Incorporating Data Visualizations for Better Understanding

“Psychologist Albert Mehrabian has shown that 93% of communication between human beings is in the nonverbal area. This means that an image can be immediate, while language requires time to analyze. Data visualization can cut to ­the chase, saving critical time and allowing the next step in developing solutions.”Visual Matters

Data visualization is an image that displays data about a particular topic. Whether it’s a traditional chart, a pie graph, or a more unique illustration, the purpose is the same: to make information easier to understand and act upon. When insights can be drawn faster and with greater clarity, organizations can truly call themselves data-driven.

Data’s Hidden Story

When we break down what data visualization actually does on a granular level, we can see why it’s so effective. Since the beginning of human existence, storytelling has been one of the most effective means of communication. The problem with numbers and data is that it lacks structure and organization – and there is a lot of it. No conceivable pattern exists yet, and so most professionals struggle to make sense of the data they gather. By translating information into visual elements, we frame it in a way the brain can quickly understand and remember.

Hubspot gives several examples of how successful brands have used visualization to get a point across. DensityDesign used a simple dotted map to show where each of the world’s 2,678 languages were spoken. FiveThirtyEight showed in a series of line graphs the full history of each NFL team. And in an effort to quell misinformation, Bloomberg Business created a sequence of simple charts to show which global factors have contributed the most to climate change since 1810.

In each case, public understanding of these complex trends was greatly enhanced by simply looking at an image. Furthermore, visualizations are interactive, allowing users to input parameters and derive more granular insights from smaller data segments. These visuals also empowered viewers to share the stories of the data with other people.

Of course, visualizations don’t always need to be presented to an outside audience. They may be just as useful – if not more useful – for internal purposes. 

Why Employ Data Visualizations?

“On average, those using data visualization tools report it would take an average of nine hours longer to see patterns, trends and correlations in their company’s data without data visualization.” – SAP

The ability to recognize patterns with less time spent analyzing is an obvious benefit of visuals. But the implications of this go even deeper. When organizations are aware of a pattern, they can immediately take advantage of it or act to prevent it, depending on the situation. Thus visualizations put leaders square in the driver seat to make the most informed decisions possible. In addition, they reveal outliers and segments of data that should have less impact on decision-making. Because data analysis is so complex, time-consuming, and multifaceted, visuals reveal insights that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Data visualizations also make it easier for your team members to get on the same page. Too often it is only those directly handling data that have a real understanding of it. But when data is driving organizational policies (especially changes), it’s critical that all team members have an opportunity to see the data and come to their own conclusion about it. When data is crystal clear, team members get on the same page. When they know why a certain action is being implemented, collaboration and productivity become easier.

Ultimately, visuals create awareness around particular trends or patterns. This might mean your team gaining a better understanding of customer needs. Or it might mean management figuring out where budgets are being wasted. This allows organizations to increase ROI by investing in what works. The key lies in choosing the right visualization for the situation.

When to Use Each Type of Visualization

Source: Tableau

The more diverse types of data you have, the more decisions need to be made. Whether you’re managing data on website performance, revenue, sales, customer behaviors, marketing campaigns, or anything else, there are infinite ways to interpret it. But just like a good story is carefully sequenced, data must be carefully presented. Choosing the wrong type of visual can create even more confusion around an already ambiguous subject.

So how can an organization determine the best way to illustrate its data? While dozens of visual styles exist, a few considerations can help you choose a simple one:

  • Are two or more things being compared? If so, a bar, pie, or line graph can be used.
  • Do you need to show different parts of a whole? A waterfall, stacked bar, or pie chart is best.
  • Are you trying to understand data distribution? Go with a scatterplot.
  • Do you need to uncover a trend? A dual-axis line or column chart will do.

Other attributes that make for better understanding include color consistency, clear labeling, and logical ordering. Visualizations need to be simple enough to understand, but also detailed enough to allow for the analysis of more complex types of data.

Whether you need to cut costs, engage more customers, or boost productivity, the ability to visualize your data will continue to be a key tool for business intelligence moving forward. As avenues for collecting data continue to multiply, it will be even more critical that teams have the tools to simplify and interpret their information.


