"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Wayne Blodwell, founder and CEO at The Programmatic Advisory.
Now that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been activated, brands must quickly learn how to maximize what they do with the customer data they collect. Failure to do so will result in greater losses than GDPR will inflict on its own.
The immediate priorities for brands are to put in place strategies to maximize both opt-in rates, while remaining GDPR compliant, and the return on investment (ROI) from opted-in consumers.
How to maximize opt-in rates
Brands should first look at the opt-in rates being generated in each communication channel, such as email, mobile, desktop or in-store. This data should then be analyzed to gain insights about where there are significant differences in opt-in rates. The next step is to look at how consent is being asked for in each channel. For example, are email communications going into more detail than website requests?
Once a pattern has been established, brands need to adjust their communications in each channel to cater to consumer behavior. As with creative, it is important to put in place a robust testing methodology that generates data that defines clear “winners” and “losers.” A/B testing is a great way to do this and simple to put in place by randomly changing the opt-in message presented to consumers over a period of time long enough to generate a large enough data set from which significant differences can be established.
This should be an ongoing task. If message A works better than message B, create a message C which is based on message A, but still different, and repeat the test. It’s then possible to see if message C performs better than messages A and B, and that insight can be used to create message D and so on until the opt-in rate peaks.
How to maximize ROI from opted-in consumers
A brand’s opted-in users are its most valuable asset and should be nurtured with care and attention through messaging personalization and smarter targeting.
Again, it’s a case of using the data that already exists to understand difference across different audiences and then running tests to generate data that identifies patterns in performance. For example, a brand like Walmart could try using ads that promote sales to a segment identified as sporadic purchasers to increase the likelihood of sales, thus increasing the value of those customers over time.
As with any marketing activity, it’s important that performance is evaluated against business goals such as sales, engagement or brand awareness, and it should be an ongoing process, not a one-off test.
What does the future hold?
The arrival of GDPR doesn't have to result in the drop in performance many brands have dreaded. As marketers have done many times before, they need to embrace the change and adapt strategically. Those who do this will reap the rewards, while those who don’t will suffer.
The key to embracing change is to actively test and learn and use the data from testing to continually evolve to meet consumer demands.