Data Orchestration is the New Data Automation

The advent of the big data age had companies scrambling to not only collect more data but automate processes to help manage the workload. Businesses were learning in real-time – through trial and error – how to collect, store, clean, and analyze heaps of information.

More than a decade later, tech advancements haven’t slowed down. There are more tools to use, more skills to learn, and, according to scientists, about 295 billion gigabytes of data in the world. How do businesses extract precise insights that can guide their marketing strategy and boost ROI? In other words, how do we put all this data to good use – and prove it?

Needless to say, this process was challenging enough, and many marketers, organizations, and data scientists are still wondering whether their efforts to utilize data are making a real impact.

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But as the dust settles, many businesses have landed on their feet, wiser and better equipped to thrive. Now that we’ve gotten a handle on data automation 101, we’re beginning to see an even greater level of advancement on the horizon – and that’s data orchestration.

What Is Data Orchestration?

In a nutshell, orchestrating data works just like orchestrating a symphony – all instruments must be in tune, in rhythm, and working in unison with all other parts. When this falls into place, being a data-driven business is much easier. But when data processes are not in harmony, it can lead to all sorts of kinks throughout your data pipeline.

From preparing data to analyzing, drawing conclusions, and taking action, your data may travel through various applications and departments. So what happens when the right synthesis doesn’t take place?

Disorganized Data (The Problem)

One of the biggest issues that can arise from a lack of data orchestration is unusable data. Whether it’s poor quality, inaccurate, or not in the correct format to use, this is the dreaded ‘dirty data’ problem that thwarts many companies. The impacts of disorganized data are surprisingly weighty. According to an Experian report, companies from around the world feel that an average of 26% of their data is dirty.

 

Another problem arises when data history can’t be tracked.

The provenance of data products generated by complex transformations, such as data orchestration workflows, can be extremely valuable to digital businesses. From it, one can determine the quality of the data based on its source, provide attribution of data sources, and track back sources of errors and iterations. Data provenance is also essential to organizations that need to drill down to the source of data in a data warehouse, track the creation of intellectual property and provide an audit trail for regulatory purposes.” - Chris Scalgione

Part of eliminating data silos is eliminating disparate tools that are difficult to use in tandem. Ideally, teams will have access to the same data and know how to use the same platforms to manage it holistically.

Cohesive Data Management (The Solution)

So what can a business do if it’s wading through the swamps of a data disaster? Data orchestration means carefully mastering each interaction with data from start to finish.

Let’s start at the beginning with data collection. Customers are interacting with your brand at many touchpoints – advertisements, websites, social channels, and, perhaps, in person. Each of these data sources can provide a wealth of insight – if you’re equipped to collect it in real-time.

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Next, data integration. Coming from various sources and in various formats, your data needs to be merged in one place. Once data is profiled, you can decide how it needs to change to create one uniform data set. This step is integral for accurate interpretation later on.

From here, data-enrichment processes can increase the quality of data, readying it for analysis and, eventually, decision-making. Enrichment allows for a better understanding of customers and what they respond to over time.

The tools and platforms you choose play a pivotal role in ensuring each of these processes is carried out efficiently. Currently, many data platforms have one or two strengths they specialize in, but can’t orchestrate the whole process. For this reason, many organizations must manually examine their data pipeline to find weak spots and refine the procedures.

The Future Is Orchestrated

In the end, automation is only as valuable as the tools you use to carry it out. High data quality and careful coordination must come first. The places we mine data and the uses we find for it are multiplying, along with data privacy regulations. Thus, it’s more important than ever to have a sophisticated data management system that leaves nothing to chance.

In the next ten years, more businesses will begin their trek toward a data-driven future. It’s through this transformation that companies leading the pack will be able to scale comfortably and make truly data-informed decisions.


How Watson Is Changing Marketing

Most people have heard of IBM's Watson artificial intelligence software. Watson has come a long way since winning Jeopardy and is being used for a variety of applications. Brands and marketers face more competition than ever before and are awash with data they are only just beginning to use. Watson can parse through that data and provide actionable insight to help brands make lasting connections with consumers.

