Unless you haven’t come out of your house for the last 10 years, you must know Wechat – in Chinese wēixìn 微信. Let me introduce to you THE new digital trend of 2016! (In case you missed it, check it out: http://digital-me-up.com/2016/04/13/2016-trends-in-social-media/).
If Wechat was a country, it will be the 5th in the world in terms of population. 1.1 billion profile created since January 2011. Amazing, right? Western Social Networks will really have to worry, because Wechat is about to conquer the world! Here are 5 reasons why you should absolutely download this app.
All in one
At first sight, WeChat is a mobile messaging application with features similar to its competitors such as Messenger and WhatsApp. The aim is to communicate with people we know (friends, family…) and unknown (leads, prospects…) using text, video, voice or image. But Wechat is so much more than: it lets you do everything at once. Order a cab? yes. Pay Bills? Yes. Book airline tickets? Purchase products? Yes, and yes.
Somehow you can enjoy all features of Uber, Facebook, ApplePay, Snapchat, Amazon, Skype, Tinder in one app. Enough to spend your entire on your sofa and do all the daily actions. Welcome to the future!
Fun fact: When I lived in Shanghai, it happened to me not to leave my home for an entire week end (without dying). At the end of theses 2 long days locked up in my small apartment, I made a retrospective on what happened. I had signed a deal with a new partner for my business. I had send flowers for my brother’s birthday. My fridge was full and my clothes were washed and ironed as if by magic. The hardest part was knowing what I wanted to order for diner and wait for the delivery. Who said Millenniums were lazy? We are just smarter.
Build long-term relationships
A verified official WeChat account allows companies to promote new products through high quality content. Indeed, it is the opportunity for companies to engage its audience and convert it into real customers. Businesses can communicate “directly” with users who follow them. Keeping your customers well-informed improves the spread of your message and your commitment rate.
Members can also subscribe to the loyalty program, allowing them to use a geo-dependent membership card linked to their WeChat ID or phone number. Brands can thus adapt their marketing strategy and personalized sales and promotions to a certain category of users directly through the application. As a member, you can receive notifications about promotional offers or e-coupons. Not only companies can send offers to their target, but they can also encourage the creation of a community around its brand. Wechat has more than 10,000,000 official accounts, it has something for everyone.
WeChat is well-known for its proximity between brands and consumers. Do you actually know you can play with your favorites brands?
Companies are putting more resources into WeChat by running interactive digital campaigns linked to local festivals like the Chinese’s New Year or the Fashion Week. Businesses must reach a minimum of 100,000 followers to launch an advertising campaign. This is the case of Burberry which had created a partnership with WeChat, in August 2013, to strengthen its presence in the Chinese market. Members had to shake their phone in order to win a ticket for the British Fashion House in Shanghai. Once the event is finished, Burberry’s followers experienced the event in immersive 360° through its official account.
But that’s not all – On official accounts, automatic reply systems can be set up from the recognition of some keywords. Bots with artificial intelligence begin to appear in order to improve services and be as reactive as possible. The satisfaction of potential consumer has no limit, except creativity.
“Brands need to connect with their audiences where and when they are active in the way they communicate on a particular medium” Brian Honigman – CEO of Honigman Media
Imagine a huge shopping mall with more than 300,000 stores accessible from your mobile without changing platform. Wechat did it by introducing the notion of M-commerce.
WeChat offers a “Wallet” feature that link your profile to your bank account or credit card, making purchases possible via your Smartphone. 200 million users have already connected their credit cards to their account. And More than 83% of WeChat users buy products online. These purchases can be made either online directly on the application, or offline by scanning a QR code that allows the payment via the APP.
(Finally?) Use QR Codes
If you still don’t know what a QR Code is, you can read my former article: http://digital-me-up.com/2016/12/02/qr-codes-and-users-a-love-hate-relationship/
In short, a QR code is a 2D bar code that integrates encoding information. Little used in Europe, this technology has failed to attract its audience. In Asia, QR codes are everything. And this is really interesting to note that Wechat plays with them and reinvent their utilities making O2O. By scanning a code, you can add new contacts, connect your WeChat account to your computer or validate your loyalty card at the store’s checkouts.
Besides the Chinese Giant has built-in its own code reader! You are no longer confused with other APP and have no excuse for not using them. Would you also like to take part? Exchange your old-school business cards for Qr code!
