Digital Marketing - Analytics: Measurement and Metrics (4 of 4)
Digital Marketing - Analytics: Measurement and Metrics
Having travelled the path of embracing possible approaches to digital marketing over the course of this short series of articles, we now come to final element, which is the measurement and tracking of your digital marketing efforts. Marketers refer to the conceptof ‘closed loop’ marketing. Measurement allows us to analyse what is happening with yourmarketing efforts and ultimately identify appropriate metrics and trends that you can use to test refine and retest all of your online activities.
At the outset of this series of articles we emphasised the importance of the business case for a digital marketing strategy – to attract visitors, convert them into leads or sales, and nurture and retain those new prospects/leads and existing clients. We also looked at the range of digital marketing tools and channels and the conversions process once traffic arrives at your site with much emphasis on your landing pages, and your calls to action (CTA).
In an earlier article we referred to the often quoted line (attributed to Henry Ford) – that “about half of money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half”. One simple and compelling case for digital marketing is the ability to determine exactly what is working and how effective each channel is in delivering traffic and the conversion process. This ability to get answers to questions allows you track, measure and analyse exactly what your digital marketing efforts are delivering – instantly.
By identifying what to measure you can establish answers to questions – questions about your visitors, campaigns, content and conversion processes. It provides answers to difficult questions – How are visitors using my site, how do I make marketing campaigns more effective, why, where are visitors abandoning my site, how do I improve site interaction, or e-mail open rates and CTR. What are key performance indicators for your website?
So what is Analytics
Analytics is the measurement, collection and reporting of your website data. It can be used to analyse how well your website is performing and how your digital marketing efforts are translating into traffic, actions and results.
Your insights from website analytics can help you transform your website in tandem with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and online efforts to drive more traffic and engaging visitors with compelling content when they arrive. Crucially it can allow you to discover how your conversion process is working and how specific marketing campaigns (search, e-mail, social) are performing.
With numerous tools (and many like Google Analytics being free) there is no shortage on the quality and depth of data mining that is possible. Indeed the sheer quantity of data that can be produced can quickly become a stumbling block to effective employment of analysis tools for some firms.
Of course like all statistical analysis – the interpretation of data itself can be very powerful, so long as you know what you want to do with it. It is as easy to succumb to data overloadand ‘analysis by paralysis’ – reams of information that is never interpreted or acted upon, and simply filed away as September online stats. Your approach to measurement and analytics must become one that focuses on insights and actions that should emerge from the analysis.
It can be easy to absorb yourself in every single detail of your web stats. So it is imperative to keep the ‘so what’ factor to the forefront of your mind, or at least alongside the what, thewhy, and the what else factor’s.
This should all take place in the context of your digital marketing strategy and the goals and objectives for your website and digital marketing tools. From your objectives you will have identified the trends to watch – and it is these trends that become the narrative of your online engagement story.
What do you want measure and track
Each firm and its digital marketing ambitions will be different, but a fairly typical collection of metrics to report on could likely include the following:
You should always be challenging and asking questions, to explore what is changing or trending on your web pages and how users interact with them.
Look to establish measurement thresholds or goals for your site, to gain insights beyond the numbers. What proportion of web traffic is visiting >3 or > 5 pages – try split this again by new vs. returning. Consider your bounce rates on your top ten landing pages are there any significant variations – if so, why might this be so? Compare your content rich pages with actual page visits and the page exit stats. You may find that waxing lyrical about content close to your firms heart may not be as equally shared by your clients/contact. In earlier articles it was flagged to make the effort to walk around in someone else’s shoes to gain anunderstanding of their perspective of what matters to them!
Despite the compelling business case such detailed insights can provide, for some firms it is precisely this area that is often the most overlooked. Reams of website, e-marketing and social networking stats are possibly not deemed strategic enough, or are simply not integrated to drive actionable recommendations.
Clearly there may be a need to establish a reporting process that can summarise the data into Key Performance Indicator’s (KPI), and online dashboards. Such detailed analysis andinsights must of course be used in tandem with your offline activity - to close the loop as was suggested at the outset.
Focus on outcomes and remember that whilst data can be virtually free, it is the insights and implementation of actions that will create and add value to help transform your business. To quote Rupert Murdoch “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow”, and it is with this in mind throughout this series of articles we established the importance of content creation, getting found and promoting your website content, and of course ultimately converting your web traffic.
I do hope this short series has in some small measure helped some of you to embrace more fully the possibilities and potential of digital marketing, and becoming faster. Of course at the very outset of this journey we cautioned that digital marketing was not a silver bullet or panacea, nor never will be, but rather that it is and will increasingly be a critical tool in improving your firms overall marketing performance.