Good retail weather and m-commerce ramp up Christmas fashion sales

David Bird

David Bird, Insights Analyst – Weather Channel Global Media Ltd

A number of clothing retailers have already reported their Christmas results for 2014. Two key themes so far have emerged: the first is that the clothing sector picked up during the festive period, sales for many were over and above those of the previous year. Secondly, the growing importance of multi-channel retail at Christmas.

Weather created opportunities for UK retailers at Christmas

The mild and sunny weather over December was generally very conducive to the retail market at

Christmas, across all sectors. These are the weather conditions which are generally favourable for

driving footfall into stores, and they also keep consumer heating and fuel bills low, freeing up

discretionary spend. Moreover, continued low interest rates in the UK and low fuel prices over the

Yuletide period created an “additional tail wind”.

A generally mild, sunny, if wet, Christmas

Over most of December the weather came from the west, from the Atlantic, and UK temperatures were milder (0.5 degrees Celsius) than the seasonal average (4.4 degree Celsius). Moreover, sunshine was well above the norm, indeed it was the second sunniest December since 1929. Why is this important? Well, Nielsen estimates that 20 per cent of all Christmas spending is done in the final two weeks before Christmas, and above average temperatures and sunny weather means shoppers head out and about.

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No going back: What will rule 2015!


Alex Klose, Head of Marketing, IMImobile

2014 is in the books, but marketers are feeling the year’s ripples as it continues to define marketing in 2015. Mobile is yet again at the forefront of innovation and the focus of strategy,  causing marketers to shift and adapt their marketing efforts, but what will rule this year?

  • Customer Experience – Über King

Consumer demands are ever increasing, wanting 24/7 service, personalisation and an omni-channel experience – in today’s market, social media and a saturated market has given consumers power.

A customer interaction on one channel, will define the next interaction on another channel – adapting, optimising and refining this cross-channel approach will be crucial in 2015 to achieve a better customer experience and staying relevant to your target audience.

To do this, brands, marketers and businesses will increase investment in analytics to understand the customer journey across multiple channels. They will seek to identify how to best maximise the experience and results from multiple digital, mobile and social channels across various platforms.

To create a sticky customer experience that drives customer loyalty and revenue, brands, marketers and businesses must strive to centralise customer data, enabling them to create a more personal relationship with customers across all marketing channels, and at every stage of the customer journey. Achieving this will take time and great effort, but it will be worth it – Consider the results from the Forrester Customer Experience Index. According to Forrester, customer-centric companies gained 43% in performance compared to a 33.9% decrease for companies who have neglected customer experience.

So, how does your customer experience stack up against your competition?

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Nadia Gonzalez,VP Mobile Marketing at Gemalto.

Since the launch of the first, bulky and rather basic cell phones in 1973, the world continues to become increasingly mobile and smarter, revolutionising how we do things: From cell phones to smart phones to faster, cheaper networks and connections. Cheaper smart phones and hyper connected people are driving the inevitable rise of the Apps.

In UK alone, over 50% of the population own a Smartphone. A figure set to rise worldwide by 2019 to some 3.4 billion users, that is 50% of the world’s population will own a Smartphone. Consequentially, App usage is skyrocketing with over 2 million of them already in Google & ITunes Stores. This represents a phenomenal hike of 320% in revenue from 2011 to 2014. A trend, set to continue reaching some 76.30 billion USD revenue by 2017: almost the equivalent of ¼ of Switzerland’s GDP.

By 2019 a mere 20% of the world’s population will remain unconnected! And according to the GSMA (Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association), by 2020, smart phones will account for 2 thirds of all mobile connections around the globe.

So there you have it. It looks good, but if we uncover the facts, the reality today is quite different.

Up to 90% of apps are used ONCE then discarded or deleted altogether. Consumers use as few as 6.5 apps over a 30-day period. For ASDA, the UK retailer, a major concern is to accelerate audience reach and app download (MMA London Nov 2014)!

