These are GfK's findings for the global Major Domestic Appliances market on the occasion of IFA 2016 in Berlin.
With strong sales of smart TVs come new opportunities for brands and advertisers to communicate with a growing and engaged audience. But to monetize a channel, we need reliable measurements for reach, ad performance and engagement. At Germany’s dmexco, one of the most important global conferences of the digital economy, we’ll be discussing our passive monitoring approach to tracking content and ads across all devices, including the smart TV, at an individual level.
Smart devices are dominating sales in the TV market. Let’s take Germany, where four in ten households have a smart TV, as an example. In the first six months of 2016, 61.5% of all sets sold in Germany had smart TV functionality. Although TV isn’t a new technology, the new features of smart TVs and ultra-high-definition TVs (4k) are driving sales in the market (in addition to important sporting events, such as the Euro Cup this year).
There’s clearly a growing opportunity for brands, retailers and content providers to reach consumers through smart TVs and, in particular, through apps on smart TVs. The key question is: can smart TV apps be monetized through advertising? If this is to happen, two aspects are critical.
Monetization will only work if apps are used. And apps will only be used if user experience and content are meeting consumers’ needs. We now know that you can’t simply transfer content from your website to mobile and have it appeal to visitors. It needs to be adapted. The same is true of smart TV apps.
As we’ve seen with other new technology, advertising spend on a new media channel will only reach a critical mass once advertisers can measure the medium and thus understand the ROI of that spend. That’s why we’re investing in tools to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of advertising on smart TV apps.
In my session at dmexco, I’ll share how to develop successful smart TV apps, and how we plan to passively measure the reach of smart TV apps for those who want to build brands, sell advertising, serve content and sell direct to viewers.
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Whatever your digital advertising/marketing objective, one thing is certain, it will involve data. Lots of it. Increasingly, the challenge for today’s executives is not only to make sense of that data, but also to leverage it consistently. To do this, it’s necessary to choose the right tools and platforms to maximize this knowledge. It’s therefore frustrating when those platforms can’t be integrated, when you can’t bring your own data together to activate it, when your ad tech providers try to have full control on the value chain. I describe this as being a hostage to your own ad tech stack.
Having a background in the ad tech sector and in digital publishing, I know only too well the frustrations of navigating and manipulating rich customer data. Sophisticated as the myriad of available ad tech platforms are, they have their limitations too. A platform leveraging only the last three web pages a visitor browsed (or actions taken within an app), for example, could be helpful in the context of the other information you hold about that very user, but… it’s not always the case. While you, no doubt, collect intelligence on your programmatic campaigns, email marketing actions, content consumption, ecommerce transactions, etcetera, this information is often sidelined by your ad tech providers, preventing you from leveraging the complete view of information you hold about your user.
The answer is to regain control of your own data strategy first, but also fully own the way it is actioned, and that’s what I’ll be talking about at Dmexco this year. Building a single customer view is key to success. It can go beyond your own rich data sets to incorporate your proprietary sources such as purchase data and cross-media usage. We work with our clients to understand what data they have and what data they need to build a deep, single view of the user that meets their requirements.
Taking a macro lens to this issue, I believe it’s time for the ad tech industry to collaborate more closely with each other to benefit their clients and make leveraging the single customer view a reality rather than a marketing stunt. End users want this integrated solution, so it’s time for some flexibility and ingenuity to help the sector deliver this. Now is the time for openness, transparency and co-operation, and for assigning murky ad tech with selfish agendas to the past. The opportunity for the future is in freeing customer data to help businesses realize their full potential. Only then will you no longer be a hostage to fragmented data and ad tech will fully become a facilitating element.
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Today, the definition of “television” is much deeper than the physical device it was originally named for. No longer confined to a self-contained, standard-issue product, “TV” now refers to content that is accessible to us via an endless combination of devices, platforms, and services. The landscape is more complex than ever – we can watch TV on phones and through video game consoles, and make calls or summon personal assistants through our TV sets. Antennas are a relic of the past, and we don’t even need a cable subscription to watch our favorite shows. The most popular online video content is often much shorter than a traditional 30-second broadcast spot. And although the fall TV premiere season is around the corner, the idea of a “TV season” is becoming fuzzier with each passing day.
