Using digital analytics for marketing decisions.

social-media-monitoring-and-analytics-toolsTwo questions marketers are asking today, ‘How do I measure success of my digital campaigns & how can this data help me take decisions?’ Having spent years tracking ROI data on mass campaigns and CRM initiatives, how to measure effectiveness is the real issue. In fact across digital conferences, brand summits, workshops and webinars, marketing executives are getting in a huddle and discussing it. And most of the answers are pointing towards data analytics.

Everything is moving toward data: website traffic, mobile data, performance data, campaign data, product data, and even data about how we track our data.

Thanks to digital, marketing is in the midst of navigating through the most significant developments it has ever encountered. The dramatic expansion of accessible consumer data represents an enormous opportunity for marketers to gain unprecedented insights about consumer behaviour. It also comes with major challenges defined by questions about how best to access, analyse, optimize and apply insights from big data.

The ability to manage successful campaigns will require strong data analysis human and technological capabilities. As your competition becomes more sophisticated, your ability to keep up will be directly helped or hindered by your data capabilities. The insights derived from big data analytics will drive future decisions in accurately delivering the right message to the right person at the right time for the right price.

Today’s customers have instant access to product, price and quality comparisons from a steadily expanding range of channels. This newly empowered consumer audience is also highly mobile with a proliferation of multiple devices enabling uninterrupted access to information and continuous real-time communication.

The growth in social media platforms has enabled individuals to express themselves in every conceivable way and generates an immense volume of data. Consumers by the tens of millions are speaking both teach other and directly to businesses about what they want and how they feel about it. Success in marketing means tuning in to what consumers are saying, and employing real-time messaging methods that let them know you’ve been listening. If you don’t, your competition will.

Successful marketers will have to use this data and engage with consumers with consistent relevant messaging across diverse channels in real time. Marketers must remain connected to their audiences no matter where they go or what device they use. Tablets and smartphones combine social, local and mobile technologies enabling consumers to zero-in on precise local information about products and services. It’s another opportunity and challenge for marketing to fulfil growing customer centricity expectations and ‘be there’ with real time, personally relevant messaging.

Marketing has entered a mandatory transition period. This is a time when migrating away from the traditional large demographic approaches toward more granular, data-driven, highly targeted campaigns becomes a matter of survival, not a matter of choice.

Cross screen campaigns gaining ground among marketers!

90% of advertisers plan to launch a cross screen advertising campaign this year. Well, with consumers spending so much time on their mobiles, tablets, laptops and PCs this was bound to happen isn’t it?

Even though conventional media continues to drive mass awareness, digital is playing an absolute key role in driving consideration, conversion and even advocacy. Internet is full of articles on Google Searches, Rich User Interface, Online reviews, ORM, Mobile apps and Social media driving positive brand disposition and enabling the new age consumer to traverse the path of buying process.

Searching through multiple devicesPeople on-the-go may start reading an article on their mobile and finish it on their laptop once they are in office. More often than not, TV plays a crucial role in establishing the story quickly, followed by the behavior of search, share and discussion online across mobile, tablet and PC. By studying how & when people are spending time on what screens, marketers can create immersive and seamless multi-screen communications that put customer engagement at the forefront.

The most appealing benefit of cross screen advertising is its ability to act as a platform for both raising awareness and driving user activation. The possibility to match ad messaging to the environment in which the ad appears is also quite appealing.

In a 2013 report published by Business Insider, unaided brand recall was 43% for audiences who had been exposed to the cross-screen campaigns, and only 6% for the TV-only campaign. Purchase intent was 18% for the TV-only crowd, and 31% for the cross-screen campaign’s audience.

However one of the most significant hurdles to a cross screen campaigns as cited by marketers is audience targeting, creative production & technology know how. Implementing responsive design into the campaign will help eliminate these hurdles, allowing for one ad to function across multiple screens providing a rich user experience as well as unified tracking across multiple screens. Responsive designs can dynamically optimize and rearrange themselves to fit in to any screen sizes and utilize the native capabilities of the native device (e.g. tap on phone icon to call).

In the recent edition of Nielsen report titled ‘Unleashing Power of Cross Platform Advertising’ observes that, marketers can generate an average of 8% greater reach, or achieve significantly higher frequency, without spending more money or altering their mix of spend.

This means at lesser or similar spends you will be able to garner higher impressions to a larger audience. And that’s every marketers dream!

A dire need for Mobile Marketing

On roads, in elevators, buses, taxis & trains, at waiting lounges and at times even during meetings, if you find people constantly glued their smartphones then you are not the only one.

With so much of time spent on the medium, as a business manager or a brand custodian how well are you using it to your advantage?

