How companies are using NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will be gaining mainstream popularity in 2022. They are being used as profile pictures on
social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit, with Facebook and Instagram, are expected to follow. Despite a lack of understanding about NFTs among mainstream consumers and the limited usability of the underlying blockchain technology, NFTs are expected to be a significant part of the future of digital commerce and provide a way for companies to reclaim control of their digital consumer relationships.

Following are some of the ways companies started using NFTs.

Existing Product line extension to NFTs

Companies are launching NFT collections, ranging from exclusive releases of digital art of their existing physical products, as a first step in exploring the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). However, brands must consider
what comes next and how NFTs can be integrated into their business strategies.  Following are some real-world examples of companies using NFTs

  1. Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren is a fashion brand selling branded digital apparel in virtual worlds like Zepeto. This allows consumers to purchase and wear digital versions of Ralph Lauren clothing and accessories in these virtual worlds.

  2. Bud Light: Bud Light is launching its first non-fungible token (NFT) project called the “Bud Light N3XT Collection,” which will feature 12,722 unique tokens designed with color cues from the Bud Light NEXT brand. Customers who purchase an NFT as part of the project can vote on Bud Light NEXT merchandise, have access to Bud Light NEXT brand and partner events, and receive other surprises.

  3. Nike: Nike, the sportswear company, has acquired RTFKT, a startup specializing in NFT-based digital sneakers. This allows Nike to create and sell digital versions of its physical sneakers, which can be collected and traded as NFTs.

  4. Disney: Disney has released non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through the VeVe app-based marketplace, specializing in licensed NFT drops from major brands.

  5. Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola released an NFT collection featuring digital apparel. This includes digital versions of Coca-Cola t-shirts, hats, and other clothing items that can be collected and worn in virtual worlds.

  6. Campbell’s Soup: Campbell’s Soup released an NFT collection featuring art created from Campbell’s soup cans. This collection included digital art pieces created using Campbell’s soup cans as a starting point, which were sold as one-of-a-kind NFTs.

  7. White Castle: White Castle, a fast food chain, has partnered with Doodle Labs, a company that focuses on bringing established artists and brands to the blockchain using generative art, to release a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain.

Digital Consumer connection through NFTs

Extending the physical product and services into NFT is one way to start the journey into the world of NFTs. Companies start gaining long-term benefits by using NFTs as a central digital touchpoint between their product and services and consumers, controlled by the company itself. Following are some ways companies use NFT as a digital touch point to integrate their real-world product and services with the virtual world.

  1. Nike’s Crypto Kick patent: Nike has developed a system called “Crypto Kicks” that also allows buyers of physical sneakers to receive a digital asset tied to a unique shoe identifier. The digital asset represents a “Crypto Kick,” and its production is linked to the production of the physical sneakers. Ownership of the sneakers can be transferred by trading both the physical shoe and the associated digital asset, which can be stored in a “Digital Locker” app. In addition, owners of “Crypto Kicks” will be able to “breed” digital shoes to create “shoe offspring” and have the offspring made as a new physical pair of shoes.

  2. Tokenizing physical products: Physical products often have limited value and lifespan for consumers, but by creating digital tokens based on their unique microstructure, it is possible to unlock additional value, access new communities, and increase engagement with the product. For example, a consumer who buys a physical toy and takes a picture of its microstructure could be rewarded with a token that allows them to join a decentralized community and access new opportunities through digital assets. Veracity Protocol is a technology that facilitates the creation of digital identifiers encoded into NFTs and derived from the physical properties of objects. 

  3. Boson Protocol: Boson Protocol uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to support new forms of digital commerce, starting with “metaverse commerce” or the use of virtual worlds like “Decentral and” for socializing and shopping. Boson Protocol has purchased a piece of real estate in “Decentral” to build a virtual mall where consumers can participate in gamified, branded quests and buy digital items or wearables. The company’s vision is to build an ecosystem of 3D designers and virtual real estate that can support retail and brand partners by creating virtual malls in different virtual worlds and connecting brands to technology and partners.

  4. Dynamic non-fungible tokens: Dynamic non-fungible tokens (dNFTs) are NFTs that can update aspects of their metadata based on external conditions. This is achieved through smart contracts, which instruct the underlying NFT on when and how its metadata should change. dNFTs offer a way to update data in NFTs, which is impossible with static NFTs, whose metadata is fixed once they are minted on a blockchain. dNFTs can be used in various contexts, such as tokenizing real-world assets, building progression-based video games, and creating blockchain-based fantasy sports leagues. The dNFT helps companies constantly keep in touch with their customers through dNFTs.

Adoption of NFTs

Adopting new technology and understanding how to integrate it into existing business processes can take time, as demonstrated by the evolution of the internet from Web1 to Web2 and now Web3. Some companies may have been slow to adapt to Web1 and Web2, resulting in missed opportunities to survey the market and understand new technologies. As we are currently in the early stages of the development of Web3, companies need to take action and consider how they can adapt to this new technology to avoid missing out on potential opportunities. Web3 includes various technologies such as blockchain, decentralized applications, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have the potential to impact a wide range of industries and change the way businesses operate. Companies that are proactive in understanding and utilizing these technologies may gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets.

Following are some of the ways companies can start their NFT adoption journey:

  • Companies need to pay attention to how exclusive or available their non-fungible token (NFT) collections are, as too much or too little exclusivity can affect consumer interest. NFTs can be more engaging and interactive through their programmability, such as by allowing multiple common NFTs to be merged into limited ones or adding community features. The social value of an NFT collection may also be a factor in maintaining consumer interest.
  • Companies can make their NFT collections more closely associated with their brand by connecting them to their products or services, adding a philanthropic aspect, or linking them to exclusive branded experiences. Other ways to strengthen the connection between NFTs and a brand include offering physical products with digital NFT collectibles, using NFTs to document attendance at exclusive events, or enhancing loyalty programs with NFT collections. Brands must find innovative ways to use NFT technology to engage with consumers.
  • Companies should be careful when adopting non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They should aim to understand how to effectively use them through trial and error and by learning from the successes and failures of others. Companies need to avoid superficial attempts to appeal to the crypto community and instead focus on metrics that reflect the potential of NFTs to connect real-world products and experiences with the digital world in the long term. The full impact of NFTs will take several years to be realized, giving brands time to understand and navigate this technology.

 

How brands can use Web3

Web3 is a new version of the internet based on blockchain technology. It is being used by companies for various purposes, including improving their understanding of consumer behavior, building their brands, and increasing transparency in their supply chain and production processes. There are three main ways that companies are using Web3 tools: virtual products, hybrid products, and decentralized ownership. Each of these approaches offers potential business value, and companies can experiment with all three to enhance and diversify their digital presence in this new era of the internet.

Following are some of the ways brands can use Web3 to promote their products and services

Virtual products

Some companies use Web3 to create virtual products that can be bought and sold in online marketplaces, such as virtual real estate, virtual clothing, and virtual art. A virtual product is a digital good that exists only in the online world and is not a physical object. Virtual products can take many forms, such as virtual real estate, virtual clothing, virtual art, and more. Companies use Web3 tools to create and sell virtual products in online marketplaces, allowing them to tap into new markets and revenue streams and create new customer engagement and interaction opportunities. Traditional brands are also beginning to experiment with using virtual products to create immersive brand experiences or showcase their products in new ways.

Following are some of the virtual product categories companies are using now:

  • Virtual real estate: Some traditional brands use virtual real estate to create immersive brand experiences or virtual host events. For example, a fashion brand might use virtual real estate to create a virtual fashion show that users in a virtual world can attend. Decentraland is a company that uses blockchain technology to create a virtual real estate in a virtual world. Users can buy and sell virtual land and property and create and share virtual experiences on the platform.

  • Virtual clothing: Traditional brands also use Web3 to create virtual clothing items that avatars can wear in online games or virtual worlds. For example, a sportswear brand might create virtual versions of its physical products that avatars can wear in a virtual fitness game. Cryptovoxels is a company that uses Web3 technology to create virtual clothing and accessories that avatars can buy and wear in its virtual world.

  • Virtual art: Traditional brands also use Web3 to create and sell virtual art, such as digital paintings or sculptures representing the brand or its products. For example, a luxury car brand might create a virtual installation showcasing its latest model. Cryptovoxels and CryptoKitties are both companies using Web3 to create and sell virtual art. Cryptovoxels allows users to create and sell digital paintings, sculptures, and other digital creations. In contrast, CryptoKitties will enable users to buy and sell virtual cats represented by unique digital artworks.

Hybrid products

A hybrid product is a product that combines physical and virtual elements. It is a product created using Web3 technology to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds. Some brands use Web3 to develop hybrid products that combine physical and virtual elements, such as smart contracts tied to physical goods or virtual experiences connected to physical events. 

