Category Archives: Blog


Real-time data and marketing are revolutionizing the way businesses market to customers and prospects. Now at the end of about 50 years of evolution in commerce, we’ve witnessed the obsolescence of a global industry that has grown accustomed to intrusive push marketing via expensive television and radio ads, marquees and static billboards. The specific needs and behaviors of the consumer are what drives successful marketing. Marketing campaigns are shifting towards opt-in formats versus intrusive ads and with greater focus on aligning offers with behaviors, demographics and other consumer characteristics. The more retailers know about their customers and prospects the better they are at selling products that people want. Intelligence is driving the marketing push and is yielding stronger results.

As Black Friday and the peak of the holiday shopping season draw near, it’s expected that total retail sales for November and December will increase by 4.1% over last year to $616.9 Billion. There’s much at stake and retailers are scrambling to execute solutions that work. Real-time offers based on intelligent use of market data is among the most effective and practical strategies for businesses. Here are a few tips on how market intelligence can help retailers break sales record this holiday season.

It Makes Sense to Market to Who You Know

If you know who your prospects are, what they like, what influences their purchase decisions or how they typically respond when presented with particular sets of information, you’ll be more likely to offer products or deals that are best suited for the target audience. Simply put, a targeted approach is much more effective than the “spray and pray” method that a vast majority of retailers employ.

For retail Ecommerce sites, conversion rates have historically been in the low single digits ranges resulting from a range traditional marketing approaches that in many instances make assumptions regarding customer behavior and how each segment is expected to respond.

Intelligence and intimate knowledge of consumers allow for the creation of highly customized offers. This enables retailers to steer the right customers to the right products, at the right time, the right price and in the best channel. One powerful example of intelligence in action is Microsoft’s success with email offers for its search engine, Bing. Advanced analytics software analyzed users’ clickstream, location, age and other historical online activity along with data on responses from other customers to create ads that were so precisely targeted to their audience that they increased conversion rates by as much as 70%. That’s a dream for any campaigns average retailers could ever execute. This is intelligence based marketing in action and shows why knowing your customer is the best starting point.

Know Your Markets

There’s no excuse for being in the dark where market knowledge is concerned. In addition to your own observations and data collection efforts, Google provides deep insight into market conditions that will essentially help you formulate your sales strategy.

Black Friday has turned into a month-long shopping event with retailers pushing deals and offers as early as Halloween. The image below highlights some of the most active days for shopping and consumer product search activity. Knowing in advance when shoppers’ interests and search activities peak will not only help retailers develop effective SEO and search engine marketing campaigns but will also aid in inventory management and sourcing as they prepare for the rush.

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Knowledge of your market aligns closely with assessing and anticipating customer behavior and will be a vital part of your sales strategy.

Now is the Best Time to Make a Sale

The best time to acquire new customers and close sales is when the customer is interacting with your brand and business and is engaged with what you have to say. Real-time marketing affords retailers the ability to use current data on customer preferences and behavior to make offers most relevant to them at that point in time. This approach, used instead of retargeting when the prospect has already abandoned their cart or left the site to never visit again until they see another ad off-site, produces better results based on the fact that closing takes place during engagement and not after when interest is lost.

For example, Target launched a “pregnancy predictor” experiment in 2012 to predict which of their shoppers were likely pregnant based on their current and historical purchasing history. Essentially, Target identified 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed them to assign a “pregnancy prediction” score to each user. One example given of a woman who, “…in March bought cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. There’s, say, an 87 percent chance that she’s pregnant and that her delivery date is sometime in late August.” While many would consider this a somewhat creepy experiment based on the subject matter, it demonstrated the potential of better customer intelligence to drive sales. With this knowledge, Target’s ability to show this consumer a targeted offer in real-time will likely result in a marked uptick in sales and average order value, while she is still searching and engaging the site.

Executing Your Real-time Strategy

The democratization of big data has allowed even smaller retailers to gain deeper insight into what makes their customers tick. Fanplayr has dedicated a great deal of resources building a service that allows any business to affordably gain access to this deep knowledge without the need to invest in enterprise-grade infrastructure to mine and dissect customer data. Therefore, aligning market intelligence with your real-time marketing efforts will not be a labor intensive exercise but will rely on systems built to crunch the numbers and present results based on your goals.

