5 Things We Learnt from Hitwise…

5 Things We Learnt from Hitwise Summer Summit

Hitwise held its first Annual Summer Summit in June, where we discussed all things digital marketing and ecommerce. We had some fantastic presentations and panels on how to (and how not to) segment your customers in today’s online landscape.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch the Summit, here are some of our top takeaways:

1. As marketers, we don’t think like mass-market Britain, and we don’t even realise it.

In an industry where we are supposed to understand our customers inside-out, Andrew Tenzer from Trinity Mirror proved how advertisers think differently to the majority of people, and the kicker was… we don’t even know it.

Take one example from his research. An agency sample was asked to estimate the values of the mainstream public, and the results couldn’t be further from reality. The sample overestimated people’s focus on power and hedonism, and underestimated values of universalism and benevolence.

This disconnect has significant ramifications on how we build our marketing campaigns. The main learning – don’t assume and be consciously aware of our key differences as marketers.


2. Millennials aren’t the only generation obsessed with avocados.

Millennials have a bad rap as the “me-first” generation. They are disloyal and lazy, and according to Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner, spend more money on avocado toast, instead of saving for a house.

Sophie Coley and Jim Kirby from Propellernet disproved this generational myth, along with other long-held misconceptions. They also showed that cruises aren’t only for old people, “share of voice” isn’t the most powerful engagement metric, and branded content can compete with pure editorial content.

Their key learning – a rich understanding of audiences, based on data and context, are critical to delivering impactful marketing.

3. If we only look at demographics, Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne would be the same on paper.

Both are male, British, born in 1948, well-known, rich and married with children. So, what could go wrong?

Victoria Matherson from Kantar Media outlined the pitfalls of traditional customer segmentation. By defining people through only one lens (i.e. demographics), a marketer could easily assume that people within a group share the same interests. Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne was a great example of how that isn’t the case.

She went on to highlight that attitudinal data brings a wealth of insights, and combined with Hitwise data, allows marketers to make precise customer segments.

4. Your largest audience isn’t always your most loyal and engaged.

We all wished we had more “super customers” – they’re your brand advocates, they spend more with you and they want to return to you. It’s a great aspiration, but how does this translate into data?

Lisa Luu from Hitwise, detailed simple examples of how to do just that. She proved that by looking at metrics, such as number of page views per visits and number of visits per user, your most engaged and loyal audiences aren’t always your largest ones (for more, see our Super Customers report, click here).

This was also the key theme of Hitwise’s panel session with Janis Thomas from Birchbox , Joshua Haddon from Specsavers , Krishan Kara from Marks & Spencer , Mai Fenton from My Unidays , Francisco Pacheco from Haymarket and Maria Jones from TUI .

With experts from different arms of retail, travel and publishing, we were treated to some great debate on the role of customer loyalty. Whilst there were some differing opinions (Amazon Prime is a threat or opportunity as a point of contention!), the main consensus was clear – personalisation is key to the future.

5. With divorce parties and “graddy annexes”, life stages are becoming more malleable than ever before.

To wrap up the summit, Hannah Callaghan and Lore Oxford from Canvas 8 , got us reflecting on how life stages and life choices have changed.

Markers of progression – such as getting married, having children and even retiring – have become optional touchpoints. Gen Zers are being raised by their grandparents. Gen Yers are living in ‘graddy annexes’ with their Boomer parents. So, how have brands adapted?

Ikea was a great example. Whilst most brands would shy away from talking about life after marriage, Ikea tackled the taboo topic of divorce head-on in its “Where Life Happens” campaign.

Their main takeaway – traditional segments like generational marketing aren’t dead. Instead, these act as a starting point. Brands need to get creative by micro-segmenting people through deeper layers, such as attitudes, online and offline behaviours.


To download the presentations from the day’s event, click here.

Want to know the winners of Hitwise’s Digital Innovation Awards? Click here.

Understand your audience better – learn about consumer insights today.

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