Digital marketing can be incredibly useful when it comes to enhancing brand awareness and truly getting the word out about your brand. It’s also a great way to educate prospects about the products and services you provide. But virtually all digital marketing efforts are rendered pointless without proper analytics and online measurement. It’s vital to see how marketing activities and spending impact the company’s bottom line if you reap the full benefits of digital marketing. In comes digital analytics, one of the hottest growing needs for business owners growing their businesses worldwide.
What is Digital Analytics?
As the world becomes more connected with smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, more information is available to enable marketers to monitor every aspect of the purchasing funnel. The advancement of cloud technology and computer power, in particular, makes it incredibly simple for businesses to collect data that can adequately inform crucial decisions. But what should be done with the data collected? This is where digital analytics comes in handy. Digital analytics refers to the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data.
Digital analytics aims to take all of that data, analyze it, and use it to improve the outcomes of your online advertising efforts. Ultimately, you want to leverage digital analytics to get a higher return on your investment.
Digital Analytics Objectives
When we’re planning any marketing activity, it’s essential to determine your desired outcomes. Your outcomes are synonymous with your ultimate business objectives. As a company, what are you hoping to achieve? Do you want more prospects to call you? Do you want more people to talk about you on social media?
Next, it’s essential to measure your efforts and how they’re helping you achieve those business objectives. After all, you can’t analyze your marketing efforts if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. Most business objectives will fall into either ecommerce, lead generation, or awareness. SaaS websites. I discuss these types of sites in an earlier blog if you need clarification.
- Lead generation: Lead gen must is measured in terms of the number of leads captured and the ability to book a meeting and make a sale. Your cost per lead or cost per conversion is a critical factor in measure your marketing effectiveness and efficiencies.
- E-commerce: This must be measured in terms of the number of online sales — meaning this isn’t typically applied to those selling a service. Other key metrics include return on ad spend, conversion rates, and cost per conversions.
- Brand Awareness: This must be measured in terms of the end user’s ability to find information, such as bounce rates, exit rates, onsite time, etc. As for measuring the proliferation of your website’s content, you can use social follow, shares, comments on content, and mentions on the internet as critical measurements.
- SaaS: Software as service websites usually use lead gen and ecommerce metrics. More importantly, each SaaS product has unique metrics that let you know if you are fulfilling your customers’ needs or if there is something that is missing in their experience.
Quantitative and Qualitative Data
When we talk about analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of what those two terms mean. After all, you can analyze information if you’re not sure what information to look at. Quantitative data, for starters, is all about information you can count, such as event tracking in terms of website engagement. You can track page load time, bounce rate links clicked, and more.
Next, we have qualitative data. This refers to the information behind the changes or trends. Qualitative data consists of consumer surveys, heatmaps, user reviews, ratings, and other data that tell you about your audience and why they make their moves. It’s incredibly valuable, but it’s harder to analyze. Below are some examples.
- Web Analytics
- Business Analytics
- Campaign Reporting
- Customer Surveys
- User Reviews
The Digital Analytics Cycle
Throughout the process of running various marketing activities, you should be looking at digital analytics to provide yourself with real-time insight into how those marketing activities are working. This tends to happen in four simple steps that can be referred to as the analytics cycle:
- Measure: Quantitative and qualitative data should be collected using some form of analytics suite. This should cover user surveys, heatmaps, live chat, videos, and all other areas.
- Analyze: Take any actionable information you can and look for patterns in your quantitative and qualitative data to learn more about what’s happening. You can review industry benchmarks to understand better where you’re at.
- Report: The analysis can be turned into a report that’s easy to comprehend with explanations on how each piece of data can be used to improve your marketing efforts at a later date.
- Test: Throughout the cycle, some problems should be identified. Now it’s time to test various solutions to those problems — giving you a chance to eliminate biases and get real results.
As mentioned above, you should be following the four steps (analytical cycle) while any existing marketing activities are running.
Universal Online Metrics
There are some universal online metrics all businesses should pay attention to. This means you’ll need a tool that gathers, at a minimum, the following:
- Audience: This refers to who visits their site and content and any demographics found on those individuals.
- Behavior: This refers to the trends of what users do when they’re browsing your website. What links do they click? What do they read?
- Acquisition: This refers to how individuals find your websites, such as referral links, direct search, advertisements, and other avenues.
- Conversions: This refers to whether individuals have completed the desired action on your website, such as filling out a form or using the chatbox.
Digital Analytics Tracking Methods
As mentioned above, tracking is incredibly crucial for any marketing activity. Although many people dread the task of monitoring, it’s vital to avoid wasting money on something that’s not working as well as it should. Here are five of the best tracking methods to keep in mind:
- Website analytics: Web Analytics is the most straightforward form of tracking. You want to see who is coming to your website and where they’re coming from. Google Analytics is a fantastic choice as it’s relatively easy to set up, and it’s entirely accurate.
You can paste a tracking code into the back end of your website and get started. All of your data will be compiled into an easy-to-digest format for you to go through.
Additionally, using UTM parameters we give you a holistic view of how your marketing efforts are going.
- Phone tracking: Many business owners simply enjoy it when their phone rings without any thought about where those calls are coming from. If you’re not using call tracking technology, you’re missing out on incredibly valuable information to make or break your marketing budget. Call tracking uses dynamic number insertion (DNI) to assign phone numbers to various areas visitors can find you. That way, each time someone calls, it’s tracked back to that lead source.