Once you’re ready to execute, be sure to begin with knowing your customer, directing your energy to understanding what they want; not treating them as statistics, but instead laying the foundation for establishing stronger relationships to serve them better.

Want to learn how your business can increase conversions through smarter targeting, visitor behavioral intelligence and real-time offers? Request a free demo of our service and we’d be happy to get you on board.

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And the preparation you’ve done all year is about to be put to the test. Your competitors are prepared too, so what will incentivize your visitors to buy from you and not from the other guys? At Fanplayr, that’s all we think about, all year long.


We offer an inside glimpse of some strategies Fanplayr is deploying.   To start off our series, we’ll talk about segmenting on Time Since Add to Cart.


Here at Fanplayr, we’ve often thought of exit-intent popups as the eCommerce equivalent of a used car salesman chasing you off the lot.


In eCommerce, those customers have often already bought from your competitor on an adjacent tab.   Wouldn’t it be better to make offers to site visitors before this point?  Offers that show that you’re more tuned into your buyers’ interests?


Using our Analyze-Segment-Target approach, Fanplayr gauges the age of a cart in realtime, tracking either FIRST or MOST RECENT add, and compares that with your site averages.   Visitors with stale carts can be targeted to receive a realtime, relevant purchase incentive that moves them to conversion.



Then target just that customer with the right offer – and get the conversion.


Time Since Add to Cart is one of THIRTY attributes that you can use to segment your traffic – contact us to learn more, and give your holiday sales an extra boost!

eCommerce merchants put a lot of time, money, and effort into driving traffic to their online storefronts. This traffic comes from channels like organic search, AdWords, social media, and email newsletters, to name a few. Another widely used strategy to drive relevant traffic is to buy ad space on an affiliate publisher’s site. But, like any other marketing initiative, how do you make sure you get the most bang for your buck when purchasing affiliate network traffic?


Zanox, our newest affiliate network partner, brought us in to help its advertisers answer this difficult question. Founded in 2000, Zanox is one of the biggest affiliate players worldwide, and has the largest European performance-advertising network with over 4,300 advertisers buying traffic from its ever-increasing publisher network.


In a traditional affiliate network relationship between publisher and advertiser, a visitor’s journey from visit-to-purchase will look like this:

AFN - Fanplayr - how does it work

By injecting Fanplayr into the above process, advertisers can optimize their investments in affiliate traffic by increasing conversation rates, improving average order values, and understanding drill down analytics across key performance indicators such as Net Revenue per Visit.


The underlying benefit behind this relationship is a fairly simple:

1)   Zanox helps eCommerce advertisers drive relevant traffic to their respective sites from their publisher network.

2)   Fanplayr can segment this affiliate traffic to earn the merchant higher conversion rates and average order values.


By analyzing the traffic coming from publishers, Fanplayr uses a smart algorithm to figure out the intent of a given visitor. Once on the advertiser’s site, we enable the merchant to target specific visitors in real-time, serve up relevant offers that appeal to this intent, which make visitors much more likely to convert. The tool also increases site-wide average order value by incentivizing people to add more products to their cart through targeted upsells.


We look forward to continuing to work with Zanox on improving its advertisers’ shopping experiences and affiliate network traffic performance!

Happy Fanplayr - Zanox Teams

Happy team members from the Milan branches of Fanplayr and Zanox


Interested in optimizing affiliate network traffic performance? Please leave a comment below!


Written by Fanplayr Account Manager, Zach Feinberg


LinkedIn: Zach Feinberg

Twitter: @thefeinberg

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The digital marketing space is a busy one, which is why leading digital marketing agencies like 3Q Digital are constantly on the lookout for cutting-edge technology that can help their customers’ online businesses grow. 3Q Digital has a proven track record of success across a number of key verticals – B2B, lead gen, EDU, private sale, as well as eCommerce. For eCommerce specifically, marquee brands such as GoPro, EA, Skull Candy, and Warby Parker put their trust in 3Q to vet & provide only those best-in-class marketing solutions, and we’re happy to join the mix.


3Q Digital has always specialized in SEO, SEM, social, display, mobile, design, and video, but with Fanplayr, 3Q is now equipping its eCommerce clientele with the ability to deliver real-time, targeted purchase incentives to specific segments of visitor traffic. Making the most out of visitor traffic by driving more online conversions at higher average order values is an area of interest for every online store, but the immediate value-add of our functionality is just the beginning.


