Victoria’s Secret links digital, real-world scavenger hunt via image recognition February 12, 2014
Victoria’s Secret continues to lead the pack in retailers leveraging mobile applications for more than just shopping with a new spring break campaign that layers image recognition and games on top of commerce features.
The lingerie retailer has launched a new campaign within its iPhone and Android app in the weeks before spring break to drive sales as well as engagement through games and activities. Victoria’s Secret’s new effort pulls together several of the elements that the brand has been steadily building into its app over the past year.
“In-app campaigns are one of the most meaningful ways that an app can keep users returning, especially for fashion brands,” said Mark Ghermezian, CEO of Appboy, New York.
“The deals drive it,” he said. “I’ve seen Valentine’s Day campaigns in apps that have 35 percent click-through rates for retailers. That speaks for itself.”
Mr. Ghermezian is not affiliated with Victoria’s Secret. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.
Victoria’s Secret did not respond to press inquiries.
Marrying up multiple initiatives
Each of Victoria’s Secret’s mobile initiatives builds on past efforts, which is evidenced in its newest spring break campaign.
Last year, the retailer rolled out a mobile photo-sharing contest that ran over the course of four weeks and encouraged consumers to snap pictures that spelled out the word “pink”.
This year, Victoria’s Secret has added several new mobile elements with another four-week spring break-themed campaign.
Each week, users are challenged to find and scan a specific Victoria Secret picture with the app. The images are found on Victoria’s Secret’s Web site, in-store and on college campuses.
For example, the first week challenge runs through Feb. 15 and encourages consumers to find a model posing next to the letter “P.”
When consumers find the picture and scan it with the app, a landing page that promotes spring break loungewear is pulled up that can be shopped from. Additionally, consumers can listen to a playlist on 8tracks via the app.
Three additional in-app challenges will become available each week through March 8.
Additionally, the first 100 consumers to find and scan the item each week receive a freebie.
Victoria’s Secret rolled out the image recognition feature in October as part of a holiday initiative to mobilize print catalogs.
Besides the photo campaign, the app also includes seasonal photo filters and decals that consumers can use to customize spring break photos. A weather forecast feature is also incorporated into the app to help spring breakers plan their trip.
The retailer sent out SMS and email blasts to promote the new spring break initiative. The campaign is also promoted on Victoria’s Secret’s Web site.
Victoria’s Secret continues to be one of the few retailers that continually leverages its mobile app to drive repeat traffic from seasonal campaigns with content geared towards its core demographic.
Past in-app seasonal campaigns include back-to-school and college football campaigns.
What is unique about Victoria’s Secret’s campaigns is that the brand adds a new mobile element to each campaign.
In this case, the brand is pulling together several of its app features that steadily have been rolled out over the past year for a more comprehensive campaign. By asking consumers to hunt and find the pictures that correlate to the sweepstakes across different pieces of media, the campaign shows the growing push behind Victoria’s Secret to leverage mobile as part of multichannel campaigns.
“Brands embrace technology when it works,” said Brennan Hayden, vice president of mobile at [x+1], New York.
Mr. Hayden is not affiliated with Victoria’s Secret. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.
“The frequency of their use of the app media is very telling,” he said. “I think it means app media works – it’s that simple.”
Super Bowl mobile ads fizzle as gap grows between utility, innovation January 22, 2014
While mobile is slated to play a bigger role in Super Bowl XLVIII campaigns from brands such as H&M, Pepsi and McDonald’s, innovative efforts that push the envelope too much with new technology could miss the mark on delivering entertainment and branding value.
H&M, Pepsi and McDonald’s are traditionally three of the largest advertisers during the Super Bowl, and all are leveraging mobile in unique ways this year through video, new forms of advertising and commerce functions. Despite the fact that mobile continues to grab a bigger piece of marketing mixes, the shift towards using new types of technology is likely to be a bigger challenge for marketers this year than in past years.
“It make sense for a brand to experiment with technology and showcase their true innovation with a larger than normal captive audience [during the Super Bowl],” said Kinney Edwards, executive creative director at Tribal New York, New York.