One thing is certain, however – our interest in TV-like content isn’t going anywhere. According to Nielsen, Americans now consume an entire hour more of media per day than just a year ago. So what are the new opportunities for this evolving industry?
It’s no secret that our multi-tasking culture has made it harder to pay attention to just one thing – in fact, experts estimate that our focused attention spans have decreased from 12 to 8 seconds in the past 15 years. According to GfK Consumer Life, Americans are more than twice as likely to watch short video clips as movies/TV shows via streaming services on their smartphones in an average month.
And as a sign of these times, Snapchat passed Twitter in daily users earlier this summer. Consumer appetite for shorter bursts of entertainment is only going to intensify, creating a mandate for advertisers and content creators.
Pepsi has responded to this trend by developing five-second broadcast ads to support its latest emoji campaign, appealing to the viewer’s dual desire for more visual communications and fast, dynamic content. And it was recently announced that major network shows like “The Voice” and “Saturday Night Live” will be producing original shows for Snapchat. What will your brand do to adapt?
Despite the flexibility of viewing times that the new TV landscape affords, live programming has not completely lost its appeal. Recent findings from GfK Consumer Life show that two in three Americans consumed video content live or in real-time in the last 30 days, well ahead of those who time-shifted with streaming or recorded content. And when they’re in the mood for sports or news but don’t have anything specific in mind, more than half of consumers turn first to their favorite TV network or channel.
While the success of broadcast scripted programs continues to be a challenge, real-time content such as sports, competition series, and musical specials are still a safe bet. And while this is good news for TV programmers and advertisers, it still takes effort to capture consumer attention – whether it’s embracing new technologies like virtual/augmented reality or enhancing the social media experience during live viewing “events.”
At the recent Television Critic’s Association press tour, NBCUniversal unveiled new research confirming that TV viewing is consistently pushed back among many viewers. Delayed consumption is the new normal for scripted programs, as most viewers find it unnecessary to watch new episodes of shows when they first air. Instead, they prefer to pick their own preferred time even when live viewing fits into their schedules. Many would also watch more TV if an entire season was available to them at once instead of the standard five episodes that on-demand channels typically offer – this has actually become a deal-breaker for most.
GfK Consumer Life data supports this preference – over half of Americans watch TV programming when it’s convenient to them on a streaming service (54%) or DVR (51%) monthly or more often. With traditional advertising models still based on three or seven days within an episode airing, brands and broadcasters need to evolve their offerings to meet consumer demand.
As streaming services, technology disruptors, and other unpredictable shifts continue to push the TV world into uncharted territory, brands and content developers need to act quickly to capitalize on changing consumer preferences. Understanding their desires to view more “snackable” content, enhance the live viewing experience, and watch on their own terms is essential for the future of TV.
Rachel Bonsignore is a Senior Consultant for GfK Consumer Life. She can be reached at email@example.com.
New connected consumers in emerging markets, especially rural China, continued to drive smartphone growth in 2Q16. Resilient mid-range to high-end sales mean GfK upgrades its 2016 smartphone market value forecast to USD 426 billion. No immediate impact in the UK from Brexit.
In a recent Let’s Talk Payments article, I discussed Elon Musk’s recently published Master Plan part 2 that outlines his vision for the future of Tesla, which now includes the acquisition and merger of Solar City. In my article I pointed out the disappointing omission of an in-vehicle payments platform from Musk’s plan.
Therefore, I took it upon myself to update Musk’s master plan part 2 to include a necessary fifth item about payments, which many automotive companies are already working on but have yet to fully develop. The new plan looks like this:
Connecting the vehicles we drive with our surroundings is universally believed to be the future of the automobile. The use cases for including a payments platform across passenger vehicles, heavy duty trucks, buses and semis are many; parking, tolls, fuel/charging, maintenance, car washes, the drive-through and even for use by an advanced digital assistant to help with booking reservations, hotels, etc. Thus alleviating the need to find and locate a credit or debit card and read the numbers over the phone which would in-turn make vehicles safer.
With the inclusion of the sharing economy as #4 on Musk’s to-do list, coupled with the fact that Musk’s fleet of solar electric vehicles will be autonomous, e.g. self-driving, this leaves plenty of opportunity to plan, shop and make purchases while in route. And with the rest of the automotive world including Ford, Honda, Mercedes and potentially Apple working on autonomous and electric cars, wouldn’t a seamless payments capability be a differentiator for Tesla’s vehicle; further increasing Musk’s lead from the pack of other automakers?
