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Data visualization

Data visualization

Data visualization tools create graphic representations of business data to make information understandable and meaningful. By doing so, they can bring insight to your marketing strategies and shed light on trends, patterns, and possible changes that affect your business. These insights change with growing technology. The modern visualization tools make viewing data simpler, more accessible, and easier to apply to your marketing strategy.

These tools essentially allow you to look at data from a bird’s eye view. The wider scope means more accurate results. So instead of taking a small sample of data and applying it to your larger consumer audience, you can rake through your entire customer database for more precise results.

Data visualization also gives you the freedom to uncover trends within highly specified categories in your customer database. You can analyze customer data based on purchase history, demographic, or response rates to campaigns and use it as you fine-tune future strategies. The tools even give you the ability to study correlations between specific services or products so you can personalize future offers to your customers.

One of the primary reasons data visualization is important is that it helps to draw meaningful conclusions from the data and make the most of the numbers. By doing so, it can reveal patterns and trends and give hints into upcoming opportunities to interact with your consumer audience. This is especially significant because it not only gives you a direction in which you can move forward; it also gives insight into previous campaigns. Getting a more granular knowledge of your strategy can show you where you’re wasting money and where to focus your spending in the future.

Data visualization tools do all of this while cutting down on time and resources. There’s no longer a need to hire a specialized IT worker to sift through the numbers. Even marketers with a very basic knowledge of analytics can easily navigate and react to the system.

As technology rapidly advances, data visualization allows for more complex analytics at an almost instantaneous rate. Quite literally, it allows you to do more with less by giving you a more comprehensive analysis of your data with fewer resources.

The function of ad servers

The function of ad servers

Business Basics

When we pull up a webpage, the page in front of us appears to be a single, seamless webpage, seemingly created by a single computer. However, that page is actually the end product of several computers working in concert with each other. Together, these computers or servers, each provide content that is compiled to create the final webpage that a user sees.

Ad servers provide a specific set of advertisements to a web page. Websites provide content that draw an audience to a specific web page. Publishers monetize this content by running ads for companies looking to reach that audience. Those advertising spaces on the web pages begin as an empty space that are filled with the appropriate advertising only milliseconds before it loads. Ad servers make that selection possible.

In generic terms, each server has its own function. The publishing server provides the bulk of a webpage’s content. The ad server provides the specific advertisements that have been selected for that user at that moment. The function of an ad server is to place the most efficient advertisements in front of a user. The conversation between these computers is the function that creates the displayed webpage.

An ad server is a platform that stores information and manages the display of ads. It works in the background to determine which ad is selected through a process of analyzing the targeting criteria. The marketer has established these criteria and the performance goals of the campaign. In addition, ad servers provide a way to test which ads perform better, helping marketers optimize the campaign. Publishers, or content-producers, use ad servers to determine which advertiser will be promoted while advertisers use ad servers to select which specific ad from the campaign to show to each user.

Ad Server functions:

Ad servers provide several functions that make the marketing process convenient and efficient:

  • First, they allow marketers to specify which ads to run on which sites and provide them with an easy way to edit the creative elements. Instead of contacting every publisher to update an ad, the marketer can provide updates to a single server.

  • Secondly, they are useful in targeting advertisements based on user’s geographical location and time of day.

  • Third, ad servers let the marketer set a start and a stop time for a campaign. This time-limit is then used in the algorithm that determines which ads will be shown.

  • Finally, ad servers provide all the statistical reporting of performance in one place, making it easier to analyze than getting several reports from different websites.

How ad servers assist agencies and clients:

A person at the marketing agency, called a trafficker, will upload the ads onto the ad server before listing the ad space their buyer has reserved and the specific targeting criteria. The ad server will store this information and provide the trafficker with an ad tag (an HTML code) for the trafficker to send to the publishers. When the publishers decide to serve the tag, the ad server is called upon and selects the most relevant ad to pick based on the criteria. It takes into account the format of the ad (banner, mpu, etc), how many impressions, and how much time is left, amongst other factors. After the ad is published, the server tracks the impression and any associated clicks to establish how people are responding to the ad.

Several ad server systems are available for your business. The system you select will be determined by a number of factors including your products, market share, budgets, and other variables. Ad servers aid marketers by making trillions of decisions a year at a speed difficult to comprehend. The process is as complex as it is effective. The end result is a crafted page that loads in a blink of an eye.

Unlike print, websites allow for the ads that appear on a page to change based on who’s viewing it. This advantage makes online advertising a customizable and more cost-efficient experience. It allows marketers to bypass some of the steps in the purchase decision chain by targeting people closer to the end of it. The better you understand the function of an ad server, the more you’ll understand the process of placing an advertisement online. 

