Ah, data. Is there a more powerful word in this ever-changing marketing landscape? It drives nearly every aspect of our discipline, from campaign planning, to strategy execution to reporting—and learning from—results. But as critical as data already is, it's about to get a whole lot more valuable.
Why? Because data, and more specifically structured data, is at the very heart of true personalization. And if you're a marketer, that's more than exciting—it's the proverbial silver bullet.
Data Feeds Grow Up
What is structured data? Quite simply, it's data with parameters. We've been using structured data and data feeds—structured data that enables either a platform or person to do something—without even realizing it. Think RSS, news and Facebook feeds, weather and traffic reports.
Data feeds have come a long way. In 2010, data feeds required only five fields and were uploaded on a monthly to weekly basis. The feeds were mainly used in the comparison shopping realm for online advertising. But with the launch of Bing and Google Shopping campaigns, feeds have evolved.
Case in point: CommerceHub partnered with client Century Novelty using Bing Shopping Campaigns. Revenue increased by 1,237% and advertiser return on spend (ROAS) increased by 20%.
In fact, data feeds have evolved so much that advertisers are now uploading their data on a daily basis, some even every few hours. Feeds now require many more data points, from bids to location targeting for local shopping. This has resulted in user-rich information, creating a new search experience for more efficient, personalized, localized and actionable results.
Today, most advertisers still use file transfer protocol, or FTP, to upload their feeds. This can take hours or even days to update product inventory. But the future of data feeds lives within the application program interface (API) capability, where updates to bids and product refreshes happen in real time.
What does all this mean? With structured data, real-time personalized marketing is here. It's almost hard to wrap your brain around. But you should, and fast. Because an undeniable shift in the search space is upon us. And it's going to be fun.
Structured data helps improve how information is shared with platforms—such as search engines—that allows the platforms to perform at a higher level. As data feeds become more structured and standardized, search engines, for example, can better understand, compare and contextualize data.
All of these advances have led to exciting new ad formats. With structured data feeds, the information consumers need to take action is displayed directly in the search engine results.
What if a search engine could make a restaurant reservation for you in a city that you've just arrived in? Or help you get movie tickets as you drive by the theater? Or even ensure the music in your car is something that you, your spouse and your kids will want to listen to? Rather than clicking for more information, customers will click for an immediate purchase or reservation.
Thanks to structured data, the search engine is becoming an even more powerful and personalized partner. And marketers who understand that power stand to win big.
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About the Sponsor
Bing is the intelligence behind nearly one in three PC searches in the U.S. It's inside the apps, sites and devices people rely on every day, powering search experiences from Yahoo to AOL, Apple to Amazon, and Windows 10 to Xbox. And with the Bing Network, you can connect your brand with Bing's unique audience to drive more reach and more results. Bing Network. Be there.