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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Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy

Contributor Mark Williams says marketers must evolve the metrics they monitor to keep up with the changing media-consumption environment.

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As marketers and brands have seen, the prevalence of digital video has transformed how consumers access media and content.

Essentially, video is not the future, it’s the “now”.

According to Cisco, global IP video traffic will represent 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Consumers no longer want to read about a brand  — they want to visualize it.

In 2018 and beyond, we’ll see a big shift from before, when advertisers were looking to buy reach and frequency with traditional media, to now, where advertisers will want to capitalize on intensity through the maximum amount of reach and frequency. In a post-pivot-to-video world, it’s time to change your video and media strategy, especially how you measure it.

To tackle all of the changes and innovations in media and digital marketing within the past few years, and especially to gear you up for the further integration of video, here are three tips for navigating the new age of media strategy.

1. Measure your audience with intensity

Rethink your approach to measurement. It’s not just about clicks and views. Viewability and reach are no longer the main indicators of success because they don’t measure how an audience is connecting with the content.

Instead, track deeper actions. Update your key performance indicators (KPIs) with different engagement metrics, such as watch time, engagements, earned metrics and follower acquisition, to track whether or not your intended audience actually viewed your message and reacted to it.

Watch time is one of the most valuable metrics to track in order to gauge whether or not audiences are actually watching your content. It’s also the most important factor for platform algorithms. If you track minutes watched, retention rate and the average percentage of those who watched through, you’ll have a better idea of how you are captivating the audience’s attention, and at what level of intensity.

Tracking engagements (e.g., likes, shares and comments) is also a key indicator of your strategy’s performance. Engagements and engagement rates indicate that fans are making a decision beyond simply watching your content. If they’re sharing, starting up a conversation, or compelled by a call to action from the content, you can measure the intensity with which your audience is consuming the material.

Also, be sure to watch your follower/subscriber acquisition. Growing a fan base is essential to the marketing efforts of advertisers, and it is important to identify what content brings in new followers so that you can focus your content strategy to consider these insights.

2. Rethink content strategy: Transform ads + make content relevant

Given the prevalence of ad blockers, it’s clear that interruptive advertising doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we’re seeing high performance through integrated brand messages. To do this, make your content relevant to your consumer.

Embed your campaign initiatives into publisher sites through partnerships to make for a smoother and natural integration of your advertising.

Consider integrating with influencers. Research conducted by Fullscreen (my employer) and MediaScience found that the percentage of viewers who would recommend a brand after watching a branded video from an influencer was 13 percent higher than the percentage for a TV ad.

Test different content strategies to see what resonates best with your audience, and for a more specific segmented analysis, A/B test different interest sets and demographics to inform your marketing plan.

3. Tailor by platform

To keep your marketing strategy specific and efficient, optimize content and advertising to reflect the platform. Utilize metadata by making campaigns that align with proper titling and tagging across all of your platforms. Keep your branding design consistent to ensure that your content is distinguishable. Ensure that your creative is designed for the specific tech specs of the platform where it will live.

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Facebook creative must be treated differently from Snapchat and so on. Perhaps most importantly, the creative must feel endemic to the platform — which explains why repurposed television commercials have some of the lowest engagement metrics.

Identify and maintain a consistent publishing schedule that is tailored to times when platforms reach the highest number of eyes, not only to maximize viewership and engagement but also to help consumers know when to expect your content.

Further, aim to promote circular traffic: Utilize the platforms through their available interactive elements so that you can cross-promote across all channels.

When tailoring your content for specific platforms, you also want to pay attention to how the platform is accessed.

Take a look at the platform functions, according to recent data from each platform and Statista, YouTube is accessed 50 percent of the time on mobile, whereas Facebook is at 95.1 percent and Instagram is at 100 percent.

This means that when creating content for YouTube, you should pay equal attention to mobile and desktop access, whereas Facebook and Instagram should lean more heavily toward mobile usage.

In closing

You’ll want to keep these three tips at the forefront of your digital marketing and content strategy so that you quickly adapt your brand to the changing video and media environments of today.

Remember, the overarching difference in paid media targeting online versus traditional targeting is the more refined, specific targeting of individuals, which ultimately leads to higher attention and intensity, as well as greater returns.

With all of these advancements, online media has many new metrics which you absolutely must utilize to expand your reach and retention far beyond that of traditional paid media.

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