Friday, June 26, 2015

REALZEIT'S TAKE ON CRITEO'S STATE OF MOBILE COMMERCE Q1 2015



Having been invited to the Criteo Live days we were also very lucky to get a first glimpse at Criteo's highly relevant market insights with respect to mobile commerce in order to have some time to think about its implications before it was released officially.
You can download the full presentation here: http://www.criteo.com/resources/mobile-commerce-q1-2015/

M-COMMERCE IS GROWING

It is definitely worth a read for executives and marketers, especially since the underlying data represents hundreds of millions' worth of transactions worldwide. In a nutshell it says:
  • mCommerce is growing
  • Smartphones are the devices to run the growth
  • There actually is a mobile conversion funnel and Asian markets show us how the future might look like
While the first two findings are hardly suprising, we'd like to elaborate on the mobile conversion funnel, especially the upper part of it.
First off, the US vs. Japan situation:Comparing Desktop and Smartphone funnels in US and Japan.
In the US we see almost similar product views in desktop compared to mobile with lower completion rates down the funnel that finally result in 40-50% lower conversion rates. The reasons for this are the typical ones of worse experience on mobile devices and lack of simplicity in payments which slows down the conversion flow. If we compare the mobile funnels between the US and Japan, we see that in Japan, which in terms of mCommerce is a leading market, the upper funnel is significantly stronger with stronger lower funnel completions leading to significant diffenrences in overall conversion rates.
If we compare this to our (FMCG eCommerce) customers in Germany, France and UK we actually see two things - a high number of product views in mobile and a lower conversion rate. But also we see something else:
  • Mobile views that don't lead to conversions on the same device are being completed on desktop*
  • Customer journeys that begin in the app sphere (on in-app adspaces) end on mWeb destinations and are completed there or via desktop*
*We analyzed the (hashed) advertiser log-in data and matched it with our cross-device and cross channel (app2mWeb) identifiers
So where does it leave us? What we believe to happen is that in the current state of mobile adoption we obviously have problems with good mobile experiences. Nonetheless it is good enough to get users in touch with the brand and its products. And also it is good enough to finally buy that product in a channel that is easier to complete, i.e. desktop for the time being.

LISTEN UP, MARKETERS!

While the C-level executive might be somewhat happy to hear it, marketers still have huge problems fitting those findings into their day-to-day activity with regard to customer journey modelling and budget allocation. We have a couple of suggestions we'd like to present here:
  • Don't think mobile first, think user first: realzeit's big asset is its capability to match unique users between channels (app vs. mWeb) and devices (smartphone vs. tablet vs. desktop). Some advertisers start to build generalized journey models which give some empirical evidence about mobile upper funnel activity and its contribution to overall conversions based on log-in data. That again empowers them to allocate upper funnel or prospecting budgets towards mobile.
  • Address the upper funnel correctly: While you are optimizing the mobile experience for your user to get to Japanese figures, why don't you help them with trackable prospecting engagements like newsletter signups? It filters interested users and helps you addressing them across channels and devices and as a plus is a trackable action.
  • It's all about CAC: It may sound simplistic, but if your completion rate is 40-50% lower, why don't you look for an acquisition channel that is 40-50% cheaper? If your targeting partner is able to find your mWeb users in apps, there is a high chance the CPM is significantly lower than in other channels.
We're curious where the journey is going to take us all, but we are a 100% sure that it is integrated across channels and devices. Thanks again to Criteo for some food for thought.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

PERFORMANCE MARKETING AWARDS IN MUNICH


This week was very exciting for us. We got shortlisted for the Performance Marketing Award hosted by Criteo. Our category was “Most Innovative Performance Marketing Start-up“ where we were selected from more than 50 promising companies. However, the competition was quite tough. The shortlist for the finals was comprised of us, esome from Hamburg and yieldify from London. Esome won the award this time and we send big congrats to our friends in Hamburg – we’ll give them a harder time next year!

