Product Detail Pages Have Biggest Influence On Online Purchases

Ecommerce will grow by 22 percent this year as shoppers increasingly favor online over in-person. While the pandemic has prompted many consumers to tighten their budgets, a new study from Kantar and Catalyst shows that online shoppers prioritize convenience over price when deciding where to shop. In fact, 66 percent of consumers choose a retailer based on convenience, while 47 percent choose a retailer based on price and value.

With perspectives from 500 online shoppers, 200 marketers, 24 leading manufacturers plus major retailers, Kantar’s “The State of Ecommerce 2021” offers insight into navigating the new world of omnichannel commerce and retail media.

The ecommerce consumer journey to purchase is more complex than ever as shoppers use a mix of retailer sites, traditional search engines and social media platforms. According to Kantar’s findings, 37 percent of online shoppers rely on retailer sites and apps more than any other touchpoint during the shopping process.

Among those who used a variety of touchpoints before buying, 50 percent searched for inspiration on Instagram and 50 percent discovered new products or brands on Google. Sixty-three percent of shoppers did their initial product research on Amazon and 63 percent compared products or prices on

Brick-and-mortar still has a role to play in the era of digital transformation, as 31 percent said an offline touchpoint helped them make their buying decision, reflecting the importance of omnichannel approaches.

Among those who went to a retailer’s website or app, 48 percent said they did so as the first pre-shop touchpoint, while for those that did an internet search, 46 percent did so first.

The main reason shoppers choose a retailer for a product purchase is convenience (66 percent), followed by shoppability (57 percent), value assortment (52 percent), price/value (47 percent) and lastly, service (36 percent).

Product detail pages (PDPs) are key to driving conversion as 45 percent of online shoppers indicated that they visited a PDP at the time of purchase. Respondents also ranked PDPs as having the biggest influence on their purchase. In addition, 49 percent of online purchasers reported scrolling past the first page to look for what they want. This rate is higher for millennials (56 percent) and Gen X (54 percent) online shoppers.

Despite the significance of PDPs, just 37 percent of ecommerce professionals focus on optimizing their PDPs for search engine optimization (SEO) across the online platforms they use for digital marketing.

Consumers plan on using online delivery services more in 2021. For example, among those who used Instacart, 63 percent plan to use the service more in the future. The same goes for users of Deliv, Prime, Postmates, Shipt and DoorDash.

When asked about the utility of digital ads, 54 percent of those exposed to an ad or promo while shopping online said they were helpful reminders of something they needed. As a group, 20 percent of total online shoppers said advertising is helpful to them while shopping.

Social commerce will be critical for brands looking to reach younger audiences as 59 percent of online shoppers are aware of social commerce and 61 percent are likely to buy from social media in the future. Brands are responding accordingly—19 percent of marketers reported large increases in their social media ad budgets, followed by email marketing (15 percent), YouTube ads (13 percent) and paid search (12 percent).

“Now is the time to think about how to drive lifetime value, not likes, with social sites,” said Kieley Taylor, global vice president of social media for GroupM Services.

To enhance their cross-channel retail media approach, 72 percent of brands are actively utilizing Facebook for digital marketing activities, followed by Google (67 percent), Instagram (61 percent), Twitter (50 percent) and Amazon (49 percent).

The results show that many ecommerce marketers are leveraging a combination of in-house teams and agencies to manage channels such as Amazon, Target and Kroger. Agencies expect to shoulder more of brands’ retail media efforts with 56 percent saying they anticipate more requests for proposals (RFPs) in ecommerce and retail media this year.

“Agencies are acting as an arbitration layer between media owners, and brand investment budgets, comparing opportunities across platforms and channels to guide overall investment performance regardless of where the media is purchased or ultimately delivered,” said Todd Szahun, senior vice president of ecommerce and new retail at Kantar.

According to Kantar, 40 percent of industry professionals believe that improving the user experience will present the biggest opportunity in ecommerce marketing in the next five years. As a sign of companies’ growing commitment to ecommerce, 45 percent of marketers say they now have a clear and differentiated product portfolio strategy for ecommerce than they did two years ago.

Kantar’s findings are based on surveys fielded in April and interviews conducted between March and May.

Esteé Lauder Launches Voice-Activated Sampling Campaign On Spotify To Promote Its New Product

Amid a backdrop of increased audio streaming among consumers, Estée Lauder has partnered with Spotify on a voice-activated campaign to promote the new iteration of its Advanced Night Repair serum, which the brand launched in August.

The campaign includes a voice-activated sampling program that lets listeners request a sample of Estée Lauder’s new product, making it the first of its kind on Spotify. Those with a free Spotify subscription can use their Google Home to request a sample of Advanced Night Repair.

Users can also create a personalized playlist to complement their nighttime skincare routines. Each playlist, which is based on the user’s Spotify streaming history via a customized microsite, will feature calming sounds and short audio messages that speak to the importance of a nighttime skincare regimen. The playlists will refresh weekly.

