What P&G Found When It Increased Digital Spend
The next challenge for ecommerce sellers? A wave of returns. Wordpress takes a big leap forward. A bug at Google could be causing your search position to drop. And more!
AGENCY LIFE: Could a 4.5 Day Work Week End the Great Resignation?
How can a business retain talent in the face of the Great Resignation?
The company's revenue has grown by 1,500% over the past three years, which means it had to get serious about increasing staff:
It entered the fall of 2021 with 700 employees, reaching almost 750 by December.
And aims to reach 1,000 by the end of 2022.
For the agency to attract and retain talent, it focuses on setting clear goals for its employees, giving them the autonomy to establish a solid work-life balance and using proprietary technology to prevent employees from feeling overworked.
Wpromote invests in benefits that create culture instead of small perks:
A 4.5-day work week.
The freedom to work from anywhere and to set their own schedules.
And several other benefits and initiatives, including unlimited paid time off, and in-house mentoring.
It says one of its biggest advantages is its Polaris operating system:
Engineers created the tool entirely in-house, and a dozen employees are dedicated to updating it on a regular basis.
It automates data analysis, deploys campaigns, detects anomalies in campaign performance, and streamlines agency operations.
Plus, it lets client teams find out whether employees with the right documented skills, track record and client feedback are available to do the job.
MEDIA BUYING: The Booming Ad Format You Need To Invest in This Year
Nearly $590 million was spent on podcast advertising last year.
New research indicates that podcasts are booming, making them a worthy addition to your marketing strategy:
It is estimated that over a third of Americans listen to podcasts regularly.
In 2021, podcast advertising spending increased by over 20%.
Q4 ad spend alone was $160 million.
Brands among the top 10 highest spending podcast advertisers are:
When buying ads, you may be interested in what your competitors are doing.
These are the most common ad placements:
42% of ads are 30 seconds in length.
Since they are less likely to be skipped, most ads are placed at the beginning or middle of the podcast:
26% of ads are pre-roll
55% are mid-roll
19% are post-roll
With 79% of advertisers from 2020 continuing to buy in 2021, podcast advertising is proving to be effective for brands.
Data has been provided by MediaRadar.
AI: Google's Automated Secretary is Calling Companies Now
It was creepy when Google first showed it off — an automated assistant that could call companies for you, like a hair stylist, and book you an appointment.
Companies show this stuff off all the time, and a lot them — particularly in Google's case — never actually make it out into the real world. Anyone remember the revolutionary real-time messaging product called Google Wave? Yeah, it's dead now.
But this Google Assistant? It's real.
And today, I saw the first reports of people actually starting to receive these calls.
So, how do you train your staff to respond when a robot comes calling? People in the field suggest that you get in the habit of only having one thought per sentence, so that it can understand you better. Obviously speak clearly, maybe a touch slowly.
And whatever you do, don't call her Alexa.
COMMERCE: Retail’s $761 Billion Problem
Now that the holiday season is over, a new report indicates that retailers expect consumers to return more than $761 billion in merchandise from last year's holiday season.
That's over 16% of total U.S. retail sales.
That is up 11% from 2020.
And bad news for ecommerce retailers:
Online orders have a higher return rate and are a major driver of returns.
About $218 billion of the $1 trillion spent last year was returned by online shoppers — yes, doing the math, that's 21%.
$23 billion that was just straight-up fraudulent. Retailers lost about $10 on every $100 in merchandise returned to them due to return fraud, that's up from $8.80 in 2019.
Among the categories with the highest return rates were:
Home improvement and home goods both 11.5%
The analysis has been provided by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail.
WORDPRESS: Finally, Site-Wide Editing Has Arrived
Many brands use WordPress as their web site platform — and version 5.9, codenamed Joséphine, is now available.
This is a big update, since it finally includes full site editing. This is something only themes like Divi or Genesis or Elementor offered.
5.9 also includes an improved list view, improved block controls, and more.