SOI: The Engines Of The 4th Industrial Revolution

We are in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution. From AI to IoT to machine learning to automation, companies must evolve to survive. Lennar International, the division in charge of bringing the dream of owning a US home to the world for Lennar, a Fortune 200 company, partnered with innovative upstart ONE12th to re-imagine itself as a data-driven, digital-first organization. The Systems Of Intelligence (SOI) connect data to business outcomes in order to maximize efficiency. ONE12th and Lennar International’s Lecia Rothman led the transformation through a System of Optimization, by placing the SOI as the engine at the center of every process. This enabled Lennar International to leverage, and stay one step ahead of, the data-fueled technological advances of the 4th Industrial Revolution… And so can you.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is bringing with it an accelerated pace of innovation, particularly when it comes to the vast troves of data being generated and the technology that is transforming the way we harness that data. At ONE12th, we believe that our historical focus on digital marketing has led us to the forefront of the disruption and opportunity being generated in its wake.

Systems of Intelligence (SOI) is a collection of systems that aggregates all of the relevant first and third-party data in a cloud-based database which is connected to both PII, through CRM, as well as real business outcomes. In the case of Lennar International, we had implemented Salesforce/Pardot combined with other systems in the mar-tech stack. This set of systems allow the International Division to capture inquiries, to then nurture those inquiries based on their geographic and language criteria. Their relevant digital behavior, as well as interactions with a call center, are tracked in order to deliver a personalized, high touch, international home buying journey. The systems qualify inquiries to become MQLs automatically as the inquiries meet certain criteria. At this point, they are put in the care of a human.

The 4th Industrial Revolution focuses on how technologies are interacting with humans’ physical lives. This point in Lennar International’s systems is where the rubber meets the road, and the automated marketing engine drives into the hands of a human, to keep moving forward. These specialized individuals communicate personally with each MQL in order to tailor the home buying journey to their unique needs. Once MQLs are qualified as SQLs, they move seamlessly through the sales process. The data from the final stages of this process continuously sync throughout the international systems so that it can be aggregated and leveraged to optimize demand generation, the automated marketing nurture, the actions of the humans and ultimately, the home sale process itself. And that, our dear friends, is data being put to work maximizing real business outcomes while improving the customer experience.

In order to build a truly Data-Driven / Digital First Organization, having the technology and data flows in place is not enough. Lennar International quickly realized this as it watched the technology advance away from their pre-established operations. It needed to redefine itself around it. 

And who better to take on this challenge than us, the win-win partnership team that dared to build their SOI in the first place. Re-enter Lennar International’s Director of Digital Strategy (“Change Agent”), Lecia Rothman and the ONE12th team.

The System Of Optimization Project (SOO) leveraged a data-first management consulting approach through which ONE12th transformed Lennar International into a digital-first organization. At the center of this organization would be the previously developed Systems Of Intelligence (SOI). 

The first key milestone was the implementation of a scientific brief to foster thoughtful, data-driven ideas both for digital activity and offline initiatives. Due to the “data science” brief, Regional Business Directors were now proactively developing and testing new digital-first ideas. Along with scientific briefs came new customized communication flows and interconnected collaboration tools that fostered these types of ideas. With all of this enhanced focus from the whole organization on data and digital; new nurturing processes, data structures, and team roles were developed, debated and implemented to maximize data use and automation. 

There were a number of key optimizations to the technological architecture. There were custom web services developed in Microsoft Azure to monitor the database for marketing/sales trends from the likes of Facebook, Linkedin, Talkdesk, Google Ads, Salesforce, Pardot, and other sources. KPIs were visualized through Power BI, set certain automated flows in motion and triggered predictive notifications for specific team members in Slack. Additionally, an Idea Management System leveraged Microsoft Onedrive and Slack for the budget approval process and automated campaign/project performance tracking through Salesforce. Last but not least, Slack channels brought in lead information as they progressed through the funnel to enable contextual discussions beyond the sales teams, maximizing collaboration around every international opportunity.

With the conclusion of this SOO transformation project for Lennar International, we are excited to be able to share a lot more about this work, the valuable insights we learned along the way and how they could be leveraged by any organization to position itself to lead in the midsts of the 4th Industrial Revolution. 


Get to Know Your Next Customer with Predictive Analytics

You ready yourself for an oncoming storm because predictive analytics advised you it was approaching.

 

You stand at bat against a pitcher and swing at a certain area of the strike zone because predictive analytics advised you that’s where they’re most likely to throw.

 

You defend a basketball player and force them to drive left because predictive analytics advised you that’s where they’re weaker.

