Three key MarTech solutions to help your brand stay ahead
In an ever-changing world, creating meaningful interactions makes all the difference for brands. Whether it’s removing friction from the customer journey, increasing the value proposition, or improving the ROI on marketing spend, a key ingredient in all these activities is the activation of quality customer data. By creating a real-time, 360°customer view, a 1-on-1 marketing approach at scale becomes possible.
However, getting there is a multifaceted challenge. To succeed, brands and businesses need the best technology for media, marketplaces, search, storytelling, and creatives, all while respecting data and privacy. But building an ideal MarTech stack that suits the current and future needs of your business can be challenging, especially during financial uncertainty when every dollar you spend is under a microscope.
At DEPT®, we believe technology is the key to successful, data-led marketing. At the same time, we know this is challenging to get right. With an average organisation using over ninety Martech tools, it’s unsurprising that 83% of organisations do not connect consumer touch points and 68% of organisations lack automation.
Here are three MarTech solutions that can help you bridge that gap, maximise your technology investments, improve your marketing ROI and create a more frictionless customer experience.
Customer Data Platform
A customer data platform brings together all of the information you’ve gathered about your customers into one database. This means all first, second and third party data, including things like age, historic behaviour and browsing activity. A CDP makes data that was only accessible to one department (like your Customer Service representatives), accessible to all (like your Digital Marketing team).
It’s a treasure trove of information that only grows more complex and useful as you utilise it in your daily business dealings. It provides you with customer profiles that are invaluable to perform well in the digital world.
Your CDP should provide a user-friendly interface helping your company to use your data. No matter if you’re looking to analyse customer behaviour, increase conversion or generate reports to inform business decisions, a well-structured and mature CDP will assist you in all of these endeavours and more.
And it’s not just your organisation that’ll benefit from your CDP. Your clients will too, with better-targeted marketing campaigns that listen to and meet their needs, quicker processing, or even just not having to repeat their address to three different departments when dealing with your company.
For example, a luxury gifting company wanted to be able to predict the behaviour of its customers and turned to DEPT® to build its customer data platform. We used machine learning to predict conversion intent by matching real-time browsing behaviour to historical conversion patterns, resulting in much more efficient retargeting by honing in on audiences based on their expected probability to convert. This approach saved 40% of the brand’s remarketing ad spend without reducing conversions.
Google Marketing Platform
Google Marketing Platform (GMP) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables advertisers to more effectively manage, measure and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns. GMP integrates world-class solutions to help buyers run holistic campaigns across all media channels. The products within Google Marketing Platform all seamlessly integrate so that you can plan, buy, measure, and optimise digital media and customer experiences in one place.
The GMP suite of solutions can handle everything from automated campaign management, to intelligent non-last click attribution models, video, display and mobile campaigns management to in one place to data visualisation. It can help you work smarter and your budget work harder.
For example, we implemented Salesforce and Google Marketing Platform for a luxury body care brand. By doing so, we centralised all their first-party data and built an in-house machine-learning platform, giving them insight into the data needed to increase their international reach efficiently. By switching to more audience-based communications, the retailer’s CPA was reduced by 15%, while sales increased by 85%.
Ada by DEPT®
Ada by DEPT® is our proprietary marketing technology platform, designed for brands to build and accelerate their digital businesses. With 50+ point solutions available for every key marketing activity, Ada helps clients automate digital marketing at scale, and mitigates the loss of data in a more privacy-driven digital world.
Ada is a central platform that functions as a hub for DEPT® tooling, solutions and trusted third party partners. Through managed services, Ada works like a multitool, providing the right solution for the job. Media & Advertising, SEO & Content, Marketplaces, Data & Insights, Creative Automation, Financials & Admin and access to third party martech partners can all be managed via this single platform.
The British marketplace Dayrize wanted to create awareness at scale for sustainable alternatives. To do this successfully, Dayrize needs web traffic that is affordable, qualitative and also scalable. Using Ada, DEPT® realised a flexible, data-driven website structure in just a few days through the creative use of data and machine learning. At the heart of the solution was automated keyword research at scale. We retrieved 38 million data points (keywords and search volumes) and processed these with Google’s BERT algorithm, supplemented with our own algorithm. This saved Dayrize about 90% of the manual work (about €180,000 in hourly compensation on this scale), in just a few days.
Review, react, refine
Now is the perfect time to look at your MarTech investments more carefully, scrutinise what you already have, and find out what you’ll need in the future. With our agnostic approach and pragmatic view of the global market, we have supported brands in developing the ideal MarTech stack to help them thrive.
Contact us today to learn more about our third-party partnerships and our proprietary technology.
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Global SVP of Performance, Media & Data
How to reap the rewards of loyalty & retention
In times of economic instability, battening down the hatches and tightening the purse strings is the natural response to keep your bottom line healthy. And while making considered decisions around media budgets is wise, a switch in focus from new customer acquisition to loyalty and retention is even wiser.
According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is “anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one”. For some organisations, this is a budget-breaker, especially those with long sales cycles or expensive products. But while acquisition can multiply your spend five-fold, an HBS study shows just a 5% increase in retention rate can increase profits by 25% to an astonishing 95%.
But it takes more than just a switch in mindset to harvest the fruits of retention. And while some organisations may have laid the foundations back in the dark days of the pandemic, many marketing teams are underprepared from a technical, talent and strategy perspective to compensate for the loss of media exposure and traffic when switching to a retention and loyalty strategy.
Developments in martech, data modelling and personalisation capabilities mean that loyalty and retention strategies have come a long way from simply firing off a discount code to all previous buyers; it’s about getting to know your customers, understanding their needs, and providing the service they need, when they need it. But we understand that knowing where to start when budgets are shrinking and timelines are tight can be tough, so we’ve broken down some key focus areas to support you with your loyalty and retention strategy.
The main goal when launching any loyalty and retention strategy is to increase the customer lifetime value of your existing customers by maximising loyalty and retention, and driving cross-sell and upsell.
1. Customer insights
In order to target your existing customers, you need to ensure that you can isolate that data. The first step is to get the basics right with your customer journey and CRM setup. This will enable you to build out the customer journeys from first conversion, to repeat purchase, to loyalty.
