Blog posts by Brent Heslop

what-do-consumers-expect-digital-experiences.png

What Consumers Expect When it Comes to Your Digital Experience (Survey)

Digital experiences make up the entire range of interactions consumers have with businesses across digital channels, devices, and platforms. These experiences don’t just provide a whole new way to consume marketing, content, products, and services—they allow businesses to collect unique consumer data that can help further dial-in each person’s digital experience.

How well companies can use the tools and information at their disposal to deliver these digital experiences is a measure of how successful they’ll be as omnichannel consumption becomes the norm.

To help your business keep up and stay in the know, we asked over 500 U.S. consumers about what they expected from their digital experiences. The essence of what we found was this:

  • Consumers want brands to use personal data
  • Younger consumers are looking for consistent omnichannel experiences, but all consumers expect a consistent digital presence
  • One bad brand experience can ruin your relationship with a consumer

The following is a detailed breakdown of our most important findings, as well as tips on how to use this data to provide digital experiences your consumers crave.

Consumers Want You to Act on Their Behavioral Data

According to our survey, most people — 87.3 percent, do not expect content on a brand’s channels (think website, mobile application, social media, and more) to be personalized to their specific location, device, search history, and so on.

However, 32.3 percent do expect content and products to be personalized based on their past interactions with the business. Similarly, 17.4 percent also expect a company’s marketing materials, such as ads and emails, to be customized to them.

This aligns with our past findings indicating that, generally, consumers are fine sharing personal data with brands—as long as they’re getting customization in return.

What this tells us is that consumers have a decent enough understanding of how personalization works to expect it when it’s reasonable. And, they’re willing to give you the info you need to get started with personalizing their digital experiences — as long as you make it worth their while.

consumers-expect-marketing-messaging.png

Newer Generations Expect Consistent Digital Experiences Across Channels

Just over 38 percent (38.2%) of respondents overall said they expect to be able to start a session on one device and finish it on another when using an application. For example, a person expects that when opening up the Spotify app on their laptop, it plays the same song that they were jamming to on their phone during their run.

When broken down by age, over half of the respondents aged 18-34 expect to be able to start something on one device and continue seamlessly on another. However, fewer than 34 percent of people above the age of 35 have the same expectation.

For businesses, this means it’s essential for a business’ app to be able to save a user’s sessions across multiple devices if their ideal audience is Millennials and Gen Zers. As we’ll learn later, it could mean the difference between retaining or losing that user.

millenials-vs-gen-x.png

Everyone Expects a Consistent Digital Presence

The majority of content consumers (59.2 percent) expect a company to have consistent information on every channel (website, app, email, etc.). And, about half of respondents expect a company’s mobile app to have the same features as their desktop website.

When product or service content does need to change, 60 percent of respondents said they expected the company’s websites, emails, text messages, and other communications to all reflect these changes on the very same day.

As the majority opinion shows, it isn’t an option to roll out changes to a single channel, product, or piece of content at a time.

If you have more content and more changes than you can keep up with, we recommend upgrading your content management system (CMS) to a headless platform that enables you to create, optimize, distribute, store, and even reuse content across channels easily.

Do you think your company is missing out on valuable opportunities because of an outdated, rigid CMS? Read about the 5 Signs Your CMS is Causing Astronomical Opportunity Cost.

consistency-of-business-experience.png

One Poor Digital Experience May Cut the Relationship Short

Over 60 percent of our survey respondents said they’re “never” or “not likely” to continue shopping with a company after a single poor experience on their website, mobile app, or other platforms.

what-do-consumers-expect-from.png

Luckily, we’ve already uncovered the essential digital experiences that we know keep consumers coming back for more — using personal data to provide personalized products and messages, implementing seamless sessions across channels, and producing an all-around consistent digital presence.

But, how do you provide all of this without maxing out your technology or staff budget?

How to Give Consumers the Digital Experiences They Expect

To prepare for delivering digital experiences, answer the following questions.

Do you need to gather and act on personalized consumer data?

How are you providing a seamless digital experience and brand presence across channels and sessions?

