Think fast. How do you measure the success of your marketing strategies? If you need to digest this question for longer than two seconds, then there’s a high likelihood that your marketing strategy is based on non-quantifiable metrics.
Gone are the days when marketers could only rely on light data when analyzing and evaluating the performance of our successes and failures. Technology has advanced, and digital marketing is heading in the same direction.
Data-fluent marketers are more likely to succeed than those who follow their guts alone. Here’s why.
Growing Emphasis on Data-Driven Marketing
Just a few years ago, data-driven marketing was considered to be just a novel story, possibly something that would never come to fruition. Today, the industry’s attitude has greatly evolved. Analytics have become an integral part of all marketing decision making, from media buys to messaging emphases to overall strategies. And marketers appreciate the need for data-driven marketing strategies, unlike in the past.
Some 69% of marketers intend to increase their budgets for data-driven marketing in the year ahead, according to a report from the Global Alliance of Data Driven Marketing Associations. What’s more, 77% of digital marketers have total confidence in the data-driven approach. Approximately 49% of marketers believe that data-driven marketing maximizes effectiveness as far as strategy implementation is concerned. And a further 20% hold the opinion that data-driven marketing is integral in creating an alignment with consumer preferences.
Data-driven marketing strategies demand that practitioners develop comprehensive, definitive, end-to-end knowledge when it comes to their companies’ operations and audience engagement. Today’s marketers, in turn, are emphasizing heavy data in order to make sure their marketing efforts bear maximum fruit at minimum cost.
The Importance of Measuring the Most Relevant Data
It’s all too easy to focus on the wrong metrics. Sometimes what seems to you to be an indication of brand or business health turns out to be totally irrelevant.
As a hypothetical example, let’s say you notice that traffic on your new Chinese-language site has dropped in the beginning of February. You start to suspect that your search ads haven’t been performing as well as expected and attribute the problem to another search engine algorithm change.
Just as you are about to pull the plug on your ad campaigns, you realize that the reason for the traffic drop was that the Chinese New Year took place in the first two weeks of February and few of your anticipated visitors were active on the web for much of that time. You keep your ad campaigns in place and, soon enough, your site traffic returns to your expected levels as the celebrations wind down.
Sometimes “vanity metrics” like social media follower counts, email list size and article page views can be likewise misleading. While KPIs like these can impress executives who are over-fixated on being “impressive” on a surface level, they rarely correlate with any type of genuine business success.
In this sense, a far more reliable metric of your campaign’s success may be average session duration or pages per session instead. Unlike site traffic, this type of content engagement data is likely to be a far more effective predictor of lead conversions.
On the other hand, when you focus too much on your “website analytics,” at the expense of your broader analytics data, you are unnecessarily limiting your understanding of your marketing performance. Website analytics allow you to measure only some aspects of your site’s performance, so they’re inherently limited.
Keeping these silos up likewise cripples your efforts to accurately measure your effectiveness and identify the key metrics to focus on and optimize in order to ensure sustained success.
The trouble is, you might not always know when you’re fixating on an analytics “red herring.” It is important to constantly ask yourself whether your marketing measurement efforts reflect the reality on the ground, or if you are simply lying to yourself.
Website Analytics Are Too Limited
Remember that the primary aim here is to grow revenue concurrently with your audience size and engagement levels. When you dig deeper and unearth relevant metrics such as conversions, retention rates, and customer lifetime value, rather than dwelling on vanity, your revenue will increase, and you’ll see which marketing channels and activities are actually driving the best performance.
You can only make this type of analysis possible when you get to understand the trends and patterns at play in every phase of your business, which requires complex analytics. Complexity, in this case, means digging deeper into your metrics, rather than concentrating on light data. Complex metrics include data sets from multiple sources, which may or may not adhere to standardized data structures.
Working with complex analytics, in turn, hinges on having access to the right tools. A new generation of data analytics platforms enable you to collate data from multiple sources and juxtapose them with each other via blended dashboard views comprised of previously unrelated metrics (hence the term “blended view”).
With your data silos gone, you’ll have everything you need in place to start working with custom KPI formulas and identifying your “One Metric That Matters” (OMTM). This may literally be a single metric, or it may be a small subset of metrics that collectively reveal performance based on specific KPIs.
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