Scientific knowledge provides valuable input for your (e-mail) marketing. That is what SWOCC is concerned with. SWOCC conducts research into the fundamental functioning of commercial communication. The aim is to make scientific knowledge accessible to practice for people who are also might be interested in a solo ads beginners guide. In this article, you can read the new scientific insights of the eight researchers who presented their stories during the SWOCC symposium.
1. Increase the tangibility of products in e-commerce
Fourteen percent of spending now takes place online. And that percentage is only increasing. At the same time, 73 percent of people appreciate physical (offline) interaction with a product prior to purchase. People want to hold products and feel them.
Research into tangibility products
The research carried out by Suzanne Overmars and colleagues from the University of Antwerp focused on the online tangible display of products. Subjects were asked to assess a scarf in one of the following ways: via a stop motion animation in which they saw the natural movement of the scarf, via a static image, or via the physical (offline) assessment of the scarf.
Three interesting conclusions emerged in this study:
- Communicating search-related product features such as the shape, length, and color of the scarf goes equally well both online and offline. The challenge lies mainly in presenting the experience-related product properties such as warmth, softness, thickness, and texture. After all, this is about subjective experiences. Using a stop motion animation allowed people to experience the product tangibly online.
- Shopping online on a tablet increases the chances of making a purchase. Mobile e-commerce is a promising area to tangibly display experience-related product features. Especially if you focus on the details of a product. Touching through swiping or clicking was in some cases even more effective than touching a scarf offline.
- People who experience a product tangibly online and physically hold it after purchase show a lower intention to return it. After all, by making the physical product tangible, it is more in line with the expectations that they had received online with regard to the product.
In addition to webshops, you can also use other channels including email marketing to increase the tangibility of products. Think of the focus on the experience properties in an e-mail campaign by means of gif animation.
2. Sell better online? Present products as if they were offline
Online shopping has many advantages. It is easy for the consumer, you can easily make a large assortment available as a webshop and it is efficient shopping. The disadvantages of online shopping are the limited sensory perception and the lack of touch and smell. It is therefore important to create both online and offline tangibility. The challenge is to give a sense of physical presence with the product presentation.
Research into the presentation of online products as if they were online
To test physical presence in an online environment, Tilbert Verhagen and his colleagues at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences developed a new concept called local presence. The goal here is that the consumer feels an online product as if it is present in the real world. For this purpose, glasses were presented to test subjects in one of the following three ways, namely via a static image, via a 360-degree spin animation, or by uploading your own face and projecting the glasses onto it. Purchase intent was also considered.
The following conclusions emerged on the basis of this research:
- 42 percent of people’s purchase intention is determined by the tangibility of a product and its product likeability. Uploading your own face and projecting glasses onto it scored best in creating tangibility, followed by the 360-degree-spin animation and then the static images.
- New product presentation technologies allow you very well to create a sense of local presence.
- The purchase intention of consumers is increased if you display the online product presentation as if there is no screen between them – if you present products online as if they were offline.
3. Children and successful online targeted advertising
Social media such as Facebook use online targeted advertising. Online advertisements are tailored to the information from social network profiles. This is also called profile targeting. Although the minimum age for creating an account on Facebook is twelve years, it appears that 80 percent of children lie in order to be able to create a Facebook account despite their too young age.
Research into the effect of online targeted advertising on children under the age of 12
Eva van Reijmersdal and colleagues investigated the effect of profile-targeted advertising on children between the ages of 8 and 12. In addition, they investigated the impact of online advertising when you tailor it to the child’s favorite color and the hobbies of the children.
The conclusions that emerged from this study are as follows:
- It turns out to be useful to use information about hobbies on the profile page when targeting. And it helps to show products that match their hobbies. Children like it more and want to buy it.
- It makes no sense to show the color of the ad. But to target a hobby.
- Children do not look at advertising rationally but affectively. Among adults, relevance plays a major role in the appreciation of online advertising. This was not the case with children: they did not think about whether it was relevant. The build-up of interest is more straightforward in children: they see a product in an advertisement, like it, and want to buy it.
4. The fight against copycatters
Copycats are imitation brands of A-brands, just think of Vlugge Japie as a variant of Snelle Jelle. For A-brands it is annoying that they use large marketing budgets and consumers then buy an imitation brand in the supermarket instead of the A-brand. If there is no A-brand on the shelf but only the imitation brand, consumers often think that there is a link between the two brands or that the imitation brand is mistaken for the A-brand.
