tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/data-visualisation Latest Data visualisation content from Econsultancy 2016-10-20T15:01:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68408 2016-10-20T15:01:00+01:00 2016-10-20T15:01:00+01:00 The five fundamentals of data-driven marketing Evan Dunn <p>81% of marketers are looking to <a href="http://www.zoominfo.com/business/mktg/ebooks/ebook-data-driven-benchmarks-for-success.pdf" target="_blank">increase budgets</a> for data-driven marketing, while 83% of marketers believe <a href="https://www.ana.net/content/show/id/37128">it's important to be able to make data-guided decisions</a>.</p> <p>That's nearly every marketer.</p> <p><a href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/09/19/investment-data-driven-marketing-continues-rise-survey-notes" target="_blank">Over half</a> expect to see revenue growth as a result of data-driven marketing investments (only 7% expect a decrease), and 39% plan to increase spend on data-driven marketing initiatives.</p> <p>Despite the popularity of data-driven tactics and tech, there is a lot of confusion about the nature of marketing data, and the possible implications it can have for marketing decisions.</p> <p>Here are five ideas I’ve identified as fundamental to effective data-driven marketing.</p> <h4><strong>1. There are two types of marketing 'data': Contact information and performance metrics.</strong></h4> <p>It is strange how rarely this distinction is highlighted, despite how frequently marketers interact with both types of data.</p> <p>For example, “database marketing” refers exclusively to leveraging email lists to engage with customers.</p> <p>“Data management platform” (DMP) refers exclusively to leveraging a mix of IP addresses, emails and other contact information to deliver targeted advertising to customers across the web. </p> <p>Part of the reason I’m writing this article is because of how confused I was by so many of these terms.</p> <p>Databases can store many things, so why only point to use cases that involve emails? And DMP - such a broad, sweeping term for such a narrow use case.</p> <p>Understanding the difference between the two methods is critical to knowing how and when to use them.</p> <p>Many modern marketers are focused so heavily on contact-information-based use cases that they neglect the importance of measuring overall performance and tying it to revenue.</p> <h4><strong>2. Data-driven marketing based on contact information involves tracking individuals in order to get them to buy.</strong></h4> <p>It's sort of like helicopter parenting - helicopter advertising.</p> <p>Tracking individuals across digital media is becoming increasingly popular among marketers, in an attempt to make their marketing distinct among the hundreds of ads we each see every day.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0562/helicopter.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400"></p> <p>“<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65212-what-is-marketing-automation-and-why-do-you-need-it/">Marketing automation</a>” is one of the earliest examples of this type of data-driven marketing, though people rarely classify it as such.</p> <p>Marketers use a MAP (Marketing Automation Platform - a technology class created by Marketo, much like Siebel Systems pioneered CRM) to track individuals through the funnel, usually in organic (email, website) touchpoints, but also in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-paid-advertising/">paid social</a> and display ads.</p> <p>Then the MAP distributes targeted content based on where a person is in the funnel, particularly what last action they took (such as downloading content).</p> <p>Another example is “Attribution” - a term which on the surface just refers to assigning various media, creative and audience segments with percentages of contribution to success.</p> <p>Attribution usually involves tracking individual customers across the web, based on interactions with digital media properties, both paid and owned.</p> <p>More advanced platforms can track whether display ads come into view on the visible portion of a person’s screen.</p> <p>Attribution sometimes leverages DMPs and TMS (Tag Management Software), along with proprietary analytics, to attribute conversions and sales to specific ads. </p> <p>Attribution is primarily focused on individual identification, but also relies on aggregate performance metrics to recommend adjustments in advertising tactics.</p> <p>Data-driven methods that rely on contact information benefit from high levels of detail, but suffer from scalability (you can’t track everyone).</p> <p>Personalization, customer experience optimization and other initiatives fall into this category.</p> <h4><strong>3. Data-driven marketing based on performance metrics involves analyzing investments in and returns from marketing initiatives, in order to better drive results.</strong></h4> <p>Performance marketing, quantitative marketing, media mix modeling - these practices involved rolled up streams of customer actions - i.e. performance metrics. </p> <ul> <li>“Performance marketing” is just a way of saying “marketing where you actually look at what works and what doesn’t in order to drive outcomes.”</li> <li>“Quantitative marketing” has historically referred to enterprise-grade initiatives that use statistics to optimize marketing outcomes based on investment (i.e. ad spend) and key performance indicators. </li> <li>“Media mix modeling” - or media mix allocation - is sometimes classed as a type of quantitative marketing. It involves analyzing which channels (TV, radio, display, etc.) have the greatest impact on conversions through probabilistic statistics (data science).</li> </ul> <p>Data-driven methods that rely on performance metrics benefit from the fact that every system produces some measure of reporting and thus are highly scalable, but sometimes more detail is needed.</p> <p>A focus on performance metrics also has a natural bias towards objectives.</p> <p>Customer data can be a black hole of possible activities, and many companies are stuck in the vortex of collecting, cleansing, weighing customer data.</p> <p>But performance data always tells a story relevant to your objective.</p> <h4><strong>4. There’s this thing called a “proxy” - it’s how you measure the intangibles.</strong></h4> <p>Some things are difficult to measure.</p> <p>For example, “Awareness” (which is an actual objective for many marketers) is really the sum of “how much time do people spend thinking about your brand/product/service?”</p> <p>Obviously, we can’t strap brain sensors to everyone (yet). Most marketers use focus groups and surveys to approximate awareness.