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Connected Consumer Insights

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    • 05/10/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Developing programmatic strategies: the American and European approach

    The old phrase ‘Europe is like the US, but three to five years behind’. Where have we heard this before? It seems like every digital marketing generation needs to learn the same lesson over and over again. So here it is – Europe is different, and not a time delayed template copy of the US. The same lesson applies in programmatic and data activation in the media and advertising industry.

    Programmatic media buys are increasingly part of every media plan, including premium campaigns. Programmatic approaches are spreading from the web to mobile and into television. A natural consequence of this traction is that, in Europe, advertisers, agencies and specialist providers are scrambling to develop programmatic and data activation strategies and to make this part of their marketing approaches.

    US and Europe: Lumascape maps vs. a patchwork quilt

    They are finding, however, that this is anything but simple. On the one hand, the US seemingly has all the answers. Beautifully developed Lumascape maps showing all the players and their respective areas, standardized services provided by Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) including simple and straightforward means for on-ramping offline and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data. A wide range of third party data is readily available to enhance premium targeting. Private marketing clouds can be relatively easily built by advertisers anxious not to see their data leaked into big data pools.

    Europe, on the other hand, is more of a patchwork quilt. Many countries have local tech champions and it’s not always the size that matters. Deep local knowledge is required to understand which combination of global and local partners to work with in each market.

    But maybe the European landscape is confusing only at first sight. I have been invited by IAB Europe to participate in a panel of European programmatic leaders and experts at its Interact 2016 event in Lisbon on May 11, to discuss the European approach to programmatic.

    Here are some soundbites of the upcoming panel

    Niko Waesche, Global Industry Head, Media and Entertainment – GfK

    “I have heard very clever people say that Europe is a ‘white space’ in terms of programmatic. This is a ridiculous hypothesis given the amount of activity we see here by publishers, brands, ad tech companies, agencies and data providers. Take the publisher alliances of Pangaea (UK) and eMetriq (Germany), for example, in which anonymous data is shared to improve insight and targeting.

    “European start-ups such as Eyeota or Adsquare have developed novel approaches to onboarding third party data while protecting personal information. And we are only at the beginning of this development. Publishers, start-ups, US players and data providers are working right now on exciting new approaches which will ensure that Europe will be a dynamic growth market for years. Instead of finding a confusing mess of incomprehensible markets, Europe will provide safe, sound and smart ways to reach their customers for advertisers willing to engage themselves here.”

    Sébastien Robin, Global Programmatic Director – Havas Media

    “In Europe, it is essential for marketers and agencies to have a market by market approach to be able to activate the best local opportunities either in terms of publisher opportunities but also when it comes to data and adtech sometimes.

    “We, marketers and agencies need to protect our local and European publishers in order to give them the opportunity to scale.”

    Anthony Rhind, Chief Strategy Officer – Adform

    “Digital is creating immense opportunity for marketers to engage with people more effectively.  Relying upon data & automation, it’s possible for brand and response marketers to offer a relevant message at the right moment to make people laugh, cry-out or buy!  Much of the digital ecosystem originated in the US, but Europe is a very different world where one-size doesn’t necessarily fit all.  We are excited to discuss the areas of complexity in order to illuminate the means and opportunities to invent a new programmatic model for and in Europe.”

    We hope to see you at Interact 2016 in Lisbon and discuss the topic in more detail.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below or contact me at niko.waesche@gfk.com.

  • Hong Kong, North America and UAE are world’s most “connected” populations
    • 05/10/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Shopper
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Hong Kong, North America and UAE are world’s most “connected” populations

    The new GfK Connected Consumer Index is a ranking of 78 countries and eight world regions giving fast comparison of which have the world’s most connected consumers, both overall and in detail across eleven different device types.

  • Drivers of online and in-store shopping are not as sharply divided as you think
    • 05/05/16
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Shopper
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Drivers of online and in-store shopping are not as sharply divided as you think

    The top five most important factors that shoppers say swayed their decision to make a purchase online rather than in-store, or in-store rather than on-line.