Does your digital experience strategy take steps to avoid poor digital experiences that can damage your relationships with consumers?

A crucial first step to providing digital experiences is to set up a digital experience platform with a user-friendly headless CMS that includes all the content management and collaboration tools of a traditional CMS but employs a decoupled architecture. A decoupled, headless CMS enables you to take advantage of best-in-class integrations from CRM to AI to personalization engines and more.

Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted through Google Surveys. 501 responses were collected from men and women in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 64. The margin of error is ~4.4 percent.

Read More
how-to-keep-players-engaged.png

4 Ways to Keep Gamers Engaged in Today’s Competitive Market

If you’re involved in the gaming industry, chances are you’ve felt the pressure of what seems like nearly constant releases competing for players’ time, attention, and money. Considering there are over 900,000 mobile games on the market right now, you’d be right to feel that way. If you’re struggling to build a loyal and engaged audience, keep reading to learn four powerful tactics for winning over players’ eyes, hearts, and wallets.

The Rise of the Hyper-Competitive Gaming Age

Between 2018 and 2019, the average time spent playing video games grew by over 19%. In 2019, the average gamer spent about 7 hours of gaming each week, 34% of gamers played for more than 7 hours, and almost 20% played for more than 12 hours per week.

The game research organization Newzoo predicts that games will account for 72% of all app revenues in 2020. Broadcast eSports—the name given to competitive gaming—are expected to reach 300 million viewers (rivaling the NFL) by 2022 and may even be included in the 2024 Summer Olympics!

esports-scholarship-growth.png

As gaming popularity proliferates, it’s no longer going to be enough to make great games. Companies are also going to have to find ways to keep players engaged continuously. Because the longer players stay engaged, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate income (After all, of the $2.4 billion Fortnite grossed in 2018, a billion was generated from in-game sales!).

Tactics to Keep Gamers Engaged in Your Video Games

From adopting the right content management system to engaging in online communities to revamping your in-game advertising—these four tactics will keep gamers engaged.

Understand and Tailor Your Messaging to Your Core Audience

Doing the work to find, define, and understand your core audience—then tailoring your messaging to reach them—can fall by the wayside when you’re already doing everything you can to keep up with a rapidly-growing market.

However, it’s essential to stand by this Marketing 101 trick, no matter how popular you think your game can be: You need to understand and tailor your messaging to your core audience. Doing so is crucial because it enables you to predict what kind of games and content they expect from you in the future, so that you always hit the mark. Remember, once you gain traction with a dedicated fanbase, you can always expand to new audiences.

Keep Content Fresh and Relevant with The Right Content Management System

Once you’ve identified and connected with a few key audiences, you have to find a way to keep them engaged with relevant, regular content through every exciting new development and release.

The typical system is to spin up a small new website, commonly referred to as a microsite, for each new game. Any time you want to highlight a new feature, switch out some screenshots, add a new video of gameplay, or change out some marketing copy, a developer has to get involved writing, testing, and launching the updated code. As the games and the audiences add up (good for your bottom line!), so do the menial, manual development tasks (bad for your development team!). This traditional way of doing things can’t scale at the same rate at which you need to grow.

Enter headless content management.

headless-cms-api-graphic.png

A headless content management system (CMS) separates the content layer from its presentation layer. This separation allows content managers to create, publish, and make content changes at any time. Simultaneously, designers and developers can be working on the frontend to ensure flawless delivery no matter the platform or device. All are empowered to do their jobs the way they want when they need to do them.

The modular, API-driven structure of a headless CMS also means content can connect through various integrations that help personalize it, optimize it for different audiences, and even localize it so that it feels customized for every market.

telltale-games-testimonial.png

To learn more about how headless CMS empowers the marketing and engineering teams at Telltale Games, the producers of Minecraft: Story Mode and The Walking Dead Series, read Headless CMS Simplifies Marketing for Gaming Company.

