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Ecommerce Personalization: 10 Brands Doing it as Good as Amazon

Ecommerce personalization is about creating individualized interactions and experiences for users.

Ecommerce giants like Amazon have set the standard in personalized strategies, but no matter the scale of the business, brands that develop experiences for their users that focus squarely on their needs will see the results.

This comes from really knowing who your audience is, which means gathering insights from more than just demographic data – but behavioral, attitudinal and psychographic.

Deep consumer data helps brands build up a picture of their audiences, enabling them to offer tailored content that meets the differing needs and expectations of their customers.

Why ecommerce personalization is worth the effort

Personalized marketing delivers results.

We’ve seen this from the likes of Amazon and Netflix to smaller retailers like Fab and Campus Protein. Why? Research suggests users respond best to content that speaks directly to them.

According to Marketingprofs:

Businesses that adopt personalized marketing see an average 19% increase in sales.

What’s more, users increasingly expect content they’re exposed to (branded or otherwise) to relate to their interests and life stages across multiple channels.

Our latest data shows 34% of internet users are most motivated to recommend a brand that provides them with things that are relevant to their own interests.

This is why personalization is becoming the norm across all marketing mediums – most notably email marketing, onsite promotion and user experience.

Here are 10 examples of brands that have mastered the art of  ecommerce personalization.

Ecommerce personalization examples

Depending on the nature of the business and its model, certain personalization processes may be more effective than others.

Therefore, it’s important to keep track of what your competitors are doing, and monitor what’s working for you.

We’ve separated the personalization processes into two categories, ‘onsite’ and ‘offsite’.

This makes it easier to see how brands are incorporating personalization in both inbound and outbound strategies.

Onsite personalization

Personalization is key to any inbound marketing strategy.

With agile websites able to provide content tailored to consumers, retail brands can provide a more one-to-one onsite shopping experience.  

1. Campus Protein: Segmented best-sellers.

 

Consumers are drawn to products they know have sold well.

‘Most popular’ ranges receive a strong click-through rate. For this reason, ecommerce sites place this content in a dominant position on the page, either in the ‘basket’ section, or alongside the product descriptions.

Campus Protein, with the support of Shopify, have used this technique to great effect.

Their curated list of ‘top 25’ best-selling products can be segmented by date range, enabling users to check which products are trending, and which have sold well over the long-term.

This increased Campus Protein’s click-through rate by 50% from the best-seller to the product pages.   

2. Alloy Apparel: Personalized best-sellers.

 

Alloy Apparel took this approach to a new level.

The retailers present the ‘most popular’ items based on the shopper’s demographic and behavioral data.

By pooling both demographic data gathered from their accounts and behavioral data gathered from website interactions, Alloy Apparel can create highly personalized recommendations.

Combining this with the added attraction of the items being ‘most popular’, adds to their purchase appeal.

3. Levi’s: Chatbot assistance.

 

Our research shows 20% of internet users would be motivated to recommend a brand that offers a one-to-one relationship with them.

One of the drawbacks of online shopping, especially when it comes to clothing, is being unable to speak directly to an assistant for advice.

Denim experts, Levi’s, navigate this problem with its chatbot, Ask Indigo.

Perhaps one of the more futuristic personalization techniques, Ask Indigo suggest clothing items based on the user’s preferences.

Here’s how it works:

Source: youtube.com

 

By offering users a service that speaks to them directly, albeit through a voice programmed by an algorithm, Levi’s leverage personalization to enhance brand interaction, positioning highly relevant products in front of the customer.

4. ASOS: Smart navigation.

 

ASOS takes agile website personalization to the extreme, changing the whole navigation based on past user engagement.

The brand’s most notable personalization feature is created via dynamic interfaces, which change depending on what pages of the site users have visited before.

For example, if a user viewed items in the women’s clothing part of the site, then the next time the user visited ASOS, they would automatically be presented with the women’s section, without having to click through.

By skipping a step in the user journey, ASOS can position gender-specific content in front of the user straight after they click through from search engines.

5. Tesco: Recently purchased items.

 

Personalization is often associated with sales of one-offs and desirable items. It’s also been effective for upselling products purchased on a regular basis – in this case food and household items.

