Using Data to Drive Online Marketing Decisions – #seslon

Using Data to Drive Online Marketing Decisions – #seslon

12th March 2014

Into one of the last sessions of what has been a very interesting and in some cases “mind frying” – (Google keynote – Keeping up with the Consumer for one) few days. Presenting is Jacinta Walker, Head of Online Marketing, EMEA, Salesforce (@Cinwalker) – where she proceeds to tell us its going to be a heavily packed 45 minutes, and I quote “.. if you don’t love data, you may as well leave the room..”. So head down and away we go..

One of the key focuses for online marketing has always been “how do we take the data we receive and use it to make data-driven decisions? It can lead marketers and companies alike to understand where to invest budgets, what channels to use and how to measure the impact on the activity and ultimately on the company’s bottom line.

Jacinta Walker - Saleforce - SESLon Day 3

Be there at every stage of the purchasing funnel

Your customer has a host of advertising touch-points to choose from in their daily lives, from email, PPC, SEO, SEM, remarketing/targeting, video, social advertising, word of mouth, TV and offline – your goal is to be in front of your prospect as many times as you can when they being advertised to. Jacinta and Salesforce provide us with some great stats from B2B to understand the buying cycle;

  • 78% of B2B buyers start with search
  • Buyers spend 56% of buying cycle searching for and engaging with content
  • Buyers spend 23% of buying cycle in conversations with peers and colleagues
  • Buyers spend only 21% of the buying cycle in conversation with sales people

Customer Buying Cycle - Data Decisions SESLon14Channels play different roles in the customer buying cycle – check out whether each channel plays direct,  assist or last interaction role in the buying cycle to determine what is or isn’t performing.

Jacinta pointed out that buyers are a world away from your sales team while in the research phase of the buying cycle, so companies need to advertise/disrupt the research phase using some of the following channels (not an exhaustive list);

  • PPC – broader key terms, for those in initial research phases
  • PPC – branded search terms are a must, as a customer may have come across your brand name while researching broader key terms
  • Display & social advertising – allows you have the perfect ad, content and in the right place to the right audience

According to Jacinta, a typical Salesforce customer has 28 touch-points before a conversion is made, so for Salesforce there is a huge importance on being visible during this “long” phase.

Data derived from the advertising channels allows you to push the right adverts at the right time, to the right customers. A great piece of insight from Jacinta is to use the data that you have already from the most successful paying customers/companies, how did they interact, what was their sales funnel like and how did they finally convert, it’ll give you the understanding to target and nurture similar style customers across other channels.

Tracking for Success

Tracking customer behaviour gives a company the data required to make informed decisions, without tracking, there is little understanding of what’s working and what’s not. Salesforce use its own software along with Google Analytics and Omniture to analyse and measure success from its advertising, where it tracks and measures;

  • Driving search – +27% of buyers are more likely to search for a brand/product after seeing a display ad – which drives search.
  • Driving conversion – +31% avg. conversion lift among leading technology advertisers
  • Web activity – +355% increase in pages viewed per unique visitor
  • Impact brand metrics – +10% lift in likelihood to be recommended to others
  • Post impression/view conversions – as 90% of adverts are not clicked on

So tracking your customer behaviour at all touch-points is key to allowing you to make informed decisions on budgets, channels, activity, adverts, creative and of course what products customers ae offered and which channel is best for them.

Social Advertising and Display

Traditional keyword/term SEO and ranking can see a plateau in the number of conversions, simply because where you rank, will only ever bring a certain amount of new traffic to your site. Salesforce use social advertising and display as it offers more than traditional SEM tactics and have seen a 25% increase in conversions via this channel. Customers are more aware of your products and brands when they are in the researching cycle, bringing them closer to your brand when they move into the buying cycle. Jacinta advises in;

  • Mining the data from channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as its key to target people with “listed interests” with the right ads that are relevant to them, engaging in social advertising pushes your brand in front of customers and can create new leads
  • Re-engaging with “dead leads” – if you have lost some of your customers engagement via email marketing, then use the Facebook “Audience” list tool, to push an advert and “reawaken” them back to your brand. You can also create a “look alike” audience within Facebook, to push new and existing products and create new leads based on your “best” customer profiles
  • Use retargeting – Salesforce sees higher quality and revenue from customers than a normal SEM channel as customers can be targeted with a contextual advert from where they last were on your site, giving them a reason to complete the call to action.

Data Driven Search Engine Marketing Advertising

Around 90 of B2B customers use a search engine when researching new products, so the data gathered customer behaviour, from its own website is vital to conversions further down the sales cycle.

For every single piece of online marketing, Salesforce give a unique tracking ID to a keyword, it allows them to populate how that keyword fits and works before handing over that data to the sales team –the sales team understands where the customer came from, searched for, what pages they visited and how they interacted on the site – giving the sales team the data it needs to talk to the prospect in a targeted and relevant way.

Analysing what keywords are driving success and what are not performing, allows you to optimise for the higher performing keywords and therefore save budget. What keywords generate the highest amount of leads and also what the cost per lead is costing you.

Data Driven Website Testing

We all know that we should be testing, testing testing, but when optimising landing pages, sometimes the old rules of clear call to action (CTA) and short copy don’t always apply. You should always test one page against another (“as a minimum”) to see where to optimise, but within B2B or B2C, think about the quality of the leads. Some pages can generate a lot more leads -where a shorter page may drive a higher volume, the quality of the lead may not be as good. Salesforce found that with some of their “technical” products, longer pages with more information created less leads, but higher quality leads, generated higher revenue and created more conversions.

Your site should be ever evolving, a really high converting page doesn’t mean its 100% successful, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be tested over and over. Customers behaviour will change over time, so don’t rest, test your pages and website to make sure you can try and covert more and more.


  • Be in front of the customer as many times as you can during the buying cycle
  • Data and display/social ads focused on the purchasing funnel  -use the data and create messages based for the customer on that data you get
  • The right metrics to measure – think beyond the last click!
  • Connect any offline data with SEM activity – don’t just rely on online conversion – what is it actually contributing to the bottom line

Jacinta session was spot on, highly knowledgeable and had the room hanging on her every word.


Written By
Russell O’Sullivan is an all-round Senior Digital Marketing Manager. With over 15 years of experience in the digital environment, he has worked across varied disciplines such Content Strategy/Marketing, PPC, SEO, Ecommerce, Social Media/Marketing, Web Design and UX.
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