7 mobile trends set to revolutionize data-driven marketing in 2017

By Marilyn Wilkinson

In an age where every organization claims to be data-driven and client-centric, today’s marketer needs to be a bit of a scientist. Successful organizations are aware that data analytics and insights have become the cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy. With a data-driven approach, companies are able to segment and target their audiences, quantify campaign results and boost ROI.

Here are seven points to consider for successful data-driven marketing in 2017:

1. Back to basics: Analyzing metrics that matter

As an analyst, I see this time and time again: a social media campaign drives a huge amount of visitors to your site, but 90 percent of them bounce immediately, thus driving no real value. As companies are implementing data-driven strategies across the board, marketers are under increasing pressure to justify how their budget yields ROI. Following a TechCrunch report on revelations that Facebook analytics data does not always tell the complete story, there is increasing skepticism regarding likes, impressions and other “fluffy” metrics. I anticipate that 2017 will see a focus on real metrics affecting the bottom line of the business, namely conversions, ROI, customer retention and revenue.

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2. Taking the guesswork out of the user experience

As optimizing the customer journey is paramount for building brand loyalty and trust, user experience (UX) has been a high priority for some time now. Leveraging A/B and multivariate testing takes the guesswork out of website and app optimization. A small tweak — such as making a call-to-action button more prominent or re-wording a banner — can often improve engagement and conversions, particularly for mobile devices. A/B testing isn’t new, but it is becoming more relevant as consumers increasingly expect high-quality experiences. According to Harvard Business Review, top-performing companies are three times as likely as low performers to embrace a culture of experimentation. Testing, measuring and adapting will become standard in order to remain competitive.

3. Messaging apps to present challenges …

Business Insider has reported that messaging apps have now overtaken social networks, with WhatsApp and Facebook boasting 1 billion monthly active users each. The issue with this? Private messaging is, well, private. Since WhatsApp implemented end-to-end encryption, not even law enforcement officials can track what is discussed there, never mind marketers. This phenomenon is known as dark social: Consumers can interact with your brand without you ever being aware of it. This makes it far more challenging to measure how social channels drive brand awareness and advocacy.

4. … and opportunities

Messaging apps also offer the chance to engage with consumers directly in the form of chatbots. Since the Messenger Platform launch in April 2016, more than 33,000 bots have been developed. According to Ogilvy, 80 percent of marketing leaders stated they had plans to implement chatbot and/or AI solutions by 2020. Combined with data (Facebook introduced Analytics for Apps in November), brands can tailor their storytelling based on demographics and interests.

5. Video is taking over

Mark Zuckerberg recently shared his vision of “a world that is video-first with video at the heart of all [Facebook’s] apps and services.” The prolific growth of video has been in the cards for some time now: Facebook’s algorithm has been prioritizing video since 2014 and live video since 2016. And it’s not just Facebook: Snapchat users watch more than 10 billion videos per day.

“Brands that fail to incorporate visuals and videos will be left by the wayside,” according to Forbes. Smart marketers will update their content marketing and advertising strategies accordingly. Smarter marketers will combine videos with A/B testing, predictive data analytics and multichannel attribution.

6. Multichannel attribution is not just a buzzword

Tracking how different touchpoints affect all stages of the customer journey provides a more complete picture of how digital marketing campaigns are driving sales. In today’s world of ubiquitous technology, this is increasingly complex: According to MediaPost, a recent study found that 84 percent of millennials use their phones to assist with purchasing decisions while in-store.

Advanced data-driven marketing incorporates what consumers are saying on social media, what they’re doing online and what they’re purchasing online and offline. Last year saw great progress in terms of cross-device attribution and retargeting — 2017 will see more blended models, merging of offline data and algorithmic multichannel attribution.

7. The future is cognitive

It would be a near-impossible task for a human to analyze hundreds of social media feeds and then compare them with, say, weather reports and store sales information. However, cognitive systems can do exactly that by using natural language processing and machine learning to comprehend, analyze and improve. Marketers at Red Bull recently used IBM Watson’s Personality Insights tool to compare their sponsored athletes’ communication on social media with how fans were perceiving them. Athletes could then leverage this sentiment analysis to gain popularity with target audiences.

Cognitive technology opens up unparalleled opportunities for personalization, segmentation and targeting and will continue to disrupt data-driven marketing in 2017. Going forward, expect to see companies finding new, creative ways to leverage analytics to improve customer experiences and implement new strategies.

Written By

Marilyn Wilkinson

Digital Analyst, IBM Digital Analytics Group

Marilyn Wilkinson is a Digital Analyst for the IBM Digital Analytics Group (DAG). By combining data analysis and insights with her own knowledge of marketing trends and strategies, she empowers marketing teams to make data-driven decisions. She is passionate about big data, analytics…

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