In its simplest form, personalization means using data to deliver relevant and engaging content to a customer across channels and devices. As our multi-channel, multi-touch world approaches 2015, it’s now more important than ever to consider how personalized marketing messages influence customer engagement and lifetime value. In the realm of digital advertising, personalized messages can exist in any combination of SEO, PPC, email, web and mobile display, social media, and affiliate networks—just to name a few. These channels, digital or otherwise, do not work in isolation. Rather, each channel positively interacts with one another, and with customers.
So, how to find the right digital marketing mix? How to measure the individual and collective impact of our multi-channel efforts? How to accurately attribute each channel’s contribution to overall conversion?
The answer lies with the customer.
Tracking the Customer Journey
In its simplest form, our goal as digital marketers is to maximize the value received from the relationships between customers and brands. To do this, we must focus on the individual—tracking, personalizing, and optimizing each customer’s journey from initial impression to final conversion.
It’s no secret that trends are shifting from desktop to mobile and tablet. As of June 2014, 37% of visits to online stores came from mobile devices (that’s up from 3.4% at the beginning of 2010). As people develop different relationships with online technologies to work, learn, play and socialize, their temporal behaviors change too. According to the 2014 Shopgate Mobile Commerce Index, traffic for mobile shopping peaks between 7 PM – 9 PM, during customer leisure time. Furthermore, purchase intent when browsing on mobile is higher than on desktop. This customer receptivity and intent is why social media advertising can be so impactful.
To understand the impact of multi-channel advertising efforts on one customer, we must use a people-based tracking model to get a full picture of conversions across devices. This can be tricky, as more than 40% of online adults sometimes begin an activity on one device and finish on another. The model to achieve this tracking is called multichannel attribution.
By using multi-channel attribution to assign value, we can
- Study a customer’s previous behaviors and website visits
- Develop a ROI for each touch type
- Determine the ideal marketing mix to drive a purchase
Multi-channel attribution is more than just a way to track the customer journey, and assign value to touch points along the way. By using the findings from a multi-channel attribution model, we are able to plan and optimize every interaction: showing customers the right ads, with the right offers, in the right channels, at the right time. And when the multi-channel stars align, this personalization maximizes customer lifetime value, or cLTV—through 2015 and beyond.