Product Feed or User Level Feed? – Part 1

When it comes to user-behavior, everyone looks at a specific offering from the seller. Be it a shoe on an e-com website, an insurance cover by a specific insurer or a flight ticket from an OTA site. At a superficial level, all such product behavior can be rolled-up into micro-segments – either they are standard products or a combination of parameters that can be used to define a product. Such information passed on to your marketing partner (through what is known as a feed) helps in customizing your marketing conversations at a user level.

Feeds can be of two types – Product feed and User Level feed. For the uninitiated, a product feed contains all of your products’ information. It is sent to your marketing partners to communicate all the information that your product listings contain. A User Level feed on the other hand, helps pass on behavioral information for every user visiting your website. A marketer’s dilemma however, has always been around the kind of feed that must be used for a particular objective.

Some examples of feed are below:


(PID) SHOEGDSUQH3H6KDK – (Name) Adidas ADIRAY M Running Shoes – (Price) 2024 – (Landing Page Link)

Online Insurance

(PID) CarName_RegYear_RTO – (Name) Chevrolet Beats Petrol – (Price) 10,590 – (Landing Page Link) User Specific – (Provider) Insurer Name


(PID) ORIGIN_DESTINATION_DOJ_RD – (Origin) Bangalore – (Destination) Delhi – (Date) 24/09/2016 – (Price) 6,789 – (Landing Page Link)–1-0-0-E

In the above 3 examples, ecommerce and OTA brands typically use a product feed since they have a common landing page and a lot of users will fall into the same bucket (PID).

Insurance on the other hand has user specific landing pages. This is done to create a better user experience. When a user comes back with a specific link specific, most of the details are pre-filled – this is possible with a User Level feed. User-specific feed helps you understand user behavioral state. While a lot of users will fall in the same PID bucket, they may have selected different prices offered by different insurers. In such a case, the insurance brand will want to show the price selected and not the lowest price (which is what will be stored in case of product level feed aggregation).

How do we go about choosing the right feed type?

This is where the Vizury’s consulting comes into effect. At the time of integration, we closely work with brands to understand multiple end-to-end use cases both from their business and marketing perspective. Based on these scenarios we advise clients on what kind of feed setup (product vs. user-level) will help them achieve the same. And what are the necessary changes that they need, if required.

Subsequently, we modify our data collection process and on-behalf of our clients either absorb:

1) Product feed provided by client (XML, CSV)

2) User Level feed (created and maintained by Vizury end-to-end)

Some typical use cases for Ecommerce, Insurance and Airlines coming soon. I will also include the business impact created by using the right kind of feed – Do watch out for the next one.

Also, you can reach me at if you are looking for specific advice on setting up feeds for your marketing campaigns.

When technology reaches the grassroots

Remember the salespeople-free mattress stores that opened up in the USA last year? In another similar ‘eureka’ moment, this time involving an app bringing about instant panacea, a remote coastal village in Sweden has finally got its first 24-hour convenience store. Only twist, it comes on a complete do-it-yourself basis. In the strictest sense of the word. I mean, we’re not talking about self checkout counters here. Literally the entire store is unmanned.
Bit of background. Viken is a sleepy little village on the southern coast of Sweden, where your closest neighbour is probably a 10 minute drive away. For its people, who basically live in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere‘ where everything shuts up fairly early and the nearest busy town is a good half hour away, the level of relief the 24×7 store has brought is indescribable.
An idea that comes with clearly outlined objectives 
This is how it works. Customers are required to download and register themselves on an app that syncs up with their bank ID, pretty much routine stuff. They then use the app to let themselves into the store, pick and scan the products they want, and checkout. A monthly invoice is sent to them, to save them the hassle of paying then and there. After all, the most targeted demographic are shoppers with a late night emergency. Security is taken care of by security cameras, and a thorough verification process takes place each time a new member registers on the app.
Genius in simplicity
So simple and yet so relevant, that Robert Illijason, the man who came up with this innovation, finds it ‘incredible that it hasn’t been done before’. He has a point. By identifying a specific problem prevalent in specific locations, he might just have come up with a novel idea with the potential to be scaled up in similar rural localities. In fact, he does have something similar in mind and hopes the money he saves on staff (or the lack of) will go towards making that a reality, provided the response continues to be this overwhelming
The store only carries all the basic necessities you would expect in a typical grocery store, with further stock set to be dictated purely through local demand. At this rate though, it won’t be long before locals are getting real time product updates and other information on their app as and when the store is replenished.
Join the debate
There have been some rumblings from those who fear that this is the next step in technology making labor force obsolete, but that is a debate for another day. It might not even be a model that can be implemented globally due to safety concerns and such, at least not right away. But it certainly has made life 4000 locals for whom it is solving a serious long term grievance. And, at the end of the day, isn’t this what technology is supposed to be all about?
So what do you think? Is this simply a glorified vending machine, or an idea worth keeping an eye on? Is it somewhat limited by the fact that people who do not use smart phones cannot have access to this kind of service? Would it even work outside of places like Sweden, where the relative lack of poverty means there’s no petty crime anyway? Write to us with your thoughts at