Following are some of the hybrid product categories companies are using now:

  • Smart contracts tied to physical goods: These digital contracts are stored on the blockchain and linked to physical goods, such as a car or artwork. The contract can contain information about the ownership, provenance, and condition of the physical interest and any other relevant information.

  • Virtual experiences connected to physical events: These are online experiences connected to physical events or locations, such as virtual concerts or virtual museum exhibits. Users can access the virtual experience through their web browser or a mobile app and interact with the content in real time.

  • Physical products connected to digital experiences: Some physical products, such as toys or clothing, can be connected to digital experiences through Web3 technology. For example, a toy might come with a code that unlocks a related digital game or activity, or a piece of clothing might come with a QR code that links to a virtual fashion show.

Decentralized ownership

Decentralized ownership refers to a model of ownership and control where ownership and control of a product or service are distributed among multiple parties rather than being controlled by a single entity. This can be achieved through Web3 technologies, such as blockchain, allowing decentralized networks where ownership and control are distributed among many different parties. This can create new forms of collaboration and co-creation and increase transparency and accountability between brands and creators. 

Following are some of the hybrid product categories companies are using now:

  • Decentralized organizations (DO): It is designed to operate in a decentralized manner, with decision-making power distributed among their members. This can be achieved through various means, such as using blockchain technology or other decentralized systems to store and transmit data. The goal of a decentralized organization is to create a more transparent, democratic, and resilient structure for conducting business or achieving a shared goal. Open Source Software (OSS) movement refers to a movement that promotes the use and development of open-source software. In this model, the software is developed collaboratively by a community of volunteers who contribute their time and expertise to the project. Decisions about the project’s direction are often made through consensus-building, with all community members having an equal say. The OSS movement is an example of a decentralized organization because it is decentralized, with no single individual or group having ultimate control over the project’s direction. Instead, power is distributed among the members of the community, who work together to achieve a shared goal.

  • Decentralized finance (Defi): Defi refers to financial products and services that are built on blockchain technology and are decentralized, meaning that a single entity, such as a bank or financial institution, does not control them. Defi includes products such as decentralized exchanges, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and stablecoins. Uniswap is an example of a decentralized exchange because it allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly with each other without the need for a central authority or intermediaries. This means that users have more control over their assets and are not reliant on a central entity to facilitate transactions. Other examples of Defi applications include decentralized lending platforms, which allow users to borrow and lend cryptocurrency in a decentralized manner, and decentralized stablecoins, digital assets pegged to the value of a real-world asset such as the US dollar. Defi can potentially disrupt traditional financial services by offering a more transparent, secure, and efficient alternative to centralized financial systems.

  • Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs): DAOs are specific decentralized organizations run entirely by code, with no human intervention required. A DAO is a set of smart contracts deployed on a blockchain, which defines the rules and processes governing the organization. DAOs are designed to be autonomous, meaning they can operate independently of any individual or group. One real-world example of a decentralized autonomous organization is The DAO, a decentralized investment fund created in 2016 on the Ethereum blockchain. The DAO was essentially a set of smart contracts that governed the organization’s operation, including how funds were raised, investment decisions were made, and how profits were distributed. 

Building Customer Loyalty

Brands can use DO, Defi, and DAO to build customer loyalty by providing a more transparent, secure, and efficient customer experience. Using a DO, brands can create a customer rewards program: A brand could use a decentralized organization to create a customer rewards program that is more transparent and democratic. For example, the brand could allow customers to earn rewards based on their level of engagement with the brand and will enable them to vote on how those rewards should be used or distributed. This could help to build customer loyalty by giving customers a sense of ownership and control over the rewards program.

Brands could use Defi applications, such as decentralized lending platforms or stablecoins, to offer customers more flexible and convenient financial products. For example, a brand could use a decentralized lending platform to allow customers to borrow funds at more competitive rates or a stablecoin to offer customers a more stable and transparent alternative to traditional cryptocurrencies. This could help to build customer loyalty by providing a more secure and convenient financial experience.

DAOs, on the other hand, could be used by brands to automate specific processes and create a more efficient customer experience. For example, a brand could use a DAO to automate the handling customer complaints or requests, allowing them to be resolved more timely and efficiently. This could help to build customer loyalty by showing that the brand is responsive and committed to meeting the needs of its customers.

Virtual products, hybrid products, and decentralized ownership are all emerging trends driven by adoption of Web3 technologies, such as blockchain and NFTs. These trends create new opportunities for companies to create value and engage with customers in new ways. Virtual products allow companies to develop and sell digital goods that exist only online and can be used to tap into new markets and revenue streams. Hybrid products combine physical and virtual elements, creating new ways for customers to interact with products and brands, and can create new opportunities for customer engagement and loyalty. Decentralized ownership models allow for the distribution of ownership and control among multiple parties, creating new opportunities for collaboration and co-creation and increasing transparency and accountability.

By experimenting with virtual products, hybrid products, and decentralized ownership, brands can use these trends to amplify and diversify their digital footprint and create new opportunities for growth and value creation.

How Marketing Agencies can start using NFTs

Before getting into how marketing agencies use NFTs, first, we’ll understand what NFT is and how it is currently used.

What is NFT?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. NFTs are digital asset that represents ownership of a unique item, such as a piece of art, a collectible, or a virtual real estate property. NFTs are stored on a blockchain (for example, Ethereum), a decentralized, distributed ledger that allows for the secure and transparent tracking of transactions. One of the critical characteristics of NFTs is that they are non-fungible, meaning they cannot be exchanged for other assets on a one-to-one basis. In other words, each NFT is unique and has its value determined by the market. This contrasts traditional, or “fungible,” assets such as the US Dollar, where one unit is interchangeable with another unit of the same value.

NFTs have gained much attention in recent years, particularly in digital art and collectibles. They have been used to sell everything from digital artwork and music to virtual real estate and even tweets. Some people see NFTs as a way to authenticate and protect ownership of digital assets, while others see them as a way to speculate on the value of unique digital items.

What are some examples of NFT?

Digital art: One of the most popular use cases for NFTs has been the sale of digital art. Many artists have created and sold digital artworks as NFTs, allowing collectors to own a unique digital version of the painting. The First 5000 Days” artwork by Beeple sold for over $69 million at a Christie’s auction in March 2021, and “CryptoKitties,” a game that allows players to collect, breed, and trade virtual cats as NFTs.

Virtual real estate: Some people have used NFTs to represent ownership of the virtual real estate, such as virtual land or buildings in virtual worlds or online games. Some examples of virtual real estate NFTs include “Decentraland,” a virtual world where users can buy and sell virtual plots of land, and “Cryptovoxels,” a virtual world where users can own virtual property build virtual spaces.

Music: Some musicians have used NFTs to sell unique, digital versions of their music, such as exclusive tracks or remixes. Some examples of music NFTs include “Gods Unchained,” a collectible card game that allows players to own unique music tracks as NFTs, and “CryptoSpaceX,” a game that allows players to collect, trade, and play music as NFTs.

Collectibles: NFTs have also been used to represent ownership of virtual collectibles, such as virtual trading cards or in-game items. Some examples of collectible NFTs include “Crypto collectibles,” a game that allows players to collect, trade, and breed virtual creatures as NFTs, and “CryptoSpaceX,” a game that allows players to collect and trade virtual spaceships as NFTs.

Tweets: In March 2021, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, sold the first-ever tweet as an NFT for nearly $3 million. This sparked a trend of people selling their tweets as NFTs.

Videos and other media: NFTs have also been used to represent ownership of videos and other forms of media, such as podcasts or ebooks. Some examples of video and other media NFTs include “CryptoSpaceX,” a game that allows players to collect and trade virtual spaceships as NFTs, and “Crypto collectibles,” a game that allows players to collect, trade, and breed virtual creatures as NFTs.

Physical products: Some companies have used NFTs to authenticate and sell limited-edition physical products, such as art prints or merchandise. One example of a physical product NFT is “CryptoKitties,” a game that allows players to collect, breed, and trade virtual cats as NFTs. Some players have also used NFTs to authenticate and sell limited-edition physical versions of their virtual cats, such as plush toys or art prints.

How can Marketing agencies use NFTs?

Creating and selling NFTs
Digital marketing agencies can create and sell their own NFTs as standalone products or as part of a more extensive marketing campaign. This can be a way for the agency to diversify its revenue streams and tap into the growing demand for NFTs. There are several benefits to this approach for the agency. For one, it allows the agency to diversify its revenue streams by offering its customers a new type of product. NFTs have gained a lot of attention and popularity in recent years, and by creating and selling its own NFTs, the agency can tap into this demand.

