CPG Marketing and Amazon

The consumer brands market is changing, and it’s no surprise that Amazon is connecting with consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers in an effort to jump on the revolution. While brands such as Proctor & Gamble have already sought to drive sales through subscription programs like Tide Wash Club and Unilever jumping on the bandwagon as well with Dollar Shave Club, CPG brands are looking to Amazon as a window to bypass retailers and sell directly to consumers. The way Amazon sees it,
supply chains offering direct-to-consumer business can improve the overall customer experience and global efficiency.

So how does a CPG brand make Amazon work for them? The following are a few ways that companies can benefit from an Amazon strategy.

Changing the Approach in a Changing Market

While the concept may still be hard to grasp, particularly for those brands who, up to this point have seen success in brick-and-mortar retail stores, the truth is, about half of all growth in the US market will be from online sales. CPG brands should plan that in the next five years 1% -2% retail saturation will most likely expand to 5%, but could easily escalate to 10% or more depending on geography and products. The data is clear, CPG brands can no longer depend on the same tactics they’ve used for decades. Now, they need to consider what it takes to win in digital during this critical period of overall growth. An effective digital strategy includes addressing Amazon, the biggest US online store.

The Amazon Difference

Amazon is clearly different. With their ambitious business model, advertising, and interaction with companies and customers, they depart from the typical brick-and-mortar mindset that so many CPG companies are familiar. In essence, Amazon’s goal is different, it wants to be the go-to destination for consumers for everything, and in turn, growing their share of the household budget. Because of this, Amazon typically looks at their success based on the perspective of total household spending, rather than just one particular product. This is very different from what CPG companies are used to as they generally don’t look at things from that perspective nor do they operate on those terms.

The Amazon business model is different as well. Amazon is constantly trying new things, testing new models and completely unafraid to fail. Most CPG brands are not as flexible and are much more cautious in their endeavors.

So, in order for CPG brands to succeed, they need to keep in mind Amazon’s overall goal: to gain the greatest share of household spending. This means, evolving to adopt Amazon-optimized product designs, minimizing negative returns, actively managing inventory, and adapting supply chains to avoid being out of stock, and so much more. Those companies that evolve with the Amazon revolution and invest time and resources to succeed, most likely will. Those that balk at the extra work and refuse to invest in the channel will easily be left in the dust by the competition.

CPG Marketing for Amazon

Beyond adjusting their system to send a bulk of their products to the Amazon fulfillment warehouses, CPG companies need to re-think their marketing strategies for Amazon, too.

For many companies, this means creating different pack sizes or slightly different volume options, which can make it harder to make direct comparisons. Offering unique packaging, dropping prices slightly, and managing overall channel conflict – including pricing – are all part of successful marketing tactics that CPG brands can utilize for Amazon success. Additionally, brands can work to become a preferred partner, by building dedicated vendor relationship. Premium partners are at the top tier of Amazon partnerships and are typically large manufacturers marketing national or even global brands. CPG brands wishing to further gain credibility with Amazon should participate in Prime Now, AmazonFresh, and other “click and collect” options. The more ambitions the CPG brand, the more intriguing it is to Amazon.

While the CPG industry is more complicated than ever, CPG brands that are willing to keep up and be present in digital channels, will be among the most successful. Making the investment to learn how to “play the game” is essential to maintain sales and grow as a brand.

Facebook Clarifies Ad Metrics

From reaction emojis to newsfeeds, it feels like Facebook is always offering upgrades and changes to the site. Just recently, the social network announced that it plans to update its Ads Manager.

This is great news for frustrated brands who have had nothing but bad luck trying to interpret the metrics. Facebook says the renovation will remove approximately 20 metrics that are “unhelpful,” while labeling some metrics as “estimated” or “in development.” This new reporting system will appear in tool tips within the reporting table as well as in the customize column sector for ads running in all sectors of Facebook, including Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network.