With more than 806 million active users, WeChat is the fourth most popular instant messaging application in the world. More than 90% of WeChat members use it daily, and spend on average 40 min per day on it. Wechat’s promise is simple, they focus on one single network! China’s booming mobile app prepare its International expansion and its first victims will be European airports. Travelers will have to login to access a portal of hundreds of brands – already implemented in duty free shops – and services. Thanks to this platform, you will be able to make purchases, withdraw it later, compare prices and taxes or book a hotel room. That is fair enough Wechat, we are waiting for you! See you soon 😉
Let’s talk on Wechat?
User friendly, mobile first, User eXperience (commonly called UX) … Many terms we are using in our Web Marketing Jargon. You certainly have seen these terms on your twitter feeds or even on digital blogs. Why UX is also trendy? Probably because Businesses just realized that they need to be user-centric: being only business-centric is not an option anymore.
In this new digital era, we need to differentiate ourselves, especially on the Internet where thousands of webpages and apps are created and screened every day. To do so, BtoB or BtoC companies need to bring satisfaction to their customers. And user experience is all about that: improve the level of satisfaction for each touch point of the brand or the business.
And one of the many topics we need to look at is to have a good User Interaction (also call UI), whatever the device we use.
How can we make the difference between an App, a Website and a mobile website?
One key point we need to clarify: a mobile website is not an App! With all this jargon, a concrete example will be the best way to explain it. Let’s have a look to the case of Airbnb.
In this example, Airbnb created a dedicated App we can upload on App Store or Play Store (according your smartphone, iPhone or Android). All the content and the interface is completely different compared to the desktop website.
On the other hand, Airbnb developed a website, available on laptop, and they adapted the web design according to the device: tablet, mobile or PC. These two interfaces (computer and mobile version) look quite similar, but the menu and the structure are finally different. The mobile website is completely adapted to the mobile usage.
What are the differences between “mobile first” and “mobile friendly”
The term “Mobile friendly” is generally associated with a website well-designed for a mobile device. Actually, the website interface has to respect responsive design principles in order to structure the content and allow simple and comfortable navigation.
Mobile first & friendly are both about usability and readability. The difference is about the design process:
- Mobile friendly is the original website which adapts the interface according to the device. As a starting point, the website was initially designed for a desktop and the display looks different
- Mobile first is a dedicated website, completely designed for mobiles. This is mainly a content strategy approach, allowing to adapt the structure and the amount of information according to a mobile usage.
From the Airbnb example, the computer website and the mobile website have a similar Look and Feel, but the main menu has been minified and adjusted according to the device. This is what we call a mobile-first website.
Why websites should be all mobile-friendly?
Mobile usage is still growing!
Nothing new: smartphones are our new “handy”, as German called it. It allows us to be connected everywhere in (almost) any circumstances! According to Global Web Index, mobiles are performing better than laptops in some online activities (chat, social network etc.)
It’s good for your SEO
That is a point we should not neglect: among the many Google Bot criteria, the responsiveness of the website is an important element.
Why? Because the Google algorithm & SEO are all about user-experience. It’s actually quite simple: a good SEO is a content designed for users, with a content hierarchy, good key words and titles, clear URLs, optimization and readability!
[#TOOLS] How to check if your site is mobile-friendly?
Don’t hesitate to share your tools in comments 😉
The most efficient insight come from a user point of view. A simple test on the right device is essential. We can also put in place different user tests, such as guerrilla testing, to make sure that the navigation is intuitive.
Leveraging mobile for you web strategy: definitely worth considering
Web strategy is a complex environment: usage is different, devices are different, customers and behaviour are different. But mobile trend is absolute and a cross-device strategy need to be implemented.
To know more about mobile:
In the last few years, social media interactions between consumers and brands have evolved to include new features beyond advertising and customer service. Even if reading reviews, comments and feedback remain at the top of the social media activities that influence shopping behavior, in-channel purchasing is making its way into online users’ practices. But is it growing fast enough to become a main channel for e-commerce conversions?
