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Marketer’s guide to data-driven marketing attribution



30-second summary:

  • All attribution models have their pros and cons, but one drawback the traditional models have in common is that they are rules-based. The user has to decide upfront how they want the credit for sales events to be divided between the touchpoints.
  • Markov’s probabilistic model represents buyer journeys as a graph, with the graph’s nodes being the touchpoints or “states”, and the graph’s connecting edges being the observed transitions between those states.
  • The number of times buyers have transitioned between two states is converted into a probability, and the complete graph can be used to measure the importance of each state and the most likely paths to success.
  • A campaign’s effectiveness is determined by removing it from the graph and simulating buyer journeys to measure the change in success rate without it in place.
  • By leveraging a data-driven attribution model you can eliminate the biases associated with traditional attribution mechanisms, and understand how various messages influence potential customers and the variances by geography and revenue type.

Marketing attribution is a way of measuring the value of the campaigns and channels that are reaching your potential customers.

By using the results of an attribution model, you can understand what touchpoints have the most influence on successful buyer journeys and make more informed decisions on how to optimize investment in future marketing resources.

But we all know that buyer journeys are rarely straightforward, and the paths to success can be long and winding.

With so many touchpoints to consider, it’s difficult to distinguish between the true high and low impact interactions, which can result in an inaccurate division of credit and a false representation of marketing performance.

This is why choosing the best attribution model for your business is so important.

In this post, we’ll discuss a bit of background on different attribution models, and ultimately, how to build a custom, data-driven attribution model to measure the performance of global campaigns.

Limitations of traditional marketing attribution models

All attribution models have their pros and cons, but one drawback the traditional models have in common is that they are rules-based. The user has to decide upfront how they want the credit for sales events to be divided between the touchpoints.

Traditional models include:

Luckily, there are more sophisticated data-driven approaches that are able to capture the intricacies of buyer journeys by modelling how touchpoints actually interact with buyers, and each other, to influence a desired sales outcome.

We also evaluated the Shapley model from cooperative game theory. This popular (Nobel prize-winning) model provided much more insight into channel performance than the traditional approaches, but it didn’t scale to handle the sheer volume of touchpoints in today’s digital world.

The Shapley model performed well on a relatively small number of channels, but most companies need to perform attribution for all campaigns, which can equate to hundreds of touchpoints along a buyer’s journey.

Evaluating the Markov attribution model

Markov’s probabilistic model represents buyer journeys as a graph, with the graph’s nodes being the touchpoints or “states”, and the graph’s connecting edges being the observed transitions between those states.

For example, a buyer watches a product Webinar (first state) then browses to LinkedIn (transition) where they click on an Ad impression for the same product (second state).

The key ingredient to the model is the transition probabilities (the likelihood of moving between states).

The number of times buyers have transitioned between two states is converted into a probability, and the complete graph can be used to measure the importance of each state and the most likely paths to success.

For example, in a sample of buyer journey data we observe that the Webinar touchpoint occurs 8 times, and buyers watched the webinar followed by clicking on the LinkedIn Ad only 3 times, so the transition probability between the two states is 3 / 8 = 0.375 (37.5%).

A probability is calculated for every transition to complete the graph.

marketing attribution

Before we get to calculating campaign attribution, the Markov graph can tell us a couple of useful nuggets of information about our buyer journeys.

From the example above you can see that the path with the highest probability of success is “Start > Webinar > Campaign Z > Success” with a total probability of 42.5% (1.0 * 0.425 * 1.0).

The Markov graph can also tell us the overall success rate; that is, the likelihood of a successful buyer journey given the history of all buyer journeys. The success rate is a baseline for overall marketing performance and the needle for measuring the effectiveness of any changes.

The example Markov graph above has a success rate of 67.5%:

Campaign attribution

A Markov graph can be used to measure the importance of each campaign by calculating what is known as the Removal Effect.

A campaign’s effectiveness is determined by removing it from the graph and simulating buyer journeys to measure the change in success rate without it in place.

Using Removal Effect for marketing attribution is the final piece of the puzzle. To calculate each campaign’s attribution value we can use the following formula:

For example, say that during the first quarter of the fiscal year the total USD value of all successful buyer journeys is $1M.

The same buyer journeys are used to build a Markov model and it calculated the Removal Effect for our Ad campaign to be 0.7 (i.e. The buyer journey success rate dropped by 70% when the Ad campaign was removed from the Markov graph).

We know the Removal Effect values for every campaign observed in the input data, and for this example let’s say they sum to 2.8. By plugging the numbers into the formula we calculate the attribution value for our Ad campaign to be $250k.

