As marketers, we gather an abundance of data from digital interactions every day. A “like” on Facebook, a “retweet” on Twitter, a click-through on an e-mail — all of these interactions offer insight into our customers’ preferences. Oftentimes, the data we gather is siloed into an individual network, unable to communicate with the other data sets we collect. Additionally, since there is an immense amount of data to sort through for even just a single customer, the amount of noise a marketer has to experience can be overwhelming. To effectively make sense of all this data and be successful at their jobs, marketers need to break through these social silos and have access to a holistic customer profile, created through thoughtful connections between multiple data sets.
This level of insight across channels is an invaluable asset for marketers. When we draw smart connections between individual networks, we can begin to produce multi-dimensional affinity models. This approach will help marketers gather data on consumer preferences, which can uncover which customers are inclined to like and purchase in the future. And this data isn’t just one-off either, it also has long-term value because it gives us the complete view of customers’ habits and preferences.
The way brands can ultimately break down these social walls is by collecting and owning their set of consumer data. This will allow brands to pair their proprietary data with third-party data from social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, to ultimately build complete consumer profiles. The way brands can accomplish this is by running engagement programs across their own digital networks, which puts them in the driver’s seat for collecting valuable information. The data captured will help brands uncover new potential audiences while also enriching their understanding of their existing customer base. This will ultimately lead to better retargeting activities, building more accurate audience segmentations, more accurate ad buys, building more effective lookalike audiences and more.
To set up these engagement experiences and interactions with customers, brands need to first understand what channels their customers are most likely to interact with, and then engage them there. To date, research has shown that a majority of customers spend approx 30% of their time engaging with media on user-generated content pages than any other form of media (Crowdtap). So, if your brand is not already leveraging a UGC campaign as part of your overall marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a crucial engagement opportunity.
The beauty of this approach of building your own consumer profiles, is once a prospect engages within your channel, each interaction thereafter will continue to uncover additional affinity data points that can be leveraged to make your experiences more valuable. And the more valuable time the consumer spends with your brand, the more valuable data they will provide and the more likely they will be to buy.
To simplify this concept, imagine a customer searches for Tupperware on a site. To the uninitiated, this data point relays intention to purchase Tupperware in the short term. However, through affinity data insight a marketer may uncover the user is actually interested in healthy eating, and the Tupperware purchase is only one piece of a larger intent to purchase.
In the future, this type of insight will be the norm, with marketers owning the data they uncover and combining it with other data sources to build out rich customers profiles. It’s time for us as marketers to break down the silos of social networks by utilizing solutions that bring together all relevant consumer data. Our customers are interacting across networks, and its time for our data to do so as well.
Rob Manning is the content marketing manager at Offerpop, where he heads up the creation and execution of content strategies on digital marketing and social media strategy for brands. He tweets from @ManningRob.