The Influence of Social Media
Internet users have been interacting with brands on social media for years now, following their favorite retailers, writing reviews, comments, contact client service, viewing ads, etc. The influence of these interactions has increased over the years; research has found that at least 46% of consumers look to social media when making a purchasing decision. Marketers are well aware of the importance of social networks’ role in purchasing decisions and the result is the increased marketing budget being allocated to social media marketing. Per a 2015 eMarketer finding, “Advertisers worldwide will spend $23.68 billion on paid media to reach consumers on social networks this year, a 33.5% increase from 2014. By 2017, social network ad spending will reach $35.98 billion, representing 16.0% of all digital ad spending globally.”
A PricewaterhouseCoopers research of 22,618 digital buyers 18 years old and above, shows that the social media activities that more frequently influence purchasing decisions are interactions in the form of reviews and feedback as well as promotional advertising but they also found that as of September 2015 16% of participants purchased directly from social media platforms.
Buy-Buttons & Social Media Selling Solutions
Click-to-Buy features on social media are relatively recent, their big debut took place just one year ago during summer 2015. The emergence of in-channel purchasing opportunities was just a matter of time. With the increasing popularity of connectivity and social media platforms it was the natural next step for marketers to take given the medium’s wide reach and nature for the personalization of offers. The algorithms of these social platforms allow for feeds to be tailored to the users’ interest, which has presented great opportunities for brands to start conversations with a qualified audience and display promotions and advertising directly related to their online activities. Now brands are giving their customers another way to interact and convert their interests into purchases.
According to a 2015 eMarketer report, Facebook is the social media platform that drives more conversions followed by Twitter; Instagram and Pinterest. Some of the selling solutions that make the in-channel purchasing experience possible are Shopial for Facebook and Pinterest, Beetailer for Facebook, inSelly for Instagram, have2have.it for Instagram and Facebook, amongst others. Most these solutions convert your network’s page into an extension of your storefront or a shoppable digital catalog.
But buy buttons were conceived with the purpose of facilitating engagement and encourage purchasing behavior, increasing conversion rates. One of the main targets being mobile engagement. “The goal for all our commerce initiatives on Twitter is simple: make it as easy as possible for businesses to connect directly with, and sell to, customers on Twitter. With Buy Now, businesses can drive more conversions and remove much of the friction in the mobile purchasing process.” (Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce)
So, what about social media and mobile?
One of the main purposes of the implementation of buy buttons on social media was to convert the mobile users into mobile consumers, increasing the percentage of conversions in m-commerce.
Mobile usage has increased exponentially over the last few years, as of January 2016 51% of the global population is connecting using mobile, in the Americas and Europe these percentages are even higher (108% and 132% respectively). Of the mobile usage, social media is one of the main activities that has shifted greatly to mobile. Globally, there has been a 17% increase in mobile social users since January 2015 bringing the total number to 1.968 billion, representing 27% of the total population, as found by We Are Social in its Digital 2016 report. This fast growth has shifted the investment of marketing spending towards social media advertising projected to be around 11$ billion by 2017.
With all these facts in mind, it is clear that leveraging the power of social media to increase conversions is a key strategic move for all marketers and given the high usage of social media through mobile we would expect the buy buttons to become increasingly popular with users trying to simplify their purchasing experiences. However, regardless of the statistics and the efforts of social networks to provide seamless shopping experiences, e-commerce seems to still favor desktop over mobile and customers don’t seem to be shifting their purchasing habits towards social media platforms.
Why hasn’t in-channel purchasing taken off?
Different reasons have been given to the slow growth of this trend’s popularity. Sucharita Mulpuru, analyst for Forrester, believes that one of the causes for social media’s failure at acquiring customers is the high level of content on these platforms. “There is so much content on Pinterest, Instagram and other discovery engines, so any individual piece of content gets very little visibility, and even less conversion.” Mulpuru also believes there is still a significant gap between the products consumers want to buy and those they can buy through social media click-to-buy features.
A report by Cowen and Company attributes this slow adoption rate in part to consumers’ lack of ease with the feature. “Buy buttons have been appearing sporadically across social media, often in limited tests, so it is fair to assume that consumer familiarity is low.” Here in Europe for example, you won’t find many shoppable posts on the major social media platforms’ feeds.
But the slow adoption rate is not only due to users’ behavior, a report by Campaigner found that less than half of retailers in the US were using the click-to-buy features as of August 2015, and that within the retailers using the feature 27.1% are using email buy buttons.
Where does the future of In-Channel purchasing stand?
