The Client

A leading US-based river cruise company

The Challenge: Countering seasonal changes in demand

Our client operates sightseeing cruises in one of the US’s most iconic cities, granting tourists an unforgettable riverfront view of the city’s most famous landmarks. And while most of its customers are from within the US, it was looking to tap into new inbound travelers from outside the country to counter seasonal changes in demand.

The company’s team reached out to its long-time partner iQuanti to help identify a new target audience and digital strategy. Looking at historical performance reports and transaction reviews, iQuanti found that the majority of the company’s international visitors were from the United Kingdom (UK).

The Solution: Combining creative targeting and automated bidding

The client tasked iQuanti with getting the message out to its target audience across the Atlantic.

We launched branded and non-branded campaigns targeting the UK with the following segments:

  • Affinity segments:
    • Boating and sailing enthusiasts
    • Water sports enthusiasts
  • In-market segment:
    • Trips to the US city

In addition to audience targeting, keywords were aligned with seasonal ad copies that focused on the fall weather, transforming a negative into a positive.

Anticipating a decrease in demand following Labor Day, the UK prospecting campaigns were launched the previous day. We launched:

  • Five ad groups for branded keywords, representing the various cruise lines and names
  • Three ad groups for non-branded keywords, around the US city, things to do, and landmarks

We used automated bidding with target cost per acquisition (CPA) to optimize campaigns and work toward maximizing conversions.

Ad copy was written in British English to target UK residents with bottom-funnel content. And we sourced keywords with a major share of high-intent terms around the US city’s tourism.

The Impact: The business beat demand volatility and stayed the course on conversions and ad spend

iQuanti’s approach to overcoming the first hurdle of decreased ticket sales by targeting a brand-new audience gained buy-in from the client’s team quickly due to the creative targeting strategy behind it.

Automated bidding and tight CPA targets were key to maintaining efficiency in the campaign. Additionally, we targeted more creatively, using smart bidding with the right KPIs and optimizations to secure good performance and conversion rates from the UK audience.

  • We recorded 782 conversions over the course of 3 months, with an efficient average CPA.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS) was 547%, which was at par with the account average for domestic tourists (at 545%).
  • 813 tourists from the UK visited the cruise’s pier in the given period.

Today, the cruise draws in more tourists than ever from across the pond, helping it build resilience and higher returns and growth. After a successful partnership in targeting inbound international travelers in 2022, iQuanti and the client are looking at the horizon together to continue to find efficiencies in international targeting and building brand voice in niche but profitable audience segments.

conversions in 3 months

%

return on ad spend (ROAS)

"Our client’s mission is to take their unique cruise experience to customers across the world. We helped them do that by marrying data and creativity to stay agile in an ever-evolving business environment."

Jennifer Scordia, VP, Strategic Accounts

Case Studies

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Digital Acquisition – SEO

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DIGITAL PERFORMANCE MARKETING REPORT

 

Q1 2023 EDITION

Deep dive into last quarter’s banking and financial services industry trends, digital acquisition trends, as well as new challenges and opportunities across digital channels

Overview

2023 is shaping up to be a year of seismic changes – and surprises – for financial marketers.

 

  • Spending growth of 7-17% YoY reported across major credit card issuers despite an uncertain economic environment
  • Consumer spending defied expectations to grow at 2.1% QoQ
  • Generative AI is shaking up content and search, while Amazon, TikTok, and Netflix take a bite of Google-Meta’s pie

At iQuanti, our focus in 2023 is on studying these evolving trends and unprecedented challenges and helping our clients manage the transition.

-Vish Sastry Rachakonda, CEO, iQuanti

Key Highlights

!

Winners

%

Bing Market share increased YoY

Personal loans
Students loans
Credit card spend

Privacy-focused
campaigns the
next big theme

"

Losers

%

Google ad revenues fell

Mortgage
Auto loads
Refinance

Expected slowdown
across performance
platforms

In Focus

Generative AI

The battle of Als is intensifying, with serious implications on search dominance

Microsoft invested in OpenAl, which has several models in development, including ChatGPT. Google has responded by quickly announcing Bard, their equivalent AI tool.

Understand what this means for your marketing strategy .

Insights from our experts

BFS TRENDS OVERVIEW

Vishal Maru

VP, Digital Solutions, iQuanti

PLATFORM TRENDS

Sreekant Lanka

SVP, Solutions, iQuanti

PRIVACY FOCUS IN BFS

Vishal Maru

VP, Digital Solutions, iQuanti

Download the report for more insights on what these trends mean for you.

“Confusion is the first step to understanding.”

Vishal Maru (VP, Digital Solutions at iQuanti) lives by these words. “A professor in college used to say this line often, and it’s stayed with me as I’ve frequently found myself at crossroads over the years, trying to figure out which path to pick.” And Vishal’s journey has been richer for it.

The Roads Not Taken

Brought up in Mumbai in a large, close-knit family, Vishal always had a creative bent of mind and considered career options that would allow him to put his creativity to good use. “After seriously considering architecture, product design, and even documentary filmmaking, I did what anyone with a love for creativity does in India – I joined Infosys,” he quips. Vishal knew immediately that software services was not for him and he quit to join an advertising agency at half the pay – and loved the work. “I realized I’d found my calling in marketing.”

Ever-curious about the world, Vishal decided to do his master’s in the US and got a fellowship at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. He excelled there, winning the Graduate Dean’s award and the Renaissance Marketer Award.

Way Leads On to Way

After graduating from Emerson, Vishal started his career as a digital marketer. “My first job at Enova International, a fintech company, set me on a path working in the banking and financial services (BFS) industry. It also got me thinking about what my values were as a marketing professional and what product and company I’d like to be associated with.”

The next move three years later was to Discover. “The company was a great fit for me and I grew tremendously in my five years there.”

When looking for his next move, Vishal met Vish Sastry, CEO, iQuanti, whom he knew from the time they worked on a project together. “I started at iQuanti as an Account Director in the Jersey City office in 2017. I handled five new clients and at the start it was one of the hardest jobs I’d ever done,” he recalls with a laugh.

Just as he settled into his role, personal reasons prompted a move to India. Vishal joined the Solutions team in the Bangalore office, eventually moving up the ladder three times in nearly as many years. “My role in India has been more behind the scenes and allows me use two skills that I enjoy the most – problem solving and diving deep into my work.”

At iQuanti, I love the fact that I work with very smart people. Here everyone has the freedom to carve out our their role as long as they can prove the impact and ROI. Also, while there’s the work load and excitement that come from being a fast growing company, iQuanti has a very respectful, open culture.

The Roads Travelled

As the years have gone by, Vishal has found ways to stay true to his passions while adding on more. “I still sketch regularly, watch movies, and enjoy (one-pot) cooking. I also love hiking, climbing and kayaking. The highlight so far has been climbing Mt. Rainer, the highest mountain in Washington state.”

Vishal had an eventful COVID-19 lockdown – he got married and also adopted their indie dog Shifu.

Any words of wisdom for younger professionals? “It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to go thru the process of uncertainty and introspection over and over again because it helps you figure out who you are and what you want. Fight hard for your passions – don’t let people talk you out of doing what you like. Know what your values are as an individual and a professional and make sure your work and workplace align with that.”

We can’t wait to see where Vishal’s journey takes him next!

The Client

One of the best-known car rental brands in the world, with offices across the globe

The Challenge

In March 2022, Google announced that it was sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) by July 1, 2023, and replacing it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the next generation of Google Analytics. GA4 is designed to help marketers prepare for privacy- and customer-centric measurement. It builds on Google’s App + Web property and allows brands to see unified user data across their websites and apps.

For our client, this meant that it had to migrate 13 web properties and 2 mobile properties to GA4 in a span of 5 months. To make sure that the complex migration was done seamlessly and on time, the client decided to reach out for professional help.

The Solution

The car rental company brought iQuanti on board to implement the migration. They had worked with iQuanti on tagging and analytics reporting work previously and were happy with what we delivered.

At iQuanti we combined our deep analytics expertise with Agile project management to chart out a plan that would complete the migration before the deadline – and with data intact and improved. 

Figure 1: iQuanti’s approach to the GA4 migration process  

We implemented GA4 migration solutions to 13 web properties across US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These solutions had three milestones:

  1. Discovery/strategy
  2. Implementation
  3. Validation

In addition, iQuanti provided mobile app analytics implementation for the company’s mobile applications.

To make sure that the implementation was aligned to business goals, iQuanti worked with stakeholders to develop a solution design reference (SDR). The SDR serves as the single source of truth for the team and drives decisions around metrics, KPIs, and reporting.

The project also involves custom implementation of the entire conversion funnel and tracking some important engagement level metrics that were not tracked before.

Additionally, to enable their teams to leverage analytics better, the client requested training on GA4. iQuanti drew inputs from the client’s team on the type of questions they had on reporting and tool usage and devised a training program tailormade for them.

The Impact

While the implementation is ongoing, the precise workflows and structure deployed by iQuanti are leading to a smooth and error-free transition experience for the client and delivering results beyond mere GA4 migration.  

Our structured, data-led approach helped us to: 

  • Create a holistic view of organization-wide data using roll-up reporting and drilled down views for countries using sub-properties 
  • Identify gaps in tracking of conversion funnels and create additional events to follow user journey through the funnel. For example, we created additional events to differentiate between a fresh booking vs a modified booking, both of which were being recorded as conversion earlier 
  • Uncover fresh insights on customer journeys by tracking navigation points that were not being tracked previously. This is designed to help the business identify where users are dropping off during conversion  

Further, the implementation is setting standards in terms of data collection through solution design documents, validation documents, and so on, that the business can build upon in future implementations. The data collection activity is also geared toward helping the brand understand its users better, in turn helping the team deliver personalized campaigns to their website users.  

Driving efficiencies in GA4 implementation

Additionally, this project helped the team at iQuanti gain efficiencies in GA4 implementation. We have cut down the time for GA4 implementation for the first property to 2 weeks, if we have clear existing documents (SDR/BRD) from the client. Where the client does not have their existing measurement plan in place, we have worked with them to address that. While scaling up to additional properties, we have successfully migrated up to 73 properties, in a month. 

Are you looking to implement GA4 quickly, efficiently, and seamlessly? Get in touch with us today! 

Case Studies

Demand Generation

See how we generated double digit growth in leads and spent less on media.

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Digital Acquisition – SEO

See how we increased the organic footprint of a major brand in a highly competitive market.

Learn More

Experience Optimization

See how we made conversion gains and created a cohesive site experience.

Learn More

Learn how to easily merge content and SEO to successfully rank at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) using topic clusters.

