Machine learning will free up time to be more strategic with accounts in 2020

Data is giving us an opportunity to look at bigger picture decisions in our accounts rather than the day-to-day work we have been doing.

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Contributor and SMX speaker, Brooke Osmundson, explains how machine learning is changing our account work and why we need to be smarter about layering our campaign assets in 2020.

Below is the video transcript:

Hi, my name is Brooke Osmundson and I am the associate director of research for NordicClick Interactive. And today I want to talk about the top things that marketers should focus on the most for 2020.

The first thing I want to talk about is machine learning. It’s no secret that it is part of our lives right now, and part of your jobs. But what I’m thinking is going to happen is, it’s going to shift your focus on what you’re doing day-to-day within your accounts. We’re going to see less tactical pieces that we have to focus our time on. And it’s really going to help you be more strategic in your account. So with machine learning, what data can give you, what can it do for you to free up more of your time to start thinking more bigger picture and focus on those bigger picture decisions.

The second piece I want to talk about is audience layering on top of your campaigns with the differences in search or match types. You know they’re kind of not a thing anymore, so we’ve got to be smarter about layering on the assets that we have available to us in our campaigns in order to really reach our right customer based on what we know about them.

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New challenges ahead for attribution with the rise of intelligent tracking prevention

With a projected 30-40% loss of user data in Safari with ITP in 2020, marketers are going to have to re-think how to handle attribution in the coming year.

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Contributor and SMX speaker, Simon Poulton, is focusing on intelligent tracking prevention (ITP) in 2020 because he believes Safari is going to present the biggest obstacle facing digital marketers from a measurable point of view in the year ahead.

Below is the video transcript:

Hey, I’m Simon Poulton. I am the vice president of Digital Intelligence at WPromote, and today I’m gonna talk about some of my thoughts about 2020 and the road ahead.

I think one of the biggest trends that we’ve seen in 2019 is actually the increased focus on user privacy. Obviously, we’ve seen lots of technology, but we’re also seeing some legislation around this space. Particular things like CCPA, we know that’s going to come in very early.

But I think the biggest thing facing digital marketers from a measurable point of view is the way intelligent tracking prevention. ITP is going to impact the way that we can handle attribution. And the way that we think about just the ability to measure across Safari.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of folks, but we think that we’re going to see about 30 to 40% of data being lost for Safari users in the future, which is going make it really hard as we think about the future of, you know, should this be in these platforms. Where do we go from here? It’s a very hard decision to make for a lot of marketers.

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Businesses need to think differently about customer feedback data in 2020

Improving the customer experience and improve your business operationally means keeping up with the many ways customers communicate with you.

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Contributor and SMX speaker, Adam Dorfman, thinks the customer feedback ecosystem is going to play an even more important role in the coming year for businesses looking to improve operations and the customer experience.

Below is the video transcript:

Hi everybody, my name’s Adam Dorfman. I’m a director of product growth at Reputation.com and I’m going to talk about some of the trends and one big important trend that we’re seeing right now and that we think it’s going very much carry over into 2020. And that’s how up until recently, the way most businesses would think about how their business was doing was through the use of surveys and collecting survey data. Specifically, MPS being a metric that many businesses like to use to determine how well they were performing.

An example of an MPS question would be: On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this business to a friend of yours?

And if it was an eight or higher, that was great. And if not, it was lower. And that’s still very helpful because you can ask your customers directly, after you know they visited your business and things along those lines, still a fantastic way to gage sentiment. However, it’s a very small part in all the places that customers, your customers, are leaving information about your business.

When you think of the customer feedback ecosystem, or the customer feedback economy, whatever you want to call it, there’s many, many places where information about your business is being left. And those could be on review sites. They could be on question and answer sort of sites like Google My Business Knowledge Panels, or the site Quora. It can be in forms. It can be messaging. It can be all sorts of different, all sorts of different places.

If you aren’t tracking all of those different places in the wild, where this information is being left either solicited or not solicited, more often than not, not solicited, you’re missing a huge opportunity in being able to understand what customers truly think about your business and how to improve your business operationally, to make a better business and to improve the customer experience.

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Amazon ad spend rises over Cyber 5, but most efficient sales days still ahead

The five-day stretch from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday was record-breaking for e-commerce but brands still have more time for profitable sales on Amazon.

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On Cyber Monday alone, consumers spent $9.4B via online channels – that’s up $1.5B from just last year, according to Adobe, and another record-breaking figure in terms of e-commerce sales. For marketers, the entire five-day stretch dubbed “Turkey 5” by Amazon (also known as Cyber 5), was likely a banner sales weekend, but looking at year-over-year Amazon data, what’s clear is that your holiday fortunes are not made or broken on that period alone.

As part of the research my company conducted, it is clear that on a conversion rate and cost-per-conversion basis, some of the best sales days on Amazon come after Cyber Monday. To maximize your total sales, and potentially capture market share from competitors, your advertising budgets and strategy on the site needs to align with this reality.

As seen in the below graphs, which are drawn across a same-set of more than 700 Amazon sellers, ad conversion rates continue to rise from Cyber Monday all the way through the Dec. 22 shipping cutoff. Yet, the average cost-per-conversion declines over the same period.

This is likely due to two contributing factors.

Perhaps most impactfully, many brands budget to spend aggressively during that five-day period and, due to the extremely high volume of consumers on the site, blow through a fixed budget for the season. While those holiday period campaigns may have driven high sales volumes at profitable costs, those same brands now don’t have the ability to stay aggressive over the intervening days, substantially tapering down spend and bids through the remainder of the year and missing out on these additional profitable sales.