1. More Targeted Promotions

The holy grail of advertising is being able to sell the right product to the right consumer at the right time. Traditionally, advertisers paid for spots during television shows or sporting matches to reach a particular portion of the larger viewing audience. Over time, advertisers have been able to drill down to more granular target audiences and tailor their messaging accordingly. IBM Watson takes targeted advertising a quantum leap forward. Watson can target even more specific subgroups and offer dynamic advertising based on a variety of factors. For example, IBM is partnering with personalized data marketer Jivox to craft real-time contextual ads. If the weather turns cold, customers can be presented with ads or coupons for nearby coffee chains; ads can even include animated snowflakes if it begins to snow outside. Weather is just one of many data points that can be used to power data-driven digital marketing campaigns that boost sales.

2. Live Testing Advertisements

Another area where IBM Watson can support marketers is analyzing reactions to live testing advertisements. Normally, marketers and brands test early versions of advertisements in a simulated environment and then make adjustments based on feedback. This could be focus groups or other small test environments with a small number of subjects. Live testing involves analyzing reactions to marketing messages in real time and make adjustments automatically. For example, a car brand wants to develop a marketing campaign for a specific vehicle. The brand might make dozens of versions of the advertisement highlighting specific aspects or selling points. IBM Watson can test combinations on Facebook or other platforms and zero in on the most successful combination, creating an ad that is more likely to sell cars.

3. Predictive Analytics

Collecting data doesn't mean anything without the tools to parse through that data and find relationships in the numbers. Watson's Predictive Analytics tools help marketers identify those relationships and develop actionable insights. For example, a fast food chain wants to determine the attractiveness of offering a 20% off coupon during the fall. Watson can parse through spending data from previous quarters to determine which customers are most likely to respond to a coupon. That analysis can be based on previous behavior with coupons, income levels, and the length of the customer relationship. Watson can even determine when during the fall such a coupon would be most effective. This allows companies to maximize their marketing budgets and get the most bang for their buck. Predictive Analytics is also iterative; the longer the relationship with a customer, the more accurate and effective a promotion becomes.

Marketing is increasingly becoming data-driven and marketers need the tools to parse through data and make actionable insights. Watson gives companies the ability to better understand their customers by finding those quantitative relationships. Whether it's trying to understand which customers to target or what marketing messages will best resonate, Watson is changing the face of modern marketing.

 


Marketing Automation and Big Data: A Perfect Match

In an age where digital data is not only valuable but ubiquitous, organization and automation becomes a marketing agency's pillars of time management and financial advantage.

 

More needs to be done to understand the motivations of a consumer. Content creation and targeting are only the tip of this iceberg and the start of a deep dive to converting a customer into a lead or sale. It's data that educates a marketer on what makes an individual tick. Through data, they'll be able to establish what exactly triggers them and the most efficient way to do so.

 

To do so, you need to build a customer profile:

 

"Through marketing automation systems, we should be able to build better-rounded customer profiles through variable data field capture during different communication touch points."

 

Using big data can gain a marketing agency advantages when it comes to developing relevant content and messages, collecting and analyzing data on how customers interact, and delivering a more consistent, positive customer experience across devices.

 

Digital advertising isn't just posting an ad online and hoping for the best. Leveraging automation enables agencies to determine what type of content is best at attracting leads, how they find you, and why they chose to connect with you. It can help figure out how, when and where customers tend to interact with you, as well as what platforms and devices they're reaching you on.

 

Even though we're online, you still have to imagine a face and personality behind that screen.

 

Online marketing may have muddied the border between buyer and seller, but it hasn't completely eroded it. The intimacy of conversation may get down to bare bones quicker, but getting to know one another, in order to build up a level of trust from the seller's side and understanding from the buyer's side, has not been completely lost.

 

Now instead of asking questions, you're simply provided with profiles through those variable data fields we just mentioned. You get to know their behaviors, tendencies, and interests, while marketing automation and big data work "together to create an effective way to collect, sort and gain insight from thousands of data points about customers, campaigns and products or services."

 

This can partly be done by the miracle of predictive analytics, which can predict the future by mining the past. Consider Amazon; they gather past purchase data, wish lists, similar purchases and customer ratings to predict future shopping patterns. They simply acquire all the data they need to build up an accurate enough profile that will efficiently usher you from point A to point B:

 

"With the increased accuracy of self-learning algorithms, marketers will be able to better deconstruct big data to create incredibly targeted and optimally timed user experiences."