    • 05/04/16
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    10 potential benefits of new in-car audio technology

    Each year, thousands of people worldwide are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. Rapid growth in the installation and use of in-vehicle electronic features, along with an array of associated visual and auditory cues, are adding to driver distraction. Future in-vehicle electronic systems will need safer and more intuitive designs to enhance the driving experience while, at the same time, reducing the risk of distraction for today’s multitasking drivers.

    One of our clients in the emerging connected vehicle space offered an innovative concept that addresses both safety and experiential needs with precisely and logically-placed audio cues. They sponsored user experience (UX) research with us to understand consumers’ acceptance of the concept, examine the potential impact, and assess the value that potential car buyers place on this technology and its intended benefits.

    Sneak peek: Study findings reveal expected safety and driver experience benefits

    Audio cues were considered by most participants in this study to be less distracting and more noticeable than visual cues, even among those who consider themselves to be more visually-oriented. Such audio prompts are perceived to be especially helpful in situations that demand the driver’s immediate attention, such as a blind-spot warning, lane departure warning or navigation prompt. They also have the added benefit of not requiring the driver to take his or her eyes off the road.


    Our research uncovered the following perceived benefits of our client’s in-car technology:

    • Improved focus (due to localization of sound)
    • Ability to multitask (due to separation of sound)
    • Better situational awareness
    • Faster response and reaction times
    • Less need to take eyes off road to view display prompts
    • More intuitive reactions requiring less concentration
    • Greater passenger awareness
    • Enhanced input when visibility is limited
    • Optimized sound placement for hearing impaired
    • Enhanced audio experience and “cool-factor”


    As with any new technology, education, clear consumer messaging and if possible, hands-on experience, are also critical to build awareness, comfort and demand. And this is just the start to a future of more engaged, alert and responsive drivers.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at Melinda.Jamil@gfk.com (Senior Research Director, User Experience at GfK).

    For a full summary of study findings and methods, download our free whitepaper.

    • 04/29/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Data points vs. people: the increasing importance of a Single Customer View

    As the world has become increasingly digitized, digital marketing and advertising ecosystems have grown into huge digital rivers of information where offline and online data converge.

    Information collected via the “Internet of Things” – from our cars, heating systems, coffee machines and even our pets’ food bowls – will swell this river of data further still.

    With such diverse digital data trails being created, the message for brands, media agencies and media owners is clear: move away from a siloed understanding of your audiences and embrace a data strategy to build a complete view of your customers – The Single Customer View.

    In a fragmented digital ecosystem which is striving to demonstrate value and provide transparency, there is a real need for a strategic approach. So, how can you address your customers as people rather than a cluster of data points, through a comprehensive and scalable data strategy?

    Understanding customer behavior through data strategy

    Brands, media agencies and media owners: we know you want to avoid drowning in data but, at the same time, you should not miss the huge opportunities for engagement with your customers in a personalized and effective way. The risk is not only adversely impacting user experience but also developing blind or inaccurate marketing and advertising messages and, ultimately, affecting revenue. In order to effectively build a Single Customer View, you must first develop a comprehensive data strategy.

    It is often the case that client briefs focus on needs relating to specific product or service-use cases at the expense of the wider context. With separate client teams briefing these projects and managing different data sets, there is a real danger of efforts being duplicated and data being siloed. Having a solid data governance and management strategy, and a data science led, consistent approach to data across your business is crucial to avoid a fragmented view of your customers.

    We know that a customer is not just a buyer of a certain product or service. He or she is also a human being with different characteristics, behaviors and attitudes. The customer may or may not have bought other products from the same brand before. Plus, there are all those activities that take place out of sight of the brand on various channels and in different environments. For example:

    • What other products did the customer buy?
    • What are his/her preferred entertainment channels?
    • What does he/she watch on TV?
    • How much of his/her income is allocated to beauty and personal care products?
    • Does he/she travel a lot?
    • Has he/she a higher than average likelihood to switch brands or is a loyal customer?


