4 More Nominations for NMPi

It’s been an exciting day for NMPi: we’re delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the RAR+ Digital Awards and Effective Digital Marketing Awards!

The RAR+ Digital Awards are incredibly important to us as the nominations come from the feedback our clients give. So, being a finalist in the category Best Online Advertising means the work we are doing is truly beneficial for our clients.  We are so humbled to have received this nomination.

We have also been shortlisted for the Effective Digital Marketing Awards. First, we’re up for the Most Effective Performance Campaign for our work with East Midlands Trains. We’re also nominated for the Most Effective Search Marketing Campaign and Most Effective Retail and FMCG Campaign for our work with Harvey Nichols.These nominations follow our recent wins at the Performance Marketing Awards and the Drum Search Awards. The ceremonies are in June and July respectively, and we’re looking forward to some more amazing nights to celebrate the incredible achievements of our teams.




The 4 Things Every Retailer Needs to Know Before Going International

Last week’s Retail (R)Evolution hosted by Pitney Bowes explored how global e-commerce is evolving, and NMPi’s CEO, Luke Judge, was there to share his expertise on cross-border marketing along with Feng Chang from Rue La La and Jodi Goldberg from Google.

The panel session highlighted four key themes, delving into the strategies that every international retailer should know for building successful cross-border marketing campaigns.

Choosing a Territory

If your business is new to international e-commerce then it can be daunting to decide where to begin. Each market is unique, even if they share a language they will have their own nuances, so how do you choose?

We don’t advise going global initially, instead look at your data and see what it is telling you. For instance, brand awareness will have a massive impact on your success within a market. If a consumer is aware of your brand it boosts their propensity to buy.  

Using the likes of Google Trends you can gain insight into which countries have a greater search volume for your brand terms. Make sure to check this yearly, just because the market is always changing.

Brand awareness, whilst a good indication, is not the only area to consider. What language is your existing site in; if its English will that affect the likelihood of an international consumer making a purchase? Look at areas which may have a greater population of expats, or perhaps areas where you have a price advantage.

All of these factors come into play when selecting which markets to enter, but once you have selected a market there is still more to be done.

Choosing your Inventory

One of the first things you have to set up when you’re preparing to break into international markets is your inventory. The products you sell need regional interest and be mindful of seasons. For example, due to the difference in seasons, if you are a retailer in the US or UK countries like Australia or South Africa are great for getting rid of old seasonal stock.

Having a big inventory to choose from is useful, but it isn’t crucial. Don’t discount the power of a small product selection in which everything has a high demand. Also, having exclusive rights to sell a high demand product will greatly increase your chances of success.

How to Price

If you cannot be price competitive within a market, and your products are not exclusive then it is very unlikely you will be able to steal market share and beat out the competition. This should make it one of your top priorities, especially when working with a limited inventory.

Price conversion, whilst it might seem obvious, is something we recommend having in place before expanding into a market. Not only do your products sell better when in the local currency, but helps to avoid confusion and mismatched pricing between your Google Shopping campaigns and your Paid Social campaigns for example.

Don’t forget to factor in the extras such as import taxes and international shipping, as we sometimes see customers abandoning their baskets after seeing additional costs.

Factor in International Shipping

On that note, campaigns tend to perform better and drive a greater ROI when shipping promotions are included. When you’re breaking into a new market, including an offer for free international shipping in your ads will often result in a higher conversion rate, but make sure to be upfront about the thresholds of this promotion. No consumer likes to get to the end of a purchase and realise they don’t qualify for your promotion.

Example: “Free Shipping to the UK when you spend over $50”

You might be tempted to take advantage of one of the many sales holidays across the globe like Singles Day in China, Click Frenzy in Australia, and Black Friday, which has become a truly worldwide phenomenon. However, when it’s not your domestic market you may find that despite having great offers you lose out on sales because of international shipping. Unless you can compete, it’s better to avoid getting lost in the crowd and hold off on your international promotions until after the holidays. We often see better performance when clients offer free international shipping outside holiday sales periods as it removes the need to devalue inventory and reduces competition.

If shipping promotions are not right for your business, ensure that you find the right balance of product cost and shipping cost. Too high a shipping cost, and much of your ad spend gone into bringing them to the site will be wasted. Too high a product cost, and you’ll struggle to get potential customers onto the site. It’s important to keep your basket abandonment rates in mind to help you strike the perfect balance.

Cross-Channel Approach

Each marketing channel has their own strength and weaknesses. For instance, visual channels such as Google Shopping, Display and Social Media grab the attention of the consumer and help to increase awareness of your highlighted products. Paid Search, on the other hand, is great for getting the consumer to convert.

Just as different channels have different outcomes, marketers have a range of goals they need to achieve. It would be unwise to place all your eggs in one basket and expect for an adequate ROI.

