Category Archives: Fanscape

The More You Know: Wantering

Written by: Jordan Lee
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Online shopping can be overwhelming. Combing through a sea of retail sites, blogs, and Pinterest in search of something on trend to wear can feel daunting.

Many retail search engines, like ShopStyle and Polyvore, offer the same experience. You can sort by color, size, and price. A new site, Wantering, is offering something more to consumers: item search based on social popularity.

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Image via wantering.com

Ranking is determined by mentions across the web including blogs and social networks. Clicking on a product allows you to see both where it is most popular and a “hotness” score based on current mentions and relevancy.

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Image via wantering.com

Social influence impacts the consumer journey as a consultative force. According to a study by Bazaar Voice, 84% of millennials say user-generated content plays a role in their purchase decisions, even when that UGC is from a stranger. In addition, 71% of millennials say they share their opinions and input because they help other consumers’ purchase decisions.

Wantering is leveraging the movement of consumer empowerment and providing a unique online shopping experience. Product reviews are going to be weighted more and more in the future. Brands and retailers will need to not only keep up with how their products are evaluated but also with what is trending in order to drive sales in the changing shopper landscape.

A New Era of Binge-Watching

Written by: Olga Kraineva
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The act of binging is nothing new. TV marathons have been around for ages, but thanks to Netflix and Hulu at our fingertips we’re now indulging in entire seasons to the point of potential overconsumption.

Walt Disney Pictures / Via newyorkz.tumblr.com

Some media outlets are beginning to expose an emerging entertainment trend suggesting consumers are exhausted by the ability to binge-watch and would prefer to wait to see what happens next. They allude to the dawn of a new era, or perhaps a reversion to a past time when TV watching was an event people looked forward to: “the age of anticipation.” This is especially apparent for dramas with a lot of cliffhangers.

What consumers miss with binge-watching is a feeling of community, of water cooler moments where people can dissect what just happened and speculate together. Consumers are also unable to think about TV show storylines in an in-depth manner when they’re speeding through them. With the freedom to watch on your time at your pace comes a loss of togetherness. Some research even indicates that binge-watching can cause feelings of depression and loneliness.

While this may be a side effect, it cannot be denied that binging is addictive and has proliferated the market, especially among technology natives like millennials and Gen Zers. What’s interesting to note is consumers are using their ability to binge as a way to discover new shows and not merely catch up on their favorites. When you hear that a show is good from multiple sources, you’re intrigued to watch for yourself.

Networks and MSO’s are taking notes. Turner is working with Comcast to make all 15 of their original programs available via on demand. Steve Meyer, vice president of video strategy and analysis at Comcast Cable, said, “The numbers suggest that people are discovering programs several weeks after they first hit linear television but want to be able to start them from the first episode.”

In October 2014, PBS digitally released the entire “The Roosevelts” series and found “most viewers used the digital availability to play catch-up with the series and then joined the linear broadcast to be part of a broader community of fans.”

Lifetime recently released the first four episodes of their newest drama, “UnReal,” to stream on demand or to download for free on iTunes directly after the premiere. Meaning, fans of the first episode were able to binge-watch the next three episodes immediately. The network gambled on potentially lower numbers for episodes 2-4 in return for word-of-mouth and hopes to turn more viewers on to the show. And, it paid off. Episodes 5 and 6 had the greatest conversations since the premiere. While some viewers were upset they had to wait three weeks until episode 5, this allowed word about the series to spread and the show to gain momentum halfway through the season.

The bottom line: the growing desire to get back to the age of anticipation means binge-watching – while still relevant – is shifting in consumers’ end goal. Binge-watching is helping people discover more quality content. It’s the networks’ decision whether they want to choose digital and linear broadcast in parallel and potentially compromise live views.

Connected Health

Written by: Sarah Shapleigh
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If you had the opportunity to attend any of the recent major conferences, such as CES, Social Media Week, or SXSW, chances are you attended a session (or five) related to health. Health tracking devices, such as wearables, and technology are coming together to create a connected health phenomenon that is completely changing the way patients monitor their health and receive care.

