The Power of Uncertainty: Impacts of Brexit On Retail, Travel & Digital

Read Time: 5 mins

No matter which way you spin it, Brexit will undeniably have a unique effect on every vertical within British industry. Direct or indirect, businesses across the country will have to adapt to whatever unknown situation or agreement we eventually end up with – and that’s exactly the issue: the ongoing uncertainty.

The lack of public knowledge or clear political direction has resulted in a general sense of economic uncertainty. A slowing economy – or perception of a slowing economy – could have a significant negative effect on retail, travel and beyond due to changes in UK consumer intent and spending. Surveys conducted by the Bank Of England and the Treasury found that the UK’s private sector fell into a shock contraction in September of this year, with the blame placed on the economic stress of an ever-impending Brexit. After a similar decline in the previous quarter, the UK economy is thought to be slipping towards recession. If profits slump further, discretionary budgets will be the first on the chopping block for businesses, and the growth of the UK’s digital marketing sector might be threatened.

‘Failure to find a way forward could result in a delayed budget, weaker pound and lower growth forecast’  Larry Elliot – Economics Editor, The Guardian.

With the 12th December General Election looming, the outcome of Brexit has become even more unclear, leaving UK businesses with no guaranteed circumstances to prepare for. Leave or stay, deal or no deal, the waiting and decision-making is already having a tangibly detrimental effect to the economy.

Retail: Consumers, Staffing, and other potential problems

The retail industry has already suffered a slew of issues over the last few years. Problematic transitions to digital, rising rent costs and decreasing consumer brand loyalty are all systemic challenges that this industry faces. Unfortunately, the current forecasts suggest that Brexit isn’t looking like it’s going to alleviate any of these pressures.

The fluctuating decline of the pound means that retailers importing goods from the EU are facing rising costs and weaker margins, alongside strained access to labour – the retail industry employs an EU migrant workforce of over 170,000 according to the CBI. If retailers start to feel the squeeze, will they continue with increased investment in media and advertising?

Travel: ‘Open Skies’, but for how much longer?

One of the largest concerns for the travel industry is the future of the EU’s ‘open skies’ agreement that the UK has enjoyed since 1997, which allows any EU airline to fly freely between any member country. UK airlines such as Flybe and British Airways have been able to offer discounted fares and cheaper flights as a result, but for how much longer is yet to be seen.

Both British and European airlines have acted pre-emptively in the event this agreement is nullified, with EasyJet setting up a European subsidiary and Hungarian-based Wizz Air founding ‘Wizz Air UK’ to ensure operations wouldn’t be disrupted. In fact, Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi has said that he sees Brexit as an ‘opportunity’, in the hope that as competitors struggle to operate with new restrictions, Wizz Air can make the most of a gap in the market. Nonetheless, consultancy firm Oxford Economics has said a no-deal Brexit could cause a 5% fall in overseas travel and tourism trips by Britons in 2020.

What do all of these retail and travel changes mean for digital? Reduced media spend, supply chain issues and complex data laws will all inevitably shape the world of post-Brexit digital marketing.

Digital Media & Marketing – Are you as prepared as you think you are?

UK companies reduced marketing budgets for the first time in seven years during Q3 2019, according to the IPA’s quarterly Bellwether report. Stemming from a lack of confidence in the UK economy and consumer spend, marketing budgets across all verticals are being chipped away as businesses continue to hold their breath until a final Brexit relationship with the EU becomes clear.

No one can forget the omnipresent elephant in the room either – GDPR. There are many EU data laws that the UK would no longer have to abide by post-Brexit, but the UK’s new official status as a ‘third country’ throws up a number of pressing issues that are guaranteed to keep you up at night. The future legality of sending or receiving personal data from somewhere else in the EU is worryingly unclear – even storing data on servers hosted in Europe could be potentially illegal after a hard Brexit.

But, the highly adaptable nature of digital marketing makes it a frontrunner for continued investment, despite economic and regulatory concerns. In Q3, the Bellwether reported that digital (or ‘Internet’) was the only marketing sector that saw a net increase of firms reporting budget growth, aided by advancements in data management and an increasing prevalence of social media advertising.