Additionally, creating and selling NFTs can be a way for the agency to showcase its creativity and expertise in the digital realm. NFTs require a certain level of technical knowledge and skill to create, and by successfully producing and selling its own NFTs, the agency can demonstrate its capabilities in this area. Finally, selling NFTs can be a way for the agency to build stronger relationships with its customers. By offering unique and exclusive NFTs, the agency can create a sense of exclusivity and community around its products, which can help to foster loyalty and engagement among its customers.

Using NFTs to promote and sell physical products
Agencies can use NFTs to promote and sell physical products, such as limited-edition merchandise or art prints. The NFT can serve as proof of authenticity and a collectible item in its own right. There are several benefits to this approach for the agency. For one, it allows the agency to diversify its revenue streams by offering its customers a new type of product. NFTs have gained a lot of attention and popularity in recent years, and by creating and selling its own NFTs, the agency can tap into this demand. Finally, selling NFTs can be a way for the agency to build stronger relationships with its customers. By offering unique and exclusive NFTs, the agency can create a sense of exclusivity and community around its products, which can help to foster loyalty and engagement among its customers.

Using NFTs to drive engagement and build brand awareness
Agencies can use NFTs to drive engagement and brand awareness by creating and distributing NFTs relevant to their client’s target audience. There are several ways that the agency can use NFTs to achieve these goals. For example, it could create NFTs with exclusive content, such as music tracks or digital art. This can create a sense of exclusivity and encourage people to engage with the NFTs to access the exclusive content. The agency could also use NFTs as part of a contest or sweepstakes. For example, it could create an NFT as a ticket to a virtual event and offer the NFT as a prize in a game. This can help to drive engagement and build anticipation around the event.

NFT consulting and strategy services
Digital marketing agencies can also offer consulting and strategy services to help their clients understand and leverage the potential of NFTs. This could include assisting clients in creating and selling their own NFTs or advising on using NFTs as part of a more extensive marketing campaign. There are several ways that the agency could provide these services. For example, it could help its clients to create and sell their own NFTs, guiding everything from concept development to technical implementation. The agency could also advise its clients on using NFTs as part of a more extensive marketing campaign, helping them understand how NFTs can be used to drive engagement and build brand awareness.

Additionally, the agency could provide more general training and education to its clients on using NFTs and the blockchain. This could include helping clients understand the technical aspects of NFTs and the broader opportunities and challenges presented by using NFTs and blockchain technology. Overall, by providing NFT consulting and strategy services, the agency can help its clients to effectively leverage the potential of NFTs and incorporate them into their marketing efforts in a way that is aligned with their business goals.

Web3 and NFT technologies and standards are relatively new and are still evolving. Digital marketing agencies interested in these technologies can get in on the ground floor and gain a competitive edge by offering services related to these technologies to their clients.

How Marketing Agencies can start using Web3

Technology is advancing quickly, and many people and marketing agencies are concerned about being left behind. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are here to stay and will only continue to grow and develop. Web 3.0 is the next iteration of the internet and aims to integrate blockchain technology and decentralized applications with the traditional web to create a more functional, secure, and decentralized internet. Marketing agencies need to focus on building Web 3.0 communities to stay ahead of the curve. To do this, it is necessary to understand what Web 3.0 is.

What is Web3?

Web3 is the third generation of the World Wide Web, which refers to the development of the decentralized web. In contrast to the traditional web (also known as the “centralized web”), which is controlled by a small number of large companies (for example, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.) and organizations, the decentralized web is powered by a network of computers that work together to store and transmit data, rather than relying on a single central authority.

Web3 technologies, such as blockchain, decentralized applications (DApps), and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, enable users to interact with each other and online systems in a more secure, transparent, and decentralized way. These technologies can disrupt traditional business models and enable new collaboration and innovation.

Web3 is still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way we use the internet and interact with each other online.

How can marketing agencies start using web3?

Marketing agencies can start using web3 technologies in the following ways:

  1. Decentralized social media platforms
    One way marketing agencies can start using web3 technologies is by using decentralized social media platforms. Decentralized social media platforms are built on blockchain technology. They offer an alternative to traditional social media platforms, which are often centralized and controlled by a small number of large companies. Decentralized social media platforms allow users to interact with each other more securely and transparently, as all user activity is recorded on a decentralized ledger (such as a blockchain). This can give users more control over their data and privacy and enable new forms of collaboration and innovation.

    Marketing agencies can use decentralized social media platforms to engage with users in a decentralized way and build brand awareness. For example, users can create profiles on decentralized social media platforms and post content (such as blog posts, videos, or images) that they can interact with and share. This can help marketers reach new audiences and build relationships with potential customers or clients.

    Marketing agencies must remember that decentralized social media platforms may have different user demographics and behaviors than traditional social media platforms. They should tailor their marketing strategies accordingly.

  2. Decentralized applications (DApps)
    DApps are decentralized applications that run on a blockchain network and offer various marketing opportunities. Marketing agencies can create DApps that allow users to interact with a brand or product in a decentralized way. For example, a marketing agency could create a DApp that allows users to earn rewards for engaging with a brand or completing specific tasks. This can help marketers drive user engagement and build brand loyalty.

    DApps can also enable new forms of data-driven marketing, as they can track and record user activity on a decentralized ledger (such as a blockchain). This can give marketers valuable insights into user behavior and preferences, which can help them tailor their marketing efforts more effectively.

    Marketing agencies must remember that DApps require a certain level of technical expertise to build and maintain. They may need to partner with experienced developers or technology firms to create and deploy DApps. Marketing agencies should also be aware that DApps may face regulatory challenges in some jurisdictions and should be prepared to navigate these challenges as needed.

  3. Cryptocurrency payments
    Another way marketing agencies can start using web3 technologies is by accepting cryptocurrency payments. Web3 technologies like blockchain enable secure and transparent financial transactions using cryptocurrency. Marketing agencies can start accepting cryptocurrency payments from clients or customers to embrace the decentralized web. There are several advantages to accepting cryptocurrency payments. First, cryptocurrency transactions are secure and transparent, as they are recorded on a decentralized ledger (such as a blockchain). This can help reduce the risk of fraud or other financial crimes. Second, cryptocurrency payments can be faster and more efficient than traditional payment methods, as they do not require intermediaries (such as banks) to process transactions. Third, accepting cryptocurrency payments can help marketing agencies appeal to a broader range of customers, as cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly popular and widely accepted.

    Marketing agencies need to understand that cryptocurrency markets can be volatile, and the value of cryptocurrencies can fluctuate significantly. Marketing agencies should also be aware of any regulatory challenges related to accepting cryptocurrency payments, as cryptocurrency is still evolving and may be subject to different rules and regulations in different jurisdictions.

  4. Decentralized data storage solutions
    Another way marketing agencies can start using web3 technologies is by using decentralized data storage solutions. Decentralized data storage solutions, such as InterPlanetary File Systems (IPFS), allow marketers to store and share data in a decentralized way. Decentralized data storage solutions can help marketers ensure the security and privacy of their data, as they do not rely on a central authority to store and manage data. Instead, data is stored and shared across a decentralized computer network, making it more difficult for hackers or malicious actors to access or tamper with it.

    Decentralized data storage solutions can also enable new forms of data-driven marketing, allowing marketers to store and analyze large amounts of data more efficiently and cost-effectively. For example, marketers can use decentralized data storage solutions to store and analyze customer data, such as purchase history or preferences, to understand their audiences better and tailor their marketing efforts more effectively.

    Marketing agencies must remember that decentralized data storage solutions may require a certain level of technical expertise to set up and maintain. They may need to partner with experienced developers or technology firms to implement these solutions. Marketing agencies should also be aware of any regulatory challenges related to decentralized data storage. These technologies are still evolving and may be subject to different rules and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Marketing agencies need to keep up with the latest developments in web3 technologies and how they can be applied in the marketing industry. As web3 technologies mature and gain wider adoption, they will likely offer new opportunities for marketers to engage with their audiences in innovative and meaningful ways.

The 11 Best Marketing Agency Tools For 2023 And Beyond

There are many marketing tools available that can help marketing agencies work more efficiently and effectively. Still, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential for adding unnecessary tools to your marketing stack. To help with this, we’ve compiled a list of the best marketing tools for various categories to help you understand why they are considered the best in their field. Overall, these tools can help digital marketing agencies be more efficient, effective, and successful in their campaigns by providing various features such as analytics, project management, customer relationship management, invoicing, SEO, content optimization, link building and outreach, influencer marketing, social media management, Facebook ad management, and landing page building.

 

1. Web2/Web3 Analytic Tool – Analytickit

Analytickit has tools for both Web2 and Web3 technologies; digital marketing agencies can choose the tools needed.

Trends Tool – The Trends Tool allows marketing agencies to analyze the behavior of their website users across a series of actions. It can show digital agencies how many users start or finish a sequence and where they drop off. This can help agencies identify areas for improvement in their user journey. The tool also includes features for measuring and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) at every stage of the user funnel. 

