The Past and Future of Ride-Sharing w/ Melissa Waters, VP of Marketing at Lyft

BrandKnew_Episode_2b

Brand Knew is a new bi-monthly podcast featuring interviews with marketing leaders of major national brands. Hosted by Austin Moorhead, the podcast will dive into how consumers are changing and what brand leaders are doing about it. Survata is proud to be the initial sponsor – check out their second episode below and be sure to subscribe for future episodes with marketing thought leaders.

—-

Brand Knew Ep. #2: The Past and Future of Ride-Sharing w/ Melissa Waters, VP of Marketing at Lyft

In 2017, Lyft expanded coverage in the United States from 54% of the population to 95% of the population. They also added their first international market, Canada. Along the way, the brand was updated. The pink mustaches are gone, but the friendliness is still there. Even with this growth, only 0.4% of miles driven in the US are ride-sharing miles, so there’s still plenty of open road ahead.

Self-driving cars are here. Lyft demonstrated their technology at CES this year. So what happens to the 300,000+ Lyft drivers when the cars can drive themselves?

On this episode of Brand Knew, listen to Melissa Waters, Lyft’s VP of Marketing, discuss how the brand has evolved with the changing ride-sharing market, and what’s going to become of all those those drivers.

Edited excerpts below:

Are you essentially managing two brands at Lyft? One for riders and one for drivers?

Our core brand opportunity is to ensure that we continue to take care of our drivers. What we found is that by taking care of drivers they took care of passengers. So this great flywheel happens: we take care of drivers, they take care of passengers, they provide a great experience, and then passengers say, “Wow, I loved my driver.” Technically we manage two audiences, but really we are one brand. We think about our brand in the intersection of the ride experience: two people getting into a car together.

How do you maintain a unique brand position when your competitors (i.e., Uber) start to emulate you?

I think the best way to do it is to talk about the fact that we’ve been doing it since day one. If we can build awareness of that story, that goes a long way. Our drivers know it. People who are just starting to try us on the passenger side may not know our origin point. They just think of us as “the pink one.” There’s still hurdles to make sure passengers are aware of our origin story, but that feels like a pretty defensible claim. We’ve been here since day one and we’re still operating the same way.

Based on a consumer survey I conducted, about 15% of riders would actually prefer a ride in a self-driving car. How do you manage that looming conflict, between riders who want a driverless car, and drivers who want to keep their jobs?

In a far future vehicle we believe it’s going to be a “car-like object” with multiple people in it, and you can imagine all kinds of situations in which you would need a steward inside that vehicle. You might need to load strollers, assist elderly people or somebody in a wheelchair. A certain amount of road miles will be driven by self-driving vehicles, but others will not be, such as highly dense traffic areas or outside of normal use cases. You’ll need drivers. Then very far afield when the majority of miles are self-driven, there’s still a role for people in vehicles. We think about those vehicles as potentially “the bar car,” “the nail salon on wheels,” all manner of different innovations.

Find Brand Knew Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes and be sure to subscribe.

Survata is Proud to Sponsor the Brand Knew Podcast

Brand Knew is a new bi-monthly podcast featuring interviews with marketing leaders of major national brands. Hosted by Austin Moorhead, the podcast will dive into how consumers are changing and what brand leaders are doing about it. Survata is proud to be the initial sponsor – check out their first episode below and be sure to subscribe for future episodes with marketing thought leaders.

—-

Brand Knew Ep. #1: Discovering Fashion Consumers with Aimee Lapic, former CMO of Banana Republic

In the past five years, online consumer attention has shifted dramatically. In 2012, consumers spent 4.3 hours a day online, with 36% of that on their mobile devices. Today it’s 5.6 hours a day, with 54% on mobile [Source: Mary Meeker Internet Trends] That requires a shift in the marketing strategies of fashion companies, as consumers discover fashion inspiration in new places.