    These are often unrelated, and yet, they are fundamental to fully understand the individual customer to build a Single Customer View.

    Untapped potential: A holistic view of the customer

    Having a holistic view of the customer is a concept with huge, untapped potential. It needs to extend beyond the products and services people buy and be enhanced by the incremental data available to your business. For instance, how did the customer react to certain advertising? How did he/she engage with the targeted marketing messages from the brand?

    As things stand, companies all too often use different data sets in different contexts – even though they are related to the same user. This is effectively “digitally dismembering” their customer – approaching him/her as if they were different separate entities. This results in different and incomplete views of the same user.

    How to build a Single Customer View

    To construct a Single Customer View, you must focus on developing the following data strategies to give you the depth for viewing your customer as a person rather than a cluster of data points:

    • A single data collection point for different data sources.
    • Leveraging Data Science to make sense of the information in a smart and relevant way.
    • Quality data to enrich existing 1st party data and complete an otherwise partial view of the customer.


    However, a Single Customer View would be of limited or partial use if you won’t be able to activate it and leverage it (where, when and how depending on your specific goals): this is when a Data Management Platform (DMP) comes into play.

    By doing so, you can achieve the practical goal of being able to target that specific customer on different channels with tailored messages and, more importantly, the ultimate objective of building a more effective, rewarding and meaningful relationship with your customer.

    With this level of information, websites or apps can be optimized depending on the characteristics of your customer. Relevant content can be published and product recommendations made, targeted messages delivered across the digital communications ecosystems (including programmatic), or via email marketing campaigns.

    Let’s get to the Single Customer View together

    We are working hard to help clients in reaching their objective of a deep and multidimensional view of their customers, by supporting them in the development of a comprehensive data strategy while leveraging the rich data provided by our panels, purchase data and other sources, and combining this with our extensive expertise in data science and modeling techniques.

    In an inconsistent digital ecosystem that is struggling to demonstrate value and provide transparency, there is more need than ever for expertise, quality and trust. These are the three foundation pillars to collect, enrich and make sense of the data, and provide the bigger picture: a complete view of your customer.

    Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section below or email me at Alessandro.DeZanche@gfk.com (Global Product Lead, Data Activation).

    • 04/28/16
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Reimagining experiences to grow your business: 3 steps to digitally transform your consumer packaged goods

    When Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers think digital, behavioral tracking and social media often come to mind. However, as we’ve uncovered in our Tech Trends Report, innovative technology is changing consumers’ lives and subsequently, the products and services they purchase. When leveraged correctly, virtual reality, augmented reality, connectivity, artificial intelligence and other innovations offer CPG brands a great opportunity to completely reshape category and brand experiences.

    But how do you deliver this innovative technology in a meaningful way for your customers? How do you ensure it supports your brand promise? Drives customer adoption and loyalty? Consider these three steps when reimaging your user experience:


    1. Does the consumer actually want these connected, digital experiences in your product?

    We’re seeing reinvented experiences from bus shelters that interact with you to product packaging that can be scanned to trigger additional content. The consumer can be connected to anything at any moment in time; experiences can seamlessly integrate digital and physical elements. But the first thing CPG manufacturers must understand is where and how to deliver these digital experiences.

    Do consumers really want their breakfast cereal to be a platform for interactive games?Conversely, a leading toy company is completely reimagining the coloring experience by simultaneously maintaining the physical benefit of coloring and enhancing it with a digital component that brings the product to life in a four-dimensional image.

    The gap between a consumer’s digital and non-digital life is narrowing, often times seamlessly blending. And, products that incorporate new technology must align with real world needs, behaviors and pain points in a way that makes sense to consumers.

    Bringing the user experience (UX) perspective early in the product development process ensures that manufacturers create new and exciting experiences consumers want, in the way they want it.