Tesco offers a speedier shopping experience through their ‘recently purchased’ section once a user logs into their account.

The user is presented with a graphic chart of items they have regularly purchased, meaning they can save time searching for items and instead add them directly to their cart.

Not only does this provide a helpful service to users, meaning they avoid forgetting to purchase items they may need, it also enables the retailer to upsell suggested items the user might also be interested in purchasing.

 

6. Nespresso: Membership clubs.

 

Coffee experts, Nespresso, offer a membership to its users designed to make them feel part of a private club.

Despite being open to all visitors, Nespresso and You offers a range of seemingly exclusive deals tailored to individual preference, based on questions asked during sign-up and purchase history.

The perks include discounts, classes, freebees, coffee machine warranty and free delivery.

The most effective loyalty programs are the ones that evoke feelings of exclusivity and make the customer feel valued.  

Offsite personalization

Outbound marketing channels, such as paid advertising and email marketing are often personalized to individual users.

The type of personalization utilized depends on the types of consumer data valued by the company, but, the vast majority of outbound marketing is based on onsite behavior and account information.

Here are the brands that do it well:

1. Uber Eats: Directly addressing the customer.

 

Many brands with a progressive email strategy will already be doing this. But some do it better than others.

Uber Eats’ latest promotional deal was sent to its account holders, with the subject line, “[first name] Doesn’t Share Food”.

Placing the user’s first name in the subject line makes the email stand out in the inbox and combined with the familiar catchphrase from a popular sitcom, Friends, this email is both personal and familiar before you’ve even opened it.  

2. Fab: Abandoned cart emails.

 

The aim of the abandoned cart email is to re-engage users who’ve added an item to their cart, but never carried out the purchase.

Ecommerce retailer, Fab, effectively adds an extra dimension to this personalized marketing technique, by notifying users when stocks are low in the items they’ve added to their cart.

 

Screenshot of Fab's abandoned cart email.

Source: Fab.com

Fab’s email is effective in its messaging, acting as a helpful and friendly reminder. Explaining to the customer that stocks are limited is an honest reason to contact them directly.

Setting up these emails is very simple. Once designed and written, abandoned cart emails can be automated, so they only really need updating occasionally.

Although an effective way to boost revenue, many major retailers in the U.S. are failing to capitalize on this.  

3. Adidas: Tailored promotional offers.

 

Discounts, free gifts are excellent ways to hook users in.

Often, blanket offers are provided over certain product ranges throughout the year. But when these are personalized, it adds fluidity to the customer journey.  

Adidas segments their promotional offers by gender to avoid miss-targeted deals.

Here’s how they look:

Adidas – Personalized Email Marketing by Gender

Source: Campaign Monitor

 

Promotional offers can also be segmented based on consumer behavior, for example, new, loyal, or dormant customers to help incentivize or remind them to re-engage with your brand.

4. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: Personalized discounts.

 

43% of internet users would be motivated to recommend a brand that provided them with discounts and free gifts.

With the aim of increasing membership numbers, the Washington team at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium analyzed their data to identify which areas were home to the zoo’s most frequent guests.

They used this data to target hotspot postcodes with discounts.

The result was a 13% increase in membership in the first 3 months.

Consumer profiling by location enables brands to target lookalike consumers to expand their reach in a more targeted way.

Taking ecommerce personalization to the next level

Many brands rely solely on demographic and behavioral data to shape their personalized marketing strategies. Taking it to the next level means going deeper with your research.

Let’s take a hypothetical example.

You’re a marketing planner working in the beauty industry, aiming to raise awareness of your brand amongst Gen Z females.

From your behavioral research and previous campaign results, you’ve deciphered that they’re very active on social media, and consider this a primary channel to promote your ads.

You know where these consumers are spending their time, but relying on this alone would likely lead to miss-messaging and wasted resource.

To deliver an experience that’s truly personal and relevant to their interests you need to uncover why they’re active here and the types of content they’re consuming.

Here’s what our latest data reveals:

Chart showing how different age groups discover and research brands. As well as advocacy drivers.

 

Gen Zers are most likely to discover brands via online ads, and they research them via social media. This confirms a paid social media campaign would be effective for raising awareness.

