It’s Time For Retailers To Raise Their Games-Five Quick Reminders

The static website is dead long live the static website

According to a study from Accenture, comScore, and dunnhumbyUSA aimed at helping consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers, visitors to CPG brand websites buy 37% more in retail stores than non-visitors to the brand site. The study also concluded, that to maximize impact, website content needs to be updated regularly and contain brand value messaging that both engages visitors while also providing compelling reasons for them to purchase the brand at retail. Without sounding too much like Captain Obvious, here’s what retailers need to remember:

  1. Update your content regularly
  2. Give the user a reason to be there
  3. Give the user a reason to come back
  4. Reward their loyalty and visits to the site
  5. Give them an incentive to visit the site and a physical location

The study found that visitors to CPG brand websites are valuable and frequent buyers of the brand in retail stores, completing 41% more transactions than non-visitors. So it goes without saying, incent and enrich the online experience and tie it into the store experience and sales go up and buyers return.

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5 huge tech trends that you can’t ignore.

That’s it. Just 5. But why just 5? Because these 5 are rockin’ our world now and will continue to do so for the next 10 years. Do you remember the Gartner Hype Cycle? I blogged about it awhile back in regards to certain things we can be excited about over the next 5 years. Take a look at it real quick.

Ok Now look at this next slide real quick:

 

Ok, one more and I will let you off the hook.

 

 

So the hype cycle pretty much lets you know where certain “things” are in their growth development. It’s a great point of reference and doesn’t take a long time to figure out. Samw with the next slide, what does it tell you? It tells you that music is important to us. Always has, always will be. Here’s a quick 1 question quiz: What does the MySpace business model revolve around? Music and social networking. Ok So there’s 2 trends that will not be dipping anytime soon. Awhile back I wrote a blog post about the top 44 music related social networks and to this day it still pulls traffic. I recently tweeted a question as to what brick and mortar industry has completely dried up but thrived online-answer: music

Trend #1 Music will continue to thrive online and you cannot ignore it.

According to Comscore  In August 2008, Americans conducted 11.7 billion core searches, virtually unchanged from July, as Google Sites extended its lead in core search market share by 1.1 percentage points.

Search is, the gateway to everything that we do online. You may see some play in regards to trying to refine search into more of a niche based environment, but the bottom line is search will alway be the mainstay of any internet based activity.

Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in July with 63 percent of the searches conducted, up from 61.9 percent in July, followed by Yahoo! Sites (19.6 percent), Microsoft Sites (8.3 percent), Ask Network (4.8 percent), and AOL LLC (4.3 percent).

Americans conducted 11.7 billion searches at the core search engines, nearly identical to the number of core searches conducted in July. Google Sites handled 7.4 billion core searches (up 2 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 2.3 billion and Microsoft Sites with 977 million.

In the comScore August 2008 analysis of the top properties where search activity is observed, Google Sites led with 10.2 billion searches, a 2-percent increase versus July.  That’s billion! Yahoo! Sites ranked second with 2.4 billion searches, followed by Microsoft Sites with 1 billion and AOL LLC with 839 million.

Trend #2 Search ain’t going nowhere.

According to Hitwise, MySpace.com received 67.54 percent of the market share of U.S. visits in August 2008 among a custom category of 56 of the leading social networking websites.  The market share of U.S. visits to the social networking site decreased 2 percent in August 2008 to 6.40 percent of all U.S. visits compared to July 2008. Visits to the category decreased 17 percent year-over-year. But check out the chart below:

What do those numbers mean to you? It means that MySpace had 66 million visits in one month and Facebook had 28 million. The fact of the matter is that social media and social networks are interwoven into the daily fabric of our lives. I know, it’s not like it’s earth shattering, it’s just not a fad anymore. It’s legit. It will continue to evolve and the potential will always be there for someone to do something different and exciting and unique with the social media application. Could that be you? I hope so.

Trend #3 Social networks will continue to evolve and grow larger and gain in importance.

A recently released UN study indicates that by the end of 2008 mobile phone use worldwide will reach 50% of the earth’s population for the first time in history. Although the percentage of mobile phones in North America, Western Europe and most of Asia is much higher than 50%, in developing countries, a mobile phone is still considered a luxury.

Mobile phone ownership rates have been rising significantly, almost at an exponential rate. Countries like  India, Brazil, and China are seeing crazy growth in the number of people owning a cell phone. In fact, China had an estimated one billion cell phone subscribers in 2007. At the current rate of growth, there will be over 3.3 billion cell phone subscribers worldwide by the end of 2008.

So there’s no escaping the fact that cell phones are now-another essential part of our daily lives. Grab the keys, grab the wallet, the purse, the backpack and the cell phone. Ok so we get that. But now, pay attention.

According to a recent online survey conducted by ABI Research, nearly half (46%) of those who use social networks have also visited a social network through a mobile phone. Of these, nearly 70% have visited MySpace and another 67% had visited Facebook. No other social networking site reached 15% adoption mobile adoption.

So what are these consumers doing when they access their mobile social network? They’re checking for comments and messages from their friends, with both of these features registering above 50% for mobile social network users. Posting status updates also has proven popular, with over 45% of mobile social users letting others what they are up to via their phone.
What we are seeing is a melding of 2 functions into one via the hub of the cell phone. Or is it the hub of the social network?  There’s no doubt that a social network is increasingly becoming a central hub for communication across online and mobile domains for a lot of people. Because it’s  allowing them to consolidate activities or processes. From text, to email, to chat, to phone calls, to exchanging of data, uploading images and downloading songs. The phone and the social net. allow thesee things to occur almost seamlessly. As a trend, the centralization of a consumer’s cell phone activities combined with their increased social network usage is only going to make adoption of mobile social networking more inevitable as we move forward.
Trend #4 The growth of the mobile social network will be steady and exponential.

