Analytics

In today’s marketing landscape, relying on your gut feeling doesn’t work. Instead, sound marketing requires data-driven tactics to make strategic and informed decisions. You can achieve this when you integrate analytics into your marketing. Here’s how:

1. Know your basics

Understand key marketing analytics terms so you can apply vital metrics to reach your marketing goals effectively. Some key marketing analytics terms to learn include:

Leads generated. This is the number of sales leads you produce with your marketing efforts. Sales leads are individuals who are interested in the goods or services you offer and can potentially lead to a paying customer.

Sales growth. This is the rate at which your sales increase over time based on your marketing strategies, such as lead generation.

Conversion rate. This is the percentage of your leads who transform into paying customers.

Web analytics. These are the different types of metrics and data that specifically measure online activity from various platforms, including email and e-commerce. You use web analytics to understand how site visitors use the web so you can optimize your web content. Some key terms include:

  • Click-through rate (CTR). CTR measures the percentage of individuals who clicked on your digital ad or call-to-action (CTA) in comparison to individuals who only viewed it.
  • Traffic. Traffic measures the number of visitors that come to your website.
  • Engagement. Engagement typically measures the rate at which individuals interact with your online content and the way they interact with this content. The pages per session, bounce rate and time on page are a few of the several data points that constitute engagement.
  • Open rate. This metric measures the rate at which recipients of your email campaign open the emails you send.

 

2. Push your metrics further with insights

Without drawing insights from your data, it’s challenging to understand their value. Accomplish this by assessing how specific marketing activities impact different metrics. For instance, you can measure the performance between two different CTAs by comparing the changes in the CTR for each CTA. If you notice the first CTA garners a better CTR, then it may be ideal to use the first call-to-action to drive traffic.

3. Track lead sources

You can better integrate analytics into your marketing by tracking the source channels of your leads. This is especially useful for tracking social media sources. Review the source of your leads by measuring the CTR. This can help you better determine where to focus your marketing efforts.

4. Improve the user experience

You can use data to also enhance the site experience users have when they visit your website. For example, you can monitor changes in your bounce rate before and after making a technical change such as removing images that slow down site performance, to determine the effectiveness of the change. If it decreases your bounce rate and keeps visitors on your site longer, it can mean that it’s enhancing the user experience.

5. Craft your strategy around insights

You can’t maximize your data’s potential if you lack effective strategies. It’s not uncommon for marketers to limit their data’s potential by using it to support pre-made decisions. However, it’s key to leverage the potential of data to drive action. You can do this by crafting your strategy around insights. Consider using these tips to build a driving strategy with marketing analytics:

  • Make marketing analytics accessible. Make sure your team has access to your insight and discuss how analytics impacts your marketing goals.
  • Get help. Get a different perspective and ensure you’re capturing data from different angles by leveraging the help of an expert or partner.
  • Test your tactics. Perform tests to determine if the theories or tactics you have are working based on your analytics.

As the amount of data and the pace of business increases, the need to manage and analyze data in a user-friendly platform is undeniable. Business Intelligence (BI) tools are the go-to solutions for transforming data into actionable knowledge that informs your organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions. With a variety of vendors to choose from, and that all seem to offer similar features and make similar promises, selecting a BI tool can be a lengthy process. So here are five things you should consider when choosing your BI tool:

1. Integration

To narrow down your BI tool choices, you need to select a standalone solution or an integrated solution. If you’re considering a standalone solution, you will have no shortage of options. However, you may experience low adoption rates due to these solutions existing in a separate application. It all goes back to that adage: out of sight, out of mind. Whereas reports in integrated solutions can be accessed and viewed through any pre-existing applications, websites, and services within your company – locations that users are already familiar with and use regularly.

Pro tip: If you choose to move forward with an integrated solution, you should ask if it is partially or fully integrated since some companies may not specify.

2. Data Management

Data management is at the core of everything you want to accomplish with a BI tool. When you are choosing the best BI tool for your organization, you have to consider your data and the functionality you’re seeking. The solution you choose should support access to multiple data sources (i.e., data warehouses, internal databases, the cloud and data marts), and depending on the disparate sources you are using, it may also need to cleanse and transform your data for proper use within its system. You will need to determine whether the tool must import data into its store before processing it, or if it can handle data queries on the fly – the answer to this question could have a notable impact on the speed at which you can access your data. You also need to ensure that the tool enables data manipulation once imported and find out what the limitations are on data capacity.

Pro tip: Some BI tools load your existing database data into their software and generate reports from there, saving you time from setting up your own data infrastructure. This type of tool could work if your data is small and fragmented. However, as your data increases, the cost incurred will also increase, and you would be limited to the functionality provided by the BI tool since your data would be stored within it.

3. Security

Security is non-negotiable for today’s mobile workforce. For internal security concerns such as access credentials, you must ensure the BI tool you are planning to buy is well equipped with proper encryption mechanisms. The tool should also offer you options to set the necessary permissions for protecting sensitive or proprietary information. These credentialing capabilities guarantee that secure data cannot be accessed, transmitted or altered by unauthorized users.

