Sounds hard to believe right? Believe it! This is where online marketing is heading and you best keep an eye out...
Tim Berners-Lee (One of the guys who invented the world wide web) spoke back in 2009 about websites and linked data.
The video aired on TED isn't new video but years on, I wanted offer a unique perspective on what it means for business owners in the way we market our websites online.
I'll get to that in more detail shortly but first just a quick recap on the video...
Tim speaks about the difference between a website that serves up information in a way that is designed for one purpose compared to the data behind a website being used with other data that could be served for an infinite number of different uses.
The general idea for business is; the data behind websites, platforms, social sites and more, when used together could be far more powerful than using these mediums for their own individual purpose.
Marketing online? you're using linked data...
While he refers to linked data as the idea of data from multiple data sources being used as one, what needs to be considered is; within these individual data sources exist smaller segments of data. And you're already using this to benefit your business.
An example of these individual data sources are:
- Social sites like Facebook
- Search engines
- Your own internal marketing systems
You see, when marketing your business, your objective is to either acquire more customers at the lowest price or increase the spend or occurrence of transaction of existing customers.
But specifically when you're using online marketing to get more customers, you're actually using linked data.
It's all about the targeting...
Each one of the examples above relies on specific data to help you market your website and landing pages more efficiently.
Right now when we place a Facebook ad, we target the ad based on a range of data to improve its effectiveness.
When we use pay-per-click, we're calling upon historical data to determine the next best tweak or strategic move to result in a better return.
Every time you send an email campaign within your own internal marketing systems, you take advantage of segmenting data to increase the relevance of your marketing message.
But what if you all of these individual data sources were linked and proven metrics for the data existed? Big things!
In recent years, platforms have been created which allow you to connect up multiple analytics websites and monitor this data in one place.
An example of one platform is Informly. Informly allows you to connect all of your analytics in the one place and see a beautifully simple report to get a snapshot of your progress.
This is great but ultimately it's still up to you to take the data on board and use it to a strategic advantage based on your own conclusions.
So where's online marketing headed?
In time, as more platforms exist and their user base and data grows, more trends will begin to appear. These trends will result in a more intuitive platform and a standard set of metrics will evolve.
Business owners will still need professional web designers and online marketers to help their business grow but the potential for increasing your ROI will be unimaginable.
Let's say specific trends were identified and tested across the board by marketers of different industries which included:
- Identifying which social conditions and series of social cues from multiple social networks led to proven increased trust.
- The ability to recognise the type of Google search a user makes mixed with the keywords used at a particular time of day factoring in the way they have searched when looking to buy or enquire historically.
- Whether or not this same user engaged in a particular email campaign and the action they took after this engagement on your website or social sites.
Use this data separately and you're still going to have an advantage but combine it all into one rule for increasing conversions and you'll end up with an online marketing campaign that's more targeted and has a more guaranteed ROI then you can begin to imagine.
EXAMPLE 1: How we target within current platforms
Example 2: The future of linked platform targeting
In these two examples we can see the latter is far more cost effective. The platform that manages the linked data will use all metrics available to have a much better idea of who is likely to convert, so it doesn't waste your advertising spend showing ads to those users.
- Your cost of lead and cost of sale will drop so much that in comparison, traditional advertising will only be turned to as a branding exercise.
- You'll see a far greater growth being able to reinvest monies saved into marketing that delivers a much higher ROI.
By no means am I trying to say that it's easy and these metrics should already exist. These things take time and yes, data. Lots of data.
It will take collaboration and more then a few smart minds to get these metrics right but I do believe this is where online marketing is headed.