What analytics should you be using to determine if your marketing strategy is working or not? What are the most important elements of your analytics data to track? We spoke to Charlie Watkins, PPC Executive at Curated Digital, to give us a breakdown of the key elements of analytics, and some of the features brands should consider before choosing the platform that works best for their business model.
Google Analytics – Ideal For Most Businesses
Google Analytics is a free, powerful tool which most businesses use as their default platform, and gives a useful overview of website activity. This is a platform that can be utilised by any business no matter its size, in order to determine where budget needs to be spent, and how various channels are performing across the business. One of the most important features of this platform, Watkins explains, is the Google Tag Manager. “This allows you to track events and on-site interactions, such as newsletter sign-ups and link clicks – and can make all the difference between knowing whether your marketing strategy is working or not”. There is also the custom reports and dashboards feature, which provide a great snapshot of current performance.
Limited Knowledge Or Budget Needn’t Be Limiting
No matter what the level of technical knowledge or budget of your business, Google Analytics can be used to great effect – “all that is required is the technical know-how to use the platform, but this is something that can be learnt without much prior technical understanding – the Google Tag Manager is particularly useful for businesses without a technical IT department, as it allows teams to implement tracking without regularly adding code directly to the website – this can save a lot of time and frustration” says Watkins. There are often concerns that technical fluency is a precursor to implementing a powerful and efficient analytics platform, but Watkins reassures that this is not a requirement. “Custom reports and dashboards provide a great snapshot, which can be shared amongst the team. This is particularly useful when there is only limited knowledge of the analytics interface”. The information marketers can gain from Google Analytics is valuable for most teams within the business – “whether they are working on social, content, paid advertising, or more technical roles, providing relevant insights moves analytics platforms from overall performance indicators to vital optimisation tools”.
Future Focussed Or Presently Powerful?
With such a variety of platforms available, Google-powered or otherwise, marketers must choose the platform that best suits their individual needs. But with the capabilities and expectations of these platforms constantly evolving, what should businesses look at before taking this decision? “Most analytics platforms are constantly looking to innovate and build new tools into their systems. For most businesses therefore, the challenge is keeping up with these changes and BETAs” explains Watkins. “One challenge for many businesses is attribution – understanding what role different channels have in a customer’s conversion path. Someone may see a Facebook ad, or click on a Google Adwords ad, but then convert after going directly to the site later. Being able to understand the relation between these channels may be one reason why some businesses look to test different solutions in the future.”
One Size Does Not Fit All: Every Business Is Different
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are obviously as diverse as the businesses they belong to – and this means that the metrics tracked to indicate KPIs also vary, ranging from account signups, to newsletter subscriptions, to actual transactions. So which are the most important figures to be following? Watkins advises that there’s no single answer. “We tend to advise looking at all available models initially, such as last click, position-based, first click, and data-driven. The most accurate attribution varies per client and industry” he explains. Some conversions may involve multiple interactions with your brand across different channels – “last-click attribution would not sufficiently attribute the conversion in these cases, so you would have to test alternatives”, Watkins says. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not applicable, as each business has different performance indicators and will require a different model, but comparing the different reports can offer unique insights into a brand’s own business strategy. “Keep an eye out for large discrepancies. This may indicate that your current model is not telling the full story behind a conversion or sale,” explains Watkins.
It’s clear that budget, team size nor technical fluency need be a barrier to a business leveraging the insights of its data. With a flexible and user-friendly analytics platform bolstering your marketing strategy, digital teams can focus on enhancing the experience of their consumers, and ultimately drive growth through relevant interaction and customer insight.