Online comparison website Finder has only been using predictive analytics for under a year and, according to its head of insights and analytics Steve Lockwood, it has given the company a clear view of how they are performing in many different areas.

Lockwood explained, “We’ve got such real time access to information that we can pretty much confidently go into any decision that we make about the business knowing we’ve got the best available information to help make those decisions about future strategy.”

Finder only began using a dedicated insights and analytics function in October last year when Lockwood joined the team. Before that Finder only used insights primarily for PR and media purposes.

In the eight months since implementing predictive analytics Lockwood said Finder has gone from sporadic approaches to having a deeper focus on how they apply analytics to the success of the business.

In February, Finder launched a new brand campaign off the back of research development for their brand identity, potential audiences and the way that should translate into marketing and channel planning.

From this, he said Finder had a lot of success and uplift in brand metrics such as awareness, salience, capability, consideration.

Finder also had a successful quarter from using analytics and insights. Lockwood said, “We also had a very successful quarter from a revenue point of view and we had some accelerated growth in terms of a unique audience.”

He said the biggest change is the company has so much more visibility over how the business is performing in every aspect.

“Where we got this information was both through internal processes that we set up but also external partnerships that we’ve engaged with as well. In a way we are working with a lot more third party analytical vendors to help us in that process,” Lockwood explained.

Steve Lockwood, head of insights and analytics at Finder

Lockwood and his team are tasked with quantifying how the business can make the best use of its investments in terms of driving audience growth, optimising brand health, and making the most positive ROI, particularly for its marketing investments.

He said, “From an insights perspective, specifically, my team looks after all of the research and insight development that leads to our media narratives to help consumers.”

Lockwood said at Finder they have a broad coverage on the way they apply predictive analytics in all parts of the business.

“The things that are critical for us are our audience in terms of growth and retention; our brand in terms of making sure that we’ve got positive perception among consumers and among the B2B world in terms of the partnerships that we have and, our sales and revenue targets, our margin and the efficiency the marketing spend.

“We’ve got processes applied to continually address and monitor each of those areas and predictive processes to try and understand what changes we can make to a marketing strategy, a site design or media communication to help optimise against each of those objective areas,” he said.

With every piece of predictive analytics, Lockwood said he is trying to make the customer experience as positive as he can.

He said, “So that includes various components in terms of making sure that our marketing has the right messaging that’s going to resonate well with people and give people a good understanding of how business operates. What we think delivers the analytics in terms of the continual site testing, the optimisation testing that we’re doing across the site, we’re trying to make the onsite experiences as good as possible both to optimise towards conversions but also for NPS.

“That division of our business is to help people make better decisions. So we try and focus on our analytics in terms of how we can deliver against our mission. So really, it’s at the heart of the customer journey and the customer experience, rather than being a nice to have.”

Future thinking

Lockwood said Finder is currently looking at how the brand can use predictive analytics to optimise their investments.

“We’ve done a lot of focus on the brand and the customer experience. Now we’re using media mix modeling and econometrics to try and predict what is the most efficient use of our channel spend and what should be the optimal budget to achieve the best returns and we’re looking at specific channel by channel points of diminishing return for execution.

“In terms of how that will impact positively on our businesses, if we can use analytics to create a plan, which optimises to the ROI spend at the paid margin we are getting off our investments is an exponential benefit to the business financially. That shouldn’t detract from the work that we’re doing, in terms of the customer experience in the site testing it all compliments it,” he adds.

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