Participate In or Build Your Own Gaming Communities

The stereotype of the lonely, basement-bound gamer is about as outdated as the landline telephone—especially since the development of technology that allows people to connect for gaming no matter where they are in the world. Today, more than 60% of gamers play with others, both in-person and online. Of the 23 most-followed YouTube channels, about 40% are gaming-focused.

Becoming active in or even creating your own community where gamers can come together to discuss your product and others they love is a great way to reach a broad and diverse audience. Communities keep them engaged with your brand, and pique their interest the next time you release a new game.

YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Facebook Gaming, HitBox, Beam, Bigo Live, and Caffeine.tv are all great places to interact with audiences who love to watch video games live. And of course, you can also join or create your own Facebook group or other digital forums to get the conversation started. With an established community at your fingertips, marketing and driving engagement in your current and future products is a whole lot easier.

Keep Ads Non-Intrusive

Researchers at the global business analysis firm IHS Technology found that over 63% of mobile display ads will be native by the end of 2020. We can see why, considering that consumers engage with native ads up to 60% more often than with static ads. And surprisingly, intrusive ads have been found to trigger the brain’s “fight or flight” response!

To advertise in a way that engages gamers while gaming, the rule is mercifully simple: If you’re going to show ads, make sure they feel native. Take, for example, the advertisements in FIFA’s video game on the right, below. They make perfect sense in the modern arena setting. The Mountain Dew shirt in the left image, however, seems jarring in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker—a game set in the jungles of Costa Rica in 1974.

advertising-in-gaming-example.png

How Will You Keep Gamers Engaged in the Competitive Gaming Age?

Believe it or not, gamers want to stay engaged in your games—it’s just that there are so many good options on the market vying for their attention that it’s hard to stay immersed in any one thing for too long! If you understand and speak directly to your ideal audience, keep content fresh across various channels and platforms, participate in gaming communities, and don’t alienate players with alarming ads—you’ll be able to keep gamers engaged.

Read More
digital-commerce-trends.png

5 Must-Know Digital Commerce Trends for 2020 and Beyond

People are talking to personal shopping robots, storefronts are morphing to mirror passers-by, and consumers are using hand-held computers to digitally try on clothes from the comfort of their own homes. It’s not science fiction—it’s a reality in the year 2020.

In this piece, we’ll explore the futuristic-sounding technology described above, evolutions in traditional operational models, and other digital commerce trends that will present significant opportunities for the digital retailers that take advantage of them in 2020 and beyond.

5 Must-Know Digital Commerce Trends for 2020 and Beyond

With some trends you know, such as omnichannel shopping, and some that may surprise you, for example, advertising is going to change—here are five digital commerce trends you absolutely must prepare for to survive and thrive in 2020 and beyond.

Options for Shopping Channels and Devices Will Continue to Grow

Omnichannel retailers use technology to tie together shopping channels to “…create a unified shopping experience across every single device and channel that a consumer uses to interact with their business.”

This approach to retail provides consumers with a seamless and continuous flow at every touchpoint (from social ads to mobile ecommerce sites to in-store kiosks) with which they interact when they’re researching or making a purchase from a business. And, omnichannel retail product and content delivery is practically a requirement for brands that want to remain modern and competitive.

increase-of-customer-touchpoints.png

The average digital consumer has five profiles across various online channels. And the majority of them expect consistent interactions across every profile they use to shop and interact with retailers.

What’s more, omnichannel shoppers spend an average of 4% more on every in-store shopping trip and 10% more online! Compared to single-channel shoppers, omnichannel shoppers visit their favorite retailers’ 23% more often and have a 30% higher lifetime value. Yet, 55% of shoppers still say their retail experience is “disjointed” when switching between channels, and only 22% of North American retailers consider omnichannel retail a priority.

There is a significant disconnect between today’s shoppers and retailers—which presents a critical opportunity for ecommerce businesses that can provide seamless products, content, and experiences across channels.

omnichannel-experiences-priority.png

A headless content management system (CMS) like Contentstack is the answer to making omnichannel ecommerce possible by empowering retailers to create content just once and publish it everywhere.

Because a headless CMS has no built-in front-end system that determines how or where content will be displayed, content managers can serve consistent content experiences across websites, apps, chatbots, connected home devices, voice assistants, and more.

