Retail Marketers Must Shift Focus to Cyber Monday, Online Channels during 2015 Holiday Season

By Jasmin Bhukkarat

The busy holiday shopping season presents lots of challenges and opportunities for mobile retail marketers. The 2015 season, in fact, is predicted to bring in $886 billion in total retail sales, according to eMarketer, with Deloitte’s 30th annual holiday survey noting that omnichannel shoppers (web, mobile and in-store) plan to spend 75% more than store-only shoppers.

As OtherLevels CEO Ramsey Masri notes in a Nov. 25 guest article in Martech Advisor, an online publication for marketing technology professionals, marketers must prepared to connect with this year’s holiday shoppers across all digital channels: email, mobile, desktop and web.

He points out that even as they shop online, today’s customers are multi-tasking by checking email, engaging in social media activities, and browsing apps and messages on their smartphones – all in search of the perfect gift or promotion.

“All of that activity creates a perfect messaging opportunity for marketers,” Masri writes. “Marketers can be ideally poised to deliver the deals, gifts and promotions directly to 2015 consumers if the necessary data, platforms and delivery solutions are in place to reach them across all of the channels on which they are actively searching, shopping and buying.”

Holiday content? Gift-wrap it!
He notes that “gift-wrapped” holiday content – themed offers, targeted promotions, exclusive web-only deals and helpful holiday reminders – can deepen engagement and boost sales during an already busy retail season.

He reiterates themes from our recent 2015 Retail Mobile Messaging Study, including:

The utility of holiday-themed content, which creates more engagement and activity among shoppers who receive it. This can include info about holiday specials, holiday promotions or reminders to purchase special ingredients for favorite holiday recipes. Holiday-themed content “meets the foundational criteria for effective mobile marketing – personalized, relevant and timely,” he adds.

Well-crafted and well-timed messages can boost lift by 28% and increase engagement up to 22%, while relevant content can bolster shoppers’ views and clicks by 19%.

As Masri notes: “As consumers’ holiday focus shifts from in-store experiences to the online environment, marketers need to follow their activity trails and make sure that marketing messages match shoppers’ behaviors and arrive in a targeted, timely fashion in shoppers’ varied avenues of communication.”

What’s your retail strategy for holiday messaging to your shoppers in 2015? With a full month remaining until Christmas, there’s still time to tweak campaigns so that they’re focused on success.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , With: digital marketing, Engagement, Marketing Techniques, Mobile Marketing, Personalization, Retail

UK Retailers: Are You Prepared for the 2015 Holiday Versions of Black Friday & Cyber Monday…and the £1Billion Estimated to Materialize?

By Ramsey Masri

The U.S. shopping phenomena known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are spreading their influence across the big pond, challenging UK retailers to put a personalized holiday spin on their marketing plans and messages.

2015, in fact, is estimated to be the year that Black Friday sales in the UK top £1 billion, with up to 30% of UK shoppers participating in the shopping extravaganza, compared with 8% in 2014. Increased interest among UK shoppers for holiday-specific sales comes at a time when UK retailers also notice that more and more of their online traffic is coming from the mobile environment.

I take a look at holiday mobile marketing trends for UK retailers in an Oct. 28 article in Digital Marketing Magazine, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a (Mobile Shopping) Holiday Season.” The article serves as a prime opportunity to reinforce OtherLevels principles about the roles played by message content, frequency, relevance, targeting and personalization to boost sales, engagement and shopping activities.

Those key topics are covered in our recent 2015 Retail Mobile Messaging Study. One of the relevant findings from that study, in fact, was the “stickiness” of holiday content. Mobile messages and content that reminded customers and shoppers about holiday recipes or holiday ingredients, for example, tended to generate higher levels of interaction and activity. They met key points that are often emphasized as critical for mobile marketing success: personal, timely and relevant.

The Digital Marketing Magazine article also highlights several marketing watch-outs for holiday marketers as they plan and launch mobile marketing campaigns. To quote from the article:

First, make sure all mobile apps are well-tested before they’re launched. The last thing holiday shoppers want to encounter are glitches or errors, especially if they interfere with what’s supposed to be a pleasant shopping experience.

And avoid over-messaging mobile customers. More frequent messages are effective, to a point. But if messages are too frequent, ill-targeted or poorly timed, customers and app users are more likely to perceive them as intrusive or irrelevant, and they might tune out altogether by ignoring the message or deleting the app entirely.

And one more piece of advice: Happy shopping!

Filed Under: Tags: , , , , , , With: Mobile Marketing, Personalization

Newest Marketing Innovation from OtherLevels Involves Intelligent Messaging to Help Marketers Maximize & Personal Every Customer Interaction

By Ramsey Masri

Every customer, every campaign, every message – these three factors take center stage in OtherLevels’ roll-out this week of new proprietary Intelligent Messaging capabilities in our marketing automation platform.