</p> <p>Those may also be used to approximate “Brand Equity” - the amount people <em>like </em>and therefore demonstrate <em>purchase intent </em>towards a brand.</p> <p>The problem is, surveys of all kinds are riddled with <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Response_bias" target="_blank">response biases</a> - including the most subtle, such as <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-my-money/200807/familiarity-bias-part-i-what-is-it" target="_blank">familiarity bias</a> and <a href="http://heuristics.behaviouralfinance.net/availability/" target="_blank">availability bias</a>.</p> <p>Why not supplement these traditional approaches to awareness measurement with more comprehensive, scalable (and faster, less expensive) tactics?</p> <p>One increasingly popular method of measuring awareness via proxy is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67137-social-monitoring-listening-what-is-it-and-do-you-need-it/" target="_blank">social listening</a>.</p> <p>This technology category is actually not focused only on social media, but the ‘social web’ - all those publications, blogs, articles, comments, social networks, forums etc... essentially most of the Internet. </p> <p>“Best-in-class” estimates for the number of websites scanned by a social listening tool are usually around 100m or 200m websites.</p> <p>For reference, Twitter counts as one website.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digitally-transformed</a> enterprises use these tools to monitor the success of paid and earned media initiatives, as well as establish competitive benchmarks for brand awareness, based on the assumption that some number of people who are aware of a brand/product/campaign will talk about it.</p> <p>Other examples of proxies include NPS (Net Promoter Score) - a measure of the social equity a brand has with its customers.</p> <h4><strong>5. You can’t quantify poetry</strong></h4> <p>Marketing - getting people to invest time/attention/money in brands, products &amp; services - will always live partially in the poetic.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0571/shakespeare.jpg" alt="" width="335" height="298"></p> <p>Connecting with customers inherently has one foot in the abstract, ethereal, creative - and one foot in the scientific, mathematic, quantifiable.</p> <p>After all, some of the best ideas are ones no one has thought of before.</p> <p>This is why Jay Baer proclaims that “<a href="http://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/data-driven-marketing/" target="_blank">Data-Driven Marketing is a Bad Idea</a>” - all he’s really saying is that you can’t forsake the creative for the quantified, but the title he actually used is more sensational.</p> <h3><strong>We need a more holistic view of marketing data</strong></h3> <p>What marketers need is to broaden the scope of the way data is viewed, valued and used within their organization. </p> <p>Personalization and attribution have their place among the most academic of statistical approaches.</p> <p>And macro-performance measurement must concede the fact that, sometimes, the devil is in the details.</p> <p>Of utmost importance is the fact that no data is valuable unless it connects to critical objectives. For most marketers, this means awareness, brand equity and revenue.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-role-of-crm-in-data-driven-marketing/"><em>The Role of CRM in Data-Driven Marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/big-data-driven-marketing-how-to-get-it-right/"><em>Data-Driven Marketing Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3007 2016-08-10T17:38:53+01:00 2016-08-10T17:38:53+01:00 Google Analytics Advanced - Optimising your Site <p>Research by Econsultancy has shown that over 70% of companies now use Google Analytics systems to report online performance. However, frequently the tool hasn't been configured to tailor reports to make full use of its capabilities and drive business results.</p> <p>This practical small group workshop will help you get the most out of Google Analytics to improve your tracking, website and marketing campaign efficiency. Submit your own site during the workshop, and you'll have an opportunity to have it reviewed, with recommendations on "quick win" improvements for you to consider made by the expert trainer.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3005 2016-08-10T17:36:31+01:00 2016-08-10T17:36:31+01:00 Google Analytics <p>Research by Econsultancy has shown that over 70% of companies now use Google Analytics systems to report online performance. However, frequently once the tool is in place there seems to be a "what next" moment.</p> <p>This practical, small group workshop will help you to get started with Google Analytics, offering you plenty of practical tips and shortcuts.</p> <p>You'll learn how to get useful information from the tool so you can begin optimising your site, online marketing and content.</p> <p>Your website will also be viewed by an industry expert, who will make recommendations as to the best starting points for your own analysis.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68029 2016-07-04T10:16:58+01:00 2016-07-04T10:16:58+01:00 Why transparency in data is key to building trust for The Guardian Maeve Hosea <p>When Julia joined Guardian News and Media in 2012 the brand was beset with difficulties.</p> <p>Revenue streams from its print circulation were in decline and it faced problems in monetising the digital audience, which was compounded by Facebook and Google’s dominance over the UK’s digital advertising market.</p> <p>In order to survive the newspaper needed to make its existing audience more profitable and engage with them in a personalised and relevant way – data was a key component in achieving this.</p> <p>“Advertising isn’t going to be the only revenue stream and we need to find other ways of improving our income and that has to be transacting with our readers and finding things to sell that they’ll find of interest,” says Porter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6724/guardian_ipad.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="466"></p> <p>“You need to understand who those people are and how to build valuable relationships with them on a one-to-one basis.”</p> <p>Capturing more data is easier said than done.</p> <p>“At the time, the Edward Snowden story was big and there was a real danger that you ended up conflating that focus on ‘bad people doing bad things with data’ with our legitimate activities, in terms of asking people to share data and being transparent about why,” she says.