Welcome to the wechat subscription number of “chuangshiji”: sinachungshiji
By Tan Xiaohan
Source: Alphabet list (ID: wujicaijing)
In December last year, Ali made an organizational structure adjustment, which divided Jiang Fan’s Amoy Department into three parts: Tang Xing (Huaming pingchou) was responsible for C-end products and technologies, Yang Guang (Huaming chuixue) was responsible for b-end businesses and industry operations, and Liu Bo (Huaming Jialuo) was responsible for commercialization.
Late at the end of November, latepost reported that Zhang Yong was not satisfied with Alibaba’s central platform. He published an article on the intranet saying that Alibaba’s business development is too slow now, and that it is necessary to make the central platform thinner, more agile and faster.
The two news points to Ali’s current situation, which is too huge. Large often means slow response, means pulling and compromise. Ali needs to tear down agile small units to respond quickly and fight independently.
Obviously, pingchou is fully responsible for the products and technologies of Taoxi’s users, and has another appointment with Jingren, the new retail intelligent engine business group, which is the focus of this round of adjustment.
To clarify the changes that have taken place and are taking place in Taoxi, we need to go back to the round of organizational restructuring of Alibaba at the end of 2018. In that year, Ali set up a new retail technology business group to integrate the technological forces of B2B, Taobao and tmall to form a unified strategy, namely technology platform.
In mid-2019, Tang Xing, the former iqiyi CTO, joined Ali as the vice president. He was mainly responsible for the Technology Department of Taobao, a new retail technology business group composed of Taobao technology, tmall technology, rural Taobao technology and Xianyu, creating a new retail intelligent business platform integrating consumers and businesses, and creating a new scene circuit.
If I saw the second half of the description of Tang Xing’s responsibilities in the news that year, now I can see Tang Xing’s business (Taobao live broadcast, etc.) and the promotion of the hand Taobao revision (content attempt).
However, tangxing is not in charge of all the technical businesses of Taoxi. According to the organizational structure adjustment notice at the end of 2019, Zhou Jingren (Hua Mingjing ren), head of Alibaba search and advertising technology division, reported to Cheng Li, CTO of Alibaba group, and Jiang Fan, President of Taobao tmall.
In March 2020, Ali will be promoted to M7 in a new round of organization department/ In the list of senior managers of p12, Jing Ren’s position is the head of search recommendation business unit of Taobao business group; in August, when Jing Ren attended the event, he was senior vice president of Alibaba group and general manager of Alibaba mom’s middle platform operation business unit; before the organizational structure adjustment last December, he was the president of new retail intelligent engine business group.
According to the alphabet list, the new retail intelligent engine business group was newly established in the first half of last year, mainly including the search recommendation business unit, Ali mom technology team and other businesses.
The difference between pingchou and Jingren can be illustrated by an example. Pingchou once served as the technical commander of tmall double 11 in 2019 and 2020, while Jingren’s Department was responsible for Taobao main search and the algorithm recommendation “guess what you like”.
The new retail intelligent engine business group is also known as AI Zhongtai internally. In this round of adjustment at the end of last year, Tang Xing was also in charge of the search recommendation business group. Ali mother’s technical team did not specify otherwise in the notice, but there was a business adjustment around the commercial side – Jialuo was fully responsible for the construction and development of the platform commercialization system, and Ali mother’s business group reported to Jialuo.
From this point of view, this round of organizational structure adjustment rearranges the search, recommendation and other technology side business with the front desk business, and the technology and products in Taoxi are merged into the same category.
We can understand the difference before and after the organizational structure adjustment in this way: before the adjustment, it is the middle desk that delivers technology to each front desk business; after the adjustment, it is the cooperation between technology and products, and the purpose of the adjustment should be faster response and higher synergy.
The meaning of collaboration here includes not only the collaboration of product and technology, but also the collaboration of product recommendation and content recommendation.
Behind the publicity of organizational structure adjustment is an overall change in Taoxi, which extends from the bottom of technology to product logic and to the commercial end.
Why the search recommendation department in the new retail intelligent engine business group was handed over to pingchou can be divided into two questions: first, what is the significance of recommendation algorithm to Taoxi? Second, how can hand panning make recommendation algorithm play a greater role?
Internet giants are falling into a competition of the same topic — how to let old users contribute longer user hours under the background of unlimited number of users approaching the ceiling? Wechat is making a video number, and Baidu is trying to solve this problem by reconstructing its user system.