It is now time to be part of the App world. It is now time to make your App an integral part of your customers daily routine. Think Consumer experience and privacy. Think hyper-connected and savvy Consumer. Think how you can get the Consumer to your APP – make it easy, relevant and safe. Make it enjoyable and you’re half way there.

However, your App will still need to be promoted! There are many available options. But why not explore Smarter options via mobile channels (Smart App Push, SmartMessage)?

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2015 Digital Advertising Predictions

Jason Tally, Country Commercial Director, Yahoo UK

Jason Talley, Country Commercial Director, Yahoo UK

Programmatic adoption will accelerate

The roots of the ‘programmatic revolution’ have taken hold, and adoption will accelerate in 2015 with brand marketers enjoying better control and greater efficiency. This is driven by the ability to seamlessly target cross-device, giving a single view of the customer, increasing brands’ efficiency and providing a better user experience.

As a result of the Internet of Things, we will increasingly see richer streams of user behaviour data. Everything from watches to fridges will become internet enabled, marketers will be able to understand users’ behaviour more than ever and deliver targeted advertising at scale.

More brand budgets start to be traded programmatically

Marketers will start to use publisher first party data across the whole of the programmatic marketplace. Publishers are prepping to launch their own plays in 2015, which will lead to a new phase in the programmatic world. We will also start to see greater buying of rising star formats, rich media, and takeovers. As more brand budgets start to be traded programmatically, these will be increasingly important for buyers to achieve standout.

We break down the barriers to wider adoption of Content marketing solutions

Brands understand that they need to shift more focus to content marketing, given its explosive growth this year. Challenges remain around contextualising content, effective distribution, as well as maximizing earned media potential – but these will be overcome as brands finesse their understanding on this space.

Quality content cannot be ignored. While a lot of the big players are already doing a stunning job – in 2015 a greater number will  – the Christmas ad war between focus on creating humanised and appealing content based on themes that satisfy a consumer need.

Native is the only way to go on mobile

There is no sign of the juggernaut of mobile advertising slowing down in 2015, and brands will continue to innovate in the way they communicate with consumers. Yahoo’s own research has found smartphone users are 2.2 times more likely to agree that ‘If content is engaging then I don’t care it is an advert’. This is great news for brands as there is a real willingness from consumers to engage with branded content within their mobile feeds. This trend is set for further rapid growth next year.

The optimum way to digest information on a mobile is through a stream of content so we will see a further fine-tuning of this practice. In a stream brands can serve advertising in a contextually relevant way by matching the quality, tone and style of the editorial but also the format. In 2015 more and more brands will start to get the mix and the blend right – further driving engagement through a positive consumer experience.

There is a clear alignment between content marketing and native advertising. Mobile advertising growth is only set to head in one direction, and we can envisage a real surge in these types of digital advertising in the first half of 2015.

Written by:

Jason Talley,

Country Commercial Director Yahoo UK

How Mobile Apps are Clearing the Path to Better Data Collection

Amie Fletcher

Amie Fletcher, Research Solutions Manager, at Lumi.

Yesterday, I walked 3,844 steps. How do I know this? I didn’t count my steps and I didn’t hire someone to follow and count my every move. I know I took 3,844 steps because an app on my smartphone tracks the number of steps I take without me having to do anything.

Market research apps powered by advances in technology are creating a whole new world of data that market researchers should be very excited about. It is now easier to not only get more data from participants, but also data that is more accurate.

Clearing the path to better data

For a person to engage in any activity, three things have to align:

  1. They know what to do
  2. They have the motivation to do it
  3. They know how to do it

When seeking to collect data from participants, researchers have always faced obstacles, whether limitations of time, participant memory, or another barrier. Yet, many of the obstacles researchers have faced are now disappearing thanks to mobile apps. It’s now easier for participants to know what to do, how to do it, and with less willpower required.