What transforms a website from just a catalog of blog posts to a highly organized hub of authoritative content?

How can you make sure your website becomes the top-visited resource for your industry?

Today, we’re going to travel down the content rabbit hole, and peer through the SEO looking glass, if you will.

You’ll discover how to easily merge content creation and SEO to help your website successfully rank at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) using topic clusters.

How To Create Powerful Topic Clusters

Step 1: Understand and track search intent

Step 2: Create a master keyword list to uncover keyword gaps and cluster foundations

Step 3: Create content & topic clusters

Step 4: Review content marketing metrics & analytics

Your goal: Create content that is able to answer your target audience’s questions by providing everything they need to know about their search queries.

The classic Alice in Wonderland series posed a quasi-metaphorical question to its protagonist: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

The question posited has nothing to do with the plot, leaves nothing to inform the characters’ growth or intentions, and may very well be construed as pure nonsense, a symptom of fantasy.

At the end of the story, Alice asks The Hatter, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

Though no answer was provided – and many answers have been theorized since – readers not only embrace this fantastical reality but champion it as part of the inherent logic of the narrative.

We’ve come to Wonderland to believe in the absurd possibilities of this reality, however nonsensical they may appear.

When it comes to your SEO strategy, you won’t be delving into fictional worlds or constructing outlandish characters and situations. You will, however, be in command of your narrative and its inherent logic.

You will need to:

  • Understand what your audience is looking for or trying to understand, lest you lose out on active users’ time on your page – a critical metric in search engine algorithms.
  • Know how your content is interconnected, how to prioritize it, and how to measure its impact.
  • Remember why it’s essential to keep your customer following the narrative down the content rabbit hole.

Step 1: Understand & Track Search Intent

Your audience’s search history and webpage behavior can speak volumes about their search intent and needs, even if it’s impossible to actually know what’s going on in a person’s mind.

SEO’s analytical aspects can uncover search intent based on keyword queries.

If you pair SEO analytics with subject-matter experts (SMEs), you can also supercharge your strategy by plotting topical interests and predicting a person’s position within your marketing funnel.

Figure 1: Keyword landscape and theming

How To Discover Search Intent to Build Successful Topic Clusters

You and your SMEs can easily develop one or more themed keyword landscapes, or “topic clusters”, by simply researching the root of a regular person’s keyword queries:

  1. Define query intent across your customer journey. Are your customers more likely to use search terms that signal awareness, consideration, comparison, or purchase intent in different parts of your sales and marketing funnel?
  2. Audit your existing keyword footprint, your competitive footprint, and your pay-per-click (PPC) performance.
  3. Explore and document new keyword opportunities that logically arise from your audit.
  4. Compile a master keyword list.

Your master keyword list will help you and your team clearly understand how your points of entry can be better positioned or supported on a user’s journey through your sales funnel.

Step 2: Create A Master Keyword List to Uncover Keyword Gaps & Cluster Foundations

You’ll want to walk away from step one with a master keyword list that will help you discover the content gaps that can be used to bridge your past content efforts with your present or future ones.

This helps you quickly see if your target audience’s search intent matches your website’s page intent.

Why a Master Keyword List Works

Master keyword lists work because they help make sure you’re covering every need of your target audience.

Once you’ve completed your master keyword list, look at how complete and logical your list of targeted keywords truly is.

Ask yourself if a reader finds your website after a query:

  • Will they need to take a step back to figure out how believable or valid the information you’re presenting them is?
  • Will the provided backlinks on that page assume that this user knows all they need to know, while attempting to redirect them to a product page without informing them of how you perform better than your competitors?

Either of these paths can quickly become disjointed without a logical flow of information.

That’s where the last high-level takeaway from your master keyword list can be beneficial: spinning a web of core, supporting, and related themes to ensnare and enthrall your user.

This is what creates the foundation of topic clusters.

Figure 2: What is a content cluster?

Step 3: Create Content and Topic Clusters

As you’ve seen, search intent needs to translate to page intent.

So, careful consideration during the keyword selection phase is key for content creation because of the many themes and subthemes that your brand, products, and services may cover.

These subthemes are the pillars of your topic cluster strategy. Implementing content clusters is an effective means of covering full topics in organized, digestible bites.

Figure 3: Building content clusters

How To Create Content Clusters

Once your audience stumbles upon your landing page, the content must be compelling enough to draw their attention further.

Engage perceptions with stats and diagrams, provide visuals and lists, condense information, and challenge inquisitive minds to learn more on the next page.

Here’s how:

  1. Select your highest priority acquisition – conversion – pages and exhaust the themes and subthemes relating to it by building relevant awareness and consideration articles around it.
  2. Identify and connect the journey to different topics and subthemes with backlinks. For example, let’s say you’re building a product page for personal loans. You will naturally need to mention loan rates and credit scores to substantiate your offering.
  3. Create spinoff content. For example, can this spin off into article pages for “What’s a Good Credit Score?” and “How to Qualify for Affordable Loan Rates”? You could even compile information about the loan rates you offer for each credit score tier, compare your loan rates to your competitors, provide tips for improving your credit score, and so many more themes within themes.

Enhance your content with videos, infographics, or sound bites.

As readers spin through your website, they become familiar with your brand, style, and voice, and might even develop some level of trust from their visit – if you’ve provided the information they’re looking for.

Step 4: Review Content Marketing Metrics & Analytics

Tracking where your readers explore your site more thoroughly will only further the plot – keeping in mind general consumer demand and some KPIs.

Whether it’s the value added by a narrative or a more consistent website flow, pages can be identified for their:

  • Conversion rate (CVR).
  • Page views.
  • Impressions.
  • Time on page.
  • And many other relevancy qualifiers concerning their intent.

After identifying successes, you can mimic these pages, which then can be integrated into your audience’s journey.

If metrics stagnate for some pages, they might need a refresh. Exploring different keyword landscapes and bridging cluster gaps can help improve your site’s authority and user experience (UX) overall.

In the worst-case scenario – after you’ve decided it’s no longer relevant to your site visitors or from a keyword volume standpoint – you can decommission and 301 redirect any content that no longer performs in a way that fulfills your brand’s purposes.

Figure 4: Promote of decommission content?

Ensuring your site structure ranks well compared to competitors or industry aggregators can be challenging without sophisticated technological support – and there’s only so much that can be done unless you want to overhaul your website.

However, catching and nesting a customer to a purchase decision should involve an intuitive flow that won’t require the customer to encounter navigational mishaps, such as having to back out of pages.

Create a Topic Cluster-Driven World of Your Own

At the beginning of her journey, freshly lost and before the conversation about a raven and a writing desk, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Though we’ve all been Alice before – on a website, in a crowd, within a metaphor – you should be fostering the journey with the same absurd seriousness the Cheshire Cat proposes.

In the story, Alice must find herself before knowing what she wants to do.

Your customers may stumble upon you with questions, curiosities, and intent – are you positioning your content in a relatable way?

iQuanti uses the combination of their proprietary tech and trained UX strategists to:

  • Identify and close gap deficiencies.
  • Track algorithmic score changes.
  • Improve site performance from a page level upwards.

If you believe you could use some help identifying content gaps or want to help drive the needle forward for your business, iQuanti’s SEO services could be just what you need.

This article was originally published in the Search Engine Journal.

Generative AI for Content: Here’s what SEOs Need to Know

28 Mar, 2023

Authors
Ajay Rama, SVP Products, iQuanti
Sreekant Lanka, SVP Solutions, iQuanti

ChatGPT has caught everyone’s imagination. It promises enormous potential to transform many types of work, yet challenges remain. Let’s understand the technology as well as the opportunities and challenges it presents to SEO marketers.

Download a copy of this thought paper on Generative AI for SEO marketers here.

What is Generative AI?

Generative AI algorithms generate new output after being trained on large amounts of existing data. Traditional AI systems recognized patterns and made predictions, but Generative AI creates new content, including text, images, and audio.

How does Generative AI work?

Generative AI uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to create new content. A GAN has a generator that creates new data and a discriminator that evaluates whether the data is real or fake. The generator and discriminator train together to create content that is indistinguishable from existing data.

What sets it apart from previous versions of AI?

 

 

Quality of results: In straightforward cases, AI like ChatGPT can create high-quality content that can easily pass as written by a human.

 

Ease of use: Because AI can make sense of unstructured input, little to no learning is required to give it useful instructions.

 

Versatility: Generative AI models can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including music, arts and coding.

Evolution of Generative AI Models

Generative AI has evolved over the last few years.

Use cases of Generative AI for marketers

 

iQuanti’s proprietary AI-driven enterprise SEO platform ALPS uses GPT technology to organize, automate, and augment SEO functions. Here are a few ways ALPS uses Generative AI:

  1. Analyzing unstructured data
  2. Generative AI is good at analyzing unstructured data by flexibly categorizing it and providing structure as prompted. This has far- reaching implications for any field that needs insights from real-world unstructured data. For example, in SEO, ALPS is using Generative AI to find relevant keywords and categorize them into themes.

  3. Topic research
  4. Extensive topic research requires diligently evaluating large amounts of data to exhaustively identify all the sub-topics. Usually, the researcher searches for top-ranking pages, as exhaustive topic research is time-consuming. Even with ALPS, we used to limit research to the top 10 competitors. With Generative AI, ALPS does comprehensive topic research covering all possible sub-topics across all competition.

  5. Insights on tabular data
  6. Generative AI can do a good job of using structured data input (i.e tabular data) and providing data-based insights and recommendations. We are using the structured data dump from tools like Google Ads and ALPS to generate insights and get recommendations. These are of course vetted by experienced subject matter experts. We have found these insights to be accurate. Download a copy of this thought paper on Generative AI for SEO marketers here.

Download a copy of this thought paper on Generative AI for SEO marketers here.

 

Generative AI in content

Research

Content research can be very time-consuming, requiring writers to research a variety of sub-topics, and to understand different takes on the topic. Generative AI streamlines this process. ALPS uses Generative AI to make high-quality content research easier; you get all the research related to the topic right within the platform.

Copywriting and editing

Generative AI can be a useful aid in speeding up the process of creating several content forms from a single source. Titles, meta descriptions, social media posts, summary posts, and creating multiple variations are some of the types of content that AI can produce quickly.

AI can even check whether content adheres to a brand voice, and it can rewrite the content to follow brand guidelines.

Content creation

Generative AI usually creates content that is descriptive, data-based, and factual. AI can reduce the effort needed to ensure that long-form content follows the flow and structure you want. With ALPS, we are using Generative AI to write smaller subsections of long-form content. This gives the user better control of the structure and flow of the content.