Similarly, international trade in UK advertising services actually grew to nearly £7bn in 2017, an increase of 18% year on year according to the Advertising Association’s 2019 exports report. As Europe’s largest advertising market, the UK is in an advantageous position to capitalise on international advertising trade, with a focus on Asian markets as tensions between China and the US refuse to dissipate.

Takeaways

Ultimately, no one can provide definitive answers. As long as the UK remains trapped in the malaise of Brexit negotiations, confident predictions on the future of the industry are almost impossible. Successful digital agencies will navigate ambiguous data laws with agility and will be well-prepared for any potential trade restrictions through extensive planning and evaluation of access to new non-EU markets, especially at a stage where multiple eventual outcomes are still possible.

Despite the challenges, there are clear signs of strong growth in digital, and it’s up to agencies to translate this growth for other sectors struggling under the pressures of Brexit.

From Dates to Data: NMPi’s Love Island Prediction 2019

Summer is finally here and there’s only one thing that means: Love Island is back on the telly! That’s right: 3 weeks ago, 12  intelligent – but most importantly – really good looking young individuals, dropped their Instagram-heavy lives for 8 weeks of non-stop tan and drama in the  Love Island villa.

It’s hard to believe we’re already 3 weeks into this year’s love story, but bets are already on as to who will be the lucky couple to take home the prize this year. We decided to use what we know best – data – to see if we can predict which couple will survive the summer of love and be crowned the winner of Love Island 2019.

We can’t however, predict who will still be together 6 months down the line…

State of Affairs and Methodology

Before we dive into our data analysis, let’s take a quick snapshot of the current state of affairs in the villa (at the time of writing). For those of you not up to date, come back in 15 hours when you’ve caught up!

We have 14 contestants currently in the villa: 4 couples and 6 single contestants. These couples, as of the 21st of June are:

  • Amy & Curtis
  • Amber & Michael
  • Molly-Mae & Tommy
  • Yewande & Danny

Our source for these predictions is Twitter. We’ve pulled apart each couple’s Twitter profiles to compare how many tweets they have, their average reach, and their value in the eyes of the general public. The bigger the gap within the couple, or the smaller the number, the lower the compatibility score.

With this in mind, we popped on our investigative sunglasses and started crunching the numbers. Starting with couple number one:

Amy & Curtis

Ever since Curtis entered the villa in week 1, he and Amy have hit it off like a house on fire. Both passionate about musicals, theatre and ballroom dancing, they are a flamboyant couple often called the “Mum and Dad” of the villa by other contestants. But what do the numbers say?

Curtis comes in with a Twitter reach of just under 11 million, which doesn’t hold a candle to the 27 million that Amy reaches. Given the huge gap between them, it’s almost surprising that their Tweets/contributor ratio and value are so similar. Amy comes in with a Tweets/contributor ratio of 2.17 and a value of £171k. while Curtis has a ratio of 2.1 and a value of £177k.

Taking this into account using our in-house algorithms this couple takes home a whopping compatibility score.

COMPATIBILITY SCORE: 76.89

Amber & Michael

These two had a slow start in the villa, starting off as friends. As the days went on Michael turned up the heat until Amber finally admitted that she had caught feelings too. 

Turning to the numbers, Amber pulls in a reach of 10.5 million on Twitter, while Michael only manages 5.5 million. Already a poorer start than our first couple. The difference in Tweets/contributor ratio and value is also more apparent, with Amber at 2.45 and $108k, and Michael 1.66 and $52k respectively. Adding it all together, it looks like bad news for Amber and Michael.

COMPATIBILITY SCORE: 3.69

Molly-Mae & Tommy

It’s not been a smooth ride for these lovebirds, with Tommy being torn between Lucie & Molly-Mae in week 1. It was only because Lucie chose Joe that Molly-Mae & Tommy ended up together. Then, when mega toe-stepper Maura entered the villa, Tommy was once again caught between two girls. However, he chose to re-couple with Molly-Mae, to the utmost joy from the UK public.