Taobao faces a similar situation. In September this year, Alibaba’s mobile Mau in China’s retail market has reached 881 million, leaving room for the natural growth of Taoxi’s Mau, which is obviously close to the peak (as of June 2020, the number of Chinese Internet users is 940 million).
In the two-sided e-commerce market, the dual relationship to be maintained by Taoshi is the brand’s dependence on Taoshi and the user’s viscosity to Taoshi. Obviously, compared with the former, the product system of hand Taoshi users of to C needs to be changed by Alibaba. If it is not changed, the flow pool can not be expanded, which will lead to the rising flow price and ultimately affect the binding depth between the platform and businesses.
For Shoutao, which lacks social traffic sources and the price of external content traffic rises rapidly, only by increasing the frequency of users to improve the daily life and the use time of users, can it achieve the maximum benefit.
On the user side, consumers’ shopping habits are also changing. In an interview with Sina Technology, pingchou pointed out that intelligent commodity flow recommendation is more in line with the habits of young users.
The iteration of this recommendation model actually runs through the whole development process of mobile Internet, and is first shown on content products. Today’s headlines, who are good at algorithm recommendation, eat ads from Baidu bowl, which is good at search.
E-commerce platforms also have to face the shrinking proportion of search traffic in the market. In August 2018, Taobao released a new version, “guess what you like” rose to the second screen of the home page of hand Taobao, “this year tmall double 11, the traffic brought by personalized recommendation has exceeded the traffic brought by search.” Jiang Fan, then president of Taobao, said at that time.
The tiktok of search traffic is almost irreversible, and the enemy of this centralized traffic is increasing channels. This is manifested in the Kwai Chung, the fragmentation of recommended traffic is eroding the share of the traditional search traffic, and also shows such channels as jitter, fast hand, WeChat group and so on. The rise of the platform and other platforms makes the traditional electricity supplier flow dispersed.
Fang Zhiwei, the person in charge of a beauty e-commerce in Shanghai, told the alphabet list that at present, the main flow channels of Amoy are hand Amoy search, hand Amoy recommendation, through train, super recommendation, etc.
Fang Zhiwei takes the operation of a store as an example. In 2019, among the free visitors, mobile search accounts for more than 20%, and mobile home page accounts for less than 10%. After the revision of mobile recommendation last year, mobile recommendation traffic accounts for more than 25%, and mobile search traffic accounts for less than 20%
Li Feng, founder partner of Fengrui capital, made a speech in October last year to analyze the meaning of “guess what you like” from another perspective. He believes that from the perspective of traffic structure and platform structure, if the narrower the positioning is, the more definite the products are and the fewer the categories are, the better the starting factors may be obtained from traffic.
“The reason is that what he recommends is no longer the store brand, but the relationship between products and products, so it skips the store brand layer and makes recommendations, which is the biggest significance of Taobao’s revision.” Li Feng mentioned that the more labels the traffic structure makes, the more accurate the positioning is.
According to this logic, the current Jingdong and Taobao and pinduoduo before the end of September represent two kinds of operation modes. The former is more inclined to category operation logic, which matches the shopping habits of users in the earlier mobile Internet era.
After users have a clear shopping demand for a certain category of goods, they need to enter the commodity information flow through the home page search box, the first screen category channel or activity channel. The advantage of this operation mode is that the payment conversion rate is the highest, but the user’s habit of consuming goods is being changed by personalized recommendation.
Pinduoduo is more inclined to commodity operation, with fewer categories and activity channels on the app’s home page. The first screen directly shows the commodity information flow. The advantage of this recommendation algorithm is that the granularity is finer, and if the positioning is accurate enough, the radiation population is broader.
Li Feng pointed out in his speech that the current traffic structure and platform logic have become more product oriented, especially products with high precision, niche and certainty. “They will make the traffic and information more and more accurate. Maybe it is not accurate enough for the time being, but the platform hopes that the people affected will find it more and more difficult to know the existence of this recommendation logic.” Similarly, live broadcasting with goods is a product of each brand, which is also the logic of the product, not necessarily the logic of the brand.
Whether from the perspective of catering to consumer habits or from the perspective of refinement of operation, the significance of “guess what you like” is to improve the user click through rate and use time to cope with the change of traffic structure and the shrinkage of search traffic. Of course, the upward movement of “guess what you like” further intensifies the status change of search traffic and recommendation traffic.
