Are You Leveraging Your Best Data?

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, May 20, 2016

Our ability to track user behaviors is drastically improving our ability as marketers to become more refined in how we connect with consumers. As a media agency, we are continuing to shift our focus from buying channels towards optimizing audiences. With this focus, we continue to leverage data to gain an understanding of the right content and message that engages an audience throughout the decision journey. In healthcare, the path to treatment is long and complex. Understanding all of the questions patients have throughout the decision process becomes particularly important for success.

One of the big challenges we have when it comes to data is the overwhelming amount that exists and finding a logical starting point. For consumers, most journeys start with search engines, so we start there as well. In health, search continues to prove to be the best real-time source of patient and physician interest and intent and can inform marketers in multiple ways. Like algorithms, we can leverage this data to learn more about consumers and deliver the right content based on their needs. When looking at the data that can be gathered from search, we can learn some basic consumer behavior information that can have an impact on all marketing channels. 



Understanding Consumer Questions
First and foremost, keywords are questions. They aren't usually complete questions, but consumers turn to search to answer some sort of question. From categorical research, product or service comparison, to purchase satisfaction, patients and physicians consistently turn to search to inform decisions. In order to create engaging moments with consumers, brands should focus on creating content that answers consumer questions about their brands and within their category.

Seasonal Interest
When it comes to seasonality, many marketers understand seasonality within their category. In healthcare, seasonal changes can exasperate certain symptoms of an ailment or disease. What often gets lost is how people prepare for certain seasons. In categories like flu, allergy and sun care, consumers begin researching months prior to the actual season hitting. With search data, we can learn when interest in categories begins to rise and look at YOY trends to validate seasonality trends.

Search Interest by Time of Day
Just like seasonality, time of day can influence when a consumer may be driven into research mode. Time of day interest can be influenced by media influences such as television or non-media influences like weather. In healthcare, a daytime appointment with a physician can trigger searches from both patients as well as physicians. Putting context behind some of the data can have a dramatic impact on how we flight campaigns and the messaging we use to connect with consumers.

Geographic Search Interest
Geographic search interest can play a large role in understanding interest levels in certain products, services and information. For brand marketers, understanding geographic search interest can inform focus for all channels. Conversely, looking at regions with lower category interest, or brand interest can inform brand marketers where brand awareness may be lower, or where competitors may have deeper penetration.

Device Usage
Over the last year, we saw mobile search usage surpass desktop usage in almost every category. This becomes an important focus for multiple reasons. The propensity for searchers to use mobile first is becoming an important focus for understanding the right place to message. It also allows us to clearly understand accessibility issues that searchers face on mobile devices when trying to access branded content. Is you site mobile friendly? Have you looked at it from a mobile device.

By simply mining search data for key behaviors, marketers can glean a ton of information about their audience. As brands fight for marketing dollars, the understanding of consumer behaviors can be a powerful tool in making decisions around investment, messaging, content and delivery. As the focus moves from channel towards audience optimization, focusing on the right behaviors and creating content to meet consumers in those moments will inevitably lead to stronger engagements and campaign success.

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