“In most cases, this can come off as just a stunt with little value for the consumer,” he said. “Success in experimenting is not about a brand that uses technology just because it’s available, but because it makes sense in how it enhances the entertainment value, utility or experience for the audience.”
As more consumers use their smartphones and tablets to interact with content in real-time, mobile has increasingly been playing a bigger role for Super Bowl marketers in the past few years.
This year, H&M is taking its big Super Bowl spot mobile with a new type of technology that lets consumers buy merchandise straight from an ad.
H&M is enabling consumers with a Samsung Smart TV to shop from the brand’s television spot through a mobile app that syncs with the TV.
The 30-second ad will promote David Beckham’s Bodywear spring collection and is powered by a TV-to-online platform called Delivery Agent.
However, not all experts agree that testing a new type of TV-to-mobile shopping experience during a widely watched event such as The Super Bowl is a good idea.
Although H&M’s campaign could be an interesting way for the apparel marketer to introduce a new type of technology to consumers, there are still quite a few hurdles in getting these initiatives to scale.
First, the mobile-enabled ad is limited to consumers who own a 2012 or 2013 Samsung Smart TV set.
Additionally, the technology requires that consumers download an app and use it at exactly the right time that the ad runs, mirroring the same challenges that have kept second-screen third-party apps on the back burner for brands in the past.
The challenge for advertisers in leveraging first-to-market types of technology is that it forces marketers to change a lean-back behavior that is already instilled in consumers while watching TV, according to Douglas Rozen, chief innovation officer of MXM and senior vice president and general manager at MXM Mobile, New York.
Instead of looking to push the envelope with mobile, marketers should hone in on social media this year with entertaining bits of content that takes advantage of the fact that mobile has become the dominant platform for sharing.
Additionally, marketers should leverage mobile and TV in conjunction to drive Web traffic and simplify the lead process as part of the path-to-purchase.
“We don’t believe the Super Bowl is the place for experimentation of technology,” Mr. Rozen said.
“The reality is viewers are there to watch and share the experience with friends and family – they are not running to download augmented reality enabled geo-triggering applications just because they can," he said.
Rewarding mobile behavior
With more consumers tuned into their smartphones and tablets during the game this year, new ad formats and media buying plans are already beginning to roll out from brands.
The interest in programmatic ad buying has increased significantly from marketers in the past year, which will likely be a powerful tool for marketers to use during the game.
It is no surprise that the number of mobile searches related to advertisements swells during the Super Bowl, giving marketers a way to serve up related content to consumers in real-time.
At the same time, the strength of the mobile banner ad has decreased in the past year while incentive-based ad models are catching on with marketers.
Again, the underlying takeaway is that marketers must tie these ads to a value for consumers that they cannot get elsewhere.
For example, McDonald’s has launched a new rewards-based advertising campaign that is running within SessionM’s network of mobile apps to build up some hype before the game.
The ads pop up after consumers receive points for an in-app achievement, and the campaign promotes the chain’s Mighty Wings.
Creative on the ad encourages consumers to answer a Super Bowl-themed trivia question to earn an additional 40 points. If consumers answer the question correctly, they can receive an additional 10 points by clicking through to find a McDonald’s location. Clicking through on the ad pulls up a list of nearby locations, and consumers can view maps and directions to each store through Google Maps.
Driving in-store traffic is consistently a top priority for McDonald’s, which is prominent in this new campaign, and the call-to-action gives consumers an immediate way to take action.
With more video watching taking place on smartphones and tablets, simply banking on TV to reach consumers with a 30-second message is not enough for big brands anymore.
Instead, it has become the norm for brands to push out snippets of TV commercials before they air through digital and mobile platforms. Then after the game, big brands leverage bits of the content into post-Super Bowl video campaigns.
Take, Pepsi for example. Pepsi is traditionally one of the largest Super Bowl advertisers and was also one of the launch brands on Apple’s music streaming service iTunes Radio last year.
