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CRO Customer Engagement Highlights Reaching New Customers Strategy

Measuring customer perspective: The key to great CX

Understanding and responding to your customers’ perspectives has become more vital than ever. Without understanding your customers’ points of view, making informed business decisions turns into a guessing game. And in today’s dynamic landscape, customer preferences can shift swiftly. When coupled with an increasingly volatile and competitive operating environment, gaining insight into their viewpoints isn’t just advantageous—it’s essential to unlocking growth and staying ahead of the curve. 

While business decision makers clearly desire critical insights into customer experience, it’s also becoming increasingly challenging. With growing concerns about privacy, the rise in importance (and difficulty) of capturing first-party data, and shorter customer attention spans, businesses face the task of navigating these complexities to comprehend their customers better. 

The good news is that there are best practices for measuring customer perspective that nearly every company can implement. Let’s dive in.

Building a customer-centric measurement approach: 3 core principles

Before we jump into the nitty gritty of measurement tactics, we have to align on three core principles that top-performing firms adopt into their operating philosophies and approaches to their customers’ journeys:

1. Embrace a diverse range of tactics. It’s not enough to rely on a single method; instead, a combination of approaches is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ experiences.

2. Automation and data are your friends. Many companies manually deploy an annual customer survey as their key measure of CX performance. While useful, this snapshot in time is far from ideal in terms of creating regular, rich insights that are actionable. Automating surveys allows for real-time data collection and the ability to capture the current voice of the customer.

3. Align data to your customer segments or personas. Every business knows its customers are far from homogeneous. The best companies ensure the data they’re collecting is appended to existing data they have on their customers (CRM data, for example) so that they can slice and dice as necessary.

How to measure customer perspectives: proven tactics

With those core principles in mind, below are some key tactics that can help you keep a pulse on your customers’ perspectives. While certainly not an exhaustive list of the metrics and data points businesses should be tracking, these tactics are particularly powerful when it comes to rallying teams around customer perspectives, solving issues, and making big strides in business performance.

Transactional Customer Satisfaction (TSAT or T-CSAT)

A riff on the age-old classic of overall CSAT, transactional CSAT is measured and triggered by specific interactions that represent only a portion of the customer’s experience with your brand. The power of this tactic lies in its fixed parameters. Unlike overall CSAT, which asks customers to think broadly, often leading to muted or generalized feedback, transactional CSAT captures customer perspectives in relation to a very recent, specific experience. The result produces two fantastic benefits:

1. Feedback is more visceral and clearly tied to a specific experience. It’s easier to find patterns related to a specific conversation, interaction, or even UX affordance, and you can directly measure or correlate changes made in these areas to future measurements.

2. Transactional CSAT feedback can be collected across the entire customer journey, giving you multiple points of feedback on specific interactions or experiences with a brand. This enables companies to build a complete, measurable picture of a customer’s experience across their journey, further boosting abilities to test, learn, and improve.

Leveraging these patterns, they implemented UX improvements across their digital properties, boosting the blended average of TCSAT scores by 23% in less than six months. 

A national insurance provider we worked with implemented Transactional CSAT at critical steps like their customer quote, customer bind, first billing, and even specific interactions within their service portal. It enabled them to pinpoint patterns of customer feedback both within the “steps” in the journey and across it. Leveraging these patterns, they were able to implement UX improvements across their digital properties, boosting the blended average of TCSAT scores by 23% in less than six months. 

Implemented using a mix of the standard Likert scale (scaled rating system) and 1-2 open response questions, Transactional CSAT provides the perfect blend of measurable quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions. And it’s all the more powerful if you can tie it back to some source of protected first-party data.

Quantitative data

Every company wants to be “data-driven,” but few truly are. By the same token, too many companies view quantitative data sources as the only empirical way to make decisions. At Tallwave, we view quantitative data as a key driver of decision-making, and we seek to complement it with qualitative data as well.