Through data, insights and a ‘test and learn’ approach, you can grow and engage your customer base in both size and value, while identifying the customers who have the highest likelihood to churn so you can act accordingly. Data modelling can help you to
create buckets of different types of customers and approach them with the right message at the right moment.
DEPT® supported a luxury retailer with this challenge. By garnering a deeper understanding of its existing customer base through data insights and utilising the Google Marketing Platform (GMP), the brand was able to maximise owned/paid retention campaigns, identify lookalike audiences, set budget caps, and prioritise customer service cases. The data informed a customer contact strategy that ensured the right messages were sent to the right people, at the right time. The result? An 85% increase in sales.
In all positive stories, technology is the enabler. In this instance, Google Marketing Platform supported the retailer in its success. GMP is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables advertisers to more effectively manage, measure and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns, and its suite of solutions has the ability to power all key elements of your campaigns, from automated campaign management to optimisation, analytics and real-time data visualisation. If you’re not utilising GMP already, it is well worth exploring.
2. Cross-sell & up-sell
Developing a strategy to support cross-sell and up-sell can move you from purely acquisition-driven revenue to adding revenue share from existing customers. Having the ability to identify cross and up-sell services that your customers enjoy will grow their loyal behaviour (and customer lifetime value) with your brand over time. Personalisation plays a large part in this journey. If you get your customer insights set-up right, then preference personalisation becomes much easier.
By teaming data-driven insights with Creative Automation tools, you are able to create multiple cross-channel communications for various audiences. At the click of a button, you can generate thousands of creative variations from just a few inputs. Automated asset production allows tailored messaging to each individual customer segment, and iterates on the messaging quickly based on performance data. The tools make it easy to adjust copy and design, so that you are always producing hyper-personalised content that truly resonates with customers across CRM marketing, onsite, social, and digital advertising. Creative Automation is a key solution in Ada by DEPT®, our proprietary martech platform, which offers best-in-class technology for performance marketing, creative, data and media optimisation.
For example, eBay was looking for a new way to engage existing customers with a particular product category, while at the same time wanting to test whether a personalised CRM strategy would boost customer lifetime value. DEPT® helped them to define three unique, enthusiast segments and develop a hyper-specific, highly personalised approach to communicate with these customers, which drove significant engagement and amplified conversion, with a 68% increase in click-to-open-rate.
3. One-to-one communication
Tailored, one-to-one customer communication across all digital touchpoints is a key tenet of loyalty and retention. All content touchpoints, whether push notifications, e-mail, website or chatbots, can have automated processes that ensure personalised messaging at any given moment.
Beiersdorf is a glowing example of how to get it right. The personal care manufacturer focused on its existing Nivea customers across Europe, and developed a strategy that placed a strong focus on known customers in the ‘care’ phase of the funnel. This has a dual benefit; not only helping to increase loyalty, but also mitigating the impact of the death of the cookie as, by dealing with existing customers, you are still able to personalise customer journeys.
Utilising Salesforce technology, DEPT® implemented automated journeys to engage the database and prevent churn, optimised the content strategy, contact frequency, and email design, and improved the acquisition campaigns for growing the database with high quality profiles. The result was a 200% increase in open rates, and 357% increase in click-through rate.
The Salesforce suite of solutions, such as Marketing Cloud, Tableau Analytics and Experience Cloud, can play a vital role in developing a truly 360 view of your customers to enable success. From consolidating all customer data to create rich customer profiles to automating complex processes to increase efficiency and productivity, creating cutting edge tools to support end-to-end communication to optimising workflows with machine learning, Salesforce is a solid base for any brand’s tech stack.
Chatbots are well worth considering as part of your loyalty strategy, helping customers to self-serve and providing personalised recommendations. Ralph Lauren approached one-to-one communication with the development of a gifting chatbot for the festive season. The luxury retailer wanted to create an immersive and personalised method of picking the perfect gift, matching the users’ interests with compatible products available on the Ralph Lauren website. By combining data-driven insights from previous gifting chatbots with innovative Instagram platform features, BYTE/DEPT® built one of the first branded Instagram chatbots available in the industry and worldwide. In the first few months of launch, the chatbot attracted over 12,000 average monthly users with 3% showing strong purchase intent.
Act now to reap the rewards
Investing in building a good relationship with your existing customers really pays off in the short and long term. Whether you’re already refocusing your marketing efforts on loyalty and retention, or need some help in getting started, our team of experts can help. From tech implementation to strategy, data, creative and beyond, we can support you every step of the way.
Reach out to our experts today.
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Global SVP of Performance, Media & Data
Advertising during a recession? Start with an Audit.
Recessions bring with them a slew of problems that the global economy must contend with. The usual byproducts of recession – job loss and inflation – severely impact demand and the purchasing power of large swaths of people all over the world. In turn, this almost always results in significant revenue declines for many consumer brands.
First start with an Advertising Audit
With recent economic uncertainties putting a damper on financial expectations for the foreseeable future, businesses need to adapt various aspects of their organisation to ensure their survival. This is especially relevant when it comes to marketing. Brands must be careful when promoting their brand during times like these and simultaneously ensure…
- They aren’t tone deaf to the hardships facing consumers.
- They are demonstrating the need and value for their products or services.
- They are building long-term brand equity.
Moving forward during a tenuous situation like this can be accomplished by starting with an in-depth advertising audit. This audit takes a close look at a number of factors, including your target audience, your product category, and your current messaging and creative assets to determine not only what needs to change for a successful pivot, but how that can be done. This is also all done within the context of lessons learned from previous economic downturns.
Stay Positive, Stay Focused
One key lesson we’ve learned when marketing during a recession is that brands should focus on the positives where they can find them. Yes, it’s important to still be empathetic to challenges facing many consumers, but you also don’t want to paint a “doomsday scenario” or be too pushy to try and make a sale. Don’t lead with depressing messaging; remain optimistic and demonstrate the full value your brand can provide.
