Use the information consumers WANT to give you to increase your CTRs and post-click action rates—without increasing your spend.
In just one minute on the Internet, there are 100,000 new tweets and 6 million Facebook views, according to Intel. Through tweets, posts, pins and more, people are willingly providing insight on what connects them to friends, family, events and brands. “This kind of reach and data have never been available before,” James Gross writes for AdAge.com. “…Social platforms are the first manifestations of true global reach—and they’re only getting bigger as new members join with mobile devices.” It’s a better time than ever to target efficiently—and effectively optimize your conversion rates without increasing your spend.
Start with the data you already have on hand. At Nexxt, the display marketing team utilizes Google’s Conversion Optimization tool to analyze readily available data. “We look at conversion rates of genders, age groups, geography, time of day, day of week, the user’s browser, the user’s OS, etc., to optimize a campaign,” says Joe Garis, Display Marketing Specialist. “Using these optimization strategies we’ve been able to cut costs dramatically.” How dramatically? Nearly a 70% reduction in CPA cost—just from using what information is already out there. “If an advertiser knows, based on their own data, that females in the northeast represent a better, higher converting audience for them, then they could buy ads primarily to that audience and see an ROI that may double what they would otherwise see off of that same ad spend.”
McCormick Seasonings did just that recently. With their competitors outspending them four to one, McCormick was left with just 12% of the category’s unique visitors. McCormick realized they needed to dig deeper than seasonings and into the meal itself to stay relevant and timely. So McCormick's ad agency studied online recipes in order to develop a strategy to target people as they were planning their meal—and, to tie specific seasonings to the types of meals being planned. Testing creative Mexican recipes that leveraged Lawry’s seasoned salt’s West Coast heritage for Western states, McCormick found a 20-60% increase in post-click action rates over their national rates—just by utilizing geographical targeting. McCormick’s traffic rates rose to 25% of their category, without even having to pace their competitors’ spending. "We're thinking about how the budget responds to the market and how we make changes, sometimes in real time, against the dynamics of the marketing using data,” Tony Effik, managing director, media and connections at the brand’s agency R/GA, New York, explains to AdWeek.
It’s becoming increasingly important to make changes using data on the fly—and even more so, using social media data. Recently, Sprint was heralded as a #2013CES winner on Twitter for its real-time marketing approach leveraging social media. Ad agency Digitas followed topics related to Sprint’s latest brand messaging (like eco-innovation and mom-centric technology) that were trending on social media sites during the course of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). "We took some data points around what people were talking about…and then we took trending from that or what's being shared at a high rate of frequency, and we ideated around those internally to come up with Facebook or Twitter posts or videos or whatever other dynamic media," Eric Korsh, Digitas’ vp, brand content tells AdWeek. The result? 2.1 million unique visitors and 7.5 million overall impressions over the three days of CES—and more than 175,000 Facebook likes for Sprint’s CES-related content.
“Historically, the lead times of older media allowed brands to create content over months. Now, while all platforms are unique, the standard is universal: Audiences expect real-time content,” Gross says, as he advocates on AdAge.com for “a massive rethink of how we go about creating content.” Gross believes that advertisers need to start looking at how things today are different from the past—and build new systems that don’t rely on the past. “…[S]tart by asking yourself, ‘What is different now than in the past and what are the tools that we have at our fingertips?’”
Companies today are even going beyond the click, creating engagement—and spurring sales—while mining data. Since the 2009 institution of online fashion retailer ModCloth’s “Be the Buyer” program, which allows members to vote on potential designs and stock orders, they’ve received 12+ million votes—that’s 12+ million ‘vote’ clicks alone—and even received $25 million in funding to further expand the program. Since the program requires site membership to vote, ModCloth is capturing new emails and constantly generating and refining customer profiles for its 5+ million unique viewers. And not only is ModCloth collecting valuable user data: its customers now spend more time on the site and purchase more. As InsideFMM notes, “[the program] compels them to visit the site daily to vote on new items, share those items with their friends, and check back in to see if their choices were voted into production.”
The boon of using this customer-provided data is that it makes the user experience feel more intimate and personalized, boosting brand loyalty and ROI. Men’s clothing retailer Bonobos learned this after surveying customers about what they wanted in a superior dress shirt. Following a poll on customer preferences and dislikes, Bonobos discovered men were looking for slimmer-fitting dress shirts for work. The resulting customer-requested slim button-down? It sold through nearly half its stock in the first week alone. “The more each customer feels and sees their impact on their favorite brands, the more loyal they become,” Bonobos’s data platform provider Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith tells Business Insider.
Data can even be leveraged to maintain customer loyalty, and boost brand awareness, social buzz—and ROI—at the same time. Take beauty company Bare Escentuals, which recently launched a different kind of rewards system, one driven by data. "Consumers expect points for providers they frequent, so if a brand just gives them what they expect, they don't really engage,” Taddy Hall, svp, global practices at Nielsen, tells AdWeek. Bare Escentuals’ answer? Use profile data to send customized gifts. Looking further afield than purchase history, Bare Escentuals evaluates profiles, product reviews, and customer preferences to personalize gifts. The member gifts are then sent at random times, generating immediate social buzz with comments, photos, and even online reviews. Since the incentive program launched in May 2012, 1.3 million members have signed up and engaged with the program—building brand awareness for Bare Escentuals, while giving the company even more customer data it can leverage in creating and launching future products.
In optimizing your conversion rates, look to the tool closest at hand: the wealth of available data, freely and gladly provided by consumers. You just might find an increase in traffic and social media engagement like Sprint and Bare Escentuals, a comprehensive knowledge of your customer base (and more loyal customers) like ModCloth—or your own optimal ROI.
Image courtesy of thepathtraveler / freedigitalphotos.net