 

Getting a customer from each of those points requires a meld of data and automation; the data working as the blueprint, and automation working as the tools, delivering quickness, accuracy, and an improved user experience, one that puts the user in the driver's seat:

 

"They can access the exact information they want, how and when they want it. But every potential customer isn't necessarily going to want exactly the same information. With automation, you can also create multiple paths, so each person can have a different experience, based on their own needs and interests."

 

When "80% of your sales come from only 20% of your customers", automation is a necessity to pinpoint just what type of customers will react and how. For example, say you're running an email marketing campaign and you're trying to deliver the best possible user experience, you might monitor:

 

  • When your customer open emails
  • When they engage with content
  • What content they engage with
  • The frequency with which they choose to engage
  • Conversions that take place

 

Platforms like AutoPilot can deliver a tailored experience that accommodates each and every one of your leads as a unique individual, rather than just another part of the catch-all. Sure they might share similarities by way of being interested in what you're selling, but they all have different triggers and ways of going about things.

 

On the other end, the Zapier platform can help gather that data and turn it into data you can use to create a more efficient workflow and finish routine tasks quicker.

 

These platforms and tools will not only help you get better organized, but they'll help you draw in more leads. You can't treat your audience as a monolith. They might all like your product or service, but they all arrived there differently, are using different devices, react to different content, and come from different areas where the product or service might serve a different purpose.

 

You may not see them, and that disconnect and widening gulf isn't helping, but there's still a person behind the screen and the only way to turn them into a sale or lead is treating them like one.


Data-Driven Marketing is the Best Way to Improve Digital Performance

We live in a world driven by statistics and data. This new age we’re living in has made up-to-date metrics essential in companies deciding what's their next step. No longer do they need to rely on gut-instinct or intuition.

 

They have metrics do the job for them.

 

Modern technology has granted access to ubiquitous metrics that ultimately eliminate guessing over seemingly every aspect, in seemingly every industry. A retail giant can find which products sell and which don’t. A local government can judge the success of its funding efforts.

 

A digital marketing agency can base its entire philosophy on data. And for good reason. An agency’s job, after all, is to research, strategize, execute, and finally to report.

 

Notice what that proven plan is bookended by: Data-driven influencers. A marketer can’t begin to strategize and execute without first doing their research, nor can they report on their findings without heavily relying on data.

 

An agency without first doing its research would be the blind leading the blind. An agency then not reporting on their findings without utilizing data is misleading. It should be no surprise then that determining the successes and failings of a brand are contingent on what the metrics say.

 

Since statistics don’t lie, and never will, deciphering metrics for use in future campaign efforts is something every marketing agency should practice.

 

For example: Finding the right audience. According to Forbes…

 

“Whereas collecting and integrating large and disparate data sets to glean useful insights has been costly and time- and resource-prohibitive, technology has progressed such that the insights are ‘in the box’, can be tailored to the brand and business goal, inexpensive, and at your fingertips.”

 

These same technologies can be used to identify the best audience for a given campaign. Perform initial research into the brand by locating their audiences and then targeting them. You dilute your message less by sending it out to the broad masses. Instead, narrow the targeting to an audience that would be more receptive and inquisitive of the message for a more accurate perception.

 

Locating your audience is one of the most challenge parts of your campaign efforts because there seems to be a lot of guesswork involved. Technology, however, is catching up, as indicated by the same Forbes’ article:

 

“Front-end technology is catching up with the back-end such that ‘programmatic’ applies not just to the media buy, but also to the identification and creation of an audience.”

 

Targeting people who make $75,000 in the Northwest is good. But targeting people who make $75,000 per year, interested in mountain climbing, drive a Tesla, and likes Netflix and National Geographic is better. Your targeting yield might drop from 5 million to 1 million, but again you don’t want to dilute your message and waste it on those who it doesn’t speak to.

 

This way you can design campaigns around a 100% audience you know will listen.

 

This is all possible to identify through targeting. Facebook, in particular, allows marketers to target their campaigns through variables such as as income, location, interests, and behaviors.

 

Consider these before you run a campaign. That way you have a greater understanding of your target’s “actions, habits and propensities; their associations, networks and influencers; and the descriptive characteristics that influence and distinguish the group.”

 

That’s just one flap of the book, though. We can’t neglect the other side where we report on the campaign’s progress.

