Building a user centric digital strategy from your owned, earned and paid data

A key challenge of digital marketing is to ‘humanise’ data, in other terms using the data your brand has on existing customers or prospects to make your offering more relevant to them. A focus on the customer will ultimately drive better return on investment from your marketing budget.

In the past, we have been pushing the same advertising message regardless of the audience, the content or the user journey. For example, if you were visiting a News website, you’d be served the same messaging whether you were in the Sports category or the Fashion one. Not the most efficient response rate!

With the (r)evolution of data tracking and analysis through automated technology, we are now able to identify and target a specific audience based on a multitude of criteria, making the segmentation more granular and accurate, and therefore broadcasting a message that’s more personalised and relevant for the user.

In theory, it seems pretty simple, but in reality, very few companies are getting it right, as marketing functions are still siloed across brand, products and digital. So where to from here? I’ve summarised below the three key go-to-market strategies to develop a user-centric approach across your owned, earned and paid media channels.

1. Understand and utilise data from your website

  • Identify if your website visitor is a first time visitor or a returning visitor
    • If they are a returning visitor, provide them with customised content based on what they viewed previously,
    • If they are a new visitor, ensure you are able to track and identify which content they interact with.
  • Identify if they are an existing customer or a potential customer
    • If they are an existing customer, offer them to create an account or to log in once it’s created.
  • Identify where your visitors come from using Google Analytics, Omniture or any other solution that provides website analytics
    • Typically, the digital channels driving visits are organic search, paid search, affiliates, advertising campaigns, lead generation, social media, PR.

More generally, it’s important to have all your content pages tagged so you can track the content your audience is interacting with and make an ongoing improvement on your website based on those learnings.

2. Understand and utilise data from your CRM

Once a visitor is identified as a customer, you can provide them with completely personalised content. Similarly, when you have done the right segmentation across your customer’s database, your EDM campaigns should be personalised based on the customer’s need state – including up-selling and cross-selling as well as delivering relevant content in relation to their existing products or services.

Additionally, I would recommend developing a Test & Learn plan to identify the performance across your website, as well as your EDMs. A lot of marketers oversee the benefit of improving their content or look & feel based on real data, not just assumptions.

3. Understand and utilise data from your media investments

Advertising plays a crucial role in the customer journey, from brand awareness through to conversion and advocacy. In order to best optimise your budget towards the channel in delivering on the business objectives, marketers need to have a very good understanding of the data that you can use to become relevant to their audience.

What data?humanise-data

  • First-party data: using your owned data i.e. from your website, social media, CRM or any other subscription (example: newsletter program).
  • Second-party data: an exclusive exchange of data between you and a partner, which usually has an interest into your product (example: Samsung providing their data to a Telco company to promote their new phone).
  • Third-party data: a paid third-party vendor that provides you with additional data, enabling more granularity in terms of demographics, revenue, gender, geo-location, hobbies & interests, life stages, etc. (example: buying data on people who use a premium credit card).

What strategies?

Currently, any media across Display, Mobile, Video can be bought programmatically (and soon TV, Radio and Outdoor). This term simply means that media buying is automated through a stack of technology platforms leading to better performance and efficiencies.

Firstly, map out the data points that you have access to through your owned data (first party) and then your external data (second or third-party). Once this is defined, segment your audience and draft each user journey along the purchase funnel – which is not necessarily a linear one and is most likely to be different for each audience segment.

While mapping out the multiple user journeys for the media buying, you should also define the creative messaging to make it relevant to each target audience.

For example, you’re launching a new credit card campaign targeting multiple segments, you will need to define the creative messaging for each single of them across their user journey: millennial, family with young kids, empty nester, etc.

Lastly, you should develop a few creative variations for each segment and each step in the journey to see which one works best. This way, you will be able to not only optimise the media buying, but also the creative messaging.

The two other variable to define in your strategy are the frequency: how many times the same user is likely to be targeted with the same creative, and the retargeting: set up some rules to avoid becoming an annoyance to your prospects and make sure the message is timely (for example: make sure to negatively retarget people who just bought your product).

Now that you are clear on your data touch points, target audience, media reach and creative messaging, your strategy should pretty much work like a decision tree. This decision tree is the first step to build a strong, integrated user-centric strategy that can be shared and implemented across your business.

Feel free to get in touch to discuss your digital strategy or any specifics around programmatic technology and data-driven marketing opportunities!