</p> <p>The brand aimed to explain why it needed customer data in a relaxed and open way, knowing that trust is incredibly important to the relationship with the customer.</p> <p>In 2014, it launched its customer charter ‘Why Your Data Matters’ with a video demonstrating its transparent attitude to data, explaining what that information can do for the paper.</p> <p>Information including how data allows the newspaper to be able to charge premium advertising revenues and how that is central to funding the paper’s journalism going forward were relayed.</p> <p>In addition, how that data deepens The Guardian’s understanding of who its readers are, therefore allowing tailored messages with content that can be valued by those readers.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/107730078" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>“One of the reasons this was an award winning piece of work was [because] we decided to go down the road [of] being very open and transparent but also moving away from ambiguity and complexity of legal language,” says Porter.</p> <p>“It felt to me that we did something quite innovative with that video and it took a lot of effort to get to that point because it got us talking about the importance of being transparent with our customers.”</p> <p>The video was just the first part of the journey that The Guardian and its agency MRM Meteorite has been on to become customer driven.</p> <p>After obtaining all of its valuable data currency, the media owner then needed to extract value from it.</p> <p>The depth of data enabled a very powerful model to be built that drives what to say to who, when, where and how.</p> <h3>Segmenting the audience</h3> <p>The brand created a detailed segmentation to understand its customers. Understanding the different audience profiles and preferences means it was able to see what different products and services it would target at different cohorts.</p> <p>“The Nirvana - and we haven’t fully succeeded in doing this - is being able to understand how you can create a sweet spot between what people do and why they do it,” says Porter.</p> <p>“If you are able to marry up transactions and behavioural data with attitudes and demographic data, then you will be able to understand what life stage people are at, what they are interested in buying and how they will respond to messages.”</p> <p>Personas that gave texture to the audience analysis included ‘John the hipster’, who buys the brand’s masterclass courses and is a potential customer for the digital subscription pack.</p> <p>Also, ‘Zoe the professional’ who buys books and might well buy holidays.</p> <p>Having ascertained who its different cohorts were, The Guardian was able to do a mapping of what topics readers would be interested in.</p> <p>This allowed it move on and start developing its products and services, its subscription business, membership business and to relaunch the bookshop ecommerce site.</p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="http://www.marketingweek.com/2016/06/15/why-transparency-in-data-is-key-to-building-trust/">Marketing Week</a>.</em></p> <p><em><strong>The <a href="http://conferences.marketingweek.com/ds/home">Data Storytelling Awards</a> is now open for entries. The deadline is Tuesday July 19, 2016.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67654 2016-03-16T14:25:45+00:00 2016-03-16T14:25:45+00:00 Google courts enterprise marketers with launch of Analytics 360 Suite Patricio Robles <p>To do all of this, the search giant has combined six products into a single platform:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Audience Center 360</strong>, a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-role-of-dmps-in-the-era-of-data-driven-advertising">data management platform</a> (DMP).</li> <li> <strong>Optimize 360</strong>, a website testing and personalization solution.</li> <li> <strong>Data Studio 360</strong>, a data and visualization tool that can be used to analyze data collected by all of the Google Analytics 360 products.</li> <li> <strong>Tag Manager 360</strong>, which is based on Google's existing tag management solution.</li> <li> <strong>Analytics 360</strong>, the professional analytics solution that Google previously offered under the name GA Premium.</li> <li> <strong>Attribution 360</strong>, an attribution platform that marketers can use to evaluate the performance of their campaigns across channels.</li> </ul> <p>Google says that Analytics 360 Suite has been several years in the making, and was developed based on feedback it received from enterprise marketers, many of whom complained that their existing marketing analytics tools were not meeting their needs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/3052/blog_images__62_-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="392"></p> <h3>Integration, integration, integration</h3> <p>Google believes it is delivering on those needs, and early customers like L'Oreal Canada, which says it has doubled anticipated revenue with Google's new offering, are already singing Analytics 360 Suite's praises.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ETGsJfYb-gw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p><strong>But Google's secret sauce might not be breadth or depth, but rather integration.</strong></p> <p>Audience Center 360 offers native integration with DoubleClick and over 50 third-party data providers.</p> <p>Tag Manager 360 plays nicely with a variety of third-party vendors, including Turn, comScore, Criteo and Marin Software.</p> <p>Attribution 360 is capable of distributing data to DSPs and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/rtb-buyers-guide/">RTBs</a>, can pull in data automatically from DoubleClick Campaign Manager, and offers an Offline Conversion Connector to help marketers attribute in-store sales to digital campaigns.</p> <p>Analytics 360 works with all Google ad products, and can be used to create remarketing lists that are automatically available in AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager.</p> <p>Because many marketers are already so heavily invested in Google's ad-related services, all of the integrations Analytics 360 Suite offers could give Google an edge when trying to win over marketers who are currently using competing solutions from a variety of vendors, some of whom only provide one or two of the functions in Analytics 360 Suite.</p> <p>That makes Analytics 360 Suite a threat to many companies, including Adobe, which offers a DMP, Adobe Audience Manager, and Tableau, which offers a business intelligence data visualization solution.