Fang Zhiwei introduced that search traffic is always the traffic with the highest conversion rate of payment in the website, because it comes from users’ active search, but the cost of search traffic payment is rising. In terms of driving Gmv efficiency, the current recommendation algorithm is higher than all other means of hand panning, which has been verified by business sales data.
There is no need to repeat the significance of recommendation algorithm to Amoy system. To make recommendation algorithm play a greater role, we need to start from two aspects. The first is to form a unity and rapid response in the organization; the second is to integrate content layout and algorithm recommendation in the product. These all point to the integration of search recommendation team into the product technology team, rather than as a middle platform to front platform output technology.
There are two differences between Shoutao’s “guess you like” and pinduoduo’s home page: first, “guess you like” is a double column display, and pinduoduo is a single column display. From the perspective of product form, dual column display has higher conversion efficiency, and single column display is easier for users to immerse themselves.
“Guess what you like” (left) and pinduoduo homepage (right)
Product manager Liang Ning mentioned in the sharing in October last year that Taobao is doing keyword Association, pinduoduo is doing user understanding, trying to understand users’ search motives and preferences. Taobao’s goal is to let users Taobao, pinduoduo’s goal is to make users addicted.
However, in the case of limited growth space for the total number of buyers and rising number of sellers, Taobao, which lacks a link of social traffic, also needs to make users sticky to the app, which points to the second difference between “guess what you like” and pinduoduo’s home page information flow.
Pinduoduo’s home page products are all displayed with picture and text thumbnails. “Guess you like” is a mixture of picture and text and short video, and short video is presented in the form of partial content.
Before this, a businessman once told the alphabet list that Taobao sophomore had encouraged merchants to publish short video content in batches.
In September last year, Yibang power reported that the “guess what you like” entrance of mobile Taobao is expected to be switched to short videos in October, and the number of short videos of some categories of businesses is no less than 400 to be exposed during the double 11.
However, pingchou later responded in an interview with sina technology that the upgraded Taobao home page will still present various content forms: short video and live broadcast, but graphics and text are still very important forms of the home page.
“All short videos on home page” is the biggest misreading of our home page upgrade. Short video, graphics and live broadcasting are just forms of communication between commodities and consumers. We will not make a one size fits all decision. Whether to use video or graphics depends on the matching degree of goods and the willingness of businesses, and the final data performance will speak. ”
However, it is certain that Shoutao is making a more radical content-based attempt than before.
In an interview with qubit after double 11 last year, pingchou said that consumers are not only “buying” online, but also have more decision-making behaviors of “shopping while shopping”. This change in the path of consumers’ choice of goods is bringing more essential influence.
“When you want to buy a mobile phone case, simple search and existing recommendation algorithms can’t solve the problem. What you want to know is, in actual use, which kind of mobile phone case has a better product experience. ”
Pingchou pointed out that the content of e-commerce scene has actually become a necessity: the existing recommendation model has been unable to meet the needs of consumers. The combination of content and shopping can better adapt to the changes of consumer psychology and better meet the needs of consumers to make shopping decisions. In the next five years, all content markets will be e-commerce oriented, and all e-shopping malls will be content oriented.
At the end of November, hand taonei test “stroll”, opened up a centralized content field. Its purpose is to supplement the link of consumer trust, and hope that users can form the mind of consuming content-based products in Taobao, so that shopping can become an internal self generated flow pool and feed back Taobao ecology, so as to alleviate the problem of rising flow price of Taobao system.
In the previous organizational structure, the new retail intelligent engine business group of Jingren was responsible for the recommendation business of hand Taobao. However, the content of hand panning is a global action, and “guess what you like” is also an important content test field. However, compared with shopping, the content is more marketing oriented, which requires more collaboration between intelligent recommendation and content ecology. The consistent pace of panning technology and products is obviously more conducive to the content trial of hand panning.
The change of the traffic end will eventually affect the business end, which needs to be adjusted accordingly. During the organizational restructuring in December, Jialuo was fully responsible for the commercialization system of Amoy, and Ali mom and tmall’s business marketing center (including the original tmall brand marketing center and some commercialization teams) belonged to Jialuo.
In 2015, Zhang Yong, who was the COO of Alibaba at that time, said that in 2015, the most important keyword of Alibaba’s mother was “going out of Taobao”. The core was to transform advertising into digital marketing in a broad sense and sales into user management in the whole process and all channels.
The background of that year was that the traffic dividend in the era of mobile Internet had just begun to release, but with the disappearance of the traffic dividend, the collaboration between Taoists became more and more important.
