November 2014

Data Super Powers

Imagine being able to predict the future.

What if you had the power to read people’s minds?

Imagine the power you would have if you could instantly perceive someone’s deepest fears and desires.

What if you held the power to make people do exactly what you wanted them to?

 

Would these things make it easier to do business for you? Would it make it easier to sell things? It’s all possible.

 

There are people who can do all of this.  They don’t wear spandex or capes.  They don’t have catchphrases either. They’re usually behind desks, brandishing tools like Crazy Egg or Mail Chimp which you won’t find on any utility belt.

These are the super powers that come with fully leveraging data.

 

This post links to this one on properly collecting data, and this one on big data, but I intend for this post to fully impress upon you the possibilities which lie in store for you and your business.  Think Amazon, think Facebook, think Google and Kogan. These organisations have methods in place which record everything a user does, and remembers it for next time.  You can do similar things with your users.

Knowing your consumers is no longer speculative.  The way to your consumers’ hearts, minds and pockets is paved with big concrete blocks of data.

Let’s address your potential super powers:

 

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Predicting the future

Less predicting, more controlling. This comes down to directing observable trends. If you observe groups of individuals en masse, you can be statistically confident that a percentage of them will exhibit a certain behaviour.  Now, if you direct and engage with a group of individuals, you can be reasonably confident that a percentage of them, usually a high percentage if you have done a good job, will follow the path you’ve laid out for them. Not to describe users as sheeple, but the psychology of buying can be fairly predictable at times.  For example, if you drive good quality traffic to a well designed sales funnel, you can reliably control the future of your sales.  You can predict that x% of users will click here, enter information there, buy that, upgrade and so forth.

 

Mind reading

This usually comes in the form of re-marketing, but it relates to your ability as a marketer and an organisation to know the consumer better than they know themselves. Where this used to be intuition, it is now observable.  You can see what their interests are, what people like them usually search for, where they study, where they work, what they buy, and more importantly, what they don’t buy. If you think about it, it’s akin to sticking a camera on someone’s shoulder for their waking hours, but a little less creepy.  The information available to you is astounding.  All you have to do is capture it and leverage it.  That’s what we do.

 

What if you held the power to make people do exactly what you wanted them to?

Not by force, not hypnosis, simply direction of human behavioural tendencies.  It is possible for you to gain insights into the minds of your consumers, as mentioned above, and use them to find the triggers that drive people to action. It’s possible to find out why your consumers procrastinate, what misgivings they have, exactly which doubts need assurances and which skepticisms need to be addressed. Through analysis and action, you can be certain that if things are done right, a large percentage of your audience will do exactly what you want them to, because it provides them what they want.

 

To see what your data holds for you, ask us how today. 

 

More bang for your buck – Conversion Rate Optimisation

“Traditional marketing is old. It’s dying out, like the mammoths did.  Both weren’t really able to survive in the new environments they found themselves in.”
This is the argument that has become an intense conversation  in 2014, with the opportunity to test conversion optimisation more convenient than ever before with the growth of tech start-ups Optimizely and Eye Quant. Television, radio, billboards, pamphlets, all rely on the principle that you put it out into the ether, to be consumed by the masses, and then hopefully, profits appear. No-one really knows exactly what made the profits happen, only that advertisements were published, and profits went up, so it must be a good thing.
The internet has levelled the playing field between businesses and consumers. It’s possible to directly gauge the impact of your digital marketing spend, as a ratio between how many people view your advertisement, and how many do what you want them to.
This infographic from coastdigital.co.uk sums it up nicely. The concept is that at each stage of your sales procedure, people drop out before they reach the end and perform the task you want them to perform. Conversion rate optimisation is essentially reducing the rate at which people drop out of this funnel. Doing so means you spend less marketing money for each person doing what you want them to do.
cro-funnel
Souce: coastdigital.co.uk
In 2014, CRO has been a main focus with every analytics update released by Google Analytics, and with every new tool and insight acquired and developed by digital marketers, it becomes easier to see why people drop out and don’t convert. It could be anything to do with content, layout, time taken, functionality of the website, anything that detracts from the experience.
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For example, an offline sales funnel might have the following levels for a presidential fundraising campaign:
  1. Citizen attends a community event, celebrating the candidate
  2. Citizen receives a phone call asking for donations
  3. Citizen receives a reply paid envelope with instructions to send money
  4. Citizen attends voting event
  5. Citizen has a conversation with a party representative
  6. Citizen votes for candidate