Combining the what with the why in this way helps shape a personalized ecommerce marketing campaign that not only targets customers where they’re active, but ensures your messaging doesn’t fall on deaf ears.  

Making it work

There are numerous ways to integrate personalization into an ecommerce model.

But while many brands will focus solely on behavioral data to drive their strategy, in today’s complex landscape, it takes far more to capture consumer attention.

This is where deeper consumer insight comes into play – the kind that complements data around actions to give your approach legs.

Being empathetic towards the unique requirements of your customers will allow your business to create a personalized shopping experience that offers solutions tailored to their needs as consumers, but which simultaneously speaks directly to them, on a human level.

Most importantly, personalization is one area in which ecommerce brands can compete with the most dominant players in the space, like Amazon and ASOS.

It doesn’t come down to budget or awareness, it’s about one key principle: creating the most tailored experience for your user.

Click to access our Consumer Insights Guide

Why Brands Should Target Women’s Sports Leagues

Sports rackets and balls around a television.

Interest in women’s sports leagues is stepping up.

As big names like Visa lead the way for major sponsorship deals – becoming the first ever UEFA sponsor dedicated to women’s football – viewers and broadcasters are becoming increasingly interested in the games and athletes. This brings the tipping point into heavy media investment a step closer.  

Currently, 12% of the global internet population follow women’s sports leagues1 by watching on TV or online.

But as more are watching, and ahead of what’s set to be a hot summer with the Women’s World Cup, can this existing audience show us the biggest opportunities to engage others?

Followers are likely watching for the sport, rather than the community.

Alongside this audience being more affluent than average, a stand-out characteristic is that they’re sports fanatics. Compared to those who follow men’s leagues across the world, those watching women’s leagues express a much stronger interest in both playing and watching sports more generally.

This shows they’re likely to be consistent watchers of competitions and there for the sport itself, rather than the community and social aspect that comes with most men’s sports competitions like the FA Cup or Six Nations Championship.

However, the community element is still important and could be a leverage point for leagues to bolster interest.

Just as men are more likely to be following sports in general, they also make up a majority of the audience watching women’s sports leagues, but only just (at 57% men vs. 43% women).

The importance of cross-gender marketing campaigns shouldn’t be underestimated, and neither should their ability to drive viewing numbers, awareness and participation.

The Women’s Sport Trust and Sky Sports did this brilliantly with their #ShowUp campaign, asking people to pledge across social media to support and dedicate time to following women’s sports competitions.

The hashtag generated 92 million impressions across social media in the first week alone.

This proves that the appetite for women’s sports is there – building a bigger audience of consistent viewers is the challenge.

Chart profiling watchers of women's sport leagues.

Alternative online viewing channels could easily stretch the reach of leagues.

Live sport is one of the only types of content viewers will set aside time to view in real-time – but men’s sports tend to dominate the prime broadcast exposure slots.

Despite this, women’s sports are still predominantly watched via a TV (80%). Almost 50% of these consumers who are watching on TV are choosing to watch the games online too. Globally accessible channels like social media could bolster viewership, especially in markets where women’s sports aren’t broadcast.

And there’s certainly an appetite for it: almost 4 in 10 watchers say they mainly use social media to watch/follow sports events.

Social media gives marketers and rights holders alike the opportunity to bridge the connection between women’s sports, athletes and fans worldwide. It can also be used to engage a younger, more diverse and truly global audience.

Followers are brand-engaged on social media, making the second screen more powerful.

Women’s league watchers are happy to actively engage with brands on social media, whether by sharing posts or clicking through links, and are more likely to do so than those watching men’s sports.

This love of social media and willingness to meet brands there makes the second screen a vital touchpoint.

The vast majority of women’s sports league watchers are likely to be reaching for another device when they tune in to watch. 93% say they regularly do so as they watch TV, with mobile the firm device of choice (81%).

Chart detailing second-screening behaviors of watchers of women's sports leagues.

At least 1 in 2 say they head to social media or chat to friends on dark social platforms when second-screening – perhaps to see friends’ reactions and commentary in real time when watching sports. These consumers could be at the center of raising awareness of women’s leagues, by sharing and commenting on social media.

