Know your audience, understand your data, and take advantage of the immediacy and engagement of video as a marketing tool were among the main messages at the second annual OMiG Digital Summit, which took place in the city last week.
Some 500 people packed into the Radisson Blu Hotel on Thursday evening to hear insights from experts in content marketing, analytics, and social media from a variety of national and international companies including Google, Twitter, Aer Lingus, and eir.
Aaron Chalke of Media Works underlined the importance of relevance in content marketing. Chalke, digital media manager with the Dublin-based communications company, stressed that marketing content should be useful and entertaining, referring to examples from high-profile campaigns from companies including Lidl and McDonald’s.
“People overwhelmingly want to be entertained more than anything else,” Chalk said.
Natalie Roper, digital engagement marketing manager with The Guardian, outlined how the organisation used audience research and engagement during last year’s UK general election to broaden its appeal to younger readers. The newspaper was seen by 18 to 24-year-olds as being primarily aimed at an older audience, but by researching and tailoring content to younger readers it managed to capture a significant share of this market.
“Don’t assume you know what your audience likes or needs, ask them,” she advised.
The importance of developing a digital-first culture, rather than regarding online marketing as an add-on, was the theme of a talk by Grainne Redmond, head of digital sales at eir. Ms Redmond outlined the company’s major rebrand from eircom last year; the move saw a complete redesign of its corporate identity, with custom fonts and icons and a complete redesign across 100 digital properties and 53 bricks and mortar stores.
“The eircom brand did not necessarily reflect the product we were selling at the time,” Ms Redmond explained. “From a website design perspective our goals were to convert to servicing our customers through online. We needed to introduce the brand and create awareness for new and existing products and we needed to create product understanding.”
The rebrand saw the company garner considerably more value from its website, with an increase in online sales, time on site, and page visits per session. Eir has also continued to test its site, and in particular its landing pages, to ensure the best user experience and engagement.
Aislinn Connolly, brand development manager with Google, gave an introductory talk on how to use the various reports in Google Analytics to understand the behaviour and demographics of your users. Ms Connolly underlined the importance of setting up relevant goals to track marketing progress. She also stressed the importance of ensuring your site is optimised for fast loading, ideally three seconds or less.
“If people have a bad user experience and have to wait for your site to load they’ll leave,” she said. “The higher your load time, the lower your conversion rate.”
Maciej Dabrowski, chief data scientist with Galway-based predictive analytics company Altocloud, gave the crowd a brief outline of what can go wrong with data visualisation. According to Mr Dabrowski the truism ‘less is more’ is the best approach when it comes to measuring data; the best way to ensure you are focusing on the right measurements is to select a question you need answered, and identify what metrics will help you answer it.
Lillian Gallagher, head of data and analytics at Dublin creative agency In the Company of Huskies also focused on identifying the right measurements to track in analytics. “Is it need to know or nice to know? What insight does it provide? Can you make a decision from it?” she asked. “If you can’t make a business decision from a metric, or your business is not going to improve from having this metric, there is no point in tracking it.”
In the last of the three panel discussions of the evening, social video was identified as a huge opportunity by all three speakers. According to Sinead Conway, sales manager with Twitter, a staggering 1.7bn online videos are watched daily in the US alone.
Mark Brennan, head of digital marketing and innovation with AIB, gave a presentation on the bank’s hugely successful #thetoughest campaign around its sponsorship of the GAA All Ireland Club Championships. Meanwhile Paul Buckley, head of social media at Aer Lingus, outlined the airline’s #Dublin2DC campaign to mark the launch of its new service to Washington DC. Both campaigns operated with a relatively small budget and garnered significant exposure and engagement.