10 years ago I started at Google and, with it, my first real understanding of how the ‘Google machine’ made money through Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising. The model was simple; an advertiser would bid on a keyword that related to the products or services they were selling and when that advert was clicked, Google earned money based on a competitive auction model. At that time, nearly a decade ago, the cost to acquire visitors to a website were relatively low as the competition levels were a fraction of what they are today. Back then, it was really a matter of build a website and shoppers will come. And they did, in their hundreds and thousands. So who cared if just a small percentage of my traffic converts? Online marketers were getting a great ROI.
Fast forward 5 years and it was a very different story.
That was the message that our CEO Graham passed on to a senior global marketing audience at Advertising Week, in the Times Center Hall in New York City.
“We’re surrounded by nebulous concepts around what we’re supposed to do with data,” said Graham. “It’s my view that the most profitable business application for Big Data is customer experience.”
In a space such as luxury, where the personal experience is as important as the goods you buy, how do you translate your brand online?
Is anyone else just a little sick of the term ‘Big Data’? For many of us as marketers it’s something we’ve heard about, something that we know we ought to address, but it’s something we just can’t get our heads around. And every time we hear or read the phrase it gnaws away at us, making you think “I really need to sort this out.”
It’s important to do A/B testing on your website to ensure that the changes you make to your site are increasing conversions. But it’s imperative to A/B test those parts of your sites which are considered to be ‘risky’, such as the checkout, where the downside of a test is potentially significant, and if pushed live would have a negative impact on your site’s performance.
In the last decade, the cost of storing data on disk has fallen by something like a factor of 10. As a result, the traditional approach of storing pre-defined fields in a database is being supplanted by a “record everything” model.
However, the ability to collect data on such a large scale is a double-edged sword.
We now live in a Google, Facebook and Apple generation where consumers expect great experiences that are intuitive, social and instant. This change in expectation has put increasing pressures on businesses to delight customers. In these increasingly competitive times the importance of both acquiring and retaining new customers has never been so high.
One of my proudest moments as editor of Marketing Week was stealing Mark Ritson away from our direct competitor and hiring him as my lead columnist.
From the level of media interest in their affairs, you’d be forgiven for assuming that big businesses are the backbone of the UK economy.
Yet as 4.9 million small businesses now contribute increasing billions of pounds to the British economy each year, the business landscape is evolving. And so is the culture.