Get started on your own model

The marketing attribution application above was developed by Cloudera’s Marketing and Data Centre of Excellence, but you can get started today on your own model.

By leveraging a data-driven attribution model you can eliminate the biases associated with traditional attribution mechanisms, and understand how various messages influence potential customers and the variances by geography and revenue type.

Once you have solid and trusted data behind attribution, you can be confident in using the results to inform and drive marketing mix strategy and investment decisions. And, you can rely on the numbers when you partner with sales teams to drive marketing strategies forward.

James Kinley is a Principal Data Scientist at Cloudera. He joined them from the UK defense industry where he specialized in cyber security.

The post Marketer’s guide to data-driven marketing attribution appeared first on ClickZ.

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Marketing Strategies

As Businesses Bounce Back Post-COVID, B2B Orgs Prioritize Accounts On The Rebound



As businesses slowly start to reopen, B2B marketers will be tasked to reignite their business operations and identify when their target accounts are ready to do business again.

Seismic, a sales and marketing enablement software, rolled out resources to help its customers adapt to a work-from-home model, helping customers with remote collaboration, meeting the demand for content and fostering digital engagement. Ed Calnan, Co-founder and CRO of Seismic, shared details around how Seismic has adapted to COVID-19 and helped businesses retain similar levels of customer success.

“Businesses were forced to have most, if not all, employees work remotely,” Calnan explained. “They quickly needed to get their tech stack sorted to support this shift, and many turned to remote collaboration tools, like Zoom, which has experienced unprecedented growth during this time. These companies were most in need of a platform that helps facilitate continued growth if they had the budget available to make technology investments. Every sales and marketing leader, no matter what kind of business they work for, should be looking within their networks for similar opportunities.”

Calnan offered three tactics for marketers who are struggling with the effectiveness of their efforts:

  • Aligning sales and marketing with customer success teams;
  • Finding the best time to target rebounding accounts; and
  • Identifying accounts that are on the verge or have already rebounded.

Keeping All Teams Up To Speed

The need for efficient communication is integral to any business’ success, and this rings true for businesses operating during and after COVID-19. According to Calnan, sales and marketing leaders need to look at the landscape as a whole and adapt accordingly, and having marketing, sales and customer success teams aligned leads to efficient communication and the ability to adapt to new information or marketing shifts.

The alignment of business operations can help increase response time to new trends, market shifts and active accounts. Maintaining alignment across the organization can also help teams identify companies that are rebounding, track new information that helps marketers accurately pursue individual accounts, create unified messaging and drive campaign success.

“When these teams are already working together, it’s much easier to get a pulse on how customers are being impacted, which can then be funneled to sales and marketing to inform new strategies and plans,” Calnan explained. “It’s incredibly important that the customer success team is closely in touch with sales and marketing to ensure everyone is singing the same song as messaging and campaigns are overhauled.”

Marketing plays that worked pre-COVID may not be viable in a digital-only environment, and maintaining alignment across marketing, sales and customer success positions all teams to brainstorm ideas and test new strategies.

“Sellers can be creatures of habit,” Calnan stated. “Sales leaders have to become accustomed to pivoting and re-prioritizing, or worse, pipeline slowing. When that happens, marketing must take the time to focus on the behind-the-scenes work that will help their sales team succeed in the future. This requires perfecting demos, role-playing, training and account planning.”

Optimizing Rebounding Account Outreach

As businesses bounce back from the pandemic, it’s important for marketers to remember that their buyers are also in the process of re-entering the market. Some accounts may not be financially ready to engage in purchasing decisions, while others have been interacting with B2B businesses throughout the pandemic.

Calnan suggests that marketers make sure to validate the leads they are about to engage by identifying active accounts and looking at boosts in revenue, existing historical data and merger/acquisition activity. These factors show the overall health of the account, and help marketing, sales and customer success teams determine whether pursuing the account will result in engagement or ROI.

“Historical sales data has helped us determine who may still have the highest propensity to buy during an uncertain period like COVID-19,” he said. “Marketers and sellers also need to pay attention to things like a resumption of M&A activity. Basically, look for anything that suggests a company is making forward-looking business decisions.”

Calnan also highlighted that reaching out to pre-existing accounts and identifying active older accounts that have already rebounded will be easier by establishing trust. Many pre-existing buyers are looking for businesses that will maintain their operations despite the uncertainty, and marketers need to prove to accounts that buying from or partnering with their business will result in healthy growth for both buyer and seller.

Organizations with aligned marketing, customer success and sales teams can use this transparency to identify which older accounts are beginning to rebound, have already been active throughout the pandemic or are still inactive.