While consumers were changing, so was the competition, with the emergence of subscription model fashion companies such as Stitch Fix and LeTote. These companies try to combat high return rates by predicting what their customers will decide to keep – an approach that may eventually be their undoing.

On this episode of the Brand Knew podcast, Aimée Lapic reveals how she responded to these challenges as CMO of Banana Republic, and provides perspective on the challenges facing the new model fashion companies. Excerpts of Aimée’s interview below:

On the Banana Republic customer:

“I found out that Banana Republic, at the time, did not know who their customer was. They thought that the customer really was looking to Banana for fashion guidance and advice and inspiration. And instead the customer had moved beyond that and was more about expressing themselves through fashion. They were very self-confident people. They did not dress for one occasion versus another – they dress to accentuate their personalities and what they were looking for in a brand such as Banana Republic is a partner in that.”

On the shift from traditional advertising to digital:

“When I inherited the role about 80% of our media was focused on what I call traditional media, print magazines out-of-home advertising, even radio. And quickly I changed that structure to be 90% focused on digital marketing and about 10% focused on still the traditional marketing because that’s where the customer was looking for fashion inspiration. For example, something like 30% of customers at Banana Republic received their inspiration from social media websites.”

On which fashion companies are winning ecommerce:

“I do think there are smaller companies that are willing to take risks in how they go to market and how they meet customer needs that seem to be winning. For example, like a Stitch Fix. According to public information they are close to a billion dollars now in sales which is a super-fast growth rate. I think what makes them win in this ecommerce space is the idea that they’ve taken the risk out of not being able to try on clothes having easy returns for different customers. They’ve put a lot of focus on the data algorithm that allows them to really understand what customers need in terms of fit and styling and types of clothes they like over time.”

On the challenges of a Stitch Fix or LeTote:

“I frankly think the biggest issue for the subscription based businesses over time is retention of customers. The reason the customers are signing up for a Le Tote or a Stitch Fix is because they want to try new things. They want new things in their closet without a lot of risk. Over time, does Stich Fix or LeTote represent new things anymore or does it become part of what their norm is? I think the reason people are attracted to them in terms of innovation may be their undoing over time unless they can continue to keep it really new and different.”

Join us for our next episode where we will be talking to Melissa Waters, VP of Marketing at Lyft, about the past and future of ride-sharing.

Find Brand Knew Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes and be sure to subscribe.

Survata Ad Study Shows Platform Weakness with Young Consumers

As covered by MediaPost and Marketing Dive, Survata recently released a study showing which ad platforms rank highly for trust, relevancy, buying, and discovery by consumers.

Digital advertising is one of the hottest markets across any vertical in the world, and is one of – if not the – best ways that brands large and small connect with consumers. However, at the same time, 2017 has proven that the market also is undergoing significant volatility in the news. From Facebook to YouTube to Google to Twitter, hardly any has been immune, and the others have faced questions about their advertising potential.

Market and Ad Research firm Survata wanted to know where and how consumers put their trust and faith in the major ad platforms. So, Survata had 1,000 consumers – broken out equally among age groups – evaluate the top ad platforms Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest against each other in arguably the most important measure of “trust” along with four other key advertising categories. The categories included:

    1. Trust: Which platform are consumers most likely to trust?

    2. Experience: Which platform provides the most natural ad experience?

    3. Relevance: Which platform presents the most relevant ads?

    4. Commerce: Which platform are consumers most likely to buy something through an ad?

    5. Discovery: Which platform’s ads help them discover businesses that they wouldn’t otherwise?

Google and Facebook assuredly flexed their muscles in each category, but the study found that the youngest adult buyers gave significantly less favor to both – especially Facebook. Trust was not the social behemoths strong point. Google bested Facebook for most trusted overall by a reasonable margin, but data from the youngest group (18-24) showed that Facebook dropped precipitously in “trust” to its lowest ranking in any category or age group at fourth.