 

This is where metrics really start to shine, and where it showcases just how evolved this industry is. On the outside, metrics look to only be on the surface; likes, comments, replies, shares, retweets, etc. But indicating successes and failures goes far deeper, especially depending on the campaign’s purpose.

 

This isn’t to say those types of surface stats can be suitable indicators. They absolutely can predict which types of posts work well and which don’t. If one type of post is getting 100 likes on average, while another is getting only 25 on average, then it’s clear that one post obviously resonates and engages more with users.

 

But it’s the below-the-surface stats you really need to pay attention to; those available through deep insights and the tools needed to access them.

 

Surface stats won’t explicitly inform you of how many link clicks a post received. We actually saw this in practice with one of our premier clients. Although we were receiving tons of likes, comments, and shares, we noticed that we were basically garnering little-to-no link clicks on these same posts.

 

It wasn’t until we began to A/B test where we found the issue, and altered the posts. Only then were we able to boost our link clicks, albeit at the sacrifice of our engagement totals. Nevertheless, it was interesting to learn for future reference, such as running an awareness campaign vs. an engagement one.

 

But we can plunge even further into the sloping depths of digital metrics.

 

Metrics like bounce rates can indicate where users go after landing on your website. When you uncover and unleash the power of metrics, you can find out everything you need about the tendencies of people to improve your marketing approach.

 

As digital marketing grows, measurement platforms follow. With so many brands going digital, it only makes sense for ambitious entrepreneurs to take advantage by creating platforms that can measure and track metrics on their performance.

 

And since we live in a flourishing capitalist society, competition occurs that motivates these innovators to measure more metrics than the other. So when one platform can track how many seconds you spent on a specific website page, another platform sees that and creates a tool that does the same AND which page they’re going to after.

 

The insights just go deeper until marketers get the best available POV from their target audience. Remember that the greatest motivator to all of this is to nail down an audience’s behaviors and tendencies. That way a marketer can predict exactly what they do and how they make the transition from curious shopper to conversion.

 

This is the basis of what marketing was built on: Appealing to consumers within their sensibilities.

 

It was a lot more difficult to achieve that in the ancient time before measuring platforms came along. Marketers actually had to talk to people, hold focus groups, and stage surveys. Now they can pay a fee to have a website track what goes through the mind of their collective audience.

 

We wouldn’t want it any other way. Neither would you.

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Guide: How to Inject Personality Into Your Website and Stand Out

Your website is often the first impression a prospective buyer will garner of your business. And seeing as studies have reported that “you have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website”, it’s of extreme importance that your website is fully optimized.

 

It needs to be clean. It needs to be strategically concise in some areas, but lengthy and descriptive in others. It needs to be accessible. It needs to present a clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best for the job.

 

Basically, it needs to act as an extension of your business’s personality. Remember that this is essentially the first thing your next client (or buyer depending on what industry you serve) will see.

 

If I’m running a marketing agency and I can’t properly communicate my message, there’s a high likelihood that visitor will take their business elsewhere. How could they trust me to communicate their message when I can’t even communicate my own?

 

In broader terms, if you’re on a first date, are you not going to take the time to prepare yourself and put the best version of you out there? Of course you are! Because when your date sees you for the first time, you want to provide them with a clean, well-kept image before you even open your mouth.

 

Effectively communicating your services on a website goes beyond copy, which we’ll get to momentarily. Just like how you can communicate without saying a word, simply based on your appearance, mannerisms, and demeanor, you can do the same on a website through its design, layout, accessibility and quality.

 

Take pride in your website! After all, this is a representation of who you are. Ensure the photographs are colorful, original, and eye-catching. If you’re going for more of a sleeker, modern design, then be consistent. If you’re relying on neutral colors from the beginning, stay the course the entire website.

 

Accessibility, for both desktop and mobile, is perhaps the most notable and necessary website feature, in terms of the digital era we live in now. There is no better way to instantly lose website visitors than if your website is confusing, devoid of direction, and lacking key info.

 

Let’s step into the real world for a second again. Place yourself at the front of a large department store with a need to find a specific item. You enter and look up for the placards hanging from the ceiling to indicate which aisle has which items. They’re not there. Immediately your shopping experience is negative.