Also, if you start to see your sales decline, don’t panic. Don’t pull your marketing budget from top- and middle-funnel marketing activities to solely focus on short-term conversion campaigns. You need to continue building brand equity and increasing awareness with new audiences. Brands that maintain their investments during recessions report higher sales, market share, and earnings afterward than those that don’t. They stay top of mind with consumers while the competition lags behind. Not only that, but if other brands pull back on their advertising, you end up getting even more value for your advertising spend. It’s no secret, but brands can sometimes forget, taking a full-funnel, long-term approach is the best way to foster sustainable growth well into the future.
An exceptional example of this is Samsung. During The Great Recession of 2009 – and even in the midst of reporting their first quarterly loss in company history – Samsung kept their investment stable and even brought in senior marketing executives to reshape their approach. And the long-term results? Well, those speak for themselves. In 2009, Samsung was number 21 on Interbrand’s global brand value list. In 2021, they ranked number 5. Similarly, the Harvard Business Review noted that when CPG brand Reckitt Benckiser increased advertising spend by 25%, they also increased profits by 14% when their competitors were seeing profit reductions.
Brands should allow for 4-6 weeks when pivoting their campaigns and messaging in these situations. You want to ensure you take adequate time to research and craft the most effective messaging and creative, but you also can’t wait too long and miss the boat. It’s important to stay vigilant and understand the current situation at hand, stay updated on the latest developments, and also consider how the position of your consumer and brand might evolve over the coming months.
Understanding your audience and value
During an economic downturn, there are four distinct consumer segments. The Harvard Business Review examined these during The Great Recession in 2009. These segments include:
- Slam-on-the-breaks: those who need to immediately economize.
- Pained-but-patient: those who will have to think twice about their spendings (the majority of consumers).
- Comfortable well-off: those who don’t really have to worry about their finances.
- Live-for-today: those who live for the moment and spend without regrets.
Harvard Business Review also identified four unique product segments, which are:
- Essentials: products that someone needs to survive or make a living, such as groceries, medicine, and transportation.
- Treats: products that are not essential, but are justifiable: lipstick, a birthday cake, and dining out.
- Postponables: products that have function, but could be postponed: a new refrigerator, a new sofa, or a laptop.
- Expendables: products that you don’t necessarily need and are a luxury: a jacuzzi, jewellery, and art.
The audit will uncover how these different consumer segments interact with the different product segments in the light of economic uncertainty. It uses this information to develop a strategy to react to those changes in behavior and drive growth, or prevent sales and revenue retractions.
By identifying which product segments will be important to each consumer segment, the advertising audit will help a brand develop a higher-level strategic concept around the sensitivities of each consumer group and the value of the different products. This concept will then serve as a guiding light to ensure messaging and creative assets are persuasive and influential. The audit will also capture what competitors are doing in regard to recession marketing and how that might impact your strategy.
DEPT® has experience helping brands within numerous industries succeed in all types of market conditions. Our expertise and outside perspective enables us to keep brands grounded through challenging times and always act with the end consumer in mind. Interested in conducting an advertising audit for your brand to ensure you’re hitting the right note with consumers? Reach out today and get started.
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Global SVP of Performance, Media & Data
Google to promote sites with human-centred content
With the rollout of Google’s new helpful content update, many are asking themselves what it is, what it means for their businesses, and how great an effect it will have. The update, which was released in August 2022, was expected to have major ramifications however, while the purpose of the update is clear, the impact is still uncertain.
Google’s Helpful Content Update
Where quantity and quality used to be even parameters for Google to decide how to rank pages, recent industry changes, such as the rise of TikTok, have affected users’ behaviour and thus require content of better quality. With more people on TikTok absorbing content that is easy to digest, Google is faced with greater competition to prioritise content that is made for humans – and thus introduced the helpful content update.
This new search algorithm update is intended to target websites that have a high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content. The main purpose arose from searchers becoming frustrated when landing on websites that are highly ranked but are unhelpful, due to the fact that the content has been designed purely for SEO. The new algorithm will instead promote content that is of higher quality, feels more authentic, and is relevant for users.
While the new update does not invalidate the importance of SEO, it aims to downgrade websites that place a greater focus on SEO, and instead promote websites that are designed for humans, rather than for search engines. Google’s helpful content update pushes businesses to move away from robotic, AI-created content, and to reconsider what is currently on their web pages. Moreover, this update, unlike others, affects entire websites as opposed to individual pages, meaning that the recovery time could be quite significant.
What does it mean for your business?
The new update is first being rolled out in the English markets, and upon launching was predicted to take a couple of weeks. It still remains to be seen how powerful this ranking signal is, and only a small percentage of SEOs are currently experiencing any ranking changes due to the update. However, Google’s ultimate goal is to maintain a competitive position for its search engine and to prevent users from moving over to high-content platforms like TikTok.
The impact on businesses will likely be significant, but we do not know how long it will take to be fully implemented. Google probably opted for a slow rollout to give people time to update their content, especially given the difficulty of bouncing back if hit by the algorithm.
Ultimately, the new update indicates a key focus point for Google, and whether your site is going to be impacted today or in the near future, cleaning up content to focus on user behaviour is definitely recommended.
What to do now?
Adapting your content,where necessary, should follow a people-first approach in a way that does not invalidate SEO best practices. Companies should ensure content is helpful, user-friendly and authentic (see Google’s guidelines for creators). Essentially, you should evaluate your website content to determine where it needs to be reworked. Ask yourself: does something need to be removed? Does something need rewriting? If you have a plethora of content, what should be prioritised?
The transition to people-first content
The update to Google’s ranking algorithm should by no means cause panic, but it is important to bear in mind the impacts on your site, along with user behaviour. You can still have content of length, but ensure that the most important and relevant highlights are stated first, and that the balance between human-focused content and SEO best practices is upheld.
Want to know more? For guidance and advice on how best to optimise SEO and content on your website, reach out to us at DEPT®.
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How the DMA & DSA laws will impact your business
The European Parliament has approved two new laws that will place tough constraints on how big tech brands such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta tackle competition and handle user data. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) aim to create a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected, and to establish a level playing field for businesses in the European Single Market and globally.
This is the first official legislation around the globe that aims to regulate big tech in such a big way. The new rules are an important step in defending European values in the online space. They respect international human rights norms, and help better protect democracy, equality and the rule of law.