 

Predictive analytics are integral to providing a company, an athlete, or a storm-prepper with crucial info to get a forewarning. You use them "to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data." Without them, you're preparing with the storm on the horizon or guessing your way through at-bats and defensive possessions.

 

They're a necessity in a digital marketing, where success is contingent on analyzing data, before, during, and after a campaign.

 

All data analysis begins with predictive analytics; targeting groups based on variables, predicting customer behavior, and recommending certain products and services they’d be most prone to buying.

 

This is the most important segment of the analytical stage. It’s how and where you find your audience. You can have the Ernest Hemingway of copy and the Basquiat of graphic design on content. It won’t produce nearly the same results without segmenting, predicting, and filtering beforehand.

 

Utilizing predictive analytics is where retail giants like Amazon and eBay excel. They target groups based on numerous variables, including behavioral clustering, product-based clustering and brand-based clustering.

 

From there, they evolve from the segmenting phase to the prediction phase, utilizing propensity models. This is where customer behavior is predicted; variables such as engagement likelihood, and their propensity to unsubscribe, convert, or buy.

 

Then begins the filtering phase. This is where eBay and Amazon earns their notoriety. They’re always seem to know just what you want to buy and when you need it. They know this because of your past buying behavior. It allows those retail giants to predict what you’re likely to buy next will be in the same vein.

 

And it works.

 

It comes down to understanding people:

 

“Knowing the customer type or behavior you want to replicate, the predictive modeling starts with a sample of the consumers you want more of, otherwise known as seed. The predictive model is then able to create an audience that is tailor-made to your business and objectives.”

 

To reach the point of understanding your customer’s behavior, your predictive model must first identify “consumers based on who they are rather than exclusively focusing on a recent behavioral signal, thus exponentially expanding your pool of potential prospects”, based on the predictive model.

 

Furthermore, “predictive modeling evaluates all available data to classify the relative importance of each point in identifying your target audience. The resulting formula pinpoints which consumers to target, allowing you to capitalize on both scale and precision.”

 

The underlying current of predictive analytics is tracking the online behavior that takes them from point A to B. It’s focused on pinpointing who’s most likely to buy, when they are at their most willing to buy, what product or service they’re most likely to buy, and what’s going to prompt them to buy.

 

Even more important, however, is differentiating between high-value customers and those you might suspect of just browsing. Again, predictive analytics can aid in qualifying and prioritizing leads based on their likelihood to take action.

 

This is possible by “identifying and acquiring prospects with attributes similar to existing customers”. If your online patterns and behaviors are similar to the majority of customers on that website, you’ll be treated as a high-priority lead.

 

Here’s an example from Marketing Land on how this works:

 

“Applying predictive and analytics on a range of digital and offline data sets, we were able to identify just how valuable different online behaviors were to an offline, in-store transaction and activation later in the purchase cycle.

The data told a story with many elements we might have expected: Add-to-cart actions and beginning a checkout process were indeed predictive of an impending offline purchase, and locating a nearby store also showed up as an action predictive of purchasing intent. But browsing device galleries and using the chat feature were among the more valuable actions, and the single most important factor in purchase intent was interacting with the current special offers.”

 

Sounds like a science experiment, right? You lay out a couple of variables that act as triggers for your candidates and then wait for the results to play out. From this particular experiment, it was clear that offers were the trigger that turned the most potential customers into actual customers.

 

Notice how many variables were weighed as well. It goes so much further beyond whether or not a potential customer clicks through your ad. It comes down to what type of ad they’re clicking on, what they’re leaving behind in their cart, how far they went out in the checkout process, what they were browsing, and if they were using the chat feature.

 

The analysts went as far as tracking if their candidates were searching for stores nearby.

 

Ushering your potential customer is a delicate process that requires extremely precise timing, a task which links back to customer segmentation and leads to personalized messaging.

 

Predictive analytics also greatly assists in the fact that "73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant." So not only are you helping yourself in the long run, you're also assisting in directly getting sales through re-targeting efforts.

 

In fact, personalization overall greatly assists in drumming up more sales:

 

  • "86% of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions"
  • "45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations"
  • "40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels"
  • "80% of consumers like when retailers emails contain recommended products based on previous purchases"

 

This shouldn't be surprising. At every juncture of an Amazon transaction, the website is listing 'Top Picks for You' or 'Recommendations for You' or 'Customers who bought this also bought...'". All of these tactics are naturally going to elicit more orders. Your interest is already piqued in your purchase and you're likely excited about it, too.