In-person beauty try-ons, which are key drivers of skincare and makeup purchases, ground to a near halt when the crisis hit and authorities ordered nonessential businesses to close. 

In response, many brands have pivoted to virtual try-on experiences to recreate the offline shopping experience for beauty enthusiasts. Nevertheless, McKinsey found that the beauty industry will decline by 30-35 percent this year.

By the end of March, Estée Lauder’s quarterly sales declined by 11 percent to $3.35 billion and profits decreased 14 percent. During the brand’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended June 30, skincare sales increased by three percent despite makeup sales dropping by 61 percent.

After an initial slump brought on by the pandemic, Spotify’s Q2 revenue grew 11.1 percent year-over. At the end of Q2, Spotify had 299 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 138 million paying subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company will release its Q3 2020 earnings tomorrow.

What We’re Reading—Week Of October 26th

Should You Fix Your Own Car? Yes, In This Case.


According to Dr. Augustine Fou, you should “fix your own car” in digital ad fraud protection because the parties selling you services often don’t know what they’re doing either and because you can’t tell if they actually fixed anything.

Why it matters: Fraud detection tech companies may have detected fraud where there was none or failed to detect fraud where it was rampant. But the worst part is you’d never know because companies simply provide a number rather than explaining how they measured the fraud.

Mondelez Builds Protective Vault To Guard Oreos From Passing Asteroid

Marketing Dive

Oreo has created an impenetrable vault named the Global Oreo Vault, which is housing shelves full of Oreos, powdered milk and the cookie’s secret recipe to protect the sandwich cookies from a potential asteroid impact in early November.

Why it matters: Inspired by Norway’s Global Seed Vault, Oreo’s vault was created as a way to make light of how challenging the year 2020 has been and generate online buzz. To accompany the launch, Oreo released a five-minute mockumentary-style video on YouTube about its making.

Facebook’s New Video Game Streaming Service Is Part Of A Big Push For The Tech Giant To Sell More Ads

Business Insider

Facebook has announced it’s getting into cloud gaming with five titles rolling out in the US that will be available to play through Facebook on desktop, on Android and the dedicated Facebook Gaming app.

Why it matters: The new gaming streaming service will serve as a testbed for serving ads as Facebook confirmed it’s launching cloud playable ads that can support “interactive demos from a game’s native code, blurring the line between games and ads.” People can instantly play whatever game is being advertised rather than having to download a free version.

Invisalign Taps TikTok Influencers Like Charli D’Amelio And Gains Social Clout


Invisalign has tapped popular TikTok creators Charli D’Amelio, Marsai Martin and China McClain to promote its clear alternative to traditional braces, resulting in a 25.6 percent increase in Q3 sales compared to last year.

Why it matters: D’Amelio’s TikTok video promoting the product received nearly 7 million likes and tens of millions of views. Invisalign says it gives creators leeway in developing an authentic message that aligns with its values.

Going Back To The Office

Harvard Business Review

In HBR’s “Women at Work” podcast series, the hosts hear from women who have returned to reopened offices and say that among the pros of going back into the office are being able to see people face-to-face and leaving work at work when they’re off the clock.

Why it matters: Yet going into the office occasionally creates added stress for those who see their older family members. In addition, it requires a whole other level of organization and decision-making while ensuring the safety of yourself and others.

Pinterest Sees 26 Million More Monthly Actives In Q3 And 58 Percent Increase In Revenue YoY

This week in social media news, Pinterest adds 26 million more monthly active users in Q3, TikTok and Postmates team up to offer four creator-inspired treats in Los Angeles, Instagram extends the time limit for Live videos to four hours, TikTok announces a global partnership with Shopify, Pinterest rolls out a new suite of tools for merchants, Facebook publishes new research on optimal ad frequency and more.

Pinterest Adds 26 Million More Users In Q3

Pinterest’s Q3 performance report shows it added 26 million more monthly active users (MAUs) in Q3, making its total MAU 442 million. In addition, Pinterest’s revenue grew 58 percent year-over-year.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s growth amid the pandemic is a testament to its efforts to boost the online shopping experience for users, most recently through a new suite of merchant tools that lets brands reach more holiday shoppers.

The details: Pinterest says that particular strength in Q3 came from Pinners under the age of 25, a trend it has seen for several quarters. Pinners in COVID-19, who come to the platform for a specific purpose rather than general inspiration, had higher retention and higher engagement than a cohort of new users during the same period last year, according to the report.

Pinterest also notes that revenue from both conversion optimization and shopping ads continued to grow much faster than its overall revenue.

TikTok Teams With Postmates To Deliver Creator-Led Treats In Los Angeles

TikTok and Postmates have teamed up to bring to life some viral TikTok food trends for delivery in Los Angeles now through November 22. As part of the activation, foodies can order four different treats through exclusive L.A.-based merchants.

