A big search marketing mistake we often see is businesses believing Google is one step ahead. But in fact, Google updates its algorithm based on how people interact with the search engine.
So how can you stay one step ahead? By knowing your customers better than Google.
And how do you do that? With data.
Not knowing what to do with data can cost your business a small fortune. Not just from the loss of potential new customers, but also the loss of revenue on acquiring data. Really getting to grips with who your audience is and leveraging this to its full potential can impact your bottom-line.
How does data drive results in digital marketing?
In digital marketing, everything is connected. Fortunately, you can gather data at every touchpoint within modern consumer’s journey: where they come from, what they engage with and where they convert. This can be used to inform attribution and develop effective strategies to gain and retain target audiences. No matter your industry, mastering the art of using data will help you thrive.
The data from your digital marketing campaigns can help you better understand your customers and improve how you market to them. In essence, data should feed into everything you do. Whether you’re determining your objectives, social media strategy or marketing plan, these should all be informed by data. Analysing campaign data, you can pinpoint where success lies, how the audience interacted with your brand and why.
Developing customer personas
If you want impactful, sustainable results, your focus needs to be on your customers. Data can be used to develop personas, generating an understanding of who they are, what they want and how they behave. This understanding allows you to create a strategy that aligns to their preferences.
We recently spoke with a potential travel client and were asked to look into why they weren’t seeing the desired engagement from their spend. The reason for this was soon found; they were targeting the wrong audiences. The brand was targeting big spend clients which, in theory, makes sense. However, following closer examination of their data, we found these were one off big spenders who don’t return back to the site after their first transaction. By targeting this audience, they were missing out on those who spent less per transaction but delivered a higher lifetime value than one-off spenders.
Building data-driven personas helps craft tailored messaging and engagement that appeals directly to specific audiences. It’s no longer enough to just know who your target audience is, now, it’s important to understand how they interact and engage too. Regardless of what strategies, deals or promotions you offer, customers will respond to the ones that appeal directly to them. Consider factors such as who your most profitable customers are, what their lifetime value is, how they interact with your brand on different platforms, what devices they use, what time of day they are most engaged. Failure to consider these factors may mean you’re investing significant spend in all the wrong places and the wrong time.
Improving conversion rates
Adobe recently reported that 55 percent of marketers see data-driven marketing as their most important business opportunity, while 42 percent saw improving customer intelligence as a key priority. If your marketing initiatives are backed by data, you’re likely to see a much higher ROI and there are a few ways you can use it to drive conversions:
- Keep customers moving through their buying journey: Is your data showing traffic flowing to your site but only a few are converting? Using data, you can view a user’s journey through your website including where they came from, how they interacted with your site and where you lost them. All of which can inform future campaigns. CRO techniques can be used to maximise these conversion opportunities and help reduce barriers to conversion by interpreting data to inform onsite improvements.
- Re-engage inactive customers: Many brands believe if they have a great product or service, customer retention will naturally follow. While this may be the case in some instances, it is not an effective long-term strategy. Earning customer loyalty requires an ongoing, consistent effort.
Do you have customers that haven’t converted with you in a while? Re-engage them! You’ve already established trust, inspired confidence and even have data on their previous interactions, making it easier to identify their needs. By re-engaging your customers in a relevant and positive way, you can raise brand awareness and strengthen loyalty.
- Identify what’s trending: Data allows you to track real-time changes. If you can interpret the trends of your audience before they even begin, you can apply them to your business to create a competitive edge. Combining data from ads, social media, customer habits and even the economy, informed predictions can be made on what your audience might want next. The ability to forecast upcoming behaviour allows you to improve business operations, product developments, future-proof technology and ensure your marketing strategy is always relevant.
How can you collect useful data?
Companies can capture data in many ways and from many sources whether by directly asking customers, indirectly tracking them or using external information. Quantitative and qualitative research can generate an understanding around what consumers are doing on your website and, more importantly, why they are doing it. There are a few methods businesses can use to gather data, these include:
- Google Analytics: Tracking and reporting platform, Google Analytics, provides data on those who visit and interact with your website. There are two types of data this platform can collect:
– User Acquisition Data: When a user visits your website, their source of acquisition can be identified alongside their demographic data too. Attributing where your website traffic has come from is an important part of proving your ROI. This data can be used to group users into segments, enhancing your overall marketing strategy and personalising targeting too.
– User Behaviour Data: Behaviour data is collected from a user’s interaction with your website. This could include how they engage with your features, the most common pathway to conversion, how long they stay on different pages and where they exit. User behaviour can then be shaped and influenced through changes made to your website. This type of data serves as a starting point to improve your onsite experience.
