In the past, marketers were always looking for useful data—analytics data that would justify the dollars (and time) spent advertising and promoting their product or service. But now, there is often an over-abundance of data. It’s everywhere—web, mobile, social, offline etc. So where do you start? What do you do with the data? Here are 5 fundamental analytic truths you can follow to get you where you want to be.
1. Think People and Process, Not Just Technology
How do you measure ALL the data you have coming in? Well, in addition to the analytics tools (as we all seem to be obsessed with technology), it’s important to have the people and process in place too. Know how, and when, to bring in (or build) a digital analytics team. From there, develop a measurement plan for each of your marketing initiatives. This plan should be outcome-focused, and should include input from your various stakeholders to understand what matters to them. For example, your digital marketing manager would be interested in metrics such as visits by campaign, user interactions (engagement), conversions, and maybe repeat customer behavior. Your support manager, on the other hand, is probably not interested in any of the above. They want to know if those visiting the support portal are finding answers to their questions quickly, so KPIs such as issue resolution time would be very important to them. Take time and care to thoroughly understand your stakeholders’ measurement needs. RELATED TUTORIAL: How to Create a Data-Driven Culture
2. Segmentation—Do or Die
Today, there’s more to data than just total number pageviews (yes, many organizations unfortunately still report on total pageviews and miss out on all the non-pageview interactions such as video, downloads and rich media). Today’s analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, MixPanel, Flurry and others, are very powerful and allow us the ability to go beyond simplistic hit collection, and really dive into rich data and patterns. You can easily report and derive insights with visitor segmentation, have quick visibility into buyer or non-buyer behavior, group content by asset type, measure gated or ungated content consumption, and relatively easily run a cohort analysis. These are just a few views that could be utilized when segmenting your data. There are so many ways to slice and dice the data to help you gain the most beneficial insights on your visitors. Just find those that best suit your needs.
3. Gone Are the Visits—It’s All About the Visitors
With all this data readily available, we need to look beyond visit-based (or session-based) analytics to a more user-centric view. Again, the analytics platforms today provide the means to examine the entire visitor experience and user cycle. Explore data such as where visitors came from, what course they took between pages while on your website, and where they spent the most (or least) time during their visit and then in 2 or 3 visits later they converted and become customers. With this information, you’re able to gain increased awareness of visitors and how they interact with your content throughout the buying cycle. And, for the marketing ninja’s out there, bringing offline visitor interaction into the mix is not beyond reach these days.
4. Optimize What Matters Most
As we mentioned earlier, it’s past the time of just tracking click-thrus or pageviews. Now you want to optimize conversions on the all things digital. Take it one notch higher and optimize on the Lifetime Value of a customer. Put into place a system that gives you the ability to measure behavior and interaction across multi-devices and multiple channels for (most) users that come from mobile, web, etc. By tracking this way, you’ll have a more complete view of how each visitor interacts with your business a whole.
5. Deriving Insights Cannot Be Done in a Vacuum
You’ll maximize the return on gathering, reporting and analyzing data, when you do so consistently. Commit to the process and develop a list of priorities and a measurement “roadmap.” Audit what you have periodically. Websites and mobile apps are constantly evolving, so ensure your analytics implementation is in-line with such changes. Then, save time (and frustration), and move from manual to automated reporting. If you are not testing, it’s never too late! Go after some quick wins and shine like a star! Leverage data visualization tools such as Tableau and enable your stakeholders to have a clear path to insights.
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