- Ad network conversion tracking: All ad networks offer the ability to set up some form of conversion tracking. This includes Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and virtually all other online advertising types. You want to make sure you have ad network conversion tracking set up at all times as you’re likely testing various graphics, ad copy, and other elements. Ad network conversion tracking lets you see how your advertisements perform in terms of newsletter sign-ups, phone calls, website purchases, and more.
- CRM tracking: A CRM (customer relationship management) is a type of database that enables you to organize information on your prospects. The most typical type of information collected is your prospect’s name, phone number, lead source, company, and other relevant information throughout the sales process. Many CRM’s offer the ability to organize leads by lead source, which is incredibly valuable as you’re able to see where most of your customers are coming from, and in turn, spend more money in that area.
- KPI tracking: Lastly, we have KPI tracking. KPI tracking involves taking the results in the previous methods and putting them into one helpful list. A KPI is a key performance indicator, which means anything insightful in terms of data included in KPI tracking. Make sure you’re adding every KPI to one list to quickly and easily review that list.
An In-Depth Look at Google Analytics
We’ve mentioned this fantastic solution quite a few times. Google Analytics is one of the best tools for any marketer. It allows you to analyze relevant data and KPIs in one easy-to-access place.
Here are a few of the most common questions we hear about the solution:
- What traffic sources send traffic to my website?
While it’s great to be aware of the number of visitors to your website, it’s even better to know who is sending them your way. This can be found under “acquisition > channels,” wherein you’ll see a high-level view of where traffic is coming from based on the type of channel.
- How do visitors get to my website, and why do they leave?
You can go to “behavior > site content > landing pages” to figure out which landing pages and site sections perform the best. Typically, visitors end up on your website by clicking an ad, social media posts, or something else directing them to a landing page. Pay attention to how they’re leaving your website too. Go to “behavior > site content > pages” to find this information.
- What do visitors do once they’re on my website?
Knowing what visitors do on your website is incredibly essential. You can see how they’re navigating through and what content they’re interested in when you review the analytics behind their behavior. Go to “behavior > site content > content drill down” to find this information quickly for each page on your website.
- Does my website perform well regarding my call to actions? If you’re strategically setting up your website, chances are, every page drives to a specific call to action. This tells the visitor exactly what they should do next, whether signing up for your newsletter or downloading a whitepaper. Google Analytics lets you measure each call to action. Simply go to “admin > account > property > view > goals” to create a goal.
- Is my website working correctly?
Google Analytics gives you great insight into the effectiveness, and overall, the health of your website. You can go to “behavior > in-page analytics” to see if your website’s design/layout leads visitors where you want them to go. You can also check the website’s speed under “behavior > site speed” to see if it’s performing well in terms of load times.
A Guide to Attribution Modeling
Life would be a lot easier if the first time a prospect visited your website, they converted into a customer. But that’s simply not how it works. Nowadays, most prospects visit websites they’re interested in a few times before they convert. In fact, they might find you on social media and click the link to read a blog post. Next week, they’ll see a retargeting ad and click to end up on a landing page. And eventually, they’ll convert. So where do you attribute that conversion to?
What Are Marketing Attribution Models?
In regards to marketing, attribution modeling is a framework wherein you’re able to figure out exactly what marketing channel or activity resulted in a specific conversion. There are six common attribution models — each of which distributes the value of any given conversion. These include:
- First interaction
This refers to the first touchpoint for any given prospect. Essentially, the first interaction gets all of the credit for the conversion. If that individual found your company via a specific ad or social media channel, that ad or social media channel is what resulted in the conversion. If you’re in an industry where customers convert almost immediately, it would make sense to pay attention to this model. However, in many cases, this model doesn’t work well as it ignores the often lengthy process involved with conversion.
- Last interaction
This refers to the last touchpoint for any given prospect. Essentially, the last interaction gets 100% of the credit for the conversion. This means if they’ve seen your retargeting ads but didn’t sign up on the landing page, then eventually went directly to your website, direct traffic is the last interaction. This model is a great choice for businesses that have a short buying cycle as there are likely very few touchpoints prior to conversion.
- Time Decay
This refers to the process of spreading out the value of the conversion over various events. Essentially, this is similar to the linear model except for the time of the touchpoint is considered. Interactions that occurred close to when the prospect converted have more value given to them. This means the last touchpoint gets the most credit. This works quite well for long sales cycles, such as B2B service companies.
- Last non-direct click
This refers to the last non-direct click in the sense that any direct interactions happening before the conversion are ignored. Let’s say a prospect ends up on your website because they’ve manually entered the URL. In this model, we ignore that direct traffic and focus on what led to the click.
This refers to the process of splitting credit for any given conversion. Essentially, there are multiple touchpoints — all monitored and tracked to give each touchpoint a measurement. For instance, if a prospect goes to your social media post, clicks to read a blog, then calls you afterward, there are two touchpoints. Each touchpoint would get 50% of the credit, or 50% of the conversion value is attributed to that touchpoint. This model demonstrates the value of all marketing channels.
This refers to splitting the credit between the prospect’s first touchpoint and the moment they convert. This means 40% of the credit is given to the first touchpoint and the last. The leftover 20% is given to each interaction happening in between these two points in time. This is the perfect model for any business with a long sales cycle and multiple touch-points throughout the process.
Although these are the six most common attribution models, there is one last one to consider: the custom attribution model. Google Analytics allows you to create a custom attribution model to take into account any particular touch-point you value the most.