Do you recognize that? As marketers we think we understand our target group well, but we are sometimes surprised by the products they buy or certain advertisements that suddenly do very well or badly. We expected something different beforehand. In this article I explain how you can make data-based decisions with evidence-based marketing to get the maximum conversion from your campaigns.
Decisions are often still made on the basis of gut feeling, experiences and opinions. This can of course also be valuable, but it is not watertight and it does not lead to the best results.
On the other hand, evidence-based work yields more. I explain to you what exactly is meant by evidence-based marketing, what the foundation of this approach is and what the role of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is in this. On the basis of a step-by-step plan with a detailed case, you can then get started yourself.
Wat is evidence based marketing?
With evidence-based marketing, we make decisions based on customer data obtained and/or insights from research. Not based on feeling, but based on evidence. Evidence from our Customer Data platform (EffectiveProfiles) or from A/B testing. Prove what we share in our reports and real-time online dashboards and what we use as input to optimize strategies, campaigns and all our operations.
This is because we know that gut feeling is less successful in making decisions and our unconscious brain is much more important in the decision-making process than the rational conscious brain. This way you are one step ahead of your competitors, you remain relevant and you are continuously working to improve your ROI.
The importance of a Customer Data Platform
A Customer Data Platform serves as an instrument for insights into your customers and proof of your campaigns. A CDP builds a complete picture of customers on an individual level. It collects customer data from first-party data and all possible available data sources, such as: your website, social media, CRM and so on. This information is linked to a customer record. This creates a 360-degree customer profile that can then be used for group segmentation, personalization and automation to run good marketing campaigns and analyze the performance in the campaigns.
The advantages of a Customer Data Platform are great;
- You get a 360-degree view of your customers and insights about and needs of the customer are mapped
- You can seamlessly connect all communication; accurate segmentation, displaying personalized content, and automated marketing flows. You are able to perfectly guide the different customer journeys
- Smart algorithms recognize opportunities and propose concrete actions for your marketing campaigns
- With this you ensure effective use of your marketing budget, every euro is well spent
- Increase Customer Lifetime Value
- Realization of useful first-party data for marketing purposes
With a CDP you gain insight into the needs of your customers and which phase of the funnel they are in. Thanks to a CDP you can really evidence based to work.
As marketers, we know that a consumer is constantly moving between different online platforms and offline channels to find what he/she needs. A person can discover a product through a digital ad, go to a brick-and-mortar store to view it, and then use their phone for price comparison and further research. The path to conversion is complex and varies considerably by industry. That is why it is crucial to use a full-funnel strategy.
For every phase of the customer journey it is important to work evidence-based, a full-funnel approach. Do experiments at any time in the funnel and through different channels. This way you as a company are relevant in every phase of the journey and you use the right resources to reach your target group.
Evidence Based Framework
As a marketer, how do you actively get started with evidence-based marketing? The key to success is simple: start with a good foundation, the Evidence Based Framework. This model gives you the tools to get started with experiments in a structural way and thus take your marketing to a higher level.
You can learn to experiment
Based on the Evidence Based Framework and a detailed case from one of our customers DIDI, I show how such a step-by-step plan works in practice.
In this phase you look at past results and start collecting data. For example, use Google Analytics to gain insight into what visitors click on, through which channels they arrive at your website, how long they stay on a page and on which pages they drop out. Really dive into the customer journey that visitors make on your website. Or use a Customer Data Platform to gain insights.
For DIDI, we want to investigate how we can get their consumers to convert as well as possible via social. For this case, we look at what the competitors have done, what exactly the trends in the field of social media are and we extract data from social campaigns.
We have experimented a lot with different target groups via social media. We want to investigate for new customers, new reach, how we can convert this group as best as possible, with what type of content and image.
2. KPI and Hypothesis
After your analysis, you clarify your expectations by means of an assumption, a hypothesis. Focus on one bottleneck or one opportunity.
”USP X has an effect on the conversion rate” = BAD (not specific and does not outline a situation)
”USP X in the header on landing page X ensures a higher conversion rate by removing uncertainty” = GOOD
In this case we want to test whether people respond better to a product image compared to a model image with both a price in the visual. Our expectation is that a model image will yield a better CPA than a product image.
Hypothesis = A model image provides a better CPA than a product image, because consumers feel more emotionally connected and can better imagine how the item fits around the body.
3. Prioritize with ICE
In the prioritization phase, you clarify which experiment you want to conduct first. You can do this using the ICE scoring model. The model consists of three parts: Impact, Confidence and Ease. With impact you assess how much impact you think your experiment will make, with confidence you assess how much confidence you have that this experiment will succeed and with ease you look at the ease of the experiment and what the time investment is. Which experiment is currently making the most impact with the smallest possible investment of time and in which you have the most confidence? This allows you to assign values from 1 to 5 to experiments per part, so that you can easily compare them.
For the DIDI case, we think our experiment will make some impact (score = 2). We are very confident that our experiment will succeed (score = 5) and we think it is a relatively simple test with a low investment of time (score = 4).
4. Select variables and create versions
It’s time to work out the designs related to your hypothesis. You can make different variants based on the original.
We have opted for 2 dynamic content formats for DIDI, whereby we have created a dynamic feed with model images and a dynamic feed with product images, without models.
5. Start experiment
The experiment can be started. Have all your test data ready for checking.
6. Analyze and determine result
When your experiment is finished, you dive into the results achieved. Look at the data you have collected and test it with your hypothesis to formulate a conclusion.
Ultimately, the carousel with the model achieved a better CPA than the carousel with the product image. The CPA is 33% better. There is a 91% chance that the difference is not accidental. This confirms the hypothesis, but the advice is to continue testing until we can say for sure.
Keep in mind that you can never achieve maximum results in one go with evidence-based marketing. By continuously testing and starting again at step 1, you can continue to realize improvement after improvement. Even if there is no clear result, you must continue to optimize.
This test is not an isolated one for DIDI, but we want to test it more often over a longer period of time and we are going to work on follow-up tests, for example on content format; carousel vs. canvas or whether/no price in the visuals.
Tips for evidence-based marketing
Finally, a few tips to get started with evidence-based working.
- Keeping a log is crucial
If you want to be successful in the long term, it is important to document all ideas, detailed test plans, tests that are live and completed tests. This can already be done in an Excel file, but can also be done in various online tools. Over time, you can analyze the completed tests to find out what determines success.
- Proper setup of UTMs and campaign structure
This allows you to easily find everything for doing your analyses.
- Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly
Provide test optimizations and do tests over a longer period of time.
- Don’t make too many different versions
The chance that you will subsequently find significant differences is small.
- Be critical of which KPI you evaluate
For example, sometimes a test has more effect on order value than conversion rate (or both).
- Segment your analysis
Sometimes your overall result does not score significantly, but a specific segment does! Think of demographics, placements, devices, resources and browsers.
- Do not be demotivated by a negative test result, this is also a learning!
You can also test again with a new version of variables. You may find a difference now.
- Use a Customer Data Platform as a starting point for evidence-based marketing
If you have good insight into customer data, this can serve as a breeding ground for Evidence Based Marketing.
If you have a brain, you have a bias
Everyone has a subconscious that is driven by preferences and impulses. The unconscious is much more powerful than the conscious. That is why it is so important to pursue an evidence-based approach!
Source: Frankwatching by www.frankwatching.com.
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