The Thursday Stack: More Than Zero

Get re-acquainted with Wayin

This week, Cheetah Digital, the cross-channel marketing platform, announced the acquisition of Wayin, the vendor which announces itself as the “global leader in zero-party data collection.” Now, Cheetah Digital we’ve been following for some time, tracking the company’s evolution from primarily an email solution to a much broader offering. But with Wayin, we blinked and missed something: when I last spoke with CEO Richard Jones, Wayin was primarily a UGC-first social content management platform. I got on the phone with him, and kicked off by asking for a catch-up.

“Wayin was founded back in 2011 by Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy. The focus was very much on high-end UGC management, and Wayin was Twitter’s visual display partner. What happened was that Wayin got caught up in the changes that went on with Twitter, and its attitude to allowing customers to access the firehose of data. That Wayin product was deprecated a couple of years ago. But three years ago, McNealy acquired a company I’d founded in the UK which was called Engage Sciences, so through that acquisition and the deprecation of the legacy product, the Engage Sciences product became the only one that Wayin sells.”

And that product, essentially, is what Cheetah Digital has now acquired. So what does it do? It supports brands in the creation of interactive experiences —
quizzes, contests, sweepstakes — giving customers value in exchange for their data, and their opt-ins for future marketing purposes. Brands create the experiences on Wayin’s platform, and Wayin pushes the data to the brand’s email marketing solution, CDP, CRM, or other systems to support ongoing personalized engagement. Wayin has notched some 1.3 billion conversions on campaigns over the last two years.

“Our platform is just a tech platform to make it easier for a brand marketer to create an experience which they publish on their own channels, or embedded into ad units [e.g. Google, Appnexus] that actually collect the data on behalf of the brand. As Wayin, we don’t own the data that’s been collected, we don’t sell it, we have no rights over it at all. It’s really the brand using it to connect to the consumer; to collect opt-ins and data from the consumer to populate their marketing databases to drive personalized marketing.”

Jones shared the example of Air New Zealand’s campaign to raise awareness of new routes to the U.S.A. — the “say yay” to the U.S.A. campaign. On a website, in the travel section of a media partner, and in interactive ad units placed across the Web, Air New Zealand encouraged consumers to find destinations within the U.S.A. by clicking on things they “liked” about the country.

The result was 100,000 “deeply profiled” records, created by these consumers opting in and sharing their data — enabling highly personalized email follow-ups with targeted discount offers. “They made millions of dollars in the first month,” Jones told me, “but more important, they have deeply rich profile records of consumers with opt-in,” valuable beyond this particular campaign.

As Wayin is now part of Cheetah Digital, does that mean it will be withdrawing its integrations with third party execution platforms like Adobe and Sitecore? “There’s no change, we’re continuing our partnerships. The main advantage [with Cheetah Digital] is that, because we are now one company, we can go to a much higher level in terms of integration and joint product strategy, in a way you can’t if you’re a third party and using APIs that are made available by an Adobe or a Salesforce.” 

Zero-party data

We’re starting to hear this term a lot, meaning “self-reported data,” but how does it differ from first-party data?  “It’s correct that first party data can be self-reported data, like zero-party data — but it isn’t necessarily self-reported data,” said Jones. For example, non-self-reported first-party data includes cross-device matching, purchase history information, “Data that the brand is harvesting from direct interactions consumer may have had, browsing their website or whatever.” It becomes true self-reported data when a consumer does something like filling in a form. “Typically, with first-party data, you’re talking about  very simple things like mailing address and email. Zero-party data is a useful term because there’s much more data you can actually collect from a consumer if you really ask them about purchase insights, motivations, desires, characteristics. We live in a world of digitally native consumers, and they will engage in interactive experiences, they do want to get personalized products and services – but they want to tell you what they want rather than have you snoop on them, which has unfortunately been the marketing strategy for the last five years, most prominently pushed by Facebook.”



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LinkedIn is next up, with today’s news that it has added three new tools to the Campaign Manager kit, as well as tweaking its click pricing structure.

  • Top of funnel campaigns, charged by impressions (CPM), aimed at helping B2B marketers promote brand awareness
  • Tighter integration with the conversion tracking tool, enabling the creation of campaigns optimized for specific desired outcomes (purchases, downloads, registrations, etc)
  • Availability of the Campaign Manager ad tool to LinkedIn Talent Solutions customers
  • Ability to optimize click pricing by specifying KPIs (visits to landing page, for example, or social engagements.

LinkedIn reports that the redesigned Campaign Manager, launched last October, had been showing a 67 percent list in customer satisfaction compared with the legacy offering.

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It’s survey time, courtesy of social commerce solution Curalate. They asked 1,000 consumers about the role played by social, influencers, and micro-influencers in product discovery, purchase timeline, and conversion. Here are some highlights: 

  • 80 percent of consumers report discovering products of interest on social, up from 58 percent in 2017
  • Instagram (no surprise) is the growing platform for product discovery, with nearly half of the consumers surveyed now finding wants there, up from 18 percent two years ago. Facebook is still growing too
  • Micro-influencers are punching above their weight, with 26 percent of consumers reporting they aid them in product discovery, compared with celebrities at 20 percent and friends at 22 percent.

Consumers, being troublesome as usual, take many paths from social product discovery to purchase. A minority hit the buy button, more purchasing the product online at a later date (and fewer going to a physical store). “We often hear the term ‘Social Commerce’ associated with bringing a buy button to Instagram, but, as the data shows, the path from discovery to purchase often isn’t that linear,” Curalate CEO and co-founder Apu Gupta said in a release.

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Speaking of online buying, do you think shipping options are important? Heck yes, is the message from a survey of 3,000 digital consumers and 800 vendors carried out by eCommerce platform vendor Big Commerce.

First, the tragedy: more than half the sellers surveyed don’t know why consumers abandon carts, and almost half don’t even know their abandonment rate. Then, the comedy: consumers are more than willing to tell them the reason. 77 percent back out of the purchase because of shipping options. If it’s not clear, merchants just don’t get that. Consumers also like free shipping, fast shipping (two days), and Gen Z in particular appreciates branded packaging. While more than 60 percent of the merchants surveyed don’t offer free shipping options (although they can be converted into revenue: free shipping for purchases over $x), Amazon scores high on all the above preferences.

Much more in the full report.

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Finally, what are we looking for in 40Under40 nominations? Find out here.

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