Retailers are gearing up for the new year. With all of the world’s bounty just a few clicks or taps away, the competition will be fierce. Use your wits and data to put your best foot forward. Here are five tips to help you get started:
1. You don’t need much data to start targeting: The results are clear: companies with the best data have a dramatic advantage. However, you don’t need much to start seeing immediate results. Start with these two simple steps to get your data-driven programs going:
- Do you see higher checkout rates or a higher basket size from female consumers? Split your advertising in two and double down on the more valuable group.
- Who might be interested in buying? The customer who just clicked one of your advertisements yesterday! Build a separate campaign to retarget recent clickers. They already had one foot in the door, why not invite them back into your shop?
2. Creative matters: While it’s all good and well to say “test, test, test” and “vary it up to see what works,” that’s like saying the secret to cooking well is to use the stove and the oven. Here are a few specific creative tips proven to maximize conversion:
- Trying to get customers to come to your website or app? Use concrete numbers to illustrate why they should check it out — e.g., Over 1,000 new items in the collection! 5 million people already shop in our app.
- Articulate your best feature and clearest value proposition. Consumers are bombarded in every channel; try picking an area and going all in on that one particular differentiator — e.g., The best place to shop for the whole family!
- Bringing a customer into a mobile experience? Feature a smartphone in your creative to show your exact use case and how your app will work. It may seem simple, but it boosts conversion.
3. Interactivity sells: Whether you're pitching a new customer or re-engaging a shopper who’s looked at an item on your site before, try using a dynamic creative format that displays multiple products. Presenting a mini shopping experience while giving a feel for your offerings has proven to increase clickthrough rates by as much as 180 percent.
For new potential customers, you can use your own first-party data or other reliable data sources to tailor which items you feature. For example, in ads for a large multicategory store, you might show women offerings for shoes, bags and apparel, while men see gifts and home goods.
4. Your best customers keep giving: One of the easiest ways to start unlocking the power of your data is to identify your best customers and find more like them. One big-box retailer we worked with took its branded customer list and had a look-a-like model built using those customers as the seed audience. This segment — as well as the subsequent targeting iterations built from these profiles — dropped the retailer's cost of acquisition to its app by 56 percent.
Speaking of your best customers, they may benefit from a nudge themselves. You can bring your offline data online and target them digitally to stay top of mind.
5. Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’: “We’ll have the perfect campaign for each of our 28 different shopper personas!” one of your colleagues might shout after reviewing analysis. More PowerPoint documents will be created to determine the subtle differences between “Cheryl” and “Martha” personas.
Along with the power of data comes a challenge — it’s easier than ever to make campaigns needlessly complicated.
It goes without saying that a rigorous, data-driven approach can take more time and effort to implement. However, that shouldn’t keep you from staying focused on what you set out to do in the first place: delight more shoppers and bring more of what you offer to the world.
Noah Jessop is the head of data at Liquid, a digital ad targeting platform powered by Publishers Clearing House.