People today have short attention spans. They want news in 140-character snippets, shop with a click of a button — and they want infinite information accessible5-tools-for-mobile-marketing at their fingertips via smartphones and tablets. It’s easy for businesses to lose potential customers with a complicated, slow or inefficient mobile website. After all, if your business doesn’t have a viable mobile strategy, chances are that one of your competitors does, and that potential customer will go to them.

Consumers behave different on smartphones and tablets, which have differing functionalities and capabilities. We need to understand psychology behind why and how users think and act on each device. In addition to who is looking at our site, and how they’re navigating through it, it’s also important to take into account where they’re viewing our content —marketers need to analyse behavior and experiences across the entire purchase funnel to understand the best UX for web design.

Responsive design is increasingly becoming go-to solution for businesses seeking site optimization across the mobile without entering the daunting world of developing a full-fledged app for each platform. The need for a responsive site depends upon your specific business or website, as well as budget. It may well be worth it to go responsive if site is heavy on visuals, videos, products or m-commerce and mobile traffic analysis can help us make these decisions.

Context is the key while analyzing data & making decisions. Mobile devices may have a lower conversion rate, higher bounce rate with lower levels of engagement as compared to web. What is really happening is that it is meeting the needs of the user at the time. For example, e-commerce sites are frequently used for navigation to a store or as an in-store price comparison tool. The person might not in fact convert on the site, but they are very well converting in the store –- or even better, leaving a competitor’s store to come to yours.

Mobile’s unique characteristic as a device is that it is always on and with the consumer. So apart from mobile advertisements it can be integrated into and enhance other consumer touch points, including TV ads and brick-and-mortar locations. In the absence of another touch point, mobile interactions are part of a larger consumer journey.

When and how users view your content on mobile affects a number of decisions — everything from the length of your videos to where you place certain content. Tracking behavioral patterns and page flow among mobile users can help you make many of these adjustments.

Good content or good a conversation!

Today our consumers are exposed to millions of web pages, blogs, posts, comments & tweets with more content than can be read in a lifetime. With so much information to take in, most of them just skim through to find pages that are most engaging & appealing. So how can we hold someone’s attention?

good-conversation

Conversational copy is one of the best ways of creating engagement with a reader. It sets a welcoming, familiar tone that invites readers in. And no! You need not be a copywriter to write a conversational copy. If you can hold an engaging conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee then you have the ability to write as well. If you are a marketing professional, business owner or an entrepreneur looking to build more engagement with your audience & build trust with community then this guide might be useful –

1. Uncover their pain

Obvious but still ignored. Most of them don’t follow this simple rule and end up posting what they want their audience to read rather than knowing what they would like to read. Ask questions and solicit response. In order to write persuasively, you must have a clear picture of to whom you are marketing in the first place.

  • Who is this person you’re trying to attract into your tribe?
  • What are their likes?
  • What annoys them?
  • What issue can you solve to keep them engaged?

Don’t be afraid to ask for permission to dig around in their heart and listen for the golden nuggets!

2.       Front-load content

Front-loading content means putting the conclusion first, followed by the what, how, where, when and why so site visitors can:

  • Quickly scan through the opening sentence
  • Instantly understand what the paragraph is about
  • Decide if they want to read the rest of the paragraph or not

 When scanning through web content we don’t tend to read all the text nor read all the way to the bottom of the screen. As such, you may easily miss the conclusion if it’s left until the end.

So remember, conclusion first, everything else second! For a great example of front-loaded content, just read any newspaper article. The opening paragraph is always the conclusion of the article.

3.  Tell stories

Stories rock! Stories build trust. Just like you do when you are chatting with your friend. When you tell stories, you lower the guard of your audience. And they have the power to engage your readership like nothing else. They’re also far more interesting to read than bland sales copy.

Think about how you can weave stories into your online presence. The people in your community will always want to hear your stories to get to know you better.

4. Clear, short and simple

Reading online is quite different from reading in print. For one, a screen causes concentration problems. Text can be difficult to focus on and flashing banners, bright images, and more can distract from the actual blog content.

Avoiding slang or jargon, using shorter words where possible, avoiding complex sentence structures  and using active ahead of passive words – ‘We won the award’ is shorter and easier to comprehend than, ‘The award was won by us’ are few of the simple techniques that can be used to write a crisp yet relevant content. The average reader decides within a few seconds whether a website is worth exploring, so large headings can help grab the attention of readers and pull them into other content on the site.

 

You need to remind yourself what you’re doing is marketing. You want the reader to hold on to your content & respond. The response can take a variety of forms. Use words to paint the outcome. Take readers on a journey of discovery: from problem to solution, in simple steps. The best way to build cult-like resonance is to be generous with your knowledge! As long as you remember to identify with your reader’s problem you can’t really go wrong.

Designing a website or mobile app – largely an act of faith?