Is retargeting turning off your customers?

retargetingIn a recent survey, RAPP UK and InSkin Media highlighted the potential drawbacks of retargeting and its impact on people’s attitudes towards a brand, revealing 55% users were deterred by retargeted ads. However, based on my previous experience with both the travel and retail industries (who pioneered this model), retargeting campaigns can drive successfully higher conversions and increased ROI. With the rise of programmatic buying technologies we see higher quality, variety and relevancy of retargeted message served to customers in real-time, so what are the key factors that marketers should be aware of in order to deliver a successful, sustainable retargeting strategy?

  • Excessive ad frequency will leave people feeling annoyed or angry at your brand.
    • Use a Test & Learn strategy to define the maximum ad frequency for each of your target audiences. By deploying A/B tests for different frequency caps and analysing CTR and Conversion in real-time marketers are more likely to identify gaps and optimise on the go.
    • In the absence of this testing, the study suggests capping your ad frequency at 3.
  • Tread carefully with incorporating sensitive information such as the customer’s income and location.
    • Personalisation can be tricky when it comes to sensitive information. The use of a user’s name or personal details in a display ad will not be as well received as their use in a personalised email. Brands should always be transparent and seek permission for the use of people’s data.
    • A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if your messaging feels ‘creepy’. Starting the conversation with a question can be a great way to avoid that e.g. Still looking for the best car insurance?
  • The context in which a retargeted ad is shown to a person needs to be relevant to the ads content
    • According to the study, ads served on sites unrelated to the product or service being advertised are over 11 times more likely to discourage than encourage purchase.
    • Media side, this means having better control and visibility on the site & the content where your ads appears. Creative side, the content in the ad also needs to be relevant to the person’s need state at that point in the path-to-purchase.
    • Continually retargeting someone with a product they just bought would quickly become annoying and reflect badly on the brand. On the other hand, promoting a customer service message post-purchase to the user is likely to build brand advocacy.
  • Consider the right mix of retargeting techniques in your strategy
    • There are multiple ways toretarget. Picking the right mix given your objectives, budget and the customer’s point in the path to purchase is crucial. Think about the following techniques:
      • Site retargeting: Based on visits to your website – the most commonly used but least effective
      • Search retargeting: retargeting messages relevant to search keywords used
      • Email retargeting: retargeting based how customers interact with your emails
      • CRM retargeting: retargeting existing customers who have not interacted with your emails, but are browsing online
      • Social retargeting: retargeting through custom audiences on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter

In this context, it is the role of agencies to always partner with their clients to define an audience-centric strategy that utilises retargeting technologies to the benefit rather than the annoyance of their customers. By creating messages that strategically story-tell rather than harass customers not only will your campaign be more effective, but your overall brand advocacy will also be improved.

Source: Familiarity, Frequency and Fine Lines – InSkin Media & RAPP

Improve your audience targeting and content with Audience Manager

634490.adobeaudiencemanagerLast week, I luckily attended an insightful session at Adobe® to take a grasp of one of their cloud based software: Audience Manager. In a nutshell, Audience Manager is a platform that helps marketers to build segments based on first party data (yours) and third party data (other sources) in order to better target the recipient of  a specific creative. In other words, a data management platform.

DMPs are a core element of the RTB environment, it helps agencies collect and analyse the data collected from their client campaigns, and build segments that have the same profile and need to serve the ad. This is happening in real-time to enable DSPs (demand-side platform) and AdServers (where the creative is stored) to give the right message to the right person at the right time.

What are the core benefits that Adobe® Audience Manager (AMM) offers?

  • Data Integration: combining online / off-line data across multiple platforms or channels.
  • Real-Time Segmentation: send the output data to other platforms to optimise the downstream media and enhance the customer experience
  • Improved scalability: full cross-channel reporting and analytics capabilities

The unique value proposition for marketers is to be able to identify and integrate the full user journey from Digital Marketing (off site / advertising) to the Digital Experience (on site) all the way to the CRM activity.

Another great feature of Audience Manager is their brand new integration with FlashTalking, a dynamic creative platform and 1st Party AdServer that we, at DDB Sydney, can proud ourself for helping them launch in Australia with our client Telstra earlier this year. By successfully integrating with FlashTalking, Adobe Manager can now directly deliver on rule-based planning dynamic creative (decision tree) which reduces pixel calls and improves the accuracy in delivering the creative ad.images

Above and beyond the display area, AMM also integrated with Search re-marketing (Google RLSA) and Social Advertising utilising Facebook Custom Audiences, Twitter Tailored Audiences and – still in development – LinkedIn through lookalike modelling.

Finally, AMM helps answering a key challenge in our industry in regards to identify and merging multiple profiles. The tool successfully provides the ability to identify anonymous users vs. authenticated ones across devices along the path-to-conversion.

Stay tuned for next updates on the Adobe® stack!