Paid, Earned, & Owned Media – Where Does Mobile Fit In?

Mobile Marketing has been transforming rapidly over the last few years. In mobile-led markets like India and SEA, brands have started looking beyond the usual to connect with their users. It is important however, to use the right mix of media channels in order to improve your marketing effectiveness and ROI. At Vizury, we have implemented a “FREE BEFORE PAID” strategy that help optimize our marketing spends. This is how it works – Everytime we must reach out to our target audience we use free/owned channels that are available at lower engagement costs (like email, our own website across desktop and mobile). We then use  Display, Social channels that have media spends attached to them to reach users who have not responded to the first attempt via owned channels. This helps us optimize our spends while ensuring that our target audience is engaged. And all of this is automated with the help of our Growth Marketing Platform.

Here’s an interesting blog about using the right channels by Michael Becker Managing Partner, mCordis and co-creator of The Connected Marketer approach to marketing; originally published by Waterfall on June 23, 2016.

Marketers use media channels to deliver their message and guide people along the customer journey. Media channels are the collection of various mediums, including print, out-of-home, retail, newspaper, radio, television, websites, email, text messaging, and apps, to name a few. These channels are used to reach and engage an intended audience with a brand’s message and content.

Marketing practices fall into one of three media channel categories; paid, owned, and earned media. Each form of media is useful at different stages of the customer journey. Figure 1 below illustrates how the different forms of media may impact the various stages of the customer journey.


Paid Media

Paid media, often referred to as advertising, is the practice of paying to place one’s marketing message or offer in another company’s owned media. Examples of paid media include the placement of physical advertisements and offers in print and out-of-home media, like magazines, billboards, and point-of-sale displays. Other examples include advertisements placed in digital media outlets such as search ads, banners in web portals like Google or Yahoo!, rich media ads in online news outlets like The Weather Channel or The Wall Street Journal, native ads in social media channels like Facebook and SnapChat, offers in shopping apps like iBotta or Overstock, and in specialized content in services likeYummly. Paid media works exceedingly well at stimulating awareness, interest, desire and action.

Owned Media

Owned media refers to media that is under the direct control of a marketer, such as a non-messaging based media, including website, physical retail store and point-of-sale display, mobile apps and messaging based media (e.g. email, text message, push or in-app notifications). Non-messaging related owned media is most effective for the early stages of the customer journey but has little effect on the later parts of the customer journey while messaging-based media is the one media channel that has an effect on every stage of the customer journey.

Earned Media

In addition to paid and owned media, there’s a third category of media that has come to the attention of marketers in recent years: earned media. Earned media, a byproduct of effective paid and owned media, refers to the free publicity and brand amplification a marketer recognizes from people sharing and commenting on the marketer’s owned and paid media efforts. Again, generating earned media is not in the marketers direct control. It is a byproduct of people positively responding to the marketer’s programs and content. For example, earned media is generated when someone likes, shares, links to, or recommends your paid or owned media, like a promotional video or new product release. Earned media wields a significant influence over upper and lower parts of the customer journey.

How Much Are Marketers Spending?

When employed properly, each of these media types can be used to effectively guide someone through the stages of the customer journey. Gartner estimates that firms are spending 11% of revenues on marketing overall. On the paid media front, McKinsey & Company estimates that marketers globally spent $1.6 trillion in 2015 and that this spending on media will grow at a compounded annual rate of 5.1% to $2.1 trillion by 2019. In the United States, eMarketer estimates the U.S. Marketers spent $189 billion on advertising in 2015 and they’ll spend nearly $195 billion in 2016. All three of these analysts agree that the general trend of this spending is flowing into digital media, especially paid media in mobile web and apps, as that is where most media is consumed.