Why it matters: According to TikTok, foodie communities have grown “exponentially” on the platform in the past year, which has inspired creators to share their ideas on TikTok videos that have garnered views in the billions.

The details: Through delivery via Postmates, TikTok is offering four treats inspired by creators including pancake cereal through B Sweet, cloud bread available from Dialog Cafe, a bento box available through Sweetfin and whipped coffee from Coffee N’ Clothes.

Instagram Extends Live Time Limit And Will Soon Add Live Archive

Instagram is expanding the time limit for Instagram Live videos from one to four hours for all users worldwide starting today, the company announced. In addition, the app will introduce an option to archive livestreams and a new “Live Now” section in the IGTV app to boost the discoverability of users’ Live videos.

Why it matters: The updates are meant to help users like chefs, artists, fitness instructors and other users who were forced to pivot to Instagram Live events during the pandemic. In March, there was a 70 percent surge in Instagram Live usage.

The details: Instagram users can now go live for up to four hours. Soon, users will be able to archive their Live videos for 30 days before they’re deleted. Lastly, Instagram will add a “Live Now” section in the IGTV app and on the explore page so users can discover more Live videos.

TikTok Boosts Social Commerce With Shopify Partnership

TikTok has announced a global partnership with Shopify to help its 1 million-plus merchants create and run campaigns geared toward TikTok users.

Why it matters: In a recent TikTok study, 88 percent of users said that they discover new content that they enjoy while using the app. And about half of TikTok users said they find new products through advertisements posted by a product or brand.

The details: Through a new TikTok channel for Shopify, Shopify merchants can access core functions of TikTok’s Business Ads Manager without leaving the Shopify dashboard. Through this dashboard, merchants can install or connect their TikTok Pixel with one click, target audiences, track performance and use TikTok’s creative tools. 

Plus, TikTok is offering a $300 ad credit for eligible merchants to jumpstart their first TikTok campaign. The new channel is now available in the US and will roll out to international markets in early 2021.

TikTok has also partnered with Shopify on #ShopBlack, a co-branded in-app campaign that will spotlight black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. The activation will include a custom branded effect, music and content from top creators. From November 10-15, users can explore products from over 40 Shopify merchants through the hashtag #ShopBlack.

Pinterest Announces New Suite Of Merchant Tools

Pinterest wants to help retailers reach more customers this holiday season and revive the experience of offline shopping for Pinners, so it’s introducing a new suite of tools including a new storefront profile, automatic bidding, conversion insights, an improved product tagging test and more.

Why it matters: Pinterest says that searches for queries like “christmas gift ideas” spiked as early as April. In addition, the number of Pinners engaging with shopping surfaces on Pinterest has grown over 85 percent in the past six months.

The details: First up, merchants can transform their shop tab into a storefront with featured in-stock products organized by category. When Pinners search for shopping-related ideas, they’ll see recommended brands based on the product category.

Next, Pinterest says it’s testing an improved product tagging tool that enables merchants to tag their own scene images with exact products.

Pinterest has also made the process of uploading merchants’ catalogs and activating shopping ads faster. This includes the merging of catalogs and collections, which will let brands select a main asset and a corresponding product group to create a multi-image ad unit. According to Pinterest, advertisers who used collections saw a six to 18 percent increase in average total basket size.

Advertisers can now utilize automatic bidding for catalog sales in their Pinterest ad campaigns.

Also part of the new update is a more granular look at conversion performance, which Pinterest summarizes in a funnel via its visualizations tool.

Facebook Publishes New Research On Optimal Ad Frequency

To help advertisers understand the optimal ad frequency, Facebook did an analysis of 2,439 campaigns that ran between November 2019 and March 2020 around the world.

Why it matters: The research shows that more impressions are associated with better action intent and ad recall rates.

The details: As per Facebook:

“It also revealed that there tends to be a plateau, with the positive results no longer increasing as significantly after a handful of impressions. Although the research does not take into account campaign duration, it does suggest that, after a point, brands receive less and less benefit from reaching the same person.”

Facebook says that to achieve optimal frequency and enhance campaign effectiveness, advertisers should embrace creative testing and optimization. To do so, determine when the plateau is reached and use high-quality creative.

Snapchat Adds Barcode Scanning Feature For Food And Wine Labels

After announcing some new additions for its Snap Camera at its annual partner summit in June, Snapchat has launched a new function that lets users scan food and wine labels, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The new scanning option is part of Snapchat’s larger efforts to bolster its visual recognition capacity and follows the app’s addition of a dog breed scanner during the summer. Though Snapchatters long been able to identify products via Amazon and songs via Shazam using the tool.

The details: When scanning a barcode for certain food items, Snapchat will display a new set of nutritional information for that item. Upon scanning wine bottles, Snapchat will provide data such as ratings, prices and places to buy the wine via an integration with third party apps like Yuka and Vivino.

