Performics 2014 Digital Trends: Participation Activated
The Process of Turning Engagement into Performance
For years, audiences have been fragmenting. Participants
move seamlessly across screens, channels & devices,
creating highly personalized experiences. They interact
with brands wherever & whenever they want.
For marketers, the speed of participants—and the data
they leave behind—can be overwhelming. For Performics,
it’s what motivates us. We embrace fragmentation to find
participants by leveraging data sources (search keywords,
engagement metrics, demographics, browsing behaviors,
etc.). We then engage participants with highly personalized
experiences at the right bid, in real-time, to Activate
Participation—shares, clicks, actions, leads & sales.
2014 will bring a host of new analytics, content & channel
opportunities that will aid in activating participation. We
explore these opportunities in this Report.
The trail of trackable
data left behind as
across channels &
The science of
by analysis of user
The expansion of
access by shoppers to
physical stores &
Tracking Cross-Channel &
WikiLeaks, Snowden & the NSA gave us a sobering view
of privacy in 2013. To quell fears, Google further
encrypted organic search data. Firefox planned to
block third-party cookies. Yahoo! announced steps to
protect email data. Microsoft even vowed to fight in
court attempts by the government to seize data.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As advertising
networks seek to protect privacy, we believe that the
third-party cookie may become a thing of the past.
In 2014, tracking could move to native, walled gardens
(e.g. Google, Microsoft, Apple), where users are only
tracked when (1) they’ve agreed to be
tracked via the ecosystem’s Terms of Service & (2)
they’re signed in. To illustrate—to use Google—users
must now agree to be tracked across all Google
properties (search, YouTube, Google+ on laptops,
phones, tablets, TVs) when signed-in.
This may pose measurement challenges for marketers,
but it will also enable us to attribute crossdevice/channel activity—within individual
ecosystems—like never before. Everywhere people go,
everything they do, a Data Shadow will follow.
Eye to Privacy
Micro-Trend 1: Eye to Privacy
In response to potential snooping, advertising networks are squarely focused on proving
that their users are safe—that data is protected. Most notably, Google encrypted 100% of
organic searches in Sept. 2013 (e.g. marketers can no longer see which queries searchers
entered before visiting their sites). This eye to privacy will continue in 2014.
Keep Calm & Optimize
100% Secure Organic Search (9/13)
Data Encryption (pending)
Losing access to data
certainly makes digital
marketing more challenging.
However, digital marketing is
defined by change. The
mark of good marketer is
turning change into
Micro-Trend 2: Walled Gardens
We believe that privacy concerns could give way to “cookie-less”
tracking within native, logged-in ecosystems (Walled Gardens). Hence
the race to integrate properties within ecosystems—services,
permission to share data across all Google services. Native integration
will continue into 2014. Additionally, each ecosystem is pairing crossproperty user data with ad management capabilities (e.g.
Google/Doubleclick & Facebook/Atlas) which gives the ecosystem the
ability to activate data from their walled garden across the “open web.”
Micro-Trend 3: Ecosystem Attribution
As ecosystems integrate, advertisers will gain new opportunities to track signed-in users across
properties, devices, browsers & locations. For instance, in Oct. 2013, Google released Estimated
Total Conversions, which provides a cross-device view of all conversions driven through Google paid
search (including those that take multiple devices to complete). Conversions are estimated using
aggregate data from people who have signed into Google. Google’s initiatives will move the market
given the scale and small (or no) cost.
A Cross-Device View of
Participants Enables Us To:
• Find incremental
conversions; reduce lost
devices & browsers
• Better evaluate the
impact of mobile
• Make better budget
• Better understand
Real-Time Content through
In 2013, “content strategy” was the art of creating
content we think people will engage with. Going
forward, marketers will move beyond content strategy
to Content A.I—the science of creating content we
know people will engage with.
The artificial intelligence (A.I.) content machine is
getting smarter; we’re using advanced analytics to track
and observe participant response metrics (likes, shares,
Reddit upvotes, Amazon reviews, click-through, social
chatter, abandonment rates, etc.) that enable us to
optimize content in real-time. Participants start
talking; then we create the content. This can include
moving a product up a landing page based on metrics
like clicks, creating Vine videos in real-time informed
by participant tweets, or even producing animated
content based on the current, most-talked about
stories on the Web (like Taiwanese Next Media
Animation is doing).
In 2014 & beyond, we’ll better leverage participants to
tell us exactly what they want, when the want it—
through the data they create in real-time.
Micro-Trend 1: Content Optimization
For years, brands have been creating content, then optimizing it for search engines &
social—a process sometimes called Content Optimization. 2014 will usher a new
definition of Content Optimization: creating content, on-the-fly, that is already optimized
because it was informed in response to participant engagement metrics (clicks, chatter,
abandonment rates by individual & participant segment) uncovered via analytics.
