Running an ecommerce business of any size is a perilous endeavor, but for owners of small enterprises, surviving and thriving can be especially challenging. When your company has only, say, a dozen or so employees, it can often seem that your business lives in the shadow of giants, those mega-corporations whose names are widely known across the nation and the rest of the world. But it’s important for small business owners to understand that they are in good company.
It may be fairly said that the U.S. is fundamentally a small business economy. The fact is that small businesses outnumber large enterprises, and by an impressive margin. A 2019 survey found that out of over 32 million businesses operating in the United States at the time, only 20,868 had at least 500 employees on the payroll.1 If you run a small or medium-sized company, you’re pretty much the model of the present-day business owner.
Succeeding in a business environment where so many competitors have exponentially more funding to draw upon can look like an impossible task. Yet many small and medium-sized businesses do succeed. How?
As we will soon see, a vital element of any long-term business plan in the small to medium-sized sector must include embracing the power of data collection and analysis—more specifically, the data that can be gleaned from the buying public.
Data Analytics in the COVID-19 Era
To say that the COVID-19 crisis has triggered major operational changes in the business community as a whole is to state the obvious. It’s clear that the advent of the pandemic, and the long-term lockdowns that ensued, has permanently altered the business landscape. But what hasn’t gotten much attention is the technological transformation taking place in the business world.
We’re not just talking about the growing telecommuting practice of allowing employees to take their laptops home with them. Increasingly, businesses large and small are adopting a variety of state-of-the-art tech tools to enable them to keep pace in a rapidly evolving landscape. That’s because customer interactions are themselves occurring increasingly on the digital plane.
One survey found that the COVID-19 crisis led to businesses offering a larger proportion of digital products and services than before. On average, 60% of business products and services are now digital, as opposed to only 41% in the pre-COVID era.2
As a result of the digitization of customer interactions, businesses could potentially access a vast amount of information about—among other relevant marketing-related topics—who currently is and who might be interested in buying their products. But that’s exactly what a lot of businesses aren’t doing.
And here’s where we pull out yet another revealing statistic: only 45% of businesses use data analytics to guide their decision-making processes.3
Leveraging data effectively can provide small and medium-sized businesses with the edge they need to bolster their ad campaigns and be competitive in a post-COVID business environment. It doesn’t require a massive budget. What is required, mainly, is first-party data.
The Challenges of Collecting First-Party Data
Remember, first-party data is the information you get from your own customers, while third-party data is obtained from another organization. Traditionally, a lot of third-party data was purchased from an agency that specialized in aggregating this kind of marketing info.
One of the advantages of first-party data is that it dispenses with the need to spend money on another party’s data, which, in many cases, is filtered and processed in a manner that could distort its accuracy. Being able to eliminate those expenses from the balance sheet is unquestionably a benefit for smaller businesses with limited resources.
First-party data is taken from normal everyday interactions with your customer base, such as their visits to your website, their online purchases, and their video views. Some businesses augment this ecommerce data with email surveys and similar tactics that can more explicitly reveal customer preferences. And because this data is immediately available, you can avoid all-too-common latency issues that result in delayed reporting of consumer activity.
Data collection practices of this type are readily accessible even to very small businesses. With this data, you can learn what is generating your conversions, and which aspects of your branding needs to be improved to pull customers further into your marketing funnel. You can also build accurate customer profiles that aid enormously in targeting and retargeting ad campaigns.
The problem with first-party customer data, however, is that its full value can be realized only if it is properly analyzed for actionable insights. Otherwise, you just have a mass of information sitting on a server. This is where smaller businesses might seem to face a serious disadvantage when compared to relatively well-funded corporations and their imposingly large marketing departments. How can an ecommerce business with modest revenues compete in this regard?
How AdBeacon Can Help Smaller Businesses
AdBeacon is a low-cost, user-friendly ad optimization platform that provides businesses of all sizes with a suite of tools and features designed to help maximize their advertising budgets. With help from your own first-party data (including offline conversions), AdBeacon provides accurate insights into the performance of your ad creatives, such as which channels are producing the best results. Adjustable lookback windows enable you to see the full customer journey—you’re not restricted by the arbitrary constraints of social media platforms.
AdBeacon enables you to:
- Reduce spending on ineffective ads
- Achieve precise audience segmentation
- Optimize ads quickly, in real time
- Boost your revenues
- Comply with data privacy laws
- Guide your future ad campaigns with confidence
AdBeacon has a range of subscription plans to accommodate all types of businesses, from proprietorships to large corporations. Even if your ad spend is under $5000 per month, we have a plan that matches your budget.
Contact AdBeacon today to get started!