Create a holistic approach to your international marketing strategies and make sure all of your channels are communicating with each other. If you track Search conversions on AdWords, Display conversions on Criteo and Facebook conversions through the Facebook pixel, you might be triple-counting your sales and wasting all-important budgets. Complete oversight is one of the biggest ways to ensure success when breaking out internationally.

The Future

In a global world where the distance between countries is getting smaller and smaller, and our connection to each other becomes greater all the time,  it’s necessary to keep an eye on the latest innovations in the industry, especially those that will be maturing in the 2-3 years. We expect 3 big changes:

  • 1-click payments will become the norm on Social Media platforms
  • There will widespread uptake of 2hr delivery vis-a-vis Amazon Prime Now
  • China’s advanced image recognition technology will expand into western countries like the UK and US.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of the Royal Wedding

There is nothing the British love more than a right royal knees up, and nothing more perfectly encapsulates this than a royal wedding. Much like many summertime events – Royal Ascot, the Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race, actually seeing the sun – it provides an opportunity to sit outside (perhaps with a barbecue?) with your nearest and dearest, enjoying a Pimms.  British culture at its absolute finest.

And there is also nothing advertisers and brands love more than an opportunity to boost their sales. While Harry and Meghan’s nuptials were by no means as closely followed as older brother Will’s wedding to Kate, there has been just enough uptake from advertisers to allow me to present my take on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Royal Wedding-related advertising.

The Good

There are very few things in this world that I love, and Warburtons brings two of them together in what is perhaps my favourite campaign. Combining puns and bread, the simple adverts get the balance just right between jumping on the royal bandwagon, but not being too in your face.

Frequent readers of G/B/U will know that I have something of a soft spot for KFC adverts. They last made an appearance during Valentines Day with their scratch and sniff cards (of which I received precisely none. Thanks everyone), and they’re back again with a limited edition, redesigned bucket. The traditional red has been replaced with gold and a quote “We declare a regal day of celebration, jubilation…..and fried chicken.”

Just 50 of them were available on the day, and only in the branch nearest to the church in Windsor. I can’t tell you why I love it. Perhaps it is the light dust of humour that seems to perfectly fit the gravitas of the occasion. Perhaps I just love fried chicken that much. All I know is that I wish I had been one of the lucky recipients.

The Bad

Oh, Nintendo. I love your products so very much. Your Royal Wedding ad, however, I do not. London-dwellers (or at least anyone who has used the Tube in the last few weeks) will recognise this Super Mario Odyssey poster, which has been plastered in every station from West Ruislip to Epping.

I have questions. First: the copy reads “Hats off to the Royal Couple”, yet Mario’s hat remains firmly on his head. Why? Also, why is there a second hat hovering in the background? I admit that this may be explained should I ever play Super Mario Odyssey.

Some people love it, but honestly? I’m not impressed.

The Ugly

This is a definition that often fluctuates depending on the topic, but this time “ugly” actually means ugly, and to be honest its one of the ugliest things I have ever seen. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Sexy Fish Car.

It’s not pretty, is it? The Sexy Fish Car is for London-based Asian seafood and sushi restaurant and has appeared around the capital before. The idea behind the photo shoot is apparently that the royal couple are doing some last minute wedding errands – something which is very unlikely, but hey.

First off: if I hadn’t researched this and known that Sexy Fish was a restaurant I would be very confused. I’m still pretty confused. Secondly, the car is an abomination. Finally, I’ll forgive a lot in ads but there is a tenuous at best story here.

What would have been more interesting is if the car had the classic “Just Married” cans on the back: something which actually relates to the car itself as opposed to having a couple who sort of look like Prince Harry and Meghan posing next to it. While it wouldn’t improve the car itself, it would certainly improve the advert overall.

But more generally than this, Sexy Fish is an incredibly high-end restaurant in Mayfair which begs the question: why would such a fancy and expensive restaurant promote itself using such a tacky car? I am baffled – the car does not match the rest of the brand at all. It missed the mark at literally every point.

Regardless, this is not what the royal wedding was about. It was a beautiful expression of love between two frankly beautiful people. So I raise my glass to the happy couple and wish them every joy in the world. Just please don’t ever get into the Sexy Fish car.

NMPi Acquires Boutique Paid Social Specialists, MediaPact

We are excited to announce our acquisition of boutique paid social specialists, MediaPact. Following a year of international expansion in 2017, this kicks off another year of continued growth. Last year, we opened 2 offices in the US, and this will further our growth in the Paid Social market: allowing us to grow our presence in the US market, providing benefits not just to our US clients but those across the globe.

MediaPact is based in Los Angeles, California, offering paid social advertising on a performance model and working with clients such as Fabletics, JustFab and Nicequest. With their specific expertise and our international footprint, it’s a match made in heaven that will further develop our Paid Social offering.

Our CEO, Luke Judge, took a moment to discuss what this acquisition means for the company. “We are always looking for ways to strengthen our service offering and from the beginning, it has been clear that NMPi and MediaPact’s similar heritage, rooted in performance marketing, makes us a great match.”