Although this online community will be small, it’s likely to be a highly passionate one. And it’s promising for marketers and sponsors that a third say they search for information related to what they’re watching, whether that’s to read up about the people or search for products that are advertised.

For brands wanting the attention of these viewers, maximizing the digital footprint of a campaign will be key.

There’s no denying the reach and cost-effective opportunity social media offers – especially during global league games where feeds will be getting more attention than normal.

But to reach these viewers, simply pushing promotional content or ads all over social feeds isn’t enough. Instead, brands must make themselves part of the conversation.

Looking to the future.

Women’s professional sports leagues have historically trailed behind men’s in terms of popularity, but they shouldn’t be pushed aside.

Raising the profile of women’s sports is an ongoing challenge, as is getting those who do tune in to watch more consistently. But growing attention from the media will play a big part here, as will getting the games broadcast during the prime viewing slots.

For brands, women’s sports offer access to an affluent and passionate audience, who are real sports fanatics.

And unlike men’s leagues, there will be more opportunities for smaller and emerging brands to sponsor women’s sports or athletes without being overshadowed, allowing them to make more meaningful, emotional connections with viewers.

1Women’s Leagues include: FIFA Women’s World Cup, ICC Women’s World Cup (Cricket, Select Markets), ICC Women’s World Twenty20 (Cricket, Select Markets), LPGA/Ladies Professional Golf Association, UEFA Women’s Championships League and Women’s World Cup (Rugby, Select Markets).

Target Market Segmentation: How to Use it to your Advantage

Defining Target Market Segmentation

Market segmentation, or audience segmentation, is the practice of dividing potential customers into meaningful subgroups based on their characteristics and preferences.  

Marketing content can then be tailored to these segments, helping to create a more efficient and cost effective marketing strategy.  

Why it Matters

Brand loyalty matters to today’s consumers, but a large number of brands are still failing to tap into what drives this level of commitment.

It all comes down to understanding what consumers want, which varies from person to person. Brand messaging should cater for this.

Casting aside the one-size-fits-all mentality and placing audience interests at the core of your brand’s content results in hyper-targeted products and messages.

Four Segmentation Criteria

Audiences are traditionally divided using 4 main criteria.

Within each of those, further divisions can be made for a more granular understanding of a market.  

Behavioral – Consumer interactions with products and brands. This can include how and where they engage with brands, their social media usage, and online consumer journey.

Demographic – Criteria includes gender, age, income, education, social class, religion and nationality.

Geographic – Information on where they live. This can be subdivided by nation, state, town and so on.

Psychographic – This can include personality variables such as introvertedness and extrovertedness, lifestyles and attitudes to life.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Market Segmentation

A target market analysis will help you identify exactly which groups of people you should be speaking to.

Step 1. Gather recent, reliable data.

Third party data sources are hugely valuable in helping you build that real-life picture of your industry, market segment, competition and potential customer base.

But knowing what data you need to gather is a familiar challenge.

With consumer and industry trends evolving so fast, one key thing to consider is how recent and reliable the data you’re gathering is.

With a platform like GlobalWebIndex that’s updated quarterly, you can ensure the data you’re looking at is up-to-date, fresh, and highly relevant.

Step 2. Divide your market.

People who are attracted to your product or service often share certain characteristics, and identifying these will help you create your target market segments and refine your messaging for each.

Ask questions like:

  • What defines this particular group of people?
  • What do they have in common?
  • How do they go about researching products?
  • Which touchpoints matter most?

Creating customer profiles or personas that pull together these shared traits will help you hone in on what matters, identifying patterns, trends and insights that will spark ideas, bringing in high-value customers.

Step 3. Know your competitors.

Understanding the competition in the market is key. This will tell you exactly what your product or service is up against, and what tactics you need to take on to compete.

Ask questions like:

  • How many businesses have a comparable offering to you?
  • What’s their pricing structure?
  • What reach do they have?
  • Who do they appeal to most?

You may find that one group of people is very well served by competitors while another group has yet to be tapped into.

This will help you identify the most profitable group to target in your marketing plans, as well as identify what types of marketing communications may or may not have worked prior.

Step 4. Integrate your analysis in your business plan.

