Welcome to 2017, where marketers, researchers, and companies alike now track almost every aspect of consumer purchase decisions. From the ads you see to the coupons you receive, data is the driving force behind it all. With ever expanding resources and technological capabilities, companies and their ad agencies have the increasing ability to better understand their customers, and reach them with advertising that is more relevant than ever before.
Understanding consumer behavior is helpful in nearly every vertical you can think of, from grocery, to retail, to automotive. Consider this, would you waste your time and money investing in dealership point-of-sale marketing material if knew based on analytics that 71% of purchase decisions are made prior to even visiting the dealership? Along these lines are hundreds of other questions to ask. While for many years data has given us broad information like age demographics and popular television stations to match, now we can answer even more in-depth questions like what device are customers using to shop our website, where do they live, and what are their interests?
Advertisers can not only use this information to influence creative, but to influence digital targeting as well. Understanding the shopping funnel based on gender, age, location, ethnicity, and income means you’re able to create the most comprehensive and effective campaign. For example, you’ve done some research and you’ve found that the typical demographic for truck drivers around your dealership are male. You’ve also found; however, that on average females tend to make the larger purchase decisions in a household. With this newfound information, you decide that your digital campaign will target male shoppers on the interest targeting side, peaking their interest and getting them thinking about your truck. Since you now know that your truck driver’s female counterpart is going to have a heavy influence on this decision, you’ll use retargeting ads to reach her as well. It’s important to keep in mind that while there is often a clear target demographic, their shopping process is likely to be heavily influenced by the shopping process of others around them.
We’re not only able to make more broad generalizations based on data, but we are also able to analyze consumer affinities for certain products, findings that tell a story about the target audiences we’re looking to reach. Big data provides information that can be useful for cross-promotion and other marketing tactics. For example, a study found that on average luxury car drivers spend the most on healthy and beauty products. With this information, perhaps you decide to have some sort of cross-promoting campaign to better engage the luxury car audience. Similarly, that study also shows that on average, truck drivers prefer to drink Coors over Bud Light, while also favoring Wal-Mart over other retailers. These details may seem minor in the grand scheme of things, but they present the chance to better identify and understand these shoppers.
Just because we know truck drivers like to drink Coors and shop at Wal-Mart does not mean that we spend thousands of dollars filming a Ford F-150 commercial in a Wal-Mart parking lot with some Coors product placement. But it does mean that we can build out some of our digital campaigns with this information in mind. Odds are there’s probably a Wal-Mart not too far away from your business, so why not target the retailer with some of your digital ads? Geo-fencing a Wal-Mart with some interest targeting truck ads might be a great way to get the attention of your target audience at a place we know they’re likely to be.
On Facebook, we can echo this sentiment by targeting consumers based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, allowing for specific criteria to be met before an ad is shown. With each choice, an advertiser can increase or decrease the estimated reach of ad. Making these decisions creates more relevant advertising, with higher engagement, and overall a stronger return on investment.
The idea of big data is certainly intimidating as an individual, but it is a great tool to better understand consumers and their decision making process. With detailed targeting on both Google and Facebook advertising platforms, and analytics tools that can determine digital body language and decision making processes, marketing will only continue to become more streamlined. With increasingly targeted and relevant creative, data-driven advertising will continue to help to grow businesses and provide stronger returns on investment.
For more information on the study referenced in this article, please visit: https://viantinc.com/news/blog/new-research-2017-auto-shopper-trends/