Digital marketing and data science are both disciplines that despite being young, have managed to transform almost every industry in existence. To someone without the right experience, digital marketing and data science may seem unrelated, but the reality is quite the opposite.
Powered by data, many aspects of the web are actually powered by machine learning algorithms. However, search engines algorithms are not the limit of application of data science in digital marketing. Savvy marketers know the power of data and its ability to accelerate the rate at which marketing strategies produce results. With the right knowledge, marketers can tailor the entire marketing experience to produce predictable results.
How, you ask? If you are a marketer wondering how you can make the most of the ocean of data that is the Internet, this article is for you.
Let us begin by learning how data science has simplified search engine optimization and how you can use to your advantage.
Data Science And Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We just discussed how machine learning has made it possible for search engines to provide us with the wealth of information they do, right at our fingertips.
But did you know that you can just as easily use the power of data analysis to improve your website’s chances of ranking on the SERPs? Doing this requires no learned knowledge of data science and there are several free and premium tools available online.
These SEO tools use data from across the web, tracking millions of keywords, analyse millions of websites, have algorithms designed to notice patterns and provide their users (you) with exhaustive SEO analysis of their websites, paired with actionable information that can be utilised to further optimise the website to attract more organic traffic.
Big brands including the likes of Airbnb and Amazon consistently outperform their competition on search engines thanks to such software and now, anyone can use the power of data to compete with the giants of their respective fields.
That’s not all, even blogger outreach agencies utilise software that in turn, utilise data science to find relevant and high quality websites to target for guest posting and backlink building.
In other words, both on-page and off-page aspects of SEO can potentially benefit from data science.
Data Science And Email Marketing
Websites owners today have found several unique and effective ways to convince their customers and potential customers to sign up to their email marketing campaigns.
Thanks to this continued innovation, email marketing, despite being a “primitive” form of digital marketing, still delivers one of the best ROI among all of digital marketing channels.
But you probably already knew that.
What you probably don’t know is that the application of data science is one of the reasons that email marketing has been able to adapt to the changing customer preferences and addition of more advanced and engaging advertising channels to the web.
Thanks to data science, email marketing has become personalised, even when thousands of emails are being sent out every single minute.
With modern email marketing software, marketers can send personalised product recommendations, promotional emails, offers, cart abandonment notifications, and much more to their email lists. By dividing customer data into segments, their marketing experience can be personalised.
Moreover, with the right analysis, you can even figure out which aspects of their shopping experience on your website they care about the most, and create more relevant customer segments that deliver more radical results.
Here’s an example of how these tactics are already being (widely) implemented:
Custom Retargeting Ads Powered By Data Science
Has it ever happened to you that you were looking up a specific product on Amazon but left the website before making a purchase. Then, for the next few hours (or days) every display advertisement you view is about that specific product?
If so, you have already seen the amalgamation of digital marketing and data science in action.
Display ad networks utilise website user data to display custom ads across their own ad networks and that’s how they serve incredibly personalised adverts to potential customers.
These days, doing the same is also possible with social media advertising. Using tracking tools like Facebook’s Pixel allows social networks to collect data about user activity on a specific website.
Using this data, Facebook and other social media networks enable marketers to deliver retargeting ads to the visitors of their website.
Retargeting ads are incredibly effective. The average click-through ratio (CTR) of a retargeting ad is ten times higher than regular display ads. When executed right, retargeting ads can improve conversion rates by 150%.
Content Marketing Made Predictable With Data Science
For a very long time, content marketing has been viewed as a creative process. While there is no denying that it takes a creative mind to develop an incredible and engaging piece of content, the process behind content marketing can be made more scientific and in turn, more predictable, with the help of data science.
To do this, begin by creating a list of all your content pieces that have performed well in the recent past, say, 6 months. If you don’t have a long list, you can look for well performing pieces of content on the same topic that were published by others in your niche.
Buzzsumo is a great tool to find well-performing content pieces around a specific topic.
Once you have the list, add key characteristics of each piece of content to a Google Sheet or MS Excel file. To get started, key characteristics can be the length of the headline, the topic, the word count, the date and time of publishing. Feel free to add any and all characteristics that you think influence the popularity of content.
Next, make an additional column that describes the popularity of each post. To measure popularity, you must segregate posts that got more than 1,000 social media shares and those which got less than 1,000 shares.
Assign the value “1” to all the posts that got more than 1,000 social media shares and assign the value “0” to the rest.
This step might be a little time consuming but remember that it is the most time consuming step in the process of making your content marketing approach more scientific.
Once you have completed your list, log on to IBM’s Watson Analytics website and upload your data in .csv format.
Next, Watson will ask you to define dependent and independent values. Mark the popularity column as the dependent value and mark the rest as independent values. You can also choose to use fewer columns as independent values. However, using all the columns gives you a better chance at a more accurate prediction.
Once you have done this, Watson will determine which independent values are influencing the dependent values the most. For instance, you may notice that Watson has correlated popularity with a higher word count. This way, you will know that you need to improve the chances of your next blog post performing well, you must write at least a thousand words.
Similarly, you can take Watson’s help to identify the kind of headlines that receive the most shares, or the categories that are most popular.
With this information, you can determine the characteristics of your next article or series of articles that will improve the chances of success.
Conversion Rate Optimization
As the name suggests, conversion rate optimization is all about playing around with elements of marketing channels and assets, along with the elements of landing pages and the website, to boost the conversion rates.
It is not difficult to imagine the role of data science in conversion rate optimization. Whether it is the A/B testing of different landing pages to the multivariate testing of social media adverts, data analysis can reveal winners in terms of ad copies, landing pages, ad creatives, email copies, and even products.
In other words, with conversion rate optimization, almost every aspect of a business’ online marketing mix can be improved and conversion rate optimization is nearly impossible without access to the right data.
As you can see, data science is already being widely used to improve the results of different digital marketing strategies. At the same time, it is also powering online platforms including search engines and social media platforms and their advertising tools.
If you aren’t already leveraging the power of data to your advantage, you may be missing out on some serious improvements in your marketing ROI, because chances are that your competition is already using their own data to improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.