In a previous article, we outlined nine key metrics that every business should measure, but here are the top three that we recommend every company that has a tech- or digitally-oriented customer experience focus in on:

1. Metrics at the microconversion level: It’s particularly important that your team understands customer reactions along the path to conversion. While these micro-actions might seem like “obvious” metrics, we find that companies rarely track them on a granular enough level and, as a result, ignore minor changes that could have a major impact.

Looking for another resource? Hotjar has a great article on how to think about microconversions and how to start measuring them.

2. User paths/customer flow: This goes beyond the customer funnel and into actual user behavior. We track this data because it tells us where users think they should be looking for information or things they think will help them accomplish their goals. This, in turn, tells us where to focus to improve their journeys. The important key here is that we’re looking for where the volume of your user behavior is going. For example, if a customer abandons their cart, what percent go back to the previous page or edit cart vs. fully close out of the page? Where do they go next?

A couple of key questions your team should be asking themselves here:

  • How often do customers actually follow the “happy path” that I have designed for them?
  • When they deviate from that path, where do they go?

3. KPIs: This is an obvious one, but it has to be on the list. If your company does not have an existing dashboard that clearly tells a story around your top KPIs, we have a couple of useful articles on data quality management and the power of data storytelling that will help guide your journey.

User recordings

Simply put, there is no better way to visualize how your customers are experiencing your brand or product than watching them navigate the pages of your website or interact in your app. Better yet, there is no better way to illustrate the pain they feel when they run into a roadblock or can’t find what they’re looking for.

We strongly suggest implementing one of any number of UX recording tools to catalog, tag, and view user sessions. Even watching just 10-20 recordings per week could unlock major advances in understanding how to deliver on user expectations. While it’s not the only source of data you should rely upon, we’ve often found there is nothing better to bring a story to life than this.

How to make the most of your data to understand customer perspectives

We’ve covered a lot of ground here, yet there’s still so much more to unlocking the power of insight into customer perspectives. If we can leave you with just one thought, it is this…

Understanding customer perspectives is all about understanding their customer journeys. Each of the tactics we’ve covered here is oriented toward illuminating those journeys, either by collecting direct feedback on a string of snapshots in time, or by actually tracking the step-by-step progress of customers (microconversions) on the way to a conversion. 

And once you have collected the data, the next step is to leverage the data to understand how to remove friction, eliminate confusion, and simplify the process of customers getting to their ultimate end goals. See how we helped an e-commerce company double its revenue in just three  months by doing just that. Interested in learning more about how we can help your business measure and activate on your customers’ perspectives? Drop us a line…

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CRO Customer Engagement News Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO Uncategorized

The rise of social shopping: How your feed becomes your marketplace

The way consumers interact with brands has undergone a significant transformation with the growing popularity of social ecommerce. This emerging form of shopping allows consumers to explore products and complete transactions through social media while creating a more engaging consumer journey and presenting new opportunities for brands to capture consumer interest. What once served as platforms for sharing photos, connecting with friends, and staying updated on the latest trends have now transformed into dynamic marketplaces where users can seamlessly transition from liking a product to making a purchase, all within the same app.

The emergence of social ecommerce

Online shopping has seen substantial growth thanks to the swift expansion of social ecommerce.  Global regions like China are setting the social ecommerce bar high for all brands by hosting 2-hour live shopping experiences on Tik Tok, and by creating augmented reality (AR) lenses on Snapchat that allow social shoppers to “try-on” items and share with friends. These sales-generating trends have illuminated a social shopping opportunity that the US has begun to emulate, leading to an increase of social shopping. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, social commerce in the US will have generated about $80 billion in sales (up from $37 billion in 2021) and global sales will have exceeded $2 trillion.

Social platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat have integrated social ecommerce capabilities into their user experiences. Instagram’s ecommerce shop feature is essentially a storefront housed inside of the platform, making it easier for consumers to find and buy things featured in their feeds by enabling businesses to tag products in their posts and stories. In a similar vein, TikTok has debuted shoppable livestreams, which enable brands to showcase their goods in real time and enable instant transactions. This in turn allows customers to communicate with content creators directly during the live streams so they can ask questions about the featured products. This convenience creates a better customer experience that drives incremental sales. 

