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 organization using over ninety Martech tools, it’s unsurprising that 83% of organizations do not connect consumer touch points and 68% of organizations lack automation.
Here are three MarTech solutions that can help you bridge that gap, maximize 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 behavior, 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 utilize it in your daily business dealings. It provides you with customer profiles that are invaluable to performing 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 analyze customer behavior, increase conversion or generate reports to inform business decisions, a well-structured and mature CDP will assist you in all of these endeavors and more.
And it’s not just your organization 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 behavior 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 behavior 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 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 optimize 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 campaign management in one place to data visualization. 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 centralized 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 you 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 scalable.
Using Ada, DEPT® realized 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 in just a few days.
Review, react, refne
Now is the perfect time to look at your MarTech investments more carefully, scrutinize 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!
How investing in customer loyalty & retention keeps your bottom line healthy
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 organizations, this is a budget-breaker, especially for 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 organizations may have laid the foundations back in the dark days of the pandemic, many marketing teams are underprepared from a technical, talent, and strategic perspective to compensate for the loss of media exposure and traffic when switching to a retention and loyalty strategy.
Developments in MarTech, data modeling, and personalization 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 maximizing loyalty and retention, and driving cross-sells and upsells.
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 the 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 modeling 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 utilizing the Google Marketing Platform (GMP), the brand was able to maximize owned/paid retention campaigns, identify lookalike audiences, set budget caps, and prioritize 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, the 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 optimization, analytics, and real-time data visualization. If you’re not utilizing GMP already, it is well worth exploring.
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 behavior (and customer lifetime value) with your brand over time. Personalization plays a large part in this journey. If you get your customer insights set up right, then preference personalization 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-personalized 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 optimization.
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 personalized CRM strategy would boost customer lifetime value. DEPT® helped them to define three unique, enthusiast segments and develop a hyper-specific, highly personalized approach to communicate with these customers, which drove significant engagement and amplified conversion, with a 68% increase in click-to-open rate.
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 personalized 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 personalize customer journeys.
Utilizing Salesforce technology, DEPT® implemented automated journeys to engage the database and prevent churn, optimized 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 a 357% increase in click-through rates.
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 optimizing 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 personalized 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 personalized 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, creativity, and beyond, we can support you every step of the way. Reach out to our experts today.
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 consumer brands.
With recent economic uncertainties putting a damper on financial expectations for the foreseeable future, businesses need to adapt various aspects of their organization 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 spending (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, jewelry, and art.
The audit will uncover how these different consumer segments interact with the different product segments in 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 enable 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.
More insights?View all insights
Salesforce Health Check and Discovery
It’s wise to make sure you use your technology to its full potential and optimize your tools to meet your objectives, whether you’re preparing budgets for next year or are considering a strategy change. Here’s where our Discovery and Health Check comes in.
As a Salesforce Strategic Growth partner with 300+ implementations under our belt, we know all the best practices to help you achieve your business goals. Our Discovery and Health Check entail Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud, as well as the Core platform (Sales/Service/OMS), depending on your needs and stage in the technology integration journey. Are you, for instance…
…exploring Salesforce solutions?
We’ll unravel the possibilities and challenges of implementing Salesforce in your organization so you can make a well-informed decision on how to take your business to the next level.
…already using the Salesforce platform?
We’ll check if your Salesforce set-up is used to its full potential and if there are gaps that can be filled to match your business objectives.
In all cases, we’ll work together with your team to ensure we can provide you with recommendations suited for your organization. Depending on your requests, the Discovery and Health Check will take between two to seven days. We’ll conduct interviews with key stakeholders, review your current architecture and analyze the provided data. After that, we’ll present an action plan and road map to help you get the best ROI from the Salesforce platform for your specific business.
Check which Discovery and Health Check options we offer.
More insights?View all insights
Ready to do the check? Get in touch with us!
Global Salesforce Partnership Lead
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 was released in August 2022, however, 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’ behavior 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 prioritize 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 higher-quality content, 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.
This update, unlike others, affects entire websites as opposed to individual pages, meaning that the recovery time could be 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 behavior 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 prioritized?
The transition to people-first content
The update to Google’s ranking algorithm should by no means cause panic, but it is important to consider the impacts on your site, along with user behavior. You can still have long content, but ensure that the most essential 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 optimize SEO and content on your website, reach out to us at DEPT®.