The new laws apply in the EU single market, without discrimination, including to those online intermediaries established outside of the European Union that offer their services in the EU.
Digital Services Act
The Digital Services Act (DSA) tackles concerns of values and safety in the online space. It focuses on content moderation enforcement and transparency, and will likely go into effect around mid-2023.
The rule is built under the overarching principle: “what is illegal offline must also be illegal online.” The goal is to create a safer digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected. It will give better protection to users and to fundamental rights online, establish a powerful transparency and accountability framework for online platforms, and provide a single, uniform framework across the EU.
The rules specified in the DSA concern online intermediaries and platforms such as online marketplaces, social networks, app stores, online travel platforms, and cloud services. It will mainly impact ‘very large’ online platforms, which have a significant societal and economic impact, reaching at least 45 million users in the EU (representing 10% of the population), and online search engines with more than 10% of the 450 million consumers in the EU.
Included in the new regulations, the DSA bans targeted advertising of minors based on profiling, and targeted advertising based on profiling using special categories of personal data such as sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
Digital Markets Act
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) focuses more on the so-called ‘gatekeepers’ in digital markets such as search engines, social networking sites, web browsers, cloud computing services and virtual assistants. The criteria is even stricter than with DSA; similarly, most businesses will not be impacted directly, but will indirectly have to work with the consequences.
The DMA establishes a set of narrow defined criteria for qualifying large online platforms as ‘gatekeepers’. You are considered to be a gatekeeper when:
- You have a yearly revenue of €7,5 billion, a market value of €75 billion, or you have over 45 billion unique monthly visitors on your platform. (Note that the European Commission can also appoint gatekeepers themselves, so companies like Booking, Zalando or Just Eat Takeaway may not meet these criteria just yet, but could be added to the list in the future).
- Furthermore, you need to have an impact on the market, be an important gatekeeper for business users to reach end users and have a firm position in the market
The DMA places far greater restrictions on tech giants in regards to how they utilise their gatekeeper platforms, in a bid to even the playing field for competition. For example, it introduces a ban on: sharing data between services without expressed consumer consent; on ranking the gatekeeper’s own products or services in a more favourable manner compared to those of third parties, and tracking end users outside of the gatekeepers’ core platform service for the purpose of targeted advertising, without effective consent having been granted. The DMA’s competition rules could impact services such as iMessage, Amazon’s ability to self-preference on ecommerce, and Google and Meta’s advertisement data gathering practices.
These competition rules will likely go into effect in 2024, and those found to be non-compliant could face fines of up to 10% of the company’s worldwide annual turnover, rising to 20% for repeated infringements and penalty payments of up to 5% of the company’s worldwide daily turnover.
What does it mean for your business?
While the new laws are targeted mainly at ‘very large’ platforms and tech giants, there will be repercussions for those businesses that utilise the platforms for advertising purposes.
DSA: Ban on targeted advertising to minors and via special category profiling
The DSA bans on targeted advertising on online platforms by profiling children, or based on special categories of personal data such as ethnicity, political views or sexual orientation
As of 2021, advertisers on Meta, Messenger, and Instagram were no longer able to target teens based on their interests. But businesses could still target ad campaigns to people 18 years and under based on age, gender, and location. On TikTok, you cannot target those under the age of digital consent, which differs per country (e.g. 16 in the Netherlands, 13 in the UK). According to the platform, it was never possible to target specifically based on profiling such as the sexual orientation listed in a profile or political preference. However, advertisers could target you based on your interests, for example “LGBTQ+ rights”. Also as of 2021, advertisers on Meta were no longer able to target these sensitive interest categories.
The new law will limit the possibilities of targeting children, or based on special categories of personal data. Depending on the type of organisation you are, this may have a big impact on your advertising possibilities. When your target audience are minors (ecommerce focussed on younger people, theme parks, or even recruiting focussed on student jobs), it will no longer be possible to target specifically for your target audience. This will most likely have a big impact on the effectiveness of your online campaigns.
For political parties and their online advertising, it will become harder to specifically target based on political views. This is a topic which is hotly debated leading up to many elections already. Important to note that in this specific case, the EU bans profiling users based on their political views but we know that in the US, Meta’s user interests were indirectly used as a proxy for politically or racially targeted advertising.
DSA: Ban of ‘dark patterns’ design
The DSA also bans the use of so-called ‘dark patterns’ on the interface of online platforms, referring to misleading tricks that manipulate users into choices they do not intend to make.
The law means that it cannot be harder to refuse than to accept tracking and personalised ads. Changes in UX and visual design, for example changing the ‘accept all’ button to green, are also called ‘dark patterns’ and are no longer allowed.
Note that this legislation focuses on ‘very large platforms’; those that reach over 10% of the total 450 million consumers in Europe. For most organisations, that doesn’t directly create the obligation to change their own consent. However, once platforms such as Meta, TikTok and Google are forced to ask for consent to be tracked, you’ll see that the number of users accepting these terms will decrease. (FYI, platforms cannot refuse their services to those who do not consent). Although this won’t have a direct impact on most businesses, they will have to accept that there will be a larger group of people that can not be targeted based on user data. In the long run, this may even change their business model.
What changes for gatekeepers?
The DMA stipulates that gatekeepers must not:
- Treat services and products offered by the gatekeeper itself more favourably in ranking than similar services or products offered by third parties on the gatekeeper’s platform.
- Prevent consumers from linking up to businesses outside their platforms.
- Prevent users from uninstalling any pre-installed software or app if they wish to do so.
- Track end users outside of the gatekeepers’ core platform service for the purpose of targeted advertising, without effective consent having been granted.
More specifically, the DMA states that different messenger services are to be connected to each other, meaning that you can send a message from Facebook Messenger to Signal, or from iMessage to Telegram. This part of the DMA is heavily criticised, as the technical feasibility of connecting these services together is low; there is no protocol like there is for email (smtp) or phone (ss7). However, legislation isn’t meant to be a technical requirement, and this type of legislation will keep everyone on their toes.