 

 

So you go through each and every aisle. You’d ask for help, but there are no employees in sight to reach out to. After awhile, you finally find your item. Now it’s checkout time. Oh, what’s that? You can’t even find the registers. Forget this. It’s too frustrating, so you just find somewhere else that’s easier to navigate.

 

Now apply the same principles to a website. You want something from a marketing agency—let’s say lead generation help—and you enter the website hoping to find if they can help. Instead, you can’t find anything. There’s information in there about lead generation, but you just can’t find it.

 

Maybe you can find someone to help? While it would be nice to have a ‘Live Chat’ or ‘Contact Us’ option, those, too, are nowhere in sight. After awhile, you get frustrated and leave to find a marketing agency that can actually cater to your needs.

 

Had your website been organized, helpful, easily navigable, and accessible, you wouldn’t have lost that potential client. This is the first step people are taking in this sort of territory and having them meet an inaccessible, confusing website is the worst possible scenario.

 

Make everything as clear as possible. In laymen’s terms, idiot-proof it. Ensure everything is right where it needs to be found and can easily be accessed. Place your contact information right at the top of your page so it’s the first thing they see. Have a search box available. Implement a live chat that pops up at the bottom of the screen. Give visitors a clear call-to-action button.

 

However you design it, just keep it simple and ensure it’s organized. The same goes for mobile, where “over 38% of web traffic now comes from”. That percentage may not seem like much, but it would be foolish to alienate four out of every ten visitors to your page because you’re not mobile optimized.

 

Once you have your layout setup and organized, you can begin the fun, and my favorite, part: Writing the copy.

 

Revisit what I said in the first paragraph: “You have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website.”

 

That quote applies to copy as much as it does your layout. You need to address what your business specializes in and it needs to be done in a dynamic way that’s going to get attention. Of course, this goes back to your layout. Copy can be stimulating, but layouts are the first thing people are going to notice.

 

Take for example our very own One Twelfth website. We capture the attention of our visitors immediately. The copy we place is concise, but it’s on a slideshow featuring several dynamic, interesting images that shifts every few seconds to the next one.

 

It’s quick. It’s efficient. It’s simple. You don’t want a wall of words as the first thing your visitors see. Making a creative, striking layout with branding and a basic readout of what your business serves does pass the test. However, you always want to offer your reader something that’s really going to capture their attention like, for instance, a slideshow.

 

Your website’s copy needs to consist of everything you can do in the most efficient way possible. But before even writing that copy, first create an outline and a flow that will effectively demonstrate your company’s services. Nail down all the pages you’ll be creating and what each will consist of, as well as which you think are the most important to your reader.

 

In the same way a retail business will showcase its best sellers at the top of its page, an agency can put its top services at the highest pedestal.

 

You want to separate yourself from the pack and there’s no better way to do this than through your copy. This is the opportunity to inject personality into your brand. That means avoiding common buzzwords you’d expect every other brand in your industry would use. It doesn’t mean to avoid them altogether, just not to harp on them continually.

 

Instead, have fun with it! Unless your brand is already well established and known, you have to find a way to stand out to convince clients to hire you. Here’s an explanation on how it works:

 

“People trust brands they know. If the voice of your website copy is bland, boring or cold you’re missing out on that magic connection. Use your personality to build that connection and draw people into what you’re talking about.”

 

That first point really rings true. It’s far more likely if you provide potential clients with transparency, as opposed to relying on the crutch of sterile information and cliché buzzwords, that you’re going to build a mini-relationship right then and there.

 

Plus, it gets them a little more intrigued. Again, you’re doing everything you can to stand out while still maintaining professionalism. You need to be informative and professional, but also instilling that unique personality only you can provide.

 

Pull back the curtain a little bit for visitors to see just who they’re dealing with. Exhibit how cohesive of a team you are by displaying pictures of your team taking part in after work activities; showcase any charitable work you’ve done; show life inside the office.

 

Transparency has become huge in today’s social media age. People now more than ever want to see who they could be potentially working with, simply because they know you can provide that.

 

Once it’s all said and done, give it time to see how well it performs. Use tools like heat maps to see where people are clicking and where they’re scrolling. That way you can make adjustments to your page to optimize it. You’d be surprised just how simple adding a CTA button can increase conversions. We’ve made numerous observations at our agency, when checking on a client’s website, where visitors click around on a certain space thinking it’ll redirect them to another page, only to leave disappointed.