In fact, in every category, the youngest group was around half as likely to select Facebook compared to all other age groups. The drop off even seemed isolated to the this up-and-coming demographic, as it was the only age group that was dramatically different for Facebook compared to the other groups. The next-youngest age group (25-34) generally fell in line with the overall rankings, which signals that Generation Z not only presents a challenge for the duopoly, but also an opportunity for others.

THE FINDINGS
Ages 18-24 vs. Ages 25 and up

TRUST

BEST AD EXPERIENCE

MOST RELEVANT ADS

COMMERCE

DISCOVERY

The full findings were not all bad omens for Facebook and Google, though. Generally, the platforms that usually picked up the slack among the youngest demographic were Instagram and YouTube, subsidiaries of the formers respectively.

Other Insightful Findings:

    1. While relatively new to the ad game, Snapchat saw its best performance among the youngest age group. Its best-performing category by a wide margin was among 18-24-year-olds who named it as the most natural ad experience (14 percent).
    2. As previously noted, the 25-34 age group slightly favored Facebook. Facebook won every single category (even those that Google performed better), except for experience which went to Google.
    4. Instagram’s favor dropped precipitously after age 44.
    5. While it was expected that discovery and commerce were to be most closely linked, and the same for relevancy and trust, it was exactly opposite. The platform most likely to promote buying was surprisingly aligned with most likely to be trusted, and the converse was true for discovering new businesses and relevancy. Best ad experience was the outlier, as it was also the most competitive overall.

To learn more about Survata’s Ad Research solutions, please contact us.

How Survata Clients are Shaping Markets

You read them in your daily life. You react to them to define your strategies. You use them to make your business case to customers in almost every marketing and sales effort. And, you may not even know that Survata was powering them.

Statistics powered by surveys are shaping and mapping business for every single market – whether it’s consumer or B2B. Survata is a leader in survey-powered thought-leadership, and many of our clients are driving the narratives.

We want to be your partner to help you seize the conversation. See how Survata clients have made waves in June in their respective industries.

*Public Relations: “Influencers Make Difference in Cause Marketing Campaigns” — O’Dwyer’s PR
Key Stat: 35 percent of adults engage with a cause because of an influencer

*Small Biz: “40 percent of small businesses have had cash flow issues within last year” — Small Business Trends

*E-Commerce: “Online Shoppers Deserve Better Than a Duopoly” — Bloomberg Opinion
Key Stat: 55 percent of online shoppers start on Amazon

*Personal Finance: “How Many Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck” — CNBC
Key Stat: 49 percent of Americans are living by each paycheck

Start your own industry-defining study today by clicking here.

Are Snapchat and Instagram Regional Apps? Surprising Stats Reveal the App Each Coast Prefers

From goofy distortive filters to controlled amounts of time people can view photos, Snapchat offers users an outlet for quick and raw photo sharing. Instagram, on the other hand, focuses on perfected images, allowing users to set their desired saturation points, highlights, and sharpness. Additionally, Instagram’s shifted focus to ad-based material creates additional barriers compared to Snapchat’s selective and avoidable ad-capabilities. Survata interviewed users of both apps and asked them to choose which they would keep if they could only continue using one. Overall, 57% of respondents chose Instagram, but when split up by demographic, some results are surprising.

Overall Snap vs. Insta Breakdown

Given millennials’ ever-growing technology usage, assumptions would lead to the conclusion that younger people would move toward Snapchat. However, it looks like older generations feel more dedicated to Snapchat than millennials; 52% of users ages 45-65 say they would rather keep Snapchat if given the choice.

Perhaps millennials are slowing down and beginning to like the ease of peacefully scrolling through their respective feeds. The added memories feature on Snapchat could make it more appealing to older generations, who may prefer to avoid expending energy keeping up with the Facetuned and edited perfection of America’s youth in posts.