Research shows that when marketers advertise properly, brand awareness, favorability, purchase intent and even actual sales may increase. All of the money spent in marketing does work and helps marketers achieve their objectives. However, no matter how effective paid media marketing is, marketers must see it for what it is.

Paid media is a great tool for generating awareness and engaging people, but it has little to no lasting value in isolation. In fact, a marketer that primarily relies on paid media may be considered a tenant farmer. Like a tenant farmer, as soon as the marketer stops paying for media, they are kicked off the land (e.g. their ads don’t show up anymore). This means they’re no longer able to engage their audience and they’re left with little or no lasting return.

Where Does Mobile Fit In?

To get the most out of their efforts, marketers should look to reduce their reliance on paid and non-messaging based owned media. To accomplish this, marketers should establish what we refer to as an Owned Media Causeway (OMC). With an OMC strategy, the goal is to use paid media, including social media, in order to drive individuals to the marketers owned media channels. This effort will enable marketers to establish a direct connection with individuals so that they may begin communicating with them.

Mobile is at the heart of an effective OMC strategy according to comScore, 65% of all media is consumed via the mobile phone.

To operationalize an OMC strategy, marketers must strategically leverage content and the placement of invitations in both paid and owned media in order engage the individual. Once the individual is interacting with the marketer’s owned media, the marketer can then time the placement of opt-in invitations to join the marketer’s owned communications database in order to receive future communications, VIP content and offers, from the marketer. It goes without saying, marketers’ media content must be mobile-optimized, as that is how it will most likely be viewed.

Establishing the owned media causeway and a direct connection with individuals is critical to the future success of marketing for every company. It amplifies the benefit from marketing expenditure on both owned and paid media, building an asset, a database, a foundation for a direct line of communication with individuals that have opened themselves up to hear from and to engage the marketer.

1Genovese, Y.; Sorofman, J.; Virzi A. (2015). CMO Spend Survey 2015-2016: Digital Marketing Comes of Age. Gartner. Retrieved from::–digital
2Batch, M.; Murdock, S.; Scanlan, J (2015). The state of global media spending. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from:

How to improve your App’s retention

User retention is always at the center of discussion among growth marketers, product & business managers. While acquiring a user is tough, retaining them is a real test of your team’s collective abilities.

Refer this tweet which highlights how most apps lose 80% users within first 3 days.


Here is a basic communication plan one must follow to manage the attrition, before the probability of permanent churn becomes higher.


Don’t forget to capture the email ID from Get.Accounts (Android only).

Originally posted on Medium by Deepak Abbott, Editor at Growthbug. You can get in touch with him on twitter @deepakabbot or mail him at

Product Feed or User Level Feed – Part 2

In my previous blog, we tried to understand the differences between using product feed and user-level feed. This blog covers some industry specific use cases for user-level feed. I am also sharing some results that we have achieved after implementing user-level feed for India’s leading Insurance Aggregator.

Vertical specific use cases:

Insurance Aggregator: For insurance aggregator clients, we recommend showing the lowest quote and the relevant insurer offering that price to all users with identical inputs. But if each user within the input combination selects different quotes, they are then converted into user-level feed, along with user-specific landing pages. This ensures that the user-experience is intact, both at the display campaign marketing level and the website level when users click on a banner and come back.

Insurance Brands: For insurance brands depending on the input, users could be shown multiple quotes. At the quote search page, multiple users fall into same bucket. But if a user selects different offerings or does an action like “add-ons”, then we recommend maintaining a unique selection for each user, including user specific landing pages and generate feed. Subsequently, users are shown their last behavior based pricing and on click are brought back to a pre-filled landing page with all the user details.

E-commerce: E-commerce has product level feed, and we recommend showing the message related to products and take users back to product specific landing pages. Unlike insurance aggregators, a product on ecommerce platform has one price (if you ignore multiple sellers with different price points). One can innovate on user-level feed by taking shopping cart drop-offs back to shopping cart. But there hasn’t been much of an interest to support these.