With the Fanplayr platform, 3Q can help its customer-base better understand exactly how marketing initiatives are leading to a lift in their bottom lines. For example, our analytics package makes key metrics such as Net Revenue per Visit visible to the eTailer – an important KPI as online traffic becomes more and more expensive to attain. Moreover, with an in-depth visitor segmentation engine, 3Q customers can see how specific visitor cohorts, search terms, and traffic sources (e.g. organic search, AdWords, affiliate networks) are performing. The Fanplayr – 3Q Digital partnership is an exciting one, and the synergy is profound. We both seek to demystify the process of earning business for online brands of all shapes & sizes.


To learn more about this exciting opportunity, you can check out 3Q Digital’s blog. Additionally, we are holding a Lunch & Learn with 3Q at their San Francisco office on July 15 to talk about best practices in converting more qualified traffic. For more details, please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to give you more information!


We hope you enjoyed this post, please submit any comments you might have below!


Written by Ryan Brown, Biz Dev at Fanplayr


LinkedIn: Ryan Brown

Twitter: @brownryanbrown

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We are happy to announce that we are teaming up with Finch to enable our customers – online retailers of all shapes and sizes – to optimize their online sales cycles under pay-for-performance pricing models. Both of our companies present completely synergistic eCommerce solutions as we have developed innovative SaaS-based technology platforms to improve two crucial areas of any online store. But what does this mean, exactly? And why are we partnering?


For starters, Finch and Fanplayr were originally founded to combat the reality that online marketers have been giving away the farm with pay-to-play online marketing strategies that don’t always lift the bottom line. More specifically, buying into expensive projects like Google AdWords, website personalization, and retargeting doesn’t always produce the ROI online marketers are looking for. With this, driving meaningful visitor traffic to your eCommerce site is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive. Without an innovative and demonstrable alternative, online merchants will likely continue to toss marketing budget out the door without significant results.


Enter the Finch – Fanplayr dynamic duo: both pay-for-performance solutions that put the online merchant in control. Finch focuses exclusively on PPC for eCommerce, providing an AdWord optimization platform that improves the return on ad spend for online retailers. As you may know, we take a very similar approach onsite by offering an intelligence-based platform that enables our customers to optimize their sales funnels by delivering targeted, real-time purchase incentives. Both of our cloud-based & data-driven platforms present total synergy to our customers, which is why it is no surprise that this partnership is picking up steam!


“We are excited about the opportunity that this partnership presents because we can enable eCommerce sites to optimize the whole value chain from bringing traffic to the site to getting the maximum ROI on converting that traffic at the best possible margin and rate,” says Simon Yencken, CEO at Fanplayr. “For example, Fanplayr insights and analytics provide real-time visibility into how PPC traffic is behaving onsite. Furthermore, we can see which visitor profiles among this traffic should be targeted with appropriate incentives via our visitor segmentation capabilities.”


Both pioneers in our relative approaches, this partnership is already mixing things up for our customers that are looking to stay ahead of the curve! For additional information on how we are working together with Finch, please watch the video here, or you can also pay Finch a visit on their website.


Thank you for reading, and please submit your comments about this exciting partnership below!


Written by Ryan Brown, Biz Dev at Fanplayr


LinkedIn: Ryan Brown

Twitter: @brownryanbrown



As you probably know, the Google AdWords game is becoming increasingly competitive, and increasingly expensive. More and more online brands and businesses want to be found online, and Google is always trying to stay ahead of the curve with delivering the most relevant search results top its users. Another reality online marketers must consider is the importance of paid search to Google’s revenue stream.  Someone’s got to pay for all those cool projects & products such as Google Glass, Maps, Google+, driver-less cars, and even the mysterious Google barge. We can only speculate what Google plans to do moving forward, but they certainly changed the face of the SEO business by encrypting search terms back in September with the introduction of the Hummingbird search algorithm. They also pre-loaded Google search apps on Android, something any business would do to deliver a 360-degree experience to the end user. Interestingly, evidence from our own customers suggests that online merchants are seeing a large falloff in organic conversions since the Sept ’13 change. What does this all mean? It’s always time to adapt to the ever-changing Google Adwords reality.


