At a Glance
Attend any marketing event and you’ll hear the word ‘data’ ringing throughout the day. Data - big or small, is now widely recognized as the most important currency in growing business. The good news is that contrary to popular belief, ‘data’ is not strictly for the whiz kids who’ve enjoyed statistics all their lives - it’s for anyone who believes in the power of ‘insight’ and the opportunities it can lead one to. Today, marketing-specific data revolves around studying the consumer behavior of your target audiences, in the light of how they interact with your products and services, as well as looking at who you should actually be marketing to.
With the advent of numerous reporting tools to help you organize your data, there is really no limit as to the multitude of ways you can quantify your present and potential customers’ experiences. Our go-to tool is Google Analytics, and the reasons are quite simple. Google Analytics is tailored to allow users to focus on audience profiling and website efficiency; plus the design is clear and simple.
Assuming you’ve already got your website set up with Google Analytics, let’s look into areas of data that will ace your marketing strategies:
When developing strategies for your marketing plan, it’s important to set up a blueprint of what you hope to achieve with your website in the first place; this is known as your ‘measurement plan’. The question that needs to be asked is; how do I want my website to grow my business and in what time frame can this be done. Using such benchmarks will be integral to actually measuring the success rate of any data provided by Google Analytics (or Google Analytics Premium). Utilizing this means that you have to start from the bottom up, consolidating your business foundation before mapping your marketing pathways. You can then have a template to track business objectives like page views, conversions, the amount of time users spent on your website (your funnel conversion rate) and the media or channel source of each session. Each ‘goal’ that you define tracks a completed activity that directly affects your business’ success points, like generated leads, signups, app downloads as well as e-commerce transactions.
2. Cohort Analysis
A relatively new member of the analytics reporting family, this particular data looks at the behavior of audiences on your site, from their first visit. You can adjust the size of the cohort (which can be understood as ‘groups’ of visitors) and the date range from 30 to 7 days. Cohort analyses can show you the trend of how interested users are in your site. It focuses on audience retention, goal completions, page views, revenue, transactions, sessions completed per user, as well as a total summary of records for each metric.
Read here on How to run a Cohort Analysis
By pinpointing the high and low points of interaction based on your aims, you can look at your previous campaigns or content to know what made users return to your site. On the other hand, you can also identify the slumps and prepare for them better, by adjusting your campaign cycle to support the behavior of each cohort.
Furthermore, this piece of data can make you think of how you can make your website a better source of information for your intended audience, so that they keep returning when in need.
The last thing you want as a strategist, is to speak to the wrong people in your marketing efforts. What if those who were really interested in your brand, were a lot older or younger than you assumed them to be? Rather than letting this come as a surprise, let’s create a profile of your perfect audience member, by looking at their age and their online tendencies, against the number of sessions or goals achieved. For example, if you notice that visitors in the 25-34 age bracket assume top positions in the number of sessions on your site, and this peaks during weekends, you can focus on creating ads that will feature on those particular time slots and contain subject matter that caters to young executives. Knowing when to place your target ads is highly efficient and allows for a dynamic representation of your brand image.
At a general glance, if you take a look at the ‘overview’ dashboard you’ll see where users in the world are headed around the web, with their interests in particular topics and products. The best thing about this, is that Google has made profiles of users for you that pretty much sums up their general personality - which may seem like over simplified labels for large groups of population, but using these as indicators can do wonders for companies who want help with defining themselves in a more specific manner.
This leads us to look at the main category of the ‘Affinity’ interests. For people who want to pitch their services to a particular group of people, this is the easiest way to get familiar with your dream audience. Each persona listed on this is where the highest level of interests lie. So, choose the party you want to cater to and shape your content accordingly. Maybe a ‘travel buff’ will not be interested in ads that talk about furniture deals, as a ‘TV lover’ would be drawn to new streaming devices. Find out what words and objects prick the senses of the people you want to connect with.
On the other hand, looking at the In-Market Segment can give you a good idea about the competition you face within, as well as outside your industry. Putting importance on certain products or services that get a high amount of traction, in your keyword strategy will do the trick of pulling eyes your way.