“Pandemic aside, expanding existing accounts should always be a top priority, and the customer success team should be part of that process in their role as trusted advisor and support system to customers,” Calnan stated. “They should always be clued into how current customers are using the platform and the business goals they’re trying to achieve so they can make strategic recommendations on new tools and features that can drive even more value.”

Knowing When To Engage

Calnan stressed the importance of knowing the best time to reach out to target accounts, as many accounts are still reopening or struggling to reenter the market.

Prematurely performing outreach for accounts that are not in the market or are still struggling to reopen can not only result in rejection but potentially kill any attempts to engage with them in the future. Marketers and salespeople need to carefully analyze their account data to avoid isolating potential buyers, learning which accounts are struggling, which are actively buying and which are getting their bearings.

“Sales and marketing teams need to exercise the highest level of due diligence before attempting to start a conversation with a business they perceive to be on the rebound,” Calnan stated. “This means keeping tabs on the activities of these companies for indicators that things are stabilizing for them.”

To avoid isolating their current out-of-market accounts or struggling future accounts, Calnan suggests that sales, customer success and marketing teams should instead pivot their strategies based on the accounts’ current status and decide whether to reach out accordingly.

While we’re still in times of uncertainty, B2B organizations must be nimble and agile with their outreach to maintain engagement with buyers as they rebound. Having a solid plan that aligns across organizations will position marketing, sales and customer success teams to build and maintain authentic relationships that close deals.

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Marketing Strategies

How to be successful with Google Shopping Ads



30-second summary:

  • Inflow is a Denver-based digital marketing agency that specializes in creating and managing Google Shopping campaigns for their eCommerce clients
  • Inflow’s eBook, How to Identify and Execute a Winning Google Shopping Campaign, provides an overview of how Google Shopping operates within the context of a Google Ads strategy.
  • The eBook explains three common vendor mistakes within Google Shopping that contribute to wasted spend and poor results.
  • Inflow also provides three proven campaign structures that are designed to mitigate waste and maximize return.
  • Inflow’s eBook, How to Identify and Execute a Winning Google Shopping Campaign, is available for download from ClickZ.

Denver-based digital marketing agency, Inflow, is a premier Google Partner that specializes in growing results specifically for eCommerce clients. Inflow recently published a comprehensive eBook, How to Identify and Execute a Winning Google Shopping Campaign, aimed at helping advertisers get the most out of their Google Shopping ads.

Content produced in partnership with Inflow.

A brief history of Google Shopping

Google Shopping was initially launched by Google in 2003 under the name Froogle.

While initially free for vendors, in 2012, Google rebranded the service as Google Shopping and pivoted to a pay-to-play model where merchants paid to list their products using the Google Ads (formerly “AdWords”) interface.

Today Google Shopping exists as two platforms—Google Ads and Google Merchant Center. Merchants update their product information in Merchant Center, and create their paid shopping campaigns via Google Ads.

Google then displays your ad based on user search queries it deems most relevant. Unlike Google Search, Google Shopping campaigns operate without keywords.

Shopping ads, also known as product-listing ads or PLAs, differ from standard text ads because the content of the ad is pulled directly from the Merchant Center feed. Ecommerce-specific data, such as product images, price, rating, description and more, is displayed to users in place of ad copy.

The following screenshot illustrates the difference between text ads in a Search campaign, PLAs, and organic listings in Google’s search results for the query “levis jeans.”

Source: Inflow

On the Google Shopping experience, Inflow writes: “With Google Shopping users can browse and find the product they want without having to leave the search results page. In addition, the Shopping ad takes you directly to the product page of the product you see instead of sending you to a generic landing page. This tends to result in higher conversion rates and a much shorter customer journey.”

Three common Google Shopping mistakes

In their eBook, Inflow lists three common Google Shopping mistakes that advertisers often make. While discussed below, more details on each are available in the eBook.

Mistake #1: You haven’t added any negative keywords to your PLAs

You’re likely already using negatives in your Google Ads keyword campaigns, but did you know that you can also leverage negatives in your shopping campaigns?

Inflow recommends that advertisers review Shopping search queries every 7 – 30 days (based on traffic levels)  to ensure ads are not serving for irrelevant terms.

Mistake #2: You’ve failed to segment your shopping campaigns

As with Search campaigns, Shopping campaigns perform better when they are organized and appropriately segmented. Per their eBook, Inflow states  “Oftentimes in an audit we identify instant wins from simply organizing a messy account.” 

Depending on the account, there are many ways to organize Google Shopping. According to the eBook, “products can be segmented by margins, product type, bestsellers, etc.” Segments can be created using thematically relevant ad groups.

