The Future of Meta Ads: A Single Budget Slider?
PLUS: Why are consumers scared of augmented reality?… The sorry state of review replies… Pinterest could be in chaos soon… Is Amazon dropping its own products?… and much more!
AR: Why the Slow Start?
Yesterday, we told you about a Digiday report that found livestreamed shopping having a hard time gaining traction in some parts of the world. Today, some new numbers show the same kind of consumer hesitancy appears to be happening in the augmented reality shopping space.
Research from Forrester shows only one in five American adults are comfortable using content within AR spaces. Younger people, of course, being a little less hesitant. That said, most who have used the tech to try on or test products say it did influence their purchase decision.
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Because of this lack of awareness and adoption, retailers who invest in virtual experiences may want to focus more on community building than immediate revenue results. Other digital capability improvements, for things like personalization and store experience, might be a higher priority for retailers right now…
Plenty of retailers have been focused on expanding augmented reality try-on features this year, as opposed to virtual reality experiences involving headsets. Amazon launched a virtual try-on feature for sneakers in June. Following the release of new AR tools for its app, Walmart announced it would also acquire AR optical tech firm Memomi last month.
Virtual experiences impact consumer purchase decisions, but tech adoption is low: report
TikTok Sales Lift
Some better reporting coming to TikTok ad campaigns, in the form of some bolstered sales lift measurement tools.
The company announcing this week they now have a partnership with NCSolutions to provide sales lift numbers based on NCS’s methodology.
[The process] measures the incremental sales lift of in-person and online purchases after seeing an ad on TikTok. Through partnerships with retailers and machine learning technology, NCS quantifies the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and is used by many of the most trusted brands in the United States.
TikTok says they did a test run of this with NCS and found that 33 out of 36 campaigns drove statistically significant lift, with an average return on ad spend about 2.4x better than without the intervention.
If you’re interesting in incorporating this into your campaigns, for now you’ll need to speak to a human TikTok ad rep.
TikTok Announces New Partnership with NCSolutions on Improved Brand Lift Measurement
Low Review Replies
So you’ve got a bad review on your Google page, or Yelp, or whatever — what do you do about it? Well, if you’re like 56% of British businesses… you ignore it.
A new study from the marketing agency DAC Group has found that just 44% of UK businesses respond to online reviews.
They found that automotive companies tend to be the best at responding — 84% of those businesses do. The news wasn’t so good for financial companies, with only 37% responding to reviews. And they could not find a single supermarket brand that replied.
Interestingly, they also measured how many companies use UTM tracking and found that only 42% were.
This, says MarketingTechNews:
…means they lack visibility on website performance. Again, Automotive is the category employing UTM most effectively with 75% usage. By comparison, three quarters (77%) of Food & Beverage and 72% of Land & Property businesses don’t use UTM. Those categories lose out on the data insights identifying exactly where searches are conducted and what marketing channels are most successful in driving engagement.
By the way, the DAC Group has a great piece on their blog called “5 ways to use bad reviews to your advantage” you can find it at dacgroup.com/blog.
Less than half of UK businesses respond to online reviews
Pinterest Chaos Incoming?
Could Pinterest be the next company to experience chaos in its stock listing?
The activist investor group Elliott Management is reported to have taken a stake in the company. It comes as Pinterest tries to bounce back from a surprising decline in users.
If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same firm that bought a $1 billion stake in Twitter, then went to work forcing co-founder Jack Dorsey out.
Elliott says it’s now the largest investor in Pinterest, with more than 9% of the company’s stock being bought up in the past few months.
Even more interesting, the Wall Street Journal reports that the investor group has already been in discussions with Pinterest over the past several weeks, though the Journal’s source would not share exactly what they were discussing.
Quoting the Journal:
It has been a time of turmoil for Pinterest… Several Pinterest executives departed in recent months, including its head of global business operations and its investor-relations chief.
Pinterest’s business grew dramatically during the pandemic, and in February, the company reported its first full-year profit and more than $2 billion in annual revenue. But while revenue grew 18% in the quarter that ended in March from a year earlier, global active monthly users fell 9% and the company posted a net loss of $5 million, as Covid restrictions eased and people began spending more time offline.
Shares in Pinterest are down around 50% year-to-date, worse than the Nasdaq, which has fallen by about 30%.
Last year, PayPal was in talks to buy Pinterest, but the deal stalled when one of PayPal’s major shareholders got cold feet.
WSJ News Exclusive | Elliott Sets Sights on Pinterest
Amazon Scales Back Private Label
Some potentially good news if you sell something that Amazon has cloned and recreated under its private label brands – the company is reported to be cutting back on those items.
The Wall Street Journal says Amazon executives have ordered the private label team to reduce how many items they re-order.
It’s not entirely clear whether this is about disappointing sales or the increased level of antitrust scrutiny the company is facing.
In fact, the Journal reports Amazon’s even thought about just getting out of the line entirely, something Amazon denies. They gave a statement to Retail Dive saying:
We never seriously considered closing our private label business and we continue to invest in this area, just as our many retail competitors have done for decades and continue to do today.
It is true that this is nothing new — Walmart has its private label brand called Great Value. Target has one. The Canadian chain Loblaw’s has one called President’s Choice.
But for some reason, Amazon’s has become the target of more attention, with American lawmakers particularly interested in the role Amazon’s ad platform might play in helping it get an unfair advantage.
Amazon is scaling back private label business: WSJ
Meta: We Can Do Dall-E Too!
There’s this very cool bit of web software out there — basically, you type in any scene description, like “a horse using social media,” and it will spit out AI-generated images that match that.
It’s quite fun to play with. I highly recommend the search term “Donald Trump dances with a banana.”
The software is called the Dall-E project. I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now.
Well, enter Meta, stage left!
Proving the case that it has no original ideas any more, Meta has copied Dall-E for its own uses.
They call it the ‘Make-A-Scene’ system. They even have the audacity to call the technology ‘empowering.’
But I’ll give them this — they have improved it a little. Quoting the company:
Prior image-generating AI systems typically used text descriptions as input, but the results could be difficult to predict. For example, the text input “a painting of a zebra riding a bike” might not reflect exactly what you imagined; the bicycle might be facing sideways, or the zebra could be too large or small.
The model focuses on learning key aspects of the imagery that are more likely to be important to the creator, like objects or animals.
For now, despite the breathless news release announcing it, the project is not actually available to the public.
Here’s what I’m worried about — how much longer before Meta’s ad platform stops accepting image uploads entirely, and instead will render an AI generated image based off the text you provide. No wait, you won’t be able to provide text.. it’ll check your web site and pluck off whatever it finds there.
Soon, I predict there will be but one option available in setting up an ads campaign — your budget. And right beside it, a little pop-up dialogue helper reading “This looks a little low. Have you tried increasing your budget?”
New AI Research Tool Turns Ideas Into Art | Meta
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