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Beyond the Numbers: Interview with Frederic Chanut

Ranjani Raghupathi

FredThere’s a saying that data is like people – interrogate it hard enough and it will tell you whatever you want to hear. The burning question for marketers today is: What can data tell me that I can use to advance the business? We had a chance to catch up with Frederic (Freddy) Chanut, Managing Director of In Marketing We Trust, a leading SEO and Conversion Optimization agency to get his take on metrics that matter, as well as, data visualization, creativity, machine learning and content marketing.

1. You consider web analytics to be ‘the modern day accounting’. This is a very interesting concept – can you expand on what this means?

A lot can be told about a business by just looking at the books: Where are the resources spent, how much efforts do you need to make a sale? What activity centres are you prioritising? Are you savvy and trying to optimise your finance or are you just doing bookkeeping? Accounting gives you the real dial of the performance of your business.

Analytics in many ways is very similar, it’s a rear view mirror driving of your business. It tells you where your business comes from, what content triggers engagement and sales, how you use your data to drive better business decision.

2. In social media, we talk all the time about ‘vanity metrics’ such as likes and follows. In the world of SEO and web conversions, which metrics do you believe are the most important and useful for brands today? 

Sales, good ol’ $$, Conversion rate revenue per visitors, funnel efficiency (sales/number of people viewing the cart), non-bounce visits, active users in CRM and email database, # of landing pages receiving SEO traffic, domain authority (SEO), Visibility score by page type (products vs. categories vs. homepage vs. broad)

3. We love your concept of In Marketing We Trust being 50% science and 50% art. Can you give an example from any marketing project you’ve worked on in the past that was a good blend of data and creativity?

Geekism: Creating a Google Analytics for your offline, in store experience. 

Problem: Client was curious to know how some store layout changes could impact flow and increase average basket value or volume of sales.

Solution: We research creative ways to come up with some accurate reading. From using beacons, to overlaying infra red signals to cctv camera to test Wi-Fi fingerprinting, we tested and played around with numbers, going through scientific papers to finally devise and test a solution that would work for all.

Overcoming technical issues

One of our clients has a big mobile traffic and was not able to switch to a mobile friendly site before mobilegeddon. We had to come to a solution w/out the possibility to change. We took a tool that had nothing to do with the process and managed to hack it to create a very basic but valid mobile version (here is the skinny on how to do it). We saved 25% of their traffic and actually managed to increase the number of conversion on mobile.

4. From our initial background chat, we learned you studied advanced statistics and are now studying machine learning (we’ve got some hard core data nerds on our team you would get along great with). Aside from commercial uses, what’s one way you see data being used in the future to improve the world?

Machine Learning is actually fairly old but the web gave it a new breath. It has been used in the past to prevent crimesfight bushfires and optimise resources. A big motion in AI and machine learing is the web is creation of more personalised experiences, which typically lead to create bubbles.

5. Raw data (i.e. numbers or text) is difficult to grasp for end users of marketing software. In your own words, how would you define data visualization and why is it important for brands?

Data deluge. Every second we are bombarded with information. Turns out that sight is our fastest sense and our brain is wired to comprehend shape and forms rather than process a series of numbers, which use a lot of energy. 

Data visualization precisely turns that resource intensive exercise into a pleasurable, almost intuitive experience.

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6. Without spilling the secret sauce, what’s the number one thing brands are overlooking when it comes to converting traffic into paying customers? 

Listening rather than talking to their customers, seeing what people looking for your product are behaving on your site. It’s actually amazing to see how much you can pick up with just a dozen interviews. More and more brands are now adopting social media as a customer service channel and for once customer complaints go straight back up to big marketing people

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7. Data and algorithms can do a lot of things, but they can’t replace human ingenuity when it comes to content creation. What kind of content should marketers be most focused on today in order to increase visibility and drive business results?

How I see Content Marketing:   

I often find that getting the most basic items, most related to a sale, the kind of things that answers a customer needs is the kind of content investment that will make a difference. Now content takes very different forms, from a description, a good comprehensible ‘spec sheet’, a calculator, a comparison table, 

Find the questions users have and answer that question, the content is only a medium. The answer is…well the answer. 

8. What are a few of your go-to marketing publications you read daily to stay up on industry news and what do you like about them?

Twitter & LinkedIn as it helps with curation from my own internet bubble, otherwise

  • ConversionXL
  • Moz
  • SearchEngineLand
  • MIRI
  • kaushik.net
  • Lunametrics
  • Growthhacker
  • HackerNews

Click here to view more social media insights, thoughts and opinions from agency and brand experts.