David Black, MD, branding & consumer markets at Google UK, considers the impending changes in digital marketing, and how brands need to adapt.
Mobile has changed everything. The power that smart devices give us to manage our lives and to make decisions is staggering. We use mobile throughout the day to find inspiration or help to complete a task, to buy goods and services, influence our decisions and satisfy our curiosity.
Brands understand this, of course. A quick look at the latest IAB stats reveals that investment in mobile now accounts for 38 per cent of all digital ad spend in the UK. Mobile continues to rewrite the rules and transform our lives at such a dramatic rate that it is a challenge for marketers to keep up.
The mobile industry’s next big revolution is the addition of machine learning, and brands must adapt their thinking and navigate the speed of change effectively. It is essential that rapidly-evolving technology boosts rather than damages their bottom line.
The difficulty for brands it that we now expect them to be in our lives at the exact moment we need them to serve our requirements. They must not only be useful, but be seen as useful, by delivering fast, relevant and assistive experiences.
With this in mind, marketers must become smarter with how they collect and use data. Machine learning represents a strategic move in marketing that will affect how brands react today and what will be expected of them from now on. The difficulty for marketers is that data and machine learning becomes ever more sophisticated in the way it enhances the user experience.
The behaviours we see on mobile today will only multiply as devices become even smarter. It is already becoming natural to want to interact with a phone or tablet using, for example, our voice. The brands that succeed will be the ones that incorporate these data-driven technologies into their mobile offering to meet a consumer’s frictionless needs in the moment.
The harsh reality is that friction equals failure.
However, the beauty of data and increasingly sophisticated machine learning is that brands can benefit from these enhanced experiences consumers are enjoying on mobile. Brands need to be assistive and react to how technology such as AI is affecting consumer attitudes towards them. After all, we not only expect relevant, personalised and assistive experiences, we demand them.
Mobile has always been a game changer to help savvy brands stay one step ahead of the consumer. Successful marketers have an assistive mindset and a deep understanding of their customers at every encounter. Marketers that use data and technology correctly can take advantage of the huge opportunities mobile provides to engage with consumers and convert them into buyers.
Take the example of popular US retailer Macy’s, which used an at-home music festival to reach millennials in the moments that matter for festival fashion. The store wanted to make a splash in the ever growing ‘festival fashion’ market, while enticing those shoppers to become Macy’s customers. To achieve this it launched its Summer Vibes campaign through a YouTube channel which featured professional influencers. It also ran TrueView Discover video ads to deliver its message to the right audience.
Macy’s used music to reach hundreds of thousands of millennials in a spectacular way and turn their ‘I need some ideas’ moments into’ I want to buy it’ moments. The online festival was viewed more than 4m times on YouTube. The activity also produced a lift in festival product consideration of more than 60 per cent after it aired and a 15 per cent rise in searches for Macy’s on Google and YouTube in the month after the festival.
This is the age of the omni-shopper, and traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers and other brands can struggle to adapt to the mobile age and meet the needs of modern day consumers.
Machine learning can help marketers to embrace omnichannel assistance and ensure there is a seamless bridge between the online and offline experience that every customer has on the path to purchase.
In order to begin to work with mobile in an efficient way marketers need to have faith in the technical experts, as they can help you learn and apply the possibilities of mobile to your business. It’s up to them to grow confidence, and prove that they will deliver solutions to make it easier to scale relevant messages and experiences across all devices at key moments in people’s lives, thus fully harnessing the power of mobile.
David Black is MD, branding & consumer markets, at Google UK