How to use analytics for digital marketing

Analytics for marketers – Part 1

Welcome back! In this two-part series, we are helping marketers collect the necessary data against their campaigns to make smarter decisions when it comes to digital marketing. If you’ve just landed on this post, you may first want to have a read of Part One, which looks at tips on how to choose the right analytics tool.

Part 2: how to use analytics for marketing decisions

Once you’ve set up and customised your chosen analytics platform(s), you’ll have a load of lovely data at your fingertips. That’s a great first step but what on earth do you then do with it. 

Market research

Using the data, many analytics tools offer valuable insight into your users, enabling you to understand the following:

  • WHO is using your product, including their location, age range and gender
  • HOW they are accessing it -what device or operating system they are using
  • WHERE they’re coming from -referrals, social media, organic search, direct
  • WHAT they’re looking at – which pages or blog posts are getting the most engagement
  • WHEN they’re active – is it during working hours, in the evenings or at the weekend?

You can then build up a more accurate picture of the type of person (or groups of people) that are using your website or app. Create a profile of your ideal customer and identify what will resonate with them most by testing out various marketing approaches and content.

Monitoring your campaigns

Marketing is all about experimenting; seeing what works and what should be avoided in the future. Therefore, it is really important to have a good understanding of stats and data for monitoring each of your campaigns.

We recommend planning a clear conversion path that you hope users will take during each campaign and customise this where possible.

A good example of customisation is to create specific landing pages for individual campaigns and monitoring the traffic to these, whilst at the same time personalising the content depending upon customer persona or the visitors stage in their buyer journey.

Tracking inbound visitors

Modern analytics technology allows you to get pretty granular in terms of how people are responding to your marketing. For example, you can pair Google Tag Manager with your Google Analytics profile so you know when people are clicking on CTA buttons or filling out online forms. You can even add campaign parameters to your URLs so you can track them more easily in your analytics tool.

Although Google Analytics does a fantastic job of showing you how many people followed a campaign link or clicked to watch a promotional video, there are marketing-focused tools, such as Hubspot, that go into even greater depth, allowing you to specifically monitor the success of your content marketing, social media, SEO and lead nurturing strategies.

If you’re committed to tracking your marketing from start to finish, it may be worth investing in a tool like Hubspot so that your data has as much context surrounding it as possible and you can better gauge the impact of your efforts. We use Hubspot and for us it’s certainly been worth the investment for a tool that gets us the exact data we need. Having everything in one place really is a revelation for anyone handling digital marketing.

Carrying out testing

Using A/B testing tools, you can create different versions of a page or element and test out their effectiveness against each another. This is a great way of not only seeing which design people prefer, but also seeing what language they respond to better.

For example, you could create a second landing page that’s completely identical except the phrasing of the call to action – one option could be friendly and relaxed whilst the other is more urgent. Testing out the wording will then help you understand what tone of voice works best for your target audience.

There are tools that carry out this function specifically, such as VWO and Optimizely, or you could use a complete solution like Hubspot to ensure that the data captured links in to your wider analytics too. 

Monitoring and reporting

As mentioned in Part One of our Analytics post, it is essential to define your KPIs first so you know what’s important to you. These should be used to set targets in line with your business growth goals so that you can review the performance against each of these.

Let’s turn this into an example to help explain what we mean. 

  • You want to make a recurring monthly revenue of £10,000 from your online product by the end of the year.
  • The average customer spend per month is £100 so you’ll need to find a total of 1,000 customers by this time.
  • You start the year with just 500 customers so you’ll have to attract an average of nearly 42 new customers every single month.

So, what does this look like in terms of your marketing efforts? If your current conversion rate from site visit to signed-up customer is 5%, then each month you’ll need to bring in 840 unique visitors. Make sense?

Although it’s likely to be a tad more complicated than that due to growth rates and so on, looking at your metrics in this way should give you a clearer understanding of where you are now versus where you want to be, and an appreciation of what your marketing will need to achieve to get you there.

Analytics, measure against specific SMART goals give you an accurate picture of how you’re doing every month, offering you the necessary detail to produce progress reports for your stakeholders. Most tools will offer a download function so you can have a play with your data and some provide good visualisation options so you can make graphs that can be interpreted quickly. 

Take action

It’s important to view marketing as a science and therefore a strong analytics setup will enable you to learn from your data and allow you to make smarter decisions. Following a cycle of ‘monitor, analyse, act and repeat’ will lead to more effective, evidence-based campaigns:

  • Monitor the important metrics in line with your KPIs
  • Analyse the data to better understand what users are doing
  • Act on your findings, using your new knowledge and insight to optimise campaigns
  • Repeat the cycle with each successive campaign

In conclusion

There is an abundance of analytics tools out there, which we realise can be overwhelming and difficult to know which one is right for you, but if you’re willing to put in the legwork, the investment can lead to more effective marketing and a higher ROI. The best marketing campaigns are built on a solid foundation of data, so it’s important to make sure you have a strong understanding of how to access this information and how to leverage it for the greater good of your business.