The power of data has simultaneously been both an incredible help and hindrance for the marketing industry. The proliferation of data across the board has empowered us to understand our customers far better, and report campaign results back in clear, meaningful ways. On the other hand, data scandals and issues with outdated or inadequate measurement have bruised consumer trust and hampered our ability to truly scale many of our marketing efforts.
With new innovative applications, high-quality measurement frameworks, and heightened customer trust, the coming year will see many new opportunities for those truly invested in understanding the power of data.
Getting creative with data
In 2020 and beyond we will see more creatives follow in the footsteps of performance marketers, and take a data-driven approach to their work. Creatives will be able to use data beyond existing targeting capabilities, making use of new technology to make data-led decisions on the creative combinations that will resonate best with their audience.
Take the likes of Google Cloud’s Vision API. This technology, when combined with performance data from Campaign Manager, allows marketers to analyze their display or social ads, using AI to work out where best to place logos, suggest what color scheme might work best, or predict which facial expressions will perform best in ads. This sort of technology is particularly helpful when it comes to GIFs and HTML5 ads, allowing marketers to break down each and every frame to analyze precisely which creative elements are driving – or hindering – campaign performance. Being able to utilize technology and data to detect both top-performing and underperforming elements during production not only saves money in the long run, but could also spark new creative ideas.
We will see more of these sorts of technologies emerge and brand marketers will be able to reap the same benefits of a data-driven campaign as their performance marketing counterparts.
Getting the measure of it
Marketers have become steadily reliant on platforms such as Facebook and Google that offer simple analytics to monitor the overall success of their efforts. While of course, these platforms will continue to be utilized, relying on these figures alone will not provide enough information for marketers to base business decisions on. Increasingly, we need more from our data than statistics, in order to impress members of the C-suite and prove that KPIs have been met. And the business benefits cannot be underplayed – a recent IDC report found that companies that implement great business analytics get an average ROI of 112% in five years. So what is the best way to measure effectiveness?
Businesses need to move away from their reliance on overly simplified or last-click attribution models. So many still rely on this method of measurement, without acknowledging the fact this approach ignores most key touchpoints in a buyer’s journey. Often, for example in e-commerce, if the last click occurred on an affiliate site, that site gets the credit for the sale. But why should they get the credit simply because a customer used a code from their site? They had already decided to make the purchase.
Consumers shop using many devices and the path to purchase is a winding one, with many elements contributing to that final sale. Yet many businesses are still very siloed and fail to share data across departments to put this overall picture together. eMarketer research in early 2019 found that, whilst 87% of US companies were using more than one digital marketing channel, just 58.3% were using multi-channel attribution models.
In 2020 we should see this gap closing, and more marketers move towards more sophisticated multi-touch attribution measurement models to acknowledge the full customer buying journey. We will begin to see purpose-built measurement tools that are able to provide a holistic approach become more popular as demand for greater capabilities grows. Data that takes into account the entire customer journey will allow businesses to understand not only the ‘who’, but also the ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘why’. This sort of complex data can then be used to streamline marketing efforts, providing greater insight into what works in order to fully maximize ROI.
A little privacy, please
2020 brings with it new privacy challenges in the form of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the New York Privacy Act (NYPA), but this time we should be prepared and welcome the introduction. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe served as a trial run for many businesses, providing us with good experience to help navigate new data laws and draw up business plans that take into account consumer permissions.
While naturally both the CCPA and, if passed, the NYPA will greatly affect data acquisition, marketers should view the introduction of these new laws as an opportunity to clean up current data sets and assess exactly what is being used. Stricter privacy laws will mean marketers are unable to waste money or time on out-of-date or incorrect data sets. So despite the fact that the amount of data available will reduce, owned data will become far more accurate.
In the coming year, heightened privacy laws will attempt to claw back some of the consumer trust that has been lost over the years, combating an issue that the industry has been tackling for a while. Following the introduction of GDPR in the UK, for example, 67% of all respondents agreed that easily being able to control their personal data had an impact on the level of trust they have in an organization. Both laws should also serve as an opportunity for companies to become better familiarized with their true audiences, streamlining data that will allow more accurate marketing decisions to be made and less money to be wasted due to over-targeting.
The days of relying on ‘spray and pray’ techniques to reach customers and simple frameworks to measure success are dying. In their place, we’ll increasingly see complex purpose-built measurement tools that give a clear understanding of customer behavior.
With this accurate CRM data, audience insights that drive creative strategy and a solid measurement framework – brands are in a great spot to deliver business-changing results.
To see Croud speak further on this topic, register to attend The Drum's US predictions breakfast on January 23, 2020.
Kris Tait, managing director, US, Croud