Digital strategy in 2016
To stand out in 2016, you need to offer a frictionless user experience in every digital interaction to help customers achieve their goals and your long-term business goals. To do so, you need to understand your customers' expectations and make sure you track and measure your interactions accurately.
In this series of blog posts, we will explore different aspects of developing a digital strategy for 2016, one that lays the foundations for long-term sustained growth. The series is:
- Understanding users and their interactions is the topic we explore below.
- Mobile strategy is the focus of the second post in the series.
- Content distribution channels explores new, emerging, and re-emerging content distribution and user interaction channels.
Update your understanding of your customers
The first step for any strategy is making sure your understanding of your customers is accurate and up to date. Think about:
User needs at different points of their interactions with you.
The different user contexts in which these interactions happen.
Both of these rely heavily on well-constructed customer personas. That's a big topic in its own right which can be summarized by "who are your different users, what do they each want, and why?". Although personas are typically built by the marketing teams, it's critical to also involve your analytics and technical teams too as we'll see later.
Respond to anlytics blocking
Last time we talked about how ad and content blockers also block analytics. The unstoppable rise of content blocking means more and more of your users are invisible to your metrics.
There are two solutions to this:
Model the behavior of the customers who use content blockers, and use the model to adjust the metrics you can still measure.
Build your own analytics infrastructure, one that is not blocked by default.
To make the model (probabilistic) approach work, you will need to constantly monitor and update your user model. In the short term, this is a good strategy to get better metrics. In the long-term, we suspect it is not the best investment.
Building your own analytics stack is much easier than many imagine it to be (there are many excellent open-source packages to use). However, you will be taking on more work in terms of accounting for edge cases (e.g. bot traffic), data retention and data access policies, and user policies (e.g. how, if at all, do you handle the Do Not Track HTTP header?).
Having your own infrastructure enables useful analyses; for example:
- Having a single data warehouse as the source of truth is more efficient than having multiple data silos with different access controls, APIs, and schemas.
- All data streams can be integrated into one data store. You can integrate organic search, data from advertising, social media, and your CRM into one store.
- Similarly, if you work with multiple agencies, you can require each one add the data and models they generate for you to your data warehouse. This means all business functions have access to a complete picture of your data.
For 2016, it may be prudent to start on both approaches. This allows you to get better (if less than perfect) visibility of your customers quickly, and lay the foundation for a better future.
Integrate analytics into all business processes
On the subject of analytics: Without constantly measuring micro- and macro-conversions on each digital touch point (website, app, social, etc), your business is flying blind.
Building on the previous section for the new year, think about:
Is your existing analytics package instrumented correctly? Especially for older sites, make sure your analytics is measuring what you think it is supposed to be measuring.
Are your micro- and macro-conversions the right ones for your business and the changing customer expectations?
Are all teams trained in using the existing analytics, and do they use the data? Are they missing any data?
Please contact us if you need any help thinking about or improving your user understanding or analytics.
Continue reading the series
- Understanding users and their interactions was this post.
- Mobile strategy.
- Content distribution channels.
Image source: Mobile mobile, by James Theophane.