Google's biggest threat? Amazon.

Collin Colburn

If you've been following Forrester's search marketing research over the past few years, you'd know that we talk a lot about search marketing evolving to a broader discovery marketing strategy. As a refresher: a discovery marketer creates programs that help users find your brand in their preferred medium and during their moment of need. Some marketers, especially retailers, have begun to take on this new and challenging charter and are looking to new channels and websites to increase their discoverability.

Enter: Amazon, Google's newest, and biggest, rival in the search marketing space. We set out to determine two things about Amazon search marketing: what factors do they take into consideration when ranking products and what type of ads are available for brands on Amazon? The research report just went live today and you can read our findings here.

To summarize what we found in the research:

Amazon search moves customers along the customer life cycle. Google has long dominated the discover stage of the the customer life cycle. But Amazon is playing an increasingly large role in how customers find products. In fact, according to Forrester's Consumer Technographics data, 31% of US online adults who made a purchase in the past three months started their shopping research on Amazon. And it doesn't end there. Amazon is also a place for customers to research product choices and even transact.

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Fix Your Mobile Foundations To Make The Most Of Bots, Agents, VR and Other Emerging Tech

Thomas Husson

Emerging consumer technologies such as bots, intelligent agents, extended reality, connected objects, and IoT will not replace mobile — instead, mobile will be the key to unlocking these new touchpoints.

Facing limited budgets, marketers feel pressure to prioritize much-hyped new consumer-facing technologies over their foundational mobile work. Jumping directly to the latest shiny objects of VR, IoT, etc., without first implementing a proper mobile foundation is a costly mistake, as marketers will not be able to effectively scale innovative technologies beyond a small testing audience. With over 5 billion smartphones forecasted to be in use worldwide by 2020, mobile will play a key role in activating adjacent connected experiences.

That’s one of the key messages of my new “2017 Mobile And Technology Priorities For Marketers” report written with my colleague Jennifer Wise.

In the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to sit down with many of our clients across different industries. A marketer at one of the largest CPG brands told me they currently had 18 chatbot pilots across the world! The Chief digital and customer experience officer at a global insurance company told me conversational interfaces is his top priority for the next 3 years. The SVP e-commerce and marketing at a global travel brand think extended reality will become a key differentiator. Beyond, these anecdotes, our quantitative survey among marketers, shows that:

  • 6% use intelligent agents regularly and 18% are piloting or planning to use them in the next year
  • 5% use bots regularly and 40% are piloting or planning to use them in the next year
  • 3% use augmented reality regularly and 30% are piloting or planning to use AR in the next year
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Marketers Aren't Getting What They're Paying For

Susan Bidel

Marketers have always carefully calibrated their messages and the audiences they wanted to reach, and, for most of advertising’s history, the process was pretty straightforward. Marketers used content as a proxy for audience, and worked with known and trusted entities to carry out their plans. They bought space, delivered materials to publishers, and ads appeared. That was the process for the first banner ad, too, for AT&T on Wired Magazine’s website on October 27, 1994.

While the intent of marketers has remained consistent as they have embraced digital channels, the process of executing advertising is a lot more complicated. In the intervening 23 years since that first banner ad, hundreds of companies have arisen intermediating tried and true relationships between marketers and media. These companies claim to improve the process for marketers by identifying and reaching audiences without the context of content, using modeling practices honed in financial markets.  

But, there are some fundamental differences in the two markets. Financial market regulators would not tolerate, for example, the sort of haphazard standards that are applied to digital media. Any financial institution caught selling fake stock, for example, would suffer severe consequences.

The same doesn’t appear to be true in digital advertising. The result is that the ecosystem is rife with fraud and unviable inventory that essentially robs marketers of their ability to know what they are buying, who they are really reaching, and how to measure their progress. Without that knowledge, they cannot build a sustainable digital advertising practice that performs for them, and that more broadly drives the economy.