And thanks to an API-first architecture, Contentstack and other modern headless systems can easily integrate with API-powered ecommerce platforms, such as commercetools, to create robust, scalable ecommerce sites that are always up-to-date and ready for whatever the future of digital commerce holds.

Shoppers Will Use Augmented Reality to “Interact” With Digital Products

Augmented reality (AR) technology enables shoppers to use cameras on their smart devices to display digital elements in the physical world. And digital commerce brands like IKEA and Converse are setting the standard for how brands can take advantage of AR to enable their shoppers to get a “feel” for products before purchasing them online—saving everyone a lot of time, money, and headache.

IKEA enables shoppers to use their smartphones to virtually “place” furniture in their homes so they can visualize how certain products will fit into their space before making an expensive commitment. Converse’s smartphone app helps shoppers virtually try on shoes and share their cool, AR-enhanced kick pics on social media! AR is big business in the retail space—and there are numerous tools on the market (IKEA uses ARKit, for example) for digital commerce brands that are ready to get in on the new revenue stream.

Facial Recognition and Device Tracking Will Become The Norm

In 2020, retail businesses will hone in on omnichannel marketing and sales by integrating data gathered in-person with online customer profiles. This type of tracking is possible using radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled beacons and WiFi to track devices, sensors to monitor movement, and cameras and facial recognition software to identify specific consumers. Retailers will finally be able to understand how shoppers interact with their physical stores the same way they use analytics tools to tell what’s happening in their digital ones!

Bringing together web, mobile, social, and now in-person data will put retailers in a position to provide 360-degree customer experiences in 2020. Take the eyewear retailer BonLook, for example. Thanks to smart cameras and sensors, they can tell you how many glasses-wearing women in their target age range walked by any one of their shops, at any given time, on any given day. Furthermore, they can break down how many of those people came into the store and how many completed a transaction. Using this information, BonLook was able to grow their conversions overnight just by updating their storefront advertising to better appeal to the group of passers-by whom they wanted to convert. With results like that, what retailer with brick-and-mortar stores wouldn’t want to try out fascinating new tracking technology?!

The Advertising Model Will Morph Into Something New

When you think of digital commerce advertising, chances are you think of Google, Amazon, and the big social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and so on. And you’d be right, considering that Google and Facebook combined take in 61% of all digital advertising spend in the U.S., on average.

Over $270 billion was spent globally on digital ads in 2018 alone. Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every single day—and at least 75% of them engage in at least one form of ad-blocking. Consumers are (understandably) overwhelmed, jaded, and less and less likely than ever to click on traditional, “interruption-based” ads.

That’s why, in 2020 and beyond, we’ll see advertising become more non-traditional, experiential, and naturally embedded in everyday experiences. Just look at Procter & Gamble’s Bare Skin Chat YouTube series, which features relevant celebrities in entertaining videos that are both engaging and informational—and has millions of views. In 2020, it’s time to create digital commerce advertising experiences that consumers want!

bare-skin-chat-results.png

Voice-Based Digital Commerce Will Generate Billions

If you weren’t sure whether or not smart speakers were a passing trend, look at the most prominent players in the market—Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant. If the tech giants are investing, you know it’s time you should too.

In 2018, there were 2.5 billion voice-enabled devices. Predictions are that by 2023 there will be 8 billion of them. By some estimates, as many as half of all searches may be done by voice in 2020. And how about the voice-powered shopping market, specifically? Estimates are that the market is going to exceed $40 billion by 2022. If you are not optimizing the products and content on your website or app for voice search, make 2020 your year to upgrade.

Will You Invest in These Digital Commerce Trends for 2020?

Your level of investment in the trends we discussed today will help determine if your digital commerce business can succeed as the new decade breeds increasingly-capable technology and increasingly-savvy consumers.

