The world of digital marketing changes every day—or even faster. What was true this morning can change completely by mid-afternoon. As marketing becomes increasingly digital, new ways of collecting data and tracking outcomes arise to better measure the success of these marketing efforts. Analytics doesn’t have to be a scary word! At heart, it is the process of gathering and interpreting this data, so that you can apply it towards creating measurable marketing goals..
What can data analytics do?
Data analytics provides great insight into how different ads, posts, content, and more are performing. Analytics can gather demographics, location, and job title of those who have seen the content while also tracking data such as engagement, impressions, reach, referral source, landing page views, bounce rate and more. This allows marketers to ensure they are attracting the right audience, and to see what the audience is doing with the content.
Among other things, analytics allows marketers to see and understand:
- where their audience is finding the content
- what page referred them to the content (what page or post they clicked from),
- what they do once they are on the ad/post
- how long readers view a page
- where they go next within that website
Marketers are able to see the big picture of how their visitors navigate their website and gain insight into t what they are looking for and what makes them decide to take action (such as contact the business, make a purchase or sign up for an email list).
By extension, analytics allows marketers to see where they can improve. For example, if web visitors are frequently “bouncing” (leaving the site after viewing only one page) from a particular page, a brand can coax visitors into staying on the site longer by crafting a CTA for that page or rewriting their copy to ensure visitors are getting the information they need.
Why use caution with analytics?
Data is only as good as the person or tool interpreting the data, and automated tools are only as good as their programming.
While data itself is neutral, how data is interpreted and communicated can show bias. When using automated data collection tools, marketers should be aware of the potential that bias has been built into the algorithms used to collect the data. And while evaluating data, marketers need to be careful not to simply look for data that tells the story they want to believe. Data can be manipulated to show favor to one person, product or service over another by not looking deep enough to show all sides clearly. If you are going to use data analytics, commit to looking deeply, using it properly and trying to tell the full story. This is not only the most ethical approach, but also provides your brand with the most valid information for making marketing decisions.
The future of data analytics
Data is inextricably intertwined with privacy, and that—rightfully—has made customers wary. Someone (or something) out there knows everything you search online, buy, listen to and look at, but what they do with that knowledge is often unknown. Future government regulation of data collection, and the willingness of future customers to share data, are impossible to predict and further contribute to the rapid changes in the field of digital marketing. However, analytics are likely to be around, powerfully shaping marketing, in some shape or form. And the current power that analytics wields to inform a brand’s marketing strategy makes it worth the investment of time and energy to get on board.
Is setting up analytics right for you?
Do your marketing goals include:
- Getting more people to see your content?
- Getting more conversions?
- Learning who your website visitors are?
- Understanding how your target audience engages with your site?
- Discovering how your visitors find your website?
If so, analytics helps you reach these goals by giving you concrete, measurable information that can help you formulate or revise a marketing plan. Your next steps will be to set up analytics properly to track the data relevant to your goals. (For example, if your goal is to get your company’s phone ringing, you’ll want to make sure that you set up tracking on that number in your Google listing to measure calls and learn where they are coming from.)
Using analytics has a learning curve, but for many brands it’s worth the effort. For an overview of where to begin, check out this post on great analytics resources from Hubspot, and happy tracking!