To make an in-vehicle payment system superior and encourage usage over an app on a phone, the user experience must be superior. Integrating customer needs with functionality and simplicity that trumps mobile app usage will go a long way to making the vehicle the payment method of choice among consumers. And although Musk shuns market research, these types of design and usability preferences can be easily determined through a well-designed user experience research program.
The value proposition of including an in-vehicle payments platform may be lost on consumers today, but in the future it will be a table stake, much like cruise control and blue tooth capability. By getting there first, Musk could dominate and create yet another competitive advantage for Tesla.
Whether or not Musk finds a payments platform too detailed for inclusion in his master plan is yet to be seen, I’m still waiting to hear back from him.
Tim Spenny is Senior Vice President on the Financial Services team at GfK. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Let’s be honest: it is complicated being an audience researcher for a broadcaster. Gone are the days when most prime time TV shows got double-digit ratings and the only reviews to worry about were those of the notoriously cynical newspaper journalist. Now, when a new TV program disappoints, thousands of people can share their own negative opinions about it on social media, in discussion forums or on the show’s website. But are these opinions representative of the entire audience’s appreciation of the relevant piece of content?
In short, no. Broadcasters should not assume those views shared online are representative of the wider audience, or see them as explaining why a program is underperforming. There are many reasons for poor ratings, including scheduling and marketing.
As you’ll know only too well, audience reactions to content change over time. Not only must you keep a constant check on audience opinions, but you’ll want to benchmark your content’s performance against similar programs. And you need to do this with a real audience. It’s crucial to do this with real viewers who watch programs every day of the week – not just with a group of people who are vocal on social media. We call these “Appreciation Panels”.
Impossible? Not necessarily. With Appreciation Panels, you can obtain daily feedback from real viewers in a specified market. Using a short online survey, you can anonymously poll a representative group of respondents on anything they’ve watched in a given day.
In just a few minutes, panel members will reveal what programs they’ve watched, what they liked or disliked about them, or what could have been improved. Some panel members even write mini essays on their favorite show. Others provide raw, honest feedback on why watching a particular program was a waste of their time.
Shortly after the broadcast, you can dive into this treasure trove of information. By asking panel members to rate the program on a scale of one to ten, you are provided with a key indicator of whether or not a show is healthy and successful. But this is only one of the many questions that can be asked. If it’s a drama series you’re researching, you can ask the audience about the actors or storyline. If your focus is a news program, you could ask about the topics covered and the presentation style. Asking panelists about what they liked and what could be improved is always beneficial too.
Knowing all of this about a program is no guarantee that it will be a success. Creating successful TV content – whether a news program or drama series – is not simply dependent on following up on audience feedback. However, it can prevent directors and producers from overlooking essential adjustments that could help to improve a program. And it can help channel planners determine if a program is targeting the right audience at the right time, or if it is a failure and should be taken off the air. Additionally, it can highlight when a program is eliciting positive viewer reactions but lacking high TV ratings, indicating that it might benefit from modifications to how it is promoted.
Audience research is a powerful tool. One that can be used across media – TV, radio and even websites – to improve content and programing. The key to harnessing its power, however, lies in ensuring you are working with a Content Appreciation Panel that is representative of your target audience.
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The Connected Consumer is not only adding new connections regularly but reconfiguring old ones as well. Media devices are seeing old connections cut, new connections added or hybrid connections that create a change in primacy of one connection over another.
Let’s consider the TV set, or to think of it in the broadest sense, the “television-centric entertainment system” in each home. Aside from the set itself, these can include connections to a pay TV service and to devices such as videogame consoles, Blu-ray players, DVRs, and digital media players – and some or all of the devices can have their own connection to the home’s internet.
GfK’s benchmark household measure, the Ownership and Trend Report from The Home Technology Monitor™, has been measuring such home TV systems for 36 years. In those years, we’ve seen devices go through complete life cycles (VCRs), reach maturity (DVD players), die early (laserdiscs, 3-D sets) and achieve multiple reincarnations (videogame consoles). But the continuing theme is that since the early 1980s, with the emergence of cable TV and VCRs, the television has been a connected device within an ever-changing system of connections.
