Senior benefits platform Renew.com raises $3 million to help retiring baby boomers

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A retired couple playing a board game at Venice Beach, CA (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images) Renew.com has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Venrock, Expa and others to launch a platform aiming to give the baby boomer generation adequate information on their benefits after retirement.
American companies started to shift away from pensions and healthcare benefits packages for retirees in the mid-1980s, leaving the last bit of the boomers without the same compensations their… Read More

November 18th 2016 Demographics

Why It’s Time for Marketers to Rethink Metrics and Perfomance Indicators

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As media dollars increasingly shift to digital—rising another 22 percent to $27 billion this year for display ads alone—brands of all sizes are striving to extract greater value from their campaigns and to prove their impact on the bottom line.

In the well-intentioned race to show results, however, many marketers are focused on the wrong things—metrics that may be easy to measure, but don't truly drive desired business outcomes.

Matt Minoff

Take clickthrough rates, for example. Universally acknowledged by marketers and media companies alike as inadequate, clickthrough rates still appear in every campaign recap report, seemingly regardless of the campaign's goal. While research has shown time and again that clickthrough rates are usually the wrong metric to measure, they are easy to track and have remained an industry standard.

Or consider the move toward verifying audience demographics. As the success of programmatic advertising has shown, your best audience many not be who you think it is going into a given campaign. At a bare minimum, a brand's top-performing audience segment is usually much more nuanced than "moms" or "M18-34."

We've seen marketers grow myopic when it comes to newer metrics, too. Ninety-seven percent of marketers now say all inventory should be verified as viewable by an independent third party, while over 60 percent said they would shift their media dollars away from publishers who fail to provide third-party verification.

At Meredith, we now routinely receive RFPs from world-class brands that cite viewability as a campaign's main key performance indicator. Meredith and other publishers have made great strides to ensure inventory is viewable, but by focusing solely on viewability, marketers are missing the point: viewability may be a necessary prerequisite for strong campaign results, but in and of itself, it isn't sufficient, nor is it a KPI.

Moreover, some of the industry's most exciting new formats don't yet have standard measurement solutions. Shopper marketing units, recipe integrations and custom content experiences all play a role in building awareness and engagement, and driving purchase, but a maniacal focus on a single, standardized metric often limits their inclusion in plans. Marketers who care about real KPIs, like driving sales, may be missing out some of the strongest strategies, tactics and formats.

As the old adage goes, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." But in the world of digital media, we now have the capability to start to measure what ultimately matters most to marketers: business outcomes and ROI.

Innovations in the in-store digital experience, including new uses of beacon technology, along with better linking of online and offline data to help close the loop on attribution across desktop, mobile and the real world, mean we can actually show whether and how a campaign drives real KPIs for brands. At Meredith, we've taken it a step further, going so far as to guarantee sales lift for our strategic partners. We will not be alone. Smart publishers and brands will continue to partner to conceive, develop and deliver end-to-end campaigns that drive real business results.

Selecting the right goals and KPIs will be crucial to that process. Boosting brand awareness, driving consideration, increasing in-store traffic, purchase and loyalty—these are worthy goals that smart publishers can and should help optimize against.

They are also the KPIs that, while harder to measure than whether an ad is seen or clicked, will build not just your brand, but your business.

Matt Minoff (@mattminoff) is svp of digital platforms and strategy at Meredith Digital.

May 21st 2016 Demographics, Mobile, Technology

August Data is Now Live – Fantasy Football, Back to School, Adult Swim and More

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Fantasy Football

Image from: Football / Shutterstock

August data is now live and available in Compete PRO! American interest in fantasy football hasn’t waned despite recent NFL controversies. In fact, fantasy football sites look stronger than ever heading into football season. DraftKings.com takes the top spot in August’s Monthly Fast Movers list, growing a whopping 211% month-over-month (MoM) and more than 50% year-over-year (YoY). While their biggest month for traffic ever was December 2014 (coinciding with the end of the regular season for American football), the strong YoY growth for August is a good indicator of traffic to come. Another good sign for DraftKings is that their brand recognition is growing (likely due to their abundant and effective advertising). Taking a look at the top five keywords driving traffic to DraftKings.com over the last 90 days, 4 out of 5 keywords contain branded “draftkings” terms, with “draftkings” being the overall top keyword driving over 30% of search traffic to the website.