</p> <p>Analytics 360 Suite likely won't be cheap – reports suggest pricing will be in the six-figure range – but if Google can lure enough enterprise customers with a one-stop shop proposition, it could prove to be one of Google's most important product launches in some time.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67465 2016-02-01T14:51:00+00:00 2016-02-01T14:51:00+00:00 Data visualization: 14 jaw-dropping examples Jack Simpson <h3>Why is data visualization important?</h3> <p>In his 2010 TED talk, David McCandless argued that sight has by far the fastest and biggest bandwidth of any of the five senses.</p> <p>About 80% of the information we take in is by eye, he said.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5Zg-C8AAIGg?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <blockquote> <p>Students get very excited – and policy-makers and the corporate sector – when they can see the data.</p> </blockquote> <p>Researchers Emre Soyer and Robin Hogarth <a href="http://emresoyer.com/Publications_files/Soyer%20%26%20Hogarth_2012.pdf%20">conducted a study</a> in which three groups of economists were asked the same question concerning a dataset, and the results seem to support McCandless's claim:</p> <ul> <li>One group was given the data and a standard statistical analysis of the data; <strong>72% of these economists got the answer wrong.</strong> </li> <li>Another group was given the data, the statistical analysis, and a graph; still <strong>61% of these economists got the answer wrong.</strong> </li> <li>A third group was given only the graph, and <strong>only 3% got the answer wrong.</strong> </li> </ul> <p>The above results suggest that the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66131-17-visualisation-tools-to-make-your-data-beautiful">visualized data</a> on its own, without the accompanying analysis, was actually the most powerful format. </p> <p>But let me take my own advice and provide some visual examples... </p> <h3>The internet in real time</h3> <p>Slightly terrifying, this one, but it’s a goodie. A real-time visualization of data from all the biggest sites on the internet. </p> <p>Even if you work in digital, prepare to be amazed. </p> <p><a href="http://pennystocks.la/internet-in-real-time/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1760/d7bY4tF.png" alt="Internet in real time" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Battle of the internet giants</h3> <p>By the same people as the internet in real time site above, this one shows you how much money all the big boys in digital are making. In real time. </p> <p>Excuse me while I have a cry. </p> <p><a href="http://pennystocks.la/battle-of-internet-giants/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1761/EpFfe8N.png" alt="battle of the internet giants" width="700"></a></p> <h3>The one million tweet map</h3> <p>This is a good one for checking out geographical data for Twitter. It uses a clustering engine to visualize how people are tweeting about specific topics around the world.</p> <p>In the image below the keyword was ‘Terry Wogan’. </p> <p><a href="http://onemilliontweetmap.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1762/0EUIT2Q.png" alt="the one million tweet map" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Tweetping</h3> <p>Live display of people tweeting across the world, but it leaves the ‘pings’ in place so the longer you watch the map the clearer the geographical trends become. </p> <p><a href="http://tweetping.net/http://tweetping.net/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1763/x7xY5sr.png" alt="Tweetping" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Listen to Wikipedia</h3> <p>Perhaps my favourite example on this list: a live visual and musical representation of Wikipedia edits. </p> <p>Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions, and the pitch changes according to the size of the edit (the larger the edit, the deeper the note). </p> <p>Green circles show edits from unregistered contributors and purple circles mark edits performed by automated bots. </p> <p>
It’s strangely addictive, so click that link only if you’re prepared to spend your entire day watching and listening to dots. You have been warned. </p> <p><a href="http://listen.hatnote.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1258/listen-to-wikipedia.png" alt="listen to wikipedia" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Google Trends</h3> <p>We’ve <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67033-nine-free-content-planning-tools-to-kickstart-your-campaign">written about Google Trends</a> plenty of times on this blog, but this little bit of data visualization is wonderfully Google-like in its simplicity. </p> <p>It fills the screen with live trends and when you click on the text you’re taken to a Google SERP for that keyword. </p> <p><a href="https://www.google.com/trends/hottrends/visualize?pn=p9"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1261/Screen_Shot_2016-02-01_at_12.13.54.png" alt="google trends data visualisation" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Earth wind map</h3> <p>You don’t need to be a geography buff to appreciate this. A live visualization of wind around the world: direction, speed, and so on. </p> <p>You can drag the globe around and zoom in on specific points for greater detail. Just awesome.</p> <p><a href="http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-34.28,57.06,217/loc=-17.124,57.517"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1765/jnyS8Xg.png" alt="Earth wind map" width="700"></a></p> <h3>NOAA weatherView</h3> <p>More weather visualization, except this one allows you to see representations of various types of weather data such as temperature, precipitation, pressure and so on.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/weatherview/index.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1766/6I7GvI7.png" alt="NOAA weatherview" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Every noise at once</h3> <p>A scattergraph plot of almost any musical genre you can think of. When you click on any of the text you get a 30-second clip of a song in that genre. </p> <p>Its creator – Glenn McDonald of Spotify-acquired Echo Nest – explains the organisation of the genres as follows:</p> <blockquote> <p>Down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier. </p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://everynoise.com/engenremap.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1259/Screen_Shot_2016-02-01_at_12.07.32.png" alt="Every noise at once" width="700"></a></p> <h3>No Homophobia</h3> <p>This site provides live visualization of all the homophobic language being used on Twitter, including live tweets containing homophobic keywords. </p> <p><a href="http://www.nohomophobes.com/#!