    We know from the data we’ve collected that some of the digital experience evolution is tech-led rather than consumer-led which slows consumer adoption and can ultimately lead to failed products.

    2. Design the experiences customers tell you they want in a way they want them delivered

    Ok, your customers want it…now what? Once the new product or experience is identified, keeping the user at the center of the design process ensures a product will be delivered in a way that fosters adoption and loyalty. This incorporates strategic elements like what type of technology should be used as well as tactical execution, such as, where the interface should be placed to make it as easy as possible to use and incorporate in consumers’ lives.  Getting product instructions right also takes on new importance as there is inherit complexity of digital features and products.

    3. Is the new digital experience consistent with your brand?

    Finally, we know that these reimagined products and experiences must be delivered in a way that’s consistent with the overall brand experience. Deviating from this message is confusing for consumers and ultimately creates fragmentation. When aligned with the brand’s overall strategy, satisfying digital experiences are memorable, leave a great impression and improve overall brand equity.

    Digitally transforming your product is exciting!

    Incorporating technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality and connectivity offers tremendous opportunity to reimagine your customers’ experiences and consequently grow and strengthen your business. But to be truly successful in the market, you must keep the user at the forefront of the design. Ground your strategy for your brand and customer, understand category experiences and where digital can play a role and design with user insight along the way to ensure these technologies are intentionally designed into meaningful customer experiences.

    What are your thoughts? Please share them with me in the comments below or email me at Meredith.Paige@gfk.com (Senior Vice President of User Experience at GfK).

  • Connected Consumer Index
    • 04/27/16
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Connected Consumer Index

    GfK’s Connected Consumer Index provides a single measure covering how much, and on what devices, consumers in each of 78 countries and 8 world regions digitally connect with each other and with digital content. 

  • A compelling answer to the challenge of distracted driving
    • 04/27/16
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    A compelling answer to the challenge of distracted driving

    One of our clients in the emerging connected vehicle space sponsored research to understand the impact of new technology that incorporates precisely- and logically-placed audio cues on the driver experience.

    • 04/26/16
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    4 considerations for innovating the automotive industry

    I recently chaired the World Autonomous Vehicle Summit in Stuttgart, Germany where speakers and attendees peered into their crystal ball to understand what the future holds for the automotive industry. How do manufacturers innovate to embrace the future? What does ‘innovation’ really mean in terms of success? What impact will autonomous driving have on the industry? I reflected on these questions as applied to recent technological announcements and published research. Several themes emerged from these which resulted in four considerations for those innovating the next auto frontier.

    1. Educate consumers about the benefits of your in-vehicle innovation

    Data from our Automotive Technology Insights Report, The future is here…can you see it?, found that consumers are factoring in-vehicle technology as a purchase decision attribute. Moreover, the research revealed that new car intenders would be willing to pay more for new car innovation, such as emergency braking, self-parking control and pre-incident preparation (e.g., automatic seat belt tightening).

    On the downside, awareness of what the new vehicle features actually do is quite low. An example of a perceived benefit versus reality was highlighted when the study revealed 65% of respondents did not find autonomous driving appealing if it cannot be used after drinking alcohol. This suggests the need to educate consumers about the benefits and not just list the features as bullet points.

    2. Innovate with a solid user experience (UX) framework

    It should be no surprise to anyone that we are at the cusp of great changes in the auto industry. Just a few years ago, the introduction of new vehicle innovations used to be dependent upon the chassis of the car and with the traditional seven to eight year lifecycle, innovation took time. Today’s chassis is more akin to a computer where the product development lifecycle is flexible and fast.

    The challenge for manufacturers with this faster lifecycle is to ensure the technology features will work and leapfrog them over competitors. Involving users throughout the development process will result in technology that meets user needs, in a way that they expect it to work and where they want to use it. Stand out from competitors by delivering a great user experience.