Instagram Vows To Crack Down On Influencers Who Don’t Disclose Paid Partnerships

After a recent investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that found many Instagram influencers were failing to clearly label if they’ve been paid for a post, Instagram has announced that it will launch new tools globally that will require influencers to disclose endorsement before they can publish their post.

Why it matters: The move marks a momentous step toward eradicating the ambiguity around influencer posts, which if not clearly labeled as #ad, have the potential to mislead consumers. According to a Harvard Business Review study, in late 2018, 88 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe that influencers, in general, recommend brands because they are paid to do so.

The details: As part of Instagram’s initiative, ahead of posting users will be prompted to confirm whether they’ve been paid to promote a product. In addition, Instagram’s “paid partnership” tool will be extended to all users globally.

Covering all its bases, Instagram has also said it will deploy technology and algorithms to assess when influencers haven’t disclosed if their post is an #ad.

Additionally, Instagram will create a tool that enables advertisers to understand how their products are being promoted with the option of removing unauthorized or inadequately labeled posts.

The new changes will take effect by June 2021.

Google Expands Visual Search Features To Enhance Shopping And Remote Learning Experiences

Google has expanded its search-based features to include new ways to use Google Lens and augmented reality (AR) for remote learning and shopping, per a company blog post.

Why it matters: Google’s new tools aim to streamline consumers’ experiences during the pandemic, a time when most are adjusting to remote learning and avoiding in-store shopping.

The details: First up, Google Lens can now recognize 15 billion things, up from 1 billion two years ago. Lens can translate more than 100 languages, plus it can pronounce words and sentences out loud. Lens can assist parents with their children’s remote learning via step-by-step guides and videos on foundational concepts to solve math, chemistry, biology and physics problems.

Next, users soon will be able to use Lens to discover new apparel while browsing on their phone. When you tap and hold an image on the Google app or Chrome on Android, Lens will pinpoint the exact or similar items, and suggest ways to style it.

Lastly, Google is testing a feature in the US that will let car shoppers search for a car on Google and see an AR model right in front of them.

Facebook Debuts New Messenger API To Support Businesses On Instagram

Facebook has announced new MessengerAPI features that enable businesses to integrate their Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows.

Why it matters: Up until now, businesses could only respond to customer DMs through Facebook’s unified business box and the Instagram app, making it harder for bigger brands to manage a large number of messages. Facebook says that over the last year, total daily conversations between people and businesses on Messenger and Instagram grew over 40 percent.

The details: This new update means businesses can manage messages initiated by customers throughout their Instagram presence, including their profile, shops and stories.

The update will also bring Facebook Shops messaging features to the Messenger API.

Messenger API support for Instagram is in beta with brands like Adidas, Glossier and Nars currently testing it. Businesses who are interested in using the API post-beta can sign up for the waitlist.

Facebook Publishes New Insights On Groups Usage During Pandemic

Facebook has released the results of a 15-country study it conducted with YouGov in August among 15,000 people who are currently members of online and in-person communities to understand how the role of groups has changed since the pandemic. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said the most important group they’re part of now operates online.

Why it matters: The study follows the launch of Facebook’s new features aimed at making it easier for users to chat in groups, hold Q&A sessions and share a photo about a particular topic.

The details: According to the survey, 91 percent of respondents said they have given some form of support to others during the pandemic through their preferred group.

In addition, 98 percent of people who are part of an online group said they feel a sense of belonging to that group while 33 percent said they feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with their group than with their friends and family.

Community leaders enhanced the group experience as 58 percent of respondents said that one of the top qualities that makes a community successful is having effective leaders.

Snapchat Launches New ‘Sounds’ Music Feature

Snapchat has launched a new feature for iOS Snapchatters globally called ‘Sounds’ that lets users add music clips from a catalog of music from emerging and established artists to their videos.

Why it matters: Snapchat is following in the footsteps of TikTok, where music capabilities have boosted the popularity of viral dance challenges and TikTok creators’ videos in general.

The details: Snapchat says it has multi-year agreements with major and independent publishers and labels such as Warner Music Group, Merlin, NMPA, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt, Warner Chappell Music and BMG Music Publishing.

When a Snapchatter receives a Snap with sounds, they can swipe up to view the album art, song title and artist’s name. A “Play This Song” link then lets users listen to the full song on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.

Snapchat’s ‘Sounds’ kicked off with an exclusive debut of Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco’s new song, “Lonely.”

In the coming months, Snapchat will roll out a feature worldwide that lets users create their own sounds and add them to Snaps.

TikTok Announces Partnership With HackerOne To Enhance User Data Privacy

Timed to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, TikTok has announced a partnership with HackerOne and a series of TikTok videos showing users how to create strong passwords.

Why it matters: In recent months, TikTok has ramped up efforts to protect user data and increase transparency around its practices as a way to quell the federal government’s concerns over the app’s ties to China.

The details: TikTok is expanding its existing vulnerability disclosure policy to a global public bug bounty program through its partnership with HackerOne, whose clients include the US Department of Defense and General Motors. As per the blog post, the partnership will help TikTok uncover potential threats to its security.

