Why an integrated technology approach to search, display and analytics matters

| 01 Apr, 2015

Managing Director, Matt Owen, shares examples integrating the digital technology stack like display, remarketing and analytics to inform and pinpoint marketing triggers for a user-centric brand experience.

The rock science of 6 years ago

LetŠ—Ès rewind a little bit. Let's say six years ago because six is a lovely even number. You think about the way we used technology then. It was really in two distinct categories. Some of it was about attracting visitors to your website. We put something like AdWords in that bucket technology. The other bit was about once they got to your website, what were they up to? That was the analytics part.

Five, six years ago, that was fine. That was rocket science. Now that's not rocket science. Obviously, as we have much more complicated digital journeys, multiple devices, consumers doing the whole ZMote business and go researching and looking around and social channels and blah blah blah, it's much more complicated.

The integrated technology stack

This concept of the integrated technology stack is all about really being reflective to the much more diverse and granular situation we face as digital marketers. Building technologies that allow us to optimize, not just at single points, but across the entire journey. Across the whole user experience. Across the whole lifetime value of that user in digital channels.

There's a lot of jargonistic nonsense talked about technology stacks and this, that and the other. In terms of the true purpose I alluded to a minute ago, to user journeys. Think of a user journey. User journeys, let's say that I'm looking for home insurance and I see a home insurance advert. I search online. I click on a paid search ad and I go to a brand's website. Now at that point I'm interacting with the brand.

The stack and the user journey

The technology stack is going to immediately allow something to happen. For example, I can be re-marketed to, based on my initial visit to the website. I can then go away again and as part of my user journey, I can be re-marketed to in quite a granular way based on my behavior on that website. I could go to other types of content sites. I could be re-marketed to at the right frequency. Perhaps I come back to the site again. To the brand site.

At that point, maybe I get two thirds of the way down the buy journey and I leave for some reason. Maybe I don't like the look of the price. At that point, I can have another re-marketing message served. Based on the fact that maybe I didn't like the price that I got. It's a price offer or something like that.

The whole purpose is really around responding to that more complicated user journey with exactly the right message at the best possible time. Then enticing that user back into the buy journey. We're really optimizing at every point in that funnel.

You might be saying WTF. We can do that with AdWords and stuff like that. You sort of can. I think the point is that the integrated step becomes much more powerful when you really want to connect up certain behaviors with each other.

AdWords and GA are fine but for example, you couldn't effectively re-target to somebody who visited from a paid search campaign with something as granular as a very specific price promotion, for example. You couldn't look at their behavior on a mobile app and work out a way to re-market to them based on that behavior. Within the app, when they're on the internet, without this kind of connectivity.

Yes, you can do some stuff without the joined-up approach. The point is it makes it much more integrated. It amplifies the benefits of each individual stage into one whole. There's a number, in fact, of different alternatives to technology stack solution. We're a proponent and an advocate of the Google approach to it for a number of reasons. One of them is the experience Google has.

The Google approach

They've been stitching together this technology into the advertising operating system for quite a long time. Their most recent acquisition has been a company called Adometry. That's basically to plug into this system algorithmically-based attribution modeling. They've got a whole bunch of different things they've already put together.

Google's existing technology, in other words, allows us to really join all this stuff up. Across search, display, analytics, video and mobile. In a way like no one else can redo right now. The final point is, we know where Google is now. We believe that Google has the most aggressive product road map. Definitely the most aggressive longer term strategy. You've only got to think about the broader Google ecosystem. That's things like Android at Home, for example. Android Auto. This week, Google is looking to move into becoming a wireless operator in the US.

Google has massive ambitions about where to pick up data from. Where to gather all the signals. If you join that broader, more forward-looking ecosystem into what they have now, you've got an incredibly compelling reason to think, "Google is the right player to be aligned with in this situation."

They will help us solve and optimize against this increasingly complicated customer journey. Different devices, users, platforms, times, time zones. All this stuff. That's really where the stack is going to answer a lot of our problems right now and in the future.

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