NMPi Welcomes Ed Camargo as New US Managing Director

We’re excited to announce the appointment of Ed Camargo as the US Managing Director of NMPi, operating out of our New York office.  

Ed has more than 23 years’ experience in digital media. Before joining NMPi, Ed worked as VP of Digital Paid Media at ForwardPMX, where he was responsible for the strategic vision and operations of the SEM, Display and Social Media departments. At NMPi, he will be responsible for driving our US strategy and creating a first-in-class digital agency built for the next decade. 

This appointment forms part of NMPi’s, and our parent company, Incubeta’s, global growth strategy to create a market-disrupting, full-service digital agency built on transparency, brand safety, and outcomes-based performance. 

Ed, excited to help take NMPi to the next level in the US, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining such a dynamic agency. NMPi goes against the traditional agency model providing a new framework for the next decade while providing the best in class experience.”

“The digital marketing landscape in the US is extremely competitive and cluttered, with brands in need of direction and insight to succeed. NMPi by Incubeta is a disruptor and leader in the market, with its unique combination of technology, talent, and agility to evolve quickly.”

Incubeta CEO, Luke Judge, also commented on the announcement: “It’s fantastic to have Ed join us as Managing Director in the US. As an agency, the US is a key market for us in 2020. We are already working with some amazing brands in the region and I’m excited to see these relationships strengthen and grow as we bolster our team with the necessary talent to drive our positioning in the market forward.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Ed to the team and we look forward to our future in the US and beyond!

Is Google’s Latest TV Commercial a Concern for Retailers?

Nike ended its 2-year trial with Amazon last month, citing concerns over the e-commerce giant’s control over the marketplace and the ability of 3rd-party sellers to usurp them from the top of the rankings. This, combined with Nike’s focus on creating “direct, personal relationships” with consumers, led to the withdrawal decision.

I recently saw a new Google TV commercial promoting its Shopping format, using a leaf blower as an example product. The ad uses a home video clip of a father and son playing with their own leaf blower, highlighting the impact it has on those who purchase one. The commercial then goes on to show how Google Shopping can help consumers identify the lowest online price and purchase directly from the platform. 

While Shopping presents a new buying experience for consumers, the commercial made me think about the challenges this will cause for Nike and other brands as they compete against Google’s dominance online. 

The Consumer Mindset

Google is arguably one of the top leaders of using test-and-learn tactics to drive business revenue. Its results pages continually change and ad formats are constantly updated, all to ensure the maximum amount of clicks (ad revenue makes up 84% of Alphabet’s total profits). If Google runs a TV commercial appealing to consumers to use its platform in a similar way to how they use Amazon, it means there is money to be made for the tech company.

With nearly half of all product searches starting on Amazon – compared to Google’s 35% share – it’s clear that consumers want the most convenient way to purchase at the lowest price. It’s a no-brainer that Google would use Shopping to capitalize on this growing mindset. 

Image result for google shopping

Prevalence of Google Shopping Results

This commercial spot is likely to spell an increase in the prevalence of Google Shopping ads on the SERP, reinforcing the idea that ‘price is everything’. If your brand has avoided playing a price war on Amazon, you’re likely facing a new frontier on your biggest marketplace revenue driver. 

With Google rewarding click-through rate in its quality score and Shopping set to become more prevalent, you need to be prepared. If you have a higher price than a competitor or 3rd party, you will receive fewer clicks. Fewer clicks will mean reduced sales, but also lower quality scores. Having a lower quality score means you will sit in worse positions on the SERP, and the clicks you do drive will cost you more. 3rd-party players beating your brand has become an even bigger problem.

Fostering a Relationship with Customers

With this shift towards price, the continual growth of Amazon, and the introduction of platforms like Google Shopping, it becomes more difficult to build a relationship with your customers. When someone asks where I bought something, the two most common answers I give are Amazon or “I can’t remember, but it was the best value I could find.” Convenience and price are often the biggest factors in my purchase decisions, which is likely the same for many others.