There are areas where we find it diffiult to achieve the expected quality of output with Generative AI. One example is content that requires a unique point of view, creative thinking, creative expressions, using analogies, and indirect meaning.

Sometimes the output from AI may be a bit verbose and in some cases AI produces the wrong answer to a question. For example, when asked to evaluate the accuracy of an article about credit scores, ChatGPT gave a wrong answer, then explained its error with an additional error, then acknowledged the right answer:

ChatGPT: The following statement is incorrect:

“‘Fair’ credit score ranges indicate to credit issuers that a credit user may hold high amounts of debt.”

Fair credit score ranges, typically ranging from 580 to 669, indicate to credit issuers that a credit user may have made a payment that was 30 days late or more, carry a high debt load, and may not be eligible for the best interest rates. However, it does not necessarily mean that they hold high amounts of debt.

Question: You said that “may carry a high debt load” is different than “may hold high amounts of debt.” Don’t they mean the same thing?

ChatGPT: I apologize for any confusion. “May carry a high debt load” and “may hold high amounts of debt” can be considered similar in meaning, and both suggest the possibility of a person or organization having a significant amount of debt.

The difference between the two phrases is that “may carry a high debt load” suggests that the debt is actively being managed or paid off, whereas “may hold high amounts of debt” suggests that the debt exists but does not necessarily imply any action is being taken to address it. However, the difference between the two phrases may be minor and they can often be used interchangeably.

Fair credit score ranges, typically ranging from 580 to 669, indicate to credit issuers that a credit user may have made a payment that was 30 days late or more, carry a high debt load, and may not be eligible for the best interest rates. However, it does not necessarily mean that they hold high amounts of debt.

Question: So you’re wrong, because your credit score doesn’t reflect whether debt is being actively managed or paid off. It’s more correct to say you may hold high amounts of debt.

ChatGPT: You are correct, I apologize for any confusion I may have caused. You are right that having a high credit score doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is actively managing or paying off their debt. It is more accurate to say that someone “may hold high amounts of debt” rather than “may carry a high debt load.” Thank you for pointing that out.

ChatGPT on how Generative AI can help marketers:


How can an AI language model like ChatGPT assist marketers?

An AI language model like ChatGPT can assist marketers in several ways:

  1. Content creation: ChatGPT can generate high-quality and engaging content quickly and efficiently. It can assist marketers in creating a variety of content types, such as blog posts, social media updates, and product descriptions.
  2. Idea generation: ChatGPT can provide marketers with new ideas for content based on specific keywords or topics. It can help marketers brainstorm new and creative ways to approach their content and explore new content themes.
  3. Market Research: ChatGPT can analyze large amounts of data and provide insights into consumer behavior, trends, and preferences. Marketers can use this information to create targeted campaigns and improve their overall marketing strategy.
  4. Personalization: ChatGPT can be trained on specific customer profiles, allowing marketers to create personalized content for their target audience. This can help marketers create content that is more relevant and engaging to their customers.
  5. Automation: ChatGPT can automate various marketing tasks such as content creation, email marketing, and social media management. This can save marketers time and resources and allow them to focus on more strategic tasks.
  6. Customer service: ChatGPT can be used to develop chatbots and other conversational interfaces that can assist with customer service inquiries. This can provide customers with immediate assistance and reduce the burden on customer service teams.

Overall, an AI language model like ChatGPT can help marketers create more effective content, improve customer engagement, and streamline various marketing processes, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.

 

Download a copy of this thought paper on Generative AI for SEO marketers here.

Challenges with using ChatGPT for content creation

Tools like ChatGPT should be viewed as one of many starting points in the content creation process. They can be useful for steps such as topic ideation and brief creation, but they’re not ready for full automation yet.

  1. Google cautions against complete reliance on AI
  2. Raw AI-generated content is prohibited by Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines).

  3. Google knows when you use AI
  4. Google can detect automatically generated content. ChatGPT also plans to add watermarking.

  5. AI can’t understand nuance
  6. AI language models are not capable of understanding the context and nuances of a topic the way a human writer can, so the content they produce may not be of high quality.

  7. AI can’t fact-check
  8. While language model chatbots can be remarkably accurate at times, they are not designed to ensure factual accuracy. All factual statements need to be checked by humans.

  9. AI can’t do SEO for content
  10. AI language models like ChatGPT are not trained for SEO purposes, so the content they generate will not be optimized for search.

  11. AI may be biased or cause harm
  12. ChatGPT’s terms say that it “may occasionally generate incorrect information” and it “may occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content.”

  13. ChatGPT can’t write timely topics
  14. According to OpenAi, ChatGPT was trained on a data set from 2021 and earlier, and it is not connected to the internet, so it has “limited knowledge of world and events after 2021.”

  15. Privacy concerns
  16. It may not be a good idea to submit confidential information to ChatGPT. Its privacy policy says:

    Q: I want to use ChatGPT Plus with sensitive data. Who can view my conversations?

    A: As part of our commitment to safe and responsible AI, we may review conversations to improve our systems and to ensure the content complies with our policies and safety requirements. For more information on how we handle data, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

  17. Content that isn’t unique
  18. Q: ChatGPT’s terms caution against assuming output is uniQ:ue from one use to another:

    A: “Similarity of Content. Due to the nature of machine learning, Output may not be unique across users and the Services may generate the same or similar output for OpenAI or a third party. For example, you may provide input to a model such as “What color is the sky?” and receive output such as “The sky is blue.” Other users may also ask similar questions and receive the same response. Responses that are requested by and generated for other users are not considered your Content.”

  19. ChatGPT doesn’t take responsibility for its content
  20. Q: ChatGPT’s terms prohibit holding them responsible for any legal issues arising from the use of their service:

    A: Indemnity. You will defend, indemnify, and hold harmless us, our affiliates, and our personnel, from and against any claims, losses, and expenses (including attorneys’ fees) arising from or relating to your use of the Services, including your Content, products or services you develop or offer in connection with the Services, and your breach of these Terms or violation of applicable law.

What’s next for AI?

AI is changing quickly, and we’ll need to be nimble but cautious.

    • OpenAI released GPT-4, a large multimodal model that accepts image and text prompts, in March 2023. According to OpenAI, GPT-4 “while less capable than humans in many real-world scenarios, exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks.”
    • Microsoft is an investor in OpenAI and has integrated GPT-4 in Bing Chat. Some GPT-4 features are missing from Bing Chat, however, such as visual input.
    • In March 2023, Microsoft also announced AI-powered Copilot for its 365 suite apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams.
    • Google has announced its own slew of AI solutions, and the race is on. We may soon see disruptive changes to SERP experience.

Generative AI is transforming the landscape of content creation, and it will likely continue to improve. It’s important to be aware of its limitations, especially when trying to use AI without human oversight. There may come a time when oversight isn’t needed, but it isn’t here yet.

Download a copy of this thought paper on Generative AI for SEO marketers here.

If you have questions/comments, please reach out to us at marketing@iquanti.com.

How Is Your Ad Spend Being Optimized?

The exponential growth of digital advertising spending is expected to surpass $600 billion by the end of 2022.

While this is a remarkable reflection of how important digital advertising has become in reaching your target audience(s), it doesn’t speak to how this spend translates to your ROI. Paid media is — and likely will continue to be — the largest spend across digital media campaigns, but is the emphasis on PPC, branded content, and display ads enough to move the needle for your business?

The questions that usually arise when examining if paid media solutions are meeting the mark are:

“Are we targeting the wrong keywords?”

“Are our creatives reaching the right audiences?”

“Where are our customers dropping off the conversion campaign?”

The emphasis on upper- and mid-funnel campaigns is important in generating awareness of your brand and informing your various audiences how it is you provide the most suitable solutions to meet their needs. The lack of emphasis on lower-funnel campaigns, on the other hand, provides a massive opportunity to solidify conversion efforts made by these upper- and mid-funnel efforts.

Whether your goal is to ensure your ad campaigns are working in tandem with each other or if you simply want to see an increase in conversions, you might need a Landing Experience Accelerator Program (LEAP) to bridge that gap.

Preparing to LEAP

Let’s start by saying that the upper- and mid-level conversion campaigns aren’t going anywhere and will remain impactful in driving traffic to your website. Traditionally though, these campaigns are created to hook and lure your audience in without a consideration of how generic landing pages on a site can be.

Meanwhile, leveraging the same landing pages across different ad campaigns may result in a disconnected user experience. Couple this with a lack of ongoing testing and soon advertisers start to lose sight of where and why ad performance starts to decay.

When it comes to understanding how vital contributing ad spends to product and service pages can be, start by asking yourself:

“Are my awareness and consideration campaigns broad enough that a singular conversion page encompasses the various experiences my audiences take to arrive there?”

“Will my audiences become distracted by a conversion page that doesn’t precisely speak to the reason they visited your landing page in the first place?”

Customers are increasingly sophisticated and depending on your industry, competing products and services are widely available. Therefore, creating a holistic strategy that encompasses organic and direct traffic efforts, paid media campaigns, and customized landing pages can help build meaningful end-to-end experiences that align with your audience’s intent.

LEAP builds these customized landing pages, maximizing user experience and conversion performance and delivering as many as 7x more leads.

LEAP-ing into end-of-funnel success

You might be wondering what precisely makes a LEAP so effective. iQuanti’s multi-functional approach uses five comprehensive and customizable solutions to help our clients move the conversion needle.

  1. Analytics
  2. A deep understanding of both your on- and off-page elements is the most integral step in understanding how people interact with your site. Starting with a deep dive into the core functionality of your website, we identify both the strengths and areas of improvement that can lead to better UX and UI.

    This in-depth analysis allows for the development of individual landing pages per ad campaign with a very customer-centric focus. Additionally, campaign generation strategies can be more closely scrutinized to identify and match user intent, eventually saving our clients CPC dollars that are being spent on audience types that bounce in and out of pages that irrelevant ads would lead them to.

  3. UX/UI
  4. These qualitative approaches provide us and our clients insight into effective storyboards, wireframes, usability evaluations, and concept validations that can be enacted for short- and long-term wins. Entirely based on client need, iQuanti homes In on your unique competitive landscape and audiences’ search intent, developing hypotheses on how your proprietary framework can be leveraged to improve a site visitor’s overall page experience.

    This is where we look at your cumulative layout shift (CLS), page loading speed, mobile-friendliness, page intent, and other elements to figure out why certain pages have higher or lower bounce rates and scroll depth. Building benchmarks in line with industry best practices and insights, we strive to improve our clients’ quality score, making them a more authoritative source of information and subsequently driving more conversions from landing page campaigns.