Mistake #3: Your account suffers from poor campaign structure

The right campaign structure is just as important as correct segmentation for Shopping campaigns. Thoughtful and strategic campaign structures ensure traffic is directed to your best performing, most relevant products - and help save a lot of money.

The right campaign structure will also create more optimization levers so you can be sure your PLAs appear as often as possible and are leveraged appropriately by device.

Choosing a campaign structure

Inflow lists and explains three approaches that eCommerce marketers can take when structuring a Shopping campaign.

These approaches differ based on several factors, including sales volume, search queries, and customer demographics. Inflow suggests first analyzing the following:

Sales per day

Smart Shopping is a campaign type within Google Ads that uses machine learning to automate campaign management and increase conversions. But, like any machine learning, it is only as good as the data at its disposal. 

Sales volume can affect performance of Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns and should be considered when deciding on a campaign structure. If you have high-ticket items that amount to fewer sales per week, this campaign setting may not be right for you.

Inflow provides in-depth guidance on how smart shopping works. “While all products behave differently, understanding how much conversion data Google will be working with is a crucial step in determining what your Google Shopping structure will look like,” Inflow explains.

Search query traffic

Google’s search terms report allows advertisers to see when their ads are triggered for the specific queries that users type into Google.

Inflow advises advertisers to review this report so they can understand trending queries that lead to sales, enabling them to adjust their campaign to focus on the best performing products and categories.

Customer demographics

The eBook addresses the importance of understanding your customers when applying manual bidding. This piece helps explain how to reduce wasted spend by getting your Shopping ads in front of the right people using demographic bidding.

Building winning Google Shopping campaign structures

With the common mistakes and important considerations in mind, the final piece of the puzzle is campaign creation. Inflow reviews three winning Shopping campaign structures that each leverage different features available to eCommerce marketers.

Smart Shopping campaign - no segmentation

This fully automated structure relies on machine learning to serve and optimize Shopping ads.

While these campaigns save time and allow the marketer to focus on big picture strategy, Inflow cautions that they can be wasteful and difficult to optimize as you lose control of the levers you have in manual Shopping campaigns.

Smart Shopping with segmentation

This hybrid approach leverages AI while also providing more manual control options for marketers, allowing for the adjustment of budgets by segmented groups.

Manual tiered structure campaign

This third and final approach requires more work and setup time, but holds value in the leverage it affords marketers. With a manual tiered structure, you’re able to easily adjust bids, set priorities, view search queries, and manually prioritize high-performing products.

Inflow provides more information about the benefits and implementation for each of the above strategies in their eBook, which is available for download here.

The post How to be successful with Google Shopping Ads appeared first on ClickZ.

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Marketing Strategies

What will make your brand stand out on LinkedIn in 2020?



30-second summary:

  • Brands and marketers are always on the lookout for platforms, strategies, and ways to grow their presence and business.
  • When platforms like Facebook and Instagram show signs of saturation in terms of organic reach, LinkedIn saves the day.
  • However, in a crowd of 30 million company pages, to stand out and grow your brand is undoubtedly a tedious task. So how do you stand out?
  • Co-founder and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies, Harikrishna Kundariya shares the super six of LinkedIn strategies to help you unlock your brands’ true potential.

Brands and marketers keep looking out for platforms that can help their business grow. When platforms like Facebook and Instagram show signs of saturation in terms of organic reach, LinkedIn saves the day.

With over 310 million monthly active users, LinkedIn is everything that someone would need to grow professionally. It has become what Facebook was a few years back in terms of providing opportunities to brands and connecting them to their potential customers.

However, in a crowd of 30 million company pages, to stand out and grow your brand is undoubtedly a tedious task. And in order to unlock the true potential of LinkedIn, you need to stand out. So how to do that?

We’ve listed the best strategies that can make your brand stand out on LinkedIn in 2020.

The top three prerequisites of a great LinkedIn profile

But before proceeding, there are a few prerequisites.

Have an optimized company profile

Before starting with anything, you need a few gears with you and an optimized company page is that gear here. Your page is the first thing that anyone would check before interacting with your brand. Make sure that when someone opens your page, you have sufficient information on it.

Source: M.O.M. LinkedIn Company Page

Here are a few things to consider

  1. Make sure your company page has a profile picture.
  2. Add a background picture.
  3. Fill out all the form fields: Name, LinkedIn Public URL, Website, Company Size, Company Type, Logo, and Tagline.
  4. Add a detailed description of what your company does.
  5. Add up to three hashtags for connecting with your target audience.