Age Preferences

While the overall majority chose Instagram as the frontrunner, the regional breakdown of Snapchat vs. Instagram preference displays an East vs. West disparity. With Snapchat’s hub in LA, and the tech industry centered in Silicon Valley, we were not surprised that the West showed more interest in pursuing this newer app.

Regional Preferences

Interested in measuring your own consumer preferences? Try a Survata survey now and start seeing data today.

Methodology Details
This survey was commissioned by Survata and conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 600 online respondents between July 07, 2016 and July 18, 2016. Respondents were reached across the Survata publisher network, where they take a survey to unlock premium content, like articles and ebooks. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on Survata’s methodology can be found at survata.com/methodology.

Millennial Intent to Cut Cable Doubles

The young continue to cut the cord on cable. By our measurements, 27% of Americans age 18 to 34 don’t pay for cable or satellite TV service, and another 8% intend to join them in the next six months. That’s an accelerating rate, as you can see in the chart below.

survata tracks Airbnb usage

Of those intending to cancel cable/satellite TV, 55% cite the high cost as the reason. What are cord cutters watching? Here are their subscription numbers: Netflix (54%), Amazon Prime (24%), Hulu (19%), and HBO Now (5%).

You can see full results here.

How Many Travelers Consider Using Airbnb?

According to investors, Airbnb is worth $25.5 billion. What? Marriott just agreed to purchase Starwood for half that amount. This seems crazy. Here at Survata, we conduct consumer research. We don’t have a stake in Airbnb’s success, we were just curious: How many people even consider Airbnb when they book travel accommodation? Turns out it’s a small number, but it’s growing fast.1

survata tracks Airbnb usage

Most people who consider Airbnb for personal travel are young: two thirds are age 18 to 34. Hardly any business travelers consider Airbnb when booking business travel. Of the 2,015 respondents across both periods of the survey, only 30 reported considering Airbnb for business travel (1.5%).

55% of Airbnb’s US revenue comes from just 5 markets that hold 30% of active units (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, & Boston). Our data shows a similar over-representation of those five cities for personal travelers: they make up 15% of our respondents but 29% of Airbnb customers. There’s likely a local network effect going on – people hear about their friends hosting on Airbnb, then decide to consider it when they leave town.

You can see full results of our Airbnb tracking survey here.

Footnote
1) One statistical qualifier: the margin of error on personal travelers is 3.2%. Perhaps December was a little low, and March was a little high, and in June this trend won’t seem so alarming!

When Will Americans Give Up Car Ownership?

Based on their most recent investment round, Uber is worth more than Ford. GM just invested $500 million in Lyft. Google’s self-driving car recently crashed into a bus, and in a few years there will be millions of self-driving cars crashing into buses globally.

It got us thinking here at Survata… does anyone even drive anymore? So we’ve been asking consumers about cars. It turns out the vast majority of Americans still own a car, but we’ve found an interesting group: the 45% of American car owners who would be willing to give up car ownership. The implications of this are huge. What could cause it? It differs a bit by age, as you can see in the chart below.

survata tracks ridesharing and self-driving car consumer perceptions

How weird is it that self-driving cars are ahead of ride sharing as a reason to give up car ownership? When people want to be driven around… most prefer that a robot do the driving. Frankly it’s a sensible risk assessment, and anything sensible on this topic is a relief after how many people have lost their minds over Uber.

We expect consumer perception to be an important influence on the politicians and bureaucrats who will decide who self-driving cars should be programmed to kill. We’ll keep our finger on the pulse.

Forbes and Wired Change Consumer Perceptions of Ad Blocking

Forbes and Wired recently tried an experiment. They asked website visitors using ad blocking software to turn it off – and denied them access if they refused. This was a risky move for a few reasons.