User Flow Tool – The User Flow Tool is a website analytics tool that helps agencies understand how users navigate their websites. It visually represents users’ paths as they interact with the website, including where they start, what actions they take, and where they leave the site. This can help agencies identify areas of the website where users might be experiencing friction and make changes to remove those obstacles and improve the user experience. By understanding how users move through the website, agencies can identify and optimize the most critical pathways for their business goals.

Quantitative analysis tool This tool helps agencies understand the factors contributing to the success or failure of user conversion on their website. It does this by analyzing data on user behavior and identifying the events that lead to conversion or non-conversion. By understanding these events, agencies can gain insight into what their users need and what might be causing them to hesitate before taking the desired action, such as clicking a “conversion link.” This can help agencies accurately pinpoint areas for improvement in their product and website experience and make changes to optimize the user journey and increase conversion rates.

Heat Map tool – This tool helps agencies understand how users are engaging with their website. It does this by visually showing the areas of the website where users are clicking the most and regions where they are less engaged. This information can help agencies optimize their website for maximum user engagement by identifying areas needing improvement or where users might be experiencing difficulty. The Heat Map tool allows agencies to see the heatmap in real-time as users navigate the website, enabling them to make intelligent decisions quickly and improve the user experience in real time.

Smart Contract Analyzer is a tool that helps agencies understand how their customers use their smart contracts on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). It allows marketing agencies to visualize the associations between their smart contracts and transactions and make intelligent product decisions based on this data. The tool allows marketing agencies to create multiple visualizations of their smart contract usage within the blockchain network and to use pre-defined or custom questions to extract insights from the blockchain data. The Smart Contract Analyzer supports the ERC20 and ERC721 tokens. Overall, this tool can help marketing agencies understand how their smart contracts are being used and make informed decisions about their product offerings.

2. Project Management Tool – Teamwork 

Teamwork is a project management tool that helps marketing agencies collaborate and organize their work. It includes task management, time tracking, file sharing, and communication tools. With Teamwork, marketing agencies can create and assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and share updates with team members. It also allows team members to communicate with each other through in-app messaging, chat, and video conferencing. Teamwork is designed to help marketing agencies work more efficiently and effectively by providing a central hub for organizing and tracking all aspects of a project.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Teamwork as a project management tool:

  1. Task management: Teamwork allows marketing agencies to create and assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress, helping marketing agencies stay organized and on top of their workload.
  2. Time tracking: Teamwork includes time tracking functionality, allowing team members to log their time on different tasks and projects. This can help identify bottlenecks and improve team productivity.
  3. File sharing: Teamwork includes a file-sharing feature, which allows marketing agencies to upload and share files such as documents, images, and videos. This helps marketing agencies access the information they need to complete their work.
  4. Communication tools: Teamwork includes in-app messaging, chat, and video conferencing tools, allowing team members to communicate in real time. This helps marketing agencies stay connected and stay on top of their work, even if they are working remotely.
  5. Customization: Teamwork allows marketing agencies to customize their project management process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  6. Integration: Teamwork integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Drive, Slack, and Trello, allowing marketing agencies to bring all of their work together in one place.
  7. Collaboration: Teamwork is designed to facilitate collaboration among team members, helping marketing agencies work together more effectively and efficiently.

Reporting: Teamwork includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.

3. CRM – Hubspot

HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that helps marketing agencies manage and grow customer relationships. It includes contact management, lead tracking, marketing automation, sales automation, and customer service. With HubSpot, marketing agencies can store and organize all customer data in one central location, including contact information, communication history, and sales and marketing data. This allows marketing agencies to get a complete view of their customers and better understand their needs and preferences. HubSpot also includes marketing automation tools, which allow marketing agencies to create and automate email campaigns, social media posts, and other marketing efforts. This can help marketing agencies reach more customers and drive more sales. In addition, HubSpot includes sales automation tools that can help sales marketing agencies track and manage leads, set up meetings and calls, and close deals more efficiently.

Overall, HubSpot is designed to help marketing agencies improve customer relationships and drive business growth by providing a central hub for managing and organizing customer data and automating marketing and sales efforts.

Here are some of the top benefits of using HubSpot as a CRM tool:

  1. Contact management: HubSpot allows marketing agencies to store and organize all customer data in one central location, including contact information, communication history, and sales and marketing data. This helps marketing agencies get a complete view of their customers and better understand their needs and preferences.
  2. Lead tracking: HubSpot includes tools that help marketing agencies identify, track, and nurture leads. This can help marketing agencies prioritize their efforts and focus on the most promising opportunities.
  3. Marketing automation: HubSpot includes tools that allow marketing agencies to create and automate email campaigns, social media posts, and other marketing efforts. This can help marketing agencies reach more customers and drive more sales.
  4. Sales automation: HubSpot includes tools to help sales marketing agencies track and manage leads, set up meetings and calls, and close deals more efficiently.
  5. Customer service: HubSpot includes tools to help marketing agencies track and resolve customer issues and improve their overall customer experience.
  6. Customization: HubSpot allows marketing agencies to customize their CRM process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  7. Integration: HubSpot integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Calendar, Slack, and Salesforce, allowing marketing agencies to bring all of their customer data and communications together in one place.

Reporting: HubSpot includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.

4. Invoicing – QuickBooks

QuickBooks is an invoicing tool that helps marketing agencies manage their finances and create professional invoices. It includes billing and invoicing, expense tracking, payroll management, and tax preparation.

With QuickBooks, marketing agencies can create and send invoices to their customers, track payments, and manage their accounts receivable. It also includes tools for operating expenses, such as tracking receipts and categorizing expenses.

QuickBooks can also help marketing agencies with payroll management, including calculating employee pay and taxes and generating pay stubs. It includes tax preparation tools to help marketing agencies prepare and file taxes, including generating tax reports and filling out tax forms.

Overall, QuickBooks is designed to help marketing agencies manage their finances more efficiently and accurately by providing a central hub for invoicing, expense tracking, payroll management, and tax preparation.

Here are some of the top benefits of using QuickBooks as an invoicing tool:

  1. Billing and invoicing: QuickBooks allows marketing agencies to create and send professional customer invoices, track payments, and manage their accounts receivable.
  2. Expense tracking: QuickBooks includes tools for tracking expenses, such as receipts and categorizing expenses. This can help marketing agencies stay on top of spending and make informed financial decisions.
  3. Payroll management: QuickBooks includes tools for calculating employee pay and taxes and generating pay stubs, helping marketing agencies streamline their payroll process.
  4. Tax preparation: QuickBooks includes tools to help marketing agencies prepare and file their taxes, including generating tax reports and filling out tax forms.
  5. Customization: QuickBooks allows marketing agencies to customize their invoicing process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  6. Integration: QuickBooks integrates with various other tools and software, such as banks, credit card companies, and point-of-sale systems, allowing marketing agencies to bring all of their financial data together in one place.
  7. Reporting: QuickBooks includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  8. Security: QuickBooks takes security seriously and includes measures such as encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ financial data.

5. SEO Tool -Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a search engine optimization (SEO) tool that helps marketing agencies improve their website’s visibility and ranking on search engines like Google. It includes keyword research, backlink analysis, and website audit. With Ahrefs, marketing agencies can research and identify the most relevant and valuable keywords to target in their content. It also includes tools for analyzing the backlinks of a website, which can help marketing agencies understand the quality and quantity of links pointing to their site. This can improve a website’s ranking on search engines, as they often use backlinks as a ranking factor. Ahrefs also includes a website audit feature, which can help marketing agencies identify and fix technical issues on their website that may be impacting their ranking. Ahrefs is designed to help marketing agencies improve their SEO by providing insights and tools for keyword research, backlink analysis, and website audit.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Ahrefs as an SEO tool:

  1. Keyword research: Ahrefs includes tools for researching and identifying valuable keywords to target in content, helping marketing agencies optimize their website for search engines.
  2. Backlink analysis: Ahrefs includes tools for analyzing the backlinks of a website, which can help marketing agencies understand the quality and quantity of links pointing to their site. This can be important for improving a website’s ranking on search engines.
  3. Website audit: Ahrefs includes a website audit feature, which can help marketing agencies identify and fix technical issues on their website that may be impacting their ranking.
  4. Customization: Ahrefs allows marketing agencies to customize their SEO process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other devices and software.
  5. Integration: Ahrefs integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Analytics, allowing marketing agencies to bring all of their SEO data together in one place.
  6. Reporting: Ahrefs includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  7. Data quality: Ahrefs is known for the quality and depth of its data, which can be especially helpful for marketing agencies looking to get a comprehensive view of their SEO efforts.
  8. User-friendly interface: Ahrefs has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for marketing agencies to navigate and use the tool, even if they are not SEO experts.