Banks: Banks can have mix of product-level feed for new-to-bank user (for products like credit card etc.). In case of existing users, banks can provide user-level feed to recommend a combination of personal loan at specific interest rate and pre-approved amount, along with other products like credit cards at a user level. So yes, banks do have a classic opportunity to use both product level feed for new users and user-level feed for existing users.

Results: When we launched product-level feed for India’s largest insurance aggregator, we realized that the user experience was not the best. How did we measure it? By benchmarking CTR as a metric.

During initial client discussions, we realized that showing random quotes based on a set of inputs was confusing for the user. This is where we innovated and suggested the concept of user-level feed, and the need to maintain the user search state. We subsequently moved from product-level feed to user-level feed which also helped us in:

1.     Storing user-specific landing pages

2.     Taking users to quote landing pages or proposal landing pages (pre-filled with user input details)

3.     Displaying lowest quote or quote selected by the user

The above changes resulted in these impacts:

1.     Improvement in CTR by 2X (benchmarked by comparing default static banners served Vs. customized banners)

2.     Improvement in user-experience and conversions as confirmed the client

Scope for innovation: 

We at Vizury have been able to extent this concept to another level.

Offline data – User-level feed gives us the scope to interact with offline CRM user-level data. We can tap into historical user data to power the brand’s future marketing communication. This concept has been enabled both for insurance and banks. Thus creating a richer user-level targeting, both on internal inventory as well as external inventory like Google, FB etc.

We do not stop here. Another scope is to closely work with brands and their IT teams and help them power user-recommendation intelligence. Since we store user-level landing pages, we can also integrate third-party behavior at a user level, and pass them to the brand through the landing page. We then create internal mapping for each user to understand what they might be potentially interested in.

For example, if we start storing user level feed for an OTA, on banner click we cans pass hotel as an interest to user who searched for flight (hotel recommendation comes on the basis of 3rd party data). OTA’s system can then read this recommendation “hotel”, and after loading flight search result page can display a site notification for a special discount on hotels alongwith the flight bookings. This might just tilt the user to not only purchase flight ticket, but follow-up with a hotel booking as well.

Of-course, this kind of experimentation requires development effort. Both on the brand’s IT team, as well as the platform team.

Way Forward: Now that we have unlocked the world of potential opportunities by understanding the subtle difference between product level and user-level feed, it’s important to design your marketing campaigns keeping this in mind. And reason with your marketing solution provider, if the same makes sense and is possible.

I would love to answer any specific questions that you might have around using the right kind of feed and improving your marketing effectiveness. You can reach me at 


Growth recipes for Banks – Personalizing User Experience of Existing customers

Consumer behaviour has gone through a massive change in the past few years. The growing access to internet and the surge of smartphones have led to the inevitable transition to digital, especially in the banking industry. Banks are aggressively looking to grow the digital share of their business.

Every bank’s growth is driven by 2 key aspects,

  • Acquiring New To Bank (NTB) customers and
  • Engaging existing customers

It would be a crime not to personalize the experience of existing customers with the Next Best Action (NBA) across channels. Make the best use of your owned channels (website, email) before venturing into paid avenues (display, social).

Ensure a consistent experience across all digital touchpoints. Engage your customer with relevant upsell/cross-sell offers to boost retention and generate incremental revenue.

The first part of this guide spoke about personalizing user experience for New-To-Bank users based on website clickstream data and 3rd party taxonomy data. The second part will talk about user personalization for existing customers with the tons of offline CRM data and website behaviour data available at a bank’s disposal.

Before even getting into discussing growth recipes, it is critical for a bank to be able to identify existing customers among the pool of website visitors and then treat them differently.

Download the guide to get your hands on 10 unique ‘growth recipes’ as we call them to help you maximize the digital share of your business.

Write to us at for any thoughts or questions.

Three Omnichannel Trends At eTail East 2016

Retail has always been a game of high-stakes, and only those with the right combination of nerve, strategy and the all-important chip-stack find themselves at the table for more than a couple of rounds.

In 2016 the stakes are higher than ever, and the game is constantly changing and evolving. On the cards now is omnichannel retail – fast-paced, highly competitive and, for those that know what they’re doing, highly rewarding.

Keeping ahead of the curve is the only way to stay in the game in 2016. And that’s why Vizury is sponsoring eTail East 2016 – the number one event for ecommerce multi- and omnichannel innovators.


