The Data Analytics Blog

Our news and views relating to Data Analytics, Big Data, Machine Learning, and the world of Credit.

All Posts

Conversion Data Are The Tea Leaves Of Online Marketing

August 17, 2015 at 11:09 AM

Human psychology is a fascinating thing. As marketers, one of the many roles we play is of psychologist and, at times, of fortune teller. A good understanding of human behaviour and a high EQ are fundamental requirements for us to develop strategies and campaigns that will influence changes in perception and behaviour, and ultimately trigger an action: a click, a download, an email, a “Like,” a “follow” or a “retweet.”

In this blog, I’d like to focus on one aspect of marketing: predicting the triggers of desired actions online. As marketers, we can rely to some extent on experience, on anecdotal or scientific evidence derived from blogs and reports, and even on “gut” to predict marketing outcomes. However, it’s also OK to admit we don’t always know what will trigger a response to a call-to-action. Human behaviour is highly unpredictable at times. I mean, who would have thought Donald Trump would be leading the US Republican presidential candidacy race? His ratings seem to go up with every inappropriate comment he makes - but I digress. Human psychology is complex and our behaviour is unpredictable. As marketers we are expected to be fortune tellers, but thankfully with the abundance of data at our disposal, we don’t need to be.

Drowning in Data and Starving for Insight

Thanks to online marketing, we have all kinds of valuable real-time data available to help us improve marketing effectiveness. In fact, we have an over-abundance of data available that leaves companies, such as one global bank quoted in a recent Forrester Research report, feeling like they are “literally drowning in data and starving for insight.” The challenge, according to Forrester Research, is “the ability to prioritise results and turn all this data (through insights) into business actions that matter.”

Turn Data Insights into Action

Conversion data is one set of data that can be easily turned into actions that matter. Conversion data are the “tea leaves” we can use to predict online human behaviour. It can help us optimise such things as landing page layouts, emails, and Google AdWords copy to increase conversions. Small things can influence human behaviour and trigger a response, such as the image used on an email or the colour or wording of a call-to-action button. But how do we determine what that image, colour or wording should be? Simple A/B testing and conversion data can give you the answers.

By setting a benchmark and constantly testing and tweaking against it, we learn and gain a deeper understanding of our target audience’s psychology and the triggers that drive the desired behaviour we want from them. Other conversion data that provides us with easy-to-action insights can be comparing conversion rates across the origins of our web traffic. By doing this, we learn where our most qualified visitors are coming from and we can increase our marketing spend on that particular channel. If we do the same across different platforms and devices, we can identify how our most qualified visitors are reaching us.

Want more examples? How about taking conversion data, such as read / open rates, click-through rates and benchmarking them against time of day or day of the week to find out when to best reach out to your audience? Even pricing can be optimised by testing it and comparing conversion data across different price points. 

Make Data-Driven Marketing Decisions

Conversion data helps us become better “psychologists” by helping us understand our target audience and adapt our marketing elements so that they trigger the actions we want from them.

According to Forrester Research, “To win in this age of powerful customers, firms need to learn quickly from the actions they take and then modify their approach based on what they learn — and the new data they gather.” So, move away from trusting your gut and begin formulating your strategy and campaigns based on data analytics. You just need to open up to the value of insights derived from conversion data and you’ll begin to think of new criteria to test against that will improve the effectiveness of your marketing.


Source: “Digital Insights are the New Currency of Business,” 19 May 2015, Forrester Research

Image credit:

Julian Diaz
Julian Diaz
Julian Diaz was Head of Marketing for Principa until 2017, after which he became Head of Marketing for Honeybee CRM. American born and raised, Julian has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. Having begun his career at a major software company in Germany, Julian made the move to South Africa in 1998 when he joined Dimension Data and later MWEB (leading South African ISP). Since then, Julian has helped launch various South African technology brands into international markets, including Principa.

