Decoding The Programmatic Media Buying Ecosystem In The World’s Largest Digital Market

Xiaofeng Wang

Digital media buying is changing dramatically all over the world — traditional buying models have been displaced by new programmatic buying models. China, the world’s largest and fastest-growing digital market, started later in programmatic buying, but is catching up quickly. However, China’s ecosystem is less mature, with hundreds of players competing fiercely in different sectors. My latest report, The World’s Largest Digital Market Goes Programmatic, provides an overview of the landscape and key features of the programmatic buying market in China.

Programmatic buying is gaining momentum in China because:

  • Chinese consumers are addicted to online media. Metro Chinese online adults already spend more time on online media than offline.
  • Spending on online display ads is increasing rapidly. As a result of skyrocketing online media consumption, China is now the second-largest online advertising market in the world. Metro Chinese online adults are also more open to online display ads than online adults in the US.
  • Advertisers are eager to improve buying effectiveness. China’s digital advertising market is more fragmented than those in Western countries, and it’s more challenging for Chinese marketers to achieve a positive return on their digital investments.
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The Data Digest: Facebook Dominates The Social Landscape

Nicole Dvorak

Today, the average US smartphone owner spends over 2 hours per day using apps and websites on their device — more time than they spend watching TV. Despite this, most of the time that consumers spend using these mobile devices is to communicate with others. Downloaded social networking and communication apps — messaging, email, and digital video/voice – come in a variety of forms; some facilitate intimate conversation, while others blast a network (or even the public) with a one-way status update. As a whole, these apps achieve some of the highest app reach and engagement rates for both US and UK consumers.

My recent report, The Uptake And Engagement Of Social Mobile Apps In The US And The UK, compares the reach of social mobile apps as well as the average number of days per month and sessions per day that smartphone owners (18+) use these apps. Using Forrester's Mobile Audience Data (passively tracked smartphone data), we found that:

  • Facebook is still the most popular app used by both US and UK smartphone owners today.
  • Messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Kik keep users coming back frequently throughout the day.
  • Smartphone owners access email apps frequently throughout the course of a month.
  • The Instagram app reaches more users and has them coming back more frequently than the Twitter app in the US.
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“Uber For X”: The X Doesn’t Stand For Experience

Deanna Laufer

An on-demand startup called Peach began delivering lunch to my office recently. Depending on the day, I can order mango chicken curry, mushroom tacos, or eggplant rollatini, and Peach will deliver it at lunch time for about 10 bucks.

I don’t know about you, but $10 a day for lunch is a bit steep — have you seen the cost of daycare lately? But when the only other option is a mediocre on-site cafe, Peach starts to look better by comparison and has great customer service: When a colleague’s lunch was stolen, Peach refunded her the money — no questions asked. I predict that Peach will succeed — at least at Forrester — because it provides the convenience that on-demand companies are known for, paired with great customer experience.

Unlike Peach, though, recent on-demand failures:

  • Didn’t understand their customers. Helloparking, a Boston startup for finding parking, failed despite multiple pivots. Upon reflection, the founders acknowledged that they “never defined clear hypotheses, developed experiments, and rarely had meaningful conversations with target end users.” What’s worse, they “rarely got out of the building.”
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How Do Your Organization's Omnichannel Capabilities Measure up?

Michelle Beeson

Omnichannel investments are at the top of digital business executive’s priority lists. UK department store John Lewis, among many others, is substantially increasing its capital investment in updating technology systems and operations to support omnichannel and in-store capabilities. But it is still early days for omnichannel commerce, which will be an ongoing initiative requiring continuous optimization. To help digital business executives understand how they currently measure up against peers and competitors, Forrester has published the new omnichannel commerce benchmark as part of the Omnichannel Commerce Playbook 2016. In this new benchmark, Forrester assess 20 leading retailers across the US and UK against omnichannel best practices across key categories – online experience, channel consistency, in-store pickup, and in-store experience.

Our key findings from the survey are:

  • US Retailers Tend To Score Higher In A Wide Spectrum Of Overall Scores. US retailer scores skew toward the higher end of the wide-ranging scores in this benchmark. US retailers' omnichannel capabilities have leapfrogged those of the UK, reflecting the context of US market competition and greater investment in supporting technology.
  • A Disconnect Between Touchpoints Remains. Even retailers with higher overall omnichannel scores still have a disconnect between touchpoints to address. Consistency of experience across all touchpoints and ensuring functionality is device-agnostic remain challenges.
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Your B2B Prospects Don't Want You To Call Them

Steven Casey

So this makes it official: the rite of passage for every new analyst. My first research report, How Self-Service Research Changes B2B Marketing, has just been published.

I covered the premise of this report in my first blog post — but I’ll summarize it here again: multiple Forrester surveys have shown that B2B buyers strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. Forward-thinking B2B marketers will embrace this change and enable the customer-directed research journey with self-service technologies such as contextual help solutions and virtual agents.

Many B2B marketers may feel that this is a risky move — giving up control and resisting the urge to email or call every prospect who lands on your site and guide them along a carefully crafted content path — but after more than a dozen conversations with vendors and their customers to create my report, I’m more convinced than ever that this is the right thing to do. This is true for lots of reasons, which I cover in the report, but the most important one is that we’re all digital consumers now. So the self-service habits we have all learned over the last decade or so are now preferred behaviors — even for B2B buyers, who now just want to be left alone to find the content they need.

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Your Ticket To Driving More Value From Insights: Be A Master Communicator

Cinny Little

As a customer insights / analytics / digital measurement pro, do you experience any of these challenges?  And what can you do right now to make progress with them?