/today/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1767/2rj023A.png" alt="No homophobia data visualisation" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Digital attack map</h3> <p>This shows you where DDoS attacks are happening around the world, which is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.</p> <p>Not sure if I completely understand it, but damn if it doesn’t look and sound cool.</p> <p><a href="http://www.digitalattackmap.com/#anim=1&amp;color=0&amp;country=ALL&amp;list=1&amp;time=16015&amp;view=map"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1260/Screen_Shot_2016-02-01_at_12.12.06.png" alt="digital attack map" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Flight misery map</h3> <p>A handy one for any travellers. Hover over an airport and get a neat little visualization of all outbound flights and their status.</p> <p>Green means good and red means bad. Can’t ask for simpler than that. </p> <p><a href="https://uk.flightaware.com/miserymap/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1768/WEbMOYH.png" alt="flight misery map" width="700"></a></p> <h3>Spotify musical map </h3> <p>An interactive map that shows what music people are listening to in towns and cities across the world. </p> <p><a href="https://spotifymaps.cartodb.com/u/eliotvb/viz/971d1556-0959-11e5-b1a4-0e9d821ea90d/public_map?redirected=true%20"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1769/oFxxFp4.png" alt="" width="700"></a></p> <p>London is mostly big on grime right now, apparently. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1770/dbOVyef.png" alt="spotify musical map London" width="644" height="644"></p> <h3>World population </h3> <p>Ridiculously simple but still kind of mesmerising, this site shows the world population increasing in real time. </p> <p>Click ‘watch as we increase’ to see the little stickmen appear in real time.</p> <p><a href="http://www.worldometers.info/watch/world-population/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1771/trY6jzm.png" alt="world population data visualisation" width="700"></a>  </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67448 2016-01-27T11:11:00+00:00 2016-01-27T11:11:00+00:00 Dear marketers, stop using generic stock images Jack Simpson <p>Why spend hours <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66633-12-elements-of-a-user-friendly-blog-page">crafting a lovely blog post</a> only to litter it with pictures of strangers in suits smiling at each other? </p> <p>It’s meaningless corporate guff. The photographic equivalent of saying ‘I hope you’re well’ at the beginning of an email.</p> <p>I mean, look, if you want your website/blog page/marketing material to look utterly generic and devoid of any personality whatsoever then be my guest. </p> <p>Otherwise, read on…</p> <h3>What constitutes generic stock imagery?</h3> <p>It falls into two camps: excruciatingly cheesy lifestyle photography or dull, stupid graphics. Sometimes the two are combined for extra awfulness. </p> <p>Plenty of fun has been poked at the former already. Women laughing alone with salad is the first example that springs to mind. </p> <p><a href="http://thehairpin.com/2011/01/women-laughing-alone-with-salad/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1066/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_14.41.40.png" alt="women laughing alone with salad stock photography" width="650"></a></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice">Innocent Drinks</a> recently had a dig on Twitter, posting images of stuffy business types standing around water coolers. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">That photo from our newsletter led us to search for more stock images of people at water coolers. It's a goldmine. <a href="https://t.co/G8c3YZQfyF">pic.twitter.com/G8c3YZQfyF</a></p> — innocent drinks (@innocent) <a href="https://twitter.com/innocent/status/685409528385503232">January 8, 2016</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PeopleAtWaterCoolers?src=hash">#PeopleAtWaterCoolers</a> <a href="https://t.co/qi9BIwwWv1">pic.twitter.com/qi9BIwwWv1</a></p> — innocent drinks (@innocent) <a href="https://twitter.com/innocent/status/685409889028542465">January 8, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>The issue has become such a blight on the world that even Hollywood had a swipe.</p> <p>To market comedy film Unfinished Business last year, makers Photoshopped Vince Vaughn’s face onto some classic corporate stock imagery. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/0575/unfinished-stock-01c-2015.gif" alt="" width="650">

</p> <p>And be careful when Photoshopping your product into rubbish lifestyle stock images, or you might end up on the sharp end of a meme. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1067/bLs6vmq.jpg" alt="bad stock photography tv" width="650"></p> <p>As for the latter of the two horrors I mentioned above, bad graphics, let’s take a look at what I mean. </p> <p>Say you’re writing a post or page about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/">SEO</a>. Do you think this would be a good image to include? </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1069/Seo-blocks.gif" alt="bad stock photography graphics" width="500"></p> <p>The answer is no. No it wouldn't.</p> <p>Why? Partly because it adds nothing to the content. Partly because it is entirely bland. And partly because it has probably appeared about a thousand times across God-knows-how-many other websites and will continue to do so as long as it shows up under ‘SEO’ in Google images.</p> <p>What about a nice word cloud, then?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1072/4431348645_8bf799117e.jpg" alt="Bad stock images word cloud" width="380" height="316"></p> <p>No. Why would you do that? Just stop it. </p> <p>Word clouds might work for data visualisation, but what good could you possibly add to a page of content by including the above monstrosity? </p> <p>Graphics are almost invariably meaningless and should be avoided if possible, especially on the news...</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9mnVWJpMhuE?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>What you could do instead...</h3> <p>To avoid being accused of abject negativity, I’ve listed a few ways you can make your images less awful. </p> <p><strong>Find something relevant</strong></p> <p>Here’s a whacky idea: how about finding an actual picture of the specific thing you’re talking about and using that?</p> <p>You’ll probably have noticed on this blog that we like to include lots of imagery to support whatever we’re writing about.  </p> <p>Take the below paragraph about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66920-why-visitors-only-read-20-of-your-web-page">scanning</a>. I could have included a stock image of a man staring at a screen to indicate somebody reading a blog post.</p> <p>Something like this, maybe:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1073/man-coffee-cup-pen.jpg" alt="bad stock photography man looking at screen" width="587"> </p> <p>But that would have been stupid, so instead I used an image from a real study that tracked readers’ eyes as they read on-screen content. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6990/PowerPoint_Presentation_-_Online_Copywriting_september_2015.pdf_2015-09-11_16-00-38.png" alt="The F shape content scanning" width="587" height="425"></p> <p>The first of those two images is pointless. It adds nothing. People understand what a person reading a blog post looks like. They don’t need a visual representation. It isn't relevant to the point I was making in the post. </p> <p>Images should always add something to a piece of content that words can’t achieve alone. </p> <p>Look at the imagery in a recent <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67339-three-marketing-trends-to-watch-in-2016">marketing trends post</a> we published. </p> <p>When you’re dealing with general words like ‘social’ it can be tempting to use some ridiculous abstract graphic to represent them.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1074/Social_Media_Marketing.jpg" alt="Social graphic stock image" width="337" height="307"></p> <p>But in this case the writer used screenshots to illustrate specific points. A much better idea. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0751/Screen_Shot_2016-01-15_at_11.01.39.png" alt="" width="363" height="357"></p> <p><strong>Make your own</strong></p> <p>We’re lucky enough that we all carry fairly decent cameras around in our pockets. Most of those cameras enable you to edit images and send them to your computer with ridiculous ease. </p> <p>Why not spend a bit of time creating your own images so you don’t have to rely on the generic dross your stock photo library is likely to cough up?</p> <p>Here’s one somebody made to show what a Venn diagram is:</p> <p><a href="http://visual.ly/venn-me"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/2903/venn.jpeg" alt=""></a></p> <p>If you want to take photos for static landing pages or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67377-10-ecommerce-sites-with-grand-product-photography">product imagery</a>, you might want to use something more advanced than your phone.</p> <p>But even doing that costs relatively little time and money, and the results will be well worth it. </p> <p><strong>Use humour</strong></p> <p>It can be hard trying to find relevant photos. Sometimes I think a post is done but I spend another 20 minutes desperately trying to find a header image that isn’t completely rubbish. </p> <p>If you really can’t find an image that is suitably relevant, and you can’t or don’t want to make your own, try going down the humorous route. </p> <p>This means you can be a little bit abstract in your choice, as long as people will actually get the link between the image and the written content. </p> <p>How can a single image illustrate the perils of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67437-marks-spencer-s-new-australian-website-six-things-to-note/">a British ecommerce site marketing to the local Australian population</a>? Through a rude search mix-up involving the word ‘thongs’, of course.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67437-marks-spencer-s-new-australian-website-six-things-to-note"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1076/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_14.59.50.png" alt="stock photography using humour" width="379" height="351"></a></p> <p>Trying to represent silent video? Stick a picture of Charlie Chaplin in there. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67442-how-to-create-facebook-video-ads-that-cater-for-silent-autoplay"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1077/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_15.00.07.png" alt="stock photography using humour" width="379"></a></p> <p>Friday stats round-up? Rebecca Black, obviously. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67436-top-10-digital-marketing-stats-of-the-week-2/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1081/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_16.39.14.png" alt="stock photography using humour" width="379" height="362"></a></p> <p>What I’m trying to show you with these examples is that if you can’t find a decent image that directly relates to your content, find something that indirectly relates to it and make it funny or entertaining.</p> <p>At least then you’re adding something to the content. </p> <p>To be fair, the thongs image achieves both. </p> <h3>Conclusion: stop being lazy</h3> <p>I’m not trying to insult people, but ultimately the reason bad stock photography is so rife in business is because it’s easy. </p> <p>It takes seconds to find a stock photo that is loosely connected to your content, and by the time you’ve written a post or a web page you’re probably ready to be done with it. </p> <p>But that little bit of extra time and effort you spend on finding and including decent imagery could <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-content-strategy-best-practice-guide/">make your content stand out</a> against the sea of indistinguishable tripe floating around the internet. </p> <p>What are your thoughts? Generic stock photography: yay or nay? </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/2878 2016-01-19T11:54:23+00:00 2016-01-19T11:54:23+00:00 Google Analytics Advanced - Optimising your Site <p>Research by Econsultancy has shown that over 70% of companies now use Google Analytics systems to report online performance. However, frequently the tool hasn't been configured to tailor reports to make full use of its capabilities and drive business results.</p> <p>This practical small group workshop will help you get the most out of Google Analytics to improve your tracking, website and marketing campaign efficiency. Submit your own site during the workshop, and you'll have an opportunity to have it reviewed, with recommendations on "quick win" improvements for you to consider made by the expert trainer.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67228 2015-11-23T15:51:28+00:00 2015-11-23T15:51:28+00:00 The four major marketing sinkholes... and how to get unstuck Jacob McMillen <p>The truth is that sinkholes in your marketing strategy can pop up out of nowhere, and once they've swallowed you, escape can feel impossible.