If your brand point of differentiation is quality and customer experience, it’s even harder to build a relationship with consumers. Premium brands with higher price points struggle to compete in this ecosystem, but there are ways to counter the tide.

Here’s how to approach some of these challenges with the way you think about your marketing strategies:

Build Brand Awareness

While awareness is often seen as a luxury; offered only to the biggest brands, it’s a great way to start changing the way consumers shop for your brand. By building a relationship with your audience before they are looking to purchase, it gives you the opportunity to get your USPs in front of them.

Once consumers are ready to buy, you can speed them through the funnel and avoid price comparison in the decision-making process. Awareness doesn’t have to be expensive, as you don’t need to target the entire world to build awareness the way Nike does. Identify who your primary audience is, then where they are online, and target them with a message that will speak to them.

Strategic Google Shopping Approach

It’s essential to tailor your approach to Google Shopping to suit your brand. Rather than throwing all your products in and hoping for the best, think about the merits of promoting each item and whether it makes sense.

If you’re a beauty brand and 90% of your lipstick sales are driven by one product, you may only want to promote that bestseller. Furniture companies might gain more value from Google local inventory Shopping ads to identify the closest store to test out $2,000 couches, instead of selling directly through this channel.

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Re-Engagement

Once a consumer has purchased from you, wherever that may be, this is your opportunity to avoid any future price wars. First, prioritize a seamless buying experience since convenience and ease are key for today’s consumer. With the first purchase completed, utilize customer details to send regular and, more importantly, relevant messages. Using email is a given, but you shouldn’t underestimate the use of CRM uploads into marketing platforms to reinforce your brand USPs and messages. This is a real opportunity to get your brand values in front of your purchasers and to get them to buy into what you stand for.

In summary, we all know consumers are becoming more price-driven, and the ease of buying online is reducing brand loyalty. However, with Amazon’s continual growth, and now Google promoting Google Shopping as a price comparison marketplace, the time for action is now. You may have been avoiding the elephant in the room in Amazon, but with the way Google is approaching consumers with this TV commercial, price comparison marketplaces are something your business needs to develop a strategy for.

For more Google Shopping strategies, check out our Ultimate Shopping Set Up.

 

NMPignite Debates: The Future of SEO

Read time: 4 mins 30 secs

NMPi welcomed guests for our first NMPignite Debates event; a panel discussion all about the future of SEO. We were joined by Jennifer Hoffman (DeepCrawl), Joe Doveton (Binary Bear), Michael Bass (Marks and Spencer), Fred Maude (Incubeta) and Joe Comotto (NMPi) for a hugely insightful morning of discussion and debate.

It’s easier to forget that Google is not just here to serve us as marketers, but is a business of its own with its own goals and targets. As we watch how Google has changed over the last 20 years or so, building out their own properties, we can see how they have been driven by one singular goal: creating a positive user experience that answers search queries in the quickest and most effective way possible. 

Building an Entity

Our panel couldn’t agree on whether we should be considering Google as a competitor or simply as the landscape that we exist within. Regardless, with the changes that we’ve seen in the SERP, savvy marketers would do well to build their businesses and SEO strategies to provide that same positive user experience while circumventing Google.

The key to success lies in building a brand: you want users to remember you, the service you provide, and how you can help them answer their specific queries. We were spoiled by SEO and Google in the early days, but there is perhaps now an overreliance on Google to send us traffic. In building your brand, you’re able to reduce your reliance on generic key terms so that rather than searching for “flights to Miami” and being served things like Google’s travel aggregator, a user would search “Expedia” or go direct to site, trusting the service and experience that they receive from Expedia to be able to help them with their query. 

One way that you can do this is by building an entity, as this is how Google is understanding not only brands but specific ideas, dates, and concepts. While the idea of entities isn’t entirely new, it certainly deserves more recognition. Google not only understands things in terms of entities, but it uses machine learning to make sense of the relationships between them to serve better results in the SERP. For example, the entity “Meryl Streep” connects to “June 22, 1949” by the relationship “has birthday”. In clearly establishing the relationships between entities that you own, you are able to signal to Google what your brand is about, and the types of content that are relevant to your brand. 