  5. Development
  6. All this research won’t be effective without proper consideration of standards and protocols, which is at the heart of our landing page developmental services. We adhere to secure coding practices as per OWASP and WCAG compliance recommendations, ensuring that, no matter who your audience is, campaigns match search queries and user intent, leading them to your products and services in non-inflammatory and accessible ways.

    Our proficiency across open-source and proprietary CMS platforms also speaks to our ongoing commitment to providing a positive UX/UI experience for our clients. By staying in the know about the latest developments in web design, we ensure our landing page campaigns help build the quality score of your individual web pages, as well as your site at large.

  7. Hosting
  8. Unsure or intimidated by how you will scale a program like this? No need to tax your IT department in getting your tech stack prepared for hundreds of new landing pages.

    With dedicated cloud hosting that allows for 24/7 System and Organization Controls (SOC) and data encryption capabilities, we can manage and host all your landing pages that can be modified or commissioned at will. And to ensure our commitment to your protection and user accessibility, we also offer disaster recovery management to back up and secure your data.

  9. A/B Testing
  10. Last, but most certainly not least, is our structured approach to analysis and its impact on optimization, which allows for the testing and refining of optimal landing page experiences. To reduce our clients’ CPC, we apply A/B testing for optimal conversion and journey experience and monitored internally that further improve your site’s quality score and match with your users’ intent.

    A consistent system of testing allows for maximum conversion output. At scale, this attention to each landing page offers significant gains with higher conversions and an extended reach of our clients’ media dollars.

Expanding Your Conversion Capabilities by LEAPs and Bounds

Experienced marketers understand that increases in bounce rates or decreases in scroll duration are hallmarks of a diminishing conversion rate; but to immediately lose a customer who clicks into a paid landing page campaign can be debilitating, if not heartbreaking. As partners in your success story, digital marketing agencies like iQuanti strive to deliver conversion rate optimization (CRO) methodologies and strategies that not only meet but exceed, client expectations.

Unlike every other digital marketing agency, iQuanti is intimately aware of how curated experiences from top-of-funnel media campaigns trickle down to customized landing pages that produce conversions. Instead of committing more money to digital ad spending, it is paramount to understand how funneling money toward the right strategy can put your products and services ahead of the rest.

When it comes down to brass tacks, no one wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Instead of emphasizing CPC, PPC, or otherwise, start with the notion that you are guiding your audience on a journey, proving to them how you are providing them an experience, not solely a product or service.

The Client

A top-tier Canadian bank that offers a market-leading reverse mortgage product to homeowners aged 55 and above. Reverse mortgage business comprises of advisor and consumer businesses. Our client uses digital/ web assets as well as ‘Web to phone’ to reach potential customers.

The Challenge: Suboptimal Engagement And Conversion Rates On The Bank’s Homepage

The bank relied on its website for lead generation. But data analysis showed that while form submissions for an offer of free quotes was ~7.5% on the website overall, it was just ~5% on the homepage, which was its highest traffic page. The bank’s marketing team realized it needed to:

  • Improve form completions from the homepage
  • Increase engagement with the website through the homepage

The Solution: A Structured Approach To Delivering Relevant, Engaging Content

The bank got in touch with iQuanti to boost its homepage’s performance. Together we determined that due to the niche nature of the product, the homepage needed to engage the target audience with relevant content and clear value propositions. To drive this goal, we focused on:

  • Optimizing page design based on a data-driven UX analysis to drive more traffic from the homepage to key pages
  • Improving the page layout by displaying the value proposition in a structured way so that the bank’s differentiation is clearly highlighted
  • Ensuring that the experience on the website is frictionless and pleasant by replacing a carousel banner design with a static hero image. We went with this tactic after conducting secondary research about the target demographic – seniors 55 years and older.

 

%

increase in form completions

%

improvement in engagement rates

"Working with iQuanti has represented a fundamental shift in our approach to reaching our clientele. Their thought leadership has delivered a digital blueprint that has translated into transformational growth for our business."

– Chief Marketing Officer at the bank

Case Studies

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Digital Acquisition – SEO

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Experience Optimization

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Catching up on “overnight” e-mails from colleagues in Bangalore and preparing for daily client meetings is a typical morning for Kerstin Baker-Ash, Senior Director of Client Services at iQuanti. Most of Kerstin’s clients are in financial services and B2B verticals in both Canada and the United States.

No two days are alike, even with recurring client meetings – we’re always looking to get ahead of the curve for our clients, and I’ll spend most days working with client partners and iQuanti teams to make sure we’re being strategic, innovative, and delivering best-in-class solutions.

What attracted Kerstin to a career in digital marketing?

Growing up in Toronto in the 1980s, Kerstin witnessed the rapid rise in popularity of technology. In her late teens, Kerstin received her first dial-up internet connection, where “I remember being excited about emerging trends from an early age, and my curiosity and wonder about what’s coming next in innovative technology hasn’t stopped since.”

Initially, Kerstin’s career aspirations leaned in a political or diplomatic direction, as she studied International Relations at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. However, an internship during her 3rd year of university, at Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) in Cardiff, UK led Kerstin down a new path.

“I fell into digital marketing while trying to address a business need; how could we climb to the top of search results, and answer questions that were being asked on the internet? Before I knew it, I was starting each day with a coffee and a visit to Webmaster World forums, poring over the (paper!) handbook that detailed all the rules, tips, and tricks for a new channel called Pay Per Click from Google AdWords, and I was hooked.”

Prior to iQuanti, Kerstin has worked across many different verticals that range from in-house travel, government, and finance to agency roles supporting global consumer goods, hospitality, and automotive brands. What’s more, Kerstin has lived and worked in both the US and Europe, supplying her with an abundance of knowledge in digital and traditional marketing channels and trends.

Kerstin believes curiosity is a fundamental trait in becoming a successful digital marketer – “it allows us to look out for trends, pull insights, and make recommendations that inform your ongoing strategy.”

One of the great things about digital marketing is that there are so many opportunities to explore and build your career, a myriad of avenues to grow your skillset through courses, industry events, and colleagues.

Why iQuanti?

Back in early 2019, Kerstin’s story at iQuanti began –

I was drawn to the sense of openness, transparency, and respect that my now-colleagues around the world were bringing to those initial conversations. There was a real sense of all ships rising together here, and a wonderful culture of sharing and support no matter your level.

“One of the (many) things I love about my job is getting to work with talented colleagues across the globe; it’s a network of innovation and expertise that truly sets iQuanti apart. If there’s a solution I’m trying to create for a client in Toronto, I know I can reach out to a colleague in Bangalore, New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, London, or any place in between to talk through ideas, learnings, or best practices. I love that we’re able to bring value to clients on a daily basis because of iQuanti’s network of experts across the digital marketing landscape – whether it be paid search, SEO, display, social media marketing, user journey optimization, and so much more.”

iQuanti provides opportunities to develop relationships with colleagues at all levels and supports continual growth – “I love hearing from newer colleagues about their insights on emerging platforms, because it helps us all be better partners and drive strategic innovation for our clients.”

One of Kerstin’s favorite aspects about iQuanti is “the opportunity to push outside my comfort zone and level up my technology skillset. For instance, we completed a company-wide course on machine learning, which has exciting applications for the digital marketing world.”

Any advice for young professionals?

Keep learning for the sake of learning! Develop a growth mindset by learning a skill unrelated to your job skill, take a course in a subject that interests you, and you’ll add depth to any role you’re in.

When not in the office, “My other job title is ‘mum,’ so when I’ve finished up with work for the day my husband and I transform into chefs, chauffeurs, and tutors for our three wonderful children.” And that’s not all: “I sing in a choir and play the piano, the French horn, and, once upon a time, the oboe! My musical education drilled into me focus, precision, and the power of nuance, and it’s a lasting habit from those early years. I’m multilingual and a big fan of travel, being able to immerse myself in cultures and experiences that are different to my own.” 

Best practices for leveraging Google Ads automations to drive marketing goals

Paid search marketing automation is evolving at pace. New Google Ads automations such as Smart Bidding, responsive search ads, OptiScore, and Performance Max have taken routine, repetitive tasks off the plates of marketers, leaving them free to focus on driving strategic business goals.

But how can marketers make the most of these automated features? How can they combine automation with data and analytics to maximize performance? Here are some best practices to leverage automation.

A. Smart Bidding best practices

Smart Bidding includes bid strategies which use machine learning (ML) to optimize for conversions or conversion value in each auction — a feature known as “auction-time bidding.” Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, and Maximize Conversion Value are all Smart Bidding strategies.

Smart Bidding offers marketers a range of contextual signals, flexible performance controls, and better insights and reports. To tap into the benefits of Smart Bidding, marketers should:

1. Organize campaigns into bidding portfolios for greater budget fluency

Campaigns often have different objectives and performance targets; therefore, they should not be treated the same. Instead, marketers should assign campaigns to performance portfolios and define appropriate marketing and brand strategies along with targets and KPIs.

See Figure 1 for an example of how marketers might focus on maximizing impression share for core brand campaigns.

Figure 1: Example of bidding portfolios for Smart Bidding

2. Leverage broad match with caution

Marketers can now combine the expansiveness of the match types with Smart Bidding (See Figure 2 for an example of how matching to broader terms happens as match types change). In the past, campaign managers avoided broad match as it could surface irrelevant results (for example, matching a search for “mens genes” to the “mens jeans” keyword). However, with the incorporation of Smart Bidding and machine learning, the system now better understands searcher intent. Smart Bidding will bid lower for irrelevant matches, deprioritizing them and eventually eliminating matches altogether. As a result, Smart Bidding allows campaign managers to maximize their reach while limiting waste.

That said, Google’s broad match algorithm continues to evolve, and PPC managers should be vigilant while the system learns and optimizes each specific campaign.

In fact, we recommend that campaign managers add key irrelevant terms as negatives prior to launching an account to better guide the algorithm.

Figure 2: Example of match types broadening reach on search terms (terms matching to “mens jeans” on exact, phrase, and broad)

3. Other best practices

Machine learning can be ineffective if PPC advertisers make too many changes too often or if they fail to set the right targets or budgets. To optimize performance, marketers should:

  • Pace changes: Help reduce learning periods for the algorithm by making small changes of 10-15% at a time. Also, give the system enough time (up to two weeks) to learn.
  • Set the right targets: Your targets should be achievable. Attempting to hit a very aggressive target is likely to constrict the algorithm and may not deliver meaningful traffic.
  • Set the right budgets: Make sure your daily budget is sufficient. Consider having ~10x of the target set as the budget to allow for enough conversions to be recorded.
  • Experiment and A/B Test: Use experiments to test the strategy against manual bidding (and other bid strategies) and then slowly transition to automated bidding. Advertisers can launch their campaigns as an “Experiment” in A/B test mode, allowing only half of their traffic to be impacted by automated bidding. They can then analyze how their automated bid strategy performed versus the manual strategy, risking only half of their traffic if results are poorer.

B. Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) best practices

In June 2022, Google announced the transition from Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) to Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). These are Google’s largest and most flexible search ad format to date.

Unlike expanded text ads, where copywriters create static text ads with headlines and descriptions (ad assets), RSAs allow advertisers to provide multiple headlines and descriptions. Google then mixes and matches them based on search queries and other proprietary data to serve the most effective ads to users.

While RSAs give advertisers a lot of flexibility, they can be trickier to navigate (See Figure 3). To get the most out of them:

  • Make sure the assets uploaded make sense individually and when combined
  • Aim to have at least one ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ ad strength RSA in each ad group (but don’t sacrifice performance metrics such as CPA or ROI to deliver better ad strength)
  • Use “pinning” to ensure key information always appears in the ads – however, use this feature sparingly (as it reduces the number of combinations that can be generated)

Figure 3: The complexity of RSAs 

C. OptiScore best practices

Google defines OptiScore (or Optimization Score) as an automated estimate of how well a Google Ads account is expected to perform. Optimization scores can range from 0% to 100% and are calculated in real-time using account settings, performance, and trend data. The higher the optimization score, the closer an account is to being optimized – based on Google’s criteria.

While the OptiScore is not directly tied to quality score or ad rank, the recommendations are meant to improve campaign performance. However, not every recommendation is relevant, and it is important to review the recommendations, implement the relevant ones, and dismiss those that do not apply.

Here are the best practices, advertisers should keep in mind while leveraging OptiScore:

  • Review the keywords, audience, match type, ad, and extension recommendations to make sure they’re relevant (there have been instances where Google has recommended Christmas ad copy in a Halloween ad group, for instance – See Figure 4 below)
  • Ensure bid strategy changes are aligned with the business goals
  • Ensure budget and bid strategy targets are aligned with KPIs
  • Monitor the changes and performance before turning on ‘Auto-Apply’ (hygiene-related changes are safer than ad copy, keyword, or budget changes)

Figure 4: Example of Google Ads suggesting irrelevant headlines for ads

D. Performance Max Best Practices

Launched in 2021, Google Performance Max campaigns leverage the power of automation and machine learning to improve advertising strategy.

Performance Max campaigns promise more conversions by optimizing ad performance in real-time and across all channels using Smart Bidding, Google’s AI-driven automated bidding algorithm. Advertisers can upload various assets, such as text, images, and video, and Google’s machine learning then tests which combinations work best for individual users across all of Google’s ad inventory. The intention is to have single-campaign optimization across all of Google’s platforms.

Our survey shows that more than 50% of surveyed marketers have used Performance Max campaigns and most have seen positive results! (See Figure 5).

Figure 5: Marketers’ experience with Performance Max

Things to consider while running Performance Max campaigns

  • Run Performance Max alongside your core search campaigns as Exact match keywords will take precedence over Performance Max ads in the auction (and this allows you to retain control on the keywords that matter the most to your business)
  • Leverage lower funnel conversions as a primary KPI and allow the system to optimize toward these
  • Inputs such as “Custom Segments” audience signals can help improve targeting (keywords, remarketing lists, customer match, websites visited).
  • Advertisers should upload their videos rather than allowing Google to create its own as they may  not be relevant and/or fail to drive impact

Figure 6: Performance Max best practices – cheat sheet

The bottom line

Like all tools, paid search automation must be managed with care to yield the desired results. Google Ads still requires oversight,  constant optimization and experimentation to deliver to marketers’ growth goals. But with the right strategy and adherence to best practices, automation can help you reach your target audience at the right time and place.

How leading marketers are using Google Ads automation and data to supercharge growth

Is automation in Google Ads eating up the role of marketers? The answer is yes – but only the cumbersome, repetitive tasks, leaving marketers free to focus on strategic, high-value work. With Google automating routine tasks such as bid management, keyword research, ad creation, and optimization, marketers can now spend more time driving what matters most –the growth of their companies.

How can marketers leverage automation and analytics to close in on their business goals? In this thought paper, we outline what automation can and cannot do and identify five ways in which marketers add strategic value.

Evolution of Search Engine Marketing

Over time, the paid search channel has evolved significantly and become more sophisticated. In recent years, AI and improvements in machine learning have allowed Google to make great leaps in marketing automation.  Since the introduction of responsive search ads (RSAs) in 2018, many advancements have been centered around automation, especially the adoption of automated bidding strategies and dynamic ad creatives.

With search becoming increasingly popular and complex, automation has enabled marketers to optimize campaigns at scale, freeing up their bandwidth and helping them focus on strategic tasks.

However, incremental automation has coincided with reduced signals and fewer controls. Some early search marketing platforms (such as Yahoo) operated an open auction model, allowing advertisers to see who was advertising and even what bids were set on specific keywords!  Since then, multiple updates have layered on different elements of automation to help marketers manage their paid search activity — scripts, Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs), eCPC, and Smart Bidding, for example. The recently introduced “Performance Max” campaigns allow advertisers even lesser control over their targeting and performance data.

Figure 1: Paid search management has evolved with increased automation

Figure 2: Google has reduced signals and controls in paid search

Role of automation

Automation tools can help marketers move away from managing dozens of campaigns and instead focus on strategic areas of growth such as budget planning, keyword targeting, increasing audience engagement, and exploring new avenues that will benefit their sales funnels. It can also help them improve campaign performance and reduce wasted ad spending.

However, automation is not perfect yet!

Automation doesn’t mean campaign managers can ‘set it and forget it.’ Google is very good at launching fast or failing fast, as they say! Automation in paid search is still evolving and like a traditional AI approach, Google will leverage advertisers’ inputs to help teach the system. “Broad Match” is a great example of how a feature improved over time.

But Google’s automation has its limitations. For example, it’s not yet to be able to read seasonality perfectly, especially spikes during Black Friday or Christmas Sales. Short sales and offers too don’t always perform well as systems are not able to learn quickly enough. And when broad keywords are used with Smart Bidding, the automation still targets irrelevant keywords. Similarly, choosing to auto-apply Optiscore recommendations can lead to wrong keywords and poor ad copy recommendations.  

Our poll shows that most marketers are aware of these limitations and maintain significant oversight over their campaigns.

Figure 3: iQuanti Poll showing the degree of control marketers like to retain over Google automation

 

Role of Marketers in the Age of Automation

Automation allows paid search practitioners to focus on strategic planning and execution while keeping business KPIs, profitability, and media mix in mind.

Data plays a critical role in the success of automated campaigns. Paid search marketers must ensure that the inputs – target keywords, ad-copies, audience targeting, etc. – are aligned with their business goals, and let the system know the direction they want to go with.

While ensuring that rich data such as customer lifetime value (LTV) gets fed into the system, marketers must also declutter to refine the performance through actions such as negative keywords and placements. They must keep one eye on performance and another on spending!

Marketers should always be in the know of their industry trends, macroeconomic factors, and competitive movements. Platforms can never substitute human intelligence but can certainly augment it.

Strategic role of a marketer

As automation takes over much of the tactical work that campaign managers used to do manually, they have an opportunity to focus on more strategic tasks, using data to drive their decisions. Here are five ways in which marketers can leverage automation and data to achieve their strategic goals:   

A. Craft non-brand strategy using detailed analysis of competitive strengths and weaknesses

When building strategy, marketers typically just use a keyword planner tool like Google Keyword Planner or SEM Rush to create a keyword list for their non-brand campaign. There is often a business context lacking in this exercise. While, with ongoing optimization, over time they will understand what is working and what is not working, they will end up spending significant amounts to gather these learnings.

Marketers have an opportunity to bring business context to the keyword planning exercise. Advertisers can deep dive into the product and understand the product’s key competitive strengths and weaknesses and leverage these insights for keyword planning. This will not only help in selecting the right keywords with high potential for conversion but will also help right keyword theming and message personalization.

 

Use Case

 Let’s say a marketer is managing a campaign for a leading credit card company, and they are bidding for cash-back credit cards. When they compare their product against the industry, they find out that there’s a strong gas cashback offer, but their brand is not competitive with groceries cashback. So, to build their non-brand strategy, they should know that keywords like cashback and credit cards for “gas” are advantage keywords where they have a comparative advantage, and then keywords around “groceries” where they have a disadvantage.

Marketers can leverage these insights for building ad copies. For instance, if they know that they have a very competitive gas offer against their competing brands, they can have messaging related to “gas rewards” in their ad copy when bidding against those brands.

Figure 4: Example of bringing business context to the keyword planning exercise

B. Devise tactics to enhance landing page experience and inform the A/B testing roadmap

While marketers are focused on optimizing media bids and budgets, they neglect to optimize experiences on landing pages. Optimizing and customizing landing pages can have a dramatic impact on campaign economics. But marketers typically leverage one or two landing pages across different campaigns and ad groups and there is often no ongoing testing and optimization.

Marketers typically use some web analytics data and sometimes A/B testing, but they’re usually ad hoc. Here are some simple yet effective tactics that can help marketers identify the gaps in the user experience and optimize it significantly.

  1.  Run user testing to understand the reasons for gaps in user experience. Self-serve platforms like userlytics.com and usertesting.com make user testing fast and seamless.
  2.  Do a competitive analysis for inspiration to build best-in-class experiences. Look at direct competitors as well as best-in-class players in and outside your industry.
  3.  Leverage industry best practices from publications who have already tested experiences

C. Use advanced analytics and ML for building audience segments

Marketers have a lot of data about first-party audiences but they don’t always leverage them effectively. They often upload entire customer lists for cross-sell segments but fail to segment the data or to deploy negative targeting segments.

With AI/ML-based solutions becoming more common, marketers can maximize the potential of first-party data. The biggest use case is segmentation. Marketers can transition from a purely rules-based approach to an AI- and machine learning-based approach which enables more nuanced segmentation and better prioritization and personalization, improving overall marketing effectiveness.

 

Use case

 When it comes to retargeting, marketers usually build segments based on pages or sections visited. But micro-interactions – the way users interact with the website – can give deep insights about their intent, need, and potential value. To leverage data from these micro-interactions, marketers can use GA4 and combine it with first party data and ML to build intelligence that can be activated across different platforms (see Figure 4). The ML and AI engines will do the work of matching the message, offer, and spend to a particular audience. 