</p> <p>What’s worse, CMOs often unknowingly steer their teams directly into avoidable sinkholes, even with the best of intentions.</p> <p>That's why it's vital to have your eyes wide open to the four most common marketing sinkholes:</p> <ol> <li>Skill Scarcity</li> <li>Tool Trauma</li> <li>Silo Sorrow</li> <li>Data Delusion</li> </ol> <p>We’ll look at what they are, how to avoid them, and how to get out if you realize you’re already caught in the sinkhole.</p> <h3>1. Skill Scarcity</h3> <p>According to Harvard Business Review, 39% of all US employers suffer from <a href="https://hbr.org/2014/08/employers-arent-just-whining-the-skills-gap-is-real" target="_blank">skills gaps</a> – the inability of team members to perform job-critical tasks.</p> <p>In other words, more than one in three companies struggle to find and retain the human talent they desperately need.</p> <p>For marketers, this pain is even worse.</p> <p>As <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66645-how-to-bridge-the-marketing-skills-gap/" target="_blank">Econsultancy recently discovered</a>: “When asked to rate issues on a pain scale of one to five (with five being the most painful), 30% of respondents rated ‘finding marketers with the right skills is a nightmare’ as either four of five.”</p> <p>To test your own digital knowledge, take Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/">free Digital Skills Index</a>. It'll help identify areas you need to improve on and benchmark your knowledge versus your industry peers.</p> <p><strong>How can you prevent skills gaps?</strong></p> <p>Start by identifying the top “in-demand skills” for today’s marketers: most notably, using data to optimize campaigns and mastery of marketing technology.</p> <p>Then, instead of simply lamenting a lack of training, develop your own “best of” resource list to equip your teams. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating your own in-house marketing curriculum, although, for some, that can be a phenomenal solution.</p> <p>Instead, it means being intentional about collecting the books, blogs, guides, courses, and swipe files that have impacted you the most. In other words, create your own “must read” list of resources.</p> <p>Even more vital is sharing these resources with your team not as one-off individuals, but as group-wide learning experiences.</p> <h3>2. Tool Trauma</h3> <p>Kevin Freedman, CEO of Kaboodle, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10641-marketing-campaign-management-needs-purposeful-collaboration" target="_blank">recently admitted</a> “in my opinion, current management tools do not work for marketing, they are much too structured and I have often seen teams struggle to work without the flexibility they require.”</p> <p>Along with inflexibility, the sheer number of tools marketers now use is itself daunting. Curata’s nearly incomprehensible visualization illustrates this well: <br><img src="http://www.curata.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Tools-Update-v1.png" alt="" width="1368" height="864"></p> <p><em>Image Credit: <a href="http://www.curata.com/blog/content-marketing-tools-ultimate-list/" target="_blank">Curata</a></em></p> <p>But there is a solution.</p> <p>Get control of tool trauma by collecting a comprehensive “tool list” both internally from your marketing team as well as externally from other, job-critical departments.</p> <p>For example, check out Econsultancy's lists of useful <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66450-30-seo-tools-to-make-your-life-easier/">SEO</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66187-17-fantastically-useful-tools-for-content-writers-and-bloggers/">content marketing tools</a>.</p> <p>Coming together like this is a great way to not only reduce tool trauma, but also build bridges between silos.</p> <p>Next, search for applications that bundle key functions and eliminate redundant tools. For example, when it comes to collecting, curating, and sharing resources, pick one (and only one) central, digital hub.</p> <p>Then, instead of spreading your content and files across multiple applications -- like Evernote, Pocket, Buffer, separate cloud providers, and (worst of all) email -- consider an integrated tool like <a href="http://memit.com/" target="_blank">Memit</a>.</p> <p>Memit allows your team to save, manage, and share content on themed collections that resemble Pinterest boards. Moreover, it integrates directly with major cloud services like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/Gih3ffu.jpg" alt="" width="636" height="355"></p> <p><em>Image Credit: <a href="http://memit.com/" target="_blank">memit</a></em></p> <h3>3. Silo Sorrow</h3> <p>When it comes to silos, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66266-which-organisational-structure-would-you-choose-for-marketing-and-digital-redux" target="_blank">Neil Perkin’s view</a> is straightforward: “In the context of the rapid pace of change, silos are not good.” He goes on to say, ”[Silos] slow communication and decision-making, and lead to over-burdensome hierarchies.”</p> <p>Marketers often fall victim to silo sorrow because other departments -- especially customer service and product development -- don’t understand how to coordinate.</p> <p>Silos produce inconsistent brand messaging, untapped leads, distrust between departments, and blame-shifting instead of solution-building when problems arise.</p> <p>Creating multi-discipline teams and a strong communication plan are first and foremost in knocking down deadly silos.</p> <p>This means creating regular meetings, at least once a month, where you intentionally get everyone in the same room -- whether in person or digitally -- to share their victories, struggles, and insights.</p> <p>Collaboration tools that foster cross-departmental workflows are also a must. I’ll talk more about this in the next point.</p> <p>You might even consider how rearranging the physical work spaces can enable cross communication among employees.</p> <p>Quite simply, spaces that are better designed for collaboration can dramatically improve not only communication, but your bottom line as well.</p> <h3>4. Data Delusion</h3> <p>A recent <a href="http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Marketers-Value-Intent-Data-Struggle-with-Application/1012611" target="_blank">Forrester Consulting study</a> found that “eight in 10 senior-level marketers agree that using intent data for targeting created value.” </p> <p>However, that same study showed that 61% are struggling to combine and act upon relevant data.