% of people who do not click on an ad make a purchase.
Other social media sites, like Pinterest, offer certain ecommerce businesses the option to sell directly through the platform. Ecommerce business owners should take note that showing the customer how to use the product on Pinterest in tandem with a Pinterest storefront will be an important way to stay ahead of today’s competition.
3: Engaging Customers on an Individual Level
Always put the customer first. That means that whenever a customer complaint pops up, do whatever you can to resolve it in a way that exceeds their expectations.
Recent studies show that 82% of customers who had a bad experience with a company did not return their business—as did 53% of customers merely because they felt unappreciated. That figure becomes even more daunting when compounded by the fact that it is 5 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing customer. It’s worth it to go the extra mile to placate a disgruntled customer, rather than to simply count on more coming in. Throwing in a free month of service, waiving the cost of shipping, offering a promo code, and even upgrading a customer’s account (if applicable) are all good ways to show the customer you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep them happy. This approach is especially critical for subscription-based ecommerce and SaaS companies, where a high CLV and low customer churn are key to having a successful business.
Making yourself available to customers is now a requirement for businesses who wish to remain ahead of the curve. From 2015 to 2016, the number of online chat support conversations rose 100% YoY, indicating that consumers now expect their issues to be addressed immediately. Customers are quick to give up on an unavailable support team because they have so many options and expect so much ease of communication due to social media. Establish a fast, reliable chat system to avoid churn caused by unanswered queries.
4: Algorithm-Based Recommendations
Employ smart learning algorithms to personalize and recommend your product to individual users.
A great way to utilize this feature is to install an algorithmic system for recommending relevant products/content to your users based on what they’ve already bought or viewed. Customers are 8 times more likely to buy something when prompted with a “buy it again” option (think Instacart). Additionally, you can start collecting user behavior data to improve on your existing methods of targeting. Once you have had the systems in place for a few months, use A/B testing to see which options convert better, and focus on developing those features. Whether it’s optimizing your product offering or improving customer conversion, algorithm-based learning can offer a range of automated benefits—especially with subscription-based ecommerce products.
One example of a successful ecommerce subscription company making use of algorithms is StitchFix, who are employing algorithm-based learning tactics in order to collect customer purchase habits, and use that data to develop clothing brands that are as close to “perfect” as possible. Their software tracks what you like and learns from the most popular purchases, analyzing everything from favorite patterns, to fit, to style, and in doing so, optimize their internal clothing brand and ensure that it is a competitive option.
There are a number of factors that drive considerations for how to incorporate today’s trends in business strategy, and it’s always best to look at the holistic view. Focusing on mobile dynamic creative advertising, sourcing user generated content, going above and beyond for the customer and incorporating algorithmic learning all contribute to the success of an online business in today’s world. Today’s successful businesses are the ones who stay up to date on consumer trends, and make the investment to incorporate these trends into their strategic operations.