A flexible and scalable CMS in place empowers you to keep up with growing shopping channels and devices. For example, AR app integration that allows shoppers to interact with your digital products, facial recognition and smart software gathering in-person data, a new and more natural advertising strategy, and optimizing content and products for the billion-dollar voice-shopping industry. By investing in these digital commerce trends, you won’t just be ready to survive in 2020—you’ll be prepared to thrive.

Read More
content-personalization-technology.png

Everything You Need to Know About Content Personalization Technology [Infographic]

It’s the baseline for the all-important customer experience that’s overtaking product and price as the key differentiator in 2020.

It locks down loyalty, revs up revenue, and catapults conversions.

It’s part of the DNA of the future-proof enterprise.

And, it’s even the most critical marketing trend of this century.

It’s content personalization, and at Contentstack, we’re no strangers to it. And to be competitive in the future, you shouldn’t be either.

Personalization utilizes data to create content, products, marketing, and more that’s unique and relevant to each consumer. It enables businesses to remain competitive and relevant in a digital economy where consumers are increasingly motivated to engage with brands that keep their personal best interests in mind.

Content personalization pays off when you consider that, at its peak maturity, personalization can lift revenue by as much as 60%, 6X email conversion rates, improve brand satisfaction by 20%, and pack plenty more big business benefits.

There’s no doubt that content personalization presents business-changing opportunities. However, to use it to its maximum benefit, organizations must adopt key technological elements that will empower them to optimize and serve fully-personalized content, products, marketing, and more.

That’s why, in this infographic, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how content personalization works and the content personalization technology you need to level-up and lead your industry in delivering the personalized experiences that consumers crave.

content-personalization-technology-infographic.png

Read More
localization-and-personalization-at-scale.png

Localization and Personalization at Scale

Marketing used to focus on the big picture—which single approach would appeal to the most significant number of customers or prospective customers? That’s because businesses had minimal data about their customers. At most, they might have had a bit of demographic information and a physical address.

Times have changed. Today, companies have access to an incredible amount of data from their customers, including their interests, their locations, what languages they speak, what types of products they have purchased in the past, and even what topics they have recently searched. Access to this data is making it easier than ever to create a personalized, localized online experience—which offers significant benefits for both users and brands.

What Are Personalization and Localization?

When it comes to marketing strategy, personalization and localization have become critical for brands looking to compete in an increasingly competitive global market. But, what do these terms mean and, more importantly, why do they matter for brands?

Personalization refers to using detailed data about a specific consumer to customize the messages you send them. This data may include their name, when they last visited your site, what items they added to their cart but didn’t purchase, or specific actions they’ve performed on your app—such as adding a coupon.

For example, a SaaS company might decide to send a consumer a coupon for an item they added to their cart but didn’t purchase. Not every customer would get this coupon, and each customer would get a coupon applicable to their specific purchase.

Localization is about sending the right message, to the right consumer, at the right time, and in the right place. Think of localization as utilizing real-time data about individual markets to create hyper-specific content or offers that feel unique.

For example, a fast-food company might email coupons to all its customers, but provide different offers based on location. They might send a coupon for ice cream to customers located in southern or western regions where temperatures are warmer, and a coupon for free soup to customers in regions where the weather is still cold.

So, how are personalization and localization different? Personalization looks more at specific users, while localization considers segmented customer markets as a whole. Personalization might use a person’s name, while localization would use their local language and images from their city.

Why Do Personalization and Localization Matter to Businesses?

While personalization and localization look slightly different when it comes to implementations, the benefits are very similar. Content and offers that are personalized and localized are more relevant, more useful, and, from the customer’s standpoint, more valuable.

localization-and-personalization.png

At their core, personalization and localization matter because they create a more relevant customer experience. And that results in higher conversions.

Why Localization and Personalization Is the Future of Marketing

Marketing trends rise and fall with predictable regularity. Remember Facebook’s organic reach? Once upon a time posting from a business Facebook page was a pretty effective way to reach all your customers. Now, not so much.

However, localization and personalization of content are unlikely to be a passing trend. Several shifts in recent years indicate that these movements are not fleeting buzzwords, but powerful shifts in the way businesses need to market to consumers for years to come.

