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Why “Big Data” Won’t Win You The Battle For Online Revenue
With so much attention currently being focused on big data, advertisers are beginning to lose sight of one crucial truth: big data is worthless if it’s not the right data.
So what is the right data? We all know that the digital advertising landscape has dramatically matured over the past decade, and businesses are now wise to invest in technology that enables marketing sophistication.
But, the right data is what makes that marketing sophistication meaningful. It’s what marketers use to power more complex, strategic and smarter marketing decisions. It’s the data that matters most to your unique business strategy and situation. In other words, the right data is your data.
Back In The Day
It used to be that marketers were only concerned with mapping conversions and revenue back to the last ad click. Simple conversion events were credited to publisher clicks and cost so marketers could manage, report on and optimize their ad campaigns.
The requirements were basic but (at the time) bleeding edge because performance was highly measurable — unlike traditional print, television and radio advertising. Consequently, platforms like Marin Software were founded to address these fundamental digital marketing challenges.
Times Have Changed
Moving beyond the early Internet years, digital advertising has flourished. Multiple publishers across established and emerging channels now command the attention and click paths of savvy consumers — social likes, tablet searches and click-to-call all contribute to an increasingly complex landscape.
Consequently, marketing innovation has resulted in highly sophisticated ways of measuring conversions and accounting for downstream revenue, sometimes before it even occurs. Web analytics, offline tracking, attribution solutions, call centers, CRM systems and backend data warehouses represent disparate technologies for capturing your data. Stitching together this patchwork of multi-channel, cross-device performance and making it actionable is the new challenge marketers must now address.
A Practical Challenge
Imagine you’re an advertiser in the automotive industry, where online brochures, email signups, dealership look-ups, test drives and other online and offline interactions provide insight into consumer intent and ultimately drive downstream purchases and revenue.
The disconnect between online and offline, and the varying value of each touch point, result in an incomplete picture of marketing performance. Offline revenue remains unattributed to the online click and assigning the same value to each conversion event ignores lifetime customer value.
Fortunately, this is a business — we know that test drives are twenty times more valuable than email signups and that we capture downstream revenue in our backend data warehouse. We also know that when it rains, ad clicks are worth less, and that men and women vary in purchase behavior. Advertisers need an on-ramp to seamlessly integrate this data — the data that matters the most to their business — and use it to power complex optimization strategies.
Your Data Is Your Advantage
Flexible and open online marketing management platforms enable advertisers to seamlessly integrate channel, revenue, audience and contextual data to drive better revenue outcomes. Assigning order IDs, whether in the form of an application or quote number, allows advertisers to bridge the gap between revenue stored in their data warehouses or CRM systems and online activities.
Marketers are not only able to attribute offline conversions and revenue back to the ad click or phone call and subsequent online events, but they can also modify attributed revenue based on refunds, cancellations and other downstream revenue adjustments.
In our automotive example, the ability to assign a unique value to non-revenue conversion events like brochure downloads and dealership look-ups allows us to measure the true value of each customer.
Tying these types of interactions to publisher clicks and cost, and coloring them with audience and contextual data, allows marketers to react quickly to top-of-the-funnel activity and adjust marketing strategies based on website engagement, downstream revenue or lifetime customer value.
For example, we could increase bids for men searching to test drive new trucks, or generate relevant creative for moms who downloaded brochures for minivans. The possibilities are endless, and the advantage is yours.
Addressing Marketing Complexities
Marketing complexity is still growing, and the open platform is a fundamental concept sophisticated advertisers must embrace. The technology to drive better business decisions is here, and it hinges on the ability to integrate leading analytics, attribution, call tracking and other best-of-breed solutions to make “your data” the cornerstone of efficient and effective ad optimization.
Smarter budgeting, more intelligent bid calculations, increasingly targeted creative and winning the battle for revenue online isn’t grounded in “big data.” It’s achieved when you listen to the right data, connecting your business strategies to the data that matters most to your business.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.