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The Aging Population

One stat that keeps popping up at conferences and in articles: By 2050, seniors over 60 years of age will outnumber children below the age of 15 for the first time.

With the rise of the aging population, there is a growing need for personalized healthcare and the ability to both connect elderly patients with their doctors and share this information with their loved ones. CarePredict, for example, is a company that offers a wearable device and health monitoring tool for the elderly. It tracks a person’s sleep, movement, and location, and can send this information back to their family.

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Types of Connected Health Users

IBM explains how today’s health devices are most commonly categorized into two groups: the health-conscious and fitness-focused (the “Motivated Healthy”), and the chronically or terminally ill who require regular monitoring (the “Chronically Monitored”). However, in between these two groups lies another much larger group: the “Information Seekers.” This segment is “seeking some measure of control over a potentially serious health risk or a condition that is difficult to manage. They represent a willing – but currently underserved – market for health device makers.”

There is a huge opportunity to focus in on the largest population of people in the United States within the connected health sphere. These people like to take elements of their health into their own hands and leverage health tracking devices to help adopt healthy behaviors and avoid serious health risks and conditions.

What does this mean for brands/marketers?

  1. Aim to deliver full solutions to patient needs associated with a condition. The “Information Seekers” group is the profitable part of the market many are trying to target with their connected health solutions.
  2. Don’t forget about the “Chronically Monitored” segment of patients. With the rise of chronic medical conditions, there is a growing need for connected health solutions for people with chronic conditions who require constant drug therapy and monitoring.
  3. Understand where consumer behavior and technology meet in order to create valuable solutions for consumers. The best-connected health solutions are created in response to specific problems with the overall patient experience. The solution should be rooted in insights and tackle optimizing patient experiences and meeting their needs.
  4. Adapt and optimize offerings based on performance. Feedback loops are an essential part of connected health, so there need to be opportunities to adapt and change as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
  5. Ensure that the connected health solution provides value and measurable impact. Now that there is a wealth of data surrounding patients’ health, there is an opportunity to leverage that data to create programs that provide value for patients. This data can help us understand where patients are in their health journey in order to create relevant and contextual experiences as a preventative measure or post-diagnosis.

Nielsen’s Consumer 360: 3 Quotes and What They Mean for Today’s Marketers

Written by: Clare Dussman
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If there was an overall theme to all of my learnings at Consumer 360, it was digital maturity. It’s no longer about your next pilot or stats to prove the validity of the space; it’s about being smart and digitally savvy across all of your business units. If not, you may be vulnerable to someone who is.

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“Data is the new oil.” – Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba

Although not a new phrase, it’s worth taking note that one of the most powerful men in the Chinese technology world is openly stating that data will join the ranks as one of the most prominent trade goods. As a commodity, data needs to be judged for more than just its size, but also for quality and scarcity, whether that means the immensity of data in developed markets or the scarcity of data in developing economies.

“Leaders are all about purpose, never about me.” – Retired General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

This quote is powerful, especially as you think of how companies lead. As consumers expect more and more corporate transparency, companies without a clear purpose will struggle to become passion brands. Some companies already do a great job of conveying their purpose, like Ritz Carlton’s “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Or maybe like Google you require a Ten Commandments-esque format that includes Google’s well-known phrase “You can make money without doing evil,” and company rally calls like “Great just isn’t good enough.” Powell claimed when a group is lead by a purpose and not by a single charismatic leader, everyone is empowered to make decisions and drive success.

“Millennials don’t need to feel the fruit.” – Conference Attendee

As we discussed the tension between mobile commerce and brick and mortar, we agreed that the differences in shopping behavior between the generations raised with digital and the generations raised without digital require a revision of conventional shopping experiences. Especially as we looked at rapid changes in grocery, we acknowledged that quick delivery and low tolerance for waiting has driven many millennials to digital alternatives of the grocery experience.

