Ways Data-Driven Marketers Can Track Engagement

Posted on by Nick Edwards

The average American spends upward of 11 hours on electronic media every day, so today’s consumers are exposed to more marketing messages than ever before — but they’re not exactly welcoming the onslaught with open arms.

In a time when ad blocking has become ubiquitous and DVRs are the norm, one study shows that the average consumer pays attention to only 12 of the 363 advertisements he is exposed to each day.

Earning engagement in this noisy and ad-adverse climate requires marketers to draw up a different game plan — and a modernized set of metrics to go along with it.

How Modern Marketing Should Look

Recent technological advancements don’t just offer new platforms for marketers to leverage; they also present a whole new set of metrics with which to evaluate true engagement (and not just clicks).

So what are these engagement-boosting metrics modern marketers should adopt? And which ones should they nix altogether?

  1. Double down on retention. In the past, marketers were limited to blanketing mass audiences with mass messages, hoping they would reach the right eyes. New technology, however, allows marketers to place more focus on retention. Are there any better “right eyes” than the ones you already know are interested in you?

The benefits of a retention-based marketing approach can be enormous. Engaged consumers buy nearly twice as frequently as their unengaged counterparts, spend 60% more per transaction and deliver 23% more revenue.

Marketers should measure retention through metrics such as email click-to-open rates and visitor recency, or how often visitors return to your site. These stats can let marketers know whether they’re consistently grabbing users’ attention and truly building relationships.

  1. Shift the focus from campaigns to individual customers. Once upon a time, marketers had to view consumers as a gray, faceless mass, so they fed everybody the same messages. But mass marketing is now obsolete: Seventy-four percent of today’s consumers say they’re fed up with seeing content irrelevant to their interests.

Luckily, modern marketers can now look at each audience member as an individual with unique wants and habits. We have the power to send the right promotions to the right people, which is particularly valuable for brands and stores that offer diverse product ranges.

Instead of looking at the successes and failures of theme-based campaigns, marketers should look at customer-focused data to determine whether users continue to interact with their content over time. To put it slightly differently: Instead of asking whether the topic resonated, marketers should ask which customers they should target with which topics.

  1. Look at customers in terms of behavior, not demographics. Marketers need to move beyond static demographic data and get familiar with behavioral data.

If you know someone’s age, gender, and location, do you actually know what they’re interested in? Nope: The best you can do is make an educated guess. But knowing that a consumer spends her time watching Taylor Swift videos on YouTube and sharing articles about cats on Facebook is a lot more useful: This information reveals who she truly is and what she’s interested in.

By tracking the sites visited, apps downloaded, and purchases made in real time, marketers can uncover more accurate pictures of consumers. Case in point: Sixty-eight percent of marketers say focusing on personalization and analyzing behavioral data boosts return on investment, and 74% say it bolsters engagement.

  1. Track data across channels. Brands used to pick up a couple of media spots and have individual campaigns on each channel. Now, consumers engage across a range of platforms and properties, and 72 percent say they prefer when brands take an integrated marketing approach.

Cross-channel marketing is important, as is delivering an experience that’s simultaneously consistent with the brand and personal to customers. Data consolidation helps modern marketers look at the customers’ entire journeys to determine how to engage them every step of the way.

  1. Use data to look forward, not backward. Marketers once approached campaign development by trying something, seeing how it worked, and adjusting the next campaign accordingly. Now, advanced segmentation can make this whole process a scalable, real-time affair. 

    Machine learning technology can track any quantity of users, understand any amount of content, and deliver it by predicting what’s relevant for every single person. The beauty of this technology is its ability to self-optimize through a continuous feedback loop. Along with saving an enormous amount of time, machine learning produces deeper insights to help marketers better plan their future campaigns. In the end, marketers don’t just know whether their campaigns were successful; they know why those campaigns performed how they did and what strategies are most likely to work next.

As the digital advertising landscape continues to change, and as consumers are bombarded with more and more information, marketers need to move fast to earn people’s limited attention. By focusing on retention, behavior, and cross-channel experiences — while using data to be proactive, not reactive — marketing teams ensure audiences genuinely enjoy their campaigns, not just grudgingly accept their existence.

Nick Edwards is the co-founder and CEO of Boomtrain.

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