Digital marketers must build strategies and implementations in order to track, analyse and optimise the results of their efforts. It’s important to begin with a focus on how you can collect data, and then look at how you can interpret this data to reach actionable insights. The point is to know where you are going, develop paths for reaching these goals, and then monitor the reaction to your strategies along the way. You can then gauge whether things are working and adjust accordingly if they are not.
You can measure all digital tactics and it’s necessary to understand the data in terms of what it tells you about the people interacting with your campaigns. In email marketing, looking at the open rate for your emails (meaning the number of people who have actually opened your email) can tell you about the relevance and quality of your subject line and whether the time of day in which you choose to send your communications is appropriate.
When looking at data about those visiting particular pages of your website, you can gain insight into which pages are losing visitors. For instance, at what stage do users step away from the path you have intended them to take? Why are 90% of your site visitors spending time on your web page but disappearing without downloading your information pack?
When monitoring people’s reactions to your social media strategy, you may choose to look at engagement as a factor. Out of the total number of people that have viewed a certain Facebook status update, a certain percentage may have chosen to comment on or “like” it. This is likely to vary across the updates you make. What can you learn from the ones that are more successful? When you track people’s behaviour you can better understand their intent. Based on this you can develop theories about what will provide better results and test these.
Data is collected through tools that are tied to different platforms and by analytics tools as well. While there are a number available in the market, one of the best, and used by 50% of the top million websites ranked by Google, is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics helps you to monitor and analyze your traffic data. You can also implement campaign tracking and track social media interactions. You can use this tool to track click throughs from certain links.
The first step is setting up Google Analytics for your website. This involves implementing tracking code on every page of your site. Google shares a step by step list for achieving this here: http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55488&utm_source=DiscoverList&utm_medium=et&utm_campaign=en_us&hl=en.
Over the next few weeks start collecting data on your site, and as we discuss the various tactics and how to gain benefit from each of them, you can measure results and start to customise the data to your own needs.
Platform specific insights
While I fully support an approach that is not platform specific – meaning that we focus on strategy and goals rather than using a particular platform as your starting point – it’s worth mentioning here that many of the popular platforms available today offer customised tools for measuring how users are interacting with your properties.
Facebook offers insights on your business pages. You can learn about which announcements were interacted with the most, what days and times people visit your page and the demographics of your site visitors. You can also gain this kind of insight from Twitter analytics and YouTube analytics.
This may all seem like information overload, but it is essential to understand that you can track user behaviour. As we explore specific steps in implementing the myriad of digital tools available bear in mind the power of data to ensure we create communications strategies that drive results, and assist us in continuously tweaking them to improve these results.