 

And if you need any help doing this, I know of a certain marketing agency that specializes in website copy and design. Maybe you’ve heard of them.


Part 3: Chatbot & Artificial Intelligence

As history has proven to us time and time again, humans have an insatiable appetite for making life easier for themselves, often to the point where we harness the intelligence and brawn of others for our benefit.

 

But even the Universe has its limitations. Not allowing that to stop our progress, however, we created a new one: A digital one, where the possibilities have no limit. You’ve seen it in factories, with humans being replaced by far more efficient machines. Now we're experiencing it in the era of making customer service more efficient.

 

Welcome to the Future, narrated and coordinated by Artificial Intelligence.

 

Since Deep Blue, a supercomputer with surely no intention of world domination, defeated Garry Kasparov, the world Chess champion at the time, humanity has marveled at A.I.'s extraordinary potential. As a result, humans couldn't help but develop and advance it more, pushing its capabilities further and further.

 

 

This trend of A.I. puffing its motherboard out at the intelligence of lowly humans was featured for all to see on Jeopardy!. The streak of human victories was snapped when ‘Watson’ entered the fray and destroyed the likes of noted Alex Trebek foil, Ken Jennings.

 

 

Deep Blue and Watson are examples of artificial intelligence's capabilities. They act as humans, but only at specific subjects; Deep Blue’s sole purpose knowing how to win at Chess, while Watson’s was knowledge aggregation.

 

The small-scale A.I. we experience daily has a sole purpose of aggregating customer info and assisting them with orders. Thankfully, they're not sentient so we can avoid embarrassing scenarios like these:

 

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The previous objective of artificial intelligence improvement was to get it to the point where it would pass the Turing Test. It should respond and act like a human would. The result of these goals has led to breakthroughs in A.I. practicality, where it needs to be just human enough to carry on a simple conversation.

 

These useful breakthroughs come in the form of a ‘Chatbot’, an artificial intelligence program mainly used for commercial purposes. The logic is that online customers will have an improved shopping experience if they have a salesperson accompanying them, rather than if they explore the store on their own.

 

Facebook has already taken advantage, with over 11,000 companies using Chatbots on its Messenger service. Companies such as 1-800 Flowers, as well as the Weatherman app ‘Poncho’, are among them.

 

1-800-flowers-com-messenger

1-800 Flowers offers customers the opportunity to place an order. The Chatbot will interact with you, asking for your name, card message, recipient destination, and billing info, all under the illusion of speaking with an actual representative.

 

Ask ‘Poncho’ how the weather is and you’ll be greeted with a timely response of whether there’s sun or showers in the present or near future. You’ll never have to momentarily look out a window again! Welcome to the world of modern day convenience.

 

As if Chatbot apps couldn’t be more helpful, there is one currently in development that’s designed to help make you richer. BOND acts as your personal financial advisor, instructing you on better money management and budgeting. Advice on refinancing your loan, stock tips and finding a credit card with less interest are dispersed at will, all without the meddling and fallibility of a human being.

 

But not everyone agrees that Chatbots are as useful and reliable as they may seem. They can be taken advantage of. IKEA had to abandon its website Chatbot after 10 years, simply because they made it too human. Customers were excited, but for all the wrong reasons.

do-you-enjoy-reading-the-bible-2As the Chatbot’s responses became more human, the more vulgar the questions became. Around 50% of the questions asked were sex related, because we're humans and we can't have anything nice.

 

Chatbots, for better or worse, are the way of the future, and we’ve already experienced an early offshoot of it for years on the phone. Simply yelling ‘REPRESENTATIVE’ at your computer may not work (Perhaps that’s in Beta stage), but benefits, such as accessibility and convenience, still outweigh the drawbacks.

 

Plus, as noted at the beginning, technology has a way of evolving to further convenience and lessen frustration. There is a beneficial purpose behind this innovation, and with roots firmly dug into the dirt, we should expect this massive industry to only grow.

 

Here at One Twelfth, we enjoy looking into the future and being on top of new technologies and mastering them. We do this because of the intrigue, but, more importantly, because we want to provide the best possible service to our clients. You can reach us at https://one12th.io//#contact-us.