Secondly, when consumers are shopping on Amazon a matter of weeks or days before Christmas, they are less inclined to do a great deal of research when buying their gifts. Time is of the essence, and the data bears out that users are more likely to click and convert on a sponsored product ad during this period.

In 2019, that latter point may be even more important, as the time between Cyber Monday and Christmas nearly a full week shorter, lending itself to more “last minute” holiday gift buying.

The bottom line is that on Amazon, it’s imperative that you consider uncapping budgets around holiday periods and other high-traffic events on Amazon in particular, provided you have the ability to set and adjust bids to align with the value of a given sale after discounts, fees, etc.

This is driven home by the overarching trend over the five-day period itself. Even in the face of a large number of sellers aggressively advertising during this time, the massive amount of consumers coming to Amazon and subsequently clicking on ads outpaced that rate. Across gift-giving categories and more than 219,000 products, Amazon ad spend was up significantly, but CPCs either remained flat, declined, or rose at a level far below the corresponding spend increase – compared to the prior four-week average.

In a sense, it was easy for a brand to spend substantially more on Amazon advertising over “Turkey 5” – we saw a 92% increase from pre-holiday levels on average – but they were likely driving sales at a more profitable rate from that ad spend. With conversion rates remaining high following Cyber Monday, that efficiency is likely to increase, albeit with less traffic overall.

Maximizing the holiday home stretch and beyond

With some time still remaining until the Dec. 22 shipping cutoff, there are some tactical levers brands can pull to capture more of those profitable sales. We talked about the value in uncapping budgets through Dec. 22, but that needs to be paired with bids that are set in line with any promotional or non-promotional pricing which may be in place for a given product.

By consistently bidding to value on an individual product level, brands can bring in more profitable sales on Amazon during these high traffic periods. Additionally, this is a good practice year-round, as it minimizes the risk of wasting ad spend while allowing for scale when a bump in user purchase activity warrants additional investment.

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Marketers moving away from home-grown tools, hiring fresh teams for new martech

About 83% of marketers have upgraded or replaced at least one martech application in the past year, we found out in our Martech Replacement Survey.

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As the marketing technology landscape and capabilities continue to evolve, organizations are on an ongoing quest to update and improve their technology stacks. In fact, the vast majority (83%) upgraded at least one martech application in the past year, according to our MarTech Replacement Survey 2020 published Monday.

To better understand the frequency and motivations behind organizational martech updates, we surveyed 398 digital marketers in October. Several interesting trends emerged.

Organizations are moving away from in-house solutions. In a striking find, many companies are migrating away from marketing technologies developed in-house. Respondents were nearly as likely to have upgraded or replaced a homegrown technology (49%) as a commercially available solution (51%), with many of those replacing homegrown tech moving to commercial applications.

The number one reason marketers said they shifted from in-house technology was that available SaaS software had better features, with 49% of those who switched to a commercial solution citing that as a reason.

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Nearly one in four said their homegrown system was being replaced because management decided their enterprise was “not a software company,” and nearly one in five because their homegrown system was too expensive to maintain.

New martech adds new people. Fear of job losses caused by machine learning and AI-based technologies may be unfounded — at least when it comes to the need for human oversight and management of marketing technologies.

With new martech features designed to increase efficiencies, a surprising 43% of respondents indicated that they hired a new team to support their new tools. One in four said they combined retraining existing staff with news hires, while another 25% said they retrained exclusively.

Martech replacement trends in 2020. The findings of this report hint at several trends we expect to see in the coming year. Organizations will continue to focus on maximizing the return on their marketing technology investments — whether through ongoing upgrades and new hires or retraining. Rather than a threat, new technologies present opportunities for marketers who keep their skills relevant and transferrable as technologies evolve and change.

As SaaS products improve — and natively support integrations with other solutions — it’s becoming harder to justify developing or maintaining homegrown applications. We can expect to see more acquisitions by martech vendors as well as integrations as providers aim to give marketing teams more comprehensive, one-stop-shop solutions.

To read more findings, insights and key takeaways for marketers, click here to download The MarTech 2020 Replacement Survey.

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Experian’s new identity resolution service seeks to help marketers improve customer experience

The new solution, available via Experian’s MarketingConnect, connects digital and offline identities to help marketers better understand their customers.

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Experian has announced a new solution aimed to help marketers connect online and offline attributes and better understand their target audiences. The solution leverages machine-learning algorithms and probabilistic techniques to connect billions of identity signals and data elements, including Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs) from a variety of internal and external sources.

Why we should care

Identity plays a crucial role in helping marketers understand who our customers are. The ever-changing technology landscape, however, creates challenges for marketers trying to analyze their customers’ activities. Experian’s solution will allow marketers to bridge gaps in identity resolution and bring together the appropriate data points to reach customers with relevant, timely campaigns.

“The combination of hundreds of digital and offline touchpoints, disjointed technology and data silos make it difficult for brands and agencies to gain a single customer view,” said Kevin Dean, Experian’s president and general manager of marketing services, North America. “Consumers need to be at the heart of every advertising campaign—and proper identity resolution is critical to accomplishing that objective. The ability to connect these data elements, with consideration to data privacy, opens the door for brands and agencies to create and deliver personalized messages that are timely and relevant to their audiences.”

More on the news

  • The new solution will be available via MarketingConnect, Experian’s identity resolution platform.
  • The MAID resolution capability was developed in collaboration with Experian Data Labs, Experian’s advanced analytics and development group.

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