But how are these two looking now they are (supposedly) dedicated to each other? Molly-Mae brings home a reach of 8 million, Tommy only 7 million. This is a much smaller reach than the other two couples, which is surprising given all the drama focused around them so far. Looking at our other metrics, Molly-Mae has a Tweets/contributors score of 2.31 and a value of $139k. Tommy on the other hand only hits 1.37 and $35.5k for value.

It’s worth noting here that Tommy is the most followed contestant on Instagram so far – over 1 million! – but in terms of compatibility, they’re very middle of the road. 

COMPATIBILITY SCORE: 34.69

Yewande & Danny

Last but not least, scientist Yewande & model Danny. Yewande was having a hard time of finding love in the villa, so when Danny entered, the Islanders – and indeed the whole of the UK – rejoiced. This thrill was short lived with fractures already showing in the couple. New girl Arabella has swept Danny off on a date, leaving Yewande fighting with her feelings, and for her man.

Yewande achieves a Twitter reach of 1.5 million, and Danny 2.7 million – the lowest of any of our couples. Looking at the additional metrics, Yewande gets a Twitter/contributor score of 1.39 and a value of $5.6k while Danny is looking at a ratio of 1.15 and a value of $15k. The outlook is certainly bleak.

The result from our compatibility algorithm backs up what we’re dreading: a pretty damning score. Looks like these two would have better luck finding love somewhere else…

COMPATIBILITY SCORE: 1.34

Our Prediction

So that’s it, Amy & Curtis have topped our couple prediction and they are the data and dating front runners of Love Island 2019!

But, as we’ve said, a lot can change in 5 weeks – so we’ll be following up in a few weeks with some updated predictions.

Will Amy & Curtis stay strong? Will Molly-Mae & Tommy do bits? Will Yewande & Danny ever break up? Only time will tell. We’ll see you back here in a few weeks!

Why Ad-Blocking is at a Three Year Low.

If you were to say you’ve never been irritated by an ad or pop-up, you’d be lying. With pop-ups and banners appearing on most sites, it’s no surprise that consumers have turned to ad-blockers in an effort to avoid them. Google’s even developing an update that will potentially prevent the use of ad-blockers on their search platform.

Last year, a survey from the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) took an in-depth look at the trends in ad-blocker use. The results showed that online ad-blocking was at an all-time high in 2016, with 30.6% of ads being restricted by ad-blocking programs.

Ad-blocking is a clear message from consumers that our ads do not serve them. Having been so overrun with banners and pop-ups, they have developed the belief that ads are ‘frustrating, unwanted and irrelevant’. So, advertisers have been forced to change tact.

It seems to have worked; with the AOP also highlighting that ad-blocking hit its lowest point in the last three years during Q4 of 2018 – falling to an incredible 10.3% . So what have we done to change the industry, to change the mindset of an online mass?

Customer-Centricity

There are a number of ways for advertisers to place customer interest at the core of our campaigns; as discussed by Product Development Manager Fred Maude in last summer’s NMPignite seminar. By providing users with valuable experiences, we can begin to alleviate the rise in ad blocking. With the development of AI and more sophisticated data collection methods, we can make ads which are more personalised than ever.  Precise user information allows us to alter advertising creatives and placement to have maximum impact.

The Customer is ALWAYS right” Fred Maude

In short; If we deliver something that is tailored to their wants and needs, they will be more likely to engage with the ad.

User Experience

In order to make campaigns more customer-centric, we must consider the user experience as a whole. Using cookies and integrated data, we are able to build a greater picture of the user in order to connect with them and encourage engagement. Content should be created around their needs and help them identify how the brand can solve their unique problems.

A big part of the online experience involves the way consumers react to ads. Interestingly, choice can play a big role in this, with 79% of customers claiming they would consider uninstalling an ad blocker if they had the choice to close, skip, or ignore ads. This provides the option to engage in the content or not and can offer more accurate data on impressions and conversion rates.

Similarly, consider an advert that is not only customer-centric, but also contextual to the consumer’s current phase of the online journey. By placing ads on contextually relevant sites, and remarketing products that customers have already engaged with, we can change the function of the ad to a ‘helpful shopping tool’. This, paired with the rise of online shopping and ‘browsing culture’ has allowed ads to hold their own.