6. Content Optimization Tool – Surfer

Surfer is a content optimization tool that helps marketing agencies improve the ranking of their website on search engines such as Google. It includes keyword research, content audit, and on-page SEO. With Surfer, marketing agencies can research and identify the most relevant and valuable keywords to target in their content. It also includes a content audit feature that helps marketing agencies understand how their content compares to that of their competitors, highlighting areas for improvement. Surfer also has on-page SEO tools that can help marketing agencies optimize their website’s content and structure for search engines. This can include optimizing titles, headings, and meta descriptions and ensuring that the website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed. Overall, Surfer is designed to help marketing agencies improve the ranking of their website on search engines by providing insights and tools for keyword research, content audit, and on-page SEO.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Surfer as a content optimization tool:

  1. Keyword research: Surfer allows marketing agencies to research and identify the most relevant and valuable keywords to target in their content. This can help marketing agencies improve their website ranking on search engines.
  2. Content audit: Surfer includes a content audit feature that helps marketing agencies understand how their content compares to that of their competitors, highlighting areas for improvement.
  3. On-page SEO: Surfer includes on-page SEO tools that can help marketing agencies optimize their website’s content and structure for search engines. This can consist of optimizing titles, headings, and meta descriptions and ensuring that the website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed.
  4. Customization: Surfer allows marketing agencies to customize their content optimization process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  5. Integration: Surfer integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, allowing marketing agencies to combine all their SEO data.
  6. Reporting: Surfer includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  7. Security: Surfer takes security seriously and includes measures such as encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ data.
  8. Support: Surfer provides excellent customer support, including a comprehensive knowledge base and real-time support options.

7. Link Building Tool – Mailshake

Mailshake is a link-building and outreach tool that helps marketing agencies build relationships and secure links from other websites. It includes email automation, lead generation, and link tracking. With Mailshake, marketing agencies can create and send personalized email campaigns to potential partners, clients, or journalists to build relationships and secure links. It also includes lead-generation tools to help marketing agencies identify potential link-building opportunities. Mailshake also has link-tracking functionality, which allows marketing agencies to track the progress of their link-building efforts and measure the success of their campaigns. Mailshake is designed to help marketing agencies build relationships and secure links from other websites by providing email automation, lead generation, and link-tracking tools.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Mailshake as a link-building and outreach tool:

  1. Email automation: Mailshake allows marketing agencies to create and send personalized email campaigns to potential partners, clients, or journalists to build relationships and secure links.
  2. Lead generation: Mailshake includes tools to help marketing agencies identify potential link-building opportunities.
  3. Link tracking: Mailshake includes link tracking functionality, which allows marketing agencies to track the progress of their link-building efforts and measure the success of their campaigns.
  4. Customization: Mailshake allows marketing agencies to customize their link-building and outreach process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  5. Integration: Mailshake integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Analytics and Salesforce, allowing marketing agencies to bring all their link-building data together.
  6. Reporting: Mailshake includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  7. Security: Mailshake takes security seriously and includes encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ data.
  8. Support: Mailshake provides excellent customer support, including a comprehensive knowledge base and real-time support options.

8. Influencer Marketing Tool – Upfluence

Upfluence is an influencer marketing tool that helps marketing agencies identify and connect with influencers for their marketing campaigns. It includes influencer search, collaboration management, and campaign tracking features. With Upfluence, marketing agencies can search for and identify influencers based on various criteria, such as audience size, engagement rate, and content focus. It also includes collaboration management tools to help marketing agencies communicate with and manage their relationships with influencers. Upfluence also has campaign tracking functionality, which allows marketing agencies to track the performance of their influencer marketing campaigns and measure their success. Upfluence is designed to help marketing agencies identify and connect with influencers for their marketing campaigns by providing tools for influencer search, collaboration management, and campaign tracking.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Upfluence as an influencer marketing tool:

  1. Influencer search: Upfluence allows marketing agencies to search for and identify influencers based on various criteria, such as audience size, engagement rate, and content focus.
  2. Collaboration management: Upfluence includes tools to help marketing agencies communicate with and manage their relationships with influencers.
  3. Campaign tracking: Upfluence includes campaign tracking functionality, which allows marketing agencies to track the performance of their influencer marketing campaigns and measure their success.
  4. Customization: Upfluence allows marketing agencies to customize their influencer marketing process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  5. Integration: Upfluence integrates with various other tools and software, such as social media platforms and email marketing tools, allowing marketing agencies to bring all their influencer marketing data together.
  6. Reporting: Upfluence includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  7. Security: Upfluence takes security seriously and includes encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ data.
  8. Support: Upfluence provides excellent customer support, including a comprehensive knowledge base and real-time support options.

9. Social Media Management  Tool – Buffer

Buffer is a social media management tool that helps marketing agencies manage their presence on social media platforms. It includes social media scheduling, content curation, and analytics. With Buffer, marketing agencies can schedule and publish their social media posts in advance, allowing them to maintain a consistent presence on social media without having to be constantly active. It also includes tools for curating and sharing content from other sources, helping marketing agencies keep their followers engaged. Buffer also provides analytics tools that allow marketing agencies to track the performance of their social media campaigns and measure their success. Buffer is designed to help marketing agencies manage their presence on social media platforms by providing tools for social media scheduling, content curation, and analytics.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Buffer as a social media management tool:

  1. Social media scheduling: Buffer allows marketing agencies to schedule and publish their posts in advance, allowing them to maintain a consistent presence on social media without being constantly active.
  2. Content curation: Buffer includes tools for curating and sharing content from other sources, helping marketing agencies keep their followers engaged.
  3. Analytics: Buffer includes analytics tools that allow marketing agencies to track the performance of their social media campaigns and measure their success.
  4. Customization: Buffer allows marketing agencies to customize their social media management process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  5. Integration: Buffer integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Analytics and email marketing tools, allowing marketing agencies to bring all their social media data together.
  6. Reporting: Buffer includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  7. Security: Buffer takes security seriously and includes measures such as encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ data.
  8. Support: Buffer provides excellent customer support, including a comprehensive knowledge base and real-time support options.

10. Facebook Ad Management – AdEspresso

AdEspresso is a Facebook ad management tool that helps marketing agencies create, optimize, and track their Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns. It includes features such as ad creation, targeting, and analytics. With AdEspresso, marketing agencies can create and design professional-looking Facebook and Instagram ads using templates and customization options. It also includes targeting tools that allow marketing agencies to specify the demographics and interests of their desired audience. AdEspresso also provides analytics tools that will enable marketing agencies to track the performance of their advertising campaigns and measure their success. AdEspresso is designed to help marketing agencies create, optimize, and track their Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns by providing tools for ad creation, targeting, and analytics.

Here are some of the top benefits of using AdEspresso as a Facebook ad management tool:

  1. Ad creation: AdEspresso allows marketing agencies to create and design professional-looking Facebook and Instagram ads using templates and customization options.
  2. Targeting: AdEspresso includes targeting tools that allow marketing agencies to specify the demographics and interests of their desired audience.
  3. Analytics: AdEspresso includes analytics tools that allow marketing agencies to track the performance of their advertising campaigns and measure their success.
  4. Customization: AdEspresso allows marketing agencies to customize their Facebook ad management process to fit their specific needs. This can include customizing the layout and workflow of the tool, as well as integrating it with other tools and software.
  5. Integration: AdEspresso integrates with various other tools and software, such as Google Analytics and email marketing tools, allowing marketing agencies to bring all their advertising data together.
  6. Reporting: AdEspresso includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track their progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  7. Security: AdEspresso takes security seriously and includes measures such as encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ data.
  8. Support: AdEspresso provides excellent customer support, including a comprehensive knowledge base and real-time support options.

11. Landing Page Builder – Unbounce

Unbounce is a landing page builder that helps marketing agencies create professional-looking landing pages for their marketing campaigns. It includes features such as templates, customization options, and A/B testing. With Unbounce, marketing agencies can choose from various templates and customize them to fit their specific needs. This can include adding elements such as forms, images, and videos. Unbounce also has A/B testing functionality, which allows marketing agencies to create and compare multiple versions of their landing pages to see which performs best. This can help marketing agencies optimize their landing pages for maximum conversion. Overall, Unbounce is designed to help marketing agencies create professional-looking landing pages for their marketing campaigns by providing templates, customization options, and A/B testing.

