It’s not hyperbole to say that big data is threatening traditional powers like big oil or big agriculture as the most valuable commodity-based industry in the world. As a result, companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook (sorry, “Meta”…change is hard), have risen to become the institutions with the most financial capital and socio-political influence in modern society.
Ethical questions and privacy debates aside, the sheer volume – not to mention the quality – of consumer data available in the marketplace today is nothing short of incredible. Those in the marketing and advertising industry have experienced the impact of this information firsthand. Actually, anyone who uses social media and is regularly served painfully-relevant ads has seen big data in action.
We’ll let the editorials decide where the line should be drawn. For now, let’s talk about audience insights and how they can help get brands in front of the right people. Here are four ways to put data insights to work:
1. Compare Audience Insights Between Channels
When it comes to the number of marketing platforms/channels in the digital space, the list is nearly limitless. An advertiser’s priority should be to find the ones that receive the most interaction from their desired audience. Even further, it should be a goal to find which platforms drive the most eventual conversions.
Most businesses don’t have just one audience segment that they’re hoping to reach. . The only way to optimize your messaging is to compare the audience data between the different platforms which you’ve chosen to utilize for your digital marketing strategy. Broad data like geographical location, age, and gender demographics are important, but most platforms have the capability to provide even richer data that includes things like ‘interest categories.’
Use your analytics tools to better understand where you’re reaching certain audiences. This can help you put together a more cost-efficient budget and increase your return on ad spend (ROAS).
2. Create Different Messaging for Different Audience Segments
Once you’ve determined where each segment of your customer base is spending their time online, you can start developing an audience-specific strategy that should optimize your overall performance across the board. Obviously there will be significant differences in things like creative messaging, but other aspects such as a when the best time to have your ads running should be considered as well.
For example, if you’re trying to reach females between 32-50 years of age (think of a campaign targeting “moms”), you may want to show your ads at a different of day then if you’re trying to reach college-aged males who are likely to be up late. In any case, consult the data to get a clearer picture that you can use to guide actionable steps moving forward.
Political marketers have become quick-adopters of the “micro-targeting” strategy in order to reach their constituents in an extremely personal way. While there’s an inherent emotional component to politics that might not necessarily be relevant for brands trying to sell consumer products, it’s important to recognize this type of strategy as something which has a “proof of concept” that has shown it is possible to run digital campaigns with this level of targeting by using audience insights.
3. Test Everything (and then test it again)
The reason audience insights are so valuable is that it allows you to try out different strategies to find out what isn’t working, what is working, and what could be working even better. The A/B test has become a standard implementation in most digital marketing campaigns because it’s not only an effective way to help guide your strategy, but also because today’s insight tools make it easier than ever to do it. Facebook’s audience insights tool, for example, has everything you need to optimize your campaign to get the best results.
Good marketers will test two or three campaigns and then select a winner to use from that point on. The best marketers will constantly be testing two or more campaigns at once, making minor adjustments to targeting, creative, ad copy, among other things that can be changed easily on various advertising platforms. No matter how well your campaign is performing, there’s a good chance that there’s something that can be done to improve the results.
Over time you’ll almost certainly need to refresh some components of your strategy, so this testing process should be considered an ongoing thing and not something that’s only relevant during the campaign setup process.
4. Know Where Your Traffic and Conversions Are Originating
One of the benefits of diving into your audience insights is that you can see exactly where important “actions” are taking place. For example, you can see which sites are driving the most traffic to your website, which channels are delivering the lowest CPMs (cost-per-thousand-impressions), and which platforms are driving actual sales.
A common mistake that marketers make is ignoring the concept of the sales funnel. Not every ad should be designed to drive a conversion, even if that is the ultimate goal. In fact, if this is your sole objective on every ad campaign, you’re going to miss out on building your audience through brand awareness campaigns that will rarely result in sales in the short term.
Dive into your audience data and identify the strengths of each platform. For example, you may notice that Instagram is great at driving traffic, but following up with users via Google remarketing campaign is a good way to drive conversions. Once you’ve generated a paying customer, perhaps creating a lookalike audience based on their email data can help you reach like-minded individuals who may also may interested in your brand.
With the amount of data you have at your fingertips, the bottom line is that you simply can’t let it go to waste. Even if you don’t take every single metric into account, by putting some of that information to use, you can increase your overall results significantly.
Navigating the complex world of digital insights and data can be overwhelming at times – that’s where we come in. With years of experience utilizing a range of different online marketing platforms and strategies, we’re able to put together a plan that fits your needs while staying within your budget.
If your brand could benefit from a digital partner, get in touch today for a free consultation.