Own the SERP

A subtlety that some of our panel have noticed is this shift away from Search Engine Optimization and towards a full Search Experience. This brings both SEO and UX specialists closer together as we consider the user journey all the way from search query to conversion. First here is the rise of things like Featured Snippets and Zero-Click Searches, which provide opportunities for brands to “skip the queue” so to speak, and end up in that coveted position zero. While it isn’t as easy to measure interactions with these positions, they do allow brands to build up their brand awareness. On top of this, Structured Data is also playing a huge role in technical SEO strategies. 

If organic clicks are at a premium, it puts more of an impetus on brands to improve the landing experience in order to reinforce a positive user journey. This means working to reduce friction and increasing engagement, to name a few best practices. There are other examples of how UX or CRO can fit into SEO – such as site speeds, the length of content, and whether or not you are answering a user’s question – that can all be taken into account here.

Technology

To serve users the most relevant answers, Machine Learning and AI are gradually becoming more and more relevant within search; take the rollout of BERT as a key signal to this end. While it only affects about 10% of search results at the moment, the idea behind this particular update is to get consumers used to using natural language when searching, rather than talking in keywords. This certainly nods towards preparations for voice search which, despite being something of a red herring right now, is where we seem to be heading. For now though, BERT will be most relevant for the long-tail of the long-tail search terms; helping to understand the most complicated of searches. 

On the brand-side, automation is a growing trend for SEOs to help them become more efficient. Technology can also help to pull together and unlock the potential of all of your data sources – paid, organic, channel – to find the incrementality of paid search compared to SEO and vice versa. 

Takeaways

We are now in the death-throes of using search as a tactic for driving traffic; SEOs should focus on putting digital at the heart of all of their marketing efforts as we move into 2020. Our panelists ended the session by giving their single biggest takeaway for the year to come:

  • Build a brand, think about your content as an entity and how you communicate this to Google: don’t put all your eggs in one Google basket;
  • Effectively organize your data, as this will help you to make decisions;
  • De-silo your SEO so that it can work more effectively with PPC;
  • CRO is rebranding as experimentation, and this will be the year it goes mainstream;
  • Create positive customer experiences – at the end of the day, this is why they keep coming back.

Creating a Full-Funnel Approach to Paid Social

The paid social landscape can be difficult to navigate – the variety of platforms, formats, and KPIs can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to implement a comprehensive strategy that covers the entire marketing funnel. Our Head of Delivery, Craig Brown, shared his insights at a recent Masterclassing event, helping us to better understand a full-funnel approach.

Aiming for Awareness

Paid social advertising, especially on Facebook and Instagram, is perfect for building brand awareness at the top of the funnel, with stories being one of the most powerful ad placements. The low cost-per-view and CPM, coupled with the highest view-through rate of any channel, make the format a smart choice for building awareness among a large target audience.

Video content works best, but it’s important to approach it the right way. The first five seconds are vital – if you don’t include the brand name and problem/need, you’ve lost an opportunity to promote your product in context.

Many people don’t think you can measure awareness, but it’s possible to do with the right KPIs. Metrics like new site visits and views can tell you how you’re doing and help you optimize your strategy. Brand lift studies are a great tool to use as well since they measure the direct impact of your ads on consumers’ perceptions and behaviors. 

Encouraging Engagement

The middle of the funnel is all about crafting the initial conversation with in-market users and driving them to where they need to be. Often times, the goal is to increase website visits and engagements. 

The Audience Network

While traditional feed ads have an extensive reach, the Audience Network presents a good opportunity to drive traffic to your site at significantly lower CPCs, making it a great option if your budget isn’t flexible. 

Lead Forms

Facebook and Instagram offer convenient in-app lead forms that can auto-populate with user information. These lead forms can reduce cost per sign up by 50% and provide data for strong 1st-party audience targeting across devices. 

