Culture key to ecommerce trends
LONDON: Internet shopping habits are subject to significant cultural differences around the world, payment processing firm WorldPay has said.
The company’s new Global Online Shopper Report, which polled web users in 15 nations on their e-commerce behaviour, revealed wide national variations in online spending patterns.
Generally, spending rates were consistently higher in the emerging world, with the typical Indian respondent allocating 36% of their disposable income to online goods and services. This total dropped to 31% in China and 27% in Brazil, with the UK the top-ranked mature market on 25%.
But continental Europe generally saw the lowest rates of online spending, with Finns allocating 13%, Spain 17% and France 19%. The global average across all 15 markets was 22%.
Elsewhere in the report, WorldPay detected a significant trend towards media fragmentation, with shoppers increasingly willing to make purchases via mobile devices as well as laptops and PCs.
Across all markets, 19% of shoppers have now used a smartphone to shop online – a total that rises to 55% among “heavy spenders” who spend more than 30% of disposable income online.
Cultural variations also had a significant bearing on media platform choice. China was the nation with the highest proportion of users making purchases with smartphones, on 46% of the total, while France was bottom of these rankings on 7%.
Philip McGriskin, chief product officer of WorldPay, said: “The way shoppers engage with mobile devices is evolving and driving the future of eCommerce as consumers look to purchase through apps, mobile websites and using their device on the move.
"This increased mobility is expanding the audience of potential consumers for merchants to target but, in tandem, presents challenges in offering the best experience for these consumers whenever and wherever they demand it."
The WorldPay report also found that, despite cultural differences in shopping habits, the e-commerce sector is also becoming increasingly globalised.
Cross-border shopping is a growing trend, with almost half (44%) of consumers having made a purchase from an online vendor that is based overseas. Australians were found to be most open to the these transactions, with 76% of consumers willing to make a purchase of this kind.
Data sourced from WorldPay; additional content by Warc staff, 27 April 2012
Online views beat clicks
SAN FRANCISCO/RESTON: Ad “viewability” is a better measure of online effectiveness than clickthrough rates (CTRs), a new study has indicated.
The research, using data from 263m online impressions, and conducted by digital analysts comScore and Pretarget, showed that ultimate conversions are closely correlated with “non-click” metrics.
Ad views – defined for the purposes of the survey as 75% of the pixels of the ad being visible in the browser – achieved an overall correlation to conversions ratio of 0.35.
The correlation was still more pronounced for users who hovered over an ad with their cursor (0.49). But there were almost no conversions related to clicks (0.01).
"These findings suggest that advertisers and media planners ought to break their addiction to clicks and instead look to more meaningful metrics for evaluating campaign performance," comScore added in comments accompanying the new figures.
Kirby Winfield, SVP of Corporate Development at comScore, said: “This study shows why… interaction or hovering may be much more important in evaluating campaign performance than the click ever was.
"It’s time to start measuring the impact of campaigns using metrics that really matter, not just the ones that are most easily measured."
The comScore report also cited a 2011 report from Casale Media, which indicated that ultimate conversion rates rise 6.7 times over when display ads appear “above the fold” on web pages – and are therefore immediately viewable to users.
"The [new] research findings indicate that the traditional way of buying mass impressions and hoping for conversions (aka "spray and pray") is not the most effective approach," comScore added.
Data sourced from Pretarget/comScore; additional content by Warc staff, 27 April 2012
Middle East digital budgets soar
DUBAI: Digital adspend could rise by almost 50% in the Middle East this year, a new forecast from ad network Ikoo has suggested.
Gulf News reports that the firm now predicts advertisers’ total online expenditures to reach $220m in 2012, up from $150m last year.
Mobile and online video ads are forecast to be key drivers of this digital growth, with Ikoo analysis suggesting that spending on these segments could double during 2012.
Speaking to the news source, Ikoo CEO Isam Bayazidi added that newer rich-media formats can also prove more effective than traditional display spots.
"You cannot compare a video to a banner ad; when you are seeing a video ad, you are giving it your full attention. With a banner, it does not necessarily mean that it will have the full attention. You cannot compare the price of a video and banner."
Bayazidi added that news publishers in the Middle East are currently selling digital ads at a rate four to five times higher than their equivalents in the US and UK.
Despite its rapid growth, online adspend still takes a relatively small proportion of the all-media total in the Middle East, taking a share of less than 5% in 2011.
Also speaking to Gulf News, Tanvir Kanji, head of local ad agency Inca Tanvir, added that digital was “flavour of the season” in the region.
"A lot also depends on the product category, and more importantly, the target group [for digital ads]," he added. "Traditional media still has the major allocation of the budget."