Once you’ve completed your market analysis and identified the audiences with the most potential, it’s essential to incorporate these different target market segments into your wider business plan.

This will enable you to make predictions about who will buy your new product, in what quantities and how often, as well as identifying any possible peaks or troughs in demand.

Understanding the data set and variables that differentiate one group of people from another is key to knowing your market.

Look at previous customer data, whether specific groups have different needs, or how their attitudes or lifestyles differ.

This will help you understand their specific behaviors, alongside demographic and life stage information of your target market segments, enabling you to craft the right marketing messages and identify the best channels and tactics to use for a high value campaign.

Building Up the Picture One Question at a Time

Let’s take a hypothetical example.

Say you own a brand selling healthy packaged sandwiches through retailers.

From your demographic and geographic research, you’ve segmented your audience into two key markets: students and young professionals.

Now you want to increase brand awareness amongst the student market so they pick your sandwich off the shelf.

But in order to reach them effectively, you need to understand their behaviors and attitudes – namely how, where and why they consume content.  

Using third party data, it’s possible to reveal the answers to these questions to build a detailed picture of their media usage and online behaviors.  

Chart detailing on which media students spend the most time.

With this insight alone, you know that students are spending a considerable amount of time on social media daily. The next step is understanding how and why they do so.

Incrementally and methodically combining data in this way will help you establish what types of content will resonate with your separate audiences and where’s best to place it.

Target Segmentation in Action: Visit Scotland

In 2006, Visit Scotland conducted a large-scale consumer research programme that led them to the discovery of five core audience segments: adventure seekers, curious travellers, engaged sightseers, food loving culturalists and natural advocates.

Each segment was defined by factors including personality, interests, age, what they look for in a holiday, accommodation preferences, the activities they enjoy and how they use technology.

The target market segmentation approach also identifies the key challenge of marketing messaging to each group.

For example, curious travellers generally ‘dislike returning to the same place more than once’.

These insights give Visit Scotland a clear focus for their messaging, enabling them to target customers and start to build customer relationships based on their individual preferences.

Incorporating Target Market Segmentation into your Marketing Strategy

Target market segmentation should underpin your brand’s marketing approaches and strategy, helping you set objectives and form ideas in the most audience-centric way possible.

Equipped with a better understanding your target audience, and being able to divide this knowledge into meaningful and distinct groups, different audiences based on individual preferences means you know what they want, when and where they want it.

This increased relevance ensures your marketing campaigns are tailored to your audience for maximum impact.

This translates into numerous business benefits, from more intelligent marketing spend to increased sales and greater loyalty, all of which contribute to a healthier ROI and customer value.

Click to access our Consumer Insights Guide

How the Gaming Industry Can “Level Up” in Diversity

The gaming industry has seen remarkable growth in the past 10 years, reaching $137.9 bn in revenue last year alone.

The uptake of smartphones is driving this growth, and 2018 saw the release of various big-developer games such as Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II, a hit with audiences that took home $725 million in its first three days.

But shortly after the game’s release, the company came under scrutiny after a male player uploaded a video of them being violent to a suffragette character in the game, which was viewed more than 1.5 million times. “Why can’t we do this in real life?” commented one person underneath the video.

This is just one example of the many challenges the gaming industry still faces when it comes to diversity and gaming toxicity. So what needs to be done to ensure an inclusive and tolerant gaming experience?

Women are avid mobile gamers.

Video games have traditionally been targeted towards men, with women and ethnic minorities being largely under-represented in gaming.

However, this approach is now outdated and targeting in this way is likely to mean gaming companies are missing out on great numbers of potential consumers.

Our data shows 72% of women play games on their smartphones – the same proportion as men.

Though younger females are more keen mobile gamers, it appeals to all age groups. Just over 40% of 55-64-year-old women play mobile games, a number not to be be sniffed at.

Gaming has diversified in recent years and it’s no longer just the blockbuster console games commanding audience’s attention.

Mobile gaming has made it possible to reach a wider audience and offer different gaming experiences.

In fact, gaming apps are one of the most popular types of mobile apps among women, ahead of news, entertainment and health/fitness apps. And out of the games we track, entertaining, free-to-play games like Plants vs. Zombies are the most engaging games for women.