Here are some of the top benefits of using Unbounce as a landing page builder:

  1. Templates: Unbounce provides a variety of templates that marketing agencies can use as a starting point for their landing pages. These templates can be customized to fit the specific needs of the business.
  2. Customization: Unbounce allows marketing agencies to customize their landing pages to match their brand and messaging. This can include adding elements such as forms, images, and videos.
  3. A/B testing: Unbounce includes A/B testing functionality, which allows marketing agencies to create and compare multiple versions of their landing pages to see which performs best. This can help marketing agencies optimize their landing pages for maximum conversion.
  4. Integration: Unbounce integrates with various other tools and software, such as email marketing platforms and analytics tools, allowing marketing agencies to bring all their landing page data together.
  5. Reporting: Unbounce includes robust reporting features, allowing marketing agencies to track the performance of their landing pages, identify areas for improvement, and measure their success.
  6. Security: Unbounce takes security seriously and includes measures such as encryption and secure servers to protect marketing agencies’ data.
  7. Support: Unbounce provides excellent customer support, including a comprehensive knowledge base and real-time support options.

Using the correct tools for digital marketing is essential because it can help agencies be more efficient, effective, and successful in their campaigns and potentially save them time and money. These tools can provide project management, analytics, and automation features, which can help improve processes, track progress, and make data-driven decisions.

A Data-Driven Approach to Marketing Analytics

This article will closely examine three significant categories of data-driven marketing analytics: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive.

What is data-driven analytics?

In the broadest sense, data-driven marketing means deploying quantitative analytic methods to analyze and extract actionable meaning from data effectively. This allows marketing analysts and stakeholders to develop informed marketing choices and deliverables. We live in a renaissance of data, where enormous amounts previously unavailable to analysts are now at our fingertips. This phenomenon shows no signs of stopping in the future, so data-driven marketing analytics is more crucial than ever. According to a Fortune Business Insights report published in July 2022, the global big data analytics market in 2021 reached $240.56 billion in 2021 and is expected to rise to $655.53 billion by 2029. Depending on the industry, a 2015 McKinsey brief found that big data and advanced analytics yielded anywhere from a one percent to 60 percent increase in revenue and cost improvement.

In numerous cases over the past decade, companies have centered their work on more broadly-targeted methods to derive novel information from big data and advanced analytics. Enterprising data scientists have helmed this work, and analytic vendors, are keen on diving into the data and creatively running analyses to unearth nuggets of knowledge and insights. Depending on the workflow stage(s) and data analytics requirements, there are three major categories of data-driven marketing analytics: descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics. The categories encapsulate an array of analytic techniques, which encapsulate but are not limited to statistical modeling, machine learning, data mining, and AI.

What is descriptive analytics?

Descriptive analytics is a category of data-driven analytics that engages in interpretative and analytic work on historical data. Descriptive analytics’ primary purpose is to locate past patterns and trends retroactively. This is extremely useful for businesses because this analysis helps uncover future opportunities or potential issues. A 2020 research article in Nature Machine Intelligence analyzed combining procedural content generation (PCG) from the gaming industry and machine learning (ML) methods. Using PCG, an older technology that algorithmically generates a game’s content, along with ML, allows researchers and analysts to randomize problem parameters during analysis. This version of descriptive analytics analyzes past issues with machine learning models being too specific and will enable PCG to be married to ML to open up new opportunities.

Another paper published in 2019 by the Journal of Marketing Research proposed an analytic methodology to examine co-occurrences of products in consumer carts. They focused on contemporary advances in ML and natural language processing (NLP). Their process is already highly adaptable and scalable for the retail industry because data from online checkout and cart systems are readily available. When paired with an analysis of cross-product co-occurrence, complementarity, and intra-category substitution, this methodology is a promising approach to descriptive analytics by analyzing past trends of co-occurrent products. 

What is predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics is a category of data-driven analytics that analyzes current and/or historical data using statistical methods. Predictive analytics’ primary purpose is, as the name suggests, to analyze the likelihood of an event(s) happening in the future. By focusing on the nature of the event and the potentially time-sensitive occurrence of the event, predictive analytics is helpful for several prediction questions in marketing analytics. These problems include credit scoring, customer churn and turnover, customer acquisition, lifetime value, advertising click rates, purchase frequency, and product recommendations. Predictive analytics can assist in optimizing and improving many analytic areas, including efficiency, risk management and reduction, and customer service. 

For example, a 2021 article published in ACM Computing Surveys developed a meta-analysis of current methodologies for predicting user responses in the online advertising industry. By creating a taxonomy of user-response prediction methods, focusing on ML methods, their research can be used to grapple with predictive analytics in other contexts. 

One of the most promising methods for predictive analytics in marketing is deep learning (DL). DL is a subfield of machine learning that focuses on algorithms that take their structure and operations from neural networks in the brain. These artificial neural networks deploy multiple processing layers to derive increasingly more complex features from large amounts of data. This gives DL a reasonably strong prediction accuracy compared to other analytic methods, as it is algorithmically designed to model how the human brain processes certain types of knowledge. Like human neural networks, DL can concurrently analyze multiple data types, such as images, audio, location, clickstream data, app data, and social network data. This ability to process disparate data separates it from other analytic methods. Still, DL is also distinct from the human neural networks based on the sheer scale of data it can process, which is well beyond what the human brain can handle.

However, one of the major complaints about current predictive analytics methods is that they are too opaque, with little possibility of discerning what happens during processing after the initial input. Therefore, it’s essential to always keep in mind the potential limitations of predictive analytics, mainly when relying on algorithms to streamline predictions. For example, a 2022 article in the Journal of Business Research combined a systematic literature review and interviews with ML specialists to identify algorithmic bias in ML-based marketing analytics. The article highlights an array of algorithmic biases that can pervade ML-based marketing analytics, including weak algorithm designs, unrepresentative datasets, ineffective models, or historical human tendencies. The latter problem is especially problematic, as it can lead predictive analytics to replicate stereotypes and biases against marginalized consumers. For example, a 2021 article found that algorithmic models designed to guide clinical decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic were rushed and biased against minority populations. A 2020 article found that Uber and Lyft’s algorithms set higher prices for destinations in predominantly African-American people. These algorithmic biases weren’t limited to race- a 2019 article published in Management Science found that Facebook’s targeted ad algorithms showed fewer ads advertising STEM jobs to women than men, despite initially intending to be gender-neutral in its delivery. The examples above underscore the importance of balancing predictive accuracy with transparency when working with predictive analytic algorithms for marketing.  

What is prescriptive analytics?

Prescriptive analytics is a category of data-driven analytics that applies testing to derive which outcome will yield the most promising marketing results in a given scenario. Prescriptive analytics’ primary purpose is determining why a potential product will occur or making the best decisions in a particular method. Unlike predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics focuses on the actions needed to attain predicted outcomes and the relational impacts of each step. In that sense, prescriptive analytics encapsulates predictive analytics.

  

Predictive analytics commonly utilizes randomized experimental techniques, such as A/B testing, to determine the best marketing outcomes, such as price point, ad copy, strategy, demographics, etc. Randomized experiments work by randomly distributing the experimental variables across different treatments and identifying the treatment that produces the best outcome. For example, a randomized experiment on ad copy would randomly allocate specific messaging across other conditions, such as consumer age ranges or platforms, and determine which states produced the most effective outcome for the ad copy. Randomization in data-driven analytics allows analysts to reduce bias by equalizing other variables that weren’t directly considered in the experiment’s design. However, randomized experimentation is not always practical for most businesses, as it can be costly and time-consuming. As a result, much of prescriptive analytics is concerned with yielding dynamic choices using outcomes-based predictive analytics and quasi-experimental and observational data.

In a 2021 article published in Marketing Science, researchers focus on “moment marketing,” which allows analysts to synchronize online advertising with offline events in real time. The researchers conducted a causal estimation study by examining significant shifts in (offline) TV advertising costs for a major U.S. fast-food brand over four months in 2017. Using statistical methodologies, the researchers found that advertising focusing on moment-based TV adverts could be used to optimize online sponsored search advertising. This synchronization would produce cross-channel advertising effects. For example, TV advertising can alter the content and platform of online searches, such as how and where consumers search, shortly after a TV ad airs. As a result, the average consumer conducting online investigations reacts differently to search results found “at the moment.” An example of this cross-channel advertising is a Superbowl TV ad spurring viewers to look up a brand or a product in a particular context shortly after the ad airs on television. “Moment marketing” is a generative space for prescriptive analytics, as it allows analysts to understand better how marketing decisions interact and relate to one another.   

Looking Ahead

In the era of big data, companies are increasingly leveraging data-driven analytics to elucidate information that can facilitate business and marketing strategy, deliver better products and services, and target online experiences to consumers. The three major data-driven analytic approaches—descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics— are valuable for businesses working with data. These approaches all complement and ideally occur in tandem with each other.

However, even though analytic models frequently outperform humans, context, reasoning, and final decision-making are ultimately in the hands of analysts. Data-driven analytical approaches are essential tools and methodologies for analysts to rely on. Still, given algorithms’ relative opacity, analysts must continually check their methods for potential biases. 

