Most people understand how to tap into the basics of Google Analytics or other similar programs to review such aspects as website visitors and bounce rates (single page views). However, by failing to set their analytics correctly or accessing the data properly, many businesses are missing out on a wealth of exceptional information that can help shape their marketing direction
Data Analysis is the third step in my Digital Marketing Review and to my mind the most crucial, especially for senior executives, marketing managers and small business owners interested in gaining a factual overview of what aspects of their digital marketing is and isn’t working.
Giving Power Back to Management
As a Manager, you don’t need to be hands-on, technically savvy or even interested in the whole ‘how-to’ of analytics customisation.
But it is important to understand what you can (and can’t) measure in order to ask the right questions and request meaningful statistics that will truly help strategically grow your business.
By gaining information about the requirements and motivating factors of your key stakeholders you will be able to translate these objectives into quantifiable actions to improve performance.
Looking beyond the basic analytics, involves questioning the performance of the different marketing channels, and determining if your audience is being correctly directed or ‘funnelled’ towards the desired outcome.
For example, how many of your visitors look at category and product pages, and then add to basket/cart and checkout. For e-commerce sites often tweaks to this ‘herding’ process can deliver marked conversion results.
Beware Rubbish Data
Data doesn’t lie, but at times your agency and/or marketing team may be guilty of skewing or at least spinning the facts on the performance of certain areas they may be responsible for.
Producing reams and reams of meaningless statistical reports, or ‘data puking’ as it is aptly termed, is something certain agencies like to use to bamboozle their clients. It’s rubbish data and unnecessary. The fact is you can track most of what you need against a handful of well-designed key performance indicators (KPIs).
I have found during my work as a digital marketing auditor, a lot of people don’t even bother to look at these reports. And that is exactly what is being counted on.
One company I worked with was being strongly encouraged to invest heavily in SEO (search engine optimisation), and at the same time was receiving positive reports about their pay-per-click rates. An analysis of the actual data revealed that they were, in reality, spending more on pay-per-click than they were earning. The SEO focus was an agency diversion to steer them away from the fact they were actually costing the company money.
The Manager, in that case, learnt a powerful lesson about the value of understanding the right metrics, and staying focused on marketing direction and Return on Investment (ROI).
5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Analytics
- Correct Set-Up: You need to set-up your Google Analytics or another programme correctly to ensure it delivers what you need. It’s not necessary for Managers to know how to do it but they should know what to request and why they need particular statistics. Depending on what you require, you may need to invest in the assistance of a technical expert who will be able to make the ‘magic’ happen in a way that works for your business.
- Start with Tagging: To effectively monitor the traffic to your site and the effectiveness of your campaigns, you need a tag set-up to compare such aspects as direct visits, pay-per-click, natural search, social or email marketing.
- Integration is Key: You don’t have to limit yourself to Google originated data. You can also pull in information from a variety of sources, such as your CRM and email marketing software to cross-channel compare and further define your marketing position. This gives you a better picture of your attribution and ultimately the return on your digital investment.
- Counting the Cost: Cost value is about allocating a nominal monetary value to a digital marketing element, e.g. an email is worth a dollar, in order to compare its value against other aspects, such as Adwords. In this way, you can identify the ‘value levers’ that offer a better return on investment and plan your digital marketing spend accordingly.
- Don’t Waste Time: Common mistakes include:
- incorrectly setting up the on-site search function, so that valuable information on what people want to know is lost
- neglecting to exclude employees from reports leading to inaccurate numbers
- not recording downloads of PDF documents or video views
- not including an email opt-in and social sharing features.
We are starting to see companies alter their digital marketing approach to become more data-driven. Statistics present a truly honest measure of your digital marketing performance, and paves the way for you to focus on the right priorities to move your business forward.