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YouTube Concerns Will Boost The Long-Run Outlook For Online Video Ad Spend

Brandon Verblow

Poor quality inventory and lack of transparency are problems for the digital ad industry. My colleague Susan Bidel and I have recently published reports that show how the related problems of fraud and lack of viewability result in wasted spending by marketers and a lost revenue opportunity for quality publishers. For further detail, clients can read Forrester Data Report: Ad Fraud And Viewability Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (US) and Poor Quality Ads Cost US Marketers $7.4 Billion In 2016.

While not an issue of ad fraud or viewability per se, recent concern over YouTube ads represents another facet of the ad quality problem. In the past couple of weeks, large marketers like AT&T, Verizon, and The Guardian have pulled their ads from YouTube after discovering that these had been displayed alongside video content promoting terrorism and hate.

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Plate Tectonics and the TV Advertising Business

Jim Nail

 One of the key concepts I learned as a geology major at Williams College comes in very handy when analyzing the changes in the TV advertising business over the past few years. Plate tectonics describes giant slabs of the earth's crust that contain the continents and are propelled by the upwelling of molten layers deep in the earth's core. As plate boundaries grind against each other or are pulled apart by these forces, the mega-structures of the earth are formed: mountain ranges, undersea trenches and ocean basins. The San Andreas Fault is probably the best known example of a plate boundary. For decades, or even centuries, there is no apparent movement but once the massive forces can no longer be contained, the plates can move a dramatic distance within seconds, such as the 1989 Loma Prieta quake which exhibited a 7 foot shift in the position of two plates.

What the heck does this have to do with TV advertising? Just as this plate movement builds up tremendous pressures, so have the forces of technology, advertiser demands for better targeting, and the drift of dollars away from TV to digital put pressure on the TV networks. But just as the plates initially resist moving, there has been little movement in TV advertising: The upfronts last year recovered from the down years of 2014 to 2016, there has been little progress in addressable TV, and Nielsen still reigns as the currency of the market. We've seen the TV business resist these technology-driven pressures for at least a decade, so the question is whether the business will gradually change over the next five to 10 years, or will a San Andreas style quake transform the industry in a matter of months?

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Introducing Content Intelligence

Ryan Skinner

A riddle: What's the difference between your content and mashed potatoes?

Answer?

Nothing.

To the technologies that host and deliver your content, the stuff they deliver may just as well be mashed potatoes as text strings or image files.
Even marketers who spend lots of time tagging content know the process is very fallible, often out of date, and only applicable to a handful of pre-selected contexts.

The technology simply doesn't know what the content's actually about, or how it works. It's just content.
Mashed potatoes.

The same applies to marketers across the business.
That great video explainer that got made two years ago during another CMO's tenure?
It may as well be a little portion of mashed potatoes buried under a mountain of other mashed potatoes.

Enough of the metaphor. You get it.

Content intelligence changes all that.
It is technology that helps content understand itself - what it's about, how it speaks, how effective it is at accomplishing certain goals, what emotions it calls to mind, etc.

That may sound funny. It is. But it's not necessarily stranger than spellcheck in your word processor.
Thanks to a built-in dictionary, the processor knows that 'recieve' may not be right, and puts a little red line under it.

Content intelligence goes a bit further, in that it's continuously updating itself.
Iimagine a very smart dictionary that automatically absorbed neologisms and understood word choice given context ("you might want to say 'car' here instead of 'automobile'").
But the principle's the same.