Women are more than a “side plot”.

Female mobile gamers spend an average of 3 hours and 46 minutes per day on their smartphone, opening up a big opportunity to engage this audience.

There’s also a growing interest in spectator gaming among women.

Our research reveals that 23% of females have watched a live gaming stream in the past month and 17% have watched an esports tournament, a noticeable jump since Q4 2017.

Yet, women’s primary role in games to date tends to be meaningless side plots or love interests.

The gaming industry is no stranger to misogynistic outbursts. Back in 2014, there was a major harassment campaign, known as GamerGate, which viciously targeted female gaming professionals.

And just last year, the developers of Battlefield V came under fire for including female soldiers in their WWII game. Male players were upset with historical “inaccuracies” in the game, which pointed towards the unfeasible notion of women on the front line.

The hashtag #NotMyBattlefield made the rounds on social media in opposition.

But the creators of Battlefield V adamantly stood by their decision and hit back saying “player choice and female playable characters are here to stay” and retaliated with a hashtag of their own declaring “this is #everyonesbattlefield”.

Failing to recognize the significance of women and minorities in gaming could be detrimental to the industry as it alienates a large potential share of the market.

To reach a larger number of switched-on gamers, companies must leave the outdated gaming culture behind and move forward with inclusivity at the top of their priorities list.

Ethnic diversity in gaming is the future.

The gender ethnicity gap between creators and players is still a reality in 2019, with fewer game developers being from diverse backgrounds.

This was uncovered in the International Game Developers Association 2017 developer satisfaction survey, where only 42% of respondents said the game industry has increased its diversity over the past two years.

Our data shows gaming is more prominent in fast-growth markets like APAC, LATAM and MEA. But there remains a lack of professionals from these regions in the creation of games.

Importantly, a more diverse mix of gaming professionals could help the industry create content that resonates and appeals to a wider audience, and better reflect the audiences that actually play their games.

There are some signs that things are finally changing.

In recent years, there’s been some improvements in games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a game that’s set in India and has two leading women, one of them being a black South African.  

Assassins Creed Origins, which is set in Egypt with an African protagonist, is another game that addresses racial diversity.

We can see advancement in other industries too, most notably the film industry, with movies like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians smashing box office records last year. Black Panther also became the first black superhero film nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars.

If the gaming industry can begin to truly tackle diversity issues, they could foster a sense of empathy and engagement among audiences and make the most of monetization opportunities in the process.

And beyond political correctness and revenue considerations, the fact is that gamers come from a variety of backgrounds. Is that not a big enough reason to include game characters everyone can relate to?

Cannabis in the U.S. – Perspectives on a Budding Industry

CBD products

From smoke shops to coffee shops, and from greenhouses to government houses, one budding trend has spread through the U.S. so rapidly that it’s left the industry buzzing: cannabis.

We’ve seen an uptick in emerging brands that infuse common consumer products with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive extract of cannabis hailed for its health-inducing properties, but as of yet still waiting on its proper medical credentials.

But what do consumers really think about the CBD industry, and how do more traditional brands even begin to get involved in an arena often fraught with confusion and legal landmines?

We asked U.S. internet users about their perceptions and concerns around CBD products to find out.

2 in 3 U.S. internet users would consider using CBD-containing or CBD-infused products.

Chart detailing the appetite for CBD products in the U.S..

In late December 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2019 Farm Bill into law. This extensive package of agricultural policies and initiatives includes the legalization of hemp farming and provides financial aid to stimulate hemp’s transition into a commodity crop.

Considered a legal milestone, the bill is opening the floodgates for a rapidly-growing industry, one that’s already projected to reach nearly $2 billion in the United States by 2022.

The Evolution of Health and Wellness  

We can’t analyze the growth of the CBD industry, and the cannabis industry as a whole, without examining one of the major consumer trends fueling it – the evolution of health and wellness.

Between 2012 and 2017, the global wellness industry grew an estimated 12.8% – amounting to a market now valued at over $4 trillion.

Alternative medicine and self-care underpin much of this trend, especially in the U.S., where the rates of anxiety and depression have climbed in tandem with the rising costs of traditional healthcare.

