How to Crack Your Marketing Analytics Without Breaking Your Brain
It’s not as hard as you probably fear it is!
From our humble beginnings as cavemen to technology evangelists, we have always relied on data and information to guide our actions and shape our future, be it for survival in the Paleolithic age or for shaping today’s business strategies.
Data feeds our every action, whether we realize it or not. And when it comes to your marketing efforts, you need to be ever-so-aware of the unshakable importance of data-driven decision making.
We saw an enormous explosion in the amount of data customers and companies were generating. What we are seeing now is another explosion – in the way of tools available to analyze the vast amounts of data being generated.
Moreover, marketing managers find it hard to decide what to track and what to do with the insights they generate. A report by Big Data Made Simple shows most companies analyze a mere 12% of their data.
In this sea of information and innumerable life rafts to cling to, you need a clear and effective analytics strategy to make sense of your marketing campaigns. And you need to navigate the challenges that you’ll inevitable encounter on the way to a strategy that is uniquely poised to your business.
Data-driven Decision Making
There’s a reason ‘change is the only constant’ is a cliché. The coronavirus pandemic was and is an unprecedented event and its effects will continue to be felt for years later, some more permanent than others. As a result, structural changes in how we live and interact will be inevitable. Hence, data and analytics-driven decision making will only gain more importance in the near future.
You cannot slack off when it comes to anticipating and reacting to consumer behavior and industry trends. And every decision that feeds into your action plan has to be based on hard data and not intuition or ‘business sense’.
For instance, changing consumer demand patterns have prompted retailers to overhaul their inventory management, supply chain infrastructure, delivery mechanism and customer experience by adopting innovations in each of these areas.
Even small businesses have felt the need and the promise of a data-driven marketing strategy. Analyzing how your consumers are interacting with your website or your social media touchpoints can net you a treasure trove of insights – insights you simply can’t do without.
Real-time and predictive analytics have grown to be at the forefront of every single consumer-facing industry. With advances in accessible and flexible cloud-powered machine learning, data analysts can now put into action data-driven initiatives at a scale not possible before.
What’s so Hard in Analyzing Your Data?
With big data, comes bigger challenges! There is no dearth of data when it comes to any business. With everything from new leads and existing customers to historical and real-time sources generating a constant stream of data points, it can be a little overwhelming to decide where to start.
A Campaign Monitor study shows that 81% of marketers consider it complicated to implement a data-driven marketing strategy. No wonder, considering majority of them are going about it the wrong way.
Marketers need to move beyond getting their hands on any metric they can think of. Instead, they should first crystallize their business goals and decide what metrics can be tacked to achieve them.
Breaking down your silos and harnessing the data from all departments of your enterprise like sales, financial and customer service will enable you to see the bigger picture and help you create customer personas which will take you one step closer to the elusive ‘single view of customer’.
Deciding your strategy and narrowing down the KPIs is the first step. What comes next is choosing a platform that is able to seamlessly bring data from all your sources and enable you to view the entire customer journey. Being cognizant of these salient points will go a long way in elevating your analytics strategy to the next level.
Google Analytics is a great place to start in case you are confused. It’s free and its analytics tools can help you better understand what’s working on your website and what isn’t. You can identify what actions are leading to desired outcomes and what areas you can improve on to achieve your business goals. When set up correctly, Google Analytics has the potential to deliver a ton of value to your business.
What Makes Your Business Tick? – Google Analytics Primer
A great approach that is also uncomplicated is to backtrack from your overall business goals and distil them into tactical goals which can be broken down into individual elements and then mapped to trackable KPIs. Google Analytics offers a ton of functionality in a user-friendly UI to make your life easier.
You need to take an honest look at where you are in your analytics journey and what goals make the most sense for you at this point. You need to ask yourself the right questions and choosing the metrics that will adequately answer those questions.
- Let’s say you want to know ‘How many visitors came to my site?’. You can quickly know this on the Home tab after logging into Google Analytics. You can review sessions, users, bounce rate and time on site data.
- If you’re interested to know ‘How are users finding my site?’, the Acquisition tab can show you all your traffic data, by source/medium.
- If you want to know ‘What pages did they view?’, you can head on to the Behavior tab and click on Site Content, then All Pages. You can review page views, avg time on page and bounce rate to get view into the users’ engagement.
Your Google Analytics strategy is an iterative process and needs to evolve with the insights you feed into it. You can do a lot more on Google Analytics. For instance:
- Goal Tracking: Goal tracking is one of the most important and central tools offered by Google Analytics. Apart from tracking just the ‘Thank You’ page URLs, you have the ability to track goals like destination page tracking, pages/sessions, button tracking, events etc.
- Custom Reports: You have numerous custom reports templates to choose from in the Customization section. You can modify these to suit your unique goals and metrics and focus on the most important factors for your website .
- Find the Zombie Pages: Pages that are not performing at all are known as zombie pages. Check step 4 out here. With content drill-down reports, you can find them and either redirect them to more relevant pages or revamp them with fresh content.
- Content Grouping: The Admin section contains the content grouping section which can help you structure all your content into logical types and then track what type of content is performing better than others.
- Custom Alerts: You can create custom alerts to get notified when you are not meeting, say, a projected traffic goal. You can find this tool in the Admin section.
By having a laser-focus on your business goals and having an unambiguous strategy centered around relevant KPIs, you stand to tap into the limitless power of business intelligence. It will not happen overnight, but it doesn’t have to be a cryptic maze either.
Google Analytics gives you all the tools and freedom you require to craft the best content and campaign strategy for your brand. All you need is a sight at the target and the patience to reach it.