It is very early in the game to tell what the future of these click-to-buy features will be. If we look purely at the numbers and the current behavior around social media and mobile, buy buttons seem to be perfect for the market. In addition, we know that it is in human nature to look for technology based solutions that will facilitate our daily activities and there is no doubt in-channel purchasing simplifies the buying process. It also makes social media an all-in-one extension of any e-commerce storefront providing the users with one single direct touchpoint to connect with businesses.
On the other hand, the slow adoption rate could be a sign that there is something missing or that some major aspects of the technology need to be modified before users start jumping at the opportunity to purchase directly from their social media feeds. In any case, it is premature to draw conclusions about the success or failure of in-channel purchasing and figures show that early retirement is probably not in the cards for click-to-buy buttons.
Sales carried out through smartphones or tablets already make up 10 % of the 835 million e-commerce transactions ( increased by 19% as compared to 700 million in 2014) which have already generated 64.9 billion euros in 2015 ( +14.3%), so well beyond forecasts (10% and 62.5 billion euros)! It is an upward trend which goes along with a literal explosion of the number of applications available, a real goldmine for the companies which launch them as well as for those which develop them.
Future is in smartphones
Online purchases have become so standardized that people no longer hesitate to use their smartphones or tablets to buy products; online transactions via mobile phones have more than doubled over one year, going up from + 40% in 2014 to + 88% in 2015). Though the computer remains the main channel to order on-line, mobile phones are gaining ground all the time and generate additional orders. Beyond the fact that mobiles are easy and convenient to use, such success can also be accounted for by the evolution of the market as the sales charts of computers and mobiles are now being reversed.
81% of e-buyers own a smartphone, especially the younger ones (95% in the 18-24 age group, 89% in the 25-34) and 57% own a tablet. 32% of the people equipped used their tablets to purchase goods in 2015 (29% in 2014) and 20% used their smartphones (17% in 2014).
The golden age of applications
Beyond and around e-commerce there are plenty more opportunities for those who know how to make the most of smartphones. The proof of this lies in the great success in 2015 of applications dealing with car-sharing or transportation (the American company UBER, the French company Blablacar); with music streaming (the French company Deezer, the Swedish company Spotify); or with dating sites (US Tinder, French Happn or AdopteUnMec) with turnovers reaching up to several hundred million euros (about 2 billion for Uber). Given this growing success, more and more companies of all sizes, as well as international companies, want their own mobile application with services on subscription or on-line purchase. So thousands of startups have appeared offering to develop such apps for a price ranging from 5000 to 15000 euros and up to 100000 euros for the most complex apps, like those complete with an electronic payment solution.
A “mobile-to-store”pioneer: Yves Rocher
Yves Rocher owns 1700 points of sales over the world including 650 in France, and the group‘s strategy is to use mobiles to “prepare” internet-users to actually enter one of their stores. It is called “mobile-to-store”.
“Between 60 and 70% of our customers look for information on-line before coming to a store” says Christophe Coussen, digital and customer marketing manager in the major cosmetic company.
So the Yves Rocher mobile site and application, launched in 2012, systematically promote the stores through a “store-locator” and an option to search for the closest store. The customer can book appointments through the app (20% of the reservations are made through mobiles), look up their loyalty programme or get personalized advice.
BrandAlley‘s cross-channel strategy
BrandAlley is the French leader of on-line retail stores for current or previous collections, and comes second for private sales. 35% of their turnover is made through mobile terminals and they are planning to launch a new app in order to reach 50%.
This sales channel complements the internet on PCs. It is suited for private sales purchases when you need to be very reactive and catch opportunities very quickly before stocks are out. BrandAlley sales are open very early in the morning at a time when customers are away from home, commuting to work or going to school. Through the apps, customers can save valuable time and start the day by a special treat. There are also numerous cross-device purchases, with people finding an incentive on their mobile and making the purchase final on their PCs.
Ways to improve the development of sales through mobiles
Mobile phones are definitely an additional sales channel, offering real opportunities of turnover increase. Companies already engaged in cross-channel selling should develop new, more efficient apps to offer customers an even more personalized experience so that they can find and buy the products that suit them more quickly. The whole point is to give customers a cross-device experience that is as free and smooth as possible, with both plenty of landmarks common to the different sites and apps and functions that are specific to each device.
