Nazar Grynyk, director and founder of LEAD9 Mobile Marketing Agency
“We do not earn by selling a product, we earn by helping consumers make conscious decisions”.
Steve Bezos, Amazon
“Satisfying immediacy is often more important than loyalty”
2019 Think with Google Report
BAD BANNER MANNERS
New technologies are supposed to make life easier, right? Recent studies show that a vast majority of consumers will choose easiness and speed of consumption over other factors, such as privacy or loyalty. Thus the more obstacles we as a consumer get on our way, the less is probability of transaction. Nothing new, nevertheless I meet barriers, which web-site owners themselves have enacted on my way to the checkout every day. Meantime the growth of mobile continues: over 60% of internet consumption happens on small screens (on YouTube already over 70%). Advertising though still works there according to the centuries old interruption principles: put information noise, e.g. a blinking banner as close between the eyes of a consumer, as possible.
We unlock our smartphones 60 times a day and an average duration of a mobile session is 2-5 minutes. It is twice as long on a desktop computer and tens (sometimes hundreds!) of times longer on a large sceen TV. In spite of this, marketers act on mobile like they do on the big screens: steal our time and fill our mobile screens with ads, making it even smaller, obstructing interesting content with not so interesting ads. How are these useless banner manners different from a spamming email or a paper flyer being stuck into my hand on the street? Come on, it’s 21 century, we can do better!
LACK OF FOCUS
It’s a no surprise that a smartphone is now called the biggest distractor of all times. And it’s not so much because of ads which are shown there. It’s rooted in the nature of the device itself and human psychology. Smartphone, unlike desktop, is a handheld device for short actions ‘on the move’ and more for information consumption than creation. Social media popularity, games and video streaming is a vivid illustration of this. Interruption marketing makes situation even more complicated: googled something, found, clicked to visit web-site, saw a huge banner of something different, which covers half the screen. Clicked to close, missed it and followed banner instead.
Mobile internet is sometimes not very fast and all this seems to take eternity (a minute really, but feels like eternity, especially when you need to find something quickly). Thus the lost time, battery level, and some of us will even forget what they were looking for in the first place. Information noise is much more intrusive on a small screen than on a big one. Therefore bounce rate (consumer denials) on mobile is usually 10-15% higher than on a desktop. Enter one of the biggest problems of modern times: user lack of focus and concentration. With such stream of distractions it’s hard to concentrate on something single. As a result productivity is sacrificed and at the end of the day, the result is quite different from the plan in the morning.
Therefore today a lot of people activate flight mode on a smartphone not only on a plane, but even during a working day in the office to block all those annoying messages and endless social media notifications. When normal mode is activated again, you right away get tons of messages again, or even a call from someone trying to sell something. Research shows that 25 to 50% of internet users have installed ad blockers, including over 40% on mobile devices.
So when we are very busy, we use flight mode and when we surf we use ad blockers. And this trend will continue, since even the most conservative prognosis show increase in ad blockers on desktop and mobile devices. What a great future for a marketer to be in, isn’t it? Will we reach a moment when ads are consumed only by people producing them?
PUSH VS PULL
It isn’t that bad. If marketers will understand that they should not try to hang on consumer’s hand and sell right away, like a merchant on Eastern bazaar. Instead interest with content first, excite interest and then offer the right product to the right person at the right time. I call this method: “don’t push hard, pull gently”. Consumer should make a conscious choice and ‘subscribe’ to an adventure. All instruments for this are in place: faster internet, faster devices, better gadget screens are launched every year.
All we need is interesting content to fill these screens and engage consumers. Hence 2020 will be the year of content, and it should be of various formats: long videos (yes, at least half an hour videos on YouTube), short videos (Instagram, TikTok), photo carousels with useful information on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, podcasts on all channels, etc. Why there’s so much talk about influencers for ads and promotion in social media?
