By Sultan Riaz | Marketing Coordinator
With global Internet usage growing daily, marketers are faced with extensive challenges in engaging, influencing and acquiring their target consumers. Data plays a key role for marketers when building marketing campaigns and strategies. But with consumers accessing online content through multiple devices, a more precise way to analyze and interpret data is needed.
Recently, we spoke with Heather Kraus, MediaWhiz’s performance strategy and analytics manager, and asked her about data trends in online marketing. We also discussed Big Data and how Google’s new Universal Analytics tool helps brands acquire customers.
Below is an excerpt from that interview. Read previous “MediaWhizdom” interviews here.
Heather Kraus: As MediaWhiz’s performance strategy and analytics manager I make sure all of the websites we host on behalf of clients are utilizing all of available tools in order to collect information about user activity. Using this data, I can identify opportunities where conversion rates can be increased.
SR: Everyone in online marketing is talking about data these days. Big Data, real-time marketing, programmatic buying, analytics … the list goes on and on. With all of that focus on data, it often feels like the connection to the customer can be missing. How can marketers ensure they keep the customer first when using data to design their online marketing campaigns?
HK: It’s easy for marketers to get lost in the data. A good data analyst has the discipline to reel herself in before she gets lost in data that may not be relevant. Data is great, but I always try to keep the human element in mind when designing a campaign. I often will ask around to see what other people would do. Just last week I asked everyone I knew how often they used autocomplete for online searches.
SR: Is Big Data a trend or something that has staying power?
HK: Big Data isn’t going anywhere due to the fact that the amount of data will continue to grow and companies’ demands for understanding what the data means to their brands will grow as well. We are long overdue for some regulation of advertisers’ online data use due to privacy concerns. As a marketer I think using data for precise targeting is beneficial to consumers. Not to mention the positive impact it has on the economy, not just with dollars spent but jobs created.
Big Data is certainly all the rage these days but the concept isn’t new. It’s been getting so much press because the amount of online data that is collected about consumers is significant.
One infograph I saw mentioned that if you could turn all of the online consumer data collected into an HD movie, it would take more than 100 million years to watch.
The data are only going to get bigger. I think marketers’ and advertisers’ use and analysis of online customer data is only going to grow in order to get the most precise targeting is great for consumers. Big Data isn’t going anywhere.
SR: Where are marketers getting it right in their use of online data and where they are getting it wrong?
HK: The biggest misuse of your online data is not devoting the time and resources to properly analyze it. Data really can’t do anything for you if it’s just sitting there. I’ve seen marketers who’ve had Google Analytics accounts that have never been logged into. Even if you have limited resources, devote an hour a week to reviewing your data and identify any missed opportunities. If you want to get it right, take some time and be a sponge because the digital analytics landscape is constantly changing.
SR: In a recent op-ed published in MediaPost, you wrote that Google’s new Universal Analytics feature, which offers marketers with greater visibility into people’s interactions with a website at multiple levels, will “transform how marketers interpret consumer behavior.” Why do you think that is true and what are the implications for marketers?
HK: Universal Analytics changes our perspective. Google Analytics currently focuses highly on site “visits,” whereas Universal Analytics focuses on “sessions.” Focusing on sessions acknowledges that a user (which can be assigned a unique user ID) may be accessing your site from various devices. This wasn’t the case 10 years ago when the current Google Analytics code replaced the old urchin code. Now that we are a multiple-device society, you cannot focus solely on visits.
SR: Should marketers base their campaigns and marketing strategies off the data from Universal Analytics instead of other conventional means, such as page views, bounce rate or even customer surveys?
HK: Many of the metrics will remain the same but Universal Analytics allows for many more custom metrics to be considered. Have you ever signed up for one of those loyalty cards in a store? Now you can have in-store transactions mapped to your Universal Analytics and connect your offline with your online data!
SR: How much time do you think it will take marketers to fully grasp and understand the impact that Universal Analytics can have on their online marketing campaigns?
HK: Universal Analytics opens the door for a wider variety of customized solutions; it could take time for marketers to realize exactly how encompassing that is. Not only will it take time for marketers to realize everything that they can track, there is some setup time that is required as well.
Are you prepared for Google’s new Universal Analytics tool? Are you looking forward to the potential benefits it can provide you and your company? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet us at @MediaWhizLLC.