So what do these new terms mean and, more importantly, what do they mean for your brand? How does this change reporting and allow us to interpret the data we get from our ads? Read further to discern what these big changes mean.

Defining “Estimated Metrics”

According to the new system, estimated metrics will be those based on modeling or sampling. Facebook implies that these can aid in defining outcomes that are too difficult to accurately quantify.

In essence, reach is an estimate of Facebook users who saw the ad one or more times. When reporting reach, the metrics of the number of people who saw an ad multiple times are analyzed. Those numbers are then de-duplicated and calculated with the total number of unique views in real-time. Because this needs to be done quickly, the data is sampled and therefore labeled as “estimated.” Ads on TV and across other digital platforms are also calculated in this fashion.

Defining “In Development”

As the name suggests, when metrics are labeled as “in development,” they are either being tested or new. For instance, brands can use this metric to understand the difference between users who can recall a brand after seeing an ad compared to those who have not actually seen the ad at all. Automated measurements such as these are new and therefore require both machine learning and polling.

More often than not, when sampling is used to determine a metric, it will be labeled as estimated, but when advertiser feedback is still being gathered, it will be labeled as “in development.”

Removal of 20+ Ad Metrics

Brands who regularly use Facebook for advertising are probably well aware that some of the metrics weren’t very helpful. For that reason, over 20 ad metrics previously included in Facebook ad data, will be removed in July. Marketers have recognized these metrics as not actionable, infrequently used, outdated, and/or redundant.

One of those metrics on the chopping block is Button Clicks. For those unfamiliar, Button Clicks metrics show the number of times Facebook users click on the call-to-action button on your ad. Yet, reporting Button Clicks is redundant since these clicks are reported in the Links Clicks or other metric such as Event Responses and Offers Saved.

Measurement Training

If you’re still feeling left in the dark when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of Facebook ads, you’re not alone. Facebook knows that this stuff is pretty complicated, which is why they are launching a program called “Measure What Matters” in less than a week. This program offered on the Facebook Business site and Facebook Live, will cover branding oriented campaigns as well as measurement for direct response campaigns.

While advertisers are used to working with estimates, there’s no doubt that the level of uncertainty in Facebook ad analytics has been way too vague for far too long. With Facebook now explicitly pointing out which metrics are an estimate, which are in development, and which are both, advertisers can get a better handle on the success of their advertising efforts. Hopefully making these tweaks will increase advertisers’ confidence and restore faith in Facebook’s numbers.

Virtual Reality and the Real Estate Industry

Anyone in the real estate industry knows one thing is certain: nothing is certain in the real estate industry. The truth is, it’s a fast changing market with plenty of ups and downs. Luckily, enhanced inter-connectivity and technology is making a significant impact in the way customers find, and even view, a property. Research from the National Association of Realtors suggests that 95% of customers search for real estate online and over half of them find their dream home that way.

While there’s no doubt that the internet remains the top choice in resources for home buyers, there is proof that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are becoming very popular when it comes to house hunting. This technology allows prospective buyers to get a good idea of any particular piece of real estate – anywhere in the world – without stepping foot in the door.

Real estate professionals offering this unique shopping experience are helping their clients find their dream home faster, while considerably shaving time off the buying process. Virtual reality and augmented reality are so beneficial, in fact, that recent Goldman Sachs research predicts that the use of such technology will reach at least $80 billion by 2025.

The following are just a few of the benefits augmented reality and virtual reality can offer to the real estate industry.

1. It’s a Great Time Saver 

It’s no secret that shopping for a house can be a long and tedious adventure. Luckily, AV and VR help make the home showing process a little more seamless for agents and clients alike. Technology is a real game changer because potential buyers can experience walking through the home without actually doing it. They don’t have to be in the same state or even in the same country to do so.

2. AR & VR Real Estate Tours

This technology has the potential to unlock international investment possibilities within the world’s real estate markets. Buyers can now experience a real estate tour on a global scale with VR and AR, which means an increase in foreign investments. This means that buyers in China can take a real look at a property in Los Angeles without a plane ticket.