View all insights
How data analysts help brands break down silos
In most companies, there are people whose job is to combine data from different sources to answer business questions.
These people aren’t usually considered technical by software engineers, but they still exercise creative, business, and logical judgment. The people who do this work are usually called “data analysts.”
Data analysts are expected to figure out how to make new data (specifically new records) out of a company’s raw data.
Data analysts don’t “analyze” or “break down data” so much as they remix source data into something new – something that makes sense to stakeholders.
Organizations hire data analysts to break their data out of artificial silos. Your ERP, CRM, e-commerce, PLM, marketing, web analytics, inventory and fulfillment, sales, and privacy systems have their own picture of the relationship with the customer – but they don’t all talk to each other.
Data analysts exist because:
Data analysts play a foundational role in creating the semantic layer in every business.
What data analysts do for organizations
Data analysts glue your organization’s data into a coherent whole, building more-or-less a “semantic layer” out of the data collected by your company’s applications.
They may need to do this by merging two spreadsheets, ten databases, five dashboards, or a mix. A data analyst won’t know until they take a look.
The people who do this job thus end up with a mix of skills, from data quality analysis and pipeline prototyping to data modeling, visualization, and business analytics. Hiring good data analysts requires not losing sight of the forest for the trees.
“Data work” for most companies is in the vast space between narrow snapshots collected by software applications and all the business processes that depend on that data for insight. Very few data analysts learn all the skill-sets required to navigate the entire space. Most learn a couple of components well and consistently.
It’s also important to note that this kind of work is something your software engineers shouldn’t be doing.
Because of this, data analysts are critical to the way organizations work.
What doesn’t a data analyst do?
Data analysts are critical to building an organization’s semantic layer. We expect them to develop repeatable, consistent, and precise logical formulas for combining records from different systems, as quickly as possible.
Oftentimes, the automation of those formulas is then handed off to engineers. Engineers are tasked with building tools and platforms to make that semantic layer construction process easy and transparent. Data analysts are then free to build the semantic layer as fast as they can, with as little friction as possible.
This division of labor lowers the daily stress on data analysts, and they get the best use of their skills.
What should brands look for in data analysts?
At DEPT®, we believe anyone who has one or more of these skills is a “data analyst”:
- Visualization and report development
- Business, statistical, or other quantitative analytics and storytelling
- Data Science
- Data modeling
- SQL integration script development
- Data quality analysis
- Database discovery
- Data Architecture
Experience & opportunities
An experienced data analyst has more than one of those skills, and has in-depth experience and perhaps a preference for at least one. Very few people end up with decent skills across the board, but the more experienced have at least tried and failed.
That willingness to try and fail is crucial for data analysts.
None of us are born with the ability to merge datasets just the right way or explain results so someone can use them. Good data analysts are confident they can make seemingly disparate datasets come together sensibly. They may eventually be wrong, but a data analyst is willing to try to find a join.
The ability to optimize business impact, reusability, and feasibility is important. Semantic layers are made up of lots of individual decisions about business logic, reconciled into a consistent whole. An ability to keep an eye on the big picture while also meeting short-term needs is invaluable. Success inevitably requires a combination of both good luck and insight, and not always experience.
Data analysts play a foundational role in creating the semantic layer in every business. They provide an invisible but critical service – gluing together data sources for business users. They do all sorts of creative, logical, technical, and business analysis work to meet their user’s expectations.
A data analyst’s integrations hold companies together and are critical to an organization’s success.
More insights?View all insights
Interested in a career in data? Browse current openings at Raybeam/DEPT®.
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 behavior 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 analyze user behavior in detail, rather than just relying on a simple report. Furthermore, the creation of individual funnels has now been made easier and can be customized 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 anonymized 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 customized setup if required.
More insights?View all insights
Head of Data
Cristian van Nispen
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 optimized 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.
View all insights
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.
More insights?View all insights
Media Operations Director at BYTE/DEPT®
Addressing data challenges to deliver optimum personalization
Personalization begins with data. The more insight that can be gathered to improve the experience, the better. Marketing tools and technologies that support data and insight gathering have rapidly advanced over the last few years, but are brands and retailers making the most of the opportunity? We launched a study to find out.
After uncovering what consumers really thought of personalization in a 2019 consumer survey, we’ve run the study again to see if opinions have changed over the last two years. We’ve found clear discrepancies between the type of personalization features customers want to see, and the data they are willing to share.