And because content's the coin of the digital realm for all things marketing these days, content intelligence delivers a real kick:

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Why You Need To Attend Consumer Marketing Forum 2017

Carlton Doty

To be blunt, if you miss this event, you’ll be sorry. Sure there are loads of marketing conferences out there, but Forrester’s Forums clear the clutter and help you focus on the issues that matter most to your success. Last year, we told you that we're in a post-digital world now, and that marketing must adapt to new rules. This year, on April 5-7, we'll show you exactly how to do that and more. Whether you’re developing and refining your marketing strategy to engage today’s empowered consumer, or your planning the next investment in your Martech application portfolio, Forrester’s Consumer Marketing Forum will be the smartest investment of time that you’ll make this year. Here’s a just few highlights:

  • Learn exactly how consumers’ behaviors are changing. Analyst Anjali Lai will share Forrester's Empowered Customer segmentation.
  • Discover how to avoid the illusion of insights. VP and Research Director Sri Sridharan will show you how to avoid potential pitalls in your question to become and insights-driven business.
  • Reveal what really matters in Martech and Adtech. VP and Principal Analyst Joe Stanhope will bring clarity to the chaos of an unhealthy technology ecosystem. 
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CONSUMER MARKETING 2017 Guest Q&A with Danielle Lee of Spotify

Melissa Parrish

In 2016, we learned a lot about how complicated it is to gather and interpret data that will help brands uncover people's motivations, interests and behaviors. At Consumer Marketing in NYC next month, we'll be taking these topics head-on, trying to understand how far data can go to helping us understand and target the right people at the right time.

 

One of our guests who I'm most excited to hear from on this topic is Danielle Lee, Global VP, Partner Solutions at Spotify. I had a chance to chat with her about some of her thoughts around deterministic targeting and music-based insights. Here's what she had to say:

 

How do you define "people-based marketing" and why do you think it will become the gold-standard?

People-based marketing represents an industry shift from targeting devices to connecting with the right people at the right time, with the right message.  Rather than targeting ads to devices based on cookies, which is fraught with inadequacies, marketers can now reach people across the many devices they use, thanks to persistent identity.

The reason we’re so excited about it at Spotify, and the reason we think it will become the gold standard for marketing, is because it works. With people-based marketing, you have greater assurance that your message is reaching your known customer and driving measurable results.

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Operating Global and Local Social Intelligence Requires A Tender Balance

Samantha Ngo

Social media is human.  It’s embedded in local cultural context of consumer needs, affinities, and behaviors. But to serve consumers, multinational companies need effective social intelligence to keep a finger on the global pulse of brands and simultaneously inspire local-relevant campaign content and interaction.  So how do you start on this journey?  My colleague Cinny Little and I have recently published a report that provides practical guidance on executing on this tender global / local balance.  A summary of our take:

You need a Center of Excellence (COE). A center of excellence’s mandate is to drive common approaches and processes that enable generating insights from the data and assessing results across brands and regions. But a center of excellence isn’t a one-time a project that you can check off your company’s digital transition list. It’s a long-term commitment to establishing purpose, people, processes, and platforms that enable data- and insights-sharing across departments. Our research shows that the success factors for building an effective COE for social intelligence require you to:

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What To Expect From Mobile World Congress 2017

Thomas Husson

It's that time of year again! From next Monday (February 27) through March 2, 2017, Mobile World Congress (MWC) will take place in Barcelona. I attended this event (then 3GSM) for the first time in 2005 and it is fascinating to see how the event has morphed from a B2B telecoms technology trade show to one of the largest business conferences around the globe. This year’s MWC theme is “The Next Element” which may seem broad but I quite like this idea that mobile is elemental and has become part of our daily lives. By analogy with the previous industrial revolution, mobile is like electricity: once you have access to it, it is a disruptive enabler of adjacent technologies powering more powerful innovation. Mobile is barely entering its teenage years.

Consumers now use mobile as a sixth sense. If the human senses serve as effortless faculties through which we access information on the world around us, then mobile has become the sixth sense. It brings digital to consumers in their daily lives. It has truly become the face of digital.  That’s the main challenge for marketers: as mobile becomes the primary interface between your brand and your customers, you must leverage mobile to accelerate digital transformation and transform the customer experience you deliver. A lot has to happen behind the scenes for marketers to be able to deliver real-time contextual experiences on mobile. That’s why it makes a lot of sense for marketers to spend time in Hall 8.1 where most marketing, advertising and app vendors will be gathered.

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