 

It's kind of like a checkout line at a grocery store. You think you got everything, but don't you need some gum once you finish eating? And how about one of those magazines with the big headlines to relax with after?

 

Those weren't put there by accident. Stores analyze their customers' buying habits to see what they were buying at the end of a checkout line. Just like Amazon and eBay places certain recommendations before, during, and after your transactions, it's all based on using predictive analytics to forecast what you're most likely to buy along with that item.

 

In the same vein as any marketing agency's work, predictive analytics is utilized to get that extra sale that would have never been found without discovering who your customer is and how they behave beforehand.


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.


Google Wallet’s Gmail Integration: A New Awakening for Email Marketing

Another player to the mobile payment phenomenon has joined the match.

 

Google rolled out further measures to their already-existing Google Wallet-Gmail integration, by giving recipients the ability to "receive or request money right from the email itself -- without having to install another payment app. They can even arrange for money they receive to go directly into their bank account."

 

While "Google Wallet has been integrated into Gmail on the web since 2013, [in the new update] Google is rolling out a new integration on mobile. Gmail app users on Android will be able to send or request money with anyone, including those who don't have a Gmail address, with just a tap."

 

Users aren't required to have a Gmail address, but must have the Gmail app on an Android device opened to participate. At the moment, only Android users can join in the festivities. "You can send money using their [the recipient's] email address or phone number and there is no need that the recipient needs to have the Wallet app."

 

Here's a demonstration of how it works:

 

 

Looks simple enough, right? It's basically a response to the functionality expansion of communication apps to include money exchanges. "Snapchat offers the ability for friends to pay others via Snapcash, Facebook has a similar feature through Messenger, and, outside the U.S., messaging app WeChat is becoming a mobile payment giant."

 

Plain and simple, "the goal, seemingly, is to take on quick payment apps like PayPal, Venmo or Square Cash, by offering a feature to move money right within Gmail's app."

 

Convenience is the driving factor in all of these developments and expansions. By turning your platform into an all-encompassing, versatile entity, you're obviously going to appeal to more users. Google especially gets a one-up with the fact that you don't even need a Gmail account, nor do you have to download a 3rd party app.

 

It's all done right within the one app, and that money can automatically be directed to a bank account.

 

What this also means, besides having yet another platform for mobile payment transfers, is the propping up of email addresses as an important marketing tool:

 

"Email is not just a channel, but also a personal form of identification superior to the industry-standard cookie, whose value is deteriorating thanks to the boom in blocking and browser privacy."

 

Google looks at email addresses as an ubiquitous touchpoint that distinguishes online users from each other. Think of it like a fingerprint or a social security number; no two are going to be alike. The worldwide search engine even cites how "a user's email address is the key to digital identification across all channels."

 

Think about it: what's the first thing Android or iOS/Apple asks after you buy their device and choose your language? Your email address! You use it to log into your devices, apps, websites, and accounts, and it's the first thing asked whenever you try to make a purchase on your mobile device. Once you do, you're automatically in Google or Apple's database.

 

Plus, it's such an essential part of life that it only makes sense to utilize email addresses as something more than a messaging system:

 

  • "Consumers have an average of 3.2 personal and business email addresses per person."
  • "73% prefer email over SMS, direct mail and app notifications for communicating with businesses."
  • "78% of 14-24 year olds say they have email addresses because email is part of everyday life."

 

Value is being discovered in the email address, which will likely lead to a surge of email marketing and development into other, profitable practices. After all, if this integration allows peer-to-peer transaction and the recipient doesn't even need a Gmail account, where does it end?

 

These peer-to-peer transactions only requiring an email address and the Gmail app sets an intriguing precedent. Knowing that there will be an inevitable adoption by iOS/Apple will only expand the market. This competition, initially spurred by the likes of Venmo and PayPal, will lead to a greater expansion of mobile payment capabilities.

 

If you're into predictions, then this should lead the way for a further transaction expansion overall, not just between friends going out to dinner and splitting a bill, but in the B2B and B2C market, as well. The next updates, once proven reliable and secure, could be businesses initiating sales through their email marketing efforts.

 

That sort of development would change the way we look at email marketing. It would actually encourage more users to open their emails. Consolidating the transaction process to an email would eliminate a significant portion of the buyer's journey altogether. Sure you might lose website clicks, but this is a non-issue when the ultimate goal for all retailers should be conversion:

 

"A new perspective on digital marketing in which brands view their email databases not as millions of data records, but as a collection of individuals to whom they must shape their messaging to reflect their personal needs, interests and goals."