Glass, 2 Years Passed

Written by: Clare Dussman
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Two years ago, I flew to Mountain View to cash in my golden tweet for what was being called a game-changer in the tech revolution and an assault device against personal privacy: Google Glass. Being a bleeding edge tech enthusiast, I was all in.

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Twenty-four months later, the Explorer program is over and though not exactly by choice, so is my Glass usage. Glass was well-made and intuitive. If I could wear it every day I would love it; however, others would not, which is why I do not.

Google made an elegant product and a horrific vertical.

Horrific may seem like a strong word, but it is purposeful. The people who came up to me asking why I was wearing it and if I was recording them were truly scared, uneasy, and defensive. Despite the extensive coverage of Glass in the media, there was distrust about heads-up displays so much so that wearing Glass was similar to having a controversial T-shirt on: you needed to be constantly at the ready to explain, defend, and oftentimes debate.

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It did not need to be that way. As a Glass Explorer, I think things could have been different. If I were the one to try and make it different, here is what I would have done:

  1. Brought down the cost. Part of what made Glass feel unobtainable was that it was financially unobtainable. The hardware did not warrant the steep price tag – even if the R&D cost did. The price tag immediately set Glass Explorers apart from the general public in a negative and pretentious way. At the consumer level, you cannot charge more than a thousand dollars for something that is in its humble beginnings and a luxury tech accessory.
  2. Advertised the ordinary. My favorite usage for Glass was more easily capturing presentation images, recordings, and whiteboard drawings during meetings without interrupting my concentration or the rest of the people in the room. When people categorize Glass with world travelers and NASA more than they see it as a useful tool for working moms to take better notes at a parent-teacher meeting, the device seems less relatable.
  3. Shed literal light on privacy concerns. You can clearly tell when someone with Glass is taking video because the screen lights up, but because the general public was not educated on Glass’ features in a clear and concentrated way, fear spread like wildfire. If there had been a small light on the headset that lit when people were recording, everyone could have relaxed a little. Although it is not ideal, features like this could have put the non-Glass wearing public at ease.

Launching a new category is no easy task. But, the lesson to be learned from Glass is not a new one: perception is reality and worry can overrule product.

Looking forward, I think Google’s pivot toward the business sector is smart, but they need to move quickly. There are acquisitions going on that point toward a competitor not far behind.

This article is a compilation of both my own ideas and conversations I have had with countless others while wearing Glass. Thank you to everyone who had educated and constructive conversations with me, greatly helping me understand the technology, the vertical, and the pros and cons of wearing bleeding edge technology on yo face.

Pinterest and Instagram Add New Features, Look to Drive Business Outcomes for CPG Brands

Written by: Jake Schneider
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June proved to be a huge month for Pinterest and Instagram, as both platforms introduced the phrase “action oriented” into our lexicon. Over the past year, both platforms have been making strides to enter the digital media space with Pinterest’s “Promoted Pins” and Instagram’s “Sponsored Posts” as introductory offerings; however, both are falling short beyond brand awareness in aligning to business outcomes for marketers.

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Pinterest has long been a passionate community, and particularly for DIY. According to a PriceGrabber survey, more than 70 percent of Pinterest users claim that cooking inspiration and recipes are their number one interest on the platform.

Pinterest added a search functionality to make it easier to be discovered, but the introduction of the “Buy It” button is a huge step for CPG brands in closing the loop that started with “Promoted Pins.” Now with Pinterest you can holistically inspire, promote discovery, and purchase direct from the platform within a few clicks, giving CPG brands another potential storefront and point of entry for commerce. 

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 8.26.27 PMPinterest is only making the “Buy It” button available through mobile for now and has limited it to a few of their partners. There is a waiting list, however, and we suggest you get on it. 

Coincidentally, Instagram introduced us to their new suite of offerings for their platform the same week. Instagram initially entered digital media via sponsored posts with a few exclusive partners a year ago as they built out their media narrative and offerings. This recent unveiling takes Instagram from peripheral, brand-awareness centric content to something much, much more. 

