Success for today’s companies depends on a deep and diligent understanding of what drives consumers. It requires brands to build the most complete digital consumer profiles possible for each individual and then deliver the experiences those consumers want and have come to expect as they move seamlessly across moments and devices.
A major part of building digital consumer profiles is based on survey research (i.e. claimed insights, which includes demographic data). The ability to garner feedback directly from target segments and influencers is a powerful asset for insights professionals. Quick access to survey data about what consumers think and their stated intent is essential for marketing, product development and more.
But while these insights are central to understanding consumers, there’s a massive opportunity for observed data to complete the picture. Author John Burroughs said, “The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” This maxim holds true when it comes to consumer insights, as it’s easier to understand consumers when you combine what consumers told you they would do with what they actually did. Advances in digital tracking are enabling marketers to accurately gauge consumer behavior and couple those insights with needs and intent to bring the digital consumer profile into sharp focus.
Digital Tracking…What’s in Store?
Digital tracking can help companies optimize their marketing channels, reduce costs, and increase ROI by understanding where consumers really are online and uncover inefficiencies or new opportunities to maximize marketing spend. The concept of digital tracking holds a lot of promise but can be difficult to comprehend due to the vast amounts of available consumer data being generated across different channels and devices. Such data can include:
Device details and usage:
Tracking data includes device information, and general usage which includes web, mobile web, and mobile apps.
Online usage and measurements:
It’s important to understand exactly when and how long consumers venture online to inform the timing and duration of surveys and marketing campaigns.
Media consumption amounts:
This helps marketers understand which media would be most useful in marketing campaigns (e.g. it can be predicted that a consumer that watches more videos than reads print articles will be attracted to video ads).
Putting Digital Tracking into Practice
Digital tracking can be used to address many practical business and marketing challenges, including:
Online Journey & Path to Purchase:
Digital tracking provides a clear, distinct roadmap of the route consumers take to make a purchase – helping marketers understand their ever-changing buying patterns. An eCommerce brand may have a lot of questions about how consumers puchase products online. Did their target consumers visit their website, or a direct competitor’s website, or go straight to Amazon? Where did they ultimately make a purchase and what did they do online post purchase? Digital tracking can answer these questions, enabling the brand to develop a strategy to reach target consumers when and where they spend their time online and launch promotions along the way to trigger a purchase.
Digital Segmentation & Consumer Online Profile:
Digital tracking enables companies to use behavioral data to drive intelligent business strategies using rich online profiles and robust market segments. With behavioral data, marketers can see consumers’ online daily routines, including time spent on apps/sites per vertical, and top apps by usage to name a few. For example, a music streaming app or other online subscription services could leverage insights about how consumers were using their service to fine tune their subscription pricing strategies, and leverage digital ad sales to increase market share.
Brand Awareness & Competitive Landscape:
Brand awareness data that is collected through digital tracking helps companies understand if consumers are engaging with their brand, with competitors, or both. An online retailer may want to know how people are searching for their brand and how they are performing relative to market competitors in terms of online engagement. These brands can use behavioral data to understand what search terms were the most effective and what the top retailer sites were (ranked by number of purchases), giving them better insights into where consumers are online, and what content and promotions are best suited to trigger a purchase.
Digital tracking will continue to play a greater role in the consumer insights and market research ecosystem. With digital tracking capabilities, a marketer or researcher has more information than ever before available to help build the most complete digital consumer profiles and effective marketing strategies. Brands get the insights required to effectively target consumers, and consumers get more personalized and relevant experiences based on their own preferences and behaviors for a mutually beneficial relationship.