 

Digital marketing strategies could be turned upside down. There's already importance in reaching out through that channel, but there's the possibility it could be turned into an entire marketplace complete with transaction capabilities in the future.

 

However, there are going to be objections to the fact that you can now make payment transfers with something as simple, and seemingly vulnerable, as an email address:

 

Google defends itself:

 

"Gmail isn't vulnerable the way so many other email systems are; Google ensures that. Gmail as an email client is the best use case for email. It's user-friendly. It hasn't been backed."

 

This is where issues are going to emerge. As much as we use our email addresses online to connect with Apple or Google, there's still going to be a tinge of doubt once you start transparently trusting them to safeguard all of your financial information.

 

Again, this is even though you already trust them with your email address. There's just something about mobile payments and making transactions with something as simple as an email address that can draw reluctance.

 

Regardless, this is just another step closer to fully optimized convenience, where almost two or three steps of the buyer's journey is replaced with one. If you can make things easier for your audience through a new and innovative piece of technology, especially compared with someone else in the same industry, you will undoubtedly have the advantage.

 

What do you think of Google Wallet's integration with Gmail? Leave us a message on our Facebook or shoot us a call to discuss!


The Art of a Successful Mobile App Push Notification

Locating the fine line between being helpful and being a nuisance is critical to cultivating a healthy relationship between buyer and seller. Unlike in the past when the most annoying part of advertising was seeing or hearing a commercial too much, now it's reaching your potential buyer through too many outlets.

 

Just consider how many avenues a marketer can go to reach their audience. They can reach them via social media, their email inbox, their search engines, websites they frequent, text message, and now even their mobile apps, through push notifications.

 

Now this is where the fine line is truly tested. Because push notifications can either be an extremely helpful tool that can maximize conversions when used correctly, or a reminder to that app's users to never buy anything from that company again.

 

For those who don't know, push notifications are those little messages that  pop up on your phone promoting something from an app. For example, I have an app that encourages me to write every day, so I set a reminder within the app to send at a certain time that pops up on my phone at that time.

 

But when used by a brand, it can be a promotional selling point. Those who opt-in to push notifications with your app can receive exclusive deals or sneak previews of products offered solely to the people who receive those notifications.

 

Unfortunately, push notifications have received a bad rap, often justified, because of how misused they are by those who ultimately decide its content, frequency and timing. According to Marketingland.com, "a whopping 52% of consumers view push messages and in-app messages as an annoying distraction."

 

Just like with all things marketing, you have to know and understand your audience before you develop a strategy to reach out to them. Find out what they like, what they don't like, what they'll be receptive to, when they're awake, when they're sleeping, and when they're most likely to buy. However, few things may be more important when it comes to sending a push notification that works than literally knowing who they are:

 

 

Take a look at this example from Business2community.com:

 

 

Success through personalizing push notifications is no different from social media or email marketing campaigns. Users are far more receptive to ads when it's directed to them, rather than a generic message that's blasted out to thousands of people connected through the same interests.

 

But don't think simply personalizing a message is everything you need. A strategy, naturally, still needs to be implemented:

 

"Personalization depends on a solid segmentation strategy. You can start by segmenting users based on their in-app behaviors or known information about them from your CRM (Customer Relationship Management)."

 

Your users aren't a monolith. They're all special in their own little way and want to be treated as such. We're here to make conversions and if that means coddling each and every individual to nurture them into following through, then do so.

 

Also consider the frequency and timing of your notifications. Once again, it's time to step into the shoes of your audience to understand their tendencies and behaviors. Consider local time zones and the time of the day.

 

Is your audience going to be interested in buying your product at 7AM when they first wake up, or at 7PM when they're unwinding from a day at work? Also, if you send a notification at 7PM to your eastern time zone audience, consider that your west coast audience receives it at 4PM, when they'll still likely be working. It's up to you to develop a method to stagger the timing of the deliveries to fully optimize your notifications.

 

The benefits of a successful notification strategy can be extremely rewarding, with "users who enable push notifications [being] far more engaged than users who don't. The study found that push-enabled app users logged 53% more monthly sessions compared with users who had not engaged with a push message."

 

They're also more likely to use your app over a longer period of time:

 

"Push-enabled users have higher longevity rates. After three months, 41% of push-enabled users were still using the app, far exceeding the 18% of push-disabled users who were still using the app."