For Instagram, the emphasis is on quality of content and narrative with CPG brands playing on the same level with users and the best content surfacing to the top. With “Carousel,“ Instagram takes the user out of the single moment snapshot and throws them into an immersive experience with multiple pieces of content to provide inspiration or to better tell a story. 

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Carousel is still a continuation of brand, something Instagram has long been known for, and something that has taken them out of consideration when focusing energy and effort on driving to business outcomes.  

Instagram elevated themselves from peripheral to near primary with their action-oriented buttons. Brands can now direct their audience to add “Shop Now,” “Install Now,” “Sign Up,” or “Learn More,” directly through the app, making it a true channel for actionable outcomes. 

CPG brands can now promote discovery, inspire, and inform this passionate and massive audience while directing them to take deeper action, whether that is downloading a brand app, e-commerce, or other promotions. 

Like Pinterest, Instagram is only allowing a few of their partners to leverage their offerings before making them open through power editor to advertisers. 

Needless to say, these bold — and welcome — moves for each platform both ushered in offerings for brands without diminishing the user experience.  

Google’s “Micro-Moments” Highlight Fundamental Shift in Consumer Behavior

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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You know that feeling when you forget your phone? It’s a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness, as we have become increasingly dependent on that powerful little device. We expect to be connected to who and what we want to, and we expect to find answers and solutions to our problems on demand.

This has changed the way consumers make purchase decisions. The traditional consumer journey is now divided up into various real-time, intent-driven “micro-moments,” providing marketers the opportunity to identify and prepare for the exact moments right when a consumer reaches for their device.

Google Micro-Moments

Google has identified various insights driving overall micro-moments to showcase the variety of opportunities for marketers, many of which are applicable to the CPG category.

  • People evaluate purchase decisions in-the-moment. When walking through a store, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision. More people are reaching for their phone to investigate products and prices than are actually asking for help from an associate in store.
  • People solve unexpected problems in-the-moment. 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.  If their dishwasher breaks, they will immediately go to their device to investigate the problem and the products and services that may provide a solution.
  • Micro-moments fill voids or lulls in time or complement multitasking. For example, people turn to their phones when waiting in line, commuting, walking, shopping, relaxing, and more.

As marketers, it is our job to identify how to add value to each of these micro-moments. We should consider what micro-moments are most important to our brand, and which provide an opportunity to highlight our product while making our consumers’ lives easier. How we create content and add value to consumers in each of these micro-moments can set us apart from our competitors.

To learn more about Google’s Micro-Moments, visit their research on Think With Google.

Netflix Knew Exactly What They Were Doing When They Released OITNB Early

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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I can’t be the only one who stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching the new episodes of Orange is the New Black. Netflix released the third season of the award-winning show on June 11, six hours early. This genius and strategic move by Netflix created a flurry of excitement on Twitter from fans.

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Netflix announced the early release at OrangeCon as the cast was celebrating the new season. It became available around 9 PM Eastern, 6 PM Pacific, just in time for New Yorkers like me who were contemplating sleep to turn on Netflix, and for Californians to cancel their dinner plans and head home to the couch.

Surprising fans with the early release was not only smart because of the timing of the release, but it also allowed for an additional layer of anticipation from fans. It is to be expected that die-hard OITNB fans would take to Twitter to express their excitement when the show finally came back, but the element of surprise triggered a burst of tweets from fans. This buzz helped spread the word about the release of the new season. #OITNB trended on Twitter within minutes of the release.

The show’s talent also took to social to inform fans of the early release and drive buzz.

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Typically, programs on television leverage Twitter for live-tweeting to drive buzz and awareness for the show. Exposure to TV tweets has been shown to encourage viewers to take action, whether they watch, search for, or share content about the show. In the case of shows that are exclusively on Netflix and are released a full season at a time, they have to find ways to use Twitter outside of live-tweeting premiere episodes to promote the show. Orange is the New Black found their way in. Due to the excitement and the element of surprise, #OITNB was used over 360K times in the first weekend after the release. Comparatively, there were only 319K #GameOfThrones tweets during the epic finale on Sunday.