During the adjustment in December 2019, on the basis of the responsibilities of the president of Taobao tmall, Jiang Fan took charge of Ali mother business group on behalf of the group, and Zhang Yifen, the president, reported to Jiang Fan. The official reason for this adjustment is to cooperate – Alibaba mother, Taobao and tmall will work together to promote innovation under the unified strategy of user products and commercial products.
According to latenews, Zhang Yifen left in May last year. In August, Jia Luo, general manager of tmall’s platform operation business unit, was also general manager of Ali’s mom’s marketing business unit. In an interview with Beijing News, he said, “I am responsible for Ali’s mom’s big customers, strategy and ecology. I am also responsible for the super brand day, small black box and cost-effective gathering in Amoy, which is also the design of Lao Xiao”. I retain an independent brand and business unit, but the business is integrated .
In this round of adjustment in December last year, Jialuo was fully responsible for the commercialization system of Taoxi, which means that Ali’s mother has further integrated with Taoxi’s business. The problem facing Ali mom is that both the traffic structure and the traffic media are changing, and the commercial end needs to follow the adjustment and achieve maximum collaboration.
Ali mother’s main products are super drill show (display advertising), super recommendation (information flow advertising) and through train (search advertising), which also account for the vast majority of business promotion costs.
Fang Zhiwei told the alphabet list that last year, his stores mainly transferred the cost of drilling and exhibition to super recommendation and through train, among which super recommendation accounted for more than 50% of the total cost. Of course, different products have different launch strategies in different life cycles. For example, the launch cost of super recommendation will account for a higher proportion of the total cost.
According to Fang Zhiwei’s analysis, the through train requires users to actively search, which is passive for businesses. The path is long and the efficiency is slow. “But the effect of super recommendation can be magnified infinitely through the recommendation algorithm, and the core is that the positioning crowd is accurate enough.”
Tiktok Kwai, the conversion of search traffic and recommended traffic status, also means the conversion of the status of two payment flows. The question before Ali’s mother is how to adapt to the transformation of flow structure and flow medium, which determines that the recommended income is to cut cake from the original advertising pool of Ali mother, and the incremental advertising is divided into food by other channels such as jitter and fast hand, or to compete. Incremental advertising competition.
The final result depends on whether it can help businesses to improve the conversion efficiency. If it can be improved, businesses will pay more, which will achieve the goal of incremental.
Fang Zhiwei told the alphabet list that his operation strategy this year is to increase the proportion of the total paid promotion expenses outside the station. In the personal care category of cosmetics, the proportion of paid promotion is about 8% in daily life and less than 15% during the promotion period. In the past, the proportion of paid promotion outside the station was generally less than 5% (3% – 4%). Fang Zhiwei plans to increase this proportion to 6% this year.
“On site delivery is recognized as the channel with the highest conversion rate. Whether it’s super recommendation on the site or delivery outside the site, businesses hope to get free search traffic in the end.” Fang Zhiwei said that this is due to the high budget of marketing expenses for big brands, new brands and other brands, which makes the competition for on-site advertising more fierce. Small and medium-sized businesses are in a relatively inferior position in this competition and turn their eyes to the outside.
Ali mom global advertising Summit
“We are usually in 0.8-1.5 tiktok ROI in the beauty (beauty, personal care category), according to the past sale logic, we are reluctant to stand outside, because 0.8 of ROI means loss.”
Fang Zhiwei said, but now the consumer’s decision-making path is first to be planted grass will produce purchase behavior, do a good job outside the station, will stimulate the station to search the natural flow, for example, in the small red book put on a mask advertisement, there will be users in Taobao active search this product. “The ROI of on-site investment will reach at least 2.5. As long as the gross profit space is well controlled and refined operation is carried out in the station, the efficiency will be improved and the proportion of off-site investment cost will be increased, which is supported by gross profit. In the long run, it is also in line with the change of consumer habits.”
In short, Alibaba needs to help businesses improve their conversion efficiency, which is another reason why “guess what you like” needs to be moved up. Moving up means the dual expansion of the flow pool and the advertising pool – in terms of usage habits, the advertising inventory of the information flow mode is higher than that of the search mode. In order to adapt to the change of traffic media, Ali mother launched super live broadcast, super short video and super interactive city last year.
In 2016, Taobao completed the transformation to wireless, and began to enjoy the traffic dividend from then on, but the dividend will not last long, and the operation will be sustainable. When Jiang Fan announced that the recommended traffic exceeded the search traffic, the new transformation cycle has already begun.
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)