Turning Your Data Into Compelling Stories – SMX Advanced Recap

Want to know how to turn unorganized data into compelling presentations? Contributor Keri Morgret recaps three SMX Advanced speakers as they share how to transform data into valuable insights.

The post Turning Your Data Into Compelling Stories – SMX Advanced Recap appeared first on Marketing Land.

This session focused on using data-driven storytelling to support and promote paid search marketing campaigns.

Bill Hunt, Back Azimuth Consulting

Bill started the session by sharing experiences he’s had in trying to sell stories about his data. To be effective in telling stories with your data, the data must be adapted to your audience.

Executives tend to see things one way, and everyone else has the opposite view. Will you be presenting to people who need the big picture, or will you be presenting to people who will be implementing the details of the plan?

When you present the data, it needs to be obvious. You can’t assume that your audience can see your conclusions, and you don’t want to make them do mental math or connect a lot of dots on their own. Be explicit and connect key data points to missed opportunities and revenue.

The data also needs to show something cool and insightful or a business opportunity. In Hunt’s experience, people repeat the brief nuggets of information. Make sure the nuggets they remember and repeat are the ones you want them to remember and that they are appropriate for your audience.

Does the data contradict an existing belief, action or fact? If so, you need to figure out how to present the data so it can help change that belief. You may need to retell the story in a different way.

Your site search data can be a great source of information and data for storytelling, but be careful not to overwhelm people with that data; 600,000 rows of search queries won’t impress your audience — it will scare them instead.

That’s exactly what happened with Bill’s first client example. The client’s marketing team was overwhelmed by the data and how much content they thought would be needed to create answers to 27,000 questions from 600,000 entries.

In the end, they determined 6,500 pieces of content would be needed, which led to questions like “How can we create that much content?” and “Who is going to manage it all?”

On the other side of the hall, the management team was looking at how this data translated into money from a different angle:

  • How much revenue can we make if we create this content?
  • How fast can we get a return on investment (ROI)?
  • Whose revenue will be cannibalized (by users buying online instead of through other channels)?
  • How will lost revenue be tracked?

In the end, the two departments came together and determined a smaller amount of content was needed.  The marketing team created the content and generated a 22 percent immediate conversion and $10 million in incremental revenue over the next couple of years.

For another client,  Bill and his team took a vast amount of data (over a million keywords) and developed a content opportunity matrix.

This client is an alcoholic beverage manufacturer, so many of the searches were related to drinks. The team reviewed the keywords and focused on one segment of customers and their queries.

This segment of customers knew they wanted a drink, but they didn’t know exactly what drink they wanted. They were dubbed the “Cocktail Curious.”

The keywords came from multiple sources such as traffic to the website, site search, Google Search Console, Google Keyword Tool and more. Since there were over a million keywords, and Bill’s staff could not sort through them all, they created a pie chart of drink discovery colors that visually told the story of what people were searching for.

Bill recommends using searcher interest to drive content alignment, ensuring your data stories paint the right picture for the audience and don’t overcomplicate data.

Presentation deck: Maximizing Your Searcher Discovery Journal 

Maria Corcoran, Adobe

Maria addressed two important questions many of us have:

  • How do I get my ideas funded?
  • How can I use data to get those ideas funded?

Maria is on an in-house team of 32 in operations at Adobe. Her team is focused on knowing where the data is coming from and how to find the data. To be able to analyze the data, you need to understand the data sources.

As a strategist, she wants to know all of the details:

  • How much did that click cost?
  • What is the customer journey?
  • What is the bounce rate for a page?
  • What is the customer engagement level?

While the details are good, they will not get your idea funded.

Your ultimate goal is to get the C-suite on your side and happy with your ideas. They’re not looking at the strategist data, they want to see the bottom line.

You need to translate the data you have into what the executives want. They likely want to know revenue, conversion volume and retention. You’ll need to do your research to know what they want, so you can use your data to address what they need to make decisions.