We can see a similar pattern with daily fantasy competitor to DraftKings, FanDuel.com. In terms of unique visitors, traffic to FanDuel.com is a bit lower overall, but the growth patterns are a little more interesting. While DraftKings.com wins in terms of MoM growth, FanDuel’s traffic has been more consistent over the summer months and YoY growth is much higher (+700% compared to DraftKings’ +50%). It should be interesting to follow the progression of these two popular fantasy sites over the course of football season.

Besides football-related sites, the majority of our Monthly Fast Movers for August are education-related with PearsonMyLabAndMastering.com, MHEducation.com, Ecollege.com, and BNCollege.com all making the list. Confirming that these sites are reaching their target audiences, we can see that these sites all heavily over-index for the 18-24 demographic (averaging around 40% compared with the Internet Browsing Population being about 15% made up of this age group).

Lastly, American cable network, AdultSwim.com, makes its way onto our Monthly Fast Movers list and this seems to be mostly driven by one television show in particular. Taking a look at keyword data for the site, we can see that keywords related to the popular animated show, Rick and Morty, are driving much of the search traffic to AdultSwim.com. Eight out of the top ten keywords sending traffic to AdultSwim.com over the last 90 days are related to the show, which premiered its second season at the end of July and was quickly renewed for a third in August. It’s interesting to note that demographics for AdultSwim.com heavily skew towards a male audience (60% compared to the Internet Browsing Population’s 51%), which is critical information for potential advertisers.

Monthly Fast Movers August 2015

If you need early access to the latest month’s data and you’re not a Compete PRO user, start your Compete PRO subscription today to get early data and more!

September 15th 2015 Demographics, News

At The Digital Crossroads: Shifting To Audience-Centric Marketing

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In the first half of 2013, search advertising represented 43% of all digital ad revenue. The primary reason paid search remains so successful is that it creates a direct link between users and their intent. For marketers, the ability to deliver an ad promoting running shoes to users searching for…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

January 17th 2014 Analytics, Demographics

WANTED for the New Healthcare Exchanges: Young People

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obamacare

Image from: Obamacare / Shutterstock

The nascent effort now underway to enroll millions of Americans in health insurance plans via recently opened exchanges has been well received among a particular segment of the population: uninsured Americans over the age of 45. Although they represent 43% of all adults online, collectively they accounted for approximately 56% of all visitors to both the federal (healthcare.gov) and various state-run exchanges in November were over 45.

Age of Healthcare Exchange Website Visitors

The data suggest that younger Americans still need more convincing. Adults 25-34 in particular are the biggest holdouts. Although they represent 20.4% of adults online, a considerably smaller percentage visited an exchange website in November. It’s worth noting that while 18-24 year olds are also underrepresented on the exchanges, the Affordable Care Act allows those under 26 to remain on their parents’ plan which effectively eliminates the need for many of them to seek their own coverage. Insurance companies anticipated a healthy mix of both older AND younger Americans enrolling via these exchanges when setting their rates, so attracting the younger demographic who appear still on the sidelines, will be a top priority in the weeks and months ahead.

Age of Healthcare Exchange Website Visitors (All)

December 20th 2013 Demographics, News

Analyzing the Demographic Data of Rising Search Engine DuckDuckGo

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Global Internet

Image from: Internet / Shutterstock

As privacy becomes more and more of a concern for digital consumers, products that make privacy one of their primary offerings are going to see a lot of success and will help pave the way for a niche market in the digital world.

One product that is helping to strengthen the argument that this market not only exists, but that it is valued by online consumers is DuckDuckGo. If you haven’t heard, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that has gained a lot of attention amidst the Snowden leaks. Although they may have gained this popularity because they don’t track any of the search activity on their sitef, they also offer a few other cool features like customization, a lack of clutter (their only sponsored links are at the top of an infinite scroll page), and a few other “goodies.