Customer behavior and mobile-first shopping 

The popularity of mobile shopping is another element fueling the expansion of social ecommerce. Through the use of mobile phones, consumers can link directly and immediately to brands, which in turn enables personalized recommendations as well as targeted ads and real-time promotions. Social media platforms are internet marketplaces where users can explore products, read reviews, or even interact with different brands in a single interface. Basically, social media apps have made it very easy for people to browse, share, and buy products, making shopping more accessible and convenient than ever before thereby completely changing the retail landscape. With social media platforms evolving to become more mobile-friendly and creating mobile-first experiences through their apps, the influence of mobile shopping is expected to further accelerate, shaping the future of ecommerce.

Blurring boundaries: Content and social ecommerce strategy 

In the contemporary digital world, remarkable social media content is critical in creating interest, user engagement, and subsequent purchases. Top-tier content incorporates helpful visuals, enlightening videos, and captivating product stories that go beyond basic product descriptions and feature lists to forge emotional bonds with customers. This blend is crucial for grabbing user attention and fostering trust. Leveraging targeted messaging, product tagging, and in-app showcases, brands can bring their offerings to life, highlighting their distinctive value propositions while tackling consumer concerns head-on. Additionally, user-generated content, plus real-life testimonials, helps boost credibility and influence purchasing choices made by consumers. Great social media contents enable brands to develop close relationships with customers, thus enhancing brand loyalty as well as conversion rates all through the immersive world of social ecommerce.

Know your customers: Social shopping by generation 

It is important to note that each generation views and utilizes social media shopping differently. Hubspot compiled data on generational shopping habits over a three-month period and unveiled how each generation shops on social media platforms, which can be used to inform marketing strategies. According to Hubspot, Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X exhibit more enthusiasm for shopping via social media platforms compared to Baby Boomers. Gen Z takes the lead with 23%, closely followed by Millennials at 21%. In contrast, Gen X accounts for 13%, while Baby Boomers lag significantly behind at 3%. Among those interested in online shopping, 28% of Gen Z and Millennials have made direct purchases through social media, with 18% of Gen X also participating, whereas only 4% of Boomers engage in social shopping.

Gen Z is dominating the realm of social shopping. This is probably in part because they grew up in such a technologically advanced era. This generation is using social media platforms as search engines in order to discover brands and their shopping behavior indicates that though they are buying fewer items, they are buying items with a high value. For all generations, posting high quality content on organic and paid social media channels, setting up social media storefronts, and tagging products are great ways to build trust, especially with the Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers who browse but do not always commit to making a purchase on social platforms. It’s important to remember that even if social ecommerce isn’t the preferred channel for transacting purchases, it can be an important part of the path to purchase in other channels. So a good social ecommerce strategy is cross-generational.

Challenges and considerations for brands

Social ecommerce, the amalgamation of social media and ecommerce, represents a dynamic frontier for brands seeking innovative ways to connect with consumers and optimize their marketing strategies. As with any new frontier, there will be both opportunities and bumpy roads ahead. 

Through data analytics and tracking tools embedded in social platforms, social ecommerce provides valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences for brands. This information includes user interactions and engagement patterns as well as purchasing history that can help companies identify opportunities for improvement. Effective businesses will often use this data to segment their target audience so they can deliver content that has been personalized to meet individual tastes and wants. As a result, businesses develop stronger customer relationships resulting in brand loyalty.

However, despite its promises, social ecommerce also presents a range of challenges. One significant hurdle is the saturation and competitiveness of social media platforms, which makes it difficult for brands to cut through noise and attract consumer attention. One way for brands to do this is by doubling down on personalization to ensure relevance and increase the likelihood of grabbing consumers’ attention. Additionally, ever-changing algorithms adopted by different networks together with rules governing advertising create another, requiring companies to continuously realign their tactics. One potential solution is for brands to focus on building a strong foundation for their marketing strategy. This may include: 

  • Diversifying advertising on social platforms: This can help mitigate the impact of sudden algorithm changes on any single platform.
  • Audience engagement: Actively engaging with the audience on social media can help brands build a strong community that will continue to engage with their content regardless of algorithm changes, mitigating the impact.
  • Analytics and data: Regularly analyze advertising data and performance by conducting A/B testing to understand what strategies are most effective. This data-driven approach can help you optimize your tactics in response to algorithm changes.