Pepsi is running a video campaign on iTunes Radio to debut the first 30 seconds of the brand’s Super Bowl ad. The ads also include a call-to-action below the video that promotes Pepsi’s sponsorship of the halftime show.
The Super Bowl ads fit into a bigger NFL-themed campaign that Pepsi launched in the fall called #FanEnough. The campaign includes branded music stations created by NFL players including Jeremy Maclin and Victor Cruz. In addition to Pepsi leveraging the teaser in its ad, the brand is also featured within a new group of video trailers that YouTube has released.
Consumers are hungry for commercials leading up to the big game, and leaking previews of the ads before Super Bowl Sunday is likely effective in getting consumers to tune in for the game to watch the entire spot.
“Super Bowl ads are no longer about the 15 or 30 second spots that run during the Super Bowl and the chatter they drive after it,” said Whitney Fishman, senior director of innovation and consumer technology at MEC, New York.
“Social platforms and mobile devices enable the conversation to start weeks before the Super Bowl, more so than ever,” she said. “Just like the players prep for the big game, marketers can use an increasingly in-depth number of tools to generate excitement and buzz for their advertisements, something that is unthinkable almost any time of the year.”
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York
Huge Growth in Store for In-App Mobile Messaging January 16, 2014
In-app mobile advertising is expected to jump significantly between now and 2018, according to new figures from Juniper Research. Ad spend in this category will reach US$16.9 billion by 2018, up from $3.5 billion last year, the consulting group found.
Smartphones currently account for approximately 70 percent of in-app ad spend, Juniper said, but that ratio is expected to change over time as tablet use claims a bigger portion of the mobile ecosystem.
By 2018, the tablet/smartphone adspend split will be almost 50/50, Juniper predicted.
Growth of in-app advertising will be driven by several factors, including improved targeting capabilities and the development of more effective interactive rich media ads, the report found.
There is another reason for the growth, Doug Rozen, senior vice present and general manager of MXM, told CRM Buyer.
In-app ad spending will increase over the next few years for the simple reason that consumers are spending more time accessing content in-app compared to other digital channels.
"More time spent in-app means more opportunity for advertising," Rozen said.
Changing Definition of ‘App’
The very definition of an "app" is rapidly changing to include software developed for wearables like smartwatches and Google Glass, as well as cars outfitted with Android and iOS and smart home appliances from retailers like Sony and Samsung.
"This means more useful content for consumers to engage with — the necessary element of any good ad placement — and ultimately more opportunity for marketers," Rozen said.
In the near term, though, marketers will be focusing on formats for in-app ads running on smartphones and tablets.
Still, the range of choices and decisions already is wide, said John Milinovich, CEO of URX.
For example, there is a lot of interest in new native ad formats, he said, which boast higher conversion rates and competitive prices, although reach is still relatively small.
"Standard in-app banner ads, on the other hand, are still popular because they have the most reach, costs are relatively low, and conversion rates can be substantial if used correctly," said Milinovich.
There are also the offerings from Facebook to consider. These perform "incredibly well on mobile for both cost-per-install and cost-per-engagement, and remain popular with mobile marketers," he pointed out.
A New Thought Process
Advertisers are approaching in-app advertising in new and more thoughtful ways, Milinovich observed.
"Developing mobile marketing campaigns requires a sensitivity to the form factor that is often missed by brands who’ve just taken their desktop strategy and applied it to mobile," he explained.
Companies are beginning to understand that mobile apps are incredibly effective points of sale, said Milinovich. They provide a direct way for consumers to make purchases at the point of need.
"Mobile deeplinking creates the opportunity to drive users into the middle of apps to specific points of purchase," he noted, "cutting out several steps from the process."
All of this comes with a caveat, said MXM’s Rozen. Five years is a very long time for a rapidly evolving industry.
"Just think, this time five years ago, we had just been introduced to the 3G iPhone, and iPads wouldn’t debut until later in the year," he recalled. "We cannot predict a future that has not been fully invented."
Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.
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