Figure 5: Building segments with web analytics and first party data

D. Use predictive analytics with smart bidding to optimize for business KPIs holistically

One of the limitations of smart bidding is it cannot optimize for events which have a significant time lag. Marketers typically set online conversion events – application approval, average order value, and so on – for smart bidding campaigns. However, these online conversion metrics do not reflect offline conversions that occur several weeks later or the additional revenue from these customers over time. This means that many marketers fail to optimize for these offline conversions or lifetime value (LTV) metrics.

Marketers can transition towards optimizing for holistic business KPIs by leveraging predictive analytics. They can look at different predictive analytics models to estimate the potential value of the customer at the time of the online conversion. Different profiles, products, and environmental attributes can help predict the potential value of customers – look at Figure 6 for examples of attributes. Marketers can pass this value back to Google with a target ROAS or maximize conversion value bidding strategy.

Figure 6: Example of predictive analytics model to optimize for business KPIs  

Use Case

 TROAS for deposits – Citi In e-commerce Return to Origin (RTO) – return of an order to the seller because it could not be delivered – can be as high as 50% for certain categories of products like clothing and shoes. Marketers can leverage attributes such as “users clicked on return policy”, gender, product category, number of products, variety of products (same product in different sizes), and holiday season, to predict the potential likelihood of RTO.

E. Contextualize performance by providing industry, consumer, and competitive insights and building a robust strategy

There are several external factors that influence campaign performance – industry trends, economic environment, and competitor tactics are some. Marketers do a lot of analysis around the impact of campaign optimizations on performance. However, there is a lack of understanding of the impact of external factors on performance.

Marketers should go beyond just the page search console and look at what’s happening in the industry, consumers’ needs and expectations, and what the competition is doing to contextualize performance.

Conclusion

As Google Ads automation evolves, the role of the marketer must evolve with it. Far from diminishing marketers’ role, increased automation makes human oversight and intervention even more vital for success. The marketers who are able to harness automation, data, and analytics synergistically will have an unbeatable competitive advantage in paid search

Drop in at iQuanti’s Bangalore office any morning and you’ll see a man walking down the aisle, coffee cup in hand, greeting and talking to people. That’s Anupam Pareek, iQuanti’s global head of human resources (HR) and admin. Always approachable and accessible, Anupam leads by example by living iQuanti’s values of openness, transparency, and respect. 

I believe that my job is to enable our employees to realize their full potential. This means establishing empathetic HR practices that help attract, develop, motivate, and engage the best minds in the business, he says.

Connecting the dots

What drew Anupam to a career in HR? “I studied aerospace engineering in college and picked HR as my post-graduate specialization. But after spending years in the field, I grew to love my job.  I enjoy the ring-side view I have of the business, strategy, and people’s journeys. And my engineering background helps me understand iQuanti’s data- and analytics-led business better, so it all connects.”

Growing with iQuanti

Anupam’s first interaction with iQuanti’s CEO, Sastry, was informal. Anupam was pleasantly surprised by Sastry’s friendliness and candour and, in equal parts, amazed by his vision.

The company’s culture of transparency and respect is what I enjoy the most here – and Sastry embodies that.

Anupam has worked in a range of industries including IT, telecom, retail, manufacturing, banking, engineering, and construction across India, Middle East, Europe, and Africa. The move to iQuanti, a performance marketing agency, was a big change.

I had to learn and unlearn several aspects of my work quickly to ensure that HR was well-aligned with company goals. The mandate given to me was to build a team that could drive our values of focusing on customers, being innovative and responsive, and demonstrating excellence in making data-based decisions – and in the past couple of years, we’ve done that at scale to support the company’s rapid growth,” he says.

He adds that iQuanti is the right choice for those who thrive in a fast-paced dynamic work environment and are ready to take up new responsibilities.

iQuanti rewards those who wish to contribute and grow with the organization. Keep on learning and growth will automatically follow.

Making HR more human

Anupam believes in putting employees’ needs and goals at the center of his HR strategy. This has meant letting employees take charge of their performance, learning, and growth while establishing processes and systems to support them. “Delivering an exceptional employee experience by combining technology with positive human interactions has been my focus in the last few years. To that end, we’ve transformed our employee onboarding process, adopted a transparent, OKR-based performance management system across the organization, and made coaching-based feedback a part of our culture,” he says.

“And because a team that plays together, stays together, we organize regular events, tournaments, and company-organized treks, as well as offer the hugely popular “Summer Friday” afternoons off,” he adds with a smile.   

While managing his team, too, Anupam prefers to take on the role of a coach and facilitator rather than boss. “My team is empowered and self-directed and most of my meetings with them is to find out if they need any support.” To create a healthy atmosphere for open discussion and debate with his team,

Anupam also makes it a point to meet his team members often informally as well, to talk about any ideas or problems they may have, but more importantly, to have fun together! This trusting, empowering attitude came into play when iQuanti was building its values. “We used a bottom-up approach, with inputs from everyone in the organization. This has meant that all iQuantians identify strongly with our values and feel heard,” he says. iQuanti’s recent certification as a Great Place to Work in the US and India validates Anupam’s innovative approach.  

Living well

His mantra for a fulfilling career and life? “Always be a friend to your team. Be truthful and supportive and focus on creating win-win situations. Leave your ego at the door – collaborate to help your company achieve its goals.”

Outside work, Anupam enjoys going on long rides on his two motorbikes, a Pulsar and a very cool Enfield Meteor.

The certification recognizes iQuanti’s great culture, with 98% employees saying it is open, caring, and ethical

iQuanti, a data-led digital marketing company, has been certified by Great Place to Work, a leading employee experience consultancy, in India and the US for the period of November 2022-23. iQuanti earned this recognition through a rigorous assessment conducted by the Great Place to Work. In the survey conducted by the Great Place to Work, 85% of employees said that iQuanti was a great place to work, compared to 57% of employees at a typical US-based company.

“Great culture is driven by great employees. iQuanti is a warm, fun, fulfilling place to work at because iQuantians are warm, open-minded people with a passion for what they do. This award is a recognition of the great culture that iQuantians have built,” said Viswanatha Sastry Rachakonda, CEO, iQuanti.

98% of the employees also said iQuanti has a trusting, ethical culture and that management genuinely seeks and responds to employees’ suggestions and ideas. Additionally, 98% said that they were given a lot of responsibility and that iQuantians cared about each other.

Founded in 2008, iQuanti helps firms drive stronger performance in digital marketing through deep data analytics. Its services include strategic consulting, digital analytics, and managing digital acquisition programs like SEO, paid search, and social. iQuanti combines cutting edge data expertise with deep vertical experience in industries such as financial services to drive superior results.

“This recognition validates our values-led approach to everything we do at iQuanti. We empower our people with autonomy and flexibility in doing their work, backed with a strong focus on continuous learning” said Anupam Pareek, iQuanti’s global head of human resources.

Learn more about iQuanti’s certification

About iQuanti   

iQuanti is a digital marketing company that drives superior performance through a data and vertical focus. With 500+ employees across New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Mexico City, London, Toronto, Bangalore, and Singapore, iQuanti has been recognized eight times in the Inc 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. For more information, visit  https://www.iquanti.com/.

About Great Place to work

Great Place to Work Certification is the most definitive “employer-of-choice” recognition globally. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified.  For more information, visit https://www.greatplacetowork.com/

As seen on PRnewsWire.com

How Pooja went from being an analyst to shaping strategic projects at iQuanti

My iQuanti Journey:

We recently announced the launch of our new blog series, My Journey with iQuanti. Featuring employees from different teams, the series throws light on individual growth trajectories and how working with iQuanti has impacted their lives and vice versa.

This blog features Pooja H, who is currently the Director of Strategic Projects at iQuanti.

Pooja joined iQuanti as an analyst after completing her engineering degree in the year 2012. And though she intended it to be a stop-gap job for a few months, she is still here a decade later; today, she heads the Enterprise Strategy & Execution (ESET) team. Read on to know more about Pooja’s life and learnings at iQuanti.

What does your role involve?

As Director – Strategic Projects, I head the Enterprise Strategy & Execution (ESET) team at iQuanti. Our all-women, three-member team ensures that our org strategy is in line with growth that we aspire for. Additionally, we ensure that all org initiatives are aligned with our strategy and program manage the initiatives. We also help the CEO to optimize his time to further organizational goals.

What does a typical day at iQuanti look like?

iQuanti functions in an agile way. We run on 2-week sprints – so every alternative Monday, my team and I plan our sprints with the CEO, such that we are set to meet our success criteria for the quarter. Every day starts with review of my tasks for the sprint and I go on to prioritize the important and urgent ones. My last meeting in the day is usually with the CEO, where we collaborate on key growth initiatives that demand his attention.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in the quaint town of Kundapura, situated on India’s west coast, amidst nature, pets and books. For my higher studies, I moved to Mangalore, a city on the west coast; I was lucky to experience both city and country-side life while growing up. I love animals and try to do my bit for the strays whenever I can; I currently have two cats, Loki & Bageera, who rule my house.

An avid reader, I started my love affair with books at an early age; J.R.R Tolkien is my all-time favourite author and my go-to genres are crime fiction and fantasy. I also love travelling and listening to several kinds of music.

How did your journey with iQuanti start and how has it been so far?

A software engineer by qualification, I landed the role of analyst at iQuanti (then known as WorldBiz Express) soon after my graduation in 2012. I had thought of it as a stop-gap job, but I am happy to say that a decade later, I am very much here and still loving every moment.

My growth trajectory within iQuanti has been staggering and is one of the prime factors that drives my loyalty to the firm. Upon joining, I was asked to manage a side-project that involved rebranding the company from WordBiz Express to iQuanti. I had to devise a plan of action, implement it and deliver the results; moreover, I had to play a taskmaster to the CEO and several other senior leaders in our US office just within 2 months of joining! Working within fixed parameters of time, scope, quality and cost was an incredibly rich learning experience.

Indeed, the opportunities available here are vast and diverse, and I have been lucky to have held a role in almost all the functions. iQuanti has encouraged my internal job movements: right from being an analyst (primarily CMS Management), managing client delivery for Fortune 50 clients and product life cycle management to program managing key org initiatives, enterprise operations, financial audit management, planning & budgeting exercises for the firm, delivery operations, leading fundraising efforts and helping leaders arrive at and execute org strategy.

My biggest achievements include moving our product development from a water-fall model to an Agile model and the successive release of ALPS, iQuanti’s enterprise SEO platform, in 2016 ; Managing the due diligence process for the organization in 2017 ; the restructuring of enterprise operations & setting up of Management Information Systems (MIS) in the following year (2018).