We’re very excited to be participating this year. As we see it, there are three major trends that are shaping the omnichannel game in 2016, and all – plus many others – are being addressed by the all-star keynotes at the conference this year.   

Here’s just a snippet of what you can expect.

Trend #1 – Much More Mobile To Come

We’re almost beyond the point where we can call the emergence of mobile retail and marketing a ‘trend’ any longer – it’s quite simply a transformation. And with such saturation, it is more important than ever to keep up with how consumers are using their devices to research and shop both in and out of store – especially as these devices become increasingly location-aware.  

Speakers drilling down into the ongoing mobile phenomenon include:

Trend #2 – Turning Social Into Sales

Whilst the vast majority of purchases still occur in-store, the power of shareable social media content – and particularly video – is still proving to be the driving force behind brand awareness online. But what can retailers do to turn their content from a bit of internet buzz into actual sales, both in-store and out?

Trend #3 – Customer Centricity

Putting the customer experience at the centre of your strategy is not a new concept. However, in the modern world of omnichannel retail, the opportunity to hone these strategies to ever-finer points and begin targeting customers on a micro -level is here. The question, however, is how? How do retailers leverage consumer data and available technology to continue to improve the customer experience across all channels?

Thoryn Stephens speaks on The Future Of Retail And The Convergence Of Customer Centricity, IoT And Omnichannel.

And Gary Mceldowney is on the case of Efficiently Moving Customers Through The Conversion Tunnel To Drive Repeat Purchases, and will also be Taking A Close Look At New Product Ad Channels: What Works And What Doesn’t.

Looking Forward To Seeing You There! 

These discussions form just the tip of the iceberg of what you can expect at eTail East 2016.

The conference is taking place in Boston between August 15th and 18th and is sure to be a buzz. Jam-packed with as much information and networking as fun and entertainment, we hope you can join us in the future of omnichannel at this spectacular event.

Find out more and register for the event at eTail.

We are setting up camp at TT4 by the foyer. Drop in to experience Engage Commerce, the world’s first Growth Marketing Platform for Commerce brands anytime during Aug 15-17.



Digital Marketing 3.0  – Why Marketers Need a ‘Growth Marketing’ Platform

Digital marketing has seen two big waves in the last two decades. The first wave, from mid nineties to the first half of 2000s, was dominated by martech systems like email, websites and SMS and used mainly for CRM marketing.

The next wave, which is probably nearing its end now, was dominated by ad tech. Programmatic and Real Time Bidding technologies exploded. The latter half of this wave also saw the rapid dominance of mobile as a channel, especially in developing markets that chose to skip desktops altogether to access the internet.

What are marketers faced with as a result of these two waves? A marketing stack that’s very fragmented, where systems often don’t talk to each other or where the integrations are superficial at best.

It’s no surprise the most marketers we talk to just want a massive simplification that allows them to regain control over user experience and focus on revenue generation.


Many enterprises that are serious about digital now have a dedicated function for e-commerce or digital acquisition. In some cases, interestingly, this function is called “Growth”. Growth Marketing implies that the function is responsible for driving revenue growth – through acquisitions and through retentions leading to upsell/cross sell. And a growth marketer often has different priorities and expectations from their marketing stack. These are:

  • Measurable and rapid RoI on marketing investments
  • Consistent and highly personalized cross channel user experience
  • Managing digital data velocity and volume with machine learning

At Vizury, we strongly believe that the only way to achieve this is through an atomic tightly integrated marketing stack that is geared towards growth. So what exactly are the key architectural elements of a growth marketing platform?

  1. A universal user identifier technology at its heart – which is able to connect a user across channels.
  2. Algorithms that drive decisions or aid decision making and reduce the need to generate and maintain “rule based segments”.
  3. Simple intuitive features that let the marketer focus on the message experience.
  4. Industry specific features that demonstrate a deep understanding of growth marketing requirements for a specific vertical.
  5. A connected and comprehensive set of channels that intelligently orchestrate to drive results.

This does not mean marketers have to give up platforms that they have been using for years. We believe these systems have traditionally been used for “transactional CRM”. E.g. “You just spent $XXX on your card” or “Here’s your monthly loyalty statement”. And they will continue to find usage while growth marketing would develop as a separate and parallel stack.

