With Affiliate World Europe kicking off today in Barcelona, it is clear to see performance, affiliate and mobile marketing are taking over. But marketers are not sitting still – many are looking at what comes next in customer engagement. Paul Skeldon takes a look
While a seismic shift has occurred towards affiliate, performance and mobile marketing, many marketers are looking ahead to the next-next big things in an attempt to get ahead of the game.
Just where is customer engagement and marketing heading?
Some 87% of marketers have a dedicated budget for testing new technology, with on average, more than a third of budgets (36%) allocated to trialling new technology, according to the ‘Customer Engagement 2019 – Future trends’ report from the DMA in conjunction with Pure360.
Just 13% of organisations do not appear to have funds in place to test the latest innovations. The size and resource available to business seem to have a direct impact on the budget allocated, with just 18% of small firms able to invest compared to 38% of medium-sized organisations and 37% of larger companies.
Over the next five years, marketers state that the most popular use for marketing budgets includes finding new ways to ‘chat’, whether with humans (36%) or chatbots (37%). A healthy proportion of marketers are already keen to capitalise: for example, 54% already use and will continue to use chatbots – this figure will likely increase over time.
The main uses range from improvements to customer service to an improved try-before-you-buy experience of new products or services, across sectors.
Komal Helyer, Marketing Director at Pure360, says: “The quest for the best technologies to improve customer engagement strategies, and ultimately help revenue, is one that rolls on. As the pressure to stand out above the competition grows, the questions around where to invest can sometimes be a cause of concern. Driven by the pace of change, both in terms of innovation and customer expectations, there is always going to be a new ‘craze’ to consider investing in. Marketers just need to find the right opportunity for their business’s needs.”
What customer engagement technologies are most popular with consumers?
Chatbots, smart assistants, and augmented/virtual reality are popular among roughly half of the consumers.
Vast numbers of consumers track habits using apps, from smoking and calorie counting to budgeting and exercise. Consumers are keen to turn this information into something meaningful.
More than a third (38%) said they would use an app that sent them workout challenges to complete each week, for example. A similar proportion wants help setting a weekly budget, with a by-product that encourages them to save.
Brands can tap into these aspirations and make experiences more fun or, where appropriate, competitive.
“Technology continues to redefine how brands engage with their customers, and similarly, how consumers are able to communicate their preferences to marketers,” says Scott Logie, Chair of the Customer Engagement Committee at the DMA and Customer Engagement Director at reading Group. “Evidently, marketers retain a strong interest in utilising the latest technology to engage with their customer, and consumers are equally receptive to the opportunities on offer. Whatever technological advancements are invested in, improving the customer experience must be sitting at the heart of all business practices.”
Quality and quantity of customer engagement
Consumers click on online adverts to find out more information, but marketers may be wasting half their budget with poor targeting, a study has revealed.
According to new research from Conversant, which questioned consumers across seven different countries, 49% still see ads that are irrelevant or for products that they already own.
“Clearly marketers are missing the mark when it comes to consumer targeting and with half of the consumers being shown products that aren’t of interest, marketers are simply throwing away half their budget,” says Elliott Clayton, SVP, Conversant. “Many marketers still see adverts as a way to promote new or existing products and forget the first rule of marketing: build the brand, educate, inform and entertain. There’s a place for promotions and sales, but if marketers don’t get the balance right, they risk alienating customers.”
The research revealed why consumers click on adverts, with only 2% of global consumers clicking on an advert to make a purchase. It is instead the desire to find out more information that drives a click, with 56% of global consumers clicking on ads for this reason.
With information, not purchases, driving clicks, consumers would like marketers to make more use of display ads (41%) and sponsored content (31%), rather than ads on voice platforms like Alexa and Google Home (0.5%). Almost half (45%) of consumers also wish to see fewer but more relevant and useful ads – and 79% of consumers believe that traditional advertising is alive and well.
“Online advertising is thriving, but there are some fundamental challenges that need to be addressed if marketers are to be successful in 2019,” concluded Clayton. “There is still plenty of room for improvement in the industry and marketers need to put consumers’ preferences first and personalise experiences for individuals. Consumers aren’t anti-advertising, they just don’t want bad, irrelevant adverts.”
Tools to make sure your affiliate marketing is compliant
Rightlander, a powerful affiliate compliance tool, has rolled out a new service for US-facing online casino operators.
The Premium Risk Mitigation Report scans affiliate sites to check whether they are promoting online casino brands that are not licensed in individual US states.
The Report allows operators to identify affiliates that are not acting responsibly and to remove them from their programs or not work with them in the first place.
The launch of the Premium Risk Mitigation Report comes at a time when regulators such as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement are cracking down on non-compliant affiliates.
Ian Sims, the founder of Rightlander, said: “The US market presents tremendous opportunities for online casino operators as more states regulate the activity. As we have seen in other markets around the world, affiliates will play a significant role in driving new player sign-ups and ultimately revenues. But operators must ensure they work with reputable affiliates; if they don’t, they put their licenses at risk of being revoked. The Rightlander Premium Risk Mitigation Report allows operators to quickly and easily identify affiliates that are promoting unlicensed brands in each state they are active.”
Rightlander works with a raft of tier one operators such as GVC, LeoVegas, Unibet, bwin and bgo in regulated markets including the UK, Sweden and now the USA.