What are the key takeaways in your role at iQuanti?

My experience at iQuanti has helped me understand the intricacies of running and positioning a privately held firm like no MBA would have. I have gained this practical hands-on knowledge and experience within the first decade of my career and I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.

My current role has been an enlightening one: I now know that while there is always some firm comparable to ours achieving something extraordinary out there, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. We have to be open to finding and using the knowledge that is already out there and apply it in our context in a smart way.

Any tips for those aspiring to make a career in digital marketing?

Digital Marketing is growing at an exponential pace. Specially in a post COVID world, our entire commerce has moved online. It is evident that there is going to be high demand of experienced digital marketers in foreseeable future. So this is certainly the right place to be.

My advice to aspirants would be just one thing: there are no short-cuts to success. Keep at it and one fine morning, you’ll wake up to find that you are an overnight success!

We are excited to announce the launch of our new blog series ‘My iQuanti Journey’ . Featuring employees from different teams, the series will throw light on individual growth trajectories and how working with iQuanti has impacted their lives and vice versa.

Kicking off this series is Senior Engagement Manager Ishita Aggarwal.

Armed with an MBA in marketing and over nine years of work experience, Ishita joined iQuanti’s India team as an Engagement Manager in March 2021. And in the one and a half years she has been with us, she has bagged a promotion; she is now a Senior Engagement Manager. Read on to know more about Ishita’s life and learnings at iQuanti.

What does your role at iQuanti entail?

I work at iQuanti as a Senior Engagement Manager and I’m part of the India engagement team that handles Canadian clients and works on providing multiple digital solutions from Paid Channel Marketing (PCM) to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

My core responsibilities include consulting, delivery, and program management. As an Engagement Manager (EM), I own the projects from strategy to execution, thereby helping clients achieve their business goals. In addition to this, my job also involves leading and mentoring internal teams, helping with recruitment, process improvement initiatives across the organisation and more.

With ample opportunities to deal with multicultural clients, my role at iQuanti has helped me build an industry-wide understanding and expertise

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally from Faridabad  (part of Delhi NCR), I spent my toddler years in Dalhousie, a famous hill station in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. After that, I did my schooling, higher education and the first few jobs in Delhi NCR. For my undergraduate studies, I did B.Com Honours from Hans Raj College, Delhi University. I then worked with Ernst & Young before doing my MBA from International Management Institute, Delhi, with a specialisation in marketing.

Discipline and hard work have been a part of my life since an early age and growing up in different places has helped me become more open to new experiences and to be fearless even as I embrace change and adapt to new environments. I have also had a lot of exposure to different cultures and points of view thanks to my years spent in the capital (Delhi). This in turn has made me more confident to deal with the complexities of life.

Outside of work, my interests include Bharatanatyam, a popular form of Indian classical dance that originated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, playing board games, watching films, documentaries or web series, catching up on stand-up comedy and theatre, and even Mandala art as I find it truly therapeutic.

 

How did your journey with iQuanti start and how has it been so far?

It was the HR team that reached out to me, possibly through my profile on a job board. Having worked in the product side for 8+ years and through a bunch of Indian startups, iQuanti looked like an exciting opportunity for me to explore the service side of things for global clients.

My interview process was extensive but interesting; following an interview with a leader, I was given an case study that tested my technical depth, analytical skills as well as business understanding. And after the presentation of this case study that helped Engagement leaders assess my clarity of thought and communication and presentation skills, I met with an HR leader to discuss my role. I also underwent technical and soft skills training after coming on board.

Since joining iQuanti, I have been part of the team that won the ‘Best Paid Search Campaign’ Award at the 5th annual International Performance Marketing Awards for one of our clients. And there have been multiple instances where the client has shared appreciation for our work and dedication – be it through emails or via public announcements on social media. Moreover, I was promoted from an Engagement Manager to a Senior Engagement Manager within a year.

What are the key takeaways in your role at iQuanti?

With ample opportunities to deal with multicultural clients, this role has helped me build an industry-wide understanding and expertise. There is exponential learning that comes with this role, largely due to the fact that one gets to work on different goals from different industries, each posing a unique challenge. So finding different solutions for them has been an incredibly exciting and an eye-opening experience.

What would be your advice to youngsters looking to make a career in digital marketing?

I think it is very important to be passionate about the digital landscape and to have a keen interest in learning about trends, new technologies and tools available. One can turn to resources such as Google Ads certifications, Analytics certifications, Meta Blueprint, SEO foundational courses and some Linkedin or Udemy courses as well. Practical exposure is crucial if you wish to sharpen your digital marketing skills, so take on an internship or a project that will help you put your lessons and acquired skills into practice. Pick a stream – it could be paid channel management, SEO, CRO or Analytics – and gain expertise in that before diversifying into other areas.

The analytics-led digital marketing company has once again made it to the list of America’s fastest-growing private companies

Jersey City, NJ, August 2022— Inc. magazine today announced that iQuanti is on the 2022 Inc.5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, for the eighth time. The list represents the most successful companies in the American economy’s most dynamic segment – independent small businesses.

“iQuanti’s achievement of being on the list of fastest-growing companies eight times is a testament to the trust our clients’ repose on us, and to iQuantians who have relentlessly focused on delivering value to our clients,” shared Viswanatha Sastry Rachakonda, CEO.

Founded in 2008, iQuanti helps firms drive stronger performance in digital marketing through deep data analytics. Its offerings include managing digital acquisition programs like SEO, Paid Search and Social, strategic consulting, and digital analytics. iQuanti is also unique in that it has built proprietary products and frameworks to help optimize digital marketing for global brands. Over the years, iQuanti has found success through its focus on developing innovative, industry-leading digital programs and solutions for niche verticals like banking and financial services and ecommerce.

“The accomplishment of building one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., in light of recent economic roadblocks, cannot be overstated,” says Inc’s editor-in- chief Scott Omelianuk . “Inc. is thrilled to honor the companies that have established themselves through innovation, hard work, and rising to the challenges of today.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc500

About iQuanti   

iQuanti ignites powerful and predictable digital marketing performance for global brands with an approach rooted in data science and deep vertical knowledge. iQuanti has 500+ employees across New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Mexico City, London, Toronto, Bangalore, and Singapore. The company was also previously recognized in the inaugural ‘AdWeek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies’ and the Fast 50 Asian American Business List.  For more information, visit iQuanti.com 

About Inc. Media 

Founded in 1979, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. For more information, visit www.inc.com

As seen on PRNewsWire.com.

Magic happens when we have fun innovating

We live our core values every day at iQuanti, be it through our open and respectful interactions with one another, taking ownership for our work, the focus we maintain to ensure our clients always come out above competition, our constant search for innovative ideas, and the unending urge to keep learning.

The months of May and June were especially dedicated to our core value of innovation. Earlier this year iQuanti launched iQ Edge, a program to accelerate innovation across the organization and build cutting-edge products and solutions by training, idea generation, and implementation. The first big initiative iQ Edge undertook was a mandatory certification course org-wide on AI and machine learning. iQ Edge followed that with a month-long competitive program across iQuanti – an “ideathon,” seeking innovative ideas from every iQuantian. At iQuanti, if we love anything more than bright, inventive ideas, it is to fuel and empower a strong culture for creating those ideas.

 

THE FUN BEGINS

The stage was set to get the creative juices flowing. Rules were set for IDEATHON 2022. Team participation was encouraged, with mentors allocated to shortlisted finalists. Registrations opened (May 06, 2022) and submission deadlines (June 07, 2022) were announced. To raise the stakes, a reward of $2,500 was declared for the winning team (or individual). And iQuantians began brainstorming new ideas in any scope of our business, using AI and machine learning as a key enabler.

33 teams (including a couple of individual entries) registered their ideas. Eight finalists were announced on June 29 for IDEATHON 2022

iQedge Price Tracker (Belmond Victor ) Automatic Insights from SERP Using NLP (Shikha Talwar, Parita Shah, and Shyambhu Mukherjee) Autocopies (Shivanjan Chakraborty) Target Audience Improvement Using RTO (Shyambhu Mukherjee, Sayantan Das, and Sudarshan Kothari) 8 FINALISTS Complete Website Audit (Sudarshan Kothari, Sayantan Das, and Shyambhu Mukherjee) Session Interest Aggregation for Product Prediction (Lois Sofia) Smart Web Element Discovery Tool Using AI (Sayantan Das, Sudarshan Kothari, and Shyambhu Mukherjee) Automated Search Query Analysis (Siddharth Mathur)
iQedge Price Tracker (Belmond Victor ) Automatic Insights from SERP Using NLP (Shikha Talwar, Parita Shah, and Shyambhu Mukherjee) Autocopies (Shivanjan Chakraborty) Target Audience Improvement Using RTO (Shyambhu Mukherjee, Sayantan Das, and Sudarshan Kothari) 8 FINALISTS Complete Website Audit (Sudarshan Kothari, Sayantan Das, and Shyambhu Mukherjee) Session Interest Aggregation for Product Prediction (Lois Sofia) Smart Web Element Discovery Tool Using AI (Sayantan Das, Sudarshan Kothari, and Shyambhu Mukherjee) Automated Search Query Analysis (Siddharth Mathur)

THE GRAND FINALE

Then we raised the excitement another notch higher. A week later, on July 07, during the Weekly Townhall session, each finalist idea was presented live! And every iQuantian in the audience turned jury, getting to vote for each of the ideas presented to the panel.

The excitement reached fever pitch as the winner of IDEATHON 2022 was declared. The idea “Complete Website Audit”—proposed by the team comprising Sudarshan Kothari, Sayantan Das, and Shyambhu Mukherjee—not only got the nod from the judges, but also votes and approval from iQuantians!

WHAT LIES AHEAD

As for their future plans, the trio was sure they were definitely going to celebrate. “Go out and have fun! Then, we will also look on up-skilling ourselves too!” stated Sudarshan.

What an exhilarating month of innovative genius! We’re looking forward to many more of these because there’s so much fun in innovating. In the meanwhile, we are on the edge of our seats to see iQ Edge plans to implement this winner of an idea!

Our idea was simply to find the most time-consuming and manual process. Thereafter, we conducted several 1-on-1 discussions, with the analyst going on up to lead team members, to identify the iterative process that could be automated. The aim was to automate insight generation, targeting the low-hanging fruits and provide us with an edge in the digital world.
First of all, we thank our mentors Vishal and Rima! We are very excited to be part of an organization that values innovation and recognizes it.