TikTok’s #BeCyberSmart video series will feature TikTok employees instructing users on how to make complex passwords, use a password manager to better protect their accounts and more cyber security tips.

Zoom Debuts Paid Events Online Platform ‘OnZoom’

Zoom has launched an events platform and marketplace called OnZoom that enables paid users to create, host and monetize one-time events, drop-ins and event series for up to 1,000 attendees.

Why it matters: The debut of Zoom’s digital events platform comes just a day after the company announced it’s rolling out one of four of its end-to-end encryption meeting options. The platform’s security measures came under scrutiny during the pandemic as users complained of uninvited guests gate-crashing Zoom meetings and bombarding attendees.

The details: With OnZoom, paid Zoom users will be able to schedule and host online events, list and sell tickets, share and promote public events via email and social media and reach new audiences.

The marketplace will feature a directory of public events where users can purchase tickets online, pay for events via PayPal and major credit cards and donate to nonprofit organizations through events with active fundraisers. In addition, users can favorite, share and rate OnZoom events.

TikTok Increases Brand Safety Measures Via Partnership With OpenSlate

TikTok has announced a partnership with the brand safety platform OpenSlate to give advertisers confidence about the placement of their ads.

Why it matters: On its way to the top of the app charts, TikTok has faced various allegations, from compromising user data to encouraging questionable content, giving advertisers concerns around brand safety.

The details: Through the TikTok Brand Safety Solution tool, verified by OpenSlate, TikTok will apply a “high level of safety” to verify and filter content and categories that appear next to branded ads and content. The partnership will enable brands to know and track where their ads are running

Levi’s Elevates Chief Marketing Officer Jen Sey To Brand President

This week in leadership updates, Levi’s promotes CMO Jen Sey to brand president, Hyatt Regency Aruba appoints Denise Florio as director of sales, marketing and events, Riot Games hires Jason Bunge as CMO and more.

Levi’s Names Its Chief Marketing Officer Jen Sey As Brand President

As part of a series of leadership changes at Levi’s, the company has elevated its CMO, Jen Sey, to brand president.

Sey has been with Levi’s for nearly 22 years.

According to the press release, the company is capitalizing on the pandemic-induced shifts in consumer behavior to focus on direct-to-consumer and the digitization of the brand.

Hyatt Regency Aruba Hires Denise Florio As Director Of Sales, Marketing And Events

Denise Florio has joined Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino as director of sales, marketing and events.

Florio’s appointment comes after the resort’s recent multimillion-dollar renovation.

Before joining Hyatt Regency Aruba, Florio served as corporate director of learning and development for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Riot Games Names Jason Bunge As Chief Marketing Officer

Riot Games has announced the appointment of Jason Bunge to CMO.

In his new role, Bunge will oversee Riot Games’ game marketing, product publishing and global strategy teams.

Prior to joining Riot Games, Bunge served as senior vice president of brand management and marketing for Electronic Arts.

Instacart Hires Ariel Bardin As Senior Vice President Of Product

Instacart has announced the appointment of Ariel Bardin to SVP of product.

Before joining Instacart, Bardin spent the last 15-plus years at Google, where he most recently oversaw YouTube’s full suite of creator products as VP of product management.  

InterPrice Technologies, Inc. Appoints Anne Daley As Chief Marketing Officer

Anne Daley has joined InterPrice Technologies, Inc. as partner and CMO, according to a press release.

Most recently, Daley served as a managing director at Barclay’s investment-grade syndicate. Prior to joining Barclay’s, Daley was a senior member in-syndicate at Goldman Sachs.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts Elevates Caroline Klein To Chief Communications Officer

Caroline Klein has accepted a promotion as chief communications officer of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

As part of her new role, Klein will also serve as chief communications officer of Preferred’s sister division PHG Consulting.

Klein joined Preferred in August 2012, first as senior manager of public relations for the Americas and most recently as executive vice president of corporate communications and public relations.

Ad Council Elects New Members To Its Board Of Directors    

The Ad Council has announced new members to its board of directors. In addition, Hayley Romer, chief revenue officer and publisher of The Atlantic, has been appointed secretary of the board.

