If you’re like most businesses, you’re engaged in several (if not many) different marketing campaigns at any one time and have a lot of data to sift through in order to determine which campaigns are successful, which were a failure, and most importantly – why and how that information can help you moving forward. While the analytics needs and interpretations for each business can differ significantly, utilizing some marketing analytics best practices will help you to better understand your data and, again, more importantly – act on it.
See, data is really only as good or as useful as our ability to use it. It’s not enough to simply monitor your analytics or even to understand them well.
When managing your marketing analytics, there are plenty of different kinds of campaigns that you may be monitoring. Each of these different kinds of campaigns may need their own data dashboard to enable the best comprehension. Types of campaigns that you may be monitoring with your analytics may include:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Email marketing campaigns can be for both marketing and transactional campaigns. Typical things that you’ll be monitoring here include open rates, click through rates, spam rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribes.
- Social media marketing campaigns
- Social media campaigns can include any combination of a variety of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and many others. Across this campaign, things that are typically monitored include number of followers, follower growth (month over month), clicks, impressions, likes, comments, and mentions of your brand.
- Pay per click (or search engine marketing) campaigns
- Pay per click campaigns are most common on search engines (Google Adwords is the biggest and most well known pay per click platform), but could also be on Bing, Yahoo, and almost all social networks (Facebook having the most robust pay per click system of all social networks). Typically, the most monitored metrics include cost per click, quality score, cost per engagement, clicks, conversions, impressions, and click through rate. For more on what your pay per click metrics actually mean, check out our blog post, Advertising Dashboard: What Your Metrics Mean.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns
- Search engine optimization is the process of working to increase your website’s rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) by utilizing a variety of on page and off page methods. Typical metrics to monitor here include backlinks, keyword rankings, external links, internal links, MozRank, domain authority, page authority, crawl errors, and sitemaps. Check out Understanding Your Moz Analytics & SEO Insights for a more detailed description of these metrics.
- Blogging campaigns
- Blogging goes hand in hand with your search engine optimization campaign, but it’s important to understand how much this campaign is assisting your SEO campaign. You’ll likely want to monitor where each post falls in search engine results pages, comments, number of posts, and – more indirectly – keyword ranking movements after each post.
- Content marketing campaigns
- In your content marketing campaigns, you’re likely focused on one thing – new leads. This will mean that you want to closely monitor your landing page metrics including conversion rate, traffic source, return vs new leads, cost per conversion, bounce rate, conversion value, form abandonment, and lead to customer conversion rate. Check out our blog post on The Most Important Landing Page Metrics. It goes through an in-depth dive into each of these metrics and why they matter to the success of your landing pages.
- And even potentially offline marketing campaigns such as television commercials, radio ads, billboards, print marketing, or direct mail campaigns.
- These types of campaigns, in general, are much harder to track accurately with analytics because there is a lot of reliance on the customer to identify where they came from and thus determine which campaign caused their action. It can be done (with some element of human error) by inputting data into a spreadsheet that feeds to your data dashboard. Obviously, this isn’t ideal, but it’s much better than not monitoring your campaigns at all.
Now that we’ve looked at the different kinds of campaigns that you can (and should) be monitoring through your dashboards, let’s dive in to how you can best utilize your marketing analytics.
Create separate dashboards
This one was briefly covered earlier, but if you’re running multiple campaigns at once, it will be easy to get distracted, lost, and confused in your dashboard if you’re trying to pull all analytics together in one place. Having your pay per click analytics next to your social media analytics next to your offline analytics is a sure way to induce a quick headache. Create a separate dashboard for each campaign and pull the main points from each individual campaign into an overarching marketing dashboard to better organize your data so that it’s much easier to spot trends and correlations.
Save yourself some brain damage and separate out your campaigns with different dashboards. And if you’re one of those people (and there are a lot of them out there) that are still monitoring all of this through spreadsheets – save yourself A LOT of brain damage with dashboards through Cyfe! You can get your first dashboard absolutely free, forever! Try it today and take the risk of a typo or bad equation out of the question!
Compare YOY, not just MOM
We as a society love to compare month over month when we’re studying our analytics, but it’s not always the best option. Most businesses go through a seasonality (even if it’s very minor) so comparing month over month can produce a different interpretation than it actually should. This is also true for your marketing. If you’re heavily focused on Summer time for your sales and spending a larger than normal chunk of your marketing budget in June through August, you’re going to see a sharp drop off in September, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your marketing in September was less successful. If you’ve got enough data to do so, we always recommend taking into account your year over year marketing data as well as your month over month data. It will give you a much clearer picture of your actual performance.
In today’s marketing world, it’s all about individuality and personalization. In general, the marketing campaigns that work the best are those that incorporate a segmented strategy and deliver content to the right people at the right time in the right format. So why aren’t we monitoring our marketing analytics this way too? Segmenting your analytics to match the segments that you’re targeting will give you a better understanding of which segments are performing best for each campaign and where to spend more (or less) of your marketing dollars moving forward. Segmenting can also help you notice and correct if your campaigns are attracting the wrong segments.
Your analytics cannot be a set it and forget it kind of thing. In order to spot trends, issues, and optimization opportunities, you’ve got to be spending time in your analytics at least several times per week. If you’re only monitoring your analytics at the end of the month, you’re missing opportunities throughout the month to improve performance or adjust budgets. With the complexity and automation of analytics today, you have this information in real time or near real time making it easier than ever to adjust and refocus when needed. Take advantage of it!
Give it time
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were your marketing campaigns. With any marketing campaign, you’ve got to give it some time to get off the ground. Depending on the campaign, it can take up to several months in order to really be able to judge the effectiveness and ROI, especially on something like a search engine optimization campaign. So give it time before you completely pull the plug! Many business owners will start monitoring their analytics and when a campaign isn’t performing immediately, they shut it down. Again, it’s not really accurate to look only at a very small data sample. Give your campaigns some time to take hold, optimize, and then judge them moving forward.
Everything should tie back to your KPIs
Your marketing key performance indicators should be involved in everything that you do with your marketing campaigns. Each campaign will likely have a different KPI that it’s focused on, but many business owners lose sight of their KPIs and get caught up in vanity metrics or metrics that do not directly tie to the focused KPIs. Your KPIs should dictate which campaigns are successful and which aren’t. Not every campaign is going to be a success by simply generating leads or visits or even revenue. Your dashboards should monitor your KPIs and every metric that ties into them to help identify the areas of need and optimization opportunities.
Need help developing your marketing KPIs? Well, you’re in luck! Download our FREE Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Marketing KPIs for Your Business eBook! Get your copy now!