3. Technology adds Reality in an Industry that Previously Seemed Intangible

Developers often have a difficult time convincing prospective buyers to visualize the final product. Because of this, it reduces pre-sell projects, decreases funds, and overall causes longer sales times. But with AR/VR agents can easily show prospective buyers the end product with a realistic visualization. This adds tangibility and helps to increase pre-sell projects.

4. Less Showings

One of the hardest parts about selling a house is dealing with multiple appointments for house showings. Now, prospective buyers can save time in their search, and sellers can do more showings, without actually setting up appointments. While AR/VR will never completely remove the showing process, it is significantly becoming a valid option for many sellers and buyers.

5. Realtors Will Have to Embrace It

New and veteran realtors will have to embrace the transition to AV/AR technology or get replaced. It will be standard practice within the decade so agents are going to have to get used to using it in all avenues of their business.

6. Virtual Tours Will Help Renters Too

Tenants will be able to experience a property as technology advances. The virtual reality platform will allow renters to tour an apartment or home, make notes, and even share their experience with others via social media, text, or email.

7. Fluff Products Will Also Hit the Market

With the success of AR/VR, the real estate industry will soon find that there are many products and services coming at them they simply don’t need. As a professional agent it’s important to stay ahead of the game and know what’s happening in the industry.

8. Luxury Sales Means More Immersive Viewing Experiences

According to Forbes, one in every three home buyers makes an offer on a property sight unseen. With VR and AR globalizing the home buying experience, we will start to see sales of unseen properties increase. Immersive viewing experiences significantly opens up the market for international luxury sales.

Clearly, AR/VR is here to stay. The real estate industry has never seen anything like this before, and the possibilities are endless. As it becomes more prevalent in the industry, it will soon become the norm. Both buyers and sellers will significantly benefit from the increased use of technology.

CPG Industry Trend: Getting Ahead with Digital Media

For many CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) companies, getting ahead means thinking outside of the box – far outside of it, in fact. Big corporations like L’Oreal, Pepsi, and Unilever, are already taking their big ideas and turning them into everything from artificial intelligence to virtual reality in order to stay in front of the competition.

More and more brands are following suit and hiring digitally focused employees while increasing their media spend by 30% as the industry continues to see a strong appetite for digital experiences. Diagnostics, digital enhancements, consultations, personalization, and live broadcasting are all an essential part of this CPG industry trend. It’s clear that open innovation supports the development and growth of brands of all sizes while bringing new ideas to life.

According to the World Economics Forum, CPG brands that invest in digital and technological branding transformations are set to gain $2.95 trillion in revenue and efficiency savings within the decade. Here’s how these companies are using their investment to grow their technology advertising as well as some challenges they may face along the way.

Partnering for Success

Big brands such as Mondelez, Campbell’s, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, and L’Oreal have individually invested money into programs that work particularly close with entrepreneurs and startups to pilot developing technology via researches and tests.  

For example, Hellmann’s a subsidiary of Unilever, began testing grocery delivery with on-demand service Quiqup. This service allows consumers to order mayonnaise and other ingredients online and have them delivered directly to their house. This type of service competes directly with Amazon Fresh.

This is just one sampling of how CPG brands themselves are doing their own advertising to get in front of their customers without giving profits to giants like Amazon. Projects like that of Unilever help brands grow their businesses simply by seeing how a smaller business operates. Essentially, it’s a complete reversal of the traditional behaviors the market has seen for decades.

Partnering and investing in close-knit relationships with startups is paying off big time for large brands, yet only 28 percent of all CPG companies provide extensive resources for startups. Meaning necessities like money and offices aren’t provided, leaving a big gap in the program’s success. It’s a hefty financial investment that even the largest brands are weary to fully embrace.