Vital customer engagement (or how not to leave your customers at the door)

Vital customer engagement (or how not to leave your customers at the door)

Customer engagement (CE) is the living and breathing relationship that exists between a customer and a company. This critical relationship is a critical factor that helps to determine the success or failure of a company. The challenge to every business is that almost all buyers have different needs and wants. Consumers aren’t unanimous, even within similar demographics. There are different ages, lifestyles, ethnic backgrounds, etc. There’s an excellent chance that the motivating factors for one middle-aged customer may differ significantly from another. It’s incredibly important for a business to operate with their customer base as individuals.

So how do we go about the act of engaging a client? Here’s a few starting points to orient your mobile app marketing and digital advertising efforts:

  • An engagement marketing strategy is crucial. How will your company reach out to potential customers? How will you respond to their inquiries? Detailed analytics are necessary to help answer these questions. Actively learning about a customer’s lifestyles, rather than lumping people together based on a singular demographic. Remember, numbers are cold, your customers are real people. Think of them in that fashion. The more accurate and detailed your customer database is, the stronger foundation you will have for engagement.
  • Learn to predict consumer behavior. When looking at the unique lifestyle of your consumers, where can you see areas where they can benefit from your service or product? Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target do so by using data mining to notice trends in purchases. Walmart used data mining and discovered that Strawberry Pop-tart sales increased sevenfold before a hurricane in southern states. The reaction? Place Strawberry Pop-tarts at the cashier area of a store. More exposure to the pop-tarts increases sales even more. In the end, all parties benefit. Walmart and Kellogg’s experience increased sales, while customers have an emergency food source in case of natural disasters.
  • The benefits of customer engagement are limitless. Customer retention is critical. Customers can see the value in a company that puts the effort into satisfying their customer base. Satisfied clients can be the most powerful form of marketing. The family and friends of current customers are potential future customers. Nothing is more valuable than a recommendation from peer-to-peer. One survey even concluded that 92% of customers trust peer recommendations, compared to 47% trusting TV or magazine ads.

Customer engagement is beneficial, if not necessary, to a company’s success. Perhaps one of the most satisfying aspects of customer engagement is the company-client relationships built upon it. Increasing interaction cultivates and grows these relationships. Knowing that your company makes a positive difference in the life of your customers is a huge reward.

The cost of running your own social media

The cost of running your own social media

Running your own business is more than a full-time job. If you are like most entrepreneurs, you’re probably already working between 40 to 60+ hours per week handling the day-to-day operations of your company. A huge question that frequently hits the corporate boardroom is “in addition to running my own company, should I also handle my company’s social media?”

First and foremost, we applaud the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s this drive that motivates each business owner to reach for their greatest dreams. Everyone has their own goals and abilities. The drive to “do it all” is often found at the core of success. But everyone has limits on two of their most basic resources – time and ability.

Let’s be frank – You probably would not try to fix your own transmission, perform a medical procedure on yourself or defend yourself in court. If you saw someone else trying to do this, you might be tempted to ask “Is that ego or ability?” The operations of your corporation and managing the corporation’s social media are two separate, full-time jobs. If you can honestly handle both of these corporate tasks, then we tip our hat to both you and your achievements. Not many individuals are able to muster both the time and intellectual resources needed to accomplish this set of tasks. If you cannot perform flawlessly in both arenas simultaneously, it’s only a matter of time before one or both of these two paths will become compromised.

Learning a new skill set, in order to communicate with other professionals, is critical for your growth and survival. However, there’s a huge difference between actually developing a functional skill set and “thinking” that you possess those skills. Understanding the differences between these two positions could be the line between success and failure.

Running a corporate social media mechanism requires time, industry perspective and a refined skill set. The social media manager must possess a social acuity, finesse and the undeniable ability to communicate with others. In most cases, this is NOT a part-time job. Unfortunately, these are not skills you’ll acquire ‘just because you have a Facebook account’.

Corporate owners might consider the actual cost of social media:
  • Do I actually understand what it takes to do the job? The wrong manager will kill a project. It’s that simple. Just because a manager understands some of some of the project parameters, does not guarantee that they possess a broader base of knowledge and experience required to manage the entire project. A solid project manager appreciates when they do not possess the expertise for a given objective. There is a time when knowledgeable experts are needed to facilitate a process or project. 
  • Can I do the job? You need to ask yourself – objectively – “Do I have the ability to dedicate myself full-time to my company’s social media needs?” Can an entrepreneur effectively fulfill the social media needs of their corporation and then spend an additional 60+ hours per week running their company?
  • What is your long-term objective? Do you want to be able to communicate with functioning teams or do you need to be in control of everything? There’s a huge difference between managing teams and trying to micromanage everything and everyone around you. One behavior is healthy. One is not.

A wise choice to consider is hiring a team who can objectively handle your social media needs. Whether this is an internal or an external team is the next question. That answer will be determined by your corporate needs, budget and audience. Knowing the limits of your own skill base is the first step in defining both your corporation and its social footprint.

If you are interested in exploring various social media possibilities for your corporation, contact Colure’s project managers.