So that’s what the next wave looks like in digital marketing. A growth focused stack where ad tech and mar tech converge, where data and channels are woven together seamlessly and one that uses prediction and personalization at its core.

[Video Blog] Growth Hacks: Daily Use Tips for your Mobile Apps

The role of an Ecommerce marketer has progressed beyond the bounds of traditional campaigns and they’re now looking beyond website traffic and app installs. As marketers begin to look at growing customer engagement and retention, even conversions in most cases there is a constant need to look at innovative marketing tools and techniques in order to achieve marketing goals. Here’s a presentation by Deepak Abbot around growth hack and daily tips that mobile app marketers could use.  Deepak presented this at the UnPluggd event in Bangalore.

Also, here’s the video of the above presentation at Unpluggd in Bangalore.


Should mobile apps cut down on choice overload?

Conventional wisdom has always maintained that the more choices or features you offer your customer, the happier he/she is and therefore more likely to love and use your app. Right? Surely this is pretty much straightforward?

Turns out it’s actually not. Sometimes, there’s quite a good chance you’re simply confusing, or worse, overwhelming your user by cramming loads of options into a tiny app, leaving him less likely to go ahead and perform the actions within the app that you want him to. Display advertising done wrong.

Innumerable choices are great when you want to make an impression, but may not necessarily result in solid conversions.

A classic demonstration

This interesting experiment lends some real credibility to the argument put forward above. A few years back, a couple of researchers put up two jam stalls, with a slight difference. The first offered 24 different flavors you could sample and eventually buy, while the second exhibited only 6. The result? While more people stopped to browse at the table with more choices, only a mere 3% went on to make a purchase. In sharp contrast, 30% of the ones who stopped at stall 2 went on to buy a jar of jam.

While this study may not have necessarily taken other psychological aspects into account, it is fair to imply that plain confusion was one of the major turnoffs for the shoppers in scenario 1. We might even reasonably infer that with a more optimum quantity of choices, people tend to pursue a particular choice with more vigor, since it makes it easier to eliminate the ones they definitely know they don’t want.

                                                                   Image source :

App notifications need a focal point

Let’s extend this argument to the re-targeting ads that an e commerce app typically displays. I recently used an advertising app to buy a second hand laptop, and narrowed it down to a couple of choices. But the cluttered homepage kept pinging me with more choices than I could handle. Five new ads would pop up each time I clicked on one, almost as if the app was flaunting its options, making me hold out a bit longer each time in the hope that I could find a better deal. I still haven’t bought the laptop.

This is a classic example of in-app features and ad pop ups done wrong, ending up having the opposite effect of what it intends to do.

Take push notifications for example. An app that wants to send out notifications about a big sale has two choices. The obvious one is to send out a generic sale banner Push, talking about all the products the sale covers, but this is a haphazard cluttered approach. Worse, it means the push has nothing particularly relevant to talk to them about, and will most likely go unseen.
Hiding in plain sight

A push that goes unnoticed is even worse than a badly timed one that infuriates the user, or even one with irrelevant or non personalized content. But, that is exactly the kind of risk you’re running if your pushes contain too much information.

Too much information is as bad as no information, and you effectively have nothing specific to hold the user’s attention in the two seconds in which he/she ponders whether to swipe away this spammy notification.

Customers are so used to hyper-personalization that anything less will probably be ignored. And isn’t narrowing down the choices the whole point of personalization? Using previous user history to personalize the Push can help narrow down on the product most likely to tempt that particular user to notice it. Highlight that on the message and you’ve got your man. Hook line and sinker.


Know your user

While this may admittedly be easier for users who have carted certain products, the ones who have dropped off your home or product view is a different story. Here, it is recommended that you build user personas and map them with look alikes in order to categorize these users better and craft product-specific pushes to send their way.

‘Limit your choices’ is the first thumb rule to keep in mind here. It aims to draw the users’ attention to the aspects that are most relevant, and prevents overwhelming them with too many complex choices. The most intelligent apps strike a perfect chord in targeting their users, displaying only the most applicable choices in plain sight, subconsciously almost guiding the user to the end action by manufacturing interest in the ad.

What do you think? Can too many choices be overwhelming, or just plain beneficial? Write to us at with your thoughts.