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How data can help you act now

Willem Blom
Willem Blom
Impact investor & Global SVP Growth – DEPT®
7 min read
1 April 2021

In a world that stays at home, many of us have entered a new reality, one which is online-focused with different consumer behaviour than brands are used to. Your data is key to better understanding how this crisis is impacting your business, and also the new needs and demands of customers. It can help retailers to better focus their efforts and know which clients to focus on to increase conversions or save on media spend. How can you use data to thrive in this new reality from a digital marketing perspective? The answer depends on your current situation. Below, four scenarios are outlined followed by actions you can take depending on your circumstances.

Cost saving measures for when your numbers are down

Many brands are experiencing a decrease in both traffic and conversion rates, meaning you might be looking for cost-saving measures. However, halting all of your marketing efforts is not the solution. A balance needs to be found between cutting costs while still maintaining your digital presence. One option brands could cut back on is advertising on branded search terms, as those can be costly measures. By algorithmically determining which branded keywords are cannibalising your organic traffic, it is possible to determine which ads can be paused without losing any traffic. 

Another option would be to focus more energy on effective targeting to prevent customer returns. Because return shipments don’t add any revenue to your bottom line, only logistical costs. Using conversion APIs, you can feedback which conversions were actually returns. You can exclude those visitors from your marketing efforts, while at the same time optimising Google Smart Bidding on those that are actually buying your product or service.

Upselling to increase conversions

Not all websites might be seeing their numbers dip. Some brands may even experience an increase in traffic and conversion rates. If this is the case, leverage the benefits of this increased volume to remain relevant and use your data to more accurately meet your customers’ needs. In this scenario, you could implement a product recommender which suggests to users what product or content best fits their needs based on the historical browsing behaviour of others. A product recommender is a concept that requires a high volume for accurate predictions, so you can benefit from your increase in traffic. This concept focuses on the existing session of a client, to help them make the best choice at that moment.

Another option is to look at the ‘next best’ action or offer by recognising transactional patterns and offering related products based on past purchases. For example, if someone bought a new kitchen appliance, a brand could send an email a week later with accessories which could further complement their purchase, or cookbooks which use this specific appliance. This creates an opportunity to not only increase your sales but also improve the customer shopping experience.

Increase your volume by looking into new marketing oppurtunities

If your website is experiencing the same amount of traffic but an increase in conversions, it shows your brand has a loyal base of customers who used to buy your item in-store and they are now doing so online.

In this scenario, you have an opportunity to increase your volume. For example, you could use upper-funnel marketing tactics to reach a larger audience. This could entail display or video content marketing to help your brand reach more people. In addition, look into whether you are present on the right platforms to reach your customers. As more of the population is using the internet during this quarantine period, potentially your content is simply not reaching the people you want on the platforms they use. 

However, another interesting option is affiliate or influencer campaigns with people who have numerous followers and are considered experts in their field. These individuals are the go-to people who provide answers to a users’ questions. By partnering with them, brands can expand their content strategy while tapping into new audience segments in a different way. The goal is to spark a user’s interest, improve brand recognition and, ultimately, get them to visit your platform.

Using data to hyper-target your advertising

If your website is currently experiencing an increase in traffic but not in conversions, we recommend optimising your budget to prevent the waste of media spend on users that won’t convert. One way to do this is by predicting the likelihood that a customer will convert when targeted by your campaigns.

This is possible by matching real-time behaviour to previous browsing patterns by other visitors. The match between realtime behaviour and historical patterns generates a percentage which indicates a users’ likelihood to convert. These forecasts are made in real-time and marketers can use them for either excluding low conversion intent users, or adjusting bidding strategies for high conversion intent segments. This results in  remarketing media spend saving of up to 40%.

An alternative is to look at in-market activation. You then predict the moment when a user is expected to convert. This enables you to create triggered marketing messages based on the demand of the individual customer. Meaning you can start or pause campaigns for users who might not be interested in buying an item at the moment. And choose to re-engage with either conversion, product or brand focused messaging.

How to start leveraging your data?

Though you may have a lot of data at your disposal, trying to build a large data machine from scratch may be an investment you are not willing to make in the current situation. So, start small and expand if these concepts prove to be successful. For example, start with a proof of concept. If this brings savings in media spend or creates an uplift in conversion then proceed to create a small version of a Customer Data Platform. Over time, you can keep expanding your efforts and even include offline data. Build, measure, learn and repeat. 

Using data to best use your digital marketing budget

Depending on your current situation, you may be looking to cut your marketing budget or leverage your current volume to stay relevant. Alternatively, you might be trying to broaden your digital marketing horizons to increase the amount of traffic to your website, or hyper-targeting your ads to increase your conversion rate and optimise your media spend. Whatever your current situation is, you should leverage your data to better understand your customer’s needs, while ensuring your marketing budget does not go to waste.

Data can also be used to track the impact of COVID-19 and charter signs of recovery. Given current market uncertainty, DEPT® has created two data dashboards, one to track the impact and one to track recovery which you can download here.

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