Big data has been a bit of a buzz term for the last couple of years. The process of not only capturing mass amounts of information but using it to assist marketing efforts has been a game-changer to say the least.
So how exactly is big data shaping online marketing in 2015? As we approach the home straight of another year, the team at Digital Thing look back at just how companies are utilising big data and what the results have shown.
What exactly is big data?
Analytics are now available with almost any application and device we use, to the point it’s almost impossible for consumers to avoid becoming another statistic. But what is everyone supposed to do with all this information?
Big data is the process of compiling every piece of information available to your target markets and competitors, to help paint a complete picture of the industry and its digital landscape.
This information can be used to establish heavily-targeted and multi-tiered marketing campaigns, offering instant results and on-going optimisation.
Do you need to be a big business to utilise big data?
There’s a big misconception that big data is only something that’s available to large corporations with enough money, time and resources to manage it all.
However, as with all things in the world, the introduction of new technologies and applications means that businesses of all sizes can easily capture and utilise more data than ever before. There are massive amounts of data available on Google alone, which anyone with a Google Account can find, compile, compare and analyse.
Using Big Data for Retargeting
Retargeting may seem very intrusive at times, but if done correctly, it’s also one of the most effective forms of online marketing available. Big data assists with remarketing campaigns, by gathering information about their users’ on-going activity and behaviour.
Data is collected based on any user that visits a website or connects with the brand through other channels (such as email or social media). Any number of remarketing tools, such as Google Adwords, can then place a cookie on the user’s device that prompts advertising based on the data collected.
As analytics tools become more sophisticated and simpler to integrate with website CMS platforms, so too will it become easier for all businesses to track and follow customers and visitors – before, during and after they interact with the business.
Some users hate the idea of remarketing but there are those who see the value. After all, advertising on the web is almost unavoidable these days, so why not improve the experience? Remarketing ensures that every ad a user sees is related to their personal browsing and purchasing history. It’s just the way of the future.
Building Market Personas
One of the most effective ways of utilising big data to build online marketing strategies is to create a series of detailed customer personas for your business. What this means is the business creates a “virtual consumer” of sorts, which represents a very specific market segment.
For example, for us as a digital agency, we might try to create a range of personas that represent our more common client-types. These are in no way representative of specific people we have as clients but a generic persona we can apply to a large portion of the people we want to target with our marketing.
For instance, we may collect data through Google and identify that a majority of searches come from major cities, like Melbourne or Sydney. We may also determine that people in these locations typically search for our services first thing in the morning and usually on a mobile device. We can then dig further and see where these people are finding us, which might be through Facebook, and then where they go next after visiting our website, which could be a popular digital-related blog.
From all this information we can then create our market persona. We can give him or her an actual name, like Joe, and then describe him in as much detail as we can or want. So for us, Joe is in his late 20s, lives in St. Kilda and works as a graphic designer. He has just started a new business and is looking for a web agency to help him build his online presence. He conducts thorough research about potential agencies in the morning, aboard the train on his way to work, and often gets references from his friends in the industry through Facebook.
So as you can see, Joe is now a realistic person. He is completely made up, but by having this persona to work with, we can try to imagine the best way to connect with a person like Joe and build a relationship with him. This will allow us to refine our marketing strategies, to specifically target people like Joe.
Obviously, the more personas we establish as a business, the better our targeted marketing efforts will be. As an additional piece of advice, try to establish a really broad range of personas to ensure you cover as many scenarios as possible. You need to represent people from the city, people from the country, young people, old people, men, women, people who are considered tech savvy and those who are not – which all helps to ensure you maximise your reach and overall impact.
Customer Life Cycles
Once you have established a range of personas, you can now look at each one individually and map out a customer life cycle. Every customer who interacts with your brand will go through their own customer lifecycle. If you can identify where in the cycle your customers are, then you will be more likely to provide them with the information they want to speed up the purchasing process.
By compiling data of when, how often and what people are looking at, you should be able to identify the customers who are open to your communication and those who are not. This will help you to manage your resources and target only those customers who are likely to make a decision.
Furthermore, establishing customer lifecycles assists with improving your service, boosting brand loyalty, encouraging word-of-mouth and increase repeat purchases.
How can you utilise big data?
After reviewing the influence of big data in 2015, it’s no surprise to anyone that it’s an important task for all online marketers. If you aren’t already gathering and reviewing market data then it’s never too late to start.
Contact the team at Digital Thing and we’ll take the time to tell you everything we know about big data. Fortunately for us, keeping up with digital trends isn’t just our job, it’s our passion. We’re always happy to sit down over a coffee and go through your business objectives – helping to create a realistic and affordable strategy that takes you into the future.