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There is no question that reaching today’s digital-first audience requires a powerful online presence. So it makes sense that digital takes a sizeable 38% share of advertising spend worldwide, equal to $220 billion. But the problem is: it’s not working.
A recent study found that global marketers feel a quarter (26%) of spend will fuel ineffective channels and strategies this year, and 20% of those in the UK are worried about wastage.
We need to go back to basics. If brands want messages to inspire action, they must connect with consumers when they are most engaged, receptive, and happy. Introducing: the transaction moment.
Targeting the wrong places
Search and social are currently the shining stars of digital: in the UK alone, £5.8 billion was spent on search last year and social investment jumped by 38%. And the reason behind their popularity is understandable; both attract large chunks of consumer time — almost three hours spent on social and 3.5 billion Google searches daily. At the surface level, these channels are seen as the best way of meeting the traditional marketing objective: influence consumers before they buy. But, when consumers are in a browsing state of mind, they are far more likely to be distracted – especially when searching or networking via social. In focusing solely on the lead up to purchase, marketers are missing a vital opportunity to engage with consumers that are already in the buying mindset.
And that’s where the transaction moment comes in.
The buying mindset
The most important factor to note about the transaction moment is that it isn’t a moment in time; it’s a mindset. More specifically, it’s a frame of mind where consumer interest, buying intention, and engagement peak — typically as individuals finalise their purchase decisions, continuing to confirmation. Or, put simply, it’s the pinnacle of digital happiness.
The reason for this happiness lies in the workings of the human brain. Research reveals that when shopping, the brain releases chemicals that fuel joy – a link between purchasing and positive emotion was found in a study led by Stanford University neuroscientist Brian Knutson. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines, the team scanned the brains of 26 volunteers as they contemplated buying multiple items. The results clearly showed that activity lit up in the brain’s nucleus accumbens — associated with the release of feel-good chemical dopamine — the second products were presented and a purchase was considered.
Rokt’s own research supports these findings, on average, 74% of global consumers agree purchasing is the happiest place online, outweighing the proportion that says the same for connecting on social: 66%. Interestingly, almost three-fifths (58%) are also likely to be multi-tasking while on social, decreasing to 51% of those researching possible purchases, and down to only 39% for consumers when completing a purchase. Plus, many feel open to further engagement after purchasing: 35% of Rokt powered third-party offers on the confirmation page are opted in to.
What does it mean for marketers?
Essentially, delivering marketing messages in the transaction moment gives brands the best chance of capturing the attention of consumers and driving response. Better, in fact, than social media or search. The extremely focused and engaged mindset consumers enter when they are completing a purchase makes them less prone to distraction and, as research has found, receptive to other tailored offers that could lead to yet more rewarding buying experiences.
Of course, there is the crucial factor of relevance. The consumer’s experience is paramount. To effectively capitalise on the consumer’s mindset brands must provide complementary messages that will resonate.
And achieving this means following these three guiding principles:
- Always personalise offers to ensure maximum contextual relevance and avoid unnecessary interruptions
- Configure messages on the confirmation page so that they enable the conversation to be easily continued, this may include opt-in links that consumers can click to receive offers by email
- Leverage data gathered from transactions to refine offers; details such as billing address, purchase history, and loyalty details can help tailor the messaging
Digital certainly has the capacity to produce strong returns; revenues hit $88 billion in 2017. But marketers need to allocate their spend wisely. By targeting untapped, but critical stages in the consumer journey rather than competing to engage distracted individuals, new opportunities to drive results and win long-term consumer trust can be unlocked.