Create relevant content
(videos, articles, tweets)
based on what your
searching for & talking
about in social media
search copy, display
creative, landing pages)
in real-time based on
reviews & social chatter
Micro-Trend 2: Speed to Content
Once the relevant participant engagement data has been collected & analyzed, the key is
speed to content creation. In 2014, more agencies, advertisers & publishers will dedicate
more time & resources to content—and the fastest producer will win.
Taiwanese Next Media
Animation is epitomizing
speed to content.
According to its site: “30
animated news stories are
published daily, covering
breaking stories . . .. The
animations are combined
with video footage to help
viewers visualize and
quickly understand headline
events as they unfold”
Micro-Trend 3: Automation
While some content creation (like Next Media Animation’s videos) requires labor, other
content will be increasingly automated. Content automation can include moving products
up/down landing pages based on metrics like sales or clicks or swapping paid search copy
in response to metrics like customer lifetime value. Real-time content automation can also
help link creative & promotions across paid & owned assets. More marketers will
test/install data management platforms (DMPs) in 2014 to support automation.
By integrating back-end
CRM data associated with
certain products or
keywords, we can take into
account KPIs like customer
lifetime value (new vs.
existing) to focus on
acquisition vs. retention
paid search copy or bid
strategies. This hinges on
developing processes to
integrate first-party (CRM,
web analytics) & third-party
data at scale in real-time.
Expansion of Access to
Online marketplaces continue to slowly chip at
brick-and-mortar’s competitive advantage—
immediacy. To illustrate, Amazon partnered with the
USPS for Sunday Shipping. Google Shopping Express
launched in San Francisco, enabling customers to get
laundry detergent, food & office supplies delivered
within hours—at the same price as in-store. Jeff Bezos
even revealed that Amazon is testing drones to deliver
within 30 minutes by 2015.
Participants no longer have to go to the physical store
or brand’s native website. They can buy what their
favorite TV characters are wearing while watching TV,
purchase music on-the-go with QR codes on
billboards or splurge on designer close-outs on Gilt &
Meanwhile, many brands still focus their marketing
efforts primarily on in-store & native site experiences.
In 2014, we expect these brands to join their
customers on Virtual Marketplaces like Amazon &
Google Shopping. Marketplace/product feed
optimization strategies will be critical as marketplaces
increasingly figure into the mix.
Micro-Trend 1: Real-Time Delivery
In Q4 2013, we saw a revolution in speed-to-deliver for marketplaces. Google Shopping
Express launched with 30 min. delivery. Amazon’s warehousing strategy evolved for speed
(it now pulls directly from some brands’ master inventory to ship). Amazon also partnered
with the USPS for Sunday Shipping, and it revealed its plan for delivery drones. For
immediate needs, online marketplaces will soon become as convenient as physical stores.
Shopping Express San Fran. (Sept. 2013)
Sunday Delivery (Nov. 2013)
Prime Air Drones (pending)
Micro-Trend 2: Marketplaces in the Mix
Your physical store & native website are no longer the only places to sell. In 2014,
marketplaces are squarely in the performance marketing mix. Shoppers want to interact
with brands on marketplaces like Amazon. In addition, Google Shopping has emerged &
daily-deal marketplaces like Gilt/Hautelook continue to engage. Inventory/feed
management should be a part of performance media for all advertisers in 2014.
30% of people now start their shopping process
on Amazon vs. 13% on Google (Forrester)
2013 Amazon Black Friday sales
were up 34.7% Y/Y (Trefis)
Google PLA spend increased 30% from holiday
2012 to 2013 for our clients
Micro-Trend 3: Optimization
Many brands fear utilizing marketplaces because of the potential for cannibalization.
But in reality, most marketplace sales are incremental. Not to mention, retailers are
finding that shoppers on sites like Amazon or Gilt aren’t the same shoppers as those on
their native sites.
Marketplace Optimization Strategies 2014
Google Shopping (PLAs)
• Shopping-Search Integration:
In this new landscape, where
shopping & search are one,
retailers must have an
• Relevancy: Google’s 2013
purchase of Channel
Intelligence (CI) will give
retailers more ability to create
highly engaging feeds. We see
that PLA CPCs are falling.
Amazon & Other Marketplaces
• Selective Use: Consider leveraging
marketplaces as additional, shorterterm channels to clear out-of-season
or low margin inventory
• Test & Learn: Compare
names/addresses of ship-to
customers in your Amazon orders to
your existing customer database to
see if cannibalization is (or isn’t)