January 12, 2016

Big Data From Digital Campaigns

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We are at a place in history where if you are not using data to inform your decisions, you are probably not doing your job. We now have individual transaction data that is a game changer. You need to analyze multiple data points, and you also need someone who understands how to interpret that data in a strategic fashion.

For example, if your personal goal was to “get your body in shape” but you were using only your weight to monitor your goal? then you need to understand this is only ONE data point and does not give you enough insight to know if you are winning or losing the war on getting in shape! However, if you introduce more data points such as: muscle mass, blood fat, water weight, and bone density, you may suddenly discover those three new pounds were actually muscle mass and bone you gained—which, in fact, signals that you are actually moving rapidly toward your goal of getting in shape. What if you were only checking your weight? Then you would see nothing but weight gain and might fire your weight trainer—or perhaps, leaving our analogy, release your ad agency of service, if your marketing campaign goals and data output were not clear to you.

Data clicks have been the rage for some time now; however, before we can address them, we need to pull back and look at a broader view of the processes both behind and in front of them?human vs. computer or more specifically: qualitative and quantitative data.

Quantified Data

An example of quantitative data would be getting 100,000 new visitors in a month’s time on your website that typically gets 10,000 visits a month. Before you get too excited, however, you should know that those numbers only tell you that your website traffic has grown by ten times, but this result alone cannot bring success. Companies also need insight into the qualities of those visits. Qualified data focuses on “why” a visitor clicked on your website, which is hyper-important. Therefore, imagine if those 10,000 people came to your website because they clicked on your search marketing ad sentence, but for the wrong reason? If that is the case, they will bounce off your site very quickly, since they gain no benefit from the visit while you end up with no customer actions. In advertising terms, this clearly means that your campaign is not succeeding with the strategy you attempted to implement and you are obviously reaching the wrong audience. Perhaps you are hitting exactly who you asked your agency to target, but you are either hitting the wrong demographic, or it is the right crowd but your messaging is off.

Quantitative data

Qualitative data, on the other hand, is much like the practice of pulling back the curtain and looking at actual behaviors of your audience, by using your eyes and your ears. For example, when I was interviewing customer types for a recent food delivery service client, one interviewee, who was spot-on for their target, was concerned about the box the food was delivered in. Being environmentally conscious and aware, she wanted to know about the packaging, and was concerned that it contained a lot of insulation. What she was sharing with me was actually a legitimate sales objection that I needed to handle. Objections such as this would never be heard once the video was created and viewed by her. Here, qualitative questioning produced insightful data which enabled both the campaign and the client to get ahead of these issues.

Besides that objection we had a multitude of other items to address with our video, and we knew in advance what to focus our narrative on in order to creatively overcome those objections—without the viewer even realizing what we were doing. For instance, in some cases my client might think something about their product is great to feature while the customer does not care about that aspect at all. In this real life example, the box was clearly a mystery to the customer, but the box was not something my client had any intention of showing, obviously, because the video campaign was about delicious looking food, not a box. However, we decided to feature the box briefly (just a few seconds) to show exactly how this new way of getting healthy food delivered to your door, would arrive, giving the customer insight and clarity and removing any confusion.

When you have mere seconds to communicate your message, every shot counts. We ended up with a commercial that tested so well that 83 out of 100 people said they would try the product upon viewing of the video just once! And 83% response rate. That does not happen by accident, or by luck. It happens through the practice of science, creativity, and listening?all working in synchronization.

Making Big Data actionable needs humans more than ever before.


This is an excerpt of Allen Martinez’s writings published by Thomson Reuters for their new release: “Refreshing your Brand to Reach New Customers” which is part of their ‘Inside the Minds’ series targeted at CMOs. It will help you understand how much has changed in digital advertising in just the past few years and the exciting future ahead of us.

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