Yahoo Exec Discusses New Omnichannel Advertising Trends

The customer journey is becoming more complex. Although the researching, browsing and consideration phases of the buying process are still present, consumers are now venturing across multiple devices during their unique shopping journeys. As a result, retailers are challenged to truly understand customer preferences and create tailored and memorable campaigns.

In the below Q&A, Dave Cleary, Vice President and Industry Lead for Retail at Yahoo, will share best practices for crafting an omnichannel advertising strategy that resonates with savvy shoppers.

 Retail TouchPoints (RTP): How have consumers’ browsing and buying behaviors/preferences evolved over the past year?


Cleary: Consumers are more connected than ever across PCs, tablets and smartphones. They also use these devices at different stages of the purchase cycle, and it’s important for retail brands to understand these dynamics. For example, a consumer might start their search on mobile and finalize the purchase on desktop. In fact, 88% of smartphone users and 82% of tablet usersadmit to going back to their desktop to continue the shopping process.

RTP: What trends have had the most significant impact on retailers and how they market to consumers?

Cleary: There’s no denying that mobile is a key part of the path to purchase. In 2014, sessions in shopping apps on iOS and Android jumped 174% year-over-year, according to data compiled by Flurry from Yahoo. Still, consumers expect a consistent experience across all devices, so an omnichannel ad strategy is critical for retailers. That means prioritizing who the consumer is, and personalizing the content and message appropriately across devices and advertising channels. With the growth of audience buying, reaching and engaging the right consumers has become more important than the platform alone.

RTP: How are best-in-class retailers better engaging and marketing to consumers across all channels?

Cleary: Personalization is key to a successful ad strategy across channels. In a recent study, we found that 78% of consumers expressed a desire for some kind of content personalization. Brands have a tremendous opportunity to leverage targeting effectively on both desktop and mobile. Native advertising is one example of how brands can combine targeting and a powerful message to engage consumers, in a format that can easily extend across screens.

RTP: What advertising trends do you believe will come to fruition in 2015?

Cleary: Here are a few trends that will impact retailers in 2015:

  • Brands are stepping up their search advertising efforts. Retailers can take advantage of capabilities such as ad extensions to share important information with searchers exactly when they need it. We’ve seen that a search ad with extensions can see, on average, a 14% higher click-through rate than a standard text ad. Retailers also have a unique opportunity to use search retargeting to engage in-market consumers across devices and help move them closer to a purchase decision.
  • Brands are embracing native advertising. With different native ad formats, retailers must understand how to use text, images and even video effectively to drive performance. Understanding how native works in conjunction with and can even augment other digital ad efforts is a big opportunity for retail brands.

RTP: How can retailers maximize the value of new advertising tactics, boost sales and build long-term loyalty?

Cleary: 2015 will also see marketers striving to perfect a mix of creativity and targeting to engage audiences. For mobile advertising, successful retailers will incorporate mobile throughout the research, discovery and purchase process. On social, many retailers are looking to create branded hubs that have social sharing built in where they can easily create content and share it with a vast audience like on Tumblr. To extend this content to an even larger audience, retail brands can also use native ads as part of a content marketing effort.

RTP: Are there any retailers currently succeeding in these areas that you’d like to call out?

Cleary: We recently worked with Old Navy for a Black Friday holiday campaign to reach consumers across multiple channels. The campaign included a dynamic display ad on the Yahoo homepage that reached consumers who visited the site on key dates, in this case Nov. 27 and 28. The ad even used location targeting to indicate the distance to the closest Old Navy store to make the message even more compelling. Old Navy also leveraged Yahoo Audience Ads across our extended network and display ads within Yahoo Mail to highlight their latest fashions at great prices on Black Friday and their Overnight Millionaire contest.

RTP: As retailers implement their strategies for 2015, what final best practices do you have for them? What should they keep in mind to ensure success?

Cleary: One of the biggest takeaways for marketers from the holiday season is to understand how mobile fits into the research, discovery and purchase process. Targeted native advertising is one way that retail brands can share relevant, compelling content with users in the moments that matter — and remain a seamless part of the experience across screens. With native ads, retailers can engage consumers with a brief message and highlight key information such as discounts or free shipping. We’ve seen that native ads can deliver higher metrics in not only awareness and likelihood to recommend a brand or product, but also boost purchase intent.


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