It’s clear that the consumer experience of Display and PPC ads has changed dramatically in recent years. The decrease in blocker use clearly reveals that advertising strategies have shifted  In a way that users are responding well to.

With this in mind, ensure that your ads focus on customer centricity and the user experience. This will allow us to continue to improve our audience’s relationship with advertising.

NMPi Shortlisted at UK Digital Growth Awards

We’re thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for yet another award for our innovative data-driven strategies!

Last month, we celebrated our success at the UK Biddable Awards, The Drum Marketing Awards, and the PMA’s. Then celebrations continued this May, when we were shortlisted for four awards at the Effective Digital Marketing Awards.

Now, we’re on another shortlist – this time with the UK Digital Growth Awards! These awards reward excellence in UX, CRO and Search, where campaigns have driven tangible growth and results.

We’ve been shortlisted for ‘Best Use of Data’ for our campaign with Liverpool FC – making this the 7th Award our Liverpool campaign has been shortlisted for.

Our partnership with Liverpool on their display campaign has already achieved 3 award wins in 2019, proving to be a real showcase of talent for our groundbreaking and successful campaigns.

We’ll let our very own Anna Jorysz’s presentation on our “data-driven approach” to success show you how well deserved this nomination is.

Keep your fingers crossed and watch this space on the 17th July!

 

Boosting Performance with Expanded Text Ads

Last August, Google expanded the character limits within their text ads in SA360, ahead of the Responsive Search Ads launch tipped to launch in autumn this year. In true NMPi fashion, we’ve been testing the effect of the increased SERP real estate on campaign performance.

What are they?

The extra character limits are designed to give you more room to convey your message to the user. It allows you to add a third headline, a second description, and use up to 90 characters for each description. Ultimately, giving you much more control over your messaging.

With these larger ads you’re able to take up more space on the SERP, meaning that the top spot is even more lucrative. Note that sometimes your ads might be cut short if there isn’t enough space. So, make sure your copy still works without the third headline or second description.

What can you do with them?

The most obvious thing you can do with the extra characters is include more detail. You have more space to provide more information about your product or service. It’s easier to call out any offers or deals, or your USP. With all of this additional information, users are more likely to click on your ads.

It also gives you another opportunity to test your messaging within your ads. There are greater variations which you can compare to discover which resonates best with your audience.

Google claims that these longer ads receive 15% more clicks than other formats, so we decided to test it for ourselves.

How do they perform?

We ran a preliminary test between the standard text format and the new expanded format. By the end of the test, we could clearly see the difference in performance. Impressions for the expanded format were significantly higher, matched by higher clicks. In fact, we also saw a 10% uplift in CTR.

 

The campaign did see a lower conversion rate, however, this may be attributed to the 30-day cookie window and the short period in which the expanded format has been available to test.

It is easy to see how effective the expanded text ads are: more impressions, more clicks, and higher click-through-rate. We highly recommend taking advantage of the extended character limits and testing their performance for yourself but do keep an eye on your conversion rates.

Google Express – The Neutral Marketplace?

What is Google Express?

Google Express has been around for a while in the US, but it has enjoyed a recent rise to prominence after removing its subscription fees to become a completely free service, as well as expanding the number of stores it partners with on its marketplace. As a response to Amazon’s overwhelming dominance as a hub for online shopping, Google Express offers users the opportunity to shop local groceries, gadgets, and luxuries, all from one site.


At first glance, Google Express sounds identical to Amazon, but there is one striking difference. Where Amazon houses its vast stock in warehouses, Google Express delivers products directly from local retailers. This leads to a particular constraint on their marketplace, since you can only order from specified stores and must reach a minimum spend per-store to receive free shipping ($25 or $35 for most stores).

However, looking at the retail giants like Target and Walmart, who have signed up for Google Express, this new venture is becoming a real contender.

What does Google Express aim to achieve?

The reason these heavyweights are being attracted to Google Express is that Google has positioned itself as a neutral marketplace, not competing against third-party retailers. In other words, Google doesn’t own any of the products it is selling, as Amazon does, so the success of third-party retailers is its main focus. They aim to promote and nurture customer loyalty, providing great customer experience and helping to expand the retailers’ digital touchpoints. Ultimately, this will save retailers time and allow them to focus on other channels.