Collect more data with less effort

I was able to track the number of steps I took without having to do anything except open the app. As smartphones become more sophisticated, it will become easier for researchers to collect more and more passive data that would have previously been very difficult, if not impossible, to collect.

Even when the collection process isn’t passive, less effort is now required of participants to submit daily activities, feedback and opinions. Instead of filling out and mailing a form or entering information online at the end of the day or week, participants can open an app and instantly submit feedback. The less willpower that’s required to submit data will only increase engagement rates for research, but also increases recorded occasions and increases accuracy due to a reduction in memory bias.

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Why ‘blending in’ is the new standing out – the new frontiers of mobile advertising


Patrick Hourihan, Research Director EMEA, Yahoo

Changing  content consumption habits, driven by the proliferation of devices, means brands are having to innovate the way in which they communicate with consumers, particularly on mobile devices. We looked at how consumers are reacting to brands’ new efforts to engage with them, what they like already and what they want in future.

Our recent research study looked specifically at mobile native advertising and reveals that, when consuming a stream of content on mobile, users don’t filter ads specifically from the stream – in the way that they do through ‘banner blindness’. The study used eye-tracking and showed that a huge 85% of users visually engaged with Yahoo Gemini native ads, meaning their eyes were drawn to ads within a stream of content. This is 21% higher than visual engagement levels with other types of mobile display ad. According to our research, smartphone users are 2.2 times more likely to agree that ‘If content is engaging then I don’t care it is an advert’. This is great news for brands, because it shows a real willingness from consumers to want to engage with brand content within their mobile feeds.

Speaking at a recent Yahoo conference session, Neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis told us “the brain has several important roles to help us get on in life, including how we process sensory information and deem content worth our time.”

The human brain adapts to the environment it is immersed in and mobile has opened up a new way of processing information. On mobile, the optimum way to digest information is through a stream of content. So we know a stream is the ideal from a user perspective but it’s also good news for brands. In a stream of information it is possible to serve advertising in a contextually relevant experience – both by matching the quality, tone and style of the editorial but also the format.

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Using weather to drive a multi-channel retail experience


David Bird, Weather Analyst at The Weather Channe


Having a weather strategy is a crucial part of an effective multichannel retail offering. Weather-based marketing can create a consistent tone and message across multiple consumer brand touchpoints to drive customer engagement. Owing to its “mobile first” strategy, The Weather Channel offers a number of high-quality native ad solutions that help retailers make weather a key part of its consumer facing marketing strategy.

M-commerce is winning in the UK e-retail market.

A number of studies have consistently identified the UK as one of the most advanced e-commerce markets globally, It is the largest e-commerce retail market in real terms in Europe, with one of the highest retail spends per capita. Moreover, one of the most notable shifts within e-commerce is the shift to m-commerce. A recent study by E-marketer estimates that in the UK, 52% of all retail website visits are from a mobile device and 26% of all e-commerce retail sales are now m-commerce; and within that, tablet commerce accounts for an ever greater proportion. Effective advertising on mobile devices is therefore vitally important for retailers in the UK to maintain their share of voice and remain top of mind, as the shopper journey evolves.

Maintaining a consistent consumer experience across digital platforms is vital.

One of the key challenges confronting retailers with their marketing in the new digitally-driven climate of retail is consistency across multiple consumer touch points. According to a recent study by Retail Week, approximately half of consumers feel there is insufficient consistency between their online and offline offering when it comes to pricing, branding, customer service levels and product range.