New members of the Ad Council board include:

  • David Cohen, CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Seth Dallaire, Chief Revenue Officer, Instacart
  • Leslie Gillin, CMO, JPMorgan Chase
  • Michael Guth, SVP and CMO, Spectrum Reach, the advertising sales business of Charter Communications
  • Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, VP, Head of North American Sales & Global Client Solutions, Verizon Media
  • Lee Hurley, CMO, Northwestern Mutual
  • Sean Lyons, Global CEO, R/GA
  • Scott Kelliher, Head of Brand Advertising & Partnerships, eBay Ads
  • Matt Kohan, VP, Marketing Culture & Capabilities, Anheuser-Busch
  • Suzanne Kounkel, Chief Marketing Officer, Deloitte
  • Barri Rafferty, EVP, Head of Communications, Wells Fargo
  • Elizabeth Rutledge, CMO, American Express
  • Cara Sabin, CEO, Sundial Brands, Unilever
  • Melissa Selcher, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, LinkedIn
  • Raj Singhal, COO, Huge
  • Tim Sims, Chief Revenue Officer, The Trade Desk
  • Marisa Thalberg, EVP, Chief Brand and Marketing officer, Lowe’s
  • Alicia Tillman, Global Chief Marketing Officer, SAP
  • Sebastian Tomich, Global Head of Advertising, Marketing Solutions, New York Times
  • Mark Zagorski, CEO, DoubleVerify

Amazon Launches AR App To Be Used With QR Code-Enabled Shipping Boxes

Amazon has launched a new augmented reality (AR) app called “Amazon AR Player” that works with quick response (QR) codes on shoppers’ Amazon boxes to create shareable, immersive experiences.

Available for free on the iOS App Store and Google Play, Amazon AR Player provides shoppers a fun way to interact with their boxes before recycling them. To bring the AR assets to life, users must point their smartphone camera at the QR code on their Amazon box.

The new AR boxes, which just started rolling out, are labeled with the name of the experience and offer three-step instructions on how to activate it. The boxes are made with less material as part of the company’s ongoing sustainability campaign “Less Packaging, More Smiles.”

At launch, the app only offers a Halloween-themed AR experience. But as per the screenshots on the App Store, Amazon AR Player will feature a variety of AR experiences. For example, one screenshot shows an Amazon box transforming into a small blue AR car, while another shows someone drawing the face on a pre-printed white pumpkin, which upon scanning turns into an AR jack-o-lantern.

Amazon also notes in the App Store description that if your phone supports TrueDepth technology, the app will use your smartphone camera to track your facial movements to enable features like its selfie mode.

If you don’t have an Amazon package, you can still experience the app by printing a label here and using their phone to scan the QR code.

Amazon has slowly been ramping up its AR offerings. In August, the company launched a tool compatible on mobile and desktop called Room Decorator that lets you design an entire room with multiple home decor items. The tool also lets you add products to your shopping cart and see recommendations of similar items.

To access Room Decorator, users can click the “View in Your Room” button that appears under qualifying products in the Amazon mobile app on iOS and on desktop.

The Room Decorator tool is the advanced iteration of Amazon’s AR View, which it debuted in 2017 to enable online shoppers to see how one furniture item would look in their living space.

Doing Good With Good Man Brand CMO Nancy Richardson

On this 231st episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Good Man Brand CMO Nancy Richardson. Richardson has held executive positions at companies like Starbucks and Lululemon, and that experience led her to where she is today.

We kick off our conversation talking about Richardson’s past, how being born and raised in Hawaii led her to a career that she just wasn’t happy with, and how her competitive nature from her soccer-playing days brought her into the marketing field. Holding executive positions for a series of startups and fast-growth companies taught Richardson the value of a dollar. “When you have a company that has a finite amount of money in the bank, you have to be so strategic and work with your partners to keep it alive.”

Richardson dives into her ventures. She founded Mom and Pop Shop, a company that pools readily available marketing talent to avoid contracting agencies’ overhead. Her desire to provide value inspired her to write “Work Freely,” a book about loving life and your job at the same time, with the idea “to create something that can help other people.” Next, Richardson talks all about working for Russell Wilson’s Good Man Brand, where “impact is the strategy; revenue is the result.” Good Man Brand creates clothing and shoes “that are made to flex between home, work, and day.” Aligned with a plethora of foundations aimed at changing the world for the better, Richardson and Good Man Brand want to show the world that “doing business and doing good are the same thing!”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Nancy’s past as a competitive soccer player and strategy-driven mindset led her to practice kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. 1:43
  • Born and raised in Hawaii, Nancy eventually found herself in a banking career that she wanted no part of. 2:22
  • Nancy landed her first marketing role at Starbucks, which led her to become VP at Lululemon. 2:45
  • Learning how to build a company from the ground up led Nancy to join Good Man Brand. 3:20
  • Mom and Pop Shop was built out of necessity to stay agile with readily available marketing talent without the overhead. 5:08
  • Work Freely, Nancy’s book, shows people how to love their job and their life simultaneously. 6:00
  • It took Nancy 3 years to write her book, three years filled with self-doubt and vulnerability. 6:54
  • Russel Wilson and his cofounders founded Good Man Brand to create a large-scale positive impact. 7:44
  • 3% of every sale is donated to the Why Not You Foundation to enable and power today’s youth. 8:30
  • Every $100 donated to Friend’s of the Children provides mentors for children that need the most help. 9:05
  • The Everyday Hero Project aims to lead, inspire, and live by highlighting everyday heroes nominated in their communities. 9:57
  • Everyday heroes do what they do to make a positive impact, not so much for the recognition. 10:50
  • The goal is to tell a bigger story around being an everyday hero and what that means to those affected. 11:24
  • Good Man Brand takes a unique approach when it comes to prioritizing impact over revenue. 12:29
  • With impact as a strategy and revenue, as a result, Good Man Brand has reached its target of over 300% growth year-over-year. 13:45
  • Doing business and doing good are completely aligned in Good Man Brand, allowing for positive impact and growth. 15:13
  • Having the right team and people have allowed Nancy to grow with the mindset of making her role obsolete. 16:24
  • Good Man Brand creates clothing that moves with you throughout the day. 18:27
  • There is an equation that relates to looking good, feeling good, and doing good. 19:17
  • Growing up in a traditional Chinese family showed Nancy that working hard isn’t enough to rise above. 19:49
  • You can learn the most from the people that you clash with the hardest. 21:14
  • Nancy invested in a firepit this summer to spend more quality time with her family at home. 22:22
  • For Nancy, it’s about a movement of good brands that empower people and solve a problem. 23:30
  • Too much time is spent analyzing the past when it should be spent innovating for the future. 26:30

