By Frank Bobo, VP of Business Development, Digital Element
Research firm IDC predicts worldwide online advertising revenue will increase to $138bn (£88bn) in 2015. Global B2C ecommerce spending is expected to grow to $1,285bn (£819bn) in 2015, according to the same IDC report.
With trends like this, and more than two billion internet users worldwide today, there has never been a more crucial time for businesses to closely evaluate their marketing strategies in order to maximise their return on investment. With more and more people turning to the Internet to find information, products and services—whether they are looking to buy on the spot or to make an informed decision when shopping online—marketers need accurate data to give their analytics a boost.
Online marketing is about being relevant
With the average user’s time spent visiting websites clocked in seconds, not minutes, companies have only a short window of opportunity to make a direct connection with visitors. The business world continually clamours for new and better ways to expand reach and become more relevant online. There are a number of technologies with all the latest bells and whistles that promise to deliver better audience segmentation and targeting capabilities. But, do they?
When you strip away all the window dressing, online marketing comes down to one thing: relevance. At that point, you’re only as good as your data.
As the number of internet users grows, so does the dynamic data
According to IDC, the total number of internet users worldwide will grow to 2.7 billion in 2015, when 40% of the world’s population will have access to the web. That’s a lot of potential web traffic, bringing with it an immense amount of data for companies to analyse in order to segment and gain deeper insight into consumer behaviour—the true benchmark for critical assessment of the online channel.
From web analytics, to marketing and online advertising analytics to e-commerce analytics - having a comprehensive, accurate and reliable dataset will allow you to look at their web traffic in a whole new light, bringing the analytical tools of the offline world to online data. By adding depth to current analytical tools, marketers can exponentially increase the ability to tactically refine and monitor local and international marketing operations with increased clarity and control.
Through IP intelligence, in particular, marketers have a number of different online data parameters at their fingers tips, such as:
• Geographic location (country, region, city and postal codes)
• Connection speed
• Domain name
• Company name
• Time zone
• U.K. ITV Regions
This information can then be layered with financial, demographic, lifestyle and purchase data to bring an additional array of customer insights that bear on an even wider range of online interactions. Keeping up with the breadth and depth of available data should make marketers feel very uncomfortable if they aren’t absolutely sure the information they’re getting is reliable and accurate.
In today’s ultra-competitive online market, possessing accurate data about your audience has never been more crucial. It doesn’t matter if you’re the specialty retailer on the corner or a global corporate giant. Now, more than ever, the quality of your data is tied to the success or failure of your business. It determines not only how you market and sell your products and services to customers, but also how you will continue to engage with and build loyalty among them. Accurate data is the foundation of today’s business, and directly impacts the financial bottom line.
Marketers “get” the significance of accurate data when evaluating analytics technology. The real problem seems to stem from their inability to recognise what’s accurate and what’s not. Unfortunately, there have been—and still are—a number of online technologies on the market that fall short in their drive to deliver the desired results simply because their datasets are outdated, unreliable and inaccurate.
Do your due diligence when it comes to accuracy
When it comes to securing data to enhance analytics packages—and ultimately drive online marketing efforts - don’t just a take a vendor at his word when he touts the accuracy of this type of information.
Spend a little time and do your due diligence. Look for companies that:
• Continually strive to improve their accuracy levels and validate their information, year over year, either through partnerships or technology innovations
• Utilise third-party tests conducted by reputable organisations such as Keynote Systems, the global leader in on-demand test and measurement solutions for continuously improving the online experience. Ensure that tests are conducted on the vendor’s data itself as opposed to solely on the data collection methods
• Have a stable list of customers whose business depends heavily on providing precise and dependable data, such as Alterian, the leader in customer engagement technology and solutions.
Where IP intelligence meets analytics
Having the right data and analytics can make marketers more effective and improve the online experience for consumers. Specifically, when IP Intelligence is applied in analytics packages, marketers can expect to:
• Improve segmentation – Leverage new data inputs such as country, state, and city-level location information to geo-segment online audiences and benchmark campaign performance
• Increase performance – Increase insight into customer behavior that allows you to uncover actionable intelligence for campaign and website refinement
• Inspire action – Move from analysis to action. Leverage data not only to understand your online audience, but to act upon that knowledge with real-time content targeting based on user location and other IP data elements.
Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of data should be at the foundation of any analytics strategy—and consistent across all marketing channels. It’s important to remember that you can glean plenty of useable, reliable and accurate online data without invading users’ privacy. In many instances, this online intelligence can be combined with offline datasets to create a validated, wealth of information that allows marketers to confidently produce the necessary one-to-one, cross-channel marketing efforts necessary to succeed in today’s competitive environment.
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