Data has changed the way we do business – it's arguable that businesses can't survive in the modern world without making use of data. The most successful brands and agencies are those that are using data in innovative ways, to target the right customers and speak directly to them.
Here are five ways that data is creating better experiences.
The rise of ad blocking shows consumers aren’t happy about ads interrupting their experience. With data on how people are using sites and why they are avoiding others can help brands create less intrusive, more user-friendly ads.
This is especially important on mobile sites, where mobile data usage is a key factor in driving consumers towards ad blockers – according to PageFair, there are twice as many mobile ad blockers as desktop ad blockers, with 22% of the world's 1.9 billion smartphone users employing ad blockers.
Facebook is a prime example of using data to create a better-designed user experience. The social media site's wealth of user data enables it to target native ads within its news feed, ensuring that users are served relevant, useful advertising.
2 Forecasting needs
In the retail sphere, shops are gathering data about consumer habits and demographics. To make the most of this, brands can serve particular demographics ads for upcoming life events.
For example, The New York Times famously reported on how retailers determine out how pregnant women shop depending on how far along they are, serving them ads on what they will need for the next stages. New mums can learn about what to expect, and stock up on the things they’ll need at the same time.
Data can come from unusual sources, too; analytics company AnalyticsIQ notes that car ownership can be an indicator of changing lifestyles, as growing families tend to trade in smaller cars for SUVs or minivans.
3 Drive brand loyalty
To make sure customers come back for more, retailers have made use of points-based loyalty cards for some time. However they are fast becoming a thing of the past and retailers are having to act fact to make them relevant.
Virgin launched a loyalty app called Red in June to bring customers from its different brands together on one platform. By using it to target a larger base of consumers, the brand is incentivising them to spend with other Virgin brands.
Starbucks is another brand bringing innovation into the play with an app that allows customers to order and pay for their drink on their way to the store. Why wait for your morning coffee?
4 More of what the consumer likes
Reading up on a favourite topic, be it sports, tech, beauty or politics, and then to be shown similar articles means the consumer can understand the most around their chosen subject.
As a user follows certain accounts on social media, or clicks on particular links, publishers can make sure they are bringing up relevant articles for that person, keeping them engaged on the site for longer.
Once again, Facebook is a good example in the way it brings up relevant posts when a user clicks on a popular article.
5 New products
Data on people’s interests when it comes to what they like to watch or read also means that media owners can improve on popular formats. If there is a topic that is well read, a publisher will work hard to make sure it has covered all bases on it.
The same goes for TV, and can be interpreted for online videos. You only need to look at the rise of talent shows taking over Saturday night TV over the past ten years. Those at the forefront will understand the popular trends and serve the user new ideas.
It is well documented that Netflix made use of audience interests when it created the hit-show House of Cards. Using its vast store of viewer data, the subscription service was able to demonstrate that viewers had streamed films directed by House of Cards producer David Fincher, and that they had watched films starring Kevin Spacey (as well as the original BBC version of House of Cards). With those data points, they could be confident that the US remake of the show would perform well.