marketing measurement

Analyze This! Why Your Google Analytics Matter

If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about my clients, it’s that they expect results. Many of my clients place a lot of value on measurement, and I am often asked, “How were our leads this quarter compared to last? Are we seeing value from the amount we put into new content on our site?” I find it interesting that a lot of business owners and marketers are unclear of the value they can receive from their Google Analytics reports.

At CreativeWorks Marketing, we dedicate the last week of each month to compiling and analyzing Google Analytics data. Google Analytics is a free tool in which you are able to monitor the traffic to your website in terms of audience demographics, behaviour, referrals and more. Like any good tool, you get out of it what you put into it. A simple Google Analytics report is only valuable when analyzed to help you understand what it means to your business.

The analyzed data is central to your business as it allows you to understand what is and isn’t working on your site so you can implement strategic, not just tactical, initiatives. While many web companies offer Google Analytics reports as part of their services, few of them supply much other than the raw data itself. Being able to read and fully understand what is being told through the data is imperative to your marketing success.

I have worked with multiple clients over the years that receive monthly analytics reports from their “web person” and disregard the information due to a lack of understanding. By ignoring the information provided in each analytics report, you might be missing key information about your business. Variances in online behaviour are important to determine problems and identify trends.

Google Analytics go above and beyond recording how many people have visited your site, it can also help to identify “unusual” behaviour. For example, when one of our clients was the victim of a website scam, we were able to identify new visitors to the site that came from suspicious sources. Finding out this information and alerting our client was imperative to the security of our client’s site, and without Google Analytics we wouldn’t have been able to act as fast as we did.

Analytics are a key part of the marketing process, and website analytics are only one form of such data. If your business is on digital platforms, you need to make sure you have clear analytics reports that also include relevant data on your social media efforts, and ideally include summaries and recommendations for adjustments and changes for improvements.

If you are investing your time and money into a robust website, it’s important that you have an understanding of how your audience is using it. Ask your marketing agency to provide a detailed analysis of your digital assets and explain what changes, if any need to be made. The goal of truly understanding website behaviour is using analytics to its fullest potential.

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How Do I Know If My Marketing Is Working?

measuring_digital_marketing

Gone are the old days of marketing when you implemented a kicking campaign and all you could gleam from it was that it was seen by “X” amount of people or that you had “X” amount of households who received the flyer, the direct mail piece, or the printed publication.

Today, marketing tactics bring with them a whole new world of high tech tools and analytics giving you the ability to track your return on investment (ROI) on almost every tactic you employ.  Specifically, online marketing tactics have been created with built-in metrics that help you, the business owner, better understand and track the results of your marketing activities.

Despite the fact that all of this information is at our marketing fingertips, many business owners simply do not know what is available, how to access it and, more importantly, have the time to learn all of the analytical software and analyze the results.  Unfortunately, there is no universal software that tracks all of your online marketing activities. You, your staff or your agency needs to track campaigns across various mediums using several software solutions and to do this, it requires time and a thorough understanding of what you are looking for and what that tool can do for you.

There are several marketing tactics including phone marketing, QR codes, and webkeys, but I have outlined below what have become the most popular and easily measurable tools of the online marketing field today.

  1. Website tracking: Google Analytics is by far the most powerful tool for measuring website traffic. In addition to tracking referral sites, viewed pages, and basic site stats, you can also see mobile usage and page flow, track landing page and Google Ad campaigns.
  2. Google Ads: These can be tracked directly from the dashboard of Google AdWords’s website. They will tell you what words are being indexed, how many impressions, which ads appear on the first page and how much it will cost for you to bid that keyword appear on the first page.
  3. Social Media: Finally, you can actually track your social media site stats. Though nowhere as comprehensive as Google Analytics, the main sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) will give you a good idea as to how often people visit your site, basic demographics, how often your posts are “liked” and what reach you are obtaining with your posts.  The information, though not rich, allows you to see trends that may lead to changing up your style or approach or any future campaigns.
  4. Word Press: Using Word Press for your site or blog is a great way to track analytics.  Much like the social media sites, Word Press can give you basic info on what posts people are reading on which day and the number of followers you are picking up. This information will help you to again, look at trends and change or modify your campaigns.
  5. E-blasts: No matter what external service or software you use for eblasts, they all have extensive analytics which help you determine how many of your emails were opened, rejected, clicked on and therefore how many resulted in a lead or conversion.

Bottom line, your marketing agency or department/person needs to be accountable to you for your marketing budget.  It is your business and you need to be in control of or aware of how your marketing dollars are being spent and what your return is for your marketing investments.

Are you tracking your marketing efforts?  Do you have the tools in place and the people who understand how to track and analyze your results? If not, why not? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.