Choosing the right analytics tool for digital marketing

Analytics for marketers – Part 2

Analytics. Data insight. Fact finding. Number crunching. Whatever you want to call it, taking a good hard look at statistics is increasingly important for marketers in the ever expanding and oversaturated digital marketing space. However, analytical data analysis isn’t for everyone and even if it is, it can be quite a complex process.

Here’s a helping hand with a two-part guide on the topic that we hope is useful to any marketers who are trying to understand how to use analytics to inform their digital marketing strategy.

In this guide, we’ll provide information so you can make smarter, more efficient marketing decisions via this scientific approach to digital marketing. First, we’ll give an overview of the subject to demonstrate why it’s so important to record and analyse your data as well as give you tips on how to find the right tool to do this. In Part Two, we will show you how to leverage your analytics to see better marketing results. Watch this space!

Choosing the right analytics tool

Why do you need to look at data?

Marketing decisions making shouldn’t be based on guess work, but rather backed by hard fact. The millions of pounds that large companies spend on marketing don’t just go on advertising and branding, they also have dedicated teams that monitor the effectiveness of their campaigns by analysing collected data. Once they have formed an evidence-based opinion on whether things are working or not, they can then use this insight to optimise their efforts and avoid wasting precious money.

However, you don’t need to have a whole team of analysts to make smart, data-led decisions and see a better return on your investment. What you do need is a good, analytics tool and an understanding of what you’re looking at. But don’t worry, we can help there.

Google Analytics is not the only option…

How do we get to the right data and interpret it? The mistake many marketers make is simply installing Google Analytics and thinking the job is done. While Google’s platform is certainly the most popular analytic tool (it’s free and very easy to use), there are other options available that might be more appropriate. Alternatives such as HubSpot’s integrated analytics or standalone tools such as Mixpanel are all available to use but they vary in price, complexity, and functionality so it’s best to do your research before committing to one.

We could spend an entire blog post discussing each of these tools but we know you’re busy people so here’s a brief overview of what’s on offer: 

An impressive list, isn’t it? So how do you work out which particular tool (or combination of tools) is right for your business?

1. Decide what’s important

Before you commit to a tool, make sure you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your analytics. The best way to do this is take some time clarifying your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to determine what metrics matter the most to you, and what data you’ll need to see in order to evaluate your marketing performance.

If the goal of your website is getting people to contact you, you’ll need an analytics tool that will tell you exactly how many people have submitted a contact form or clicked on your email address. If, on the other hand, you want people to make a purchase online, you will need one to track purchases and assign a value to these so you can analyse which of your marketing campaigns are earning you the most money.

2. Keep it simple

If your current analytics needs are basic then you don’t need to pay for a complete business intelligence programme. These tools can be complicated and there will without doubt be a learning curve, so you might want to pick a solution and invest in a tool that will help meet your present requirements but also has the potential to support your product’s future growth. That being said, do not pay for a tool if it’s not the right solution for you at this moment in time. Ultimately, you want to access the appropriate data that will help you optimise your existing marketing campaigns, not your “one day” campaigns.

3. Don’t be afraid to switch

Moving between analytics tools might seem like a terrifying prospect but if you find a more appropriate tool, it makes all the sense in the world to switch rather than stick with something that’s not quite working. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to download and keep all of your historic data so nothing will be lost. This process will also be a good opportunity to re-evaluate your KPIs if you haven’t done so in a while. 

4. Take the time to learn

Many people are under the illusion that installing their analytics tracking code is the only task they need to complete. Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s so important to customise the chosen tool to meet your needs – setting up events, conversions and goals so that you can put your data into context and get the most value from it. Make sure you spend the necessary time getting to know your analytics tool inside and out so you can be sure it’s working as hard as possible for you.

Now that you have a better understanding as to why you should be tracking what people are doing on your website and how to go about it, it’s time to find out exactly how this data you gather can be used to gain insight about your audience in order to create effective marketing campaigns.

(Coming soon: Part Two of our guide: ‘How to use analytics for digital marketing’.)