In today’s living rooms, we see the constant evolution of connections to the TV continue. Most notably, the pay TV connection to the TV set – now including not only cable TV but satellite and telco TV service – appears to be eroding ever more quickly. Although the loss of subscribers is a slow trickle, the drops in that trickle are getting bigger, so that we saw a statistically significant decrease in pay TV subscribers in the past year – this compares with prior years when it has taken two to three years to add up to a significant decline.
Our trend data shows that those homes which have cancelled pay TV service have grown more affluent and more connected to digital sources of video content over the past five years – changing the decision from one dominated by a home’s financial situation in the wake of the Great Recession to increasingly being a lifestyle choice among homes that could afford pay TV if they wanted it.
The decline in that wired connection has been offset by more reliance on the original wireless connection (broadcast TV) and by increased connections to both internet-connection devices and internet services. Over the past five years, our trend data shows that homes actually using an internet-connected device to watch TV or movies on a TV set has grown three-fold, from 15% of all TV homes in 2011 to 43% in 2016.
Even among these new streaming devices connected to a TV set, there has been an evolution of connections. Five years ago, the most common way to stream to a TV set was through a videogame console; today, digital media players (such as a Roku and Apple TV) outdo both videogame consoles and smart TVs as the way to get streaming content to a TV set.
And, of course, hand in hand with the evolution of streaming to a TV set has been the rise of the streaming service, connected to the set through the internet-connected TV device. In the USA, Netflix is the dominant SVOD service and has effectively eliminated its DVD-mail-rental sibling (making the DVD/Blu-ray player a less valuable connection for your TV set). With larger SVOD services (Amazon, Hulu) slowly increasing market share, and a bevy of smaller SVOD services servicing niche audiences, the streaming-to-TV connections will only get more and more complicated as consumers try to build their own streaming bundles to get connected to the content they want.
The TV set – being for decades the most important media device in people’s lives – has been at the forefront of the connected revolution, despite being “under the radar” in comparison with shiny new devices like smartphones or tablets. Whether it was analog, wired connections to a VCR or digital, wireless broadband connections to the internet, the system of devices and services connected to TV sets has been in constant motion and disruption for many years.
Thus, TV screen stakeholders – whether broadcast, cable, or streaming – have an imperative to track and understand innovation and consumer attitudes towards the TV set and the content sources feeding to it. Whether it’s long-term trends from The Home Technology Monitor, audience segments from GfK MRI, or changes in consumer attitudes from GfK Consumer Life/Roper Reports, GfK stands ready to be an engaged partner to help our clients understand where media has been, where it is, where it will be, and how to best harness that knowledge to drive business success among Connected Consumers.
Get similar insights – and many more – as soon as they get published by subscribing to The Home Technology Monitor in 2016. Aside from our annual Ownership and Trend Report, our report topics this year include Comparing Streaming Services, Over-the-Top TV, Digital Media Players, and Physical-Digital Video.
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In the current payments marketplace, there seems to be quite a bit of innovation in the transactional arena. We’ve seen Samsung Pay being rolled out ahead of the Olympics and Facebook’s most recent strategy to convert users into buyers. But how much is hype vs. reality? Our research shows that consumers are still slow to adopt mobile payments in certain areas.
Today, the brightest opportunities for innovation in payment solutions are around online transactions becoming more mobile. Venmo* for example, PayPal’s fast growing peer-to-peer payment service, also incorporates elements of social media and plans to expand into consumer-to-business payments.
(*For those of us with a sarcastic side, check out Venmo’s latest ‘Unboxing’ spot, starring YouTube sneaker reviewer Brad Hall.)
On the flip side, payment solutions based around physically using devices at the point-of-sale to complete transactions are facing challenges with adoption. And those that are paying for physical goods with their mobile phones are not doing so regularly; of the 7% of consumers who have made a purchase using their mobile phones, the vast majority (74%) are only paying three or fewer times per month with their devices.
It’s no secret that we now live in a highly accelerated culture where consumers expect goods and services to be available ‘on demand’. In turn, shopping channels have to be accessible anywhere, anytime. The connected consumers of the future will increasingly make online purchases via mobile, which is estimated to account for half of all e-commerce sales by 2020.