With the restrictions Netflix and Orange is the New Black face considering all viewers watch at their own pace, they definitely figured out how to leverage Twitter to drive tune-in.

Smart move, Netflix.

Cardboard Redux

Written by: Ian Sherwood
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Google gets it. They understand that widespread VR is coming soon and that means headsets – those clunky, awkward, hairstyle-destroying devices that allow us to imagine we are standing on the USS Enterprise or on the Great Wall of China, all while sitting at a Starbucks.

With Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens, headsets are definitely real products. But Google gets that we aren’t all going to shell out $200 or more and strap on bulky headsets just for a taste of VR. They lowered the bar last year by eschewing bulky plastics and high-tech eyewear and introducing Google Cardboard: a simple, folded piece of cardboard plus some plastic lenses and adhesive. This one leap has changed perceptions of what is required to get people trying VR. This year, they’ve lowered the bar all the way to the floor with an even simpler cardboard box that unfolds in three steps (compared to 12 steps for the original). We can even get Cardboard headsets printed with artwork or logos and have them mounted to our favorite baseball cap.

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Source: Dodocase.com

Google gets that a headset is just the gateway to the compelling content that we need, so they also announced Jump: a platform to tether 16 digital cameras in a fixed circular array to take 360-degree image and video captures, plus an image assembler to stitch all 16 images together with edge translation, color correction, and blur removal. Suddenly, we no longer need $100K specialized cameras, we only need 16 GoPro Hero cameras mounted just so, and we need Google’s Jump Assembler to put it all together. But, what we’ll get are YouTube-ready, 3D videos that are tailor-made for viewing with – you guessed it – a Cardboard headset. Expect Jump content to appear on YouTube in July, but the camera arrays won’t be publicly available for several months.

Google further announced that the Cardboard app is now available on iOS (get it here), so the other half can see what all the fun is about, too.

And if that weren’t enough, Google announced Cardboard Expeditions: an in-classroom VR experience to give students a view of a location or experience in a controlled setting where the instructor guides the experience. An Expedition pack will include multiple Cardboard headsets and accompanying phones, and a tablet synchronized to the phones that will allow teachers to control the virtual outings.

Look for the updated YouTube app to support VR content soon, and cardboard headsets to be all over your local Starbucks.

Three Great Ways for Brands to Use the New Twitter Audience Insights Dashboard

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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Last week, Twitter launched a new, free dashboard that shows demographic information about your Twitter followers. You can see your followers’ interests, household incomes, net worth, occupations, their buying habits, education levels, and even what credit cards they have.

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Having access to these insights is a great way to inform your content strategy. There are three great tricks that can guide creative and messaging, and even inform other areas of your brand’s marketing strategy.

1. Compare your follower demographics to the general Twitter population.

Add a comparison audience, and analyze “All Twitter Users” versus “Your Followers.” You’re able to see what the general Twitter population’s habits or interests are versus your brand’s, which will show you what resonates specifically with your audience. In the image below, this brand’s audience is much more interested in fast food than the average Twitter user, showing the brand that fast food is an area they can own on Twitter.

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2. Look at the followers you are reaching, as well as the followers who are actually engaging with your content.

This is a great way to see the user behavior of an engaged user versus a follower that was not impacted by your brand’s content. For example, one of our brands saw that among engaged users, 90 percent were using iOs, and among the users the brand was reaching, only 32 percent were using iOs. This information shows that the brand should be targeting mobile users, or keeping them in mind when looking for engagement and participation from followers.

3. Use relevant purchase habits to inform business decisions.

The insights dashboard shows followers’ Consumer Buying Styles and Consumer Goods Purchases, which is extremely helpful for targeting both on social and in-store. For example, if your fans over-index in healthy living, it can inform the keywords you use to target them on Twitter, as well as what other brands to partner with and advertise through, or even how to set up an in-store display.

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Overall, the new dashboard is very insightful and can serve different purposes for different brands. Take the time to click around and see if you can learn something helpful about your audience to inform social content strategy, creative, messaging, and targeting.