Google Express brings a whole new service offering into Google’s already immense eCommerce portfolio. By showcasing a vast number of products from a variety of stores on one marketplace, Google has developed a powerful platform to further synergise its online AdWords solution with its offline logistics solution.

Below is an example of a Google Shopping PLA, where the listed merchant is, you guessed it, Google Express. This ad takes you through to the Google Express marketplace where you are able to complete your purchase, entirely through Google services. Expect this to be an increasingly frequent occurrence as Google inevitably ramps up its all-encompassing collective shopping service.

Getting ready for the dominion of voice

Not only do we expect Google Express to dominate in Google Shopping results, but it also allows users to search, browse and purchase products through their voice search feature, Google Assistant.

Though Amazon’s Alexa can also be used to browse and order products on the Amazon marketplace, all through voice, this requires an Alexa-enabled device and Prime membership. Google Assistant, on the other hand, is a free to use voice service and is compatible with multiple devices, including smartphones as well as Google Home.

We can expect to see voice-purchasing rising to new heights in the near future. 

Amazon vs Google

With Amazon already dominating around half of all eCommerce transactions, Google Express will have a real battle on its hands. It’s unlikely that they, or anyone for that matter, will be able to trump Amazon’s delivery service, especially with two-hour delivery available for Prime members. When time and convenience are an increasingly important factor for consumers, this is a big tick in Amazon’s box.

As we’ve already seen, Google Express is positioning itself as a neutral marketplace, available to all, with no membership fees. This has a certain appeal, but will consumers really shift their purchasing behaviour when they are so used to visiting the merchant’s website? This is why so much hope for Google Express comes from their belief that voice-driven search and shopping will take off dramatically in the near future.

Google is thoroughly engrained in the lives of many online users, from Gmail to Google Search. This makes them well placed to take over online shopping. But ultimately, when you’re able to shop everything (including fresh fruit & veg) from one site – Amazon – and in one basket, to be delivered at a time most convenient to you, who would choose otherwise?

What does the future hold with Google Express?

As Google expands its powerful array of products and services, expect these to become increasingly integrated with each other. With some of the biggest retailers flocking to Google Express, this could well become an eCommerce platform to rival Amazon, particularly with the rise of voice search.

As digital marketers, we need to consider how Google Express could change the advertising landscape. For instance, it is already present in Google Shopping results, showcasing some of their leading brands. As these eCommerce giants develop their new initiatives, we should prepare for a game-changing phenomenon and Google Express could be the one to watch.

Whilst, it is currently only available in the US and there is no international shipping available keep an eye on this space. Google has not announced any future plans to expand but if the service is successful it undoubtedly will look towards Canada, the UK and Europe.

NMPi to Acquire Creative Specialist, Joystick

Today, we are delighted to announce that NMPi and our sister company, DQ&A, have agreed to acquire a fantastic international digital creative specialist, called Joystick.

Established in 2006, and now with a team of over 90 digital creative experts in New York, Los Angeles, London, Santo Domingo, and the Philippines, Joystick is a market leading creative specialist with extensive expertise in data-driven dynamic ad technologies, and is one of only two DoubleClick Certified Creative Partners in both the UK and the US.

Joystick works with some really incredible and exciting brands including, Disney, Nissan, HBO, and Kroger. In a recent project for Google, Joystick created a dynamic ad which had over 60,000 different creative variations and was localised for an impressive 22 markets and 7 languages.

We are looking forward to joining forces with a company who shares our belief that the perfect blend of technology, data and artistry makes every execution smarter, more dynamic and more effective.

NMPi CEO, Luke Judge, shared his thoughts on why this acquisition is so important: “As data gives us a better understanding of the consumer and their online journey, we are seeing a rapid shift in the digital ecosystem. It’s no longer about choosing channels to run your marketing activity; now the spotlight is on creating a flawless experience for the consumer. This is exactly why we are focused on reinventing what it means to be a digital marketing specialist, and joining forces with Joystick is a major step in that journey, allowing us to offer a more end-to-end service focused on brilliant customer experience.”

