As a consultant at one of the largest performance networks in the UK, I am inundated and exposed to a wide variety of new and innovative publishers on a weekly basis. One common theme amongst these new innovations is data. How granular publishers can go with the data they hold to create really specific, targeted campaigns.

What’s new?

1. Closing the online offline loop

Over recent months, publishers and networks alike have worked tirelessly to close the gap that sits between online and offline conversions.

Publishers have developed methods to reward users who purchase in-store, this may be through card linking methods, or receipt uploading. Networks such as Affiliate Window have developed partnerships with third parties to create a new proposition enabling users to tie discounts/rewards and cashback to their nominated credit or debit cards. They are then able to use the loaded incentive in store.

Closing the online/offline loop could be extremely beneficial for brands who sell goods of a larger value, or items customers would ideally want to see before purchasing. For example purchasing a new sofa.

2. Onsite conversion tools

Onsite recovery technologies (which primarily serve an overlay as a user shows an intent to leave the advertiser’s site), have proven their success with many advertisers, leading to onsite recovery becoming an important conversion tool in the current market.

Some publishers have taken this a stage further, and developed ways to create individual profiles of visitors to a site. Gathering this data allows advertisers to be more strategic when deciding how to increase their average order values and/or conversion rates. Having these profiles will allow advertisers to serve offers which are most likely to get that user to convert, based on their behaviour. It may be ‘save £5 if you add a certain item to your basket’ or if the consumer increases the basket value over a specified amount. This helps to increase the average order value. It could also be the recognition of the length of time a user has spent looking at a product and suggesting an offer to aid that conversion. The reaction to this so far has been quite promising, given the amount of data exposed to the retailers. Advertisers always want to know more about their customers, and with the insights provided about how users enter their sites and what they do once they arrive, they have greater control to target specific profiles with set campaigns.

3. Augmented Reality 

Augmented reality has been around for years, however as technological advancements continue to strive, users are able to experience a sophisticated distinction between virtual and real worlds. 

Advertisers and publishers have developed mobile apps to engage with users in a bespoke way. A large furniture retailer has created an app where users are able to place virtual furniture into their rooms, to see how it would look before purchasing. Publishers are also creating apps similar to this, especially in fashion using product feeds from a selection of advertisers to offer a wider range of products to the user.

Perception of new innovations in the industry

New innovations to the industry can sometimes be met with a stern response. More often than not, attitude can be a reluctance to change, following ‘If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it’ mentality. However, the performance channel is all about the consumer and adapting where necessary. Often there are new innovations which would enrich the consumers purchasing process, yet not all solutions sit solely online. These may encourage a need to go offline into stores. This is where the battle of the advertiser’s internal teams begin. Whose channel does this sit in? Who will record the sales? We don’t want the online channel cannibalising our sales. The mental attitude of the advertiser needs to change as publishers are able to drive incremental sales and push the average order values up. Not limited to this, but the staff in store would be able to upsell, as well as express great customer service which could lead to securing a new customer for life.