Lastly, the DMA mentions that users outside of the gatekeeper’s platform can no longer be tracked without effective consent. The interesting twist here is ‘consent’. Under GDPR, consent was already necessary to track users online. You can therefore argue that nothing will really change. For many of these platforms, it’s already practically impossible to continue using their services without giving the right levels of consent. However, we need to see this in the context of the DSA as well. The combination of DSA and DMA could potentially mean that online platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Google, will no longer be able to create these enormous datasets based on personal and interaction data that can be used for targeting ads.
The DMA also requires gatekeepers to be more transparent towards their business users. For example, this means that Meta and Google will need to provide more information on the ads and campaigns their business users run. So, your business won’t have to rely on inaccurate or intransparent reports, but instead have access to in-depth data that is created via your campaigns.
Additionally, gatekeepers are no longer allowed to self-preference their products on their platforms (e.g. if you’re searching for a voice assistant on google search, Google isn’t allowed to place their Google Home in the first ranking). An obvious bonus for any smaller companies offering similar solutions.
What to do now?
If you’re considered a gatekeeper (DMA), intermediary service, hosting service, online platform or very large online platform (DSA), changes will come your way. What exactly will change, depends on the kind of service you offer or the kind of platform you run. As a web hosting service you’ll have different obligations than a internet network provider or a marketplace. There won’t be a one size fits all solution, so do seek advice.
All other businesses will not be directly impacted by this new legislation, but will most certainly face indirect consequences. The most obvious impact is the restrictions of these platforms to target advertisements in a personalised way. Mitigating the implications of DSA and DMA are somewhat similar to the strategies we advise our clients to take to tackle the loss of cookies. Relying on these platforms to help you find your target audience isn’t a smart way to move forward. Instead, build your own robust first party database, invest in relationships with publishers directly and start investing in contextual advertising.
The first single digital market
There’s no doubt that this is an historic moment in digital regulation; the introduction of these new laws has set Europe as the first, single digital market in the free-world. While, in practice, GDPR and Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) have already limited the possibilities to target users specifically based on their data, the introduction of DMA and DSA brings clear regulatory monitoring and punishments for non-compliance.
While the implications of the new legislation will be most intensely felt by the tech giants, the ripple effects will undoubtedly be felt across all organisations utilising their platforms. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before smaller parties will also have to follow these regulations, so be advised to start following the same ‘consent rules’ that the tech giants are being given now.
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Global SVP of Performance, Media & Data
Digital Analytics – Tool Selection
Without data and data analysis, modern digital marketing is now unthinkable. As marketers, we want to use our budget as effectively as possible, optimise our performance marketing, reach our target audience in the best possible way and convert them on an optimised website. Ultimately, we all try to convert our users into profitable customers with the right communication at the right time. But that is easier said than done. One thing is certain: we need data on how users interact with our brand, marketing activities and digital products.
Digital analytics has become a very broad and sometimes confusing field. Despite complex legal and technical frameworks, digital analytics will continue to lay the foundation for data-driven marketing in the future. However, what usually starts with campaign and conversion tracking can develop into so much more.
In this article, we will give you an overview of the differences between the various digital analytics tools and which tool is best suited to your requirements.
The tool jungle
There is no clear demarcation in the tool jungle and tools clearly overlap with their features. However, in the following graph we try to guide you in your search for the most suitable tool.
The tool selection
In the following paragraphs, we lay out what the individual categories mean exactly and which tools belong to them. In addition, there is a brief overview of the country of origin for each tool, information on the size of the company for which the tool is particularly suitable, and a price estimate.
Do you focus on more specific marketing use cases, e.g. advanced attribution modelling or deep performance analysis within a channel? Then you will find the right solution in this category. It is not about the “big picture”, but about specific marketing analytics possibilities. In other words: tools that come up with a special focus. Here you will find solutions for social media monitoring, brand analysis, SEO, and many more. At a high level, this can often be achieved with the “holistic” tools, but your specialists may need more. The target group is usually the corresponding team, e.g. the SEO team for SEO tools. Below you will find some examples:
If you are more interested in understanding how you can improve your digital products to ensure the best possible customer experience – or even just to increase sales impact – then you are better off in the Product Analytics category. This is less about effective use of the marketing budget and more about analysing product-specific issues. How do users interact with your product detail pages? Do they look at product images, reviews or delivery conditions? Is on-page search used and how do users react to the search results? What would your company have to change about the existing products to improve the user experience? Answers to these questions can be found in this category.
Business / Marketing Intelligence
If the standard reporting and analysis capabilities built into many tools are no longer enough for you, the next steps here are for you. Reporting automation across all channels (incl. costs & ROI) sound exciting? Then take a look in this category. There are now suitable solutions for every situation, especially to reduce manual effort. Later on, you can expand the setup and make it self-service capable so that your colleagues can gather the insights themselves without having to rely on ready-made reports.
CDP / All-in-one
Some solutions are difficult to classify because they come across as very broad and powerful. If you can live with generalist tools from a single source, you could be in good hands here. But be aware of the strong dependency on the solutions. We have also placed the current trend topic Customer Data Platform (CDP) here. Such a solution is understood to be more of a platform for various use cases – a lot is possible, but whether you really need it or can make use of it is something you should consider.
A big advantage of these platforms is certainly the integration of the individual components. Especially when it comes to data activation, a CDP will make your life a lot easier compared to if you had to combine many individual tools.
There is still room for an “Others” category, which is so special that we have separated it out. Here, special requirements such as competitive analysis (e.g. via Similarweb) or consent management (including Usercentrics, Borlabs Cookie or SAP Enterprise Consent and Preference Management) are dealt with. We have also not considered mobile-first or mobile-only tools (such as Adjust) in this article, even though they have very similar functions to those mentioned above.
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Global Lead of Data Practice
Why you need to switch to Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 will be the new standard of web analytics tools, but many are asking: Should I switch now? And if so, how?
The final switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will result in new and improved opportunities in digital marketing.
In this article, you’ll learn about the changes, what to consider, and why an immediate switch pays off.
A brief history of Google Analytics
Remember when “surfing” the World Wide Web was easy? We read simple HTML pages and watched videos. We started buying products online, looked for new travel destinations, and connected with old school friends.