Latest global adspend figures from Nielsen released earlier this month suggest that the MENA region as a whole increased budgets by 11.3% this year, when compared to the previous year.
This compares to annual increases of 11.5% for Asia-Pacific, 1.8% for North America, and a net decline of -0.4% for Europe, the region hit hardest by recent economic volatility.
Data sourced from Gulf News; additional content by Warc staff, 27 April 2012
Mobile gaming surges in Europe
LONDON: Almost half of European smartphone users frequently play games on the devices, figures from comScore suggest.
A new report from the digital research firm suggests that 41.7% of the smartphone audience in the “EU5” bloc – including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – played a mobile game of some kind during February 2012.
This is a 55% increase in penetration from when the same survey was taken 12 months before, and includes a hard core of 11.5% who accessed the games almost every day.
By nation, the heaviest users were in the UK, which was the only market measured where the mobile gaming population formed the majority (52.4%) of the smartphone audience. In all, 16.4% of Britons were daily players.
But mobile games have gained least traction in France, where just 27.2% of respondents had played during the month, and 7.4% were daily users. Each of the other three nations had a usage rate of above 40%.
Hesham Al-Jehani, comScore Europe product manager for mobile, said that the burgeoning popularity of mobile gaming is partly due to the fact they tend to be accessed via downloadable apps – and can therefore be played in “idle time” when the user cannot get on to the mobile web.
"As mobile games evolve from simple pre-loaded games to highly challenging and visually appealing games, their entertainment value has increased substantially."
Games accessed via social media platforms were earmarked by comScore for future growth. Unlike the general gaming market, Italy scored the highest penetration rate for social gaming (15.5% of the total audience), with the UK beaten into second place on 14.2%.
The number of users accessing this type of game hit 6.1m in February, up 42% from when the last survey was taken six months before.
Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff, 30 April 2012
Olay tops beauty brand charts
NEW YORK: Olay, Avon and L’Oréal are the three most valuable beauty brands in the world, a report by Brand Finance, the specialist consultancy, has revealed.
Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble and currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, retained first place from last year, after delivering a 6% increase in its net worth to $11.8bn overall.
"On Olay, we try to be at the forefront of innovation, with new ingredients and technologies that really transform the skin," said Michael Kuremsky, P&G’s general manager of skin care.
Avon claimed second but saw a 22% decline in its value to $7.9bn. The firm’s operating profits per representative have fallen by 75% over the last decade, according to analysis by Sanford C Bernstein, and its stock price fell by 45% in 2011.
One bright spot, the Brand Finance report argued, was Avon’s strength in emerging markets and commitment to corporate social responsibility in these areas.
L’Oréal, the eponymous brand of the French cosmetics giant, followed in the charts on $7.7bn, up 1% year on year. Neutrogena came next, off by 2% to $6.2bn.
Nivea, manufactured by Beiersdorf, was also down 15% to $5.6bn, while Lancôme, part of L’Oréal’s portfolio, endured a 10% contraction to $5.1bn.
Dove, made by Unilever, enjoyed rather better results, growing by 12% to $5bn. One of the brand’s major recent initiatives has been rolling out a line for men, which is likely to become a wider trend.
"There is more awareness by men and more acceptance that it’s okay to use beauty products for men," said Elise Neils, managing director of Brand Finance USA.
Estée Lauder came in eighth position in the rankings and was valued at $3.7bn, a 22% expansion from the previous year. Fabrizio Freda, the company’s CEO, has previously cited several reasons for such success.
"What’s driving consumers to our brands, whether in Shanghai, London, Los Angeles or Milan, is a winning formula that combines incredible innovation, brilliant advertising, local relevance and improved High-Touch services," he said on a conference call earlier this year.
Making up the top ten were two Japanese ranges, Bioré on $3.3bn and Shisido on $2.9bn.
Data sourced from Talking Retail, Forbes, Brand Finance; additional content by Warc staff, 25 April 2012
Media habits shift in UK
LONDON: Britons are spending more and more time communicating online and multi-screening, figures from new IPA research indicate.
The trade body has released its fourth TouchPoints Hub Survey, which is produced with Ipsos MediaCT and based on the poll responses and electronic media diaries of 5,567 people aged 15 years old or above.
It reported that the typical British consumer now watches TV for three hours 30 minutes per day, compared with one hour 54 minutes spent listening to the radio and one hour 33 minutes using the web.
Moreover, some 79% of respondents regularly utilise two or more media channels simultaneously in the same 30 minutes, an increase from 76% in 2010.