Here is trend 4a for you as well:   comScore M:Metrics reports that in June 2008, 20.8  million U.S. mobile subscribers and 4.5 million European mobile phone subscribers  accessed search during the month, an increase of 68 and 38 percent from June 2007, respectively.  The U.K. had the highest penetration of mobile subscribers using search at 9.5 percent, followed closely by the U.S. at 9.2 percent.  That’s right, Mobile Search.

Ok last one-And it’s a no-brainer. Check out the slide below. It’s from December 2007, but the message is loud and clear.

Google Sites  ranked as the top U.S. video property in December with 3.3 billion videos viewed (32.6  percent share of videos), gaining 1.3 share points versus the previous month. YouTube.com accounted for more than 97 percent of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 358 million (3.5 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 340 million (3.4 percent) and Viacom Digital with 238 million (2.3 percent).

In total, nearly 141 million Americans viewed online video in December. Google Sites also captured the largest online video audience with 79 million unique viewers, followed by Fox Interactive Media with 43.9 million and Yahoo! Sites with 38.2 million. So if you don’t already know it online video consumption is growing at a sick-ass rate.

Trend #5 Online video consumption will evolve into an acceptable replacement for a TV.

In conclusion, here’s the most interesting aspect of them all. The hub for all of the above trends can and will be centered on one thing, Your cell phone.

What do we search on? Matters of life and death

The terms “pregnancy” and “cancer” were the two most frequently searched health terms in February, receiving 8.8 million and 7.7 million search queries respectively according to comScore. Which can lead us to 2 conclusions and 2 theories.  I think you can separate the 2 terms into two camps and 2 distinct demographics. The first demo is a younger generation that is worried about and curious as to what pregnancy is about, what it entails and what to expect. The next demo, is our aging boomers. They are as concerned about death as they are about prolonging life.  Think about it. Pregnancy and cancer are really, life and death. One is something you think about as you enter into the world as an adult, the other is what you are concerned with as you try to stay on this earth as an adult. As morbid as that may seem, it’s true. It’s as black and white as 2 distinct topics can be in regards to one’s health.

As you venture into looking at other search terms, you can easily track what time of year it is, what state the economy is in and how those things affect your health. Health terms that were frequently searched in February include “flu” (1.8 million) which would make sense, since that is the height, generally of the flu season; and depression also (1.8 million). Depression it seems,  occurs as we fall into the long winter nights and misery that accompanies winter and perceived or real economic hardship. The next most searched health issues were diabetes (1.7 million) and addiction (1.4 million). Though not much can be said about diabetes being a surprise, since poor eating habits and lack of any physical excersize can ceratinly contribute to this, which America is definitely guilty of, it’s good to see that it is getting the attention that it needs. Addiction is the dirty little secret that permeates every family throughout the US. Everyone knows someone who is an addict, is a friend of a friend, or has a family member who is or was. A sad fact, but definitely makes sense in regards to search.

 Interestingly, “Pregnancy,” is searched 17 times more often than the most popularly searched prescription brand name, “Chantix.” The second most searched term “cancer” had 1 million queries specific to the term “breast cancer.”

“It’s not too surprising that some of the most common health conditions, such as diabetes, depression and flu, have made the list, but it’s interesting that these terms generate fewer searches than significantly less prevalent conditions like cancer and pregnancy,” said Carolina Petrini, comScore senior vice president.

“A reason for this may be due to life-changing nature of a cancer diagnosis or a pregnancy.”  Life changing…

Most Commonly Searched Health Conditions
February 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
 
Search Term                   Search Queries
                                   (000)
Pregnancy                          8,841
Cancer                               7,718
Flu                                    1,824
Depression                        1,807
Diabetes                           1,758
Addiction                           1,407            
Herpes                              1,340
HIV                                     976
Anxiety                               910
Stroke                                872
HPV                                   861
Bipolar                                861
Cholesterol                          816
Headache                            763
Menopause                          667
Hepatitis                              614
Arthritis                               600
ADHD                                 573
Asthma                               569
Fibromyalgia                        551

The top 25 websites for February 2008

According to comScore here are the top 25 websites/properties that received the most traffic in February. Some of these should not surprise you. But it does give you a glimpse of what people’s surfing patterns consist of. The number next to it is uniques, as in millions. Yahoo! Sites continued to lead as the top property with 137 million visitors, followed by Google Sites with nearly 136 million visitors and Microsoft Sites with more than 118 million visitors. Wikipedia Sites and  The Ask Network each moved up one position in the top 10 to spots seven and nine, respectively. Glam Media jumped 10 spots to reach position 18 with more than 29 million visitors during the month. Since Tax season is upon us,  the IRS.gov site moved into the Top 50 ranking, capturing position 45.

Yahoo! Sites 136,767

Google Sites 135,970

Microsoft Sites 118,355

AOL LLC 108,911

Fox Interactive Media 83,638

eBay 77,864

Wikipedia Sites 55,906

Amazon Sites 55,172

Ask Network 54,120

Time Warner – Excluding AOL 52,661

New York Times Digital 47,632

Apple Inc 47,048

Viacom Digital 41,216

Weather Channel, The 41,057

CNET Networks 33,320

Facebook.com 32,436

Adobe Sites 30,620

Glam Media 29,136

Wal-Mart 27,651

Superpages.com Network 27,526

Verizon Communications Corporation 27,101

Disney Online 27,094

Craigslist, Inc 26,822

Gorilla Nation 26,710

Target Corporation 26,631