Measure for Measure: Making Analytics Count

    1024 586 Jessica Porges

    So much in life can’t be measured. Career satisfaction, the joys of parenthood, the value of friendship (not directly equivalent to one’s number of Facebook friends, btw). But in digital marketing, the reverse is true. Not only is there seemingly no end to what we can measure, the quotable Peter Drucker was right when he wrote: “What gets measured gets managed.”

    I confess to being a little bit obsessed with all things data, as does my colleague, Tu Nguyen. So we’re channeling some of our energy into this blog post, which we hope sheds some light on why measuring data is paramount to business success.

    why measuring matters
    Your customers are telling you what they want when they interact with your site, but are you listening to them? With smart analytics, you can measure customer behavior, find the pain points and roadblocks to conversion, and optimize your site and apps to provide a compelling user experience. Your marketing team is probably spending a lot of money on brand awareness and acquisition, right? Analytics will help identify where your site and campaigns might be falling short and help you decide where and when to dedicate budget and resources to address those shortcomings.

    data that measures up
    Marketing technology tools like Foresee and Adobe Analytics can be configured to measure both qualitative and quantitative aspects of your digital campaigns. For instance, what headline copy drives more conversions, or which website pages get the most traffic. Analysts then take that data and help provide context on what it all means. Throughout the process of data collection and analytics, there are many important aspects to keep in mind and consistently measure—because good analytics is vital to building your strategic roadmap.

    Here are three powerful ways measuring can help your business measure up.

    1. auditing for errors. Website errors, such as shopping cart problems or hosting issues, can easily go unnoticed without quality assurance and monitoring mechanisms in place. Automated reports that measure user engagement and interaction can include those triggered by sudden drops or increases in traffic. These drops/increases may indicate that something is wrong with the site. The triggered report helps our clients discover and resolve the error quickly—a glitch that may have otherwise gone unnoticed for days, or even longer. We can also look at the holistic activity of site visitors and analyze their paths to see if the interactions or conversion rates of particular segments (e.g. users of particular browsers) are being adversely affected by errors. Sometimes, the errors are not in the site but in the data itself. We consistently monitor metrics to ensure that what is being tracked is clean data—free of bots and tracking issues.

    2. testing for optimization. Planning a website redesign or thinking about adding some new content? Start by testing against your current site first, to learn what aspects are working well, or not at all. Design tests that shed light on the most frequented pages, the most effective content and the assets that currently perform the best/worst. Analytics and test results help you make recommendations on areas to optimize or redesign altogether. While most people spend a lot of their strategic focus on their home pages and campaign landing pages, measuring can help you learn what other pages of the site organically top the list for website entry, such as special offer listings or even the maps and directions page. Rule of panda thumb: any page that is generating a high amount of entries should be reviewed for optimization. And the way to prioritize optimization efforts is by—you guessed it—measuring! If you have several pages to choose among, measure the conversion rate and look at the traffic for each to decide which one gets first dibs on optimization efforts.

    3. performance check-up. Much like people going to the doctor, a website should have regular health check-ups. By analyzing campaign performance, your marketing team can adjust spend, target specific keywords, change marketing plans and make informed business decisions to drive the highest quality traffic to the site. For example, one of our hotelier clients has been featured extensively in the media and on travel shows, from which they receive large bumps in website traffic. While these types of campaigns can be difficult to measure down to the exact number visitors (because they are not being referred by an online source), we can get an approximate view of their impact by looking at referring keywords and correlating the timing of the traffic with that of the TV show. There are many offline and online channels that customers can hit in their customer journey, and it’s important to be able to measure all of them. By segmenting traffic by different campaign channels, you can determine which one provides the highest return on investment (ROI).

    key takeaways

    1. Marketing technology tools like Foresee and Adobe Analytics can be configured to measure both qualitative and quantitative aspects of your digital campaigns.
    2. Automatic/triggered reports can pinpoint website errors that are blocking conversions and might otherwise go unnoticed.
    3. Planning a website redesign? Start by testing your current site first, to learn what aspects are working well, or not at all. Analytics can help identify on areas to optimize or redesign altogether.
    4. Smart analytic techniques measure the impact of offline events on online traffic and conversions.
    5. Analytics will help identify where your site and campaigns might be falling short and help you decide where and when to dedicate budget and resources to address those shortcomings.

    Do you know how customers are interacting with your site? Are multiple touchpoints on your sites and campaigns sending the same message and providing a seamless experience? What obstacles might be impeding conversions? Analytics are there to help you understand what’s happening on your site. Our analysts can help you interpret that data so you can make informed business decisions that lead to online success and happy, repeat customers. We invite you to learn more about our analytics + intelligence services.

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    AUTHOR

    Jessica Porges

    Jessica is an analytics + intelligence expert who applies her strong analytical skills and expert-level knowledge of digital marketing and analytics software to make recommendations and drive value for smart panda’s clients. She was previously the Manager of Web Analytics & Intelligence for Marriott Vacations Worldwide and the primary analyst for Disneyworld.com, where she was responsible for advanced segmentation analysis, A/B testing, campaign measurement and conversion reporting for large ($500k+) projects. Jessica also worked as an analyst of interactive systems for NBC Universal.

    All stories by: Jessica Porges
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