Nick van de Hei’s research shows that it is annoying for A-brands that piggybacks benefit from the inattention of consumers. A-brands can prevent this by staying close to imitation brands. It is therefore interesting, for example, to place shelters near Albert Heijn or Aldi.
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5. How implicit emotions predict commercial success
Emotions determine how someone experiences something. Arousing positive emotions with your expression is of course the desired effect. However, there is a difference between what people say their emotions are and classifying emotions based on brain patterns. Maarten Boksem and colleagues from Erasmus University investigated this. They collected brain patterns by means of test subjects in an MRI scan by means of displaying images. At a certain point, this will give you insight into brain activation patterns that are explicitly related to emotions. To check whether these measurements were correct, subjects answered questions afterward about the images they saw. These images matched the brain activity from the brain scan.
Brain activity as a selection tool for desired emotions in expressions
This variant of research based on brain activity allows you to see what emotions someone is actually experiencing while looking at your expressions. This information is valuable to use when assessing what kind of scenes you do or do not add in a TV commercial or movie trailer to arouse the desired emotions.
6. Robots for online content creation
In recent years, online content creation via machine learning has taken a sprint. Yet it had been around for a long time. In robot journalism, an algorithm automatically collects content about a certain topic and rewrites it into a successful article by the system. There are three types of techniques, namely text-to-text, image-to-text, and data-to-image.
Text-to-text means that the algorithm is trained on human types of text. Tweets or online articles that match a certain style automatically generate a new text. With image-to-text, certain attributes in images are automatically linked to what can be seen in a photo. With data-to-text, the algorithm is able to describe what a football season looked like based on data in a database about the past football season, and then a complete text is released.
It is striking that robot texts were evaluated more positively by people because they assessed them more objectively. The prognosis is that by 2025, 90 percent of (online) articles will be written by a computer or robot. Although that does not mean that the work of content creation will disappear: there will probably be much more content than is currently the case, says Emiel Krahmer.
7. How cultural characteristics influence engagement with brand posts on Twitter
Internationally oriented organizations often have specific Twitter channels for separate countries. Theo Araujo and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam conducted research into the similarities and differences based on culture between consumers worldwide with regard to Twitter use. For this, he analyzed 1274 business Twitter profiles from 27 non-English countries.
The study found that there is a small but consistent effect of culture on consumer behavior. The biggest variable is the masculinity of society: the higher it is, the more retweets and likes of Twitter branded content there are. Individualism is the second most important variable, especially when it comes to retweeting and tagging people. The more individualistic the culture, the more often people are retweeted and tagged.
The study by Theo Araujo and colleagues shows that it is valuable to tailor strategies and KPIs to specific countries. Many brands are already doing this.
8. Successful apps take privacy concerns seriously
Almost everyone has a smartphone and uses apps. With its use, we make information about ourselves and our behavior available to marketers, such as location data and user history. This information is often used by research agencies and marketers for all kinds of purposes, such as targeted advertising. Verena Wottrich and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam investigated to what extent consumers are aware of this. They also investigated the influence of knowledge about data collection methods on attitudes towards apps.
Research into privacy around apps
Based on the twelve most popular apps, people answered questions about data collection methods. What this showed was that people have few concerns about privacy. They estimate the risks low and do not feel vulnerable. At the same time, respondents also believe that they have no influence on the privacy of apps. In short: app users do not know much about privacy in apps, do not worry about this, and do not think that they can do anything about it.
In a follow-up study, Wottrich investigated what happens when people are made aware of what happens with regard to their privacy. When downloading an app, people must give permission to provide personal information. This triggers people to weigh the pros and cons of whether they want to give this information. In this study, the costs are clearly shown. This showed that the more information you ask for, the less positive people rate an app. This has a direct effect on trust in a brand. The research was done using a fictitious app and is currently being studied in a follow-up study using Facebook.
The following conclusions emerged from this study:
- App users currently find it difficult to protect their privacy in apps
- Apps that collect too much information get more negative app evaluations
- This effect is higher in people with high privacy concerns
Getting started with 8 new scientific insights
During the SWOCC symposium, many new scientific insights came to light. This is a unique way in which SWOCC and the business community want to reduce the bridge between science and practice.
Depending on the type of company and the combination of marketing resources you use, certain research studies are obviously more or less relevant. When we look specifically at email marketing, this medium offers an excellent opportunity to display products in a tangible way and to focus on experience characteristics.