  •  I can’t keep up with requests from my stakeholders for analysis and insights.  Does the volume of requests and your team’s capacity seem increasingly out of whack in your organization?
  • Our customer data isn’t where we need it to be – we can’t get a comprehensive view of our customer.   You’re not alone.  Marketing and technology teams struggle to align objectives, roles, budget, projects and process, and timelines to maximize value from customer data.  Marketing decision-makers report several reasons they are failing: too many data sources (44%), lack of access to technology to manage data source integration (38%), lack of budget (35%), lack of skills to support integration (34%), organizational silos (27%), and lack of an executive sponsor (23%).
  • We’re leaving money on the table because our different analytics and insights teams work in silos.  Here’s a simple digital measurement example of this:  one digital team is responsible for driving visits to the website.  Other teams are responsible for maximizing on-site conversions.  They work in their own separate silos.  A more efficient and effective approach: work together to identify the characteristics of customers most likely to convert, and work on driving that group to the site.   That type of silo breakdown needs to happen more.
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Customer-Obsessed Leaders Do These Five Things: Do You?

James McQuivey

Five years into the age of the customer and it's clear that we're just getting started. More technology is coming — Amazon Echo, anyone? — and that doesn't even begin to touch on the stuff that will hit closer to 2020 and beyond: virtual reality, augmented reality, self-driving cars, and robot assistants.

I'm pleased to introduce my latest report: "Leadership in the Age of the Customer." This project is the result of months of work to update our view of the age of the customer, a 20-year business cycle in which power is shifting from businesses and institutions to end consumers. Technology, information, and connectivity are combining to instill in people a belief that they can have what they want, when, where, and how they want it. 

The key to emerging triumphant through all of this will be customer obsession. Organizations that put the customer at the center of their process, policies, and practices will successfully develop and deliver the experiences that hyperadoptive customers are ready to embrace. That will mean changing the operating model of the organization to be more customer-obsessed. It will also require that executives consciously lead the organization to customer obsession.

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Online Cross-Border B2C Sales Will More Than Double In The Next Five Years, Globally

Michael O'Grady

Forrester Data has just released its first global cross-border online retail forecast covering 29 countries worldwide, helping retailers understand the size and growth of the online cross-border market by country and region and identify the region-to-region flow of trade. Cross-border online B2C sales will more than double in the next five years to reach $424 billion in 2021, as consumers find online cross-border shopping easier, faster, and more convenient:

  • Cross-border shoppers in developing markets are increasing significantly. Metropolitan China in particular saw a large jump in its share of online buyers shopping across borders in 2015. Online cross-border buyer growth is strongest in developing economies: Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East will see double-digit compound annual growth over the next five years — significantly more than the growth in Europe and North America.
  • Marketplaces are increasing their share of cross-border sales. Cross-border shoppers prefer to use global marketplaces when they shop abroad. Alibaba increased its share of online sales from outside China. Online marketplace Rakuten reported 41% growth in cross-border sales in 2015, more than twice the growth of the domestic Japanese eCommerce market. In Germany, France, and the UK, more than half of cross-border buyers buy from Amazon and eBay. Amazon merchants’ cross-border sales doubled in 2014.
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Forrester’s New Breakout Vendor Series: Stay On Top Of Disruptive Technology

Carrie Johnson

Have you heard of Hubba? Coupa? What about APX Labs? Forrester features these technology vendors, alongside 19 others, in our new Breakout Vendor reports. To keep pace with the expectations of digitally empowered customers and clients, firms must stay on top of disruptive and emerging technologies. Keeping up with new providers of potentially game-changing technologies is overwhelming, which is why we're introducing this new Breakout Vendor research. In these reports, we give you insight into the most promising innovations — and the companies behind them — that will accelerate growth in the age of the customer.

Forrester's Breakout Vendor reports provide insight into:

  • Offering: What are the capabilities of the products and the technology?

  • Scenarios: What are the scenarios and environments in which the company excels?

  • Maturity: What is the company's go-to-market approach, channel strategy, and viability?

  • Challenges: What are the potential pitfalls and areas for improvement?

  • Road map: What's next for the business and its products?

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Just Don't Call It Native Advertising

Ryan Skinner

In the context of writing a report on the native advertising technology landscape, I was looking at many publishers' native advertising products when it occurred to me:

Nobody uses the same damn name for native ads, no one calls it 'advertising', and almost no one calls it 'native'.

Here's a word cloud of all the names used for native advertising products by 20 leading publishing houses (full list of the publishers below).

Not a single name for this product was repeated publisher to publisher.

Let me repeat that:

Not a single name for this product was repeated publisher to publisher.

Now, I get branding. Ford's not going to name their new car Chevy. But this isn't branding. Chevy and Ford can both agree that the Mustang and the Camaro are, in fact, cars. Ford doesn't call its cars Frisbees, and Chevy doesn't call them PersonTransporters, and think they're competing in wildly different markets.

Further, here's the hall of native ad product naming fame (or shame, if you will):

Top Prize For Most Orwellian-Named Native Ad Product: Mashable's 'BrandSpeak'
(apparently, this is a dialect invented on Madison Avenue, spoken only by a gaggle of editorial primates and consists entirely of CamelCase AdjectiveNames)

Top Prize For Advertising Not-Advertising But-Still-Advertising: Vox's 'Vox Creative'
It sits under the 'Advertising' category of the site, next to another offering called...'Advertising'. I don't even.

Top Prize For 'Let's Admit It, This Could Be Just About Any Old Thing': Economist's 'Content'

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