Because they produce a lot of original content and have a personality which creates trust. In this time of information overflow, people tend to trust other people, not banners, brands or products. Every business can produce content: make their owner or a CEO an influencer, or cooperate with a rising YouTube star. The main goal is to produce senses useful and interesting to the audience, instead of screaming “buy-buy-buy!!!”
Oh, content, it’s too complicated and expensive, some will say. Yep, and time consuming. But there is no other way, if you want to be effective in 2020. According to GlobalWebIndex, the most active users of ad blockers are younger people aged 16-34. Probably these are the same consumers, to whom you will want to sell something today or in the nearest future. In 2013 a quarter (25%) of internet users agreed with the statement “technologies make my life more complicated”.
In 2019 this share rose to a third (33%). That’s why we all need effective post banner and post-cookie tactics. Otherwise the percentage of ad blockers and flight modes will keep rising until we all reach a complete silent mode on consumer side and total noise from the advertiser side. Is is going to be like in a zombie movie: scared disoriented people from one side of the wall and zombies trying to get them on the other?
BACK TO MARKETING 101
The main marketing principle from classics like David Ogilvy is: the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Unbelievable, but it’s the same as the principle of content distribution! It’s no surprise, since content and marketing have the same aims: customer satisfaction and repeated return in the future (subscribe!). Good content becomes part of the consumer journey and part of the product or service. Nowadays there is a so popular word ‘storytelling’, which is actually as old as world itself. Anecdotes and legends were part of marketing since Mesopotamia (not the one in Ohio, the one in Asia, ca 3000 BCE), when a merchant on the Eastern bazaar instead of screaming in your ear “buy from me!” first told you an interesting or funny story and on this positive wave tried to sell you something. Maybe even the story was so interesting, that you came back to hear another one.
PERSONAL CONTACT: PUT CONSUMER IN THE FIRST PLACE
There is such a term in architecture as “human scale”, when huge buildings and streets don’t depress a small human below and don’t obstruct his or her daily chores like taking a walk, a trip to a store or office. There is the same term in marketing: being client-oriented. Sometimes marketers, as also architects do, get so engaged in the process of selling the product or service, that they totally forget about the consumer.
Today we have a lot of incoming data: segmentation of channels and consumer lack of time means we need new tactics of communication. This means a whole new level of instruments, platforms and automatisation is needed. For example, from my professional experience: consumer promotions in retail switched from paper lotteries and choosing winners in raffle drums at the store to SMS and web-site registrations in computer databases.
This is no surprise already. But this will be changing too. Chat-bots in messengers already offer more personal approach to each consumer, artificial intelligence software analyse their behaviour, preferences and mobile reward apps with electronic prizes like coupons and top-ups offer more convenient redemption. I’m stunned to see that with all of this tech progress, modern retail chains still use paper coupons, promo stickers and newspaper ads. So much wasted resource! And this happening, while 80% of their consumers age 12-40 have smartphones and most stare into them even while walking the stores! Are you serious? Retailers, are you doing this because it’s what you used to do last 50 years and it’s convenient?
Cool, but it’s not convenient any more to any, without exception, any of the consumers. Are you thinking about them?! Me for example, well over 40, but even if I ever take a paper ad in a supermarket, it’s for setting up my fireplace. These middlemen on the way are useless. Nowadays, the time it takes to reach your consumers on paper, the message is not fresh anymore.
TO SUM IT UP, KEY TRENDS 2020:
- lack of focus and info noise strengthen each other and lead to loss of communication effectiveness on mobile, so we need to stop spamming on mobile ASAP
- production and publication of quality content at scale – the more platforms the better!
- content marketing should become a basis of communication strategy: yep, even TV ads can tell a meaningful story
- process simplification and automatisation: chat-bots and artificial intelligence for registration in promotions, for example
- deleting the middlemen between the goods, services and the consumers: more and more advertisers will start getting into the process with their own hands, using automated online services
Yes, we have a lot to do, but we will manage! And let the force be with us:)