Although originally thought to be temporary jump in traffic due to the large amount of attention the search engine was getting from various news outlets, DuckDuckGo has proved in July that their traffic gains were not a one month outlier and that many are now using this as their search engine of choice. This is further enforced, and perhaps a nod to their transparency, by a page on their site that shows the amount of search queries per day.

Unique Visitors DuckDuckGo

Click to Enlarge

Excusing the notion that privacy and the absence of tracking is a fad that is being amplified by current events, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at who, at least when it comes to search engines, is most interested in this. And the best way to do this? By looking at the demographic data of Compete PRO.

Analyzing the demographic data of DuckDuckGo

If you are not aware, Compete PRO offers three basic sets of demographic data: age, income, and gender. This data can be really interesting and can help paint an illustrative picture as to what kind of person is visiting a site. Seen below is the demographic data for DuckDuckGo.

demographics.png" rel="lightbox[28541]">DuckDuckGo Demographics

Click to Enlarge

For this analysis, I decided to not only analyze DuckDuckGo’s demographic data, but also the data of the top four search engines for comparative purposes.

First, we can take a look at the age demographic. As you can see, this is broken up into six different age ranges and gives some interesting results when done for each of the five search engines.

Age Demographic Top Search Engines

Click to Enlarge

Perhaps the most surprising finding from this analysis is the fact that compared to the US Internet browsing population as a whole, the data seems to be slanted towards the older demographics – something that applies across the board save maybe Bing. This is especially the case for DuckDuckGo where their 55-64 and 65+ demographic is 6.6% and 7.2% higher than the population, respectively. Although it is unclear why, one hypothesis could be that the older generations value their privacy more than the younger generations who have less of a problem with giving up personal information or allowing sites to track their browsing habits.

Income Demographics Top Search Engines

Click to Enlarge

Taking a look at the next demographic, income, we can see additional trends. For income, the 60-100k demographic seems to carry the majority of the surpluses for most search engines. However, when looking at DuckDuckGo, it seems that the highest income demographic, 100k+, carries the greatest disparity between them and the rest of the Internet population. This coupled with the fact that the 0-30k demographic is 12.5% lower than the rest of the population signals that the privacy offered by DuckDuckGo is favored largely by the wealthier population.

Gender Demographic Top Search Engines

Click to Enlarge

The final demographic, and the one with the most dramatic difference, is gender. For the other major search engines, the gender is basically even – with men taking the slight majority on every search engine besides Ask. However, when looking at DuckDuckGo, we can see that the search engine is favored largely by men. This could be for any number of reasons including one of the ways DuckDuckGo first gained popularity considering how similar DuckDuckGo’s gender demographics resemble Reddit’s, the possibility that men may value private searching more, or even that the recent publicity of the search engine has been on content that may be of higher interest to men. Either way, with two out of three of their unique visitors being men, it may be worth focusing awareness and customer acquisition efforts on sites that have a male slant.

When taking a look at demographic data of sites, a lot can be learned. Did you ever expect that compared to the rest of the US Internet population, DuckDuckGo’s users would be older, richer, and consist of a higher proportion of men? As a business, having information like this can be invaluable and can be used to not only provide insights you may not have realized, but to focus your efforts specifically to gain new customers that your competition is strong in. If you don’t have access to Compete PRO, you can try it out for free here.

As always, if you have any comments, questions or critiques, I encourage you to add them in the comments section below.

August 22nd 2013 bing, Demographics, Google, Search, yahoo

Facebook Opens Up Ad Targeting to Minivan-Driving, Baby Food-Buying Homemakers

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There was a time when advertisers could only find an audience for their Facebook ads based on users’ Facebook-submitted information like gender, age and whether they like Pages about cooking. But over the past year Facebook has been expanding the data that can be used for ad targeting to include non-Facebook information like the sites someone visits outside of Facebook, loyalty program memberships and, more recently, the types of products they buy in a brick-and-mortar store.

