Trust in digital advertising is at an all-time low thanks to various data misuse scandals and the public's growing awareness about how their data can be exploited. While GDPR can be seen as the regulators big stand on behalf of consumers, the industry itself should be taking a proactive approach too. So what should advertisers and vendors do? Ben Humphrey suggests five key areas where they should take action.
For too long, online retailers have been relying on cookies to mine online customer data despite the fact that individual customers and prospective shoppers now use multiple devices during their shopping journey. Cookies simply can’t keep up with the task of tracking and understanding customer behaviours.
So if online retailers don’t know who their customers are, how can they deliver a personalised service?
In short: they can’t. Which is why it’s so important that retailers dig deeper by utilising behavioural marketing.
The key strength of behavioural marketing is that it targets consumers based upon their actions on websites rather than simply what websites they visit. Retailers can then start to identify individual online shoppers allowing them to supercharge their triggered email, onsite personalisation and push notifications.
5 key reasons why behavioural marketing is an essential upgrade on the crumbling cookie
1. Non-cookie reliant identification is a more unique and effective way to provide a better user experience for e-commerce consumers
Cookies are device and browser specific. In a world where the average digital consumer owns 3.2 connected devices (desktop, tablet, mobile, digital assistants, TVs, etc), brands need a solution that doesn’t rely on cookies alone to identify the customer.
Cookies don’t work because people share devices, delete temporary internet files and routinely use multiple devices during their purchasing journeys. Non-cookie reliant identification means that the customer experience becomes seamless, no matter what device they start and end the shopping journey on.
Despite this only 39% of companies said they understood customers’ cross-device behaviour in an Econsultancy survey.
2. Identification provides a more accurate, detailed view of customers and their behaviours
Identification enables brands to know not only which customers arrive to their website, but also individual prospects across all their devices. This allows brands to really understand consumer intent based on their behaviour, down to the level of a unique identifier.
If you understand how they behave and why, it’s easier to serve them with the right products and messages to get them to convert.
Today the average identification rate for ecommerce companies is incredibly low, at approximately 5%. So this represents a great opportunity for retailers to get ahead of the competition.
3. Marketers can use identification to improve the scale of their triggered email, onsite personalisation and push notification programs
By tracking their online movements, retailers can start understanding the digital footprint of a customer and therefore the level of intent. Using digital behaviour, such as clicks, hovers and other online actions, brands can tell where customers are in their shopping journey, allowing them to serve messaging that is most relevant to each individual customer, at each stage of their buying process.
With a much clearer picture of the customer’s behaviour, regardless of whether they’re logged in, brands can deliver intent-based messages onsite and via email across sessions and devices.
Where it becomes incredibly powerful, is the ability for brands to then open up triggered email as a top five channel. This means brands can open up the highest converting email not only to current customers but also prospects, making it a powerful customer acquisition channel.
Identification enables retailers to understand their abandoning traffic on an individual basis and it also distinguishes prospects from returning customers. This enables a seamless conversation and boosting retargeting spend.
4. Grow your email subscribers effectively whilst remaining compliant post GDPR
Post GDPR, email is still the most popular channel by a significant margin – 90% of consumers said it was in their top four preferred channels out of eight. Nonetheless, it’s time to develop a more sophisticated way to ask for emails.
By looking at consumer intent, and the behaviours each individual exhibits on-site, retailers can identify the best time to ask for shoppers’ email addresses using a compelling value-proposition that is tailored to that individual, based on their recent behaviour.
For instance, some customers are motivated by price reductions, while others are keen to learn more about the story of the brand. Their digital body language will tell you which bucket they fall into. It’s the role of the brand to watch and give customers and prospects something in exchange for their email that is specific to them. By giving them truly relevant value-propositions to sign up, you will ensure you’re building a very strong opted in, email database.
The takeaway here is that when asking for an email address, the retailer shouldn’t make their request the focus. The customer doesn’t care what the retailer wants, they only care about what they’ll get.
That’s why it’s so important to know what the consumer wants.
5. Identification increases conversion and drive incremental sales
All brands are now faced with the challenge of multi-device shoppers and this essentially makes cookies obsolete. It’s more important than ever to tie consumer experiences together across devices, and identification paves the way.
Additionally, once you can grow and accelerate your understanding of individual consumers, it will allow brands to open up triggered emails to a much larger addressable audience.
We all want to get away from batch and blast and move to the highest converting emails, but we the problem is we struggle to identify anyone aside from customers to send these emails to. Identification helps end that struggle.
According to research by Forrester, ecommerce companies experienced a range of benefits thanks to their investment in behavioural marketing. These included:
- a 15% increase in prospect conversion from website traffic
- a minimum 20% increase in digital marketing productivity
- a 50% increase in margins by reducing the need for affiliate-driven revenue.
Understand more than just the device
Ultimately, the device itself is of little importance. Behavioural marketing is about recognising how each human interacts with your business as a whole, regardless of the device or channel and using each person’s digital body language as a blueprint for growing your company.
Are you ready?
Gracia Amico has nearly two decades of experience working at the forefront of e-commerce innovation and is Board Advisor at BounceX.
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