Columnist Adam Singer from Google shares three areas to think about programatically, to let machines do the work so you can focus on the creative work that only humans can do.
Putting on your analyst hat, conducting analysis of your site or app, and fleshing out recommendations is just the beginning of making data-driven decisions. Once you're in a groove with optimizations, the next step is to put data to work for you, to improve the customer experience and increase conversions while you sleep.
Today, I want to share three areas you should think about programmatically, using data to improve your marketing. When I say programmatically, in plain English, all that means is letting machines do the work and put your data into action for you.
1. Use Real-Time Analytics to Dynamically Improve Your Site Content
Most popular brands always have visitors on their site. While there, these visitors are viewing content, sharing things they find interesting with their social networks, making purchases and more. But are you using these actions to improve the experience of other users?
Looking at this data in real-time and taking action on it is not always feasible. But, using a Real-Time API to dynamically improve your site content is. Using an API from your analytics provider, you can make queries about your real-time data and use that information to create a more compelling experience.
One of the most basic but practical use cases is to manage the content on your webpage. For example, you can query the API for the top visited URLs to construct a "top trending content widget" and display the number of active readers. This can help create a greater sense of urgency to view and share ‘hot' content.
Additionally, this metric can be shown on different conversion pages of a website to impart a sense of urgency and demonstrate demand for a given product. Twiddy, a family-owned vacation rental company, with the help of their consultant Joe Akinc, has been testing this. Not only did their revenue increase 18.6 percent, but the average order value increased 11.9 percent and the conversion rate increased 7.9 percent.
See the Twiddy case study for the full story and the screenshot below for an example of how this looks visually on their search results page:
2. Use Your Own Site Analytics to Power Your Remarketing
Remarketing increases missed conversions and reduces impact of abandonment
Ever visited a website intending to make a purchase but got side-tracked halfway through with another task? Of course you have. As the above image shows, it's happened to nearly everyone. Wouldn't it be nice if you could give a friendly reminder to a user to help them complete their purchase? This would be a herculean task manually, but programmatically it's much easier.
Remarketing with Analytics lets you follow up with people who have already visited your website, and deliver ad content specifically targeted to the interests they expressed during those previous visits. If you're new to remarketing, we have an introductory Webinar to help you get started.
3. Run Tests That Automatically Pick a Winner
Sample Content Experiment using Google Analytics
Your landing page is performing well, but you can't help but think it could do better. You could replace it with a new design, but how do you know if it's truly a better experience? Worse, what if it performs poorly? You'll lose revenue and conversions while you're busy running the numbers. There's a better way: use a system to test your content.
If you're a Google Analytics user, our Content Experiments platform (see example above) lets you compare how different pages perform using a random sample set, define what percentage of visitors are included in an experiment, test different objectives and get automated updates on how experiments are doing. And the best part about our system is it works to get a statistically relevant sample set as soon as possible, to minimize the number of users who see a poorer performing page -- all automatically.
Regardless of which tools you use, the point of today's post is that you can leave the hard work to software and free up your time for more strategic and creative work that only humans can do. Some people have started to call this "growth hacking" or use other buzzwords to describe the process of automating parts of your marketing with data, though it's not new and actually doesn't require as much technical knowledge as you may think. Buzzwords and fancy jargon aside, it's the future of smart marketing.
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Adam Singer is Analytics Advocate at Google, a marketing, media and PR industry speaker, startup adviser and blogger. He previously was digital director for a 300+ person global consulting team and over the course of his career has provided online marketing strategy for B2B & B2C brands in a variety of industries including marketing technology, healthcare, manufacturing, advertising/subscription-based web startups, and much in between. Singer and his campaigns have been cited by top media outlets such as TechCrunch, AdWeek, NY Times and more for creative use of digital marketing and PR. Singer blogs at The Future Buzz - an award-winning blog with more than 25K subscribers and frequently-referenced source of what's new in digital marketing.
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