 

In February, Facebook announced partnerships with third-party data providers including Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon, to let advertisers target people on Facebook using those companies’ compiled audience segments, such as home improvement buyers or affluent baby boomers. Initially only marketers who were customers of those data providers could cross-reference their audience segments with Facebook’s user base, but Facebook today rolled out the segments as Partner Categories available through its self-serve Power Editor ad creation tool and through its ad API partners. This allows U.S. advertisers to layer in the 500-plus new segments in addition to the standard Facebook ad targeting criteria.

Now advertisers can create ad-targeting parameters such as “home owners who are retired, own a Ford pick-up truck, buy over-the-counter allergy relief medication and take cruises.” They can also target “dentists who live alone, own a BMW and buy big-and-tall clothes and diet foods.” Or “people who live in a million-dollar home housing four people including a military veteran.” Or “mortgage borrowing homemakers who own a minivan and buy baby food.”

A caveat: creating a highly filtered Venn diagram such as the ones mentioned above would likely work against an advertiser because they’d be too specific and counterintuitive for brands attracted to Facebook because of its billion-user scale.

The use of third-party data for ad targeting is obviously valuable since many advertisers would otherwise have little idea how to reach Ford truck owners other than to canvass actual neighborhoods. However not all third-party data can be trusted. Just because someone clicks on MotorTrend.com doesn’t mean they’re in the market for a car. Facebook has brought some transparency to Partner Categories, letting advertisers using the Power Editor tool to click and see how a segment was compiled.

For example, Epsilon’s group of 8,312,900 people who work in a small office is based on addresses classified as a small office that are sourced through purchase transaction data and “compiled sources.” Datalogix’s group of 12,665,900 people who are most likely to buy golf and tennis products is based on purchase data from “people who have historically spent heavily in golf clubs, golf and tennis apparel, shoes and tennis rackets” as sourced across 1,200 U.S. online and physical retailers.

    

April 11th 2013 Demographics, Facebook, Technology

Does Your News Skew Male or Female?

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Men and Women

Image from: Odua Images / Shutterstock

If you are anything like me you usually get your news from a variety of different sources. As a frequent reader of the NYTimes, BBC and the Boston Globe I don’t have one go to news source.

Looking at Compete.com Industry Category > News and Media > News: World, we can see the top 20 sites for world news are:

Top 20 Sites for World News

Looking further I compared the top 5 news sources Average Stay to see which news site came out on top.

Average Stay to Top 5 News Sources

The nytimes.com sees a higher average stay over news.yahoo.com, while news.yahoo.com sees more monthly unique visitors.

Furthermore I wanted to know whether gender was a factor in deciding news source. Looking at the top 3 news sites (non sub domain) we can see that men are reading more from the top sites.

Gender Demographics for Top 3 News Sources

Why aren’t women showing up higher on these sites? What sources are women getting their news from? Are they relying heavily on blogs or magazines?

What do you think? Where do you get your news from?

March 8th 2012 Demographics, News

Where to Reach the Student Demographic Online

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Image from: zmkstudio/Shutterstock

I still consider myself to be young and hip, so I can’t believe I’m about to do a “back in my day…” post.  So here I go…

Back in my day, when I had to use a dictionary, I visited the public library where it (the big book) was proudly displayed atop a pedestal in all its glory.  Nowadays, students of the Millennial Generation turn to the internet to look up a meaning for a word.  Three sites in particular, dictionary.reference.com, merriam-webster.com, and thefreedictionary.com were in Compete’s top moving sites, month-over-month, for September 2011.  Their M-O-M Unique Visitor increases for the month of September were 35%, 33%, and 27%, respectively.

The chart below illustrates Daily Reach, or, how many people visited dictionary.reference.com (orange), merriam-webster.com (green) and thefreedictionary.com (blue), as a percentage of all U.S. Internet users.  As soon as the school year started, traffic to all three sites soared.  Traffic to those sites typically spikes on Monday and Tuesday, starts to decline on Wednesday and Thursday and by Friday the sites go into their weekend decline.  Those spikes in traffic validate that students might be telling us that they are not doing their homework over the weekend.

Another interesting note from the above chart is that traffic to those sites decline during the summer months; this isn’t a surprise as many students are off on summer vacation.  For example, dictionary.reference.com has a Daily Reach average of 0.55% when school is in session and during the summer months its average is 0.36%.