With Google’s leading 67.5% share of organic search and with Bing a distant second at 18.7%, it’s not likely that users are going to swap their search engines anytime soon. The bottom line is if AdWords continues to be Google’s primary revenue driver, and the eCommerce space continues it’s massive growth year-over-year, it’s a good bet that bids will go higher for online merchants. Moreover, if you were Google and had this kind of marketshare, wouldn’t you offer your paying customers slightly improved organic search ranks? Again, we can only speculate, but one would expect this of any business that values its users. Since we can no longer have the same level of insights into which search terms perform and which ones don’t, you might want to consider bidding more for AdWords if you want your sunken SEO costs to pay off.


The bottom line: we are going to have to get used to paying more for traffic, which means every single visit counts. Online merchants will soon tire of paying over and over again for the same visitor before she converts. We’ve identified “revenue per visit” as the next critical key performance indicator in eCommerce, and our customers have been able to track and improve this metric by analyzing their visitor traffic and launching targeted offers campaigns aimed to incentivize conversions.


In the increasingly competitive “pay-to-play” landscape that Google has created, onsite conversion tools that unlock the power of big data with sophisticated visitor segmentation will prevail. Merchants will need to get more aggressive about closing the deal before the visitor gets away, and appealing to a specific visitor’s intent is the best way to improve the online shopping experience. The early days of eCommerce are over. No more messing around.


Written by Fanplayr VP of Operations, Derek Adelman


LinkedIn: Derek Adelman


How have changes in the AdWords & SEO space affected your traffic? We are always interested in hearing your comments, so please leave them below!



You know that feeling when you walk into a local coffee shop or restaurant that you frequent, and are instantly greeted with a smile from a server who knows what you like to order upon walking in?

Well, It turns out that it’s human nature to be more influenced by people you like, a social psychological principle that we experience everyday. This principle applies to your friends and family, but also to the brands and businesses that you choose to give your business.

You could get your coffee from anywhere, but you choose to continuously buy from this coffee shop because you are treated better than an unfamiliar, first-time customer. Your frequent patronage to this coffee shop admittedly began by virtue of coincidence via proximity, but with every visit you feel better and better giving this retailer your business because you are recognized as a loyal customer.

This is a small example of how powerful rewarding loyalty is at a brick & mortar retailer, but the same social psychology applies to prospective customers who are shopping online.



Here are 5 Strategies to Reward Customer Loyalty:

1) Understand and respond to the intent of a returning visitor. There is a lot of information that can be captured about returning visitors in order to create a more personalized experience. Using historical and real-time data attributes like a specific page view, geographic location, past product purchase, discount utilization, device type, time interval since last visit, and amount spent can be leveraged to create very specific visitor experiences through behavioral targeting via visitor segmentation.

For example, lets say you sell clothes online. A specific visitor comes back to your site who you know likes to buy a specific brand of t-shirt in bulk. Giving her a targeted, real-time offer – “Buy 2 shirts, get 1 shirt half off” – if she spends over a certain purchase threshold will increase your conversion rate and average order value. Because online shopping lacks the personal touch that brick & mortar stores can offer, purchase incentives and other real-time engagements remain the predominant method to reward loyalty.

This real-time targeting of offers – delivering the right offer to the right visitor at the right time – will improve your storefront’s customer experience, making the likelihood of bringing customers back higher.

2) Flash sales. Using visitor segmentation to deliver time-sensitive, relevant offers to repeat customers who sign up for your newsletter or email list is a great way to bring customers back to your online store. This can be as simple as giving select customers early access to new products, or you can take it a step further by giving loyalty points to customers that place an order immediately.

3) Keep content fresh. Constantly keeping the content on your site new and exciting gives visitors a reason to come back.  This can be done by creating and maintaining a blog that features up-to-date content that is relevant to your visitor traffic (relevant content always depends on what vertical you are in, so make sure to analyze your visitor traffic to understand what content your visitors like). By doing so, it makes coming back to your site exciting and addicting – the goal is to make visiting your site a part of your customers’ daily or weekly routine.

4) Demonstrate customer appreciation. Telling a loyal, repeat customer “thank you” should cost next to nothing. Similar real-time engagements can be targeted for birthdays, New Year’s, Mother’s Day, and other holidays. Customers, no matter the vertical, want to feel appreciated for giving you business and taking the time to engage with you. Use visitor segmentation to identify those loyal customers and show your appreciation – this can go a long way and will create a positive customer experience that will result in future purchases.

