A recurring theme of SAScon yesterday was the importance of understanding your customers' behaviour, knowing which platforms they use and the best tools to reach them.
Putting relevant and highly targeted content in front of your customers is becoming ever more feasible in the data-smart world of search marketing and social media.
Programmatic advertising and social commerce tools enable us to target people based on refined criteria, to identify them on which stage of the buyer journey they have reached and provide them with the content relevant to that stage of the journey.
Tracking of customers through on and offline techniques is enabling smarter marketing and a more personalised customer experience online thanks to a greater ability to profile each individual customer. Welcome to a brave new world.
I left SASCON feeling inspired by the series of expert talks which provided me with plenty of food for thought on the latest advancements in the world of search, analytics and social.
Lawrence Jones of UK Fast got the day off to a motivational start by talking about the unique creativity of Manchester’s workforce which enables it to compete with the ‘American giants’ and his vision to make Manchester the number one tech city in the UK.
Jim Banks from Groove was next up, discussing the current world of PPC, and how it has changed during his 17 years in the industry. He described his quest for the ‘unicorn keyword’ – the keyword no one else has got and no one else has found. Looking to the future for PPC, he discussed the increasingly sophisticated cross device tracking, the world of virtual reality and social media growth.
Data and Creativity – the winning formula
Stacey MacNaught from Tecmark described the quest to create compelling stories from data.
She emphasised the need to have a human interest angle on a story in order for it to become shareable content. She discussed the challenges of getting people to share content to generate quality links, and the plight of generating quality press coverage but no back links - meaning a win for the PR team but not the SEO team!
Don’t believe the hype
Steve, 23-year-old CEO of The Social Chain described how gaining a greater understanding of the psychology of marketing has enabled the Social Chain to tap into the potential of social media by generating excitement around a product or service using the power of influencers. Often brands get it wrong when they use social media to promote their product. A social post such as 'Go to X website to check out X product, looks really cool' is unimaginative and is not compelling enough to get a social media user to click through.
One example Steve cited as a way to build excitement around a product was when the Social Chain told everyone NOT to buy gaming app ‘Tippy Tap’ because they would become hooked. The game ended up smashing sales records as a result of the noise generated on Twitter.
Sharing is caring
Social Chain have shareable content sussed. They own hundreds of the most influential social media accounts across Facebook and Twitter and use these in order to weave subtle marketing messages into everyday content without directly advising a customer to buy something. If someone is using an influencer as part of their marketing strategy, Steve advised it was best for them to use their own unique tone of voice rather than using a scripted brand message.
From people to programmatic
The next session discussed the up and coming world of programmatic marketing.
Online and offline data analysis techniques are enabling agencies to produce personalised adverts and content relevant to the stage of the journey they are currently at.
Demand Side Platforms enable agencies to bid for relevant ad space through auctions. This practice focusses the attention on the user, recognising that not all consumers want the same things. It allows the adverts to show content which the users actually want to see rather than ads vaguely in line with the user’s interests.
Better data enables audience segmentation to show the most relevant adverts to each set of people. Sequential ads then tell a story as users go through the buying process. Immersive ads enable users to actually have their own experience exploring an ad so encourage that extra level of interaction and engagement with the product or service.
Bringing offline online
Data driven attribution models are helping marketers to credit the right channels fairly for the conversions. Richard Foster of Liveramp said his vision was to make sure all marketing activity was relevant. He talked us through data onboarding which helped marketers identify the customer through their online activity from their offline activity. The technology enables algorithms to produce more personalised adverts thanks to being able to identify the person in question through their patterns of buying behaviour. It provides a singular content experience for each customer which is much more engaging and helpful.
Targeted social ads are enabling marketers to segment the audiences based on their preferences.
It’s clear from looking at the stats that direct conversions are not normally made from social media. However, Samantha Hearn from Annica Digital advised that though this is the case, social media conversations drive engagement with the brands, and it’s not necessarily click throughs and conversions that should be measured in order to gauge the success of a social media campaign.
A number of platforms are now experimenting with ‘buy’ buttons within the actual platform.
While these are being rolled out, its also important to remember that certain platforms are better than others for selling. Why are the users visiting the respective platforms? For instance Pinterest and Polyvore users are often more keen to buy than Twitter and Facebook users. It’s important to choose the right platform for your target customer through social profiling. What channels are they on and how engaged are they?
Overall, a fantastic Thursday at SAScon. Did you attend? What did you think? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or comment below. And be sure to check out our blog for our round-up of day two!