With the tastes of the general public changing with every passing minute, marketers find themselves scrambling to brainstorm effective marketing methods. The rapid-fire development in trends and technologies can confuse the most experienced marketing teams, and challenge them with difficult marketing speed bumps. All these things beg the question: how can I tell if my efforts are paying off?
If you’re having trouble keeping track of your marketing performance, this article outlines everything you need to know about marketing analytics and the various ways to track your most important metrics.
What is Marketing Analytics?
Put simply, marketing analytics is the practice of measuring your marketing performance by examining data points. They’re the methods that marketers use to gauge the success rate of their techniques and strategies. The eventual goal of marketing analytics is to increase the return on investment (ROI).
Marketing analytics is not to be confused with marketing metrics, which refers to the measurable values you gather from your dashboards and software. These are the raw data points that are analyzed and put into context by marketing analytics.
There are various ways to determine the effectiveness of a marketing campaign through marketing analytics, but each method follows the same pattern: (1) you gather of data from all available sources and channels; (2) you organize the data to make examination easier; (3) you apply analytics techniques to determine how your marketing initiatives are performing; and (4) you act on your findings and results to make smarter marketing decisions and maximize your ROI.
Why Bother with Marketing Analytics?
Not enough marketers are taking advantage of marketing analytics. In fact, in a survey conducted by Forbes Insight as recently as 2015, only 21% of marketers studied the analytics behind their efforts. That means 79% of marketers were flying blind, missing chances to spend more wisely and make a more significant impact on their business’ bottom lines.
What marketers have to realize is that the only way to gauge the success of a marketing strategy is to take marketing analytics seriously. Marketing analytics is a tried and tested way of achieving more precise and effective marketing. It allows a marketer to monitor trends, evaluate the success of campaigns, predict how well an audience will respond to a message, and assign dollar values to each lead that’s brought in.
How to Start your Marketing Analytics
One good way to ease yourself into the habit of marketing analytics is to start with keyword analysis. This is the process of searching for keywords and phrases related to your business, that potential clients would be most likely to use to try and find the goods or services you have to offer.
This method of marketing analysis is necessary for any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, as focus keywords can help bring your company’s homepage to the top of the first page of Google. Keyword analysis can also help you avoid drawing traffic negative keywords: search terms that Google or other search engines might think to relate to your business, but actually end up wasting your money on your PPC campaigns.
Whether you choose to start with keyword analysis or any other technique for monitoring your marketing progress, it pays to find the right dashboard early on. By dashboard, we mean a centralized view for all the metrics you’re tracking—whether it’s something you’ve programmed from scratch or a feature on your analytics tool of choice.
The Best Practices of Marketing Analytics
Of course, there's more to marketing analytics than metrics and keywords. You have to figure out how to take advantage of the data gathered in order to draw meaningful insights from them. To do this, you’d do well to follow a handful of best practices.
1. Be smart about your data gathering.
There are two cardinal rules a marketing analyst has to keep in mind when tracking data: (1) you have to get real-time insights on content's performance; and (2) you have to maintain high-quality data
Getting real-time insights into your content’s performance allows you to make quick adjustments in your social media and blog posts. It pays to keep track of what mistakes you make in a day so that you can remedy them within an hour or two of posting. For example, if a Tweet on your Twitter page isn’t receiving the amount of engagement you expected, the simple act of retweeting that tweet “should substantially increase its reach and engagement”.
As for maintaining high-quality data, it’s important that you’re getting your numbers from credible platforms. Dirty data, or data that has errors and mistakes in the numbers, make 30% of data become virtually unusable. Avoid this by choosing the websites you get your data from. Safe is always better. There’s nothing wrong with the good, old reliable applications like Facebook and Google Analytics.
With this in mind, you’ll be able to track your material effectively, and eventually see more sales opportunities to take advantage of...if you do things rights, that is.
2. Use the right tools.
Not a problem, there are many online marketing analytics tools, such as MixPanel and Hubspot, to help organize the marketing metrics easily. Not only does this look better than your bare-bones Google Sheets form, but it also makes it easier to visualize the data.
Data visualization, particularly in marketing analysis, allows you to make better sense of the metrics you’re collecting. The best data visualizations help expose something new to the marketers. Comparisons between data points can be easily made with the help of a simple bar, line, or pie graph.
Hubspot - Marketing Analytics Dashboard
In short, visualizations can help make your marketing methods data-driven. When you run the metrics through a high power program, you’re able to apply tried-and-tested methods to gauge the results of your marketing strategy—and you’re able to see them too.
3. Take advantage of AI.
You can also invest in some good machine learning tools to help streamline your marketing campaign’s predictive analysis.
Simply put, AI and machine learning tools are programs that “weigh the available data to make a decision about a given goal”. It never hurts to peruse through available AI applications, as you might find that the patterns a high-powered software can find are worth looking into.
Atomic Reach - Marketing Analytics Dashboard
Of course, it’s important to use these programs with some basic knowledge on marketing analytics. As the saying goes, the sword is only as powerful as its master. It pays to learn about the various methodologies your software runs, so you’ll be able to make sense of the data in the long run.
Some important marketing analyses you may see in your reports include:
- Sales Funnel Analysis
- Win-Loss Analysis
- Predictive Analysis
A sales funnel analysis looks at the number of conversions made at various points of the buying process. It helps determine where and why your leads halt before the action phase is reached in the sales funnel.
Next, we have the win-loss analysis which looks at all external forces that affect your conversion rates. It helps you understand your market better, and allows you to minimize any potential threats to your product or service.
As mentioned previously, the predictive analysis helps you develop plausible forecasts for marketing strategies. In fact, there are certain AI and machine learning tools, like Atomic Reach, that can run a predictive analysis for you.
There’s more to marketing analysis than crunching numbers. Think of the metrics as stepping stones to help you reach valuable insights on your strategies and campaigns. There are ideas and decisions you’d likely never consider without the right numerical evidence.
Keep your strategies data-driven and intelligent. Jump right into the deep end by following the best practices we’ve outlined above, or consult with a proven expert to make sure you and your team set off to a running start.
Every that minute you aren’t running analytics is an opportunity wasted. Take a good look at the hidden figures behind your marketing and take control of your business.