Facebook Messenger

Facebook ads can include a link to Messenger, allowing brands to start conversations at scale and making it easier to engage with over one billion monthly users. Businesses specify the content consumers initially receive, then tailor the experience to best fit individual needs. 

Closing with Conversion

As we all know, the bottom of the funnel is focused on converting potential customers into sales or leads. Utilizing 3rd-party audience data in tandem with user information you’ve previously gathered makes it possible to effectively retarget visitors with relevant, dynamic product ads. Promotional messaging around deals also spurs consumer purchases, as it gives a compelling reason to finally convert.

The Facebook Marketplace gives you a chance to target users who are already in-market to make a purchase. With over 800 million global users, the platform has the capacity for extensive reach. It represents a great opportunity to capitalize on the consumer mindset and convert in the right place, especially with those who have previously engaged with your brand. 

Social has historically been seen as a tool just for awareness and engagement, but that’s changed. It now sits across the entire funnel and provides many chances for connection throughout the customer journey, but many don’t know how to leverage those opportunities at the right time. A full-funnel approach is dependent on understanding where and when to target users, as well as the right KPIs that fit each stage of the funnel. 

For more insights on the full-funnel approach, you can download the slides from Masterclass on Slideshare: A Full-Funnel Approach to Paid Social 

 

Meet BERT – Google’s Latest Update

Google’s algorithm updates have always had a significant impact on how marketers handle their SEO efforts, but their latest update – BERT – has been heralded as the most important update in five years, and is set to impact 10% of search queries. But what exactly is BERT, and what impact will it have on organic search as we know it?

The Future of Search is Conversational

In recent years, we’ve all heard that marketing is conversational, but BERT shows that Google has firmly subscribed to this. With voice search becoming increasingly popular thanks to the rise of smart speakers, Google’s latest update is designed to help Search better understand natural language and more conversational queries. 

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, and is a “deep learning algorithm”. The algorithm seeks to give context to Google Search queries so that Google can understand a user’s more natural searches. Sometimes, the context of a search is crucial to getting the right results – for example, there are many different uses of the word “type”. When considered on their own, you might receive results that are entirely irrelevant to these kinds of words. It’s the context around the rest of the query that demonstrates specifically what a user wants. 

Given that there has been a trend towards longtail search terms, particularly as people talk rather than type their queries, this update provides the opportunity for content creators to go back and retest content that might not have been as successful previously. As Google begins to understand search terms with the context of their intent, you may find engagement rising where previously it had remained low. 

Success after BERT

To ensure your organic search success after the rollout of BERT, you’ll want to ensure that your content is well written and uses words precisely. If your content or pages are unclear, it makes it more difficult for Google to understand the overall context. When developing content, be sure to keep the user front of mind; having a clear focus on the point your page is trying to make. By writing for users, Google is better able to understand the context and relationship between words and therefore make sure you’re appearing for the most relevant searches.

The full impact of BERT is still unclear, but what we can already see is the continuing optimization towards conversational voice searches. Context will be incredibly important, ensuring that you continue to appear on the most relevant searches. Focus on precision, and you’ll likely see the benefit for your organic search.

NMPi Shortlisted at this Year’s SBC Awards

It’s with great pride and pleasure that we are announcing our most recent shortlist at this year’s SBC Awards for Marketing & Service Provider of the Year (Sports & Casino).

The awards are known for “recognizing expertise and innovation in the betting and gaming industries,” and it is truly an honor to be shortlisted for this award after having launched our iGaming services just over 2 years ago.

Our digital strategies bring a fresh and innovative approach to the iGaming industry, which can be seen through our work with our clients such as Hero Gaming.

If you’re interested in learning more about our strategy, check out our latest Whitepaper on the iGaming industry, which provides specialist insight on the US Sports Betting market. 

Place your bets on NMPi, Winner to be announced 3 December 2019.

Incubeta Ignite: The Next Billion Users

Read Time: 2 mins

Since 2005, a lot has changed in the world, but there is one key stat that Google’s Ian Turner wants us to focus on: the 2% of Africa’s nearly 1 billion population who had access to the internet in 2005, compared to the 46% of Europe. Flashing forward to 2019, 82% of all developed economies are online, compared to 40% of those still developing. Africa has seen an upswing in adoption, but still only has 25% of the population online. 