 

At each level, we do not know where they dropped out of the funnel. Did they fill out the envelope and forget to mail it? Did they miss the phone call? In the physical realm, performing an action or failing to becomes more arbitrary and harder to quantify. Online, however, we can see exactly where this candidate lost interest.
In the sense of testing, did more site visitors donate on the one page donation form, or the 5 page donation form? In many cases, the more simple a form, the higher the completion rate.
Test elements of layout, content, functionality, colouring, and others against one another to see which combination produces the best results.
In the not-too-distant future, site content will be personalised and optimise for individual users depending on demographic segments.
If any of this is new to you, find out how to test and optimise your marketing spend properly. Contact us.

Rethink Facebook marketing or lose business in 2015

Traffic cuts?

In January 2015, a lot of brands will be pushed out of the Facebook newsfeed. If your business or your client relies heavily on social media as part of the marketing mix, the latest update announcement from Facebook is something to pay attention to.

 

What Facebook says it is:

Facebook is continually throwing curveballs, and this is no exception. The advertising platform and arm of Facebook relies on user engagement – likes, shares, comments. The only way this happens is if people feel strongly enough about a particular post to actually respond and give their two cents.

The announcement contained the following quote:

Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see.

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The Unsuitable Characteristics

To give people more of what Facebook thinks they want to see, it has announced three characteristics which it will use to determine the suitability of business posts:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

They’ve also provided an example of these posts which will be penalised come Jan 2015:

These guidelines seem pretty straightforward – anything which provides direct attribution to potential financial gain seems to be out.

 

What Facebook doesn’t tell us:

Remember the Atlas update which is coming out soon? If you missed that, read about it here.

In brief, Atlas is Facebook’s new advertising platform.

How this relates is that by eliminating any kind of free promotion from businesses and their pages, Facebook will galvanise the segmentation of channels of promotion to:

1. Value based organic content which doesn’t directly contribute sales and online conversions

2. Purchased ads

If you have a page for your business or client, you will essentially be forced to choose between the two. It’s not a terrible choice by any means, and this still leaves room for marketing applications.

Marketers will have no choice with their organic posts but to educate or entertain.

However, by forcing brands and businesses to promote through paid advertising, one could argue that this is a phasing-in of the new Atlas system, and funnelling of all existing Facebook marketing into it.

 

What could go wrong?

If the value of posts is gauged by user engagement, here are the potential conflicts I see:

– What if the two categories overlap – if the post is both informative and valuable, and provides a call-to-action to buy?

– What if the purpose of a page is solely to give people daily discounts?

 

If your Facebook marketing strategy relies on organic posts which drive people to perform a a financially valuable action, you do need to rethink your strategy leading up to 2015. These are important updates to be aware of, and it is also important to realise how they fit into the larger scheme of your marketing mix and how it interacts with Facebook.

Contact us to find out how this will impact you specifically. 

 

 

 

What you need to know about digital marketing in 2015!

I believe the most important predictions of 2015 relate to communication and the ability to target that communication to a very specific audience.

1. Advanced Targeting Technology

Remarketing has been around for a few years now, which allows us to retarget visitors to our website with display advertising or content. Remarketing has allowed advertisers to push ROI further, and really re-engage with potential customers long after they have left the website. Badly implemented remarketing has seen customers feel “followed around” by a brand and have a negative impression left on that person.

In 2015, it’s likely that targeting criteria will get a whole lot better. Each advertising platform and social network will roll out more advanced criteria and targeting possibilities.

Facebook for example at the time of writing is pushing out its Atlas platform, and Google has enhanced audiences inside AdWords and Analytics. Other companies are pushing their own demographic products to determine new audiences. This is evolving quicker than ever because of advances in machine learning and the ability to compare millions of data points across individuals to form groups.

The biggest opportunity as an organisation in 2015 will be targeting your audience much more specifically than ever before. This will include display advertising, content and search. Better targeting will result in higher conversions, click through rates, and business growth. The more advanced targeting possibilities are expected to be available through major enterprise platforms at first, before moving into the SME space.

