Nov 17 2018 Simon Hall Blog Search Automation Five Ways Big Data is Changing Digital Marketing Few can deny that big data is the engine powering numerous industries — and that includes digital marketing. From phones and tablets to social networks and even digital assistants, consumers have more channels than ever from which to access brands’ products and services. While for marketers that means even more ways to reach niche audiences, it also means exponentially more data at their disposal — which they are now required to parse and analyze in order to make smarter and more strategic decisions regarding the future of their digital campaigns. Consequently, the role of the digital marketer has evolved significantly to one that can also make sense of copious consumer data — numbers, statistics, and trends — to optimize their campaigns, increase ROI, and bolster conversions. While this sounds like an enormous and daunting endeavor, big data also provides a path to detailed, nuanced, and previously unattainable insights that have served to strengthen their SEM and other digital marketing efforts. Here are five ways that big data has turned digital marketing on its head, opening up new opportunities for marketers and their customers. Creating Better Overall Customer Engagement Improving the customer experience should always be a top priority for brands. After all, the experience customers have buying products and services from you will often have a direct bearing on the type of review they leave, whether they return to the site or patron your competitor. Big data gives you a reliable way to effectively measure and assess where customer engagement is strong and where it lags, what resonates with your customers, and where they lose interest. For example, different aspects of your campaign as they relate to customer satisfaction can be tracked and adjusted accordingly, providing you a means of connecting the dots between the components of your campaigns that resonate with consumers and the resulting behavior that elicits the highest returns. This information can include the time they spend on a site looking at your ad, the number of pages visited once they’re on your site, return visits, or comments and feedback, which can then be compiled in aggregate to make the customer experience — including the conversion process — simpler, and more efficient. Without a doubt, big data insights garnered from analytics tools have given brands a better ability to accurately respond to customer needs and wants, as well as fluctuations in their consumer habits and behavior, lifestyles, incomes, and other variables. If anything, the availability of these insights equips digital marketing teams with the ability to be flexible and pivot, if necessary, for the customer. The result? Better ways to engage with consumers and more effective strategies, which in turn makes for more satisfied and ultimately loyal customers. Discovering New Potential Targets It’s well established that much of digital marketing — PPC advertising in particular — is about the art of locating and targeting new and desirable audiences that have a strong potential to become customers. Big data is the fuel that drives these campaigns. Among other things, big data can help you take full advantage of all your digital marketing channels by vectoring in on new demographics and groups of consumers that have an interest in your product, as well as distinguish which audiences are more likely to actually become buyers. To that end, big data enables us to drill down even further to understand and analyze buyer intent — whether consumers are casually perusing, looking for something else, or are on a mission to find a specific product or service. Once it’s understood what groups are actually looking for, marketers can tailor their content and campaigns accordingly to further reach untapped audiences and drive ROI. Discovering and Refining the Right Keywords Big data is critical in determining how users got to your site in the first place — and that includes the keywords they’re consistently using to find you. Big data gives you the ability to find those keywords that provide the most value, as well as explore related keywords that might also be profitable. It also allows you to detect correlations between the keywords that have driven website traffic or led to conversions. And when potential customers do land on your website, big data can also be crucial in optimization efforts that allow them to immediately see the products they want most right away. You can further refine and optimize this kind of targeting by showcasing different groups of products at the top of your site, based on the differing needs of various groups and demographics of site visitors. This capability allows you to maximize ROI with a better understanding of what your audience is looking for and how they’re looking for it — often resulting in a big boost to conversions. Creating More Accurate Pricing A McKinsey report found that 30% of the thousands of pricing decisions a company makes every year fail to deliver the best price. For many organizations, this represents wasted effort and a lot of money left on the table that could otherwise have been channeled into your bottom line. Meanwhile, according to the consulting firm, a 1% price increase can result in an 8.7 % increase in operating profits, underscoring that incremental price adjustments based on nuanced insights around consumer behavior, can elicit strong returns and often lead to significant increases in ROI. These adjustments can be determined by the wealth of market and customer data you have at your fingertips, which includes everything from social media engagements and interactions to website traffic and specific PPC campaign data — because finding the sweet spot for pricing can be vital to the success of your marketing endeavors. Learning from the Past As digital marketers, we are constantly perfecting our campaigns. But we often don’t know what we need to improve upon unless we have insights into the success — and especially failures — of previous campaigns. Big data provides a clear and accurate picture of what went wrong and what went right during your last campaign, where you beat your metrics, and where you missed the mark. This kind of data-driven approach provides a wealth of context for analysis so marketers can make more informed and strategic decisions going forward. With insights garnered from prior customer data, marketers can see where strategies fell short or failed altogether, and can subsequently leverage that data to validate tweaking or even significantly adjusting their digital marketing strategy to ensure a better customer experience going forward. For example, retail clothing stores can leverage insights from previous campaigns to determine when to hold sales, what items to promote or how to adjust prices for the items that will likely be popular. In short, big data is often the only window that gives them the ability to confidently lay the groundwork for even stronger, and more effective campaigns in the future. In Summary Big data can represent a monumental task for marketers, adding copious more layers to marketing goals and campaign analysis that can be complex, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. But it can also be a digital marketers’ best friend. The insights contained in big data hold the key to greater customer engagement, discovering new and untapped audiences, creating more accurate pricing to maximize ROI and profits, refining the right keywords, and measuring against past successes and failures. Big data has changed the game for marketers, and as such, the best marketers also have the ability to access its insights. That said, finding the nuggets of truth in a vast sea of data is something that even the best digital marketers can’t do alone. For digital marketers, leveraging dedicated platforms designed to drill down to the most valuable insights will be critical going forward — especially as they continue to navigate through a vast and growing barrage of data to make their campaigns more targeted, relevant, and profitable than ever before.