With this acquisition, NMPi is now able to directly offer our clients targeted campaign solutions including, Dynamic Ads, Programmatic Creative, and Rich Media Display Ads, as well as tailored digital experiences with Responsive Website Development, Experiential Apps and Campaign Landing Pages.

We sat down with Sara Francis, CEO of Joystick, to get her thoughts on the agreement: “This is an exciting time for our businesses to come together as one strong force. The alignment could not be more perfect with what we do and where we want to go. We look forward to leading the way in digital innovation and collectively creating a compelling offering for clients.”

With over 18 years experience in digital marketing, Sara is a seasoned executive with extensive knowledge in management, client strategy and business development. For the first part of her career, Sara focused primarily on the entertainment vertical working for such companies as Miramax, Deep Focus and Moxie Interactive. In 2010 Sara joined Joystick to lead the Los Angeles office and account management team company-wide before being elevated to CEO.

Our sister company, DQ&A, is Google DoubleClick’s largest EMEA partner in the technology and professional services field. When combined with Joystick’s DoubleClick Creative Partner status, the acquisition forms a strengthened DoubleClick relationship, further solidifying its strategic offering and authenticity within the digital industry.

CEO of DQ&A, Mike Ossendrijver, added: “We saw a significant gap in the market for a solution that will enable our clients to enhance all aspects of the customer’s online media journey, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally close the marketing loop by combining technology, data, media, and now industry-leading creative services. Digital innovation is at the heart of NMPi and DQ&A, and this acquisition will bring further opportunities for us to drive development with the use of Joystick’s Innovation lab and its deep creative industry knowledge and partnerships.”

This news follows our 2017 global expansion into 6 new markets, including 2 offices in the US, as well as our recent acquisition of U.S boutique Paid Social specialists, MediaPact. With DQ&A also launching in South-East Asia, Australia, Africa and Italy, this only serves to strengthen the marketing group’s international presence and localised expertise. As a group, we are now able to boast a global presence of 340 people across 16 offices. 

The acquisition is subject to standard completion procedures and is expected to complete within the month.

If you would like to receive any further information, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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.  

After GDPR

With only 3 months left until GDPR becomes a reality, we joined The Drum to find out how industry leaders are preparing for the new legislation.

GDPR at a glance

It’s an update of the previous Data Privacy Directive, and much of this is still at the core of the regulations. However, we’re looking at a very different landscape to the one of 1995, and so GDPR takes the age of the internet into its remit. The right to be forgotten, privacy by design, increased territorial scope; all of these new regulations are part of the maturity of the internet. Hence, many envision GDPR compliance as a natural reordering of the system, one which will see evolutionary rather than revolutionary change.

GDPR in and of itself is a behavioural change. It’s an attitude adjustment. Managing consumer privacy will be a huge part of many a marketer’s focus, as well as a full awareness of the journey and uses of consumer data. The most fundamental aspect is putting user privacy at the very core of all of your technological platforms. You will have to ensure that you have a technical team to help you with the technical solutions to what is a technical challenge.

Educating the Consumer

Don’t trust that the consumer always knows when their data is being collected, or how it will be used. Sometimes, they might be sharing this data by mistake. Education is going to be a big part of any business’s GDPR adoption, as well as placing incentives for the consumer on data sharing. However, be aware that educating the consumer will also raise consumer awareness of the past uses of their data.

Don’t underestimate the power of the activist consumer in this space: in the past, advertising has gone too far into the dark pits of sketchy data usage, with B2B being one of the darkest areas. There is potential for this to explode after May: the wrong consumer being retargeted in the wrong way could lead to a high profile court case.

Life After GDPR

What’s very clear is that, while everyone’s focus is on making their business GDPR compliant, no one is thinking about what will happen after May. Some have concerns that we don’t know what the level of consumer consent will be when consumers are more likely to have to opt-in to having their data recorded, as opposed to merely consenting by default. If they are given the time to think, it is plausible that they may be more likely to opt out. We also don’t know how the back ends of websites or email servers will keep up with these changes.

However, there could be a lot of good news. The first thing is that it will force marketers to do a better job. Instead of relying on first party data to optimise towards people who would likely have bought anyway, marketers will be forced to create better quality content to influence consumers.