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Coty Boosts Conversions With Beauty AR Try-On Lenses In The Middle East

With makeup try-ons in retail stores prohibited due to pandemic safety concerns, Coty enlisted Snapchat to create 17 in-store augmented reality (AR) lenses to make it easy for customers in the Middle East and Africa to test products from Coty brands Bourjois, Max Factor and Rimmel, which heavily rely on selling in physical stores. The experience saw a high conversion rate as 62 percent of those who used the AR lenses ended up buying a product.

The ability to try on products such as lipstick, mascara and foundation in real life is a key driver for beauty and skincare purchases. But with the pandemic limiting opportunities to interact with products in person, Coty teamed up with Snapchat to launch Snapcode-enabled lenses that let customers determine what products from Bourjois, Max Factor and Rimmel would look like on their own face. The AR lenses included eight different shades of lipsticks and foundations.

To use the virtual try-on feature, shoppers could scan Snapcodes for respective products via in-store displays using their phone, which would direct them to Snapchat where they could virtually try on the product. Coty launched the activation across the MENA region in retailers like Lifestyle, Carrefour and LuLu Hypermarket.

“For others looking to try AR, I would say, keep it simple. Less is always more when it comes to Lens experiences. And pick a platform where you can reach your audience in the right frame of mind, at scale – for us, that was definitely Snapchat,” said Alice Bézirard, media leader at Coty Inc.

Through reimagining the beauty product trial experience, Coty’s AR lenses reached 350,000 users who tried on products and shared pictures of their experience. In addition, 18 percent of total sales came from customers who used the AR lenses.

Bézirard says Coty’s activation was particularly effective in Saudi Arabia, where Snapchat has the highest potential reach for its core target. For example, Coty expected the lenses to represent five percent of sales across the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but the results were four times higher in Saudi. Next, Coty plans on expanding lenses to support its ecommerce strategy.

How Cloud Subscription Gaming Could Sabotage The Long-Term Success Of Games

Cloud gaming subscription services have been hailed as a boon to game publishers and developers looking to reach large gaming audiences most effectively. With the largest tech companies competing for market share through their own game subscriptions—Microsoft via Xbox Game Pass, Apple via Arcade, Google via Stadia and recently, Amazon via Luna—game developers have a significant opportunity to receive what may seem to be free marketing. I’m going to share the risk this poses for the game publisher and developer community and how to ensure you’re not sabotaging the long-term success of your games.

Mega corporations are offering established game developers and publishers with all sorts of wonderful financial terms. These include things like sign-on bonuses, hosting, distribution, payment, processing, pricing, monetization, discovery and marketing. Publishers and developers are willing to accept these offers because they’re trying to streamline game distribution and game discoverability and get tons of impressions and downloads in a short amount of time.

One would think that big tech’s involvement eliminates the need for the awareness generation or user acquisition (UA) marketing that you would normally deploy if you were marketing the game through traditional means of other distribution methods. Wrong. What can very quickly happen is that these marketers, publishers and game developers back off on any of their own marketing and rely on these distribution platforms to handle that for them.

But the learning is that won’t last. Those offers will dry up. Those cloud gaming services will become cluttered with thousands of games. And in a few months or years, it will be just as important to market your games on those cloud services as it was for mobile app developers. This cloud subscription gold rush reminds me of 2008-2010 when digital distribution really started taking off. All you had to do to get downloaded on the App Store was get featured. Steam had so few games that any good title got traction.

Don’t just rely on those companies to market your IP, especially if it’s a new IP, because at best you have a short windfall of revenue, and at worst, you’re going to have an IP that hasn’t built any equity with customers.

The next time you release the next iteration of your game, there will be very little brand awareness and affiliation for it, because the gamers that are subscribing to these services view games the same way they view a new series on Netflix. They’re bingeing them. For these gamers, there’s no downside to playing a new game that came out today, putting in 20 minutes or an hour, discarding it and never thinking about it again then doing the same thing with a new game tomorrow.