</p> <p>The truth is that big data -- while hailed as the ultimate business solution -- can cause gargantuan problems.</p> <p>Simply put, data delusion occurs when you’ve got far more data than you know what to do with.</p> <p>Unmanaged data is useless, but there are many software platforms available to aid you.</p> <p>Harvard Business Review points out that there are five main areas that must be targeted for better data management: leadership, talent management, technology, decision making, and company culture.</p> <p>The easiest way to overcome data delusion is to create all-in-one dashboards that merge online analytics with offline metrics.</p> <p>Here’s a great example from Cyfe that brings together the overall big picture (revenue YTD) along with keyword ranking, email data, and even social media mentions.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/IzPSS5o.jpg" alt=""></p> <p><em>Image Credit: <a href="http://www.cyfe.com/" target="_blank">Cyfe</a></em></p> <h3>Start Now</h3> <p>If your company is currently experiencing -- or better yet, planning to prevent -- any marketing sinkholes, good for you.</p> <p>Too many companies will unfortunately be hit unprepared.</p> <p>Skills scarcity, silo sorrow, tools trauma, and data delusion are the four most common problems.</p> <p>But the good news is you can get out in front of them and guide your team away from danger.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67000 2015-10-20T10:31:00+01:00 2015-10-20T10:31:00+01:00 Seven steps to building a successful mobile data capture model Dr Janet Bastiman <p>The last thing marketers want to do is turn off patrons and potential customers, but in the last few years brand communications that are designed to help companies capture customer data have become so disjointed that many of them are falling completely by the wayside.</p> <p>Here are my tips for staying on top of your data capture game in an age where mobile is king.</p> <h3>Ask only for what you need<br> </h3> <p>What’s the biggest annoyance when it comes filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office or completing a business survey? </p> <p>Asking too many questions - people can easily get overwhelmed and feel like they’re wasting their time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8133/riddler.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="413"></p> <p>Instead of posing as many queries as possible to get the most information out of your customers, ask only for what you need in order to personalize your service to them. </p> <p>The ideal data is simply the information necessary to communicate relevant content to your customers. If this amounts to more than three or four fields of data, try staggering your requests over time.</p> <h3>Be transparent</h3> <p>Consumers are now wise to the reality that brands are collecting their data. </p> <p>Rather than coming across as sneaky by avoiding this fact, confront it head-on and be straightforward about it. </p> <p>Let your customers know that you’re entering into a trade agreement with them: They can provide more information about themselves and, in return, you’ll deliver content that is much more timely and relevant. </p> <p>Recent studies have shown that people are much more likely to share information about themselves if they know what you’re going to do with it and what they’ll get in return.</p> <h3>Provide an easy ‘out’<br> </h3> <p>Make it convenient for customers to unsubscribe. Nothing can turn off a customer so much as repeatedly seeing emails or content they don’t want. </p> <p>If the 'unsubscribe' button is too hard for customers to find, they’ll think you’re not only causing them unneeded frustration, but also trying to subversively take advantage of them.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Please Log In to unsubscribe from our email newsletters" <a href="http://t.co/0D0S29b7uQ">pic.twitter.com/0D0S29b7uQ</a></p> — marie connelly (@eyemadequiet) <a href="https://twitter.com/eyemadequiet/status/655027596787384320">October 16, 2015</a> </blockquote> <h3>Store data responsibly and legally</h3> <p>As an organization entrusted with the personal information of your customers, you have an obligation to safely store it. </p> <p>Any customer’s personally identifiable information should be stored as encrypted data in case a breach does happen to occur.</p> <p>In this scenario, you’d have a double circle of security because the trespasser would have to breach the encryption key as well as the data to access your customers’ personally identifiable information.</p> <p>It’s also a good idea to remind customers that you’re storing their data. </p> <p>Once per quarter, for example, you can quickly reacquaint customers with your data capture and usage policies, providing a convenient method for them to opt out. </p> <h3>Standardise &amp; organise your data</h3> <p>Although the process itself doesn’t have to be standardised, it does pay to organise your data. </p> <p>Be sure you can accurately attribute different customer ID fields to the same individual if necessary. </p> <p>If you can do this, it will be relatively easy to organize the captured data before storing it.</p> <h3>Provide instant rewards</h3> <p>The mobile consumer is used to getting what they want when they want it. In exchange for personal information provided to you via mobile device, offer an instant reward. </p> <p>This will encourage customers to not only give you information in the moment, but to return in furture for more rewards.</p> <h3>Gamify the data collection process<br> </h3> <p>Sometimes it’s best to think back to basics when it comes to human psychology. Is it easier to get your child to eat when you’re 'flying an airplane' (i.e. spoonful of lunch) into their mouth or outright insisting that they finish all of their food? </p> <p>Make a game out of the data collection process and your customers will likely be much more willing to hop on board.</p> <p>Channels for capturing data may have changed, but the consumer hasn’t. </p> <p>When in doubt, use common sense regarding human behavior and apply available tools to streamline data capture. </p> <p>If you do this, you’ll receive more than your customer’s data; you’ll capture their loyalty. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63124-email-sign-up-forms-a-look-at-how-16-fashion-retailers-collect-customer-data/"><em>Email sign up forms: a look at how 16 fashion retailers collect customer data</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65016-a-guide-to-structuring-your-email-marketing-program/"><em>A guide to structuring your email marketing program</em></a></li> </ul>