On top of this, we should see a better relationship between the agency and their clients, and more respect for the consumer and their privacy.  We’re also already seeing a lot of collaboration between competitors, because if one of them does a lackluster job everyone in the industry will suffer. Respect will shape our relationships across businesses and with consumers in a much more positive way.

The key takeaways?

  • Make sure your technical team are educated helping you out
  • Educate your consumers
  • Shift your vision to what happens after GDPR has come through
  • Brace yourself for a new industry where respect, quality and privacy are paramount.

2017 Black Friday Results

Earlier in November, The Economist commented that “Despite the momentum that the event [Cyber Weekend] has built up, retailers are approaching this year’s jamboree with caution. For a start, shoppers seem unwilling to open their wallets. Sales in October were 0.3% lower than last year, according to official figures.”

However, it appears retailers had nothing to worry about as Black Friday sales were expected to reach almost £8bn during Cyber Weekend (BBC), an increase of nearly 38% over the record-breaking £5.8bn in 2016 (The Economist).

What’s really exciting for those in the digital industry is the amount consumers spent online. According to IMRG, this figure reached £1.4bn on Black Friday, an increase of nearly 11.7% over last year.

Black Friday Dominates the UK & Europe

Aggregating performance data across a sample of NMPi clients shows that Black Friday was still the clear winner regarding both online traffic and revenue generation for 2017.

What is interesting this year is that for the first time Sofa Sunday actually outperformed Cyber Monday, though not by much.

In the past, our digital campaigns have done better on Cyber Monday with consumers stuck at work unable to hit the high street. Could this show a shift in consumer behaviour?  

If Sofa Sunday is here to stay as the second most profitable day of Cyber Weekend, digital strategies will need to be adjusted, increasing budget and bids.

The chart below shows the uplift of key metrics over Cyber Weekend compared to the November average. If we look specifically at clicks and conversion rate, we see that Cyber Monday had marginally more clicks than Saturday and Sunday, but consumers were just not converting at the same rate as Black Friday.

The trend shows that conversion rate spiked on Black Friday and then saw a steady drop over the next week. So, we need to ask ourselves, what were consumers looking for that they weren’t finding or were they just researching? It is hard to be sure, but this decline could be an indication that all the best Black Friday deals have been taken.

Mobile Exceeds Desktop in Driving Traffic

The difference between device performance in 2017 and 2016 is staggering. In just a year mobile devices have made a massive jump to overtake desktop in driving website traffic.

Now we know that this isn’t very odd behaviour as many consumers use mobile devices to research before purchasing. What is interesting is that revenue driven by mobile matches that of a desktop on Black Friday.

I think we can safely say that as the industry gets better at mobile user experience, next year we can expect mobile devices to overtake desktop performance on Black Friday. Make sure your strategies are tailored appropriately.

Whilst mobile is growing; desktop is still the leader when it comes to conversion rate. The bigger screen and ease of checkout keeps the user engaged from research to purchase.

How Does the US Compare

From the chart above we can see that our US clients saw significant uplift from their digital activity on Cyber Monday, which is a stark contrast to the UK and Europe. This is not unexpected and is due to the Thanksgiving holiday period. Since Americans have Black Friday off most of their shopping occurs in-store rather than online.

19 Days to Go

With 19 days till Christmas, the gifting season isn’t over yet. There are still three big shopping weekends to come.

Just a couple of things to help you make the most of the next 19 days:

  • Make sure you are taking advantage of mobile traffic with a mobile optimised site and easy checkout process.
  • As we get closer to Christmas you can make several adjustments to your ad copy: use countdown clocks to emphasise the last day for shipping before Christmas, and then switching campaigns to click and collect messaging once that date has passed.
  • Keep an eye on your stock levels. Make sure you are not pushing ads for items you no longer have. This is a sure fire way to lose customers.
  • And most importantly keep your customers engaged. The Christmas shopping period is getting longer and longer, and consumers are now oversaturated with marketing messages, so you need to be different. Change your messaging to prevent creative fatigue and keep consumers engaged with your brand through the whole period.