In an environment shaped by these factors, cannabis is well positioned to emerge as a viable option for many people seeking alternatives to traditional healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

Through our data, we see exactly this perspective emerge.

Health, medicinal, and wellbeing products are the number one application that U.S. consumers most associate with legally-derived cannabis, and by quite a margin.

65% of consumers associate cannabis-derived products with healthcare applications.

This is compared to 37% who associate this substance with food and beverages, and just 28% who associate it with beauty and personal care items.

This connection with health and wellness is likely contributing to the high rate of consideration for using CBD-infused products our research has uncovered.

Chart detailing the motivations for using CBD products.

Distinctions emerge among consumers of different income and education levels.

Low and middle-income consumers are more likely to consider using CBD-infused products for stress management, pain management, and alleviating systems of a mental health disorder. High-income consumers are more likely to consider using these types of products for preventative medicine and recreational use.

This points to an interesting possibility. When considering the financial burden of healthcare in the U.S., especially for middle-income Americans who often struggle to cover costs yet may not be eligible for government subsidies, alternatives to traditional pharmaceuticals may become legitimate options to treat their ailments.

In this environment, the potential for CBD is massive.

CBD: Resistance and Regulation

Though growing rapidly, image problems and negative social connotations around controlled substance use still weigh down the cannabis industry. But these perceptions are changing.

The attitudes of U.S. consumers we surveyed indicate resistance to both recreational and medicinal cannabis products is low.

Among all respondents, close to 50% believe in blanket legality for all hemp/marijuana products. A further one-third of consumers support legality for medical hemp/marijuana products, but not marijuana for recreational purposes. These figures are consistent among Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, indicating widespread generational acceptance is emerging.

Further examination of the one-fifth of U.S. consumers who would not consider using CBD-containing products provides some insight around these challenges.

The potential for negative associations of CBD users in society is one of the lowest concerns among this group, further supporting the idea that perceptions are changing and should not be a barrier to the industry for much longer.  

What respondent concerns do point to, however, is the need for better research, education, and regulation.

These are basic principles we put in place for the foods we eat and the medications we take, ensuring a level of consumer protection that’s necessary to establish trust and stability for any product in the marketplace.

The Marketing Minefield

For brands looking to get involved in the CBD rush, navigating the waters around marketing a CBD-infused product can be precarious.

The variety of media laws and regulations for advertising CBD in different U.S. states and through different networks makes for a confusing picture. Recently, CBS rejected an advertisement from medical marijuana company Acreage Holdings from airing during the Superbowl, arguably advertising’s ultimate beauty pageant.

The typically more lenient realm of social media has become a contentious space for these products, as well, with Facebook and Google recently restricting CBD and marijuana companies from advertising on their platforms.

Despite these restrictions, consumer attitudes again offer a more positive perspective that suggests the tide will soon turn.

Only 9% object to CBD products being advertised.

The majority would prefer to see the health angle promoted and hear testimonials from both the medical community and current users.

Chart detailing the right messaging around CBD products.

Premiumization of CBD

With consumers’ positive attitudes toward CBD products and general receptiveness toward seeing them advertised, the opportunity for brands across a range of industries to enter the fray is enormous.

Essential to a successful entrance into the market, however, is creating trust around a compound with so little regulation and understanding.

For those that can do this, the rewards are likely to be significant. Our research indicates that 60% of consumers who are open to trying CBD agree they would pay a premium for products infused with the compound.

This strategy of positioning CBD as a more ‘premium’ version of your standard latte or chocolate bar has clearly got legs. We have seen it begin to appear in more progressive, cosmopolitan areas and expect this trend to further permeate as CBD becomes more readily available across the U.S.

As consumer perceptions continue to evolve, and as more new and established brands enter the CBD market, we will continue to map this trend’s progress into our mainstream culture.

Who are the New Gamers and How Can You Reach Them?

Gone are the pixelated days of Pac-Man and Space Invaders – gaming is now a source of entertainment for people of all ages around the world.

Gaming has truly gone mainstream, with the introduction of high-quality titles across devices and esports challenging the role traditional sports has long played in consumers’ lives.