Unlike user acquisition data, behaviour data can be influenced and it’s important to leverage this opportunity.
- Biometric testing: When a shopper is browsing online, there is a lot happening that even they may not be aware of. Eyes, electric signals, subconscious thoughts and natural emotions are giveaways to their genuine thoughts. Biometric testing can delve deeper than what people say, analysing natural responses and how a person actually feels to develop a real understanding. Analysis of traits, characteristics, behaviours and emotions gather valuable data on how users interact with your website. By tracking your visitor’s journey, patterns and trends can be identified to anticipate their next step and provide a seamless user experience.
- Industry data: Absorbing up to date information on industry research, trend reports and social media interactions can provide valuable data which could be applied to your business. Social platforms in particular, have become a trove of insight. With Facebook boasting over 1 billion users, Twitter 500 million and Instagram recently hitting 1 billion too, these channels play a key role in generating insightful, audience-led data. As a result, social signals are becoming an increasingly important search factor too.
Where can data be applied to your digital marketing?
Really, data is important in all areas of digital marketing and should feed into every aspect, pulling each strand together.
Data and Technical SEO
There has always been an air of mystery around Google’s ranking algorithm. Through experience, expertise and clues from the search engine, we can quickly understand how algorithm updates affect rankings.
Data is key to measuring exactly how your campaigns are performing, enabling you to take action to improve them. By analysing your organic and referral traffic, you can collect data on how many visitors you earn through search engines while understanding the impact of the links you’re building. You can also analyse your competitors’ backlink profile to see which sources they do or don’t use and whether there are potential opportunities for your business.
The most important element of data in your SEO campaigns is consistent maintenance. SEO is a demanding and time-consuming process, but the rewards can be significant. It’s not enough to check your data occasionally, it must be considered on a regular basis to create relevant, actionable insights. If you’re not making improvements based on data, it’s unlikely you’ll see an uplift in your campaign’s performance. We’ve developed an in-house tool that allows us to translate data with ease, scoping competitor analysis, international link building, keyword research and more to create a competitive approach for long term results.
Data and Content
As Google has emerged over the years as a major curator of data, the search engine began considering content as quantifiable data. By considering content as data, search engines are able to analyse it and deliver more relevant answers direct to users. As a result, Google has become more structured, creating new features such as featured snippets and local listings that deliver relevant answers in an instant.
Data can also impact the effectiveness of your actual content too. For example, topics can be assessed to understand which topics your audience engages most with to plan future content. Using the data your business has collected helps make each experience as relevant as possible for every user visiting your site. If you’re not listening to or trying to understand your customers, it’s unlikely your content is as relevant and engaging as it could be. With a better idea of when and how users find your brand, along with their interests and preferences, strong audience segments can be created to inform content marketing. Audience segments can also help to inform audience personas too.
Data and Paid Media
Data isn’t only for SEO; it can also be a major benefit to paid media too. There are a few areas in particular where data can play a key role in generating impressive campaign results:
- Retargeting: User data can drive remarketing campaigns, capturing online activity and behaviour. When a user visits your website, the remarketing code is triggered, and a cookie file is stored in their browser. As the user continues their online journey, browsing other websites, they will see relevant ads from your brand. Audience segmentation also enables precision in ad targeting allowing you to retarget people based on demographics including age, gender and interests.
- Programmatic: Programmatic advertising relies on analysing data to decide which ads to purchase before bidding for them in real time. Advertisers can target users based on characteristics, demographics and behaviours without any human intervention.
- PPC: With more than 3.5 billion daily searches performed on Google, businesses have tons of data at their fingertips. However, data alone will not make sense if you’re unable to analyse it. With the help of tools including Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner, advertisers can search trends, find relevant keywords and understand keyword strategies used by competitors. Google’s data-driven attribution modelling uses data from your AdWords account to determine which ads, keywords and campaigns have the biggest impact on your objectives. Optimisations can then be made to your bidding based on real data form your account, helping improve ROI of your PPC campaigns.
- A/B Testing: It’s important to A/B test everything you can. Whether it’s ad copy or email subject lines, why make guesses on what’s working when you can gather data that will give you the answer?
To increase conversions and loyalty, businesses need to rethink the way they engage with customers. Fuelled by data, you will be well equipped to build a marketing strategy that pulls users to your website before they reach your competitors. Each of our services is underpinned by data meaning each and every strategy we produce is designed to maximise your performance. Whether your focus is on SEO or Paid Media, harnessing data allows us to capture valuable data and make an impact on your bottom line. Find out how we have helped clients thrive using our data driven approach or contact us to learn more.