4. Visual Functionality & Usability

Your business intelligence reporting tool is the face of the whole operation. It’s what your users will refer to when making business decisions. So while ease-of-use, visual appeal, and intuitiveness may seem like nice-to-haves vs. need-to-haves, those user experience nuances can make the difference between successful user adoption or a refusal by employees to use the new system.

Pro tip: When deciding on a tool, you need to ask yourself the following questions

  • Is the tool easy to use?
  • Does the tool support a variety of user types?
  • Does the tool’s data visualization allow for customization and flexibility to support your goals and the requirements of the many functional groups in your organization?

 

5. Customization

No organization is the same in its operations and needs. You need to select a BI vendor that can support your requirements of today and in the future. It’s important to keep in mind that some vendors only provide minimal customization abilities, and others don’t give organizations the ability to expand. While this might work for a few companies, most will need a custom set-up –one that can integrate flawlessly into their operations, and develop as they grow.

Between constantly segmenting audiences and affinities, finite ad spend, a crowded marketplace, and distracted consumers inundated with a wall of advertising noise, marketers have their work cut out for them. Establishing and maintaining robust engagement and conversions levels — as well as the accompanying ROI — can be a daunting task if a brand doesn’t have a deliberate, well-organized strategy steeped in analytics. Fortunately, the very same digital technologies that have helped create such a fickle, segmented, and congested marketplace also provide marketers effective solutions to cut through the clutter, identify their target audience, and deliver an impactful message that generates the ROI they crave. With these analytics-driven best practices and tools, marketers have a variety of solutions at their disposal to inform and refine their marketing strategies, realize that ROI, and gain an enduring competitive advantage that can be budget-friendly and effective.

 

Find the Right Stack

Much of marketing is a repetitive series of steps that, while beneficial when conducted thoroughly, can also drain already limited supplies of time and resources. Of course, every dollar spent on such routines, no matter how integral they are to the process, has a direct impact on your ROI. Therefore, virtually any source of gained efficiency will lift those metrics and have a cascading positive effect on your campaign. Ad stacks that streamline everything from ad bidding and A/B testing to analytics and retargeting give marketers compelling solutions that can enhance performance and lower overall costs if adopted appropriately. Once implemented, these tools can free team members to work on more value-added responsibilities that would otherwise mire them in vital but arduous, time-consuming tasks. Ad stacks lend convenience to your efforts, giving your marketing process a focused and precise sense of direction that eliminates inefficiencies and, thus, boosts your ROI.

 

Use Insightful, Focused Metrics

In the age of big data and predictive analytics, marketers don’t lack for information to propel their message. The problem, however, is the volume of information itself. Just because a wide variety of metrics can be automatically created, tracked, and analyzed doesn’t mean that they necessarily should. Despite the significant boost to overall efficiencies afforded by automated technologies, an overindulgence in metrics that don’t ultimately add value to a campaign can hamper ROI through diluted efforts, a lack of focus, and failure to keep an eye on the proverbial prize. Marketers should be especially cautious against such overindulgence, avoiding vanity metrics that don’t contribute true meaning and insight into a marketing message. Instead, they should concentrate on analytics that positively affects a campaign and increases ROI. While any particular brand and agency might have different key metrics given their unique market position, industry, or goals, certain metrics tend to be more ubiquitous than others — aside from ROI itself, of course — including PPC, lead ratios, conversion rates, and a handful of others. Likewise, use the proper metrics in the most insightful context possible to keep a campaign on track and maximize ROI. While campaign results are essential to measure in gauging total effectiveness, metrics add the most value when they are used to steer a message throughout a campaign, not merely provide data points in hindsight. Integrating real-time performance data into key metrics will inform a campaign and reveal necessary changes to be made as the campaign evolves.

 

Experiment With Your Approach

Extending the previous best practice a bit further, utilizing your analytics platform and the key metrics it generates can be extremely beneficial to tailor your message in the most advantageous way possible. Thankfully, analytics in the digital age has rendered the traditional, laborious process of A/B testing antiquated and nearly extinct with the prescient insights of real-time data and a robust ad stack with an abundance of analytical capabilities. As your campaign progresses and evolves, continue to measure for impact using a variety of combinations of creative, copy, distribution channels, and any other critical components. In doing so, your analytics platform will reveal which particular combinations yield the most significant results, allowing you to pivot your campaign towards any direction that will maximize engagement, conversion, and the resulting ROI.

Enterprise DevOps. On the surface, it seems like the right answer to keeping business objectives running at optimum levels. But when your IT team dives a little deeper, the complexities rise to the surface and progress stalls before it even has a chance to begin.

Before you dive into a DevOps initiative, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Can your current tools address security and application monitoring for maximum visualization for informed decision making?
  • Can your current infrastructure leverage the cloud?
  • What type of containers will be utilized for deployment anytime, anywhere?
  • How will you utilize automation to ensure stable and scalable deployments?
  • IT teams will support internal systems that employees use. How will you cultivate a collaborative culture between development and support teams?
Whether you’re launching a DevOps initiative internally or seeking help from a third party, starting with the right infrastructure is critical to your success. Before you take the first step, begin with a thorough system evaluation to ensure an end-result with a seamless workflow, end-to-end transparency, and holistic reporting.