5) Communicate with customers via social media. Social engagement platforms allow eCommerce companies to connect with their current and prospective customers on a more personal level. Those that have taken action to follow, like, and connect with your brand are most likely to become your most active brand advocates and loyal customers. It is important to engage with these people on a regular basis to keep them excited about your brand and/or business.



Loyal eCommerce customers buy more, and more frequently than new visitors. They also cost less to convert.  A 2014 RJ Metrics Report stated that the top 1% of a typical eCommerce retailer’s customers spend as much as the bottom 50% over time. Looking at these top tier customers, the report states that a site’s most loyal customers will spend approximately 30x as much as an average customer in the long run. Given this reality, it is extremely important to optimize your customer loyalty eCommerce campaign to make the most out of your visitor traffic!


Written by Fanplayr Account Manager, Zach Feinberg


LinkedIn: Zach Feinberg

Twitter: @thefeinberg


What have been some best practices that work for you to optimize your eCommerce customer loyalty campaign?  We are interested in hearing your experiences – please leave your comments below!

Shopping Cart Abandoment


If you are an online retailer, then you are well aware of the time and money it takes to drive high quality visitors to your eCommerce site. Whether it be through social media, SEO, email marketing, AdWords, affiliates, display ads, etc., building steady visitor traffic is costly, and you don’t want to see your efforts wasted.

Your efforts really start looking like they will pay off when you’ve captured the attention of an engaged visitor. Better yet, after browsing a few product pages, your website visitor adds an item to cart when she finds a specific product at an affordable price.

This visitor clearly has the intent of buying, but for some reason changes her mind, leaving your site and abandoning her cart.  According to a recent 2014 study by Baymard Institute, 68% of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping cart, costing retailers.  You can calculate your cart abandonment rate with this simple formula: Cart Abandonment Rate = 1 – (# orders placed / # shopping carts created).

These abandoned shopping carts account for $18 billion in missed revenue opportunities a year! (Webtrends)

So, why did this happen, and how can you – as an online retailer – reclaim some of the revenue from these abandoned carts?



Here are 5 helpful solutions:

1) Add Free ShippingA Comscore study suggests that 61% of consumers are likely to abandon their cart if free shipping is not offered. Can’t afford international free shipping costs? Try segmenting and targeting a free shipping offer by geographic location – an order that won’t be too costly to fulfill (e.g. states close to your warehouse, contiguous U.S., etc.).

2) Reduce the steps to checkout. Visitors don’t like giving away too much information about themselves, and they don’t like filling out forms. By streamlining your checkout process and eliminating all factors that would present friction to your prospective customers, you will see a considerable lift in conversion rates. Mandating the keying in of a promo code or registering with an email address are a couple of classic examples that are thwarting your sales cycle.

3) Optimize your web page load times. A recent KissMetrics report found that 47% of online shoppers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% would leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds. Speedy page load times needs to be the case across your entire website: your home page, blog pages, product pages, and especially cart checkout pages.

4) Make real-time, targeted upsell offers. Based on what visitors have in their shopping cart (product type/SKU and dollar amount), you can target them with a personalized upsell or cross sell. For example, we’ve seen significant cart abandonment reduction across our customers who target at risk shoppers with a “push to close” personalized offer. When we detect hesitation during the checkout process, we can change visitors’ minds by delivering these types of real-time offers.  This strategy will not only yield higher average order values, but also higher conversion rates.

5) Be transparent. Don’t reserve extra taxes, shipping costs, and other miscellaneous fees until the last checkout page. You will scare off a lot of prospective customers, and may lose customer confidence moving forward. If you are going to surprise your audience, do it with an enticing real-time offer that will increase the likelihood of a conversion!



Unlike the traditional brick & mortar store paradigm, when consumers are shopping online they are just a few mouse clicks away from opening a new window to your competitor’s eCommerce site. Statistics show that the best time to make a sale is when visitors are on your site and engaged. Understanding the intent behind your visitors’ behavior, and taking real-time actions based on that data, will make your conversion rate & average order value go up, and your shopping cart abandonment go down.

Written by Fanplayr Account Manager, Zach Feinberg


LinkedIn: Zach Feinberg

Twitter: @thefeinberg


Have you seen other strategies that work for reducing cart abandonment?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what has worked for you!