[#SESDENVER] Mapping Behavior Lets Advertisers Predict the Future

Better tools for mapping mobile behavior based on time and location are the keys to predictive marketing, according to Bing ads evangelist John Gagnon’s SES Denver keynote address titled “Hacking Data and Predicting the Future.”

In the presentation, Gagnon said that better analytics tools are quickly making old methods of paid search obsolete. “For too long, we’ve been looking at what people are searching for [to offer clues] for what they want to buy.” However, “extra context from mobile is moving [advertisers] from being reactive to predictive to drive campaigns to a better place.”

One example Gagnon used was a November 2013 trip to Austin, Texas, where he learned that Super 8, normally a budget motel, was able to charge $500 a night per room because a Formula 1 race brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area. The next year around the same time, the race brought in even more tourists, and the hotel was able to raise prices again.

Traditional analysis, according to Gagnon, would have only used time to predict sales, so that should the race take place in a different month in 2016, advertisers wouldn’t be equipped to prepare for the spike in opportunity. “Formula 1 is the driver [in sales]. Traditional analysis only plans for mid-November, but when you know it’s Formula 1, you can plan ahead,” he said.

Seventy percent of mobile conversions happen within five hours of mobile search, and by the end of 2016, $65 billion of revenue will be generated by mobile search. To capitalize on this, advertisers need to be ready to use location and time in conjunction with one another to predict behavior, because being number one in search results is more important than ever due to mobile’s limited space. “When you look at a mobile screen,” said Gagnon, “how many results show? Two or three? Those top spots really matter.”

One way to win those top spots is to use better analytics tools to visualize data, like Crazy Egg, a heat mapping tool. Tools like this have never been more affordable or more effective, said Gagnon, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that fail to utilize these tools can expect to see themselves fall in search rankings. SMBs should look for tools that will help segment customers for whom their business can provide a niche value. Tools that optimize social graphs to target specific needs of potential customers allow advertisers to have more efficient conversations with consumers by offering solutions that anticipate demand.

“When you have different context and tools,” said Gagnon, “you see the world differently.” And these new views offer better solutions for more effective advertising.

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