    3. Consider global attitudinal differences regarding autonomous driving acceptance

    Another area the study revealed was the variable acceptance of autonomous-driving vehicles across countries. There was a strong emotional anxiety and fear associated with autonomous driving in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. I argue it’s because we like to drive our cars! Surprisingly, Brazil and China were open to autonomous-driving vehicles.

    These differences highlight the need to address attitudes when launching products into markets. In this case, manufacturers should address the fear and anxiety in the U.S., U.K. and German markets. But in Brazil and China, perhaps call out the ride-sharing benefits.

    4. Design the car of the future as a service, not a product

    An interesting result from our Future of Auto study was around market segmentation. The six segments of car buyers were:


    • Safe & Worry Free – Oldest of the segments, this group has below average use of in-vehicle technologies. Typically, they seek inexpensive, easy to use features that will make driving safer.
    • Keep Me Young – This segment enjoys driving and taking care of their vehicle. On average, they seek technologies that enhance the driving experience and performance of their vehicle.
    • Savvy Enthusiasts – This segment enjoys technology and the driving experience. Seek automotive technology that entertains driver and passenger and allows them to connect everyday technologies to their vehicle.
    • From A to B – Importance is placed on practical vehicle features so driving is a safer, more reliable way to get from place to place.
    • Livin’ & Lovin’ Cars – Youngest of the segments, this group highly enjoys both technology and vehicles. Their vehicle reflects who they are, while having entertainment and convenience items close at hand.
    • Young Ambivalent – View their vehicle as an appliance rather than a means freedom or enjoyment, and seek technology that streamlines their devices from home to vehicle.


    Of the six segments, the two that bubbled up for me were Young Ambivalent and Living and Loving Cars.

    The Young Ambivalent segment is the one that should scare the auto industry. These are consumers who don’t care. While the data only revealed this was 19% of the market (relatively low), when we looked deeper, two thirds of Millennials made up this segment. That is almost an entire generation who are ambivalent to car ownership. And, I don’t have to look too far to understand this – I remember how long it took my son to get his driver’s license.

    I am in the Living and Loving Cars segment. I don’t want someone driving my car for me or carpooling. When I asked the conference audience, who were largely from Germany, their feelings about carpooling and car sharing were very negative. People, like me, could not fathom letting someone else drive, eat and smoke in their car.

    But I started to rethink how car sharing and autonomous driving would impact how I looked at car ownership. If the car is autonomous, it becomes a service not a product. It is clearer to me that autonomous driving is changing car ownership to a service.

    And I’m not the only one thinking this. In June 2015, Deutsche Bank downgraded Progressive because they see this change. “We believe the concurrent rise of instant ridesharing and autonomous vehicles presents real questions as to whether there will even be an auto insurance industry as we know it in twenty years…Vehicle utilization will rise and cars on the road will decline as one car can serve the driving needs of multiple travelers per day, which, in-turn, means fewer cars,” said their analysts.

    Let’s focus our energy on getting it right for the user

    With this looming shift in the auto industry, I’m reminded of a quote from Bill Gates: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” (The Road Ahead, 1996). While everyone continues to speculate how autonomous driving will impact the future, let’s focus our energy on getting it right for the user.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at gavin.lew@gfk.com (Executive Vice President, User Experience at GfK).

  • Online vs. traditional sales – where do Connected Consumers in Europe go to purchase Technical Consumer Goods (TCG)
    • 04/25/16
    • Connected Consumer
    • Future of Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Online vs. traditional sales – where do Connected Consumers in Europe go to purchase Technical Consumer Goods (TCG)

    Which European markets offer the most potential for online sales of technical consumer goods? Download the infographic below and find out.

  • Shaping consumer segmentation for the digital age
    • 04/20/16
    • Technology
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Shaping consumer segmentation for the digital age

    We partnered with Orange to help drive its strong customer experience strategy by enhancing its consumer segmentation model for the digital age.