So how can brick and mortar retailers position themselves successfully for the future? Recent innovations toward blending the in-store and online relationship may offer a hint. The mobile shopping app Curbside, for example, is partnering with retailers such as Target and CVS to allow users to shop and pay from their phones, and then pick up purchases at local stores without having to get out of their cars.
Many consumers are also looking to free themselves from what they have to carry in their wallets, including cash and credit/debit cards. Our data shows that nearly 90% of consumers globally carry a mobile phone with them when they leave their home; in comparison only 69% carry a credit, debit, or charge card.
Clearly there are opportunities for other payment solutions. In fact, many banks are already tailoring services to this end – leading institutions like JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are implementing new options for cardless cash access expecting consumers to at least have their phones on them, but not necessarily their cards.
Generally, consumers tend to look for infrastructures to be in place before adopting certain innovations. Understandably, mobile payments are a more massive undertaking that involves a good deal of collaboration among financial service companies, retailers, mobile device makers, phone carriers, apps, and more – but if the systems aren’t in place, how can we expect consumers to truly start adopting?
Though small, the appetite is there, but adoption will still be more gradual in nature.
Consumers are seeking help to free themselves from cards and cash, and innovation through new payment methods is taking place within the consumer mindset of instantaneous access. Anticipate mobile solutions to continue gaining ground – though primarily more as another form of ‘online payment’ (through apps, etc.). Expect slower adoption around the physical usage of mobile devices to help consumers make transactions.
More opportunities for mobile payment systems will arise with a wider infrastructure put into place and with further innovations that blend consumers’ in-store and online relationships. Smart retailers and brands can leverage the fast growth of peer-to-peer payment systems such as Venmo to create the appropriate infrastructure within their business, but the wants and needs of consumers ultimately will be what drives adoption.
Mihir Bhatt is a Senior Consultant at GfK Consumer Life. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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Mobile internet access is increasingly becoming not just the first option, but also the preferred way for a large proportion of the online population across Asia Pacific to get connected. In fact, accessing the internet via the smartphone has become a daily activity for over 80 percent of some of the region‘s connected population. What are their media habits and what do they do on their smartphones? How are they engaging their favourite brands online?
Digital technology has forever changed the travel industry, and now there’s no going back. Video, social media, and online reviews have replaced the role of travel agents, and new technologies like mobile and virtual reality are giving consumers new ways to plan their next vacation.
For travel brands, this presents many new opportunities to engage with connected consumers, who leave behind an ever-growing trail of data that can be used to improve business and enhance the customer experience. After all, the experience is the product when it comes to the travel industry, and everything from the online purchase journey to staying in a hotel can be enhanced using a number of tech trends.
Invisible analytics, for example, allow hotels to get smarter by collecting information on guests and their behavior which can be used to better the facilities, sell add-on services, and inform new service/product development. Businesses can improve their performance while customers receive benefits that seamlessly enhance their traveling experience.
Each traveler is different, so brands must put their unique wants and needs at the heart of their innovations. Whether they offer customers a device or app to help with packing, a local traveler chat service, or a way to keep tabs on their kids, the smart hotel must be a consumer-led revolution if it is too excel.
Another tech trend that presents both the travel industry and consumers with unique opportunities is the wearable device. Wearables can offer a personalized travel service based on their owner’s past and present behavior, as well as the convenience of carrying a digital backpack equipped with identification documents, payment methods, guidebooks, maps and much more.
For brands, wearables can be used to connect with travelers on an individual level to appeal to their specific interests and tastes. This kind of intimate brand and consumer relationship builds loyalty and trust, provided that consumers are willing to share their personal data and that it be kept safe-guarded.
These new opportunities do not come without major challenges though. The travel marketplace has become increasingly fragmented and overcrowded, and competition is often disruptive. Companies that want to best understand and anticipate future developments in the market will need to examine each and every step of the purchase journey to find success.
And those that do take advantage of the data that consumers are willing to give them must use it wisely. Travel brands have the ability to make smarter business decisions and target marketing and advertising messages more effectively, but they need to demonstrate how new technology can add value for the consumer and make the benefits clear. For the travel industry to evolve in the digital age, connected consumers must be put at the heart of its innovations.
Technology plays a role on how consumers behave and interact with brands. Today’s consumers’ are more connected now than ever before. New dimensions of consumer values like freedom, creativity, adventure and learning are driving change and brand owners need to tap into these.