Data-Based Shopping

It may be hard to believe, but ecommerce only makes up about one-third of all CPG sales. However savvy brands like Campbell’s, Proctor & Gamble, and so many others are seeing an opportunity in online channels. With 89 percent of growth in just one year (between 2016 and 2017) according to Nielsen, for many brands, it’s the next big step in their growth.

Of course, the challenge for these brands and those like them, is that the customer experience is still somewhat vague. There is still a gap between online and offline shopping leading CPG companies in the dark. Despite 85 percent of CPG companies using cookies to keep track of their customers’ digital activities, less than half of CPG brands utilize personalized data into offline experiences that emulate online shopping.

Again, CPG brands seeing the most growth are beefing up their own data capabilities instead of leaning on retailers like Wal-Mart or Amazon. Because the future for large corporations like Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc. is a little uncertain, it just makes more sense for brands to take the reins on their own data. Holding that type of information means unlimited growth potential.

Virtual Reality Store & Product Simulations

The pressure to stay on top of the latest product and industry trends, while also increasing sales in any given category and expand your customer base can be huge. Because of that, CPG brands are discovering how virtual store and product simulations can ease that pressure while offering the consumer a unique shopping experience.

Virtual reality helps create a positive consumer experience such as improved speed to market, the opportunity to let consumers see your new packaging before it actually hits the shelves. Additionally, manufacturers can better understand the impact various changes have on their sales and the bottom line. They can also evaluate new in-store ideas, with no threat from the competition while determining optimal layout and assortment for key retailers and channels.

Virtual reality simulations give CPG brands confidence when it comes to making category recommendations to retailers, with results that prove their ideas will move the needle for their particular brand and the category—ultimately enriching the shopper experience.

Digital Deliveries

From drones to autonomous vehicles that deliver products with real-time shipping notifications for shoppers, it’s clearer than ever that the future of CPG is in augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Using these capabilities, CPG brands are making the route from manufacturing to distribution more seamless and convenient.

One example is that of Anheuser-Busch, and their recent efforts at piloting Uber’s self-driving trucks to carry 52,000 cans of Budweiser 120 miles down a Colorado highway last year. Because that was so successful, the beer company is now partnering with Convoy, an online marketplace that matches shipments with truck drivers in real time.

There are still some tweaks that need to be worked out, and still only 28 percent of CPG companies are using this type of technology, but every day the efforts to use The Internet of Things is increasing. The more Amazon ups its digital game, and the more algorithms determine what people buy and how we optimize the supply chain, the more we will see these CPG industry trends continue.  


SoMe Lands Among Top Digital Agencies of 2017 in Clutch’s First Annual Global Press Release

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Standing out among the crowded landscape of digital agencies in 2017 can be challenging. Companies are looking for a one-stop solution to all of their online needs, which has resulted in an influx of digital agency competition. At SoMe, we value your firm’s growth as if it were our own. We pride ourselves on our ability to transform your company’s digital presence in order to keep up with the times. Our hard work and depth of technical knowledge separates us from the rest of the pack – however, it can be hard to distinguish the contenders from the “pretenders”.

That is why we are extremely proud to announce our inclusion in Clutch.co’s Global Press Release list of top Digital Agencies in 2017. Clutch.co is a directory platform that evaluates thousands of digital agencies across the globe. Once a year, they compile a global leaders list, and we are delighted to be among the best of the best. Part of the assessment includes speaking to our past and current clients in order to get an honest look at the work we’ve provided. Below is just one example of a satisfied client’s review:

“Honestly, it’s the joy for the work. Their CEO is a wonderful person and loves what he does, and that shines through in all the people that work with SoMe. They love what they’re doing and genuinely enjoy working with each other. That creates a lot of lightness and enjoyable meetings and communication.” Jim Jacoby, ADMCi.

We could not be happier to be included in this global press release. We will continue to build on our accomplishments from the past year, and look forward to forming new partnerships in 2018. If you’d like to find out more information about our previous work, please take a look at our Clutch.co profile!