    • 04/20/16
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 guidelines to successfully integrate digital into the dining experience

    The opportunities for restaurants to introduce a digital component into the dining experience are wide and diverse. However, for this exciting technology to result in happier, more engaged and satisfied diners, integration must maintain focus on the entire experience, not just the digital interface itself.  After recently dining at a restaurant that incorporated a digital interface, with my UX ‘hat’ on, I came away with three guidelines to ensure that a strong user interface leads to an overall good experience for your restaurant diners.

    1. Make the digital interface easy to use

    During my recent dining experience, the restaurant provided an iPad at every table on which I was able to view the menu, order my food and pay. The interface was great and I was able to quickly navigate the menu and choose my dinner.

    To ensure your digital interface is useful, intuitive and visually appealing, the following UX design best practices can be applied:

    • In addition to offering the features a diner needs, the user should be able to learn to navigate the interface within the first ten seconds of use.
    • All action buttons should have clear affordance on the page.
    • Visual cues within the interface should clearly direct the diner to the next step in the ordering process.
    • Menu items should have both textual descriptions and detailed pictures to meet the needs of all users. To keep the design aesthetically pleasing, take full advantage of the digital interface by providing users with pictures of the menu items. By placing these images behind each menu option, the menu will not be limited by page space and all menu items can be accompanied by images. Text descriptions will be preferred by some users, and along with the use of symbols, can provide an at-a-glance assessment of dietary restrictions (see example from sprig.com below).



    2. Create a quicker and easier experience

    Integrating digital components into restaurant environments should result in a simpler and faster dining experience. One way to do this is to combine order and pay through the same interface, saving the user the extra step of paying after they order.

    Since customization is very important to diners, the digital interface must allow easy customization options for food ordered through the interface. For example, when ordering a burger, a diner should be able to customize toppings, cheese type, condiments and any other options that could be asked for when ordering at a counter or through wait staff. Don’t slow down the dining process – if these customization options are not included and/or easy to see, a user might be forced to seek out other guidance when they cannot be found.

    3. Complement the digital experience with the “human element”

    My food arrived within 10 minutes, but when I needed some mustard for my hamburger, I could not find a waiter. The iPad offered an option to request a server, but after pressing it a few times, no one arrived. My excitement at using the digital interface was quickly soured by the lack of anything resembling a non-digital experience.

    The most well-designed interface will never result in a great user experience if the non-digital components of the dining experience are not equally well-designed. The user experience of dining is a combination of both the digital and the non-digital.

    The delivery of food should be seamless from the ordering process. Orders should go to the right person at the right table. This can be done through the digital interface by allowing users to enter their names when ordering or tagging each step with an easy-to-see order number to ensure that wait staff can easily see where the order belongs. However, if the food is not brought out quickly, or orders are prepared incorrectly, this can detract from the experience.

    Assistance must be easily accessible. The digital interface can again help with a clearly visible help option, but once help has been requested, a staff member must arrive promptly to ensure that diners do not become frustrated when their request is not fulfilled.

    Staff can also serve as “trainers” for the digital interface and must be well-versed in its use. Some diners may not be as tech savvy and may not be able to use the interface as intuitively as others. This is the most important time to ensure that staff is able to help these diners to ensure that their digital interface struggle is not detracting from their dining experience.

    Non-digital elements must also work seamlessly to ensure that once the diner has completed their interaction with the digital interface, the experience continues to be a positive one.

    The digital and non-digital must blend seamlessly

    At first glance, a unique digital solution with an easy-to-use interface might seem like it should be enough to improve any dining experience. However, if there is a lack of thought beyond the digital interface of the ordering system, it will ultimately result in a poor overall user experience.

    The digital and non-digital must blend seamlessly into a customized and efficient experience, and the best user experience will be one where diners’ needs are met equally though the digital interface and the “human element” of the restaurant.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at maddy.ross@gfk.com (User Experience Specialist at GfK).