You may have all the data in the world, but you may also only get one slide in a 60-slide presentation to convince the executives of the value of your project.

Below is an example of the one slide she used, with the proprietary company figures removed. You’ll want to keep using the same format for future updates, so people are familiar with your slide and know where to look for the data.

When she gave a report on the success of her projects, she removed a lot of the detailed data and kept a very high-level “we did what we said we were going to do for you” report for the executives. She focused on using visualizations, concise data points (but not overwhelming amounts) and looking at “what’s next.”

Maria’s #SMXInsights:

Presentation deck: Telling compelling stories with data – Get your ideas funded!

JD Prater, AdStage

JD kicked off his session by saying you shouldn’t make your reports so long and detailed that you’re the only one in the room who cares about the data. You don’t want to drive people away. Instead, JD asks us to think of reports like an ad.

How do you present the right metrics, for the right audience, in the right context?  Structure your PPC reports for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), directors and managers, and give each a unique report.

You need to present your report so it can influence decisions. Data is past tense and should be used to influence what happens in the future.

CMOs

What does the CMO care about the most? Money! Why should you talk about click-through rate? You’re one line item in a whole array of things they need to look at.

We usually tell a long story that ends with a recommendation. You should instead start with the end recommendation, then work backward as needed.

The Minto structure of leading with the answer, giving a supporting argument, then giving the evidence of the argument can be great here. Sometimes you start with the answer, the CMO says yes, and you’re done!

 Directors

Directors use the contribution of your PPC campaign to the lead pipeline as their primary marketing performance metric. Start your presentation to them with how well you’ve done, and how much better you could be doing with X, Y and Z. Then back up your data. Avoid spreadsheets!

Managers
With managers, put your most important information first, then show trends, and show how this can affect the future plans. Here is where you want to include the details, break things down to the ad and campaign level.

JD’s #SMXInsights: 

Presentation deck: Paid search reports to influence business decisions


Want more info on Paid Search? Check out our comprehensive PPC Guide – nine chapters covering everything from account setup to automation and bid adjustments!


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Ask the #SMXpert: Smart B2B SEM Tactics

If you have a question on A/B split testing or are having challenges with ABM targeting on paid search, read on. Contributor Brad Geddes answers these questions and more in our continuing SMXpert series!

The post Ask the #SMXpert: Smart B2B SEM Tactics appeared first on Marketing Land.

The following is a continuation of the Q&A segment with moderator Brad Geddes from the “B2B SEM: Meeting Specific Challenges With Really Smart Tactics” session held during Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West 2018.

Intro

Challenges facing business to business (B2B) search advertising buyers are unique and include:

  • Finding enough search volume on technical, niche keywords.
  • Keeping clear of high-volume consumer-oriented keywords.
  • Attributing properly despite long sales cycles and conversions that frequently take place offline.

SMXpert Brad Geddes answered questions and shared some of his strategies and tactics for creating profitable B2B ad campaigns.

Question: Given the long sales cycle and not so much search volume, how do you run A/B split testing in B2B SEM?

Brad: There are two parts to ad testing in this scenario. The first is determining what to track (conversions). If the sale doesn’t happen for two years, then you might try looking at qualified leads. If a lead isn’t qualified for 12 months, then you might try leads and so on.

The goal is to get as close to a conversion as possible in a reasonable time frame. Generally, you want the conversion event to happen in seven to 30 days so that the data isn’t so stale that you’re taking action on old data.

Because you have low volume, you want to use multi-ad group testing. With multi-ad group testing, you can aggregate the data from patterns, lines, labels and so on across ad groups so that you have more data upon which to make decisions.

For instance, in B2B pay-per-click (PPC), there are usually a few main considerations for your headline:

  • Best call to action (CTA).
  • Ability to pre-qualify the audience.
  • Primary use benefit.

If you were working on call to action (CTA) testing, you could write two or three different CTAs and use them in all of your ad groups within that test segment.