When discussing how people communicate, 66% of this activity takes place face-to-face at present, down by four percentage points on 2010. Landline and mobile phones logged 14% here, up from 10%.
Email was responsible for another 6% of interaction, ahead of social networking on 5%, matching the score for text and picture messaging. Instant messaging posted 1%, as did writing a letter.
More broadly, 44% of consumers accessed social networks at least once a week, measured against 37% in 2010. This audience dedicated six hours 39 minutes to these platforms across a normal seven days in the latest study.
Email penetration stood at 67% on this metric, bettering 60% for talking on a mobile phone and 47% for sending text or picture messages.
TV retained a weekly reach of 98%, but linear broadcast content has seen volume viewing levels fall by 4% since 2010. Radio listenership has also dropped by 2% and print readership by 10%.
Some 29% of individuals watched TV shows and video online each week, doing so for 18 minutes a day. A further 9% streamed material through a mobile phone, declining to 2% for tablets.
Elsewhere, 80% of adults used the net once a week, with 77% going online via a PC or laptop. Another 39% engaged in this pastime on a mobile phone, as do 5% using a tablet.
Lynne Robinson, the IPA’s research director, said: “The ways in which people live and consume media are changing due to the recession and the development of new technologies giving consumers more media channel choices and the ability to control when and how they consume media.”
Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff, 26 April 2012
Social ROI proves problematic
LONDON: Effective social media measurement is practiced by only a small minority of UK firms, a study from software firm EPiServer has suggested.
The report, Tackling the Social Challenge, based on a poll of UK marketers, indicates that just 10% of companies are monitoring the overall payback on their social media activities.
This is despite the fact that 65% of these firms have an official Facebook presence, and 60% are on Twitter.
The channel is accounting for more and more time and budget, with 52% of firms increasing the number of employee hours spent on managing their official profiles in the past year, and a similar proportion increasing their overall social media investment.
Currently, marketing teams spend an average of around one hour per working day on updating the profiles, with just 22% of companies employing a dedicated social media manager for this purpose.
Maria Wasing, a vice president at EPiServer, said: “Many companies are overwhelmed with having multiple social media channels to maintain simultaneously, and just keeping them operational can be time-consuming.”
Despite the lack of effective ROI measurement indicated elsewhere in the survey, many of the firms polled by EPiServer have reported positive business effects stemming from their social media activity.
In all, 31% said that customers were engaging more with their brands, while 30% said loyalty had increased.
Hard business metrics are also said to have benefited, with 21% saying that sales activity has risen as a result of their social media marketing.
Looking to the future, around 20% of marketers polled said their employer planned a further increase in social media investment for the year ahead.
Data sourced from EPiServer; additional content by Warc staff, 26 April 2012
Consumers sceptical on new tech
NEW YORK: People feel ambivalent about the digital devices that are reshaping their media and purchase habits, a global Euro RSCG study has shown.
According to This Digital Life, based on a survey conducted with research firm Market Probe International in 19 countries, almost half (42%) of consumers believe it is “too soon to tell” whether or not the new devices will have a bad effect on society. A further 10% already believe that the impact of the technology will be negative.
Online security was a particular area of concern, with a majority of Euro RSCG poll respondents suggesting that tech developments are “robbing us of our privacy”, and around 60% saying that it is “wrong” for people to share a lot of their personal experiences and feelings on the public web.
Meanwhile, 58% said they were concerned that people are “losing the ability to engage in civil debate”.
In terms of platforms, social media came in for particular criticism, with one in four poll respondents saying that sites such as Facebook and Twitter were making them “less satisfied” with their lives. This total went up to one in three Millennials – traditionally viewed as the generation most open to the digital revolution.
"Our Culture of More and digital lifestyles have proved unsatisfying and unsettling for many," the report added. "We’re going to see more of a push for a sort of ‘hybrid’ way of living that combines the best of the old and new — keeping current conveniences while holding fast to those traditions and values that are in danger of disappearing."
Euro RSCG also offered insights into consumer spending trends in its report. The survey indicated that around 40% of consumers would be happier if they “owned less stuff”.
Marketers will have to adapt their communications to suit this consumer mood, specifically in “helping people feel a greater sense of control and security,” the report added.
"People are looking to replace hyperconsumption and artificiality with a way of living that offers more meaning and more intangible rewards — even as they wish to maintain the modern conveniences upon which they’ve grown reliant."
Commenting on the results, Tom Morton, chief strategic officer at Euro RSCG New York, said: “As marketers, we have a dual role to play — to assuage people’s concerns about privacy and to create more meaningful connections.”
Data sourced from Euro RSCG; additional content by Warc staff, 26 April 2012