Finally, recent consumer concerns about privacy in tandem with current laws regulating data privacy have spurred companies to examine how they can make their data more transparent and open to consumers. The future of data-driven analytics in marketing will have to contend with this new expectation of data transparency.

User Segmentation for Product Development

User segmentation is a term that is frequently used by product development teams, but the meaning can be unclear to those unfamiliar with it. In this article, we’ll give a brief primer on user segmentation and its importance to product development, and provide examples of how user segmentation can reveal valuable information about users. 

What is user segmentation?

User segmentation involves analyzing your user base and segmenting it into categories based on user characteristics you can group together, like geographic location, type and duration of product engagement, and demographic information. After segmentation, you can take these groups (or even subgroups) and analyze them further. This will allow you to identify spaces to improve your product or tailor different product experiences to other groups. 

For example, a global subscription streaming company such as Netflix segments their users like:

  • Users in Mexico
  • Users who subscribe to the Premium plan
  • Users who stream on mobile

By analyzing these segments and understanding how they differ and overlap, Netflix can build products and offer services that better meet each segment’s needs.

Why is user segmentation important?

To serve and better target your users, you need to understand them in as much detail as possible. If you don’t conduct user segmentation, you can only understand your users at the individual level or in totality. Gathering information at the individual level is too granular and almost impossible as your user base grows. Trying to figure out information at the global level is too broad, as it forces you to analyze the average of your user base, making it difficult to make any detailed analysis of user behavior and even potentially distorting your data. 

For example, imagine that a company has twenty customers. Fourteen of these customers are aged between 18-24, four are between 30-39, and the remaining two are aged between 70-79. Segmenting users by age makes it apparent that the company is the most successful, with users between 18-24 years of age. However, examining the user base globally would suggest that the average age of a customer is much higher, which would cloak the company’s popularity with younger users.

User segmentation enables you to target smaller groups, which provides you with more accurate information to serve user needs better.

What is user segmentation used for?

User segmentation is used, as mentioned previously, for product development and targeting, by tailoring product experience and services to users. For example, recommending products based on segmented user behavior can lead to higher engagement with the product or service. However, user segmentation can also be used for:

Marketing: Using user segmentation, you can craft messaging and information that is relevant and interesting to your users. Returning to the Netflix example, marketing a premium plan to users using only one screen is unlikely to lead to high conversion rates.

Prioritization: Using user segmentation, you can troubleshoot and solve specific problems for certain user segments that need it rather than attempting to target all users. For example, Netflix offering lower quality aspect ratios is relevant for users with slower Wi-Fi, but it may not apply to everyone. 

Four Types of User Segmentation

There are multiple ways to segment users, but the following four ways are an excellent place to start:

Demographic: Examining identity or characteristic attributes of the user, such as age, income level, or gender
Geographic: Examining where the user is originally from or currently living/engaging with the product
Behavioral: Examining how the user engages with the product, such as frequency of use, duration of use, or average amount of purchase
Technographic: Examining what platform(s) the user uses to engage with the product, such as mobile or desktop

Users can frequently overlap, and it may be necessary to consider these overlaps when analyzing user segments. For example, Netflix may want to examine mobile users in France or premium plan subscribers who are women between the ages of 40-49.

This article is meant to be a basic introduction to the world of user segmentation and give you a foundation to begin your journey into analyzing your user base. User segmentation is a crucial analytic tool for anyone wanting to learn more about their user base and use this data to improve their products and services.

What’s the difference between Google Analytics and product analytics?

More than ever, organizations rise and fall on their ability to gather and leverage data. They need robust interpretation to implement practical changes across teams, departments, and the whole organization. 

But for data to be effectively leveraged, organizations need the right tools to gather the data they need. In product innovation, many organizations fall back on Google Analytics, which is focused on marketing analytics, over a product analytics solution. They use Google Analytics to gather data on user behavior- but the mismatch between what Google Analytics offers and what they need means that companies often fall short of leveraging their data for their directives. 

Google Analytics is a vital tool in its own right, but it’s designed for market analytics rather than product analytics. It’s designed for the early stages of user engagement by collecting and tracking acquisition or where users are coming from. It’s not built to track how users engage with a product, making the work of a product analytics team much more difficult. Because Google Analytics is not equipped to track user retention and engagement with the product, which is a much later stage of user engagement, product analytics are left without the data they need to produce valuable, actionable insights. 

To get these insights, product analytics teams need tools developed explicitly for product analytics, with features targeted at tracking user engagement and retention, such as cohort analysis, user journey comparisons, and segmentation analytics. 

But beyond this, what are the differences between Google Analytics and a product analytics tool?

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the gold standard of marketing analytics tools. It’s a workhorse used by marketing analytics teams the world over. These teams use three different Google Analytics products:

Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics is the standard, free tool that is the most widely used by businesses and marketing teams.

Google Analytics 360

Google Analytics 360 is the paid, premium version of Google Analytics, which offers additional features like Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager, and machine learning models.

Firebase

Firebase is Google Analytics’ tool explicitly tailored for tracking apps.

All of Google Analytics tools are designed to provide marketing teams clarity on which marketing directives lead to achieving their goals. The primary purpose of these tools is to assist marketing teams with adapting their marketing budgets and actions, optimizing their work towards what brings about the ideal user journey or attribution. Google Analytics helps marketing teams track key performance indicators (KPIs) like first-touch attribution, bounce and exit rates, and average session duration. While this is very valuable for marketers who want to collect information on marketing KPIs, such as traffic sources, page views, time on site, and completion of user outcomes, Google Analytics has few metrics on product KPIs that focus on user engagement, conversion, and retention. 

In addition to Google Analytics, Google recently launched Google Analytics 4 property (formerly App + Web) that tracks and processes web and app data combined. While this tool is promising for teams that need a combined view across web and app platforms, it still has gaps in meeting product analytics needs. Like Google Analytics, it is inadequate for gathering information on product KPIs. 

Luckily for product analytics teams, there are other solutions. 

Product Analytics

Product analytics tools provide information about the later stages of the user journey, namely how users engage with the websites and applications that product teams develop. They help product analytics teams answer behavioral questions such as:

  • Why do some users convert? Why do other users not convert?
  • How is retention linked to different user cohorts? What are the fluctuations in retention when users engage with other features?
  • What are the most prominent factors leading to user engagement and retention?
  • Who are your power/super users? What makes their behavior different from other users?
  • Is the release of a new feature correlated to or even caused the desired change in user behavior?

If teams use Google Analytics, the questions above are tough to answer. Answering questions about user behavior requires more sensitive and granular measurement, which Google Analytics simply isn’t built for. While Google Analytics relies on general, anonymized traffic data, product analytics tools use a tracking model centering on events. Products analytics tools track, on a much more granular level, the actions users take to engage with a product, like sign-ups, downloads, and uploads. By treating these events like nodes, product analytics tools link actions and behaviors to a single user, thus providing discrete insights into how each user’s behavior develops throughout the user journey. This allows product analytics tools to provide much more in-depth information about user behavior and answer the questions that product analytics must pose. It makes these tools a much better fit to drive product improvement and innovation, as it’s tough to improve products without understanding how users engage with them.

Product analytics tools boast a wide range of features for tracking user behavior, including event tracking, user cohort trends, powerful segmentation capacities, and easy access to in-depth analysis of user behavior. They assist product analytic teams, and product developers innovate their products even further.

But- do you need both?

In short, yes. Google Analytics and product analytics tools are structured for fundamentally different aims and needs. Google Analytics is a robust tool for marketing teams working on analyzing traffic to optimize marketing KPIs. On the other hand, product analytics tools work the best for product teams working on product innovation and need detailed information on user behavior. The two are not interchangeable and, in some sense, are entangled with each other.

When marketing and product teams use the tools that best fit their needs, the organization benefits from optimized innovation and growth. Marketing teams engage in market analysis which brings in new customers and allows product teams to rely on a more extensive user base to learn more about user behavior and improve engagement, retention, and conversion. Organizations can identify power/super users to convert into product advocates, which helps drive marketing. In a parallel sense, organizations can identify users with less engagement to whom they should market differently, to reduce bounce and exit rates. Satisfied users bring in more satisfied users. But organizations need product analytics tools to provide the in-depth information required to understand these users’ behavior.

Top session recording tools

What is Session Recording?

Session recording is a process in which website or mobile App visitors browsing behavior is captured, stored, and viewed back at a later time. You can identify a user’s entire journey on your website or app using session recording tools, like clicks, mouse movements, scrolls, etc. You can remember the user’s entire browsing journey from the recorded session and identify friction areas to optimize the user experience and ultimately increase the conversion rate. It also helps to visually determine where the user drops from your marketing or sales funnel from the session recording. The data collected from the session recordings are used to run Machine Learning models to predict when users click the buy button and abandon the site.