It is always important to recognise that consumers see brands, not channels, when shopping and demand a consistent brand experience. As a consequence, retailers must create a seamless shopping experience that is channel agnostic, and digital weather-based marketing campaigns can help brands deliver a consistent message which permeates through the digital space. Here’s how…

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Mobile: Carry High-Impact and Rising Stars in your Pocket


Cameron Hulett, Executive Director, EMEA, Undertone

Last year, advertisers and agencies became more aware of high impact formats, especially the IAB Rising Star formats, such as Billboard and Pushdown. According to a recent report by Undertone (The IAB Rising Stars: Gains, Challenges, and Cross-Screen Opportunities) 72 per cent of agencies have now adopted the desktop versions of these formats, but less than 40 per cent of agencies are even aware of the equivalent formats on mobile. The research also shows that there has only been a 10 per cent increase in mobile format adoption, which is particularly surprising considering the explosion of mobile among consumers.

This startling contrast shows mobile is the next opportunity for high impact advertising. Although Undertone has seen great success with its mobile formats such as Pull, Adhesion, and Full Page Flex, there appears to be an adoption-gap in the market uptake of mobile high impact. In fact our research demonstrated that less than 40 per cent of agencies are aware of the variety of formats available within the industry.

Living in a mobile world

We live in a world where audiences are no longer chained to their desks or desktop computers. Audiences are using multiple mobile devices to shop online, search the Internet, and send emails while on the move. Netflix and YouTube have overhauled the mobile video landscape, creating unique, entertaining and compelling mobile ad campaigns. Add social media into the mix, and it is clear mobile is where it’s at.

With the growing use of multi-devices, it is clear that advertising and digital campaigns need to stretch across multiple screens and formats to engage and interact with audiences effectively.

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Data maybe King, but creative has to be its Queen!


Paul O’Grady, Senior Communications Planning Manager, Marketing Services, Unilever UK

We often hear about what the biggest challenges are for mobile, each year these challenges change. As we race in a programmatic direction and swamp ourselves in data the media and marketing communities desire for this clear, clean data and cost efficiency is at the forefront of the conversation and the challenge. Data is complex, technology can be complex, the fragmented market is complex, the choice for business and the consumer has never been greater, the amount of content being produced grows at a rate so fast most of it goes by unnoticed.  What is apparent to me after attending both the MMA EMEA Forum and Smarties Awards is that big but ‘simple’ ideas win every time. What was clear was the best case studies and winners of the awards all had something in common ‘they gave the consumer some value’. This value does not always have a £ or $ in front of it which was the most important thing. The relationship between brands and consumer has changed and mobile is playing a significant part in this change. Data gives us insight, targeting, proximity, location but creative gives us the human and personalised message which builds relationships. Mobile is the single most personal media channel there is and like with any relationship you have to respect individuals. So we need relationships for brands that data and creative work effortlessly together from the conception. So now more than ever the balance between ‘logic’ and ‘magic’ needs to tip one way, it will be up to the industry to decide which.


Written by:
Paul O’Grady,
Senior Communications Planning Manager, Marketing Services, Unilever UK

Exploring the future of audience identification

James Collier

James Collier, Regional MD EMEA, AdTruth

Since the invention of the cookie, audience identification and recognition has been the foundation for growth in digital marketing, enabling targeting, attribution, audience analytics and data enrichment. As we enter a new device era – where smartphones and tablets are as prolific on the web as desktop, if not more – the need for more advanced audience identification is vital for the continued rise in digital marketing.

Accessing the internet using multiple devices has become the norm, with 61% of UK adults now using a smartphone and 44% of households owning a tablet. Over 60% of online adults use at least two connected devices every day and 40% switch between devices mid-activity, starting on one device and finishing on another. Although marketers are beginning to understand and interact with this trend – with mobile advertising spend up 68.4% year-on-year in 2013 – many are still concerned about the issues around identifying and tracking mobile audiences, resulting in a reluctance to adopt a mobile first approach.

So what are the key barriers to effective audience identification and how can these be overcome?

The key barrier to mobile measurement is an over-reliance on the traditional form of tracking – deterministic identifiers. These offer a one-to-one match between an ID and a user. The cookie provided the common currency for web identification, but other device-generated identifiers include Google’s Android ID and Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to identify users in app. However they have three key shortcomings:

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