For businesses, this meant that it was possible to track how many pages were viewed on a website and how much time visitors spent on each page.
In the years to follow, our digital world became much more complex. Now, we do more shopping online, trade and barter, and use different devices on different networks.
For businesses, Google Analytics provided additional options for measurement and analysis, including visitor segmentation, event tracking, Google Tag Manager, and improved attribution.
The rise of smartphones and their massive use inevitably forced Google to adapt again and meet the mobile-first challenge.
For companies, this meant that a much better and more detailed picture of customer journeys was now possible and customers/visitors could be accompanied in all phases. A better understanding of the awareness, consideration and purchase phases led to improvements and innovations on the web and new ideas to win over visitors.
We were forced to work with two platforms that were not seamlessly integrated or connected. Whoever was responsible for conducting analysis had to painstakingly compile data from Firebase and Google Analytics, which ultimately led to data silos and static reporting structures.
Why is a new system necessary?
The world is turning inexorably and our technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Our buying and surfing behaviour is changing, just as our society and culture are changing.
A big and particularly important issue is cross-device measurement. Universal Analytics is not designed to measure apps, yet measuring customer journeys across devices is already the standard.
Google Analytics 4 promises the necessary flexibility that companies urgently need in their tracking and analysis. Every interaction is now an event with configurable properties.
Did you already guess it? Artificial intelligence will also play a leading role in the future. Machine learning supports us in the challenge of increasingly complex data analyses.
Change is not always easy, but it is often very rewarding. The switch to GA4 is not easy either, but it comes with many advantages in the long run.
Advantages of Google Analytics 4
Cross-platform and cross-device analytics
Tool chaos is a thing of the past with GA4, because from now on it’s easy to measure user journeys across all platforms.
No more sampling
This means the end of extrapolated data. Instead, you get accurate and event-based reports.
Free BigQuery data export
Until now, this feature was only available to GA360 customers. GA4 comes with free access to the raw data. This gives you the possibility to use Google Analytics as a basis for your own CDP as well as to work with machine learning models on 1st party data. User-defined analyses and reports are now possible for everyone.
Advanced audience builder
User-defined segments receive a long-awaited upgrade. Now audiences can be created based on interactions and used across the Google Marketing Cloud. Google also delivers an AI-based out-of-the-box prediction model.
Google Analytics 4 offers the possibility to analyse user behaviour in detail, rather than just relying on a simple report. Furthermore, the creation of individual funnels has now been made easier and can be customised based on segments and interactions. Here, too, Google wants to make it as easy as possible for us and already provides 11 ready-made best-practice templates.
GA4 users will also be supported by AI out-of-the-box. Simple AI and prediction models as well as machine learning algorithms will provide more accurate analyses and data. Google supplements missing data in case of incompleteness via modeling approaches, e.g. purchase intent or churn.
Consent mode and privacy
The possibility of also recording anonymised interactions in accordance with data protection regulations if there is no consent. This data is then provided to the AI.
Why switch to Google Analytics 4
Have you already set up GA4 and are you running it in parallel with UA? Our recommendation is to switch to GA4 as soon as possible and latest by July 2022 or to choose a parallel setup in order to generate an entire year of data that can be compared later, because Universal Analytics will be completely sundowned as of July 2023.
A switch to Google Analytics 4 must be made by then at the latest.
We recommend: better early than late.
An initial GA4 setup should definitely include the following measures:
- Are properties set up for all domains? GA4 tracks all your websites and apps.
- Are you tracking all touchpoints, events, custom dimensions, conversions, and custom metrics that you also track in Universal Analytics?
- If applicable, do you have e-commerce tracking set up?
- Are all integrations with external platforms such as Google Ads, BigQuery and Google Search Console set up?
Get familiar with Google Analytics 4
Although the GA4 engine is more sophisticated and offers more options for combining key metrics and creating reports, we can certainly imagine that the transition to a completely new interface and redesigned dashboard will be difficult at first.
We are happy to help you find your way around the new GA4 and will guide you through a customised setup if required.
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Head of Data
Cristian van Nispen
The shifting data landscape: are CDPs the silver bullet?
Customers are criss-crossing between digital platforms and products like never before, making it increasingly difficult for brands to keep up with all customer touchpoints. As customer journeys have expanded and diversified, customer data platforms (CDPs) have become a fundamental element of the marketing technology stack. But are they a silver bullet in a continually evolving space? How and when should you be using them, and how can they impact your customer experience?
We explored this in detail at ‘Optimising the Future’, DEPT® and Optimizely’s joint virtual event designed to inspire and accelerate digital strategies through 2022 and beyond. DEPT®’s data and technology expert Marc Preusche was joined by Senior Digital Business Consultant Carolin Bornholdt and Marcel Amosse, Optimizely’s Director, Head of DXP DACH, to discuss the future of CDPs and the role they play in our digital reality. Here are five key takeaways.
01 Establishing a clear definition
As the name suggests, CDPs are centred around the customer, but the variety and versatility of solutions has led different people and companies to have different definitions. So before we explore what they can do, we need to define exactly what it is.
The CDP Institute, a vendor-agnostic organisation dedicated to helping marketers manage customer data, defines it as “a packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.” Customer data platform software aggregates and analyses customer data from a variety of sources. It collects real-time first, second and third party data to create customer profiles based on their demographic, historic behaviour and browsing activity. This can include data from the CRM, web forms, events, email, social media, websites and many more. With a more holistic and intelligent view of individual customers’ needs and preferences, the data can be activated to develop smarter marketing campaigns and deliver more personalised messaging.
“Basically, it’s about bringing together all these data silos to get a 360º view of the customer. There are two key parts of a CDP: the analytical part, where you gather intelligence about customers and their activity on your site, and the engagement part, where all the intelligence is orchestrated to drive action,” says Marc.
It’s about bringing together all these data silos to get a 360º view of the customer.
Marc Preusche, DEPT®
02 Recognise the evolution of customer centricity
Gartner defines customer centricity as “the ability of people in an organisation to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations.”
Before the world went digital, customer centricity was based on businesses having direct relationships with their customers. Local business owners and employees often knew customers’ names, birthdays and preferences, and were able to provide optimal service based on that information.
