Use Analytics to Craft an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
Core Elements | Inputs | Outputs
Digital Analytics Fundamentals
(The following content is based on the article, “The Complete Digital Analytics Ecosystem” a blog post by Avinash Kaushik, a leading authority on digital analytics.)
There are five core elements in digital analytics for business: Metrics, KPIs, Dimensions, Custom Reports and Advanced Segments.
A dimension is usually an attribute of the visitor to your website. As your analytics results progress, this element will morph to an attribute to those of a person. Examples of dimensions include traffic sources such as social media, keywords, cities, devices and referring sites.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
A KPI is a special metric that helps you understand how your business is doing against its objectives. So it follows you must know your objectives before you can identify your KPIs. Your KPI may be conversion rate or average order value or total sales. Some metrics can never be KPIs. The key is knowing your objectives.
You can only derive this element after a period of close observation, correct diagnoses and exacting meaningful insights. It usually takes about six months, maybe a little longer.
Depending on the goals you’ve set from the beginning, advanced segmentation moves you from looking at the broad picture to focusing on specific clusters for actionable insights.
A metric is simply a number that’s related to measuring things. Examples of metrics include averages, totals, percentages and other ratios.
A custom report provides answers to questions that your business is asking. You can get a standard report from any analytics tool. But they won’t yield the secrets on say, getting better results from your marketing campaigns, identifying the most profitable customer group and other business goals.
Custom reports force you to stare at your business objectives and figure out how to best achieve them. You will need to talk to your managers, staff and to communicate with customers to understand what the real questions are that need answering.
You’ll go on focused campaigns, not random fishing expeditions, and find the secrets you’re looking for.
There are three sets of Inputs. The first is from data, the second is from digital tools and the third is provided by people.
This is pretty straightforward. You need to need to know your objectives before you can identify your KPIs, the dimensions with the greatest impact on marketing results, and planning your strategy with advanced segmentation.
You’ll need to assess the reality of competitors you know about, and find the ones you don’t know about. It’s basic intelligence gathering. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What things are they doing better? Competitive reality is a critical input to insure your business priorities are based on actual data for making informed decisions.
Opportunities that spring up could take your business in a completely different direction. New opportunities impact your analysis at a tactical and strategic level. You should be prepared to take advantage when they come. In fact, you should actively hunt for them.
Keyword planners, SEO rankings and other digital tools are key resources in digital analytics. In terms of importance, they contribute about 10% of the success you’ll gain from Analytics. The remaining 90% comes from your analysts. In other words, people matter much more than systems.
Analysts make sense of all this information you’re gathering for your business. Without an analyst, it doesn’t matter how big your data or how sophisticated your tools, the promise of big data will never materialize.
The first set of outputs are pure data dumps. It can’t be avoided. It’s just a part of the natural progress of things. Exit rates, bounce rates, organic search, referral sites, social media pages, etc. Get the data and send it out. It’s exciting at first if you haven’t done analytics before, but the company will get over it quickly.
This is a good stage. People who create content will ask for Page Value. Those who pay for social media ads and paid search will ask for keywords. Campaign managers will ask for email response rates, and so on.
Insights take a while to get out. It usually takes a couple of months. Insights normally take the form of data suggesting something (x) happened. When you dig deeper, you’ll identify the reasons (y and z) why x happened.
There are five stages of outputs. Each stage requires a higher level of analytics skills and judgment than the one preceding it.
Actions are the steps a business should take. Examples can be: “Doubling the investment in paid search for a list of keywords.” “Giving the go signal to build a new branch in a city.” “Tailor ads to cater to the 26 to 40, female age group.”
Providing estimates of what will happen should your business take the action are what business impact computations are about. An example would be, “Focusing the campaign on these key products will increase profitability by 300%.”