-Sudarshan Kothari

Senior Data Scientist

Social Selling Optimized with New York & Company

Winner of the “Best Social Media Campaign” award at the 2022 Global Agency Awards.

iQuanti’s intensive data-driven approach drives brand rejuvenation and new customers online

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically transformed the retail sector. New York & Company capitalized on this opportunity to make a strategic shift from a predominantly offline brand to an exclusively digital brand. iQuanti worked with NY&Co’s marketing team to develop and execute a performance-driven social selling strategy, that leveraged the brand’s existing strengths while building new synergies. We used Facebook advertising to build a multi-channel, cross funnel media strategy. We built new customer awareness for the brand, migrated a major chunk of existing customers online, and successfully intervened across the customer journey to drive high-levels of engagement and conversions.

ABOUT THE CLIENT

New York & Company, Inc. (NY&Co) is an American retailer, known primarily for their womenswear. Founded in 1918, they are an iconic brand with a loyal customer base, and were  a staple across malls and downtown shopping areas across the US. In recent years, however the company struggled in the challenging retail business environment, as consumers steadily turned to e-commerce and foot fall to their physical stores declined.

CHALLENGE

As most major American cities enforced strict lockdown and social distancing rules, New York & Company was forced to close physical stores. They shifted to ecommerce, focusing on driving sales and expanding customer base.

Key Business Considerations

Scaling the brand online – shift from physical to digital

Brand refresh – focus on a younger demographic online

Unprecedented holiday season – strong online competition

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVE

Build a strong ROAS through high traffic and conversions 

Expand traditional customer base, while luring existing patrons online

Drive holiday season sales

iQuanti takes risks and keeps testing. The team helped us execute and deliver positive results focused on prospecting new customers.

 

– Julie Lee, VP, Digital Marketing, NY&Co

iQUANTI’S SOLUTION

We built a dynamic campaign strategy, using Facebook advertising data to build reach, re-target relevant subsets, and drive conversions.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Leveraging demographic  and psychographic data, we built a complex tiered audience model mapped to staged customer journeys. Targeting both new and existing customers, we helped drive higher revenues and net sales.

Segmentation

Demographic

Women (18-54 years) + Men (same age, <5% of the target audience, for the newly launched menswear section and targeted gifts for women)

Interests Groups

Using ”interests,” ‘’followers,” ‘’competitor follows,” “influencers,” and other psychographic data, a significantly large and scalable audience pool was created

Lookalikes

Historical data from New York & Co, plus their sister brands Lord & Taylor and FTF, were used to further refine audiences

PLATFORM

A scaled approach to audience classification and refinement strategy was developed across Facebook and Instagram.

CREATIVE APPROACH

Multiple creative routes were tested and optimized continuously, allowing for a dynamic, evolving campaign. Customized themes catering to different customer segments helped drive engagements and clicks. The creative approach considered an increasingly diverse customer base, the latest fashion trends and design aesthetic, as well as holiday themes.

PATRONS

The campaign increased engagement online from existing clients, most of whom were not digital converts.

RESULTS

Overall Campaign

ROAS – 150% above target 

Revenue ~60% increase YoY

Holiday Season

ROAS – 75% above target 

 390% increase in contribution from social YoY 

RESULTS

Overall Campaign

ROAS – 150% above target 

Revenue ~60% increase YoY

Holiday Season

ROAS – 75% above target 

 390% increase in contribution from social YoY 

Have questions? Reach out to our Digital Solutions team today for more insights and assistance.

The digital marketing company won the award for its campaign for NY&Co, an American workwear retail brand for women

 

Jersey City, NJ, July 11, 2022—iQuanti, the data and AI-led digital marketing company, won the “Best Social Media Campaign” award at the Global Agency Awards 2022. iQuanti was among ten companies nominated as finalists in the category. The award came for a campaign iQuanti designed and executed for its client NY&Co, an American workwear retailer for women.

“Our focus is on using data and AI in driving superior performance in digital marketing,” said Vish Sastry Rachakonda, CEO, iQuanti. “This award is a testament to iQuantians’ dedication to driving great results for our clients.”

Kyle Lee, VP Digital Solutions, who led the iQuanti team for NY&Co and the work on this campaign, spoke about the win, “The award recognizes the unique and innovative thinking the iQuanti team demonstrated to exceed our client’s goals. The team adapted to new consumer behavior and ways of thinking during a very crucial holiday period.”

Julie Lee, VP of Digital Marketing, NY&Co added, “iQuanti takes risks and keeps testing. The team helped us execute and deliver positive results focused on prospecting new customers.”

About iQuanti
Founded in 2008, iQuanti offers a unique blend of channel management services, strategic consulting expertise, and proprietary product offerings to help optimize performance marketing for global brands. It ignites powerful and predictable digital marketing performance with an approach rooted in data science and deep vertical knowledge. iQuanti uses innovative, industry-leading digital programs and solutions for niche verticals like banking and financial services, and retail and e-commerce.

With 500+ employees across New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Mexico City, London, Toronto, Bangalore, and Singapore, iQuanti has also been recognized in the inaugural ‘AdWeek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies’ and the Fast 50 Asian American Business List. It has been featured 7 times in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

For more information, visit iQuanti.com.

About Global Agency Award
“Don’t Panic Events” is one of the world’s leading B2B and Industry Awards organizers who proudly own and deliver 35 awards annually around the globe. It celebrates and rewards excellence in search, social media, ecommerce, biddable media, marketing, web development, content marketing and digital excellence across the length and breadth of the digital and tech industry.

As seen on PRNewsWire.com.

A customers’ purchase journey today is rarely linear. Users are gathering information, stating preferences, comparing products, providing feedback and purchasing services across channels – both online and offline. Every one of these touch-points can help marketers learn more about their users and reach them where they are, and with a message personalized for them. On the face of it, this may sound like any marketer’s dreamscape. But in the reality of today’s privacy-first world, even some of the biggest brands have been struggling with being able to fully harness the power of their first-party data.

Marketers need to understand and invest in the right tech enablers that will help them get a 360, unified view of their customers across channels. This is where Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) come to play – they enable you to personalize at scale and help reach your first-party data goals.

1. What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

According to the CDP Institute, a Customer Data Platform is a “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.” A CDP is a complete customer database solution capable of taking in data from a wide variety of sources, creating customer profiles/segments (that remain in the system to be augmented over time) and activating these segments across channels. The best Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) help you activate data across first-, second- and third-party sources – your CRM, website clicks, online form fills, email opens, social media engagement and even offline/in-store interactions.

2. Features of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

CDPs enable the creation of a centralized customer database that presents nearly endless customer segmentation and personalization possibilities for marketers. Some of the core features of CDPs include:

  • Data collection and ingestion
  • Privacy compliance
  • Identity resolution and cross-device data coordination
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Creation of a singular view of the customer
  • Customer data analytics
  • Audience segmentation and customisation
  • Digital campaign and web personalization

3. Why a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

We have often been asked – “Can digital marketing campaigns be built in the absence of CDPs? Can marketers do without a CDP?” The more apt question to ask here is whether these be as impactful as the hyper-personalized digital marketing programs powered by CDPs? And the answer is simple: NO. Customer Data Platforms offer significant advantages to marketers, which make them indispensable in an effective first-party data strategy. Some core benefits highlighted below:

  • Data unification to build a single view of the customer: The primary function of a CDP is to collect and input data from any online and offline data sources using connectors. After the data ingestion, a CDP cleans and unifies all the data using its identity resolution capabilities.
  • Improved customer communication and targeting resulting in better business performance: Using a CDP directly translates into improved personalisation capabilities for a marketer’s website and campaigns. This clubbed with its activation capabilities helps improve the messaging for prospects across touch points, resulting in better engagement and better business performance.
  • Ease of managing data privacy and compliance requirements: CDPs also come in with in-built privacy compliance and consent management capabilities. Using these features of a CDP, marketers can easily exclude non-consenting users from their marketing campaigns and measurement efforts, making compliance easier for them.

4. CDPs vs. DMPs: Can I still use a DMP instead of a CDP?

The choice to use a Data Management Platform (DMP) or a Customer Data Platform (CDP) depends on what data a marketer plans to use and how you plan to use it.

DMPs collect and manage large, anonymized data sets of audiences – sometimes based on own users, and more often based on purchased third-party data. DMPs are used for audience build in advertising. Facebook, for example aggregates data about its vast user base, anonymizes it and sells it to advertisers, and is a great example of a DMP in action. CDPs on the other hand enables you to share your customer data across your tech stack, powering personalization across your channels.

Let’s take a closer look at both below:

  • DMPs are cookie-reliant and can’t store PII (Personally Identifiable Information): By the nature of their build, DMPs are cookie based and do not enable ingestion of any PII data. This gives CDPs an edge over DMPs, as marketers can ingest data in a CDP from any source and it supports all types of PII and non-cookie-based data.
  • DMPs can’t unify profiles or help differentiate customers: DMPs club users or cookies based on their traits and enable marketers to create rule-based segments for activation, while CDPs unify the profile of each user separately using its capabilities, helping marketers differentiate its customers.
  • Lesser data retention: CDPs enable ingestion of PII and non-cookie-based data whose lifecycle is much more than that of cookies (the primary source of data for DMPs), making data retention cycle shorter with DMPs.
  • Can’t be used for email or web personalization: Activation channels of a DMP mainly consist of Demand Side Platforms (DSSPs) for running paid digital marketing campaigns, making it a limitation for them to activate the most relevant audiences to email or web personalization engines.

5. Are there any alternatives to a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Since CDPs are designed to help marketers do multiple tasks of business relevance without too much effort, it’s not easy to replace a CDP with any alternate single platform.

However, looking at their unique business needs and use cases, marketers can onboard a combination of multiple other MarTech platforms in their stack and use those platforms to replicate a CDP’s capabilities. For example, identity platforms can be used for profile unification and consent management platforms for managing user consent.

While going ahead with this alternative, marketers should also keep an eye on the budgets each of these platforms consume, as they might turn out to be much more expensive than investing in onboarding a CDP.

THE FINAL WORD

CDPs are leading the MarTech discussion across industries because of their relevance in this time of turmoil in the digital marketing space. While it is important to look for alternate approaches to minimize the impact of cookie decay on your business, this is also the time to start testing out these approaches to stay ahead of the curve in the post-cookie world.

Brands need to invest in understanding their unique data requirements, investigating the solutions and weigh their options soon to start their journey.

With our deep understanding of consumers, data, technology and platforms, iQuanti has been leading clients through this transition – helping understand their unique data requirements in the changing times, investigating solutions on their behalf and optimizing organizational processes to help with the transition.

Keep an eye out for our latest articles on this topic and reach out to us to start a conversation today!