The Growth of Technology

In the past decade, technology has given us access to more information and data than ever before. Most of us now carry a computer that is millions of times more powerful than the computer used to get Niel Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969.

Technology has also given rise to the growth of automation and machine learning, which are taking over previously laborious manual tasks such as content translation, data collection, and even workflow approvals. As technological advances continue, it will become easier to provide personalized and localized content that customers crave.

Mobile’s Continued Rise

In the third quarter of 2019, mobile traffic accounted for more than half of all internet traffic for the first time. Google’s ‘mobile-first’ indexing is another indication of the growing power of mobile. In the coming years, mobile traffic and mobile-driven commerce are sure to continue to grow.

Successfully converting global customers on their devices requires delivering content that is both personalized and localized no matter where they’re shopping, when they’re shopping, or what devices they’re using to do their shopping.

The Omnichannel Surge

Before the internet, people accessed information in a handful of ways—mostly through newspapers and televisions. Today, the rise in second screens means customers are interacting with brands on their mobile devices while watching TV, shopping online, or interacting through social media, email, via websites, and mobile apps—and sometimes in more than one place at the same time.

Localizing and personalizing content for each channel, and each customer shows your audience you are paying attention, and you understand their wants and needs. This attention to detail builds trust with consumers.

The Power of Personal

In the coming years, personalized content will no longer be a nice-to-have; it will be a need-to-have. As major brands roll out more personalized content, customers are beginning to expect brands to create content that anticipates their needs and is relevant to their lives.

localization-and-personalization-consumer-stat.png

How To Achieve Hyper-Personalization with Localization

Personalization and localization will continue to drive growth and revenue for businesses in the coming years. And while many companies are looking at how to implement these strategies, there is often a disconnect between the two. The reality is, the two work best when applied hand-in-hand. The following explains how to combine personalization and localization and get the most out of both approaches.

Smart Content Translation

As ecommerce continues to attract global consumers, it is no longer enough for businesses to offer a single-language site. A survey of non-Anglophone consumers found that 60% of shoppers rarely or never make purchases from English-only sites. Content translation allows shoppers to build trust with brands that, quite literally, speak their language.

But don’t stop at translation. Make sure to update other language and location-based aspects of your site (that’s where localization comes in), such as listing prices in local currency. According to a study by Shopify, up to 33% of shoppers are likely to abandon a purchase when prices appear only in USD.

localizationand-personalization-online-shopping-stat.png

Multilingual Chatbots

Chatbots are useful for business. According to Chatbots Magazine, companies that implement chatbots on their websites can save up to 30% on customer service costs by providing customers with information and solving repetitive questions.

By making your chatbots multilingual, customers can access answers to their questions quickly and build trust. Most customers want to navigate the internet in their native tongue, and using chatbots to speak to them in their native language is a natural extension of this.

Predictive Analytics

As users interact with your app, site, chatbots, and other digital properties, they are giving you tons of information about who they are and their preferences.

For example, based on previous purchases, you can tell what types of products might interest a certain consumer—similar to Amazon’s recommendations. You may also be able to understand what their preferred customer support channels are or what times they are more likely to check their phones via app interactions.

This information, in concert with platforms like a CMS, CDP, and CRM, will allow you to, for example, call a prospect when they are most likely to be available or respond to a question through their preferred communication channel.

Artificial Intelligence

Many brands are already using artificial intelligence to work with content and automate tasks like content translation, ad targeting, and content optimization. Using data points gathered from customer behavior, AI can also help personalize and localize content by offering targeted content recommendations based on actions a user takes, the person’s location, and the language they speak.

The Future of Content and Marketing

Personalization and localization are the future of business content and marketing. Yet, only a small portion of brands are leveraging this strategy, which is a shame when so many customers indicate that it’s important to them—and they are even willing to spend more money on it.

Understanding how to implement both personalization and localization are critical to business success in the coming years. To learn more about personalization, check out our recent blog, “How to Tap Into the Power and Profit of Personalized Communication,” and to learn more about localization, read our blog, “How Content Localization Can Benefit Your Company in a Global Market".

Read More