DevOps: System Evaluation Overview

Automation Tools

End-to-end workflow automation is a critical part of any DevOps toolkit. These tools should enable your team to submit requests effortlessly, sync & export documents, and integrate financials when necessary.

Configuration

Syncing information between systems; the ability to create custom workflow events and triggers; and aggregate all your data for secure analysis, reporting and sharing is a critical part of DevOps. Evaluate current configuration tools and systems for their ability to work with the other components of your system.

Intelligence

DevOps tools include a healthy mix of intelligent solutions that can provide both analytics and security monitoring, capacity planning, and availability and performance. Features like cross-platform syncing, data aggregation from different systems, available in a web-based platform are critical to intelligent processes.

Cloud & Virtualization

The best DevOps toolkits include a hosting environment that eases application installations and configures security easily. In advanced cases, application support and managed administration services are required. Platforms like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, & Amazon Web Services are the best place to begin, but access and knowledge of cloud add-ons are critical to collaborative DevOps environments.

DevOps Solutions

If your infrastructure lacks the systems and tools listed above, it doesn’t mean you can’t begin moving toward DevOps solutions right away. Custom software solutions are available to bring your infrastructure up to a healthy mix of orchestration and automation tools.
While there are plenty of great SaaS options out there, they are inherently designed to meet the needs of the masses, and the heart of DevOps is using software to do exactly what it is you need. If you’re going to evaluate a SaaS option, look for all of the following features before you start a trial:
  • Platform Synchronization
  • Eliminates Manual Processes
  • Data Storage, Accessibility & Security
  • Workflow Automation w/ Event Triggers
  • Robust data Analysis w/Data Aggregation
Powerful all-in-one solutions can help you get started on the right track, and an expert consulting team can work behind the scenes to bring development projects and add-ons up to standard.
Once you’ve evaluated your company’s preparedness to implement a DevOps initiative, don’t forget about culture preparedness. DevOps implementation and changes should establish a culture that learns and changes, together. The most critical asset in your business—your people—should receive the same level of attention as other areas. Planning a people strategy while preparing your infrastructure for DevOps will ensure long-term success.

One of the enemies of long-term commercial success is complacency. While last year’s bottom line might have made your stakeholders happy, this year represents a completely different challenge. For long-term success in the digital age, you need to be sure that all your digital channels are performing.

Whether it’s your social media channels or your websites, your online marketing tools need to be continually monitored. Not only do these tools need to reach your target audience, but they also need to deliver conversions. There are five digital marketing analytics that can show you which sites are successful or where they need improvement.

 

1. Traffic

Traffic is perhaps the most obvious marketing analytic large businesses need to be fully aware of. But this isn’t just a counting exercise. To effectively tailor your various marketing messages to the relevant audiences, you need to know exactly what is bringing traffic to your websites.

There are five channels that should be tracked on an ongoing basis: organic, direct, referral, social and paid. In the early days of the internet, organic traffic was the most important, as it refers to the users who arrive at your website after using a search engine for a particular keyword. But as the likes of Google makes manipulating search results more and more difficult, referral, social and paid channels have become increasingly significant.

 

2. Conversions

While high levels of traffic are always desirable, they can count for very little if people land on your website and quickly lose interest. Attracting traffic is only the beginning of the digital marketing journey. Once visitors have arrived, you need to convert them to customers or active engagers.

Increasing conversion rates involves a range of different measures, including the use of calls to action, effective contact forms, multimedia, visual storytelling and content with value. If your website isn’t turning visitors into customers, you have a real problem — which is why monitoring conversions is so important.

 

3. Engagement

You may have created a slick, professional and effective commercial for your social media channels, but it will count for nothing if people don’t see it. There are many reasons why people don’t see certain ads, including the time they are released and what is happening in the world when they are running. In some instances, consumers are either tuning out these messages or simply switching them off.

Measuring engagement usually refers to the likes, shares and comments your messages accrue on social media channels. When people actively engage, you can be reasonably sure that they’ve received your message. But then the message is missed, engagement statistics can often help you to understand why.

 

4. Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates usually pertain to pay-per-click ads (PPC). They are a measure of how many times your ads are clicked in relation to how many times they show up on consumers’ screens (impressions). Low click-through rates can indicate several deficiencies in your marketing strategy, including an irrelevant landing page, a weak offer or an inappropriate target audience.

 

5. Site Loading Speed

Internet users are now more impatient than ever before. According to Kissmetrics, people will simply hit the “back” button if a site they’ve landed on takes more than three seconds to load. The best tool for measuring site speed is Google PageSpeed Insights. Not only does this free service give you your website’s official loading time, it recommends how to resolve any issues.

Identifying the most important digital marketing analytics and monitoring them on an ongoing basis is crucial to the health of your bottom line. But when you identify potentially damaging issues, responding quickly with the help of marketing specialists is absolutely vital.