Category: data analytics

The finite era of “actionable insights”

For years, “actionable insights” have been the Holy Grail for data analytics companies. Actionable insights, the thinking goes, are the end product of data collection, aggregation, analysis, and judgment. They enable a decision-maker to modify behavior and achieve desired outcomes.

The process begins with data collection, which can take many forms. There’s a big difference between collecting data and aggregating it in a meaningful way that can provide a picture of reality. That’s the “insights” part of the puzzle. First, you need high-quality data, then you need the technological prowess to clean and organize it.

With high-quality data that’s been cleaned and organized, the next step is to provide context. This is the realm of companies like Tableau, which provide tools that translate machine-friendly data points into human-friendly visualizations that strive to depict an objective picture of current conditions.

But whereas a snapshot of current conditions may, in fact, yield new and meaningful insights (for example, if I look ‘sales numbers’ across an organization I can see which channels are over- or under-performing), human judgment has always been paramount in choosing a particular action. A perfect picture of static conditions doesn’t by itself offer any suggestions as to how to achieve particular outcomes. We still rely on management to tweak sales incentives or redistribute resources.

Or at least we did, up until recently. Machine learning is now shifting the balance of institutional decision-making. Advances in processing and algorithmic self-improvement mean that computers can now anticipate future outcomes and take steps to maximize particular ones. Intelligent systems can now see the world in shades of gray and evaluate likelihoods from multitudes of variables far beyond human comprehension.

That’s the world we currently live in, and the evidence is all around us. Machine learning algorithms have swayed elections by stoking targeted outrage. Our clothes, food, and consumer products are designed according to data-driven analytics. Every design feature in your favorite app is being constantly optimized according to how computers anticipate your future behavior. It’s why YouTube is actually pretty good at showing you videos that keep you engaged.

The day is coming when we will no longer require “actionable insights,” because the action will have already been taken. Nobody at YouTube is looking at your viewing history to determine what to recommend next. Computers do that. The value of the stock market is now largely driven by automated trading algorithms, and as a consequence, there are fewer stock analysts than there used to be. Not only can computers process information far better than humans, but they’ve also demonstrated better financial judgment.

The day will soon arrive when “actionable insights” will seem like a quaint notion from a simpler time. Computers will be smart enough to act on insights by themselves. In doing so, they may, in fact, diminish the need for human oversight.

Until then, however, human enterprise is still structured around hierarchies of decision-making and judgment. The CEO of a company still needs to delegate day-to-day responsibilities to human actors whose knowledge and judgment have proven sound.

And so, for now, we still need actionable insights. Data analytics companies will continue to build better mousetraps, until the day when there are no longer mice.

Gil Rachlin, SVP of Products and Partnerships at Synup.

The post The finite era of “actionable insights” appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin November 29, 2019 0 Comments

Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020

While ecommerce businesses are in the midst of the Q4 craziness and rising CPCs of the holiday season, B2B clients are planning for their business to pick up at the start of 2020.

In this post, I’ll walk through a few things to consider and refresh before Q1 gets here.

1. Study the competitive landscape

One of the most valuable sources of knowledge from Google campaigns is the ‘Auction Insights’ report, which provides info on when competitors have come into and out of the auction during the year. It’s also valuable to look at competitors that might be newer in the space and have recently entered the auction. With this information, you can dive into new keyword research by using tools like SEMrush and SpyFu. I also recommend studying creative, offers, and copy that your competitors are using across their ads helping to inform potential creative and development and testing for the start of the year. 

2. Reevaluate budgets for 2020

As the start of the year approaches, look to set budgets based on historical performance and anticipated seasonality. In order to have a strong plan in place, you should look beyond monthly breakdowns.

Some questions to consider

  • Did you expand into new channels late into the year?
  • Do you need to invest in more budget into certain channels?
  • Are our remarketing campaigns fully funded across channels?
  • Are you planning on investing budget into new channels?
  • How much of the budget will you set aside for testing?

Answering these questions will help ensure you budget appropriately for both historically efficient channels and promising new channels that can get you some early-adoption benefits. 

3. Refresh and rethink audiences

It’s important to review the audiences that you have been targeting over the past few months. Along with identifying new audiences to add and poor-performing audiences to pause, consider re-engaging qualified leads that went dark, bolstering account-based marketing efforts, and testing new lookalike audiences. 

4. Map out new creative and content

Creative and content are some of the most crucial aspects of campaign development. While you are preparing for Q1, make sure to do an audit of your current and planned creative and content. Are you thinking about the full funnel? Users who haven’t engaged with the brand before are typically looking to download a piece of content that they find valuable. It could be a whitepaper, case study, infographic, or something else that could engage them. 

As users progress down the funnel, they will be more willing to give their information to request a demo or get contacted by your company. It’s important to understand where a user is in the funnel and offer them content that aligns with that step. Make sure you’re analyzing content from 2019 and identifying your successes. Which can be spun forward, made into a series, or meaningfully refreshed? Give yourself a leg up by producing content you know to be effective.

Looking at historical performance will help you understand your successes and failures in 2019 and incorporate those into the 2020 planning. Creative, testing, competitive insights, and new audiences will be key efforts in driving growth and performance in the new year, so lay the groundwork now to get ahead of steam going into January.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

The post Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin November 26, 2019 0 Comments