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How to achieve performance objectives with connected experiences

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Performance metrics for digital advertising have transformed our industry. Transparent, targeted, and accountable campaigns are more impactful than ever. The challenge to brands is wading through the variety of digital advertising options. Choose incorrectly and a campaign delivers limited impact, low attention, and poor engagement. 

From attention and CPM to engagement and dwell time – which approach delivers the best outcome with the most useful performance data? According to Jenny Stanley, Managing Director at connected marketing agency Appetite Creative, it’s all about the customer.

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GroupM’s This Year, Next Year report indicated that global advertising in 2021 was up 37.5%, doubling its prediction in September from 19.2%. Digital represented 64% of global advertising. In the world’s biggest ad markets, it hit 60% (US), 78% (UK) and 87% (China).

Our recent survey indicated two-thirds (59%) of respondents were looking to increase overall investment in digital marketing spend in 2022, so despite the quagmire there is huge appetite to continue investing in digital advertising. 

According to Salesforce, an estimated 60% of interactions are now taking place online, compared to 42% last year and 68% of customers say they’re online more often than not. Customers want to interact with brands online - in an easy and fun way - because that’s where they are already spending time. 

Connected experiences are a good way to tap into this trend and collate performance metrics. Already generating positive results, over half (54%) of survey respondents claim to have incorporated connected experiences into their marketing plans. With 85% confident that they would become increasingly important to the packaging industry in the next 12 months and beyond.

So, if connected experiences are a popular choice, how can advertisers achieve outstanding performance objectives through them? 

Data capture, personalisation, and improved campaigns  

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Connected experiences accessed by mobile devices can deliver a raft of brilliant direct to customer experiences. From a simple questionnaire or a game, or a fully connected experience, brands can now transform packaging into a media channel or online publisher

Used to communicate brand messages and educate customers, connected experiences can connect with and build deeper customer relationships, harnessing the rich data behind those messages

We typically see engagement times of around three minutes, not only improving brand loyalty but opening a two-way dialogue with consumers. This enables the brand to establish a stronger brand presence, gather valuable insights, as well as create enhanced user experiences that increase product engagement.

The different layers of data connected packaging can deliver, from age, gender, and location to product preferences, can help brands build a unique and in-depth picture of consumer behaviours. 

This insight can be invaluable, assisting brands to better understand their target audiences, but also reach them more efficiently, building engagement. Whether that is younger mobile-first audiences, or vertical-specific product fans, this data and analysis can guide both product and marketing strategies, harnessed through smart product packaging.

Mobile based connected experiences give brands continual access to GDPR compliant first party, making it the perfect alternative to using third party data. Brands now have direct access to consumers and an ability to collect data across a raft of topics and personal information which is entirely transparent, freely shared by the consumer, and entirely GDPR compliant. 

From the data collected, brands can inform marketing campaigns, product development, retarget more efficiently and precisely, and expand and duplicate the data stream through profiling. 

For our clients, first party data collected through a connected experience is displayed on a real-time Performance as a Service (PaaS) dashboard clearly showcasing the data stream and making its use easier than ever before. 

Connected experiences give brands a way to navigate new regulations because they no longer need to rely on third party data delivered via cookies. It really demonstrates the long-term value this kind of investment delivers. 

Educate customers 

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Connected packing is also a great way to share key product information, or inspiration in the form of product recipes and how to videos. It can be used to share supply chain information for imported food or food safety details for food facing safety concerns. 

Marketing campaigns can also be carried out via connected packaging to inform new product development or help improve an advertising campaign. It can be used as a loyalty card and to collect and redeem sampling vouchers. It’s an incredibly versatile media channel – as well as being agile, responsive, and delivering customer data in real-time.

We used connected packaging in a recent PepsiCo campaign which put gamification at the heart of its graduate recruitment programme. A web-based app experience was designed that connected the gamification experience to PepsiCo’s data platforms. Built around 10 key brands, including Pepsi, Doritos and Walkers, the app experience runs alongside PepsiCo’s Dare To Do More programme, which was shared through key social media channels across Europe. 