But today’s digital landscape is much more complex. Companies need to track thousands, if not millions, of customers across numerous physical and online touchpoints, to be able to identify and understand customer needs, and tailor goods or services towards them.
To be truly customer centric in a digital world, businesses need digital solutions, of which data and technology are the cornerstones. Commenting on this, Carolin said: “Everything is a lot more complicated today, but we still need to be customer centric. To do that, we need to gather data and leverage technology to communicate with customers in a customer centric way.”
The shift from mass communication to personalisation has led to a focus on delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. This puts greater demand on marketers, but CDPs can make it possible.
03 Activate through the funnel
Although most attention relating to CDPs is placed on customer loyalty, every stage of the customer journey can be managed or enhanced through the technology, providing opportunities to increase customer acquisition and nurture prospects through the full funnel.
Focusing on acquisition, Carolin said: “When you meet someone in real life, you have a short introduction; in the digital world this could be a Welcome Cycle. This is something that every company should have in some form. A common approach is to incentivise the first purchase, then you can follow up with great content relevant to that purchase, or take a service-led approach to make sure they know where to find you if they have questions about products.”
Welcome Cycles can be built with minimal setup and be enhanced as you go along, but the most important thing is to test and experiment to find what works in terms of messaging, timing, channels and the amount of touchpoints created.
Marcel shared an example of a brand that launched a new product line that didn’t perform well, but they used the Optimizely CDP to turn things around. He said: “When the launch didn’t drive as much revenue as expected, the company was weighing up whether to continue investing in the product line. They used the ODP (Optimizely Data Platform) to do some research and found that it actually had a fantastic conversion rate, it was just missing visibility. When the products were put in front of relevant audiences, they sold. So instead of cancelling the line, they used the CDP to understand the customer profile and target promotion towards audiences that fit this profile and had huge success.”
Once you’ve opened the door to customers, they’re in the funnel and have converted, you’ll want to close the door. So here the focus is on preventing churn. Companies spend significant amounts of money opening up the funnel to get customers in, but then once they’ve acquired them, little effort is made to keep them engaged and, at best, they might receive a weekly newsletter. CDPs provide lots of opportunities to effectively engage customers between purchases, improve their experience and drive loyalty, which is especially important when buying cycles are long.
Simple CDP functions can have a positive impact on the customer experience. “Few companies turn off marketing messages when a customer has complained. But it makes sense to make sure unhappy customers don’t receive a marketing email an hour after making a complaint. That can be a real ‘oops’ moment,” said Carolin.
Marc also shared an example relating to the insurance industry, saying: “Insurance contracts tend to renew every year until the customer cancels it, and what a lot of companies still do today is have a customer service team call the customers who cancelled their contracts. But a way to make this process more efficient and cost effective is to use less expensive channels, such as CDPs, as a starting point. In a push to retain customers, you could send a reminder about the renewal, then if they don’t react or convert, the customer service team can make personal contact. This creates an opportunity to quickly retain customers in a less intrusive and inexpensive way, which may also provide a better customer experience.”
04 Data is the new oil
It’s become much harder to deny the true value of data. “A metaphor I like to use with clients is: data is the new oil. But unlike oil, data doesn’t run out. The data pool just continues to grow, and this big data can be converted to smart data that companies can use to take positive action,” says Marc.
Some of the best evidence of this is in the B2B space, where customer groups and profiles are often more complex, providing even more opportunity to interrogate and activate data. Commenting on this, Marcel says: “There are some fantastic B2B use cases where rather than marketing to an audience that a small group of people have shaped based on desk research, profiles have been built on cluster analysis, regression analysis, revenue and cost data, to really find out who customers are, which are the most profitable, and where they are in the life cycle.”
Using CDPs for this deeper type of analysis enables companies to target marketing efforts much more strategically and create strong engagement opportunities at every stage in the funnel. Once the foundations have been laid, campaigns have been tested and optimised, the company gains access to an even stronger data set that can eventually be used to start predicting, through machine learning, what customers want from the brand.
Data is the new oil. But unlike oil, data doesn’t run out.
Marc Preusche, DEPT®
05 Significance of culture
It’s clear that the right technology is available, but technology can only go so far. It’s incredibly important that organisations have the right culture and mindset in order to reap the benefits of customer data platforms. If you don’t have a roadmap for CDP implementation or activation, neither the company nor the customer will benefit.
“Culture eats technology for breakfast,” says Marcel. “I personally don’t believe in silver bullets per se, but I believe in customer centricity, which must be at the heart of company culture for those that want to benefit from a CDP. Implementation shouldn’t be driven solely by making a technological change, it should be to optimise the customer experience.”
Our advice is to thoroughly assess and clearly define what you want the technology to achieve or improve, and consider working with a digital partner, especially if it’s your first foray into customer data platforms.
To find out more about how to use data to drive growth within your business, click below to watch the session in full, or get in touch with a member of our team.
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Client Development Director
What’s new with Google’s Search Ads 360
Search Ads 360 (SA360) plays an important role in managing SEA advertising campaigns. The platform helps agencies and marketers to efficiently manage some of the largest search marketing campaigns in the world, across multiple engines and media channels.
As of February 2022, SA360 has been revamped with an updated UI, bolstered enterprise features such as Performance Centre, cross search engines feature adoption, support for new campaigns like Performance Max and Discovery Campaigns, and full integration with Google Analytics 4 properties, which were previously only available in GA360 enterprise version.
In this article we will cover all major updates you need to be aware of, and how you can make the best use of the platform to achieve optimal added value.
Where does SA360 fit in the GMP stack?
Since SA360 is part of the Google Marketing Platform (GMP), the entire digital performance (i.e. all running campaigns), can be viewed from one system. This also includes Display & Video 360, and all well-known social accounts.
As a crucial part of GMP, SA360 unifies search campaigns across multiple engines and media channels. The integration with Google Marketing Platform allows for easy campaign management, cross-channel buying, tracking, reporting and attribution across a single platform.
Unlike Google Ads, SA360 can be optimised for multiple conversions from different sources under different target values within a bid strategy. A unique form of bid strategy not found in Google Ads is Budget Bid Strategies (BBS).
