Using Data To Knit Together a Single Customer View

Using data to knit together a single customer view - Wojciech Bednarz at Greenlight Digital

In today’s guest post, Greenlight Digital’s Wojciech Bednarz, examines the key challenges facing marketers, as they strive to harness multi-channel data in an effort to develop a single customer view.

One of marketing’s greatest hurdles is fragmentation; customers are becoming increasingly difficult to define, and as brands are looking to improve segmentation and targeting more and more, it’s key for marketers to marry their data to create a single customer view.

But where to start when it comes to breaking down all this data to truly understand who their current and new customer is? Data management services are fast becoming the solution, combining interaction, descriptive and behavioural data to help brands understand what makes their customer tick. And with such valuable data comes great responsibility for marketers – they need to ensure that it’s used to improve customer experience and truly tap into their needs. Through this customer-centric approach, marketers can then impact brand perception and brand value as a means to support business growth in the long-term.

Making sense of all the data

Tapping into rich data resources which hold first-party data sounds like a no brainer, but surprisingly there are few marketers who capitalise on this resource. The reality is that many brands don’t know how to make sense of the data available on their audiences nor can they merge cross-channel data, making it difficult to create meaningful insights on how to optimise processes. This ultimately leads to a disjointed experience as well as inconsistent reports due to data coming from multiple channels.

There are many reasons for this, such as the technologies in play which are often siloed across separate departments. These include search, display, social media and more, which effectively results in fragmented insights on audiences and their behaviour. When it comes to reporting, Facebook Audiences differs from AdWords, as does Twitter from Display, so aligning data is inevitably overwhelming and incredibly difficult. And that’s not even the end of it – there’s also an analytics layer of technology which reports behaviour on the site, user engagement and source to name a few.

This is all well and good, but none of the above – apart from social media channels due to their audience-driven nature – offer more insights into who the customers are, their interests or how they spend their free time.

The most reasonable thing a marketer can do is to try to get a channel and technology agnostic data management platform (DMP) which can take audience science to the next level. This opens up new possibilities, bringing customer data from all channels to unprecedented granularity and building a fuller picture of who they are, what channels they engage with and what their demographic characteristics are. The most important aspect of this technology is that marketers can immediately act on the findings and help optimise all aspects of digital marketing campaigns on the fly.

Capturing the cross-channel experience

With increasing usage of mobile devices in the last couple of years, cross-channel marketing strategy has become the holy grail for many digital marketers who are trying to figure out the best way to approach this conundrum. While more than three devices per user is already complicated, it seems 2017 will bring even more complexity to the world of multiple interfaces per user reality, as it’s not only screens marketers need to consider, but also the growing universe of IoT devices, such as smartwatches and voice-controlled devices such as Amazon Echo.

In fact, Google is predicting that in the next two years, a third of searches will be initiated by voice. On top of IoT, VR is beginning to make waves, alongside the growing capabilities of AI, all of which will drastically change how people consume media and, thus, behave on devices.

With consumer technology moving so quickly, so does the technology digital marketers can use to understand them. The data management solutions are becoming more agnostic and can pick up any signal with the ability to stitch together information from other devices based on machine learning to determine if they belong to one person or many. For example, Greenlight’s Data Management Platform allows data collection across devices and interfaces to process it all as one user ID. This has tremendous implications for ensuring that marketing efforts deliver the best possible experience for customers. Being able to identify the ownership of devices with more confidence will allow for more precise messaging, and thus more effective campaigns, leading to better CTRs, lower costs and better ROI for clients.

Data-driven marketing is here to stay, and will become a standard modus operandi in the foreseeable future, particularly with the increasing usage of AI and machine learning. This will result in a higher degree of automation of marketing activity and a greater focus on data and its interpretation, elements which will be key factors of success for brands going forward.

*If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you can catch-up with Wojciech at the Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass in Manchester, where he’ll be delivering a session on –  Joined-Up Data to Deliver a ‘Single Customer View’

Author Biog:

Wojciech Bednarz, Greenlight Digital - Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass, Manchester

Wojciech has over six years of experience in digital marketing, four of which he has served at Greenlight. During his career at Greenlight, he’s worked on various international clients such as RS Components and Nespresso alongside others. He joined as part of the Client Services team, where he was responsible for delivery of SEO, paid search and display activation campaigns.