When going into these categories specifically (to see an in-depth report of changes) rather than showing you the general trends across the web, Google Analytics captures the activities of user profiles on your website and ads. So the question you should ask yourself, when looking at the charts of how many users went to your website, the duration in which they stayed and how many goals they achieved is: which market do you want to focus on, who do you want to engage with, and how can you do this more often? The game is all about avoiding the downturns, and with this particular type of data you can click into the profiles of each interest, age bracket and gender to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. Equipped with insider details of your audience’s personality, you can then get started on working your re-marketing tactics, with follow up emails or organizing a new product launch.
5. Geo: Languages
Why bother placing your ads in British English, when most users’ browsers are set to American English? This is just a mere example of how building the perfect content can sometimes miss the ball, depending on where your audience is placed, geographically and linguistically.
This is important in focusing your content on your desired market. Furthermore, switching on the ‘advance’ option can allow you to group languages that are similar into one category, and also let you look into the acquisition, conversion rate as well as behavior for each language. Generating reports on this, can therefore lead you to make an informed decision when it comes to writing copy for your website.
Planning a content strategy for a multilingual website. Here are some tips to get you going.
6. Geo: Locations
This is by far, the most important piece of data anyone could covet when dealing with online marketing and brand insight. Where are your current audiences mostly? Why are people from certain regions attracted to your website? Knowing this could mean that you focus on offline, online marketing efforts and improving your website content, to either keep your users happy, attract more from the same region, or work on acquiring people from other regions. If you feel that you’re missing out on a particular market, now’s the time to look into building a campaign that would attract them.
Charting where your users are mostly looking at your website from is important in understanding where the majority of viewers browse the web through, and what areas of your website get the most attention on different devices.
Comparing bounce rates will also allow you to know which page and content is more suitable for desktop or mobile viewing, leading you to recognize which screen resolution and dimension to tweak your website to. You can get a good indication as to where your conversion efforts need to be re-worked on your website, and whether you should start thinking about developing apps to market your company better.
To know how successful you’ve been in attracting new customers, Google Analytics generates a report on how your current ads are faring, which channel causes users to come to your site and websites where you have been featured, that have proved to be influential.
This is crucial in engineering the right keywords that are potent enough for people to select you from their search engine options, and in knowing which social media campaigns have actually been effective enough in getting you to achieve your main goal of achieving higher rates of conversion.
9. Search Engine Optimization
Having the right combination of keywords on your site pulls a higher amount of CTRs. If you want your site or event to float to the top on search engine pages, investigate ‘queries’ to see if your page has the right kind of keywords to appear on search engine results, and whether your content is good enough for users to click through to your landing pages.
Looking at your average positions and the number of impressions for each type of query can be good benchmarks for you to know how much your copy is failing or succeeding. In addition to this, you can even check out which country has the most users searching for keywords that are featured on your website. This is especially beneficial to those who want to market their brands internationally. Perhaps you’d want to think about tapping into current news or trends in certain places around the world, and linking them to your services or brand, which will incorporate a wide circle or audiences. Even partnering with local websites and publications, can boost your keyword dominance online and get you more attention.
This particular data is all about tracking which social network sends you the most customers and leads them to conversions. The link to your site can be featured on various channels, but knowing which spot generates the most traffic, means that you can plan your marketing activities on that channel alone, securing a more stable pool of audiences at a time. If Facebook is the platform that is the most valuable to you, therefore Facebook can serve as a hub for your brand identity. From there you can even use the data hub activity to see if your past campaigns on various sites actually generated interactions, in the form of shares and comments.
Knowing the monetary gains of these campaigns is as powerful as discerning whether your strategies were actually successful. Were people interested enough to follow your profile, go to your website and actually buy or book something? That is the test, and if your conversion rates were plummeting as your network referrals were growing, that means that you still have to work on your website content. On the flipside if your network referrals are low in the first place, it’s time to put a killer campaign on the road!
Knowing which area of your website gets the most business is incredibly crucial. It could mean re-working your page navigations to push the more ‘useful’ or ‘successful’ pages forward and maybe dampening the ones that are burdensome and inactive. Google Analytics gives you a clear diagram about how many conversions took place, