Data is your friend

Two decades ago we saw the birth of the banner ad, produced by AT&T and hosted on the original website of Wired Magazine. Fast forward to 2015 and the multi-device digital world has led to Big Data. This is enabling marketers to really know their customer, especially as we move into the age of the Internet of Things. Soon, everything will be a device capable of collecting data that can be translated into valuable insights on customer behaviour at the individual level. For marketers it makes response rates trackable in real-time, bringing marketing accountability and clear economic indicators as to the success of a campaign. Now is the time for marketers to start realising the benefits and act upon them.

Data insights

Data-driven solutions can result in highly accurate insights into customer behaviour on desktop, mobile devices and social media. This is not ground-breaking news to marketers’ ears but the key is in the brand being able to properly analyse this data to use it to engage users in real time, thus improving marketing activity and ROI.

Take programmatic ad providers for example; a form of marketing born out of the digital age and it works big data to the advantage of brands. Through ‘dynamic personalised retargeting’ brands can engage users by personalising content and banners in real-time on multiple devices. Through using these data-driven advertising solutions, businesses can increase click and conversions by more than 150 per cent, making your marketing budget go further and providing tangible results.

Having the ability to collect and analyse that data easily - and then turn it into actionable insights that feed back into the business is crucial in a world where there is so much information available.

Some programmatic advertising businesses can process 20 terabytes of data daily – that’s the equivalent of 40,000 hours of television downloads. This volume of data is huge, meaning that any data solution used must be able to cope with this sheer amount of data generated from the customers of today as well as the future. And data is only growing.

More data is always better and having access to this means brands can rekindle the interest of anonymous users for its clients through dynamic banners with truly customised product recommendations.

The importance of real-time

Brands now face the pressure of not only being able to analyse vast volumes of data in the first place, but also being able to do it in real-time. By identifying relevant data quickly, companies can improve their competitiveness and the performance they deliver to customers. Happy customers = happy businesses = happy marketers.

Anything that takes over 12 hours to process is far too slow for today’s marketplace. Analytical results of complex information need to be presented as quickly as possible in order for businesses to be able to integrate the findings and inform their strategies. Otherwise you are acting on out-of-date information whilst your potential customer has already looked elsewhere and taken their custom to a competitor.

It’s make or break in the digital world

In today’s digital marketplace, having accurate data analytics can make or break a company. If analytical technology is not applied in the right way, brands risk being left behind and will struggle to remain competitive or even just keep up with the market.

By having that ability to apply complex data science methodologies, the brand can analyse and determine audiences’ interests and affinities with a truly relevant, personalised approach. When it comes to programmatic marketing, it also increases the quality and relevance of advertising generated in real-time.

The potential of data analytics doesn’t stop here for programmatic marketing; query times can be reduced for each consumer quite considerably, basket analysis, performance monitoring and reporting are now available in real-time and historical customer data can be saved for extended periods of time.

Most advertisers don’t have this functional ability to delve into this data and utilise algorithms to gain competitive advantage due to limited tools or a lack of understanding of the benefits. Analytics are usually limited to measurements of performance and understanding what an individual is doing on their website with most still only focused on performance and cost-per-click. But there is no need for them to understand the algorithm and underlying technology behind analytics, just how the campaign is performing.

As marketing and technology progresses, the CFO, CMO and CTO will come together with creativity backed by science and technology, creating real ROI. Brands and marketers have been talking about Big Data for a while, but the lack of confidence in whether it can truly deliver ROI and allow for accurate personalisation of messages is down to a gap in knowledge and expertise.

However, it’s not down to the CMO to become a data scientist and have a handle on the ins and outs of systems and numbers. There are predictive data analytic tools out there that can provide the detailed insights that CMOs are looking for, without the need to be a coder or tech expert. CMOs just need to know that it works and provides them with the relevant results that they need in an easily understandable format.

Top 5 tips for using data analytics in your marketing:

1. Ensure your data is clean – there’s no use analysing data if it is of poor quality. You wouldn’t expect great performance from a badly maintained car, so don’t neglect your data either.

2. Know what data you have and make sure you can access it all – to get a full picture of what’s going on, you need to be able to access all of your data. Make sure people aren’t storing data in siloed spreadsheets.

3. Have a clear goal in mind – figure out first what you are trying to achieve with your analytics before you embark on your analytic journey. Too often companies start analysing data without having a clear goal in mind.

4. Remain focused – there is a lot of data that you can do a lot of things with. Don’t try to do it all at once; keep your focus on what you are trying to find out and don’t get side-tracked.

5. Use the right tool for the right job – the term big data is thrown around and there are tools for just about every detail of analysing it. Once you know what your goal is, make sure you use the right technology to meet your objectives.


By Sean Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer at EXASOL. 

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