Graduates are encouraged to scan barcodes on PepsiCo products to educate themselves about the different brands and gain points, with the highest number of points winning a reward. PepsiCo wanted to introduce candidates to its brands and culture, boost their experience and engage them with the recruitment process. The proprietary gaming technology allows candidates to benefit from inspiration and information. The average engagement time was 7 minutes.

The different layers of data connected packaging can deliver to a brand helps build a unique and in-depth picture of consumer behaviour. This insight can be invaluable, assisting brands to better understand their target audiences, but also reach them more efficiently, building valuable engagement. 

Whether that is younger mobile-first audiences, or vertical-specific product fans, this data collection and analysis can guide both product and marketing strategies, harnessed through smart product packaging.

Repeat customers 

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Connected experiences work best as part of a wider marketing campaign which drives customers to the experience for more information or benefits, for example incentives such as vouchers or prizes. It can be used ad hoc, but we’ve seen the best engagement rates working with brands that utilise their connected experiences longer term. 

For example, we’ve been working for several years with Swiss milk processor Emmi, which has harnessed connected packaging incredibly effectively. Emmi and leading packaging company Tetra Pak teamed up with Appetite Creative to promote the launch of two new products via interactive digital advertising and connected packaging. 

Once customers entered the web-based experience via a mobile scan of the QR code, they accessed four interactive games. Video ads and animated graphics were created and posted on Facebook, YouTube and Google Ads.

From the total page views collected over the four months the campaign was live, the users spent an average time of 2 minute and 41 seconds. Also, the market research style questions such as ‘Are you actively avoiding sugar in what you eat and drink?’ or ‘Is the sugar content of a product important to you?’ were answered more than 50,000 times. 

Helping consumers to learn more about the natural ingredients of the Emmi Good Day products and providing the company with insights about the users and improving their customer database.

In another example, UK-based alcoholic drinks producer, Halewood Artisanal Spirits launched a spooky app-based game in time for Halloween last year with its unconventional spiced rum brand, Dead Man’s Fingers. The ‘fruit machine’ app-based connected experience drove website traffic and purchases during the Halloween period. 

The game, accessed via QR codes found on wooden cocktail stirrers served with the favourite rum flavours, offered users instant prizes including branded caps, t-shirts, beach towels and lanyards, bringing frightening interactive fun to customers, available in over 700 pubs in the UK. This drove repeat purchases and encouraged users to play and win a second time, with a re-scan rate of 2.4 per user.

Encourage loyal customers 

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Last summer we had our most successful connected packaging campaign ever with a popular dairy food and beverages brand. The campaign looked to raise awareness of a milk and fruit drink range as families returned to school and offices in September. Reconnecting with customers, the game aimed to encourage them to make the healthy and wholesome range of drinks a lunchbox staple. 

The interactive connected experience included fun games the whole family could enjoy. A 2D ‘School Run’ racing game which had to be completed before then accessing a 3D augmented reality (AR) three level jump game ‘What’s in my Lunchbox’, with shareable AR selfie filters and a leader board so players could get competitive. 

The web-based app tracks real-time interaction, such as flavour scanned, average engagement time, location, scan rate, number of visitors, return visitors and social media shares, to enable the brand to optimise marketing.

The results were outstanding – with over 97k scans and 9.9k Registrations. Over 8.5k took selfies with 3.2k sharing them on social media – with WhatsApp being the most popular place to share - seeing a 67% share across that channel. 

The average time spent was over two and half minutes showing that customers enjoyed the experience, with less than 1% bounce rate (usually over 30%). This showed that most users engaged with the app and it achieved a 70% engagement rate. 

The number of users doubled from September to October as word about the games spread. In fact, the link to the connected experience app was shared over 3.2k times – showing incredible word of mouth and the positive impact of a supporting social media campaign. 

A recent campaign for a leading science and technology company Merck generated a 86% completion rate of an interactive game which included completion of a data collection form which included name, email address, and region etc. The campaign drove huge traffic to the website, with over 5k visitors across three months.

There are many ways to achieve and track digital advertising performance but connected experiences offer the widest array of benefits. From first party real-time data collection to educating and entertaining loyal returning customers, the performance metrics are tangible, transparent and unlimited.

Header image by Zak Peric

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