Google recognizes that the next billion users will come from across Asia, South America and Africa, and in most cases, the potential for growth is more than half the populations. This being said, their internet use is markedly different compared to that of the current user base, as well as their habits and interactions with different devices. 

The biggest trend is that these populations are largely mobile-first, because they are only on mobile devices. Statistics suggest that around 50% of all smartphone users are in Asia, but general usages is high across India, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. 

With the high permeation of smartphones in these places, voice usage is also very high; for example, 30% of search queries in India use voice. On top of this, the use of language is often very fluid across these regions. For those who only speak Hindi, they’ll use an all-Hindi keyboard. Those who also speak English might speak Hindi or “hinglish” with the English alphabet with friends, and Hindi with the English alphabet to their grandparents. Then there’s also the shifts and blends with Punjabi or Urdu to contend with.

Video content is particularly popular, especially YouTube, and localized content including localized languages is also incredibly important. However, this highlights some of the biggest challenges that we face bringing these populations online. Localized content is hard to maintain, while the phones being used are often low spec. Getting, and staying, online is often difficult thanks to poor and costly connectivity.

Google are making strides to develop their products to ensure that they are accessible to the users that are coming online. Technology can and does make a huge difference to lives across the world, and it’s exciting to see how the next billion users will find the online world.

You can download Ian’s slides here. 

Incubeta Ignite: Am I A Bad Person?

Read Time: 2 minutes

Outside of the world of advertising, data has fueled huge leaps forward in education, science and healthcare. Closer to home, we know how crucial data is for driving effective advertising campaigns. But recent news developments have made me think: am I a bad person?

Surveillance is one of the biggest concerns. That some of the work we do as advertisers might be intruding on a consumer’s privacy will go against many of our moral codes. This being said, the purpose of big data is not surveillance. The definition of surveillance is “the careful watching of a person or place”, which certainly doesn’t tally with what we do. 

As advertisers, we aggregate information to find common themes, meaning the vast majority of our data actions should be anonymous. So while surveillance might be the word of the day, that doesn’t reflect how we work with big data.

We cannot deny that data has been used to exploit – but every commodity can be used to exploit if it falls into the wrong hands. To date, it certainly fallen into the wrong hands – think Cambridge Analytica, the EU referendum, and presidential elections – but this is nothing new. Newspaper, radio, TV; all have been used throughout history for political gain. So how can we rebuild the public’s opinion and confidence, and use it for a force of good?

Principles

  • Be Clear: Make sure your audience knows what you’re collecting and how it will be used. This means no legal jargon, just plain English explaining the data collection.
  • Be Secure: Ensure that data security runs through your organization. Data breaches typically occur because someone in the organization didn’t follow a process intended to protect consumer data. To cut the risk of this, make sure that from day one, all of your employees understand the importance of data security.
  • Be Helpful: Use data to aid, not obstruct. We should be using data to serve ads that are relevant and beneficial to the consumer, not ones that annoy them. Helpful ads are successful ads, and data allows us to improve our relevancy.
  • Be Honest: Use messaging that resonates but doesn’t mislead. While we know it allows us to be relevant, we also know it can be used to prey on people’s fears and mislead them. 

The key here is that we all must make a concerted effort to change. Moving towards more transparent data practices must be done in union. If we work together, we can reinvent what data means to the public, rather than allowing those with more nefarious motives to dictate public opinion. 

It is Damien’s hope that in ten years time, as we look back on the decade, we can see how data has allowed people to live longer, how education levels across the world are higher, and how data has helped us to face and solve the climate crisis.

You can download Damien’s slides here.

Incubeta Ignite: The Future of Advertising

Read Time: 3 mins

We live in a world where we want to make our lives easier, where we’ve developed technology to make our lives more efficient and simpler. We’ve become more accustomed to an AI world – think Alexa, Siri, Tesla’s self-driving cars, Nest – and as we look to the decade ahead we’ll expect all aspects of our lives to operate much more efficiently and easily. 