2. Content Personalisation

Content personalisation, or the ability to change website and marketing content based on an individual user profile is another emerging trend that is likely to be available more widely in 2015. Native marketing, or content marketing is also likely to greatly improve as publishers combine audience data to determine what advertising is most relevant to you.

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3. Native Marketing

Native marketing has already spawned a new industry, as organisations look to be present in blogs, on “news” websites, and in social media. As its name implies, Native marketing is a much more natural form of advertising, that is likely to draw the attention of regulators as commercial disclosures become blurred out more advanced criteria.

4. New data sharing technologies

On a more technical level, I’m personally excited about new data sharing technologies, especially analytics and website usage data. New platforms are emerging that act as a capture layer for customer and behavioural data – which can be sent to numerous platforms in a “plug and play” manner. This allows far cleaner data management, and the ability for marketers to implement solutions without relying on software development bottlenecks. This is led by a number of funded startups who are creating the standards for sharing data between applications. While it hasn’t taken hold yet, having a much more organised set of marketing automation and analytics apps will enable more effective marketing and will become the norm in organisations in the next few years. Being able to target communication, drive sales, and measure the effectiveness all in an integrated framework will enable marketers to focus on the message and not communication bottlenecks. Plugging in a new software and integrating consumer information will be easy, as will using data from different apps to make better decisions.

How should my organisation prepare?

The best thing you can do now is audit how you are capturing data through your website and ensure that you are capturing it in a clean and usable format. This includes web analytics data such as from Google Analytics and consumer data that you might be capturing through forms. It’s likely that you have one or more opportunities to capture better and more useful data. As new applications emerge on the market, you’ll be able to integrate your data with other apps and make it more useful.

 

Remarketing changes you should know about now

Remarketing has become a bit more special in recent months, with many features that used to be only available to ecommerce sites now being available to all industries. Eric runs through the basics of remarketing and drills down into the new developments in behaviour and demographic targeting and dynamic ad changes.

What is remarketing?

The landscape of advertising has changed. Traditional channels such as TV and radio do not give you the complete feedback loop that is required for accountable marketing. At the same time, untargeted display advertising splashed across the network usually has inferior results compared to other online channels. Remarketing is somewhat of a solution to this issue, only showing ads to those who have already visited your site. Marketers have been excited about remarketing for a few years now, but recent developments have increased the effectiveness even further. Now we have the ability to target only the most valuable segments of past visitors to maximise sales and leads, and we can show ads relevant to what they viewed on your site.

Dynamic Ads

Check out what appeared on my Facebook this morning:

 

Kogan Facebook Dynamic Remarketing

I know you have probably seen ads on Facebook and maybe even remarketing like this; the cookie in my browser told Facebook that I had been to Kogan recently and therefore showed me this ad. The extra special sauce here is that when I was on Kogan, I was looking at cameras. The cookie told Facebook that I had been looking at cameras and showed me an ad that I was much more likely to respond to. Remarketing at the product level has been rolled out progressively over the past year. What is just as exciting is that as of last month, it is no longer just limited to retail sites like Kogan. You can now target based on any type of product or service; categories include hotels, jobs, real estate, flights, education and more. The data available show that dynamic remarketing works – providing increased relevance of ads to users, reduced cost per impression, better conversion rates and increased ROI.

 

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This is where it gets really interesting

Recent improvements to Google Analytics in demographic reporting, and improved compatibility of AdWords with Analytics mean that you can get even better results by using custom audiences in your remarketing campaigns. This means that you can target your campaigns not to all past visitors, but instead go after only the users who are most likely to respond well, and buy more. This could be as broad as bidding differently for men and women, or could be as targeted as ‘males over 30 who spent 3 minutes on site and put something in the cart’. As you can imagine, the results we have so far have proven that behaviour and demographic targeting has resulted in some serious improvements.

It is now possible for you to provide the easiest path for users to come back to your site and pick up where they left off. Remarketing will not replace all other elements of your digital marketing mix, but ask your ads manager to allocate some of your testing budget towards exploring the viability of these new features.

If you feel like any of this applies to your business, I encourage you to find out more.