Moreover, privacy concerns and data security issues are paramount considerations in the realm of social ecommerce. When collecting consumer information for personalization purposes, transparency, consent, and data protection must be observed to maintain consumer trust and compliance with regulatory requirements. If not properly addressed, these issues can not only damage the reputation of a brand but also lead to legal implications. Brands that wish to use social ecommerce should therefore put in place strong data governance practices and ethical principles so that they may protect consumer privacy while enhancing trust with consumers. 

Read more: Is SEO the secret to social media success? It could be.

Even though there are numerous opportunities for brands to foster engagement and sales through social ecommerce, marketers must exercise strategic, holistic approaches that consider both opportunities and potential obstacles.

Embrace the social media shopping revolution

The emergence of social ecommerce signifies a paradigm change in the way companies interact with customers and conduct online sales. Marketers can turn their feeds into dynamic markets that increase engagement, encourage loyalty, and increase revenue by utilizing social media’s power and embracing social shopping technologies. With the boundaries between social media and ecommerce becoming increasingly hazy, the future of shopping is in our hands as our feeds transform into virtual marketplaces.

Are you ready to grow your strategy for marketing? Get in contact with us, and together, we can begin converting your social feed into a dynamic marketplace that drives results. 

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CRO Customer Engagement Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO

The road to victory: Paid media strategies in an election and Olympic year

For a few months every four years, the U.S. presidential election and Summer Olympics dominate the media landscape and create major challenges for advertisers trying to establish reach, maintain ad frequency, and meet cost per acquisition (CPA) goals. From roughly mid-July to early November, election campaigns and Olympic promotions overtake ad inventory, limiting supply and driving up costs for other advertisers. 

In 2020, the Tokyo Olympics attracted $2.25 billion in U.S. ad revenue and the U.S. election cycle totaled an unprecedented $2.5 billion of ad revenue. And that’s just for TV ads! With all of that extra competition in the market, breaking through the clutter and maintaining effective reach and frequency without breaking the bank becomes a major challenge for most advertisers.

Let’s explore how a thoughtful election- and Olympic-year paid media strategy can help you emerge victorious from this quagmire. After all, who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

Politics and pentathlons: The negative impacts on marketing

Before we discuss strategy, it’s important to understand what is at risk during these quadrennial events. Here are some of the ways your current paid media plan might feel the impact of the election/Olympic year:

Limited inventory

Channels like traditional broadcast, out-of-home (billboards, transit, airport advertising, etc.), and even CTV, have a finite amount of ad inventory. As politicians, advocacy groups, super PACs, the Olympic Games, and the likes buy up ad inventory, it becomes a challenge for other advertisers to secure inventory for themselves. 

For election candidate advertising specifically, the FCC requires broadcast stations and cable systems to charge legally qualified candidates the lowest unit prices, making TV advertising more affordable, and increasing the likelihood of those candidates purchasing a lot of inventory. Additionally, because candidates are guaranteed the lowest unit price that other customers receive, this means that you likely won’t be able to secure any zero-cost added value spots during this time.

In an effort to treat competing candidates fairly, the FCC also requires broadcast stations to abide by the “equal time” rule. This means that if one candidate gets a spot in the 6p news, the other candidates must also be able to receive a similar spot. As such, many non-political advertisers get preempted (“bumped”) during this time and may not receive makegoods during the desired window. This rule makes it especially challenging for advertisers who are operating within very specific promotional windows.

With political and Olympic ads taking over the airwaves, it becomes difficult for other advertisers to secure any ad inventory at all, yet alone enough to maintain an effective reach and frequency that will grow brand awareness or compel action from potential customers.