What’s new in SA360?
Throughout their announcements and several hosted webinars, Google has promised that we can expect a serious commitment to adopt new features throughout the rest of the year. From supporting more search engines along with their newest features (e.g. shopping campaigns in BING and more), to migrating Floodlight bidding to all campaign formats, SA360 will get a continuous evolving iteration process that is also based on given feedback or feature requests through the in-ui option.
Automation & Inventory Management
With SA360, we get the benefit of automation by creating highly scalable campaigns by using data from an inventory feed in order to create campaigns, ad groups, text ads, keywords and sitelinks. As you update inventory data, Search Ads 360 automatically updates the generated campaigns and other items.
Even though it’s not an immediate change for now, Inventory Management campaigns will undergo a revamp with this new SA360 update later in the year. They will now be called ‘Templates’ and will support extensions and labels. The Templates from the older SA360 can be migrated to the new environment but it’s expectable to see some differences that require manual adaptations for example, custom columns etc.
- Maximize Conversion Value support
Soon, it will be possible to used maximise conversion value.
- Conversion Variable Adjustment
Conversion Value Rules will be coming to SA360 under the naming “custom variable adjustments”.
- Floodlight Support
Floodlight will be supported by all new upcoming campaigns.
Who is SA360 suitable for?
When it comes to increasing performance and working at scale and data-driven, there is no way around SA360. SA360 is probably the best choice, especially for complex customers who use several search engines and are present in different countries or markets. With no other tool can data be viewed in such a centralised manner and campaign management can be controlled across multiple search engines from one interface.
SA360 is a solution especially for Enterprises because there the need for scaling, automation of campaigns on the one hand, and centralisation of all paid media data on the other, is one of the central challenges.Clients with large product/service, portfolio (dynamic), international clients (multi platform), data driven clients (Insights), combination with DV 360 (multi-touch insights).
By centralising your campaigns across different engines and countries, you’ll have direct control on bid management and performance. Featuring a host of attribution models, including SA360’s own Data Driven Attribution Model, you can credit the right keywords, ad groups and campaigns in one interface with cross-channel insights.
Within a single bidding strategy, campaign activation, keyword grouping, device, RSLA, reporting and location adjustments can all be automated on any scale.
SA360’s tooling allows bidding towards different goal types, engine accounts and custom metrics to optimise bidding on keywords and group levels. This helps optimise budget spending across the supported search engine accounts.
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Digital Marketing Consultant
Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, and what it means for brands
Just under 2 weeks since the first bid, the board of Twitter agreed to a $44bn takeover offer from billionaire Elon Musk.
We wanted to share some thoughts and speculations on how this change might impact the future of Twitter with Elon Musk now at the helm.
Billionaire Elon Musk has bought Twitter. As an outspoken proponent of freedom of speech, Musk has frequently commented on Twitter’s moderation and the way he believes Twitter limits freedom of speech at the expense of global society. His purchase of Twitter and its move toward becoming a private company begs questions about the future direction of the platform, particularly around how it handles moderation, the distribution of disinformation, and the limitation of harm.
Why does Elon Musk want to buy Twitter?
Musk became Twitter’s second-largest shareholder in April 2022 after buying a 9.1% stake in the company, but this was just the beginning of his bid to buy the whole company. He has partnered with Morgan Stanley, which holds the third-largest stake in Twitter with about 67 million shares, to raise $10bn for the company.
The Twitter board was initially against Elon Musk acquiring the company, rejecting his first offer, but after a busy weekend of negotiations and of shareholder activity, the company has finally reached terms to allow the sale to go through.
The question is, why does Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, want to buy Twitter? Twitter is much smaller than many other social media platforms and has often faced commercial challenges, but it has figured significantly in the news agenda and political discourse of recent years and has power and influence across global society.
Musk was asked recently at a TED conference in Vancouver why he wanted to buy Twitter and answered with “My strong, intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.” Later, in a letter to Twitter’s board, he said that Twitter is “the platform for free speech around the world” but cannot achieve this “societal imperative” in its current form and “needs to be transformed as a private company”.
So, free speech seems to be a driving motivation. Musk has frequently tweeted about Twitter’s approach to moderation, labeling the platform overly censorious and complaining that moderators intervene too frequently. It is interesting that people that have been banned from Twitter in the past have not gone on to find a similar impact or audiences on other platforms. Twitter is where the influence and where the audience is.
We have to assume that Twitter is worth more than the price of its stock to Musk and that the platform is valuable to him in terms of defending free speech and giving him power in the conversations that matter in culture. Since news of the acquisition broke, Musk has spoken more about the need for authenticating all humans to defeat spambots but it is unclear how this validation might happen or what impact it might have on privacy.
Twitter has long battled with the challenge of balancing people’s freedom to say what they like with the harm that the platform can potentially do. Indeed, the regulatory environment for social media is becoming tougher. In the UK, for example, the forthcoming online safety bill requires platforms to monitor content to avoid pile-ons and other unpleasant behavior. Elon Musk is a self described “free speech absolutist” and therefore likely to oppose limitations to content or overly active moderation, but even if Twitter is privately owned it will not be immune to legislation.
What changes are we likely to see?
We can perhaps assume that over time the rules around moderation, which will be at the discretion of Musk and the people he puts in charge, will change. If a decision is made to loosen the reins on moderation, we could see an uptick in the kind of hate speech and disinformation (QAnon, false election claims, false vaccine information) that Twitter currently works to remove from the platform. This would potentially increase the volatility of the Twitter landscape.
Elon Musk has frequently been an agent of chaos in social media; his comments on Twitter have been provocative, and of course, his controversial tweeting around cryptocurrencies and the resulting impact on their price has caused some concern in the crypto community.
We are unlikely to see immediate changes as there will be a regulatory process to complete, but we anticipate there being indications of the impact that the change in ownership will have on Twitter. Right now we are keeping an eye on what happens with the sale and the changes it makes to the Twitter environment for users and for advertisers.
Regardless, this situation highlights the power that Twitter as a platform has, and raises questions about how that power might be used in the future.
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Media Operations Director at BYTE/DEPT®
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