The ability to analyze real-time data and provide personalized content is nothing new: it’s been around in some form or another for at least a decade. Tailoring content to individual users based on demographics, search history and other factors has long been key to the huge success of Amazon.Other internet giants like Spotify and Netflix can also credit their domination of their particular field at least in part to their ability to not just gather data from users in real time but to leverage it to create a positive customer experience suited to the individual.
However, a new generation of analytical tools and customer engagement platforms is increasingly putting the effective use of real-time data within reach of almost every business with an online presence. Our ability to gather and analyze data is evolving exponentially, but businesses are still slow in realizing the potential of the vast amounts of data we’re harvesting every second. Indeed, traditional management structures not only don’t recognize or incorporate these practices, they actively reinforce retrospective analysis which can only fix problems after they’ve happened, not provide solutions and better scenarios in advance.
To stay competitive, modern websites need to be proactive, not reactive. Real-time data combined with machine learning can transform even a modest website into an environment where visitors can be presented with what they need before they even realize what it is they’re looking for.
Provide better customer experience
Advanced data analytics can help e-commerce sites, and other types,to provide a better customer experience. Not only will this encourage visitors to keep coming back, increase conversions and sales, customers are also more likely to be willing to share personal data if they can see immediate benefits. Personalization is proven to drive higher engagement, more conversions and greater revenue as interests and preferences are noted and integrated into the customer journey in the form of suggestions or tailored content.
It’s not just traditional e-commerce sites that can benefit either. Players of the California lotto don’t have to wait for the Powerball winning numbers to be announced; the lottogopher site allows you to follow the countdown to the draw in real time and to match your numbers as soon as they are drawn.
40% of marketers are making real-time interactions with their customers a priority. One of the reasons is the increased use of mobile devices for engaging with the internet. Immediate deployment of advertising, offers, etc. based on recent history is the best way to capitalize on user activity as it is happening and to move them along on their journey.
Real-time data analytics are helping event promoters predict gate revenue months in advance, allowing them to adjust their budgets accordingly. Social media trends and online behavior can be used to gauge interest and allocate funds accordingly. Future events or promotions can then be planned with greater confidence and less risk.
The Huffington Post site has long used real-time analytics to improve its article content. One example is its practice of A/B testing headlines in real-time, using two different headline options for the first five minutes of a news story’s life, then discarding the one that proves the least popular. Today, publishers can alter the content of articles in real time based on Facebook likes, shares, retweets and so on: adding and changing photos as well as making updates and corrections.
Live streaming is another form of popular content that uses real-life data. Everything from stock market figures to football games and rock concerts can be added to a site in the form of real-time data streams. The only criteria are that it should be engaging and useful.
The use of real-time data analysis isn’t always obvious: much of the most crucial work goes on behind the scenes. Machine algorithms can look out for suspicious behavior patterns and instigate appropriate measures if it looks like they indicate attempted fraud or even a malicious attack. Increasingly, digital security needs to be able to detect and tackle threats in real time as well as providing standard protection.
In the online world, customers are more demanding than ever and have access to almost unlimited choice. As a result, if they’re dissatisfied with your service they’ll not just go elsewhere, they’ll tell the world why on social media. Using real-time data, you can improve their experience, giving them exactly what they want when they want it. Without this, your website could soon be yesterday’s news.