MOBILE CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT

The day started out great. As an appetizer to the award ceremony, we visited the Criteo Live conference at the HKW in Munich. The agenda was centered around mobile commerce, a topic very much to our liking. We were quite eager to see what the retargeting giant Criteo would come up with.
After Alexander Gösswein, Criteo's MD Central Europe, greeted everyone, the conference started with a talk of Criteo's Eric Eichmann. After being introduced with his apparently fantastic dance skills, he did not dissapoint us with his statistics. We were not quite suprised that consumers are going mobile, but we are always happy to see new numbers from all sides that support our business model.
The afternoon continued with a panel centered around mobile consumer engagement hosted by Katharina Meran. Zalando's Julia Stern and FTI's Gerrit Peters discussed their views on the topic. I think it is safe to say that Gerrit's cynical comments very much entertained the whole audience. And as always, Julia provided very interesting insights about how to deal with the mobile challenges. Nonetheless, we would have liked if Julia let us in on more of her secrets and tricks. I am sure that almost everyone would be quite eager to gain more knowldege of the inner life of one of the most advanced companies in the marketing world.
Now came the entertaining part. Dietmar Dahmen, proclaimed futurist, gave a talk with the title 'Whats next'. We have to admit that from a logics perspective it may have been hard to follow his reasoning at times, but - oh boy - this guys is born for the stage. There was not one boring minute and the crowd was in awe. His message: Don't stick to the existing, but much rather find new and innovative solutions or how he put it: 'Don't ask why! Ask why not.

CROSS DEVICE

The next part of the afternoon was dedicated to the topic cross device. Who else than Florian Heinemann should give a keynote on this? We agree with him that it is hugely complicated to do cross device tracking and not one player in the market has solved this problem satisfyingly. It remains to lock at and pair with the big players who have better cross device data.
The respective panel was also with him together with Westwing's Moritz Feld and DB's Bülent Inci. Bülent gave us an idea about the problems that a large Germany company has with privacy and Moritz told us about the fortuntate decision that his shopping club enforces a login, which solves at least their cross device problem.
The afternoon eneded with a talk of Jonathan Wolf, CPO of Criteo. He is also an ex-physicist and, thus, right from the start he gained some sympathy points from us. His talk was almost identical to the one of Eric Eichmann, showing stats about the rapidly growing mobile usage of eCommerce. However, he added some ideas about the very common usage of multiple devices for online shopping. I guess now it is official that mobile is on the rise.
By now it became time to suit up and head to the GOP in the center of Munich to attend the award ceremony.

A NIGHT AT GOP, MUNICH

Finally found out that we are in Munich. Suited and booted, we - that is Ilja, Heiko and me - went to the GOP in Maximilianstraße in Munich. The location was absolutely great and it started with a glass of champagne. Obviously, we looked on point and blended in perfectly into the suited Online Marketing scene.
And amazingly unsharp photo of Ilja, Heiko and Markus enjoying their time at the Performance Marketing Awards.
The location is a varieté theater and dinner was served with a show. The show was entertaining and the highlight was a blonde artist sliding heads first down a pole, stopping centimers in front of the ground. Hard to explain, but it was quite cool.
The show started with host Esther Sedlaczek entering in a fog machine created mist. Very dramatic entry worth a Performance Marketing Awards. And it started out great for our table. Annika Schmidt, our dinner companion from Fashion ID, and her co-workers secured the first-ever Performance Marketing Award in the category best cross channel/ cross device campaign. Thus, we got a close-up of the award and we have to admit that it is quite nicely designed. Well done!
The winners followed: best technology provider became productsup , best performance display campaign in retail was given to bonprix . Furthermore, TUIfly won the price for the best performance display campaign in the travel category and the price for the best performance agency went to explido iProspect .
Host Esther Sedlaczek and jury member Philipp Westermeyer announce the winner in the most innovative performance marketing startup category.
Of course, we were most excited about the most innovative performance marketing start-up category. Here we were nominated with esome and yiedlify. The price was presented by Esther and jack-of-all trades Philipp Westermeyer. He almost stole the show by attempting to flirt with Esther, which did turn out to be quite entertaining. All in all, the tension was rising.

CONGRATS TO ESOME

Who would have believed this outcome: realzeit did not win. Hamburg's esome made the race. When we heard the numbers 49 employees and 50 million revenue after on year, our jaws dropped and we got eaten by jealousy. Guess it was a price well-earned. However, as soon as we saw how excited the esome team was after their win, we could not help being happy for them. Great guys, great company. Congrats, boys!
As you already learned from this post, we had a great time in Munich. Suited up we looked amazing, had good food, a couple of drinks and met some nice people. Perfect use of a lazy Thursday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

THINKING ABOUT GOOD OL' TIMES



Nobody could say that we have been a very outgoing company, although maybe this fantastic blog will change that. However, we did get a little media coverage and we would like to summarize the few things that have been written about us in this blog post. Feel free to click on the links provided below and dive right into your realzeit literature!

