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The Trifecta of Digital Ad Success: Direct Response, Big Data, and Mobile

  |  August 22, 2014   |  Comments

By utilizing mobile direct response ads driven by big data, marketers can take advantage of a valuable trend and significantly increase their return on investment.

Digital direct response is big news these days, no matter what business you're in. Direct response is making huge gains in ad spending and marketing return on investment (ROI), and with good reason. By leveraging big data, direct response advertisements for mobile can now be better designed to produce higher and higher returns.

The numbers don't lie - more than $8 billion will be spent on direct response online ads, with more than $17 billion to be spent on mobile advertising campaigns overall. These are big increases year-over-year. If you're not focusing your efforts on mobile direct response ads driven by big data, you could be missing out on a valuable trend and marketing strategy for your business.

Getting Started

This is a good starting point for brand, agency, and digital marketers looking to take advantage of these three components. If you're a small business just getting your digital direct response off the ground, we recommend this Digital Marketing Strategy 101 post as a good place to start for your online endeavors.

But first, a simple glossary of terms, from a marketer's perspective:

  • Digital Direct Response is any advertisement that is designed to drive an immediate action from the consumer, like the sale of an app, a purchase from an online store, or lead capture through a form. This type of ad is best practice when it comes to most Facebook advertising for e-commerce.
  • Big Data is the umbrella term for the use of multiple data sets, large or small, to draw more helpful conclusions and engineer better outcomes for a business. Examples of this include matching your CRM collected data with third-party reverse IP lookup, or mapping customer behavior to identify those ready to buy (see these predictive analytics case studies for details).
  • Mobile essentially refers to the growing trend of accessing and consuming content on a mobile device. A combined strategy of social and mobile marketing is the most effective way to reach mobile users.

Big Data in Action

Pulling all three of these marketing elements together into one highly effective strategy can help you see the huge ROI that others are already seeing for their businesses. To demonstrate how, the following is a relatively simple example based on retargeting - in this case, a mobile-based direct response campaign primed with big data.

Phase 1: Asking the right questions.

A small business marketer looks over her analytics and notices only 12 percent of users are accessing the company site via mobile. Yet, she knows that their customers access the Web on mobile devices all the time (just like she does). She asks, "How can I get in front of mobile users who are killing time on their smartphones?" This is the right question to ask; juxtapose it with the wrong question - "Why should I worry about mobile marketing when only 12 percent are accessing our site via mobile?" Smart marketing is spotting the best areas for improvement, like integrating mobile and social, and not just sticking to the status quo.

Phase 2: Testing out a social ad strategy.

Our small business marketer thinks of how she uses Facebook on her phone - waiting in line at the airport, killing time at a boring company function, or just checking in to see what friends are up to. Logically, she assumes that others are using their phones in this way as well. Considering that Facebook gets more than 60 percent of its revenue from mobile devices, she's not too far off. She decides that the best way to get in front of mobile users is to meet them where they spend the most time - on Facebook. So, she sets up a Facebook Ad campaign to test out her theory.

Phase 3: Retargeting for better results.

After a few weeks, our marketer realizes that she doesn't have much to show for her efforts, other than a decent number of impressions. With no direct response or leap in conversions, she looks at what went wrong.

The missing key in her strategy is the big data element. By tying website visits to her Facebook Ads, she can serve ads specifically to Facebook users who have viewed her site. This means she can retarget website visitors to remind them to download the new app, or return and make a purchase. Retargeting through Facebook Ads is simple - setting up a cookie is as easy as inserting a single line of invisible java script on the backend of her site.

Phase 4: Leveraging big data for increased conversions.

Results at last! Our marketer is seeing response rates many times higher than any of her previous ads. Flushed with victory, she pauses to consider how she could make her Facebook Ad campaign even more effective. Wisely, she turns again to big data, to leverage it for more specific ads that can increase her conversion rate further.

Using big data's behavioral targeting derivative, she starts to serve webpages to mobile users dynamically, based on the dynamic Facebook Ads that lead them back to her site. By retargeting specific ads to those who visited certain product pages, she can get the right ad in front of the right mobile users. Then when they respond to the ad directly, she can present them with the custom page that will most tempt them to convert.

Strength in Numbers

Our example marketer is using big data in three ways here - to match the mobile user with the product or page they liked, to target them (with help from cookies) with relevant Facebook Ads, and then to match IP addresses to serve the right final page to that mobile user. With all that leverage, it's no surprise that her conversions are soon up 200 percent.

Digital direct response marketing can certainly be an effective way to reach mobile users. But without the specificity that marketers can gain from big data, response and conversion rates will never be truly optimized. With all three elements in one strategic ad campaign, your return on ad investment will increase dramatically.

Questions about leveraging big data and retargeting as part of your marketing strategy? Find out more in this class from Dax Hamman, chief revenue officer (CRO) of top search retargeting company Chango.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aaron Kahlow

After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - the leading eLearning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.

Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. As a speaker, Kahlow is known for his inspirational style and plain-spoken nature where audiences always walk away feeling both motivated and educated. Aaron is a leading educator translating online marketing technology jargon into simple marketing and business terms. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.

Named Metropolitan Magazine's "Top 40 Entrepreneurs under the Age of 40" Kahlow is also well known for his endless energy as an entrepreneur. Having built Business Online from three guys and a brother in a dentist office to BtoB Digital Agency of the Year; founding and selling the industry's premier digital marketing event, the Online Marketing Summit, and now on his third successful start-up, Online Marketing Institute, Kahlow is synonymous with building successful digital companies. Kahlow also has served on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board to many digital associations and media companies like the International Business Marketers Association, Search Engine Strategies/ClickZ, Microsoft/ BING Prof. Accreditation, Social Media Examiner, as well as many digital technology start-ups.

Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his eLearning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.

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