You could then examine the data by CTA across ad groups to see which one has the best conversion per impression, and that would be your ad winner. Then you could repeat with other tests, lines and so forth.

Question: Let’s talk six-month-plus sales cycles. You don’t want to jam forms down people’s throats from the beginning, but simply spending money on awareness (via ungated content) doesn’t always look good in the eyes of executives. Any thoughts or ideas on this?

Brad: The advantage of ungated content is you push your content to more people and make it easily shareable and discoverable by search engines. The downside is that you collect fewer form fills early in the funnel.

The way we measure this is with attribution management.

For example, we can give away the content and put an email signup form for more info on the page. As people come back and fill out demo request forms or take a free trial or move to the next step of your process where you can count them as a qualified lead, we can use that piece of information as a conversion.

Once we have the qualified leads, then we can examine how well our ungated content is leading to qualified leads at some point in time. We can also do some high-level comparisons of time frames to each other to see if we have more total conversions.

When you use ungated content, your conversion rates might drop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s that more people are discovering your content; so you might see total visitors increase, conversion rates drop and more total conversions increase.

That’s still an overall business win, even with a drop in conversion rates, as you received more total customers in the end.

Question: Our B2B accounts always have low Quality Scores. Does this matter, or should we just ignore Quality Scores?

Brad: This is a tricky question; we need to break the keywords into three types first:

  1. Brand.
  2. B2B only terms (buyer agent words, B2B intent and so on).
  3. Terms that can be B2B or business to consumer (B2C).

For your brand, you can still get 10s.

For your B2B only terms, you should be able to get a 6 to 10.

The terms that are ambiguous: safety gates, accounting, task management and so on are trickier, as they can be searched for by both consumers or businesses. This means your ad’s job is to pre-qualify users and to weed out B2C wasteful clicks so you are only attracting B2B clicks.

If you don’t pre-qualify your audience you might find you have lower conversion rates at higher quality scores and you are attracting too many B2C clicks:

Think about the Quality Score factors:

  • Expected CTR.
  • Ad relevance.
  • Landing page experience.

You can create a good landing page experience. Depending on the situation, ad relevance can be average or above average, depending on how you are trying to weed out B2C clicks.

However, you should not have an above-average expected click-through rate (CTR), as that means you are attracting B2C clicks. Usually, you’ll see your expected CTR as average or below average; and that’s OK if your goal is to weed out consumers.

Based on the Quality Score math, a 7 might be possible, but a 5 is much more likely.

When you have a 4, that means that you can improve the numbers, as this often indicates that your landing page experience has dropped.

While you shouldn’t make changes based solely upon Quality Score, in B2B, we usually aim for a 5 or 6 for the terms that can be B2B or B2C and start optimizing at a 4 or re-evaluating our metrics at a 7 just to make sure we aren’t getting too many B2C clicks.

Question:  What challenges have you experienced with ABM targeting on paid search?

Brad: When we think about just PPC for account-based marketing (ABM) and we’re ignoring LinkedIn and Facebook data, it’s impossible to only target an employee of a company outside of customer match.

So one of the top goals is to get enough email addresses from the targeted companies to use customer match. You can do that by targeting a very small radius around the company’s campuses, making white papers just for that company and so forth to bolster your customer relationship management (CRM) data.

Then you bring in the LinkedIn and Facebook targeting to help augment the total users, as with those platforms you can often narrow your targeting enough to only target a few companies, or even a single one in some cases.

Another way to help is to focus not just on a single company, but a company type, such as enterprise companies in the tech sector or medium-size financial companies (You’ll need more parameters than I listed).

Then you can also use similar lists to reach more people who are like-minded.

So with search, ABM = audience + keyword. The keywords you know, so the main focus is building the audience lists.

Have a question Brad didn’t cover?

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Want more info on Paid Search? Check out our comprehensive PPC Guide – 9 chapters covering everything from account setup to automation and bid adjustments!

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