Latest Posts

The 7 types of credit risk in SME lending

  It is common knowledge in the industry that the credit risk assessment of a consumer applying for credit is far less complex than that of a business that is applying for credit. Why is this the case? Simply put, consumers are usually very similar in their requirements and risks (homogenous) whilst businesses have far more varying risk elements (heterogenous). In this blog we will look at all the different risk elements within a business (here SME) credit application. These are: Risk of proprietors Risk of business Reason for loan Financial ratios Size of loan Risk industry Risk of region Before we delve into this list, it is worth noting that all of these factors need to be deployable as assessment tools within your originations system so it is key that you ensure your system can manage them. If you are on the look out for a loans origination system, then look no further than Principa’s AppSmart. If you are looking for a decision engine to manage your scorecards, policy rules and terms of business then take a look at our DecisionSmart business rules engine. AppSmart and DecisionSmart are part of Principa’s FinSmart Universe allowing for effective credit management across the customer life-cycle.   The different risk elements within a business credit application 1) Risk of proprietors For smaller organisations the risk of the business is inextricably linked to the financial well-being of the proprietors. How small is small? The rule of thumb is companies with up to two to three proprietors should have their proprietors assessed for risk too. This fits in with the SME segment. What data should be looked at? Generally in countries with mature credit bureaux, credit data is looked at including the score (there is normally a score cut-off) and then negative information such as the existence of judgements or defaults; these are typically used within policy rules. Those businesses with proprietors with excessive numbers of “negatives” may be disqualified from the loan application. Some credit bureaux offer a score of an individual based on the performance of all the businesses with which they are associated. This can also be useful in the credit risk assessment process. Another innovation being adopted internationally is the use of psychometrics in credit evaluation of the proprietors. To find out more about adopting credit scoring, read our blog on how to adopt credit scoring.   2) Risk of business The risk of the business should be managed through both scores and policy rules. Lenders will look at information such as the age of company, the experience of directors and the size of company etc. within a score. Alternatively, many lenders utilise the business score offered by credit bureaux. These scores are typically not as strong as consumer scores as the underlying data is limited and sometimes problematic. For example, large successful organisations may have judgements registered against their name which, unlike for consumers, is not necessarily a direct indication of the inability to service debt.   3) Reason for loan The reason for a loan is used more widely in business lending as opposed to unsecured consumer lending. Venture capital, working capital, invoice discounting and bridging finance are just some of many types of loan/facilities available and lenders need to equip themselves with the ability to manage each of these customer types whether it is within originations or collections. Prudent lenders venturing into the SME space for the first time often focus on one or two of these loan types and then expand later – as the operational implication for each type of loan is complex.   4) Financial ratios Financial ratios are core to commercial credit risk assessment. The main challenge here is to ensure that reliable financials are available from the customer. Small businesses may not be audited and thus the financials may be less trustworthy. Financial ratios can be divided into four categories: Profitability Leverage Coverage Liquidity Profitability can be further divided into margin ratios and return ratios. Lenders are frequently interested in gross profit margins; this is normally explicit on the income statement. The EBIDTA margin and operating profit margins are also used as well as return ratios such as return on assets, return on equity and risk-adjusted-returns. Leverage ratios are useful to lenders as they reflect the portion of the business that is financed by debt. Lower leverage ratios indicate stability. Leverage ratios assessed often incorporate debt-to-asset, debt-to-equity and asset-to-equity. Coverage ratios indicate the coverage that income or assets provide for the servicing of debt or interest expenses. The higher the coverage ratio the better it is for the lender. Coverage ratios are worked out considering the loan/facility that is being applied for. Finally, liquidity ratios indicate the ability for a company to convert its assets into cash. There are a variety of ratios used here. The current ratio is simply the ratio of assets to liabilities. The quick ratio is the ability for the business to pay its current debts off with readily available assets. The higher the liquidity ratios the better. Ratios are used both within credit scorecards as well as within policy rules. You can read more about these ratios here.   5) Size of loan When assessing credit risk for a consumer, the risk of the consumer does not normally change with the change of loan amount or facility (subject to the consumer passing affordability criteria). With business loans, loan amounts can range quite dramatically, and the risk of the applicant is normally tied to the loan amount requested. The loan/facility amount will of course change the ratios (mentioned in the last section) which could affect a positive/negative outcome. The outcome of the loan application is usually directly linked to a loan amount and any marked change to this loan amount would change the risk profile of the application.   6) Risk of industry The risk of an industry in which the SME operates can have a strong deterministic relationship with the entity being able to service the debt. Some lenders use this and those who do not normally identify this as a missing element in their risk assessment process. The identification of industry is always important. If you are in manufacturing, but your clients are the mines, then you are perhaps better identified as operating in mining as opposed to manufacturing. Most lenders who assess industry, will periodically rule out certain industries and perhaps also incorporate industry within their scorecard. Others take a more scientific approach. In the graph below the performance of an industry is tracked for two years and then projected over the next 6 months; this is then compared to the country’s GDP. As the industry appears to track above the projected GDP, a positive outlook is given to this applicant and this may affect them favourably in the credit application.                   7) Risk of Region   The last area of assessment is risk of region. Of the seven, this one is used the least. Here businesses,  either on book or on the bureau, are assessed against their geo-code. Each geo-code is clustered, and the projected outlook is given as positive, static or negative. As with industry this can be used within the assessment process as a policy rule or within a scorecard.   Bringing the seven risk categories together in a risk assessment These seven risk assessment categories are all important in the risk assessment process. How you bring it all together is critical. If you would like to discuss your SME evaluation challenges or find out more about what we offer in credit management software (like AppSmart and DecisionSmart), get in touch with us here.

Collections Resilience post COVID-19 - part 2

Principa Decisions (Pty) L

Collections Resilience post COVID-19

Principa Decisions (Pty) L