Plug-ins: analytics

Brands need to gain the most from their sales and marketing investments, and now more than ever, proving return on investment is the minimum price of entry to unlocking budget. The most surefire way to gain valuable insight into what’s working and why is through marketing analytics, the practice of measuring and managing marketing performance to drive maximum ROI.

However, measuring marketing and assessing campaign performance is seldom an easy task, despite the existence of powerful marketing software tools and the ability for direct marketers to measure online marketing efforts in particular.

Our three Plug-ins experts this month offer their advice on gaining the most from both offline and online analytics processes, including effectively capturing and measuring customers’ digital communication footprints through email and mobile marketing channels, as well as helpful tips to understanding the analytics behind a transaction marketing approach.

Track consumer habits with email metrics:
Michelle Eichner, product management leader, Unica OnDemand, Enterprise Marketing Management Group, IBM Corp.

Individuals have increasing numbers of communication channels at their disposal. This past decade, we shifted rapidly to an interactive society capitalizing on two-way messaging. As a result, marketers need to identify tools that allow us to effectively capture, profile and measure the customer’s digital communication footprint.?

When was the last time you diagrammed a 360-degree view of your customer’s browsing and buying behavior? If we focus on email, there are potentially dozens of metrics to weigh in order to fully comprehend customers’ buying motivations and interactions with your brand. ?

Here are four particularly important metrics to consider:?

  1. Spam complaints and site visits. Unfortunately, many subscribers use the “report as spam” button as a general tool to stop receiving your mail. Turn this unlucky scenario into something valuable.? Overlay your spam complainers with website visitor data to determine who continues to show interest in your brand and your products.? In turn, create a personalized Web experience using precious email content they otherwise may miss having unsubscribed from your emails.?
  2. Email links and social networks. Through social email analytics, you can identify when customers share links from your email campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. With your newly identified influential social bullhorns, you can subtly egg on their behavior with unique offers to encourage them to play the role of brand thought leader in their social community, expanding your brand’s reach and awareness. ?
  3. Delivery time and mobile use. There are nearly 500 million consumers using smart phones, while 48% of 16-to-34 year olds and 26% of 35-to-54 year olds use it as their morning alarm clock. They’re also more likely to read emails first thing in the morning. ?However, we know the largest concentration of email campaigns are sent between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. daily, creating inbox gridlock. Be smarter than the competition by identifying alternative times when customers are using their mobile device and delivery is high to the inbox.? With today’s technology, it is very simple to identify which customers are opening emails on their mobile devices and the time of day they are doing so, giving us the opportunity to optimize content for the small screen, while maximizing the delivery window to improve our customer’s experience.?
  4. Unsubscribes and lead source. Most mailers acquire email addresses through various channels such as list rentals, banner ads, email appends and partnerships. It’s a fact of life that a percentage of our customers will opt-out of our email program every single day. Therefore, analyzing the cost of each lead source relative to the rate of unsubscribes is vital. ?Overlay your unsubscribes with lead source data to identify which source actually costs you money, because you lose more than you gain or your deliverability suffers when you include a specific data set.? On the surface, one source may appear economical; however, when you factor the cost plus the reduction of email addresses over time, the list may end up being more expensive than other sources.

Assess analytics of transaction marketing:
Scott Grimes, CEO, Cardlytics

The proper use and understanding of consumer transaction data is a game changer for marketers. By knowing where and how much shoppers are actually spending, merchants can better customize marketing campaigns to consumers. In order to get a better grip on the analytics behind a transaction-oriented marketing model, here are five key steps to keep in mind.?

  1. Seize your opportunity. A market analysis should show how much market share you have in your category, as well as how much your “loyal” customers spend with your competitors. Through a rich transaction-oriented approach, merchants can look at the levels of activity by competitor to understand true market opportunity based on actual transactions rather than on samples or surveys.?
  2. Discern the purchasing dynamics of your category. Transaction data provides three key metrics: those who do and do not shop with you; the frequency with which your customers shop; and the amount your customers spend. ?
  3. Precisely target your campaigns to change behavior. Knowing where and how much consumers are spending is fundamental to finding new sources of opportunity. A transaction marketing approach allows for campaigns that target consumers based on their geography, the number of times they’ve shopped with you or your competitors, and the amount consumers spent with you or your competitors. ?
  4. Analyze short-term performance gains. Transaction marketing enables precise targeting, which drives significantly increased redemption rates. The campaigns are measured from delivery through engagement and redemption with absolute accuracy. ?
  5. Assess long-term performance. How frequently do customers return and at what spend level? Examine improvements in market share over time and the long-term value of new customers.

Boost mobile engagement through testing:
Kim Ann King, CMO, SiteSpect

Close to one-third of all mobile users already actively engage with Web content on their cell phones, and 53% of smartphone users routinely engage in mobile Web browsing activities, according to comScore. With this rapid growth in mobile adoption, Web marketers now realize how important it is to provide a compelling mobile Web experience. ?

Even with the variety of mobile platforms in play, it’s possible to easily and effectively increase mobile engagement through testing. Here are some guidelines to get started.?

  1. Don’t expect your website to render the same on every mobile device. It needs to be customized to fit the constraints of the mobile environment. Simplify forms, content, graphics, layout and navigation to better adapt your site to a variety of mobile devices.?
  2. Mobile users don’t behave the same as desktop users. Analyses of consumer behavior have shown that mobile users have different needs and expectations than desktop users. Environment, task-at-hand and physical device constraints all differ, often dramatically. ?
  3. Test your mobile offerings before launching them. Discover what works by testing campaign elements, such as image size, image choice, specific words and phrases, placement, design, headlines and colors. ?
  4. Leverage testing as a platform for continuous improvement. The testing process reveals what works and should be implemented. It also illuminates what doesn’t work and should be avoided.? You can use the results of successful mobile testing to create a case for additional investments in your organization’s mobile Web initiatives.?
  5. Test non-intrusively across all mobile platforms. This is important, because while marketers can test what is working or not working on their regular websites and in their SEO and PPC campaigns, many devices do not support JavaScript-based mobile testing solutions or ?accept cookies to track users.
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