Cluttered ad space

As politics and Olympic promotion overtake traditional advertising outlets, many non-political and Olympic advertisers will move into the digital realm to secure inventory and lock in flat rates. The political and Olympic advertisers will be here too by the way. As you can imagine (or have experienced first hand in years past), the digital marketplace becomes inundated with heated political messaging and inspirational (usually sports-themed) stories, on top of all the normal ad clutter. 

It can be extremely challenging to break through all this noise. Consumers often get overwhelmed by excessive advertising, making it less likely that they will engage with or be influenced by ads.

Increased costs

While broadcast stations are required to keep costs low for advertisers, digital channels are not. Costs on Google, Meta, and other auction-based platforms will surge as competition increases. Cost per clicks (CPCs) and cost per conversions (CPAs) will increase as advertisers bid against each other to win ad space. Target CPAs are going to take more work to hit as each impression becomes significantly more expensive to secure. While you can still serve ads within a set budget, your paid media dollars won’t go nearly as far in auction-based platforms as they normally would outside the election and Olympic seasons.

Taking the podium: Overcome obstacles with a winning strategy

While the challenges that exist during an election and Olympic year may seem daunting, it’s not too late to implement a winning strategy. Strategically planning ahead can help mitigate these challenges:

Adapt your channel strategy

Perhaps the most obvious response to the challenges highlighted above would be to adjust your paid media channel strategy. The limited inventory on traditional broadcast channels will make it difficult to maintain an effective reach and frequency and auction-based digital platforms will experience increased costs. While you may not want to exclude these channels altogether, consider countering those challenges by:

  • Secure broadcast sponsorships and packages: These often guarantee a minimum number of impressions without the possibility of being preempted.
  • Extend your broadcast impressions with digital video and streaming audio: These channels have more inventory and often allow you to negotiate flat CPM rates.
  • Invest in podcasts: Podcasts break through the clutter by speaking to highly engaged listeners.
  • Incorporate flat-rate digital platforms: Plan ahead and collaborate with digital partners that will guarantee flat CPM/CPC pricing to avoid the increased bidding costs.

Understand your audience

As inventory shrinks and costs rise, efficiency is key. Don’t let your advertising dollars go to waste serving impressions to people outside your audience. 

Many marketers use demographics to define their target audience, but demographics have little to do with why a person takes a particular action. Well ahead of the Opening Ceremonies and primary elections, consider investing in values-based persona research to more clearly define who your audience is and what motivates them so that you can tailor your messaging and creative accordingly. Effective ad messaging and creative that resonates with your audience will help break through the ad clutter and drive action during a time when consumers are faced with significant distractions.

Additionally, make sure you’re investing in your first-party data to understand consumer behavior. Today, marketers collect more data than ever before, but often struggle to harness the power of that data in a way that yields actionable insights. Effective data quality management enables you to analyze the right data points that help you understand your customer, enhance their experiences, and optimize campaigns for more efficient and effective results.

Invest in Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy is the insurance policy for any paid media plan. A strong paid media strategy can drive significant traffic to a landing page, but if users are met with a poor website experience, they might leave without converting, thus creating a leaky bucket situation. A strategic CRO program systematically tests various iterations of website design and functionality to weed out points of friction and increase conversion rates. 

By investing in CRO strategy ahead of the election and Olympic year, you can help prevent valuable paid media traffic from trickling away pre-conversion during that time when paid media traffic is more expensive and harder to come by. During election and Olympic years, when digital costs increase and consumer attention is being directed elsewhere, decreases in conversion rates are almost guaranteed. An effective CRO strategy will help offset the anticipated decrease in conversion rates.

Learn more about CRO and other Integrated Digital Marketing Services from Tallwave.

Emerge victorious

Strategically planning ahead is key to ensuring strong paid media performance during election and Olympic years. Ready to get started? Let Tallwave help you get the most out of your paid media budget this election and Olympic year.

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