In this day and age of the Internet, the word “analytics” gets thrown around a lot. Generally the term analytics refers to a system that utilizes a series of tools and processes to assess or evaluate the performance of a strategy. The advantage of living in the digital age is that you have access to data in real time. In this regard, every discipline has its own analytics.
As web developers, we use web analytics to extract both qualitative and quantitative data and categorize them so we can analyze on-site and off-site factors that affect the website’s performance. How we apply the techniques and methodologies of analytics would depend on the type of website and its requirements.
For example, an ecommerce website would demand more complex and intricate data. Using web analytics, we are tasked to pinpoint visitor demographics, particular online shopping behavior and most importantly, address potential issues for getting the shopping cart past the checkout counter.
We also use analytics to track the performance of the digital marketing strategy. A typical inbound marketing campaign would incorporate a variety of processes for the purpose of driving traffic to the website. The marketing toolbox may include SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, link building and PPC advertising.
With web analytics, we can see which processes are delivering and which ones are under-performing.
Web analytics finds the answers to these questions:
- How many people visited my site?
- Where did they come from?
- Which social media network generated the highest number of leads?
- How did they find me?
- Which type of content did my visitors find interesting?
- What keywords did they use to find my site?
Web analytics removes guesswork. We are able to itemize strengths and pain points with empirical evidence then use the data to help the client come up with a better, more effective and dynamic business plan. You don’t waste time, energy and save up on resources because now you have a basis for decision- making and strategy design.
But is web analytics enough to ensure the success of your website and its marketing and promotional campaign?
As it turns out, we can amplify the effectiveness of web analytics by incorporating a system that is directly related with the marketing discipline.
What else but marketing analytics.
What is Marketing Analytics?
If web analytics focuses on website performance, marketing analytics measures the results of your online marketing activities.
It takes the data collected by web analytics and blows it up by using other tools, online and offline metrics. You can view marketing analytics as a deep dive into the numbers provided by web analytics.
The end result? You get a holistic, all-encompassing perspective of your online marketing campaign. It would be an upgrade of your current analytics approach. Call it “Analytics HD”; you will see things much clearer and with more definition.
If your current marketing program is predicated only on web analytics, you are limiting yourself only to the outcomes of your efforts. You know the result but what about the factors and circumstances that got you there?
Marketing analytics will give you information on how you executed a specific campaign:
- What was the optimal schedule for content distribution?
- Which hours of the day resulted in the highest levels of engagement?
- What issues were of greatest concern to my audience?
- Which platforms resulted in the highest ROI?
- How did my strategy impact my end users, followers and subscribers?
If web analytics answers the question, “How is my site performing?”, marketing analytics will answer the question, “What is the return on my efforts?” Collectively, both types of analytics will yield the answer to the all- important question:
“Which strategies are paying off and deserve more support and investment?”
By understanding the details and the finer points of your strategy, you are able to minimize the risk of making decisions that could be costly for your business.
Why Your Business Needs Marketing Analytics
Long before the Internet became accessible by broadband technology, many businesses relied heavily on traditional marketing methods to promote their products and services.
Traditional marketing methods such as print ads, press releases, radio and television ads, billboard placements and POP’s or Point-of-Purchase materials are expensive, limited in their scope of distribution and unsustainable.
The question that nagged business owners hesitant to invest in marketing programs is, “What will be my ROI?”
Even with the inclusion of tracking numbers and barcodes, it is difficult to measure with accuracy and certainty the return and effectiveness of traditional marketing methods.
Marketing analytics gives you the means, techniques and processes to measure and calculate with a great deal of accuracy the returns you get for investing in a marketing campaign.
1. Track Changes in Market Behavior
Having the tools to track marketing performance is very important today when consumers have access to information. The Internet has made it easy for people to do research on businesses; their products and services.
They can access sites that offer product reviews. They can join forums that are dedicated to a specific industry. In social media, there are focus groups that regularly share information and opinions on trends and developments. Then there are the blogging communities that frequently publish relevant, usable and engaging content.
As a business- owner, you have to stay on top of your market. With information becoming so accessible, consumer tastes, demands and preferences can change without warning. Shifts in online behavior can create distortions in your content writing and distribution strategies.
2. Spy on the Competition
The Law of Comparative Advantage states that you should position your business development strategies based on the strengths that are your competitors’ weaknesses.