What are the use cases for Session Recording?

Following are some of the use cases companies can use session recording tools:

  • Identifying mobile-specific issue that doesn’t exhibit on desktop
  • UX issue that occurs only on specific browsers and OS versions
  • Visualizing user click streams through heatmaps identifies where users spend more time and where they spend less time. This page-specific insight gives you to improve user experience and increase conversion rate.
  • Try out new features for a specific set of users and collect user data to analyze if the users like them or not.

What are the top website recording tools?

1. Fullstory

Fullstory offers session recording tools and other tools for heatmaps, A/B testing, etc. Using the data collected from Fullstory tools, you can perform both quantitative and qualitative analysis to improve your website visitors’ browsing experience. The easy-to-use UI helps you visually identify visitors’ pain points, using which you can uncover new opportunities to improve your website conversion rate. 

Fullstory offers a 14-day free trial, and you can register and test it for your website before making a total commitment.

2. Hotjar

Using Hotjar you can visualize user engagement on your website. It records all the user actions on your website using a recording tool and displays a visual heatmap of user clicks. Using the visual click data captured, you can identify which part of the website users engage the most and where they’re not engaging with your website.

Hotjar also offers tools for creating sales funnels and survey templates to analyze and understand your users browsing insights.

3. Mouseflow

Mouseflow tool records all the user clicks and has a Friction Score feature that shows which user session has issues. You can go to particular user playback instead of wasting time analyzing all the user sessions. You can create cohorts (groups) to combine similar user sessions and perform collective user behavior analysis on the session data. Like other tools, Mouseflow has tools for heatmaps, form analytics, and funnels. Combining all these tools with the user session data, you can gain 360 degrees of your user journey on your website.

Mouse flow offers a free tier that gives you life-long access to their tools. Using the free tier you can record and playback 500 user sessions for one website for a month of session recording storage. 

4. SiteRecording

SiteRecording tool captures all your website user journey and stores it for later playback. Its visual dashboard gives valuable behavioral data like which geography the users visited, what pages they visited, how long they stayed on the page, etc. Using the visual graphs, you can identify user patten, determine their interests, and makes you make decisions based on the actual data collected from the session recording tool.  

SiteRecording offers free registration for ten users, you can register and start using the tool immediately. 

5. Smartlook

Smartlook session capture and playback tool support both website and app; its advanced filtering capability allows you to move to crucial movements during playback of the user session. You can create filters based on various parameters like location, device, URL, etc. this feature helps reduce your playback viewing time.   

Smartlook supports free tire with a maximum of 1500 session recordings per month, using which you can test how the tool works before paying for the tool. 

6. Livesession

Livesession tool has features to capture user session recording and playback. Its heatmap feature allows you to view which part of the website users are spending most of their clicks and helps you to improve the efficiency of your website. Livesession also has a funnel feature using which you can identify where the users are dropping off from their website journey, using which you can increase the conversion rate.

Livesession has a free tier using which you can capture up to 1000 free sessions and test the tool.

7. Lucky orange

Lucky orange has tools, Dynamic Heatmaps, Session Recording, and Live Chat; you can capture and analyze user website vising behavior using these tools. The session playback tool allows you to adjust speed, skip idle time, etc., and view the trouble points quickly. The heatmap tool will enable you to study the clicks and scrolls of your website, and you can view each of your website elements’ performance. 

Lucky orange offers a 7-day free trial using which you can test the tool.

8. Crazyegg

Crazyegg uses session recording and visual report tools to understand user journeys.  Using the heatmap tool, you can see how your traffic sources and marketing channels are performing. You can also generate a report that shows the individual page performance by traffic sources and marketing channels.

Crazyegg offers 30-day free trial for you to test the tool before making the purchase.

Conclusion

All the above tools have almost identical features in their offerings. Most of the above session recording tools offer a free trial period, using which you can test it before making a decision. As a website owner, you can use these tools to identify website issues, optimize the performance and increase your visitor’s conversion rate.

 

Analytics to Business Value (ABV) – Agility in Digital Product Development

Digital-first companies are using a new strategy,  analytics to business value (ABV).  This method uses customer data to dramatically increase the speed of product development and cost optimization efficiency. It collects, analyzes, and creates business intelligence from customer data from various channels like websites, social media, voice transcripts, etc. By leveraging data and analytics, this technique creates more insight in a shorter timeframe, often within weeks rather than months at scale and across the product portfolio.

Use Case Driven Approach

In the ABV approach, organizations focus on solving a specific use case for the customers instead of focusing on complex technology to provide a solution for the use case. Though it looks simple, organizations often make the mistake of developing a technical solution without fully understanding the business problem to which they’re trying to find the answer.  For example, this approach may not add value by creating a cutting-edge technological solution because their competitors are using it. Companies must first understand what use case the data will solve and start from the use case rather than the technical solution. Without a well-defined use case-driven approach, many IT projects often disappoint by exceeding the original budget without providing any tangible value to the business.

The Use Case Driven Approach is only the beginning. Creating custom-tailored analyses becomes a one-time effort for business analysts working on a specific business problem. Analysts may spend several days curating and linking multiple data sets to answer a business problem. Due to a lack of resources, the curated data set remains with the analyst and is never used again. Next time for a similar situation, another analyst may go through the same process to curate the data. 

The use case-driven approach is the precursor to achieving analytic business value. Companies can incorporate the following steps to achieve agility in their digital product development.

Steps in achieving analytics to business value (ABV)

Following are the main steps in achieving ABV; combining these steps, organizations can achieve agility in their digital product development and create business value for their companies.

Customer-centric product design – Digital product optimization starts with identifying customer requirements; the organization should collect the correct data for the analytics and set measurable metrics to achieve the needs.  The speed of innovation and time to market to bring new products and services are reducing. As a result, innovative businesses have shifted to an iterative, agile product design and development process centered on creating a minimum viable MVP to bring digital-friendly products to market quickly. 

The ability to identify customer needs and design products and services accordingly has always been critical; traditionally, it has been a qualitative process based on marketing and sales teams’ experience. Today, however, there are methods for maximizing returns on customer research by utilizing the vast amount of customer data collected through website analytic tools. Leaders in all industries who are looking for robust methodologies and powerful digital analytical tools to improve customer value and product design must answer two fundamental questions:

How can I quickly get actionable insights from a dispersed customer base?

Consolidating Product portfolio – Organizations can optimize, retire and remove products that have less or no value to their customers.
Product portfolio standardization – Organizations must standardize their product portfolio, and business and IT groups must work together in portfolio standardization. 

Getting data from customers
Traditionally customer feedback is obtained through surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc. Nowadays, companies can get customer feedback through website visits, social media postings, callcenter transcripts, etc. Customers’ feedback has traditionally been acquired through a limited number of formal channels, such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Companies may now get a wealth of client feedback from various sources, including social media, website visits, and site reviews, as well as emails and call-center transcripts. This data contains a wealth of information for companies to find instant customer sentiment on their products. Understanding the data and creating tangible actions was a problem for companies until recently.

With the advent of new digital analytical tools and platforms, companies can get real-time customer sentiment; they can accurately find if a customer is happy or unhappy with their product and services. The analytical tools allow the companies to fix the issue in real-time and measure the customer sentiment to determine whether the problems have been corrected. For example, from the social media comments, companies can compare customer sentiment on their product category with their competitors on various measures like customer buying experience, feedback, price comparison, etc. Now the digital analytical tools and platforms allow companies to instantly get real-time feedback on their brands and their competitor brands.

How can I balance customer value and product cost?

Balancing customer value and product cost
By using customer sentiment data, companies start changing their product. Now they’ve measurable data and can identify what needs to be changed in their development, reducing cost and increasing customer satisfaction. They can go feature by feature to analyze the customer sentiment directly correlating to minimizing the product cost and maximizing the customer value. Traditionally it takes months, sometimes years, for companies to incorporate customer value into their products. Now with digital analytical tools, the entire process can be achieved within weeks. Companies can create an MVP, test it, get instant customer feedback, refine the MVP, and the cycle continues.

Consolidation and standardization of product portfolio
Consolidation and standardization are two challenges companies must address to gain agility in their product development. Consolidation of products directly affects external customers; instead of using multiple products, they may have to switch to a single product. Companies must make sure this doesn’t negatively affect their satisfaction. Product standardization affects the internal organization; business and IT should work together to reduce the product offerings and standardize the existing products with a standard interface. Achieving these two gives tremendous agility to companies in bringing new products with a customer focus. 

By combining the use case-driven approach and collecting customer data through digital analytic tools, companies can gain valuable analytics and competitive business value. They can transform their entire product portfolio to true agility.