1) The media coverage of this experiment could increase awareness and usage of ad blocking software (our data does show an uptick in consumer awareness)
2) They could accidentally serve malware ads to consumers after demanding ad blocking software be turned off (Forbes has been accused of this)
3) They could lose readers (while ad blocking readers don’t generate ad revenue, they contribute to total page views which still matters to some advertisers)

We asked consumers about ad blocking in November last year, and again last month. Ad blocking software usage has stayed steady at about 9% of total American internet users.1 But our data2 shows that Forbes and Wired have likely helped move the needle on an important metric: intent to start using ad blocking software.

survata tracks Netflix's most watched originals

To sum up, though awareness may have ticked up, intent to use dropped significantly. That’s a win for online publishers. Was this a blip or a turning point? Check back with us in May to find out (or add your email address in the box on the right and we’ll send you the next batch of results).

Footnotes:
1. A recent estimate put the US percentage of ad blockers at 15%, though critics have pointed out that the publisher of the data has a vested interest in that number being as high as possible.
2. Chart displays rounded values. The change in “I haven’t used it, but I think I’m going to try it out” is outside the margin of error, i.e., is statistically significant.

We’ve Launched a Netflix Tracker

Which Netflix shows are the most watched? Per their latest letter to investors, Netflix doesn’t plan to tell us.

“We don’t release title‐level ratings as our business model is not dependent on advertising or affiliate fees.”

Which is a shame for us, but logical for Netflix. If the TV networks had a clear picture of viewership, they would be more effective at negotiating licensing deals. If investors could track which big budget Netflix Originals are flops, it could negatively impact the company’s share price. It makes sense for Netflix to hoard this data, and only release the good news.

Well, that’s boring. So we’re tracking monthly viewership of Netflix TV shows. Every month we’ll ask two thousand Netflix subscribers1 which shows they’ve watched in the past 30 days and which Netflix Originals they’re most excited about watching in the future. We’ll see which new shows are hits or flops, and which returning shows build momentum or start to decline.

The chart below displays the top 20 most-watched shows2. See full survey results in a live dashboard.

survata tracks Netflix's most watched originals

Notes on methodology
How do you ask consumers which TV shows they’ve watched on Netflix? It’s deceptively challenging. If we ask the question as free response we rely on unaided recall and introduce typing fatigue bias. Offering a pick list of hundreds of Netflix shows is equally impractical. The list won’t fit on one page (especially on mobile), and we’ve noticed that consumer attention tends to wane beyond eight multiple choice answer options.

We ultimately used both approaches. We started with an open-ended survey asking 668 Netflix subscribers which shows they’ve watched in the past 30 days. After cleaning the data, we had a list of 51 shows licensed by Netflix mentioned by at least four respondents. We then checked this against the “Popular Shows” section on Netflix to make sure we weren’t missing any of those (we weren’t). For the Netflix Originals, we started with Wikipedia, checked Netflix.com again (which totally counts as work) and supplemented with Google searches. We ended up with 24 Netflix Originals in January.

We created our survey using a question format that displays a random list of eight shows to each respondent. Respondents simply check a box next to each show they have seen in the past 30 days. This approach eliminates the biases mentioned above, but reduces the effective sample size for each show. While we survey 2,255 total respondents, each Netflix Original was shown to approximately 751 respondents (2,255 total respondents * (8 randomly selected shows / 24 total shows in list) = 751, which has a 3.6% margin of error). Each licensed show was shown to approximately 353 respondents (2,255 total respondents * (8 randomly selected shows / 51 total shows) = 353, which has a 5.2% margin of error). Due to the smaller effective sample size for each show, the data will be a little noisy from month to month, especially for licensed shows. But that’s fine. We’re interested in the general trends over time.

If you’re in the media business and want more precise data or different questions, create your own survey, or join Survata Pro and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you.

Footnotes
1: We count a subscriber as anyone who has access to Netflix’s streaming service, even if they don’t pay. For January, 69% of our respondents said they pay for the subscription, and 31% use a friend or family member’s subscription.
2: Survey conducted on January 12th, 2016.