Are Heatmaps the Best Metric for Digital Marketing Success?

In the digital marketing setting, success is obtained by a thorough understanding of your audience and what they need to click 'Buy'.

 

Sounds easy? It isn't. Humans are unpredictable, fickle, erratic, and are generally influenced to make purchases either through necessity or triggers. Our ads may reach hundreds of thousands of people, all of which fit into our intended audience, but only hundreds will act and click on the ad, with the rare chance that a few make a conversion.

 

Attempting to gain perspective on human tendencies is no easy feat, which is why brands come to marketing agencies. We have the tools and the experience to at least comprehend and extract perspective.

 

There are plenty of metrics available to answer any question you ask:

 

  • Are people clicking on my ads? There's Click-Through Rate (CTR) for that.
  • Are people staying on only one page on my website? There's Bounce Rate for that.
  • Are people reacting well to the keywords I'm using? There's Cost Per Click (CPC) for that.

 

However, there is one tool out there that may have them all beat and it doesn't include numbers at all, nor is it even specific to marketing:

 

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No, this isn't a weather report gone wrong. This is what we call a heatmap. For sports fans out there, you definitely know what this is, since it's popular in basketball to see where a player/team is hot and cold:

 

screenshot2013-09-19at12-23-29pm_original

 

and baseball to see where a batter is connecting/missing or where a pitcher's throws tend to go:

 

 

mlb_e_jurrjens_heat_map_b1_576

 

To this huge sports fan (I cannot emphasize this enough), heatmaps are one of the greatest tools you can use to learn about the tendencies and success of a player.

 

Let's use the basketball heatmap for an example. That player is clearly great at shooting from a certain area beyond the three-point line. If I'm that player's coach, am I going to look at this heatmap and run plays in that red area where he's hot? Or am I going to make him take a few steps in and shoot where the map is green and cool?

 

The heatmap tells me I should run plays for that player either straightaway or to the right of the basket, similar to how the first map tells me that most people have their cursor frequently in those red areas.

 

But not all heatmaps are alike. We have....

 

1. Hover Maps

 

These maps track mouse movement, rather than just where people click. Digital marketers can use these maps as a metric to track where users keep their cursors and how they read a web page.

 

Image Source

 

But this isn't always the greatest indicator. Unless the website is entirely click-based, most users are going to ignore where their cursor is. In fact, as I write this, I have the cursor randomly sitting in a spot on a website.

 

Some stats from Dr. Anne Aula, Senior User Experience Researcher at Google, shows this to be true:

 

  • "Only 6% of people showed vertical correlation between mouse movement and eye tracking."

 

  • "19% of people showed some horizontal correlation between mouse movement and eye tracking."

 

  • "10% hovered over a link and then continued to read around the page looking at other things."

 

That 3rd stat is near to what I'm guilty of committing right now. I'm reading around on a website, ignorant to where my cursor is.

 

2. Click Maps

 

Click maps are useful in seeing where and what exactly people are clicking on, but it's also very easy to know what people are clicking on. It's a stat thats widely accessible on every platform.

 

Image Source

 

However, you can also see where people want to click on. From my personal experience, I will come across websites with a certain word highlighted or italicized. Thinking it's a link to further information, I will scroll over and click, only to realize the word or image was just that, nothing more than a word or image.

 

By applying this to a website you run, you can add links to the words or images where users were clicking.

 

3. Scroll Maps

 

Image Source

 

No, this isn't Pink Floyd's latest album cover.

 

This is a scroll map, and it allows marketers to discover how far users scroll before exiting the page. Its most essential role, especially for long-form sales pages and longer landing pages, would be letting website designers know where the essentials of the website need to be placed.

 

If users stop scrolling at a certain point (as we can see in the image above, users are stopping around the last 25% of the page), the website's architect can determine that the essentials of the website need to be placed higher.

 

This would greatly assist a marketer determining where to place something like a banner ad. Are they going to pay extra to have their ad placed at the top or in the middle, or are they placing it at the bottom? Judging by the scroll map, placing the ad at the bottom of the page would be a waste.

 

Scroll maps are also a great way of judging overall interest in the content on the website. For one, you can learn just how interesting the content is at the top. If, as seen in the image above, users are at their most active in the middle, you can figure that's where your best content is and where people clicking off the page.