He was particularly focused on data-driven strategies which involved advanced analytics, data modelling techniques and manipulating large data sets. In his current role as Data & Insights Senior Strategy Manager, Wojciech is responsible for advancing Greenlight’s Data Science & Audience Insights department, which involves managing the implementation of the DMP technology across the agency to deliver cutting edge audience insights, data-driven attribution models and advanced activation strategies through data analysis.

Spotlight: Welcome to a mobile-first world

Welcome to a mobile-first world - Bea Patman, Head of SEO at Greenlight Digital

In today’s guest post, Greenlight Digital’s Head of SEO Bea Patman shares her thoughts on the mobile-first revolution, and why digital marketers need to invest more time and resource into their mobile strategy.

SEO loves its tropes: if we’re not insisting for the thousandth time that ‘content is king’, we’re predicting that next year really will be ‘the year of mobile’.  We’ve become so accustomed to heralding in each new year with this particular forecast that it feels a bit strange to be calling an end to the tradition.  But do so I must, because here’s the thing – The Year of Mobile has happened.

Perhaps the biggest piece of evidence for this is ‘Mobilegeddon’; the delightfully melodramatic nickname given to Google’s mobile-friendly update in April 2015.  It’s rare that industry news makes mainstream headlines but this update was widely covered in the press – not least because of the headline-friendly epithet, but also because it was a rare instance in which the update was announced in advance by Google.  The apocalyptic name belied what was actually a fairly low-key initial impact, but more than anything this update marked the beginning of a major sea change in the significance of mobile performance to organic search success.

There’s no great mystery behind the intense focus that Google placed on mobile performance in 2015.  The number of searches made on mobile devices surpassed that of desktops worldwide, meaning that mobile users became the majority that brands should seek to satisfy.  One of the more interesting consequences of this transition has been an almost unprecedented level of transparency from Google about what best practice should look like.  It provides a mobile-friendly testing tool with which webmasters can assess their pages against specific design criteria, as well as a dedicated mobile test within the PageSpeed Insights tool.   In October 2015, Google announced support for the Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP) – a project which utilises existing web technologies within a new open source framework, designed to help brands create much lighter webpages.  AMP enables sites to observe best practice by managing the size, order and rendering of page elements, making it much simpler to adhere to Google’s PageSpeed guidelines.

I think that this consistent focus on mobile experience has been responsible for stimulating a somewhat subtler transition in the way that brands treat their mobile propositions, too.  For the past few years we’ve been in what some are calling a ‘land grab’ phase, which has seen brands rush to stake a position in front of a mobile audience, often compromising on quality in favour of getting to market faster.  This was the era of clunky mobile sites, confusing redirects, inconsistent functionality and lots of strange and unhelpful apps – all contributing to a poor user experience on mobile.  2015 was the first time that we really began to see brands recognising that mobile was actually an incredibly fertile ground in which to develop meaningful, enhanced experiences for their customers.

These kind of experiences range from the simple, such as creating adaptive or responsive mobile-first websites, to ambitious projects such as the use of iBeacons at airports to facilitate a smooth, mobile-only journey from ticket purchase to check-in.  Beacon technology is a particularly interesting field of opportunity for any brands that have a physical touchpoint with their customers, because of its ability to drive offline behaviours at highly specific locations and moments in time.  If you were a wine producer, for example, you might be able to use a supermarket’s beacon technology to promote an offer on your products via a push notification at the exact moment a potential customer was browsing the aisle.

While there’s been plenty of debate around when the year of mobile actually happened, what’s certain is that the latest updates and algorithms are far more mobile-focused. With that in mind, the best advice I have for any SEO or digital marketer is to seriously consider the time and resource that is going towards your mobile activity, so that you can tap into what is now the mobile-first consumer.

Author Biog

Bea Patman - Head of SEO at Greenlight, who'll be speaking at Search Leaders Masterclass in Manchester (29/11/16)

Bea has worked in digital marketing for over eight years, specialising in organic search. Having originally joined Greenlight in 2012, she now leads the team of consultants as Head of SEO. She has led SEO strategy for a variety of major UK and international brands, both in English and German, and draws from her background in writing to bring creativity and a content-led approach to her work.

You can catch-up with Bea at this month’s Search Leaders Masterclass, which takes place at Etihad Stadium, Manchester on Tuesday 29th November 2016.