When we asked if consumers would be willing to share more data with brands if it would improve personalization, 56% of participants said yes. This is a 4% increase from 2019, widening the gap between those who would and would not to 12 points, rather than four. Despite this, when asked about the data they would be willing to share, we found that consumers are less willing to share specific types of information with brands than they were in 2019, highlighting the gap in consumers’ understanding of what ‘data’ is or can be.
56% of consumers would share more data to improve personalization
The majority of consumers are more comfortable with sharing information about their preferences than information that has the potential to make them identifiable. The top three data sources that consumers are most willing to share are favorite brands (59%), hobbies and interests (58%), and lifestyle choices (46%). It’s important to note that even these higher-performing categories are, on average, 5% lower than they were two years ago, suggesting that consumers are not as comfortable sharing even these types of data as they were in 2019.
Interestingly, when asked why they may be less comfortable, consumers are actually less concerned about the risks of sharing data than they were in 2019. The concerns have remained in the same order of significance with fear of spam marketing (60%), fear of data being sold (54%), and privacy worries (53%) taking the top three spots. However, there has been an average 7% decrease in these scores across the board. This could suggest that consumers’ digital maturity has accelerated during the period, and/or that they feel more in control of the data they share and, therefore, less concerned about the ‘risks’.
There are clear discrepancies between consumers’ understanding of the link between data collection and personalization. But it also seems that those who are aware of the link prioritize data protection over personalization, with numerous comments saying that efforts are largely in favor of the brands as opposed to shoppers.
“There always seems to be a trade-off when it comes to supplying data to get a discount or offer. The retailers just use this data to predict your shopping habits or sell it on to other retailers.”
Data is key to improving personalization, enabling brands to make decisions and implement actions based on insight rather than instinct. But it is also reliant on the customer voluntarily sharing certain information, and there is definitely controversy surrounding the topic.
Although the majority of consumers say they are willing to share more data, by digging a little deeper we understand the boundaries consumers have set relating to that. We must not ignore that 44% of consumers said they would not share more information to improve personalization. It is clear that people are still wary and unsure about brands asking for and collecting their data.
44% of consumers said they would not share more information to improve personalization
The perceived risks of sharing certain information with retailers and brands present a significant blocker to the future progression of personalization. Building trust between brands and consumers will be key to breaking down these barriers. If brands are to focus on securing this information, they will need to drastically improve communications about how they use data, and demonstrate the benefits of providing such information (i.e.through well-executed experiences), in order to build consumer trust and increase their willingness to share.
The opportunity to promote transparency and build trust may lie in giving consumers more control, switching to an opt-in approach to personalization, or creating preference centers where customers can manage their profile and levels of participation in personalization. This would enable consumers to take control of the types of personalization they want to receive, if at all.
Aggregation and activation
Aside from the trust challenge, companies can still take action by better activating the data they already have. E-commerce data pools are vast. Brands have access to huge volumes of consumer insights that are not reliant on the customer providing them, such as previous purchases, recently viewed items, abandoned baskets, and social media engagements. The list goes on.
What more data-proficient companies have in common, is that they understand how to best aggregate and action this data. They are connecting their various sources of consumer information within customer data platforms to gain a single customer view that can drastically improve personalization and marketing relevancy.
Abandoning data silos, CDPs collect and analyze customer information from a variety of different sources such as CRM, web forms, in-store systems, email, social media and many more. This creates a single customer view that includes demographics, behavioral and transactional insights, helping businesses better understand customers’ journeys, wants and needs. CDPs assist brands in better identifying customer segments and understanding behavior. When looking beyond data silos, unified customer data allows companies to prioritize and target users in different ways than before. When intelligence is applied to this strengthened customer view, companies can start to make decisions based on facts rather than instinct or opinion; driving sales by leveraging past trends to make future predictions.
The need to invest in first-party data is also growing in significance following Google’s announcement to move away from third-party cookies by the end of 2023. First-party data is fast becoming the cornerstone of all online activity, so brands that invest in strengthening their first-party data sources and strategies now will be future-ready.
It seems that when it comes to personalization, companies have fallen into the trap of repeating what others are doing out of fear of missing out. They recognize that to better personalize, they need better data, but little innovative thought goes into how to collect and activate that data.
Download our report or get in touch with our experts to find out how DEPT® can help your business accelerate its personalization strategy and get ahead of your competitors.
View all insights
Stay in touch!
Personalize your experience