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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

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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.

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