Have you ever dreamt of becoming the next Evan Spiegel, Travis Kalanick or Sean Rad (respective CEOs of Snapchat, Uber or Tinder)? What they have in common is that they have earnt great loads of money in little time thanks to their apps. Well, building apps is trendy: you may think that it only requires an idea and a developer, but it turns out to be much more complicated. Here, we are going to talk about two ways of optimizing apps in order to help develop them: app store optimization and deep-linking. I am not going to explain how to make in-app marketing, but we’ll see how to ensure that channels which drive people to your app are set for the best.
Why do you absolutely need to optimize your app UX?
On a global scale, in 2015, smartphone users download on average 35 apps on their device. It is already hard enough to be within these 35 downloaded apps, but the fact is that only 11 apps are truly used every week. This lets very little room for new apps. I mean, do you remember this old 2048 app you keep on your smartphone even if you actually dropped the game two years ago after not succeeding in reaching this bloody number?
ASO (App Store Optimization)
Source: Kiss Metrics blog
Word-of-mouth is an important source leading to app downloads, but most downloads actually come from people browsing in the store. Thus, store optimization is mandatory to convince people to get your app.
What are the main app store discovery steps?
Source: These 3 icons are made by Freepik from Flaticon.com and licensed under Creative Common by 3.0
1/ Search: People are looking for particular app types (platform game, city guide…), so you have to appear in search results to reach users.
2/ Ranking: People won’t scroll indefinitely before downloading an app. You must be within the first results to maximize your chances to be the one.
3/ Categories: Stores home-pages are filled with categories: new-in, seasonal ones (summer best etc.), most popular… This is what people see first when they land on store homepage: if you appear here, you have a chance to catch their attention before they even start searching for an app.
How to infer in the discovery process?
1/ App names: It has to encompass your app name, but also some keywords. It will help increase your ranking.
Source: Kiss Metrics blog
Please see an example below: it is the app for the famous French luxury retail store Vestiaire Collective. We don’t even see the end of the title, but it will help to increase the ranking as it underlines that their app is about selling and buying luxury clothes. Thus, people who are not familiar with their concept yet will quickly understand what it is.
Source: Screenshot from Apple App Store
2/ App icon: It is one of the first things that people will see. It is more efficient to be sober: no full texts or fuzzy details.
3/ Keywords: For Apple app store: It is 100 characters, including space and commas which separate them. You should prefer niche keywords, because if you use mainstream ones, you’ll be overwhelmed by competition. App Keywords can be very different from the ones you choose for AdWords since app ecosystem has its own specificities. If you are looking for help to select proper keywords, SensorTower and AppCod are great tools.
Another important thing to remember is that Apple app Store and Google Play work differently: for instance, for both store, the number of downloads infers a lot on the ranking. However, for Apple app Store, they use the number of downloads over the past 3 days whereas on Google Play, they total the number of downloads and work on a 30-day basis.
Deep dive in app deep linking
I talked about dark posts in one of my previous articles; here, we face deep linking. Anyway, again, you get more frightened than hurt.
Do you wonder what deep linking is? Deep linking allows you to open a specific section or page when clicking on a link.
“What could be more common?” you would ask. Indeed, deep linking for website has become generalized throughout the web. On the contrary, we are currently experiencing the early stages of app deep linking.
Indeed, app deep linking development aroused because of an annoying observation: when you click on a link (on a mail for instance), you are redirected to the mobile site, even though you possess the app in question. It will definitely not help us to make our app gain momentum.
“Why is it taking so long to be generalized?” you would ask (Yes, I know, you are very curious).
App deep linking is more difficult to implement because app structure is way more complex than website structure. It requires a lot of time and work to allow deep linking in-app.
However, as deep linking is a very useful and powerful tool, Apple has decided to launch in 2015 its “Universal links”: now, all apps can be opened thanks to http links, users are asked if they want to open the link on the app or on the website.
Google has also recently put deep linking at the heart of its concern with the recent creation of App Indexing: Google now indexes app results in traditional search queries through deep linking. App results are different from website ones, so users can easily recognize them. If they click on the link, they are instantaneously redirected towards a specific page of the application
Source : https://developers.google.com/app-indexing/
Thanks to the upcoming mobile-first approach, apps seem to have their best days ahead of them. This is why app marketing and optimization have to be carefully taken into account.