In the early 1990’s, companies played this strategy well by having spies work for their competitor. Fast-food companies are a good example. Burger franchise “A” would have a spy for burger franchise “B”.
The spy who would be asked to work all the restaurant stations would collect data on average daily sales, best selling item, food cost, sanitary and food preparation practices, ingredients, recipes, formulations and list of suppliers.
Marketers who understand analytics know competitive analysis should always be a constant metric. It is not a process that you do at the beginning of the campaign and run sporadically. It must be constant; always flowing and moving. You should have a finger on what your competitors are doing so you can stay ahead of them.
Competitive marketing analytics seek to uncover your competitor’s moves:
- Are they testing new products or services?
- Are they targeting a new audience or market?
- Where are they distributing content?
- What do their end-users think?
- Are they using networks and tools you haven’t heard of?
- Are they changing the way they are positioning a product?
- What are the common issues and complaints brought up by end users?
In a race, the golden rule is to know where your competitors are while keeping your focus straight ahead. Marketing analytics will do just that. You can gain valuable insights on your competitors without losing focus on your own campaign.
3. Make Informed and Educated Decisions
Digital Marketing opens up a treasure trove of tools you can use to maximize opportunities for your marketing and promotional campaign. You can optimize your site and content with high- performing keywords and utilize various distribution channels like social media, blogging communities and online publications to filter them out to a wide audience.
You might even want to focus heavily on video content or conduct podcasts to bring in new demographics. For marketers, the possibilities are endless.
But not all tools will yield the same result. Some may even be counterproductive to what you are trying to do.
Marketing analytics will show you which channels are working and which ones are not. It will give you an idea of where to allocate most of your money so you can re-align your marketing budget and be more efficient. And it is not just about money.
Knowing which channels are paying off will tell you where to delegate more resources in terms of time and manpower.
- Is your content marketing strategy generating higher shares, engagement levels and likes?
- Are PPC ads helping your conversion rate?
- How many leads on average is Facebook generating for your site?
- Are people engaging more on Twitter?
In business, time is money. If you have to make changes in your marketing strategy, you need to implement them within a reasonable time frame. Otherwise, the opportunity might be lost if conditions shift again to another direction.
With marketing analytics, you don’t make educated guesses. An educated guess is another term for “making a gamble”. Instead you make educated decisions.
How to Develop Effective and Successful Marketing Analytics
In order to have effective marketing analytics, you must have a system in place that references past data as a basis for strategies in the present day and also paves the way for future frameworks of analysis.
- The Past – Shows you which programs and methods were most effective in generating results. How did my email campaigns differ in terms of performance? Which blog topics generated the highest engagement levels?
- The Present – Gives you an idea of how today’s end users are responding to your strategies. Are they engaging more? What platforms do they frequently use to access my site? Who is talking about my products and services in social media?
- The Future – Analytics will give you the basis for planning for future activities. Should I consider expanding my manpower? How do I turn engagement into long-term loyalty?
You should also do an honest assessment of your ability to conduct marketing analytics. It is not an easy discipline to be proficient at.
If you are a full-time entrepreneur, your time should be spent on activities that directly contribute to your bottom- line. A better option would be to outsource marketing analytics to an experienced and capable digital agency.
Remember that this is what digital agencies do! They are continually gathering data and information from various online and offline sources. Agencies have the personnel to run all areas of your online marketing campaign.
Since you are contracting their services and not employing additional personnel, you are saving up on overhead costs while increasing overall productivity.
Finally, analytics will be useless unless you act on the data collected. A big part of analytics is subjecting ideas to testing methods. Once you get the results, you should move from the test lab and go live. Practical application will give you the best perspective for evaluating your plans and strategies.
Conclusion – Web Analytics or Marketing Analytics?
You need both!
As detailed as marketing analytics is, it should not replace web analytics. Both disciplines are complementary of one another.
Analyzing your site’s performance will give you an idea of where traffic is coming from and how your content is doing but it will not give you the details you need to make well- informed decisions.
Marketing analytics fills in those gaps by providing in-depth information on the numbers collected by web analysis. It lets you listen in to the conversation from your audience and build a better relationship by developing a greater understanding of what they want and need.
If you want to know more about marketing analytics and how it can help your business achieve long term success and sustainable growth, give us a call or drop us an email.
We’re not just a web development company; we’re also a digital marketing agency that can give you the best of both types of analytics!