 

Of course, you have to first entice your users into receiving push notifications. There has to be an added incentive other than the occasional offer or reminder. A solution to this could be making the app's experience worthwhile only if the user accepts push notifications:

 

"Companies often think of push notifications only as a means to re-engage inactive users. What if you changed your perception to seeing push as not just an integrated part of your communication strategy, but an integrated part of a user's mobile experience with your brand?"

 

There has to be value to your notification if you want people to stay interested. Make it engaging by including a product image, the product's name, the price info, and a CTA that are deeply linked with product views within your app.

 

Even better, be unique and spontaneous:

 

"Identify niche mobile use cases and channel them through push. Some examples include location-based offers, price drop alerts, time-sensitive offers. Think of push notifications only when you you want to tell your users about something that's useful in their NOW."

What do you think of push notifications? Let us know on our Facebook or give us a call!


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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How Hotjar Provides Landing Page Insights Metrics Can’t

Understanding audience tendencies is imperative to facilitating success, no matter the cause.

 

In digital marketing terms, it is especially important when creating a landing page or website that serves your audience. It must create enough convenience that the user easily finds everything they were looking for.

 

As important as metrics are, they can only tell us so much. Sure they can tell us how many times a button was pushed, but can it show us the user’s behavior beforehand? Can it show us where they had to scroll to find it? How far down they are scrolling to find what they need before giving up?

 

Hotjar, which considers itself “a new and easy way to truly understand your web and mobile site visitors”, specializes and excels in measuring this type of audience behavior.

 

Our team of analytical experts heavily utilize two key features to improve landing pages and websites:

 

  • Heatmaps
    • “Understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior

 

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  • Recordings
    • Identify usability issues by watching recordings of real visitors on your site as the click, tap, move their cursor, type and navigate across pages

 

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These features provide us with the advantage of seeing exactly how our audience behaves on a specific website we are monitoring.

 

When finding out just how much it helps, I asked Emira Oliveros, One Twelfth Performance Ninja (her words, not mine), to provide a specific example.

 

I got two.

 

She regaled me in a pair of success stories that centered on a recently constructed website for a new client; one about the placement of a ‘Learn More’ button, the other about the lack thereof.

 

The subscription service being offered on the website wasn’t receiving as many clicks as it should have. A lot of visitors were also leaving way too early, especially on mobile.

 

When she looked at the mobile website on Hotjar, she noticed the ‘Learn More’ button was well below the fold. With the main CTA being so low on the mobile site, users gave up and left. Considering the importance of mobile optimization, the inefficient design was practically turning away conversions.

 

It wasn’t until we recommended placing the button higher that subscriptions via mobile began to pour in. Users also stayed on the site longer.

 

The other case is something we’ve all dealt with at one point. You go to a website, see the product information on the top image, and assume this is where you click to access the products.

 

Instead, users were met with a dead end. The image wasn’t clickable, no matter how many times the user clicked. We were able to see this thanks to the Recordings feature, which allowed us to see sporadic clicking from numerous users on the website’s main image.

 

Our recommendation was to create a ‘Learn More’ button overlying the main image that directs users where exactly to click. Suddenly, the random clicking around stopped and memberships started to roll in.

 

The main learning was to include as much relevant info and a direct CTA above the fold that would require little scrolling.

 

While you who made the page may understand where everything is, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and assume they know nothing. Do everything you can to help them out by placing all the key info and CTA’s they need to convert right in front of them.

 

People want everything provided to them instantaneously. Make it as convenient as possible to ensure as little critical thought is necessary and that they don’t need to go on a scavenger hunt.

 

Where Hotjar really came through was the fact that this was a new business that was only just starting to gain traction. Sample sizes were going to be too small to appreciate a collective outlook, so we had to take an individualized approach.

 

Our client being a new business actually helped our cause because it allowed us to set the foundation for our audience’s behavior. Since we were able to understand where people clicked and what drove them away, it set a precedent for the future of this website and any other pages that may follow.

 

Measurement tools like Hotjar stand out because they offer marketers a different take on indicating marketing success. It should be in the best interest of every marketing professional to utilize every resource necessary. Hotjar obviously won't help you figure out the best strategies for your website, but it can help you create a fully optimized, easily navigable website.

 

Have you ever used Hotjar? Leave a comment on our Facebook and let us know what you thought of it!