Online marketers looking to target students in the high school and college demographic should definitely take advantage of the traffic these sites get during the peak days/months of the year.  It’s no secret that the Millennial generation is active online, especially in social media, so finding cost effective alternate online destinations to market to them is key.

October 18th 2011 Demographics

Are you attracting the right type of Facebook fans?

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Back in June I wrote a blog highlighting our research showing that each new Facebook fan generates on average 20 additional visits to a retailer’s website. However, as every retailer knows, not all website visits are equal. Most eCommerce sites will have an idea of the average conversion rate from a visit to a sale, but in reality the likelihood that a visit will result in a sale depends on a number of factors – from whether the visitor is a regular customer or not, to how far they are down the purchase funnel.

Another key factor is the type of person visiting the site: a rich banker is probably more likely to make a purchase at a high end electronics store than teenager making an aspirational search for the latest expensive gadget. Even mass market retailers that attract customers from across the socio-demographic spectrum have core customers that are more likely to purchase. John Lewis is one such retailer: a major name on the British high street and consistently ranked in the top 10 of the IMRG-Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List, but “middle England’s favourite department store” is also a company with a distinctive core customer base.

John_Lewis_Facebook_Fan_Page.png

Over the last few months, John Lewis has been making a concerted effort to attract fans to its Facebook page, which at the time of writing has almost 180,000 “Likes”. We now have the ability to track visitors to companies’ Facebook pages using Hitwise, and the chart below shows that www.facebook.com/JohnLewisRetail has been picking up an increasing number of visitors over the last few months.

Number_of_visits_to_John_Lewis_Facebook_fan_page.png

But the question remains: who are these visitors? We are able to overlay visits to an organisation’s Facebook page with Experian Mosaic socio-demographic data, and the chart below illustrates the segmentation of visitors to John Lewis’s Facebook page for the 4 weeks ending 10th September 2011.

John_Lewis_demographic_profile_of_facebook_fan_page_visitors.png

The largest group of visitors to John Lewis’s Facebook page come from the Suburban Mindsets Mosaic group (defined as “ maturing families on mid-range incomes living a moderate lifestyle in suburban semis”) – so far, so John Lewis. However, the second biggest group of visitors to www.facebook.com/JohnLewisRetail is a little less expected; Ex-Council Community are defined as “residents with low levels of education but sufficient incomes who live in the better right-to-buy council houses” and account for 11.5% of visitors. To understand a bit more about this audience, it is instructive to compare the Mosaic profile of visitors to John Lewis’s Facebook page with that of visitors to johnlewis.com, the company’s homepage and transactional website.

John_lewis_experian_mosaic_profile_of_website_and_facebook_visitors.png

As the chart above illustrates, the Ex-Council Community Mosaic group is indeed over-represented on the john Lewis Facebook page when compared with visitors to the retailer’s homepage. It is a similar situation for other less affluent groups, including Claimant Cultures, Industrial Heritage and Terraced Melting Pot. On the other hand, while Suburban Mindsets accounts for a similar proportion of visitors to both the homepage and Facebook page, other core groups of visitors to John Lewis homepage -such as Professional Rewards (essentially the more affluent members of the middle class), Liberal Opinions (young professionals) and Alpha Territory (the richest people in Britain) – are significantly under-represented as visitors to the department store’s Facebook fan page. This is despite all of these groups being well represented on the social network, and presumably as John Lewis customers.

Facebook is the second most visited website in the UK and provides brands with a fantastic opportunity to engage with a huge audience, there is no doubt that certain fans will be worth more than others. This example nicely illustrates that simply playing the numbers game may not necessarily deliver the best results on Facebook – as with other marketing channels, quality often provides a better return on investment (ROI) than quality.

Combining Experian’s vast range of data assets with social media expertise (via Techlightenment), we are uniquely positioned to help brands drive ROI from their Facebook and other social media investments. If you would like to find out more about our Facebook Fan Acquisition or customer segmentation services, please email us.

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September 13th 2011 Demographics, Facebook