Even though as creative jug-heads we may have certain conviction on how users will receive our design work backed by most extensive research it can still leave big gaps in our knowledge. As digital students we should try fill in those gaps with standard practices, sensibilities and values.

design

 

Put yourself in their shoes

Create an account in order to get information or buy a product. Will you?  Ads screaming in your face or feeling tricked?

 

If you don’t like that way, we can safely guess how our own users will feel when we try to pull those kinds of stunts on them.

Nothing but the Truth Shall Set You Free

Traffic generated? Offerings that gets the most/ lest traffic? Drop-off rates at each step along a process? Items in shopping cart? Business rules? How often are gift cards used? How often do auction bidders fail to pay? … the more solid my command of the facts, the better our recommendations will be and the more compellingly we can make the case to adjust them.

Be Helpful

A site or app that expects frequent visits from same user must be a means to their ends, not just a means of making money for ourselves. Being helpful means things like:

  • accepting numbers and dates in whatever format the user enters them;
  • providing standard translations of the meaningless sizes that each clothing manufacturer dreams up;
  • discarding a user’s credit card information as a security measure when they request a password reset;
  • automatically bringing up the numbers keyboard (rather than the alpha keyboard) in an app when the user taps a number-entry field; and
  • identifying 10 most common search terms and figuring out how the UI can eliminate the need to search for them.

Interactivity

Sites today are littered with sharing buttons. Fostering communities however within the walls website can pay tremendous dividends and be one of the most impactful dimensions of the overall user experience. Commercial websites that cultivate a community within their user experience can develop relationships with consumers that go beyond the transactional and reach into the realm of emotion and identity—far more powerful and compelling levels of interaction.

Be flexible, be trendy

Today’s cool is tomorrow’s boring. Is this widget/screen/app/site genuinely useful toward some purpose that matters to users? Is it grounded in an accurate understanding of their needs and behavior? If so, then coolness and visual brilliance add a wonderful dimension to it. If not, no amount of razzle-dazzle will save it for long.

Be Truthful

Truth is not just a matter of avoiding deceit. Credibility is quickly lost and rarely regained. A site or app must work harder to draw in a constant stream of new users. Remember …

  • making sure content is factually accurate
  • links, buttons and icons should redirect to rightful destinations
  • giving prices and shipping costs up front;
  • clearly articulating each error message, the problem and what the user needs to do

Every corner you cut is an opportunity to confuse, irritate, and lose users. Sure, you may not have time to confirm your assumptions or get that extra day of code written. But recognizing your users’ instincts toward, and need for, interaction can play a critical role in providing a meaningful user experience. Driving in to insights & tapping into satisfying needs deeper than merely avoiding pain points and providing smooth transactions can result in a reward for websites which is a higher level of stickiness and loyalty for the long haul.

‘Do it yourself’ ways of improving your Google rankings.

Your website today is not just provider of your company information but also a key driver of business. Somewhere I read, “If your website is not able to drive business you might as well not have a website and put that money is a fixed income instrument and earn interest”.

It’s also a well-known fact that businesses that occupy higher positions on Google search can drive better conversions if done right. Search optimization techniques are constantly evolving with now   Hummingbird, Goggle’s algorithm placing emphasis on understanding the entire meaning of the search query rather than focus on key words.

Well as a marketing manager with so many specialties to focus on it may just seem that the task just got harder. A little search will throw up a lot of articles / posts on local SEO optimization for 2013 with a trend of content, citations, reviews, having Google+, mobile etc. Lets’ try and make a marketers job simple by highlighting a few simple yet effective ones –

1. Having a Google+ account integrated

It kind of becomes obvious that in order to have a better search ranking a Google+ account integration along with social media platforms will help. Once you have an account start using local keywords, regular updating posts, pictures, videos, links to make it original, richer and authentic. Ensure your Name, Addresses & Contact details are unified across platforms.

2. Get reviews

Reviews work like magic. Encourage your internal employers, friends, colleagues, vendors to write reviews. Try and integrate multi-platform reviews to provide a better picture to a viewer.

3. Get local content

Well it’s easier said than done, but if you can’t do it for your location nobody else can. Using local maps, displaying user reviews & comments can be an easy start. Local content will mean better understanding of the meanings by Hummingbird and therefore a better ranking to your page. It’s an effort no doubt but it’s worth it.

4. Citations

So where all are you listed? Citations are references across your local search space for your ‘NAP’ details (Name, Addresses & Contact). Local directories & chambers of commerce are a good place to start.

5. Verify Listings

Search yourself on the engine. Use different relevant keywords and see where you are showing up. See where your competitors are showing up. Identify which keywords you want to be listed for. You may also want to search on http://www.keywordspy.com/.

Imagine you being at the other end of the spectrum. What would you like to see? Put yourself in their shoes. Don’t hard sell. See what value you can add in their life. And Google will love you for that.