Why Data is Important When Marketing Online
Data may sound like a weird, abstract word. But it comes down to knowing what your audience wants and how they behave. And while it’s important to back up the data on your website, getting good data about the customers who visit your website is critical for success. This applies to almost any industry – because when it comes to the digital world, there’s no excuse to not get good data, as this information is easily available.
Take for example, the movie Titanic – one of the most successful movies ever made. It won 11 Oscars and has made somewhere over $2 billion. But it might not have been so successful if it wasn’t for…data.
The version we have all seen is 194 minutes long. Astonishingly James Cameron’s original cut was even longer. The only way he could test if that worked was to bring people into a room, show them the movie, and then ask what they thought. Not surprisingly they said it was too long. So before Cameron sent it our cinema screens, he cut more than ten scenes.
Without this knowledge, he would have made a huge mistake. In online marketing, we have access to an almost limitless supply of test audiences. This prevents us from making huge mistakes.
The Big Players and Online Marketing Data
Have you ever wondered why websites like Google, Amazon, Ebay and Facebook look very similar now to what they did years ago? Why has Amazon not jazzed up its pages and why do some of Google’s pages have so little information – and nothing new? The answer is because they have exhaustively tested their offerings and they know what works.
If analyzing data works for the big players, it can work for you too.
Uses of Online Marketing Data
When you are marketing online, data is indispensible. You might use it in some of the areas listed below. However, if you are in engaged in any of the activities listed you should be using data to help with your efforts.
- Email Marketing – Email marketing is a powerful tool, but it cannot be used properly without data. You need to know how many messages you have sent, how many successfully get through, how many are opened, how many get clicks, and how many conversions came as a result. You will then be able to tailor your campaigns to evolve what works, and change what doesn’t.
- Retargeting – Most of the people who visit your website leave without converting. This fact is true right across the internet. Retargeting, in its basic form, allows you to target advertising at these people directly. Data makes this strategy more effective.
- Display Advertising – You can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month on display advertising and get little or no return if you do not target your ads correctly. This is done with data.
- Content and Website Customization – Data enables you to test how well things are working. For example, you might get more clicks on videos that are between 60 and 90 seconds long than you do on videos that are over 90 seconds long. Or you might get more conversions from blog posts that are styled in a certain way, or you might get more sales from a different type of purchase button. The only thing that will give you these answers is data.
Sources of Online Marketing Data
There are many sources of online marketing data, some of which is right at your fingertips. This includes data from your own website. You can check your visitor statistics through your hosts or use powerful analysis services like Google Analytics.
Here are some of the other sources of data you can use:
- Your active social media accounts
- Your email marketing campaigns
- Your website and/or newsletter registrations
- Search engine data
- Specialist digital campaign targeting information (usually from a 3rd party)
- Purchased mailing lists
Finally, there is no point collecting it and not acting on it. So use the data you get. The best way to do this is to test. You can create, run, analyze, refine, and run again; or you can split test and run campaigns simultaneously. However you do it, using data for online marketing is an ongoing and iterative process. Just make sure you grab some popcorn and have some fun.