The Digital Marketing Landscape: Why You Need Marketing Analytics
John Wanamaker, a pioneer of both the modern-day department store and the field of marketing, said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” That’s a pretty bold statement. But doesn’t it resonate at least just a little bit? In his lifetime, marketing analytics didn’t exist; there was very little they could do. With modern-day technology, we have all the opportunity in the world to change this, but are we? Or are marketing analytics still on your backburner?
You’ve probably been hearing more about analytics lately, and maybe you even have it on your to-do list, but let’s take a high-level look at some of the greatest benefits.
Know What the Heck is Going On
Okay, so this seems pretty obvious. But most marketers don’t know every single answer to every single question about their marketing campaigns. Maybe you ran a direct mail campaign that you didn’t know how to track, or maybe the concept of analytics is completely new to you, and you aren’t tracking your website. Perhaps you’re tracking your website, but you just look at sessions and pageviews (yes, there are more important numbers than these) and don’t have key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals set up.
The less companies know about their KPIs, the less likely they are to meet their revenue goals. 74% of companies that weren't exceeding revenue goals did not know the value of their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities. 60% of small business owners are not able to track ROI from their social media activities, but 88% of marketers want to know how.
Most of us understand that marketing is not a “set it and forget it” type of deal. (And if your company is okay with this strategy, fight for a more proactive approach!) But how many of us actually practice active tracking? Even basic marketing analytics can help give you valuable, real-time insights into performance of your website, campaigns, social, and more.
Let’s say you’re tracking your website with Google Analytics. Good for you! You have a fairly active campaign with a successful landing page - a bounce rate of only 40% (an excellent bounce rate in most situations).
You make a few updates to your landing page, and your bounce rate is suddenly 0% or 100%. Yay or yikes? Definitely yikes. Even though a 0% bounce rate is appealing, it’s not realistic, and something may have happened to your tracking code causing bounced visitors to count as non-bounces. 100% bounce rate is obviously a bad sign; something in your code may have broken during your updates, and your page now doesn’t work, causing everyone to leave immediately.
If you aren’t actively tracking how your site is performing, you wouldn’t have known this and could be missing valuable data, leads, or conversions. By checking the basics of your Google Analytics account at least daily, you can catch these mistakes and fix the problem right away.
This is just one example of dozens of ways your data can provide you quick fixes to problems that could grow into something much worse.
Spend Smarter and Create an Effective Marketing Budget
Knowing what’s going on with your marketing data will allow you to spend money where it really matters, and therefore create a more effective, more confident marketing budget.
Marketing analytics data can help you improve where you spend your money both with real-time and historical results.
Let’s say you have an active AdWords campaign, and you have a cost per click (CPC) bid strategy set up. You’re getting tons of clicks. Great! But upon further investigation, you see these clicks are coming from people who may have thought your product/service was something different, and they’re bouncing from your site. That’s not great. Now you’ve paid for useless clicks. By looking at this real-time data, you can catch this error and fix your targeting and/or keywords to reach the audience you really want.
Once a campaign is over, you can get an even more holistic view of how your channels performed overall. You can compare channels in real time too, but now you can perform some attribution model analysis and determine that while AdWords had the highest number of clicks, its conversion rate was actually under your paid social posts and emails. (Exhibit A of why clicks is just a tricky vanity number.) For your next campaign, you might decide to adjust how much you spend in each category to reach even more potential good leads.
One could argue this is the epitome of analytics. Know where your marketing efforts are most successful, and spend your money there. Avoid the problem John Wanamaker had! Know which advertising dollars are wasted and eliminate them. Marketing ROI is important for every business, yet the average dollar spent on advertising only brings in $0.70 of profit.
40% of companies say their top marketing challenge is proving the ROI of their marketing activities, and 28% say it’s securing enough marketing budget to begin with. Does that sound familiar? Even if it’s not your biggest challenge, most marketers have some degree of challenge trying to get buy-in on budget items. Once you can back your decisions with black and white numbers, you can make the most solid recommendations possible.
Protect Yourself If Things Go South
I know, no one wants to think about this. But what if your business started to see declining profits? You’re our marketing person, and we’re not getting new business; you must not be doing a very good job.
Let me stop you right there, Ms. Boss Lady. I have proof that my efforts have been increasing leads for the last three years!
Marketing data gives you undeniable proof of whether or not your marketing activities are working. (And if you’ve been staying up to date on your data and making adjustments as needed, they will be working.) If a dispute of this nature ever arose, you’re armed with the facts that you’ve been doing your job well, and there are other reasons for the company’s decrease in profitability.
If you were thinking, “Duh, I know all of this,” during this blog, don’t worry. I’m going to dive deeper into the marketing analytics world in future blog posts. If you thought, “What the heck does half of this mean?” fear not; I’ve been there, too. Fortunately, today’s tools make marketing analytics pretty slick, and I’ll talk about the basics in my next blog post.
Up next in The Digital Marketing Landscape series: Marketing Analytics Basics
About the author:
Kelsey Cervantes is a marketing analyst at Zirous in West Des Moines and is certified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords. After studying marketing at Drake University, Kelsey spent a few years in the traditional marketing management world before going into digital analytics, which has given her great insights into how to tie the two worlds together.
Kelsey and the Zirous Analytics team dive into clients’ data to give them the actionable insights they need to back up their marketing initiatives with facts and figures while providing ongoing training and support. Don’t let marketing analytics sit on the back burner any longer. If you aren’t sure how to get started or just don’t have the time, the Zirous Analytics team can help. Marketing analytics their our bread and butter... and bread and butter is all they eat. They can bring an objective point of view to audit your current analytics and website status and find valuable insights for you so you own your data and make it work for you.