To lift the lid on what it takes for digital marketers to succeed, today we’re releasing research from the The Boston Consulting Group that provides new evidence of the power of data-driven approaches including search-to-display remarketing, video remarketing and behavioral analytics.

BCG’s study of five large digital advertisers across four industries in the US and Europe found brands that use these advanced techniques can score big gains – a 32% average decrease in cost per action – and enhance both relevance and consumer experience by reaching engaged audiences at scale.

In some cases, advertisers improved cost per action by more than 50 percent. What’s more, the study also showed that advanced targeting can drive increased performance across all major metrics, improving action rates for clicks and view-throughs by as much as 200 percent, and reducing costs per click and per view by as much as 70 percent.

To achieve uplifts like these, the study identifies five critical steps you can put in motion now.

One: Adopt a unified technology platform
Unified technology platforms provide a single user interface and make it possible to source data from a single pool, eliminating the need to reconcile, consolidate and transfer data between multiple sources. Using one set of tools also ensures your teams aren’t cannibalising performance or bidding against themselves. Campaigns can be launched faster, and agencies can drive resource into gaining insights and optimizing campaigns rather than manually downloading and consolidating data.

Two: Implement advanced techniques 
Drive improvements in key metrics by making intelligent use of your own customer data. 

  • Search-to-display remarketing – serving display ads to users who have clicked on your paid search link – lets you target an additional group of consumers actively searching for your product or service.
  • Video remarketing involves serving an ad to users who have either watched your video or subscribed to your channel. This technique captures users early in the purchase journey when they are just starting to engage with your brand. 
  • Behavioral analytics target users that have not only visited your website but also demonstrated particular behaviors – like spending a certain amount of time or visiting a certain number of pages – while there. 

Three: Bring the “math men” (and women) to the table 
Strategy and creativity will always be critical to successful campaigns, but today the ability to mine, manipulate and analyze data is equally essential. Include mathematicians, statisticians and quantitative experts in your team and apply their skills to campaign optimizations.

Four: Test and learn 
The Internet is the best marketing laboratory yet invented. Direct marketers know this, but increasingly brand marketers need to get on board, substituting metrics such as average session duration or interacting with a graphic or downloading information for direct sales.

Five: Overcome fragmentation 
Fragmentation in campaign development and execution, strategy, teams, tools and data can result in conflicts in goals and incentives, lack of transparency in performance and wasted effort. Ways to tackle this include rooting out the causes of fragmentation, connecting your data strategy with overall strategy, getting closer to your data, breaking down organizational silos and using multiple attribution models.

Keen to learn more about the results of the study and the actions you can take to reach engaged audiences at scale? Read the full research report here.