How can brands use data to predict the unpredictable?
The responsibility of marketers to communicate effectively with customers based on their wants and needs is becoming more and more difficult – to the point that they are having to predict the unpredictable. So how can brands stay close to their consumers?
Hannah Bowler, Paul Wright, Emma Welch and Justin Reid at The Drum Live Captify session / The Drum
It’s been a wild 12 months, with the convergence of a pandemic, recession, inflation and war having an unprecedented impact on consumer behavior. For marketers, whose job it is to stay close to the consumer, these behaviors are becoming increasingly difficult to anticipate.
By focusing on the right signals and leveraging intent data in different forms, marketers can turn uncertainty to their advantage to stay in touch with customers, say leaders from Captify, Uber Advertising and Tripadvisor.
When it comes to anticipating consumer trends, Uber Advertising has a huge advantage of knowing in real time where a consumer is traveling and what they intend to shop and eat. “We know if you’re going to Heathrow on a holiday and we know we’re picking up from Heathrow or coming home or you’re a tourist,” explains Paul Wright, head of Uber Advertising UK & Ireland. Uber can then blend that intent data with behavioral data to target. He points to a recent example of a campaign targeting tourists in London that purposely had no media wastage by avoiding London citizens.
“Intent data is essentially the data we collect on the buy side and then on top of that, we also add in other behavioral data with intent data,” he adds. “And that’s been very powerful with our advertisers as a platform because it's so real. In the world where we’re still talking about cookie deprecation and all the other stuff going on, pure intent data is just so much more powerful.”
And where better to find pure intent data than through search, says Emma Welch, head of client strategy at Captify, where the honest relationship people have with their search bar gives an accurate indicator of consumer intent.
“You might tell things to your search bar, and you might not say out loud, or on social media, whatever it might be,” she says. “That’s a real strong indicator into what consumers are thinking, how they’re behaving, and then what they actually want and when they want it.”
Tripadvisor is using intent data to uncover the latest travel trends. For example, there has been a “huge rise in fly and flop holidays people just wanting to get away from their desks and go and do something. And what we’ve seen both from our data and surveys is that with the rise of hybrid working and working from home, not being at your desk is no longer good enough,” says Justin Reid, senior media director of international markets at Tripadvisor.
Tripadvisor gets around half a billion visits per month, with Reid admitting it’s a lot of first-party data to contend with. For advertisers, the travel site typically uses first and second-party data and teams up with the likes of LiveRamp and Infosum to find out what brands customers are doing on Tripadvisor and where there is cross-over in data.
“We’ve found that our users are much more likely to engage with content or an ad, or responsive content if it makes sense to their user experience,” Reid says. He gives the example of working with Shell to promote their electric car charging points, so Tripadvisor made sure those were pinpointed on the map, “so that is additive to the user and additive to what Shell wanted to do.”
Looking ahead, there will be increased demand from brands to get beyond the standard media metrics to really understand what consumers are actually saying and how they are reacting to advertising messaging.
“More and more brands are aligning with purpose-driven messaging – from sustainability to societal issues – so one of the key metrics that we help our brands with is really understanding that affinity to that messaging,” says Welch. It’s an important topic to consider when you’re looking at it first for new customer acquisition, but also building that long-term, loyal brand base.”
Catch up on the full session on ‘Data strategy: activating advertising’s potential in unprecedented times’ from The Drum Live here.
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Captify is the leading Search Intelligence Platform for the open web, connecting real-time searches from over 2 billion devices globally.Find out more