Paid Social has been an integral part of our proposition for a number of years, and this expansion of our knowledge couldn’t come at a better time. MediaPact’s American influence will help support our continued growth in the US market, and will also allow our clients to gain earlier access to Facebook and Instagram betas that are launched overseas first.

“MediaPact’s knowledge will help amplify our expertise and reach for a service that is growing exponentially within our business,” says Judge.

Nathan McCurley, Senior Customer Success Manager at MediaPact, is also looking forward to the partnership. “Social media marketing remains a vital part of our strategic offering and we’re excited for the joint benefits this acquisition will bring.”

This acquisition demonstrates that we have no plans to slow down after 2017’s successes and that we at NMPi will continue to grow, both in terms of our services and our international activity.  

Facebook Attribution: Smoke & Mirrors or the Real Deal?

Whilst it is tempting for any current blog regarding Facebook to address the ongoing scandal around the illicit harvesting, packaging and selling of unknowing users’ data, there is another Facebook practice shrouded in just as much mystery: attribution.

Many digital marketing channels have moved their attribution towards time-decay models, data-driven attribution or, at the very least, last click. However, Facebook stubbornly remains in a siloed, insular attribution model that is more in keeping with the early 2000’s than 2018. Ultimately, this is impacting advertiser’s desire to invest further in a channel that is unparalleled in terms of its targeting capabilities and creative options.

The Problem

The main problem with Facebook’s attribution is their steadfast refusal to allow third-party post-view tracking on all custom targeting options. Without third-party tracking, it’s not possible to de-dupe against your other marketing channels. As a result, Facebook will attribute a sale to an ad within Facebook regardless of whether this was the only touch point in the path to purchase or whether the user viewed a display ad, clicked a search ad and then just glanced at their Facebook during the checkout process.

This effect can be seen in the example below, where three channels would have claimed responsibility for the driven sale.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard stories of Paid Social claiming up to a ridiculous 50% of total digital revenue as a result of this siloed view, with over 80% of overall revenue already accounted for by properly attributed channels.

Consequently, we as marketers are put in a position where we need to decide between completely overvaluing the effect of post-view interactions on revenue, or solely utilising post-click attribution via attribution services such as Google Analytics.

This overvaluation of Facebook’s role in the conversion path ends up having the inverse effect, causing advertisers to undervalue Paid Social. A lack of faith in results driven through this channel means that even the sales genuinely driven via Paid Social are often lost in the crowd of misallocated conversions. Ultimately, this leads to inefficient budgeting and a serious lost opportunity to show compelling advertising to billions of active daily users.

There’s Another Way

Many marketers have decided to continue to use Facebook’s massively flawed attribution “model” (i.e. award everything to Facebook) rather than look at alternatives. This is clearly unacceptable. How can we begin to apply bid optimisations, determine budget allocation and effectively test using such an inaccurate system? We’ve lacked a solution to efficiently attribute sales involving a Facebook/Instagram touch point.

One advantage we have in our aim for clearer, more accurate Facebook attribution is that our accounts are all whitelisted to use third-party post-view on non-custom Facebook audiences. This includes all interest, behavioural or demographic targeting, but excludes anything built from CRM lists or the Facebook pixel, including look-a-likes and all dynamic activity.

By being whitelisted, we are able to appropriately attribute and de-dupe post-view sales from these campaigns, but also to view the role these campaigns play in the path to purchase. Whilst a video prospecting campaign may not lead to many de-duped post-view sales, it will play a key role in the path to purchase. Without insight into brand engagement, budgets may be unfairly cut.

Whilst Facebook are reluctant to allow full insight into post-view ad performance, they are much more open with post-click via the use of click trackers from DoubleClick, Google Analytics, and affiliate networks. However, many advertisers have yet to make use of the click trackers, potentially because they fear that the de-duped view will drastically devalue their channel or misunderstanding the effort involved in setting this up.  If your reluctance to de-dupe is born from fear of the results then, put simply, you either need to have more faith in your campaigns or improve them!

We’ve seen strong results when de-duping on a post click basis for direct response campaigns. For example, in the campaign below, despite losing 70% of Facebook-attributed post-click sales when de-duped, we were still able to drive revenue at a ROAS of over 400%.

The level of de-duping varies quite significantly across the various campaign strategies, but this gives an idea as to the overall scale of sales Facebook will mistakenly claim 100% of the credit for. This is also discounting the vast amount of additional post-view “sales” that Facebook will claim. De-duping avoids the double or even triple counting of sales seen in the path to purchase shown earlier. Instead, by utilising third-party attribution tracking, we are left with one channel claiming the purchase whilst appreciating the value of other touchpoints.

To Conclude

The ultimate result of this is that your Facebook and Instagram activity becomes a bona fide part of your marketing funnel. You can have faith in the sales that Facebook claims and use insights into the path to purchase to efficiently allocate prospecting budget.