Our latest research shows 83% of internet users have gamed on at least one device in the last month – going up to 94% among 16-24s.

Clearly there’s a huge opportunity to reach a large chunk of consumers.

But to target them efficiently, you must know who these gamers are and what they expect from brands.

Who are Gamers in 2019?

4 in 10 internet users say gaming is an interest of theirs. While the activity is most popular among 16-24 males at 62%, a quarter of all 45-54s also say they enjoy gaming.

Gamers are clearly becoming a more fragmented group than ever, making it crucial for those in the industry to adopt a more targeted approach. The answer lies in sectioning gamers and investigating their individual purchase journeys – going far beyond demographics to understand their actions in context.

PC Gamers

Overall, there’s a decline in PC ownership, leading to fewer gamers on these devices than before. But this doesn’t mean these users can be overlooked – just under 1 in 2 internet users still game via PCs/laptops.

Console Gamers

While there has been a decline in console ownership, our research shows it’s now stabilized, with 21% of internet users owning one.

This could, in part, be due to the console’s relatively new role in consumers’ lives – as a media hub. Consoles are no longer primarily used for gaming, with 10% now watching TV in some form through their console.

Mobile Gamers

Smartphone gaming has become the most popular choice, with 72% choosing to game on their phone. And with these devices becoming increasingly more sophisticated and offering console-level quality gaming, their flexibility should see them become even more widely used in the future.

VR Gamers

Virtual reality was a buzzword in 2018, with the likes of Sony announcing it had sold 3 million Playstation VR headsets since launching the device in 2016. But despite this, the technology has failed to win over consumers on a large scale – only 5% of mobile gamers currently own a VR headset.

Multi-Device Gamers

A significant amount of gamers aren’t sticking to just one device.

According to our research, over a quarter of gamers use 2 devices and as many as 13% use 4 or more.

It showcases the importance of either identifying what device is the top choice for your target consumers, or having a multi-channel approach where you meet consumers on all their devices.

Profiling Gaming Preferences

Looking at the top three most popular genres of gaming, there are some clear differences in preferences.

Our latest research shows the biggest discrepancies lie between console and mobile gamers: the majority of mobile gamers prefer shooters while the majority of console gamers prefer action adventure/open world games.

Despite this, it’s still a smaller portion of mobile gamers that prefer the top gaming genres, perhaps showing their interests spread across more genres than their console, PC and multi-device counterparts.

Having a foundation of gaming behaviors is crucial to define where these gamers spend their time – but in order to reach them efficiently you must also know why.

Mapping the Journey

So how can you pinpoint the why behind the what and where? By going beyond their gaming habits and looking to their attitudes, perceptions and motivations alongside their behaviors.

The increasingly intricate consumer profiles of gamers mean brands must turn to reliable, granular consumer insight to know how and where to advertise to them.

As an example, let’s look at what our research reveals about mobile gamers.

With this sort of information at hand, brands can map the consumer journey of the gamers they’re looking to target, allowing them to place their marketing where it will resonate.

Brand Spotlight: British Army

The British Army has struggled to meet its recruitment requirement.

According to the latest government statistics, the Army employed just under 80,000 soldiers against a target of 83,500, and saw a 3% decline in the year leading up to October 2018.

In light of recent Ministry of Defence research showing 72% of young people describe themselves as ambitious yet feel undervalued and want a job with real purpose, the Army decided to try a different tactic for their next campaign.

Its latest recruitment campaign launched in January and was spread across TV, online and  billboards.

Titled ‘Your Army Needs You’, the campaign aims to reach potential candidates that may not have realized they have skills and characteristics that could offer them a successful military career.

And with The Entertainment Retailers Association having recently found the video games sector now makes up more than half of the entertainment market, more than double its worth in 2007, the Army saw an opportunity to tap into this pool of gamers and recruit candidates with great potential.

In one ad, a young person is seen showing a passionate interest in computer gaming, to the exasperation of his family, before it’s revealed the kind of tech knowledge and soft skills that come from gaming are actually highly sought-after by the Army.

This campaign proves the gaming audience to be a versatile group that’s attractive to brands across sectors. As this audience continues to expand and grow in importance, there are more opportunities than ever to reach them, with the right insight at hand.