What Stops People From Converting (And How to Make Them)

"The more they pass their heart around, the more jaded that they become."

 

I never thought I'd reference a Drake lyric when discussing conversions, but it's actually appropriate for the topic we're about to dive into. I'm talking of course about the buyer's journey.

 

Allow me to explain.

 

First, let's examine the lyric. What Drake is making reference to is how women can become more suspicious of a person's motives with every break of their heart. The more they try to love, the more suspicious they become of perfidy and that they may get hurt again.

 

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We've all been guilty of putting our trust into someone that turned out to be deceitful. You learn from your mistakes and take that newfound experience with you, but you also become dubious of a person's intentions. As a result, you sometimes paint with a broad brush, rather than tacking it up as a singular event.

 

Now, let's apply this to a potential buyer on your website and why they're cautious about buying. We'll conveniently ignore any financial issues and assume that the buyer is well-off, but remains hesitant about pulling the trigger on a purchase.

 

There are several reasons for this, and one of them is they don't want to get burned and garner the loathsome feeling of buyer's remorse again. This, too, we've all been guilty of. We've all seen a shiny new product and allowed a salesman to smile in our face and convince us that "You absolutely need this!", and "How much it will change your life!", and "How life will be so much simpler and easier!"

 

Then we bring it home and realize it does nothing that was promised. Not only are you out however much money you spent on it, you also feel bamboozled. You always believed that you'd never be the one to make a poor purchase, yet here you are now with five three-packs of Shamwow's when you could have just bought ordinary paper towels for more than half the price.

 

You just might require counseling if you let people know about your purchase and become a source of mockery as the 'Shamwow Guy'.

 

Naturally, you become more guarded. Your arms become shorter when you reach into your pockets and you catastrophize every future buy. You don't want to lose out on anymore money and you certainly don't want to feel like you were bested, so you question each purchase more and more.

 

Now you're looking at the purchase button with a cart full of books, just to use an example, and are hesitant to buy. Because some books you've bought in the past haven't been as resourceful and helpful as you thought, however, maybe you reconsider this haul.

 

You question it, and the more you question it the less likely you are to buy. So you decide to wait another day when you have more money, or if you could find it online for free, or if you even really need them anyway.

 

The full cart is now left in purgatory, overflowing with books that will never be read by their prospective buyer.

 

It's up to the marketer to navigate the buyer through this process and prevent them from abandoning for one reason or another. There needs to be a level of trust between the buyer and seller that promises the buyer they are going to receive exactly what they're expecting.

 

Transparency is an effective way of bridging this gap between seller and buyer. If you're selling a book, why not allow the buyer to get a small sample of what they'll be buying by offering them a chance to read a few pages first.

 

Amazon and eBay excel at transparency because they provide access into the seller's habits. There's a star rating, a counter of how many sales they've made, access to their full online store, a description of the product and reviews of the product from other buyers. In my experience, the first thing I do when buying a product on Amazon is look for the seller with the most customers and highest star ratings.

 

Let's say you're a traditional seller, though, and don't rely on individual sellers to set up camp on your website and sell their products. I liked this suggestion from Copyblogger:

 

"Everything on your site needs to show you can be trusted: Real contact information. Your photograph. Thorough responses to FAQs. Clear, reasonable calls to action."

 

Putting a face to your product shows potential buyers that they're not dealing with some faceless corporation that could care less if you're satisfied or not following your experience. When a seller puts their face and name to their product, they're plunging into precarious waters because they're putting something as important as money on the line: Their reputation.

 

A person only has one name and one face. If they're deceitful, it will follow them everywhere because they staked their reputation on it. If John Smith sells a lemon of a product, it would only take me one Google search of John Smith to know not to trust him, especially since his face will be accompanying him in those searches.

 

Everything you do when selling a product needs to revolve around creating a trustworthy environment for your buyers. The product is an extension of yourself and your identity. It's your idea come to life, so treat it as such. If you thought it was a good enough idea to turn it into something tangible, then you need to be honest with your potential customers.

 

Trust is difficult to cultivate, especially with someone you just met, mainly because of their past experiences. Your buyer's jaded and you need to lay it all out there that you're different. The only way to break through someone's tough exterior is to make yourself vulnerable first by genuinely letting buyers know who you are and what your product does.

 

Once the customer is satisfied with their experience, the all-important foundation of trust has been laid.


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:

 

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

 

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.