OM ROCKSTARS BLOG

The first mention of realzeit was in the infamous Online Marketing Rockstars Blog. apprupt's very own Kjell Fischer announced the 6 mobile marketing startups that he would bet money on, and we were proud to be mentioned together with adjust, a company that we really like and appreciate working together with. Find his article mentioning realzeit here.

MICROSOFT CUSTOMER STORIES

For the longest time, realzeit has been supported by Microsoft's BizSpark Plus program. This awesome program allowed us to put up a lot of servers at hardly any cost and allowed us to build nice and scalable infrastructure dealing with far too many requests per second. Thanks, Microsoft! We greatly appreciated this support.
In one of their customer stories, Microsoft Azure talked a bit about what we do and why we need such a fast and large infrastructure for our backend. Read the article here.

Friday, June 5, 2015

THE NEW REALZEIT BLOG IS LIVE!



Every once a while, the world is struck by events of grave importance and profound implications. By pushing the button and publishing this post, such a moment has finally arrived. Long awaited, realzeit is finally starting to write a blog.

WHAT HAPPENED SO FAR...

realzeit is a company started by three tech-savvy physicists who found their way into the exciting and fast-moving world of mobile advertising. Coming from the simple and well-structured area of science, entering the world of mobile marketing was like entering the Wild West - it was utterly confusing.
All kinds of companies offer solutions for myriads of different problems that you never knew you would have and the whole industry seems at the first glance as a hugely complicated jungle. Furthermore, everyone seems to be working together with everyone else.
To make the whole topic even more complex, it is impossible for newbies to talk to industry veterans. Even the 'Fantastischen Vier' would be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of three-letter acronyms flowing around in every conversation.
As if this would not be confusing enough, the industrie has become incredibly technical and complicated. People starting out with a business or marketing (i.e. non-tech) backgrounds have fierce discussion about tracking technologies, fingerprinting solutions, data analysis and topics of this sort. It honestly took awhile to feel at home in the digital marketing community.

BACK ON TRACK

Fortunately, we managed to find our way and we started to see and understand the value proposition of most online marketing companies. However, it is important to understand that not all problems can be solved by one approach.
At this point, it seems useful to speak about what realzeit is actually offering. Our bidding strategy is not directed at short-term actions like clicks, but much rather optimizes on long-term goals like user activity or CLV. We are convinced that only active users who spend time inside an app or on a mobile site will be the ones spending money in the end. This in mind, we offer solutions for prospecting as well as retargeting/re-engangement.
If people speak with us, they are usually trying to find out why we can solve such and such problems better than others. It is a valid question and we love to tell you, but let me give some general thoughts about the secret sauce in real-time advertising.

THE SECRET SAUCE

If you walk around at a randomly chosen online marketing conference, you will hear from all corners things about wondrous algorithms that have the answer to all of your problems. Some companies just seem to have solved programmatic. Scary for the likes of us that need to compete with such ingenuity...
We would love to let ourselves be seduced by the sound of such sweet sweet promises. The unromantic though not entirely unexpected truth is that programmatic is hard work. Sound machine learning has to smoothly integrate into a scalable real-time infrastructure that processes a mind-blowing number of requests. You always need to be on your toes and it is a neverending story to optimize and improve the system.
Nonetheless, we enjoy what we do and we built technology we are poud of! We onstantly challenge ourselves to become better and better and, of course, we will continue to do so. Fortunately, we have great customers that we love to work with. Their feedback rather directly finds its way into our product development and enables us to move forward quickly.
Although, we do not believe in magic algorithms, we have by now quite a lot of experience with optimization and finding the right users at the right time for our customers. In this blog, you will find, among other things, posts about our experiences and ideas how to do this the right way.

WE WILL WRITE ABOUT ALL KINDS OF THINGS

The realzeit team is interested in many things and we believe that technology, data analysis and business in general are strongly intertwined in our field of digital marketing. We want to share some of our experiences and our everyday struggles. Accordingly, this blog will contain many topics and not everyone will be interested in every post. In order to easily skip posts that are not of interest, we will mark them appropriately. Topics will be one of the following:
  • Data Science/Machine Learning
  • Business-related topics
  • IT/infrastructure-related topics
  • Just any random other thing
In any case, although we were too lazy to include a feedback or comment functionality in our little blog area, we are looking forward to your feedback. If you have any great idea or criticism that you would like to share with us or if you merely want to tell us what a great company we are, we are looking forward to hearing from you.
Just contact us under  or click on the respective name to write a message directly to the author of each post.