Today’s customers and gamers interact with brands and apps in a variety of communication channels, and our new Intelligent Messaging approach automatically decides in real time the best time, day, device and channel for every message to every customer.

Beyond the standard text messages and alerts of many mobile marketing campaigns, OtherLevels clients can now layer the Intelligent Messaging capability across a variety of message types:

  • Email
  • Push
  • In-app
  • Interstitials (pop-ups)
  • Rich Inbox
  • Browser push
  • Geo-regional
  • Beacon


Our platform also supports messages and message formats across app, desktop and mobile web channels.

Proprietary OtherLevels algorithm
Intelligent Messaging is made possible by a proprietary OtherLevels algorithm that uses historical user data and campaign data to predict which message to send next. Intelligent Messaging, in effect, removes much of the guesswork that marketers encounter when deciding which campaigns, which messages and which content will be most likely to attract attention, encourage engagement, and boost activity and revenues.

Intelligent Messaging connects the dots between numerous data points, preferences and activities to help marketers answer those questions and deliver the best messages in real time.

Is this app user a first-time client or veteran user? Has the customer opened a previous message? Is a mobile gamer ready to reach a higher status level? Should a lapsed user be invited to return and engage, and if so, which message will be most appropriate, based on previous activity or preferences?

The Intelligent Messaging algorithm can combine and analyze data across a variety of factors, filters, preferences and activities on its path to determining the right message to the right customer at the right time.

Enhanced Marketing, Measurable ROI
The goal, of course, is to improve the effectiveness of all messaging campaigns and formats. Marketers, even those with minimal technical skills, can use the enhanced platform to segment, target and re-target users; split-test messages; and track engagement and user behavior.

Buoyed by the ability to link revenue to specific messages, interactions and campaigns, marketers also gain the newfound ability to justify their marketing budgets by providing return-on-investment (ROI) metrics for every campaign.  They can also incorporate other data types, including CRM data, point-of-sale information, emails, text messages and more, to build smarter mobile campaigns.

OtherLevels is proud to contribute to the innovation and technology solutions that are taking mobile marketing and messaging to the next level. Find out more from our press release.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , , , With: Engagement, Marketing Techniques, Mobile Marketing, Otherlevels


By Ramsey Masri

OtherLevels is on the move – figuratively and literally. We’re growing, hiring and signing new clients, and we’ve accommodated our growth by moving our UK office to a larger location at 113 Shoreditch High Street, in Inner London’s Shoreditch District.

The new office is in an area described by Digiday in 2014 as “the creative hotbed of London.” We’re excited to take advantage of the energy that emerges in a growing, vibrant area populated by creative firms, technology companies, entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups.

Just as we’re breaking ground with marketers around multi-channel mobile messaging, we’re breaking in a new office, ready for the growth that’s coming our way. If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop on by, or visit us online at

Filed Under: Tags: , With: blog, digital marketing, Gaming Intelligence, Otherlevels, Shoreditch

VentureBeat Highlights the “More Messages, More Engagement” Findings of OtherLevels’ 2015 Retail Messaging Study

By Ramsey Masri

As consumers’ shopping and buying shifts from the physical to mobile marketplace, marketers are often left wondering how to reach their smartphone- and tablet-enabled customers with the most impact. When should they send mobile messages? How frequently? What types of content are most effective at eliciting engagement, purchase and brand interactions?

VentureBeat, a global publication that specializes in technology innovation, featured my guest column about the findings from our 2015 Retail Mobile Messaging Study. The column hammered home a simple but powerful message from the report: more messages sell more products and lead to more customer-brand engagement.

It might be a counterintuitive finding among marketers who think that consumers are overly wary about receiving intrusive or spam-like messages delivered to their very personal smartphones.

But VentureBeat was interested in our findings because we showed that users who received “heavy” messages (about three per weekend) engaged with a brand 14% more often than consumers who received only one weekend message. Likewise, users who received more messages also engaged 22% more frequently with a brand’s app than consumers who received no messages.

In the mobile marketing world, “out of sight – out of mind” is a working concept, based on these findings from a pilot project OtherLevels conducted with a retail client during the 2014 holiday season.

In essence, consumers who received messages that are timely and relevant – alerts and reminders that keep them updated about holiday items, favorite holiday recipes or offered holiday-related promotions – engaged with brands and products more frequently than those who did not receive messages.

These are important findings, given predictions from Gartner analysts that 50% of commerce will be conducted in the mobile environment by 2017. The full 2015 Retail Mobile Messaging study is available for download, and we hope marketers will take a look at these and other findings to see how they can improve the effectiveness, engagement levels and successes of their mobile marketing campaigns.

Tactics and strategies built on content, targeting, retargeting, message testing and relevance can make a difference in how customers interact with brands, and those interactions are critical to a retailers’ bottom line.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , , With: Engagement, Mobile Marketing, News, Retail