If you’re not building brand equity with your game, you’re not building brand affinity, and as a result, you become a commodity, that candy bar at the checkout stand, an impulse download.

Game developers and publishers who basically write their own financial terms with mega technology companies are okay with taking small losses in order to gain consumer credit cards on file. But giving up on and relying on another company that isn’t invested in the long-term business health of your company is risky. You’re allowing them to take control of marketing and build your brand. At that point you’re no longer charging directly for your content and it becomes easier to no longer market your own content.

When working with big distribution platforms like Arcade, Stadia, Xbox Game Pass and Luna, be cognizant on the business side and on the marketing side. Is the game you’re willing to give up your rights on in exchange for marketing in the best long-term interests of your company?

As these new cloud services mature and start featuring thousands of games rather than tens or hundreds of games, it’s going to be important to work with these platforms to ensure you can take advantage of and promote your game in the different ways they offer, whether it’s dashboard presence on Xbox or ad buying on Twitch that directly links to a Luna game. The need to figure out how to get better placement and visibility on the dashboards or app stores of these different cloud gaming services will be critical to the long-term success of your game. Your game may get noticed as these Cloud services have limited portfolios, but if you are in business to build a brand/IP, leaving the brand-building up to your 1st party partner is short-sighted!

Study Shows Consumers Notice OOH Ads More Amid Shift Toward Hyperlocal Travel

Nearly half (45 percent) of American adults say they’re noticing out-of-home (OOH) advertising more than before the pandemic began, according to the results of a survey the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and The Harris Poll fielded from September 21-23 among 2,058 US adults aged 18 and up.

The finding comes as consumers have a newfound appreciation for the outdoors, spurred by shelter-in-place orders. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they try to get out of the house as often as they can, even if it’s just a drive or walk around town. Forty-eight percent are also on the hunt for new places to work from home or spend time al fresco, including outdoor parks, outdoor coffee shops or a friend’s patio.

This new shift in behavior has given OOH ads greater visibility, In fact, 45 percent of respondents said they’re noticing billboards, outdoor video screens, posters, signage and other OOH ads more now than before the pandemic.

Among the most helpful OOH ads to consumers are those that include information on COVID-19 safety and hygiene (38 percent), special offers and promotions (23 percent) and updates on a brand’s business hours and services (20 percent).

When asked what their reaction is to these types of OOH ads, 29 percent said they’re grateful for the useful information, 23 percent said it informed them about something new and 20 percent said it comforted them as it’s a sign that business is resuming as usual.

When thinking about products to buy for themselves and others, 56 percent said billboards were useful, followed by 50 percent for subway or public transit station posters and 49 percent for ads on bus shelters or benches. However, 53 percent said ads on the sides of busses or taxi cabs are not helpful.

Consumers’ renewed tendencies to spend time outside is a detriment to digital marketers as 68 percent said they spend so much time looking at screens these days that they often tune out digital online ads.

Though 65 percent of respondents said they’re interested in taking a road trip due to the pandemic, many are reluctant to use certain modes of transportation. For example, 42 percent are using airplanes less and 34 percent said they won’t board a flight until after the pandemic. Similarly, 37 percent said they’re using taxi or ride-sharing services less and 27 percent won’t use these services until the pandemic is over.

In the next few months, 45 percent of respondents said their travel patterns will be decreasing in number of trips and distance in comparison to pre-pandemic; 27 percent believe their travel patterns will be similar to what they were; and 19 percent said their travel patterns will be similar to what they were before the pandemic but more focused on trips closer to home.

COVID-19 has affected 80 percent of consumers’ holiday plans, with 45 percent reporting that they plan to stay home and celebrate with their immediate family only and 27 percent saying they’ll limit the number of people at gatherings to 10 people or less.

Just three percent are willing to travel internationally during the holidays and four percent are willing to travel domestically over 1,000 miles. A majority of respondents will travel anywhere from 50 to 200 miles during the holidays. Twenty-nine percent said they don’t plan to travel to any holiday destination this November or December. For those who do have travel holiday plans, 56 percent will use their personal vehicle and 16 percent will fly.

As far as holiday shopping, 68 percent plan to spend more or the same amount on holiday meals and wine, liquor or beer. But 58 percent prefer shopping online from September through January, followed by 42 percent who want to shop in person.

Still, 43 percent said they try to make fewer trips to the store and stock up on as many items as they can to minimize their in-store shopping, while 34 percent said they’ve stopped casually shopping in-person and only go in for pre-determined items.

The pandemic has also disrupted brand loyalty as 43 percent said they use a mix of new brands and brands they’re familiar with since the pandemic. Thirty-two percent haven’t tried new brands.

Lastly, 65 percent of consumers wish there were more outdoor dining offerings as 47 percent are tired of cooking meals at home.