Measure, Monitor, Master
By: Jenny Moss
Key analytics? They’re the key to success.
Talk about a hot topic these days: You can’t get five minutes into any serious marketing conversation without hearing the word “analytics.” Clients demand them; agencies live and die by them. And though this may seem like a relatively new concept, it isn’t. Even from the earliest days of advertising, old-time radio jingles, and campy television ads (“Calgon, take me away!”), companies have sought to measure how their advertising is performing to determine how to best craft their message to connect with customers in the most effective way.
Back then (and still now), sales was the primary measuring stick. But today there’s so much more. Thanks to analytics, we can easily dissect what those sales really mean, and determine the decisions that led to them. The unprecedented availability of data and insights has given marketers the ability to pinpoint their ideal target audience and thereby make better choices to ensure their message gets heard, by the right person, at the right time. (Want to know more? Check out our blog on customer insights.)
Sounds great. Now what?
Reaching your audience is only the beginning. We like to think this is when the fun really begins. Savvy companies will choose a marketing partner who’s adept at tracking the entire customer journey. If you are measuring success by only one metric, say sales, you’re missing a ton of amazing insights along the way:
- Website data
- Total website traffic
- Total time on site
- Average page views
- Website bounce rate (Hint: The more qualified people you reach, the lower your bounce rate)
- Social Media Engagement data
- Likes, shares, comments
- Time on site
- Page views
- Pages per session
- New vs. returning visitors
- Marketing programs
- Impressions, reach and frequency
- Internal Business data
- Average sale
- Customer data (zip code, date of birth, gender, purchase history)
The good news is that nearly everything is integrated these days so if you know what you’re doing, you can be a serious analytics ninja. Here’s a good place to start: Make it your goal to always have an actionable item, so you can measure if it worked. For instance, if you send an email, link it to a dedicated landing page. This will identify exactly how many people responded to that particular piece of communication. In addition to tracking open rates, click-throughs, page reads and abandonment rates on emails, you can greatly enhance your information-gathering efforts by including actionable, trackable items like signups, downloadable content, etc.
These actionable items are easily tailored to particular industries. If you’re in banking, healthcare, hospitality or the like, always provide a way for someone to instantly get more information, schedule an appointment or make a reservation.
Observe but don’t alienate.
Monitor your analytics continuously. A nimble advertiser can quickly respond if their data shows a consumer would rather close a YouTube video altogether than sit through their ad. By keeping a close eye on these sorts of trends in your data, you can segment your target market and adjust your messaging accordingly. This kind of real-time response allows you to make changes on the fly, rather than having to go through weeks of focus groups or surveys before responding to issues. At the same time, recognize that you must maintain a balance so consumers feel understood…rather than spied on. If you bombard them until they block your ads, those oh-so-insightful analytics have had the opposite effect. (For more on this, check out our blog on customer segmentation.)
The more you track, the more you’ll know about what’s working and what isn’t.
In the game of analytics, it’s as much about the effectiveness of what you’re doing as it is about the end result. Have the patience to let it show in the analytics…you don’t need an instantaneous reaction. Sometimes, it can take 30, 60, 90 days or more for the true picture to emerge. Wise companies know that the insights gained from analytics on their digital channels can be combined with the data gathered from their more traditional lines to both understand and serve the needs of their buyers.
Using these tools, and being consistent, will show you whats working and whats not. It also allows you to be creative and test things without a huge investment. In the end, the business is the final measurement that matters. But paying attention to the small steps along the way will ultimately give you the insight to focus on the factors that make the most difference in growing your business.