The major updates include:
A new default theme for building block-based websites — as per their previous themes, this one is named after the year (Twenty-Twenty-Two).
Ten new blocks for site editing including next post, previous post, post comments, etc.
Ability to save theme changes for specific templates or globally across the entire site.
If your web hosting platform doesn't update your Wordpress install automatically, be sure to back your site up and go update to 5.9.
AD SPEND: P&G Improves Results After Investing in Digital
Three months after promising to increase its digital media investment, Procter & Gamble has reported a significant improvement in the effectiveness of its marketing spend.
According to P&G's financial results for the second quarter of its fiscal year, it increased marketing spend by 50 basis points from the same period in 2020.
Overall marketing expense as a percentage of sales decreased by 80 basis points, suggesting that marketing spend is driving sales.
The company's CFO notes that the improvement was driven by sales leverage and savings in “non-working marketing costs”.
The company did not disclose specifically which channels they invested in.
Some market numbers overall... apparently, consumers aren't put off by price increases, despite inflation taking a toll on household budgets:
9/10 product categories grew share over the past three, six, and 12-month periods in the U.S.
A combination of Omicron, inflation and supply chain issues are all driving up operational costs and impacting overall marketing budget growth, but market research is on the rise.
A new report says 6% of companies increased their marketing budgets in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Growth was almost double at 13% before economic pressures slowed it down.
However, businesses have increased their investments in market research:
The net balance increased from 0.7% in the third quarter of 2021 to 7% in the fourth.
Data has been provided by the IPA Bellwether report.
FACEBOOK: Goodbye Profile Videos, Nobody Will Miss You
A couple of social media platform updates to tell you about.
First, this one likely won't have much impact on you, but Facebook is removing profile videos as of February 7th.
Because nobody uses it.
Last year, the platform stopped letting users insert videos into their profile pictures... but for some reason kept it around. It's finally removing the functionality entirely. Anyone that has a profile video will receive a notification to switch to an image.
As for the second update, Pinterest is testing a new 'Highlights’ element for Idea Pins', which will allow creators to showcase their most popular Pins at the top of their profile.
Currently, Idea Pins are displayed in published order on your profile page under the 'Created' tab.
The new "Highlights" feature will appear above the existing content tabs and below your bio, with up to 6 highlights per profile.
Which is an ideal spot to feature your best Idea Pins to generate more engagement.
The feature is in the process of being rolled out to all users.
SEO: Why You Might See a Drop in Clicks for Image Searches
Attention Google advertisers, if you see a drop in clicks and impressions for images on your site in your Performance report, don't panic.
The company has confirmed there was a logging issue with search data for images which may result in a drop. This is just a reporting issue and does not have any impact on your rankings or Google Search traffic.
The issue started on January 24 and is still ongoing as the company "works on resolving the issue".
TROLLING: Apple Pulls Off an Epic Troll of Spotify
You may have heard earlier this week Spotify agreed to pull Neil Young's music from their catalog after the musician said Spotify-exclusive podcaster Joe Rogan had been spouting dangerous COVID misinformation.
Enter Apple, stage left.
Yes, Apple. They compete with Spotify with their Apple Music subscription plans and yesterday they started trolling Spotify — sending out tweets about how they have Neil Young's music, they made a bunch of Neil Young playlists, created a new section in their app titled "We Love Neil" — they even doubled-down on the troll by sending out a push notification encouraging people to listen:
It’s all a bit of theatrical silliness, of course. Neil Young is a legendary songwriter, yes, but his presence or absence won’t decide the fate of this or that streaming platform. He’s no Kanye or Taylor Swift. Instead, Apple is simply indulging in the time-honored corporate tradition of inserting itself into a relevant news cycle while the going is good.
Spotify has actually been losing a little market share against rivals. Recent data from analysis agency Midia Research showed that while Spotify was the most popular music streaming service by a wide margin in 2021, with 31 percent of the market compared to second place Apple Music’s 15 percent, that figure had dipped from a 33 percent market share in 2020.