Define your goals

Just like any other platform, LinkedIn too needs a strategic approach. And the first step to developing any strategy is by defining a goal or goals. Your goals can be anything like the ones shared below:

  • Creating awareness regarding your brand.
  • Generating website traffic.
  • Boosting your personal brand.
  • Getting leads.
  • Making sales.

Define your target audience

Based on your goal, define your target audience. The people who you wish to attract and connect with for achieving your goals. This will help you to create content that will help you execute your marketing strategies and achieve your goals.

Now that you’re done with the prerequisites, it’s time to dive into the strategies.

Six strategies to help you stand out on LinkedIn in 2020

Congratulations, you’re now up to speed with the prerequisites! You’re just six strategies away from having a successful LinkedIn presence.

1. Create posts that are related to your niche

How do you think influencers become influencers? Because they create and share content regularly. And LinkedIn’s algorithm also promotes text-based content more than any other form of content.

So the best way to stand out from the crowd is by sharing text posts as much as you can. However, remember it’s always quality over quantity. Start with three to four posts per week. You can share your work experiences or struggle stories or basic tips and tricks related to your profession.

LinkedIn, the employment-oriented online service that primarily serves as one of the world’s largest social media platforms for working professionals is a great example. Their content strategy is variety-packed, but here’s a quick look at the content types they actively publish.

A simple two-liner post that is data-backed and relevant to their audience as well as the current climate.

LinkedIn informative post

The post share below is purely an engagement based one but it successfully struck the chords with 5K+ professionals in just a week.

LinkedIn engagement post

In addition to these, LinkedIn also shows its audience that it has strong values and has a voice by sharing valuable posts. However, how you choose to create content would solely depend on how your brand stands and how you’d want to connect with your audience.


LinkedIn content has a cause

Source: LinkedIn Company Page

2. Stay consistent

The biggest thing that will set you apart from your competitors is the level of your consistency. Treat your LinkedIn company page as an extension to your website. Update it from time to time. Create and share insightful posts and make sure that you engage with your audience as much as possible.

Set a posting schedule and strictly adhere to it but remember it’s always quality over quantity. So create a schedule based on your availability of resources.

3. Create videos

Videos are the latest feature on LinkedIn and so the scope of growing video content creators is more right now.

Create videos Microsoft LinkedIn example

Source: Microsoft LinkedIn Company Page

You can create videos on anything that is related to your niche. People love videos because they don’t need to put any effort to watch a video and get the takeaways. There are several video creators on LinkedIn but the number is still a way lesser than text-based content creators.

Also, LinkedIn recently added a new feature of live streaming which is still available to only a few people. Now if you manage to get this feature, it would really help you to boost your LinkedIn profile.

4. Get a good hold of LinkedIn’s three engagement methods

Just like any other platform, even LinkedIn boosts the profiles and pages that have good engagement rates.

LinkedIn has basically three engagement methods that are: like, comment and share. However, there’s one more thing that LinkedIn focuses on while promoting a post which is how many people clicked on “see more” in a post. The more people click on “see more” to read your entire post the more LinkedIn thinks of it as a good post.

So if you want to make people open the entire post, you need to use the first two lines to write a captivating hook.

Also, to boost the engagement rate of your post, make sure your reply to each and every comment. This doesn’t only make the post look good to the algorithm but also boosts your relationship with your audience. You can also tag a few relevant people in your post to seek their opinion.

5. Let your employees be your biggest brand ambassadors

LinkedIn works as a digitized resume for individuals and thus provides them with the option of mentioning the past and present employers. Ask all your employees to clearly mention that they currently work for you. Getting mentioned on the profiles of your employees will help you to establish your brand name as a trusted company.

Employees brand ambassadors on Microsoft LinkedIn page

Source: Microsoft LinkedIn Company Page

Also, you can ask your employees to keep talking about their work experience in your company and provide testimonials that you can showcase on your company page. The more they talk about your brand the more people come to know about your offerings.

6. Use lead magnets

All the above-mentioned strategies are already being used by the top brains on LinkedIn but what is that secret sauce that can help get on the top?

That’s your skill!

Create an irresistible lead magnet for your target audience. This can be anything like an eBook, access to a video series, or a private group. This lead magnet will help you grow your personal brand and make your target audience reach out to you.

A single lead magnet can help you grow your audience base exponentially and generate leads for you.

To wrap up

So these were the six strategies that can be used to grow your brand on LinkedIn. However, no matter what platform you choose it’s necessary to understand the importance of consistency. Now based on your goals and audience type, choose your strategies wisely and start unlocking the true potential of LinkedIn for your business.

Harikrishna Kundariya Co-founder and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies, a mobile app development company. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and chatbot. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

The post What will make your brand stand out on LinkedIn in 2020? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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