Applying this to the field of marketing, we know that we must find the balance between being engaging, but not intrusive; more personalized, but not creepy; more conversational. The best way to be helpful, engaging and personal, with our current capabilities, is human interaction. Consider a personal shopper, or advice for a consumer in a technology store. Unfortunately, this doesn’t scale, especially not online, so how can we make these kinds of personalized experiences work on a mass scale?

Conversational AI

Conversational AI uses messaging apps, voice-activated assistants and chatbots to automate communication and make these experiences personalized on a much greater scale. Google have been tapping into this kind of technology to develop a new innovative ad format called AdLingo – a chatbot housed inside a banner ad, powered by conversational AI technology.

 

When the user clicks on the ad, the ad then starts a conversation thread with the user without having to move to a website. Since this format is powered by Google, you can tap into the GDN to scale up your activity, and use their vast audience targeting tools for your personalization. But one of the biggest benefits here is the ability to easily talk to new users, who haven’t intentionally gone to your website. This gives you incredibly valuable insight into customer pain points, their preferences, their complaints. From a marketing perspective, this gives you some excellent intel which can fuel your future campaigns. 

From a user perspective, they are able to ask questions and find out information right then and there, without having to search through your website. By removing some of these barriers, this could help you to close the funnel faster, and secure more conversions.  

AdLingo also offers use cases that appeal to different types of consumers across the entire buying cycle:

  • You can build your brand image, creating a deep brand connection that drives awareness and favorability. 
  • You can offer a guided shopping experience the provides personalized product recommendations based on the user data you have at your disposal.
  • For more technical products or new launches, you can develop FAQ-style conversations that help to educate consumers.
  • Using questions, you can generate high-quality leads that have already been qualified.

Preparing Yourself

Fundamentally, conversational AI requires a different approach to engagement. It requires a full understanding of your consumer; what are their needs, how do they want to interact with you? Once this has been determined, you can begin to plan out the specifics of your project. Define the purpose of the project and how you want it to help customers on their journey. Knowing what you want to achieve will make it easier for you to deliver. Anticipate what your users will say or what they need out of a conversational interaction in order to make them more useful and engaging. Crucially, design for conversation: be sure to invest in conversation and dialogue flow and how to visually present information. Essentially you are giving a voice to your brand and personifying it, so being fully prepared is essential to ensuring a great execution.

Conversational ads are set to play a big part of Display advertising in the months to come, so get ahead of the curve with Farrah’s guidance to find your strategy.

You can download Farrah’s slides here.

Incubeta Ignite: Changing Your Mindset

Read Time: 2 mins

While many of our presentations have focused on the technical opportunities and challenges of the upcoming decade, Pauliina Jamsa of Siemens highlights a very different opportunity available to us: that of emotional intelligence. It’s not necessarily always about the coolest technology, but how you make people feel – and how you help them to share those feelings with the world. 

It was once the old adage that if I didn’t film or photograph it and put it on social, it never happened. Now, you must also appear in it for it to have happened. Users are now craving something real from the advertising and technology they’re exposed to.

Keeping this in mind, there are a few things that Pauliina believes we should focus on. 

  • Companies need their top talent more than the top talent needs them. Employees tend to value more flexibility, freedom and culture than money or status. Building a working environment that uses technology to grant more freedom will allow your employees to succeed.
  • Don’t forget the digital experiences of the older generations. While so much attention is being paid to Millenials and Gen Z (with good reason), this doesn’t give us license to forget the silver foxes. They can often help to bridge the generation gap.
  • You’re competing against the last best experience that a consumer had, so focus on UX after purchase. Many of us will focus on getting the user to convert, then letting the experience drop off afterwards. By turning our attention to the post-purchase interaction, we can stick in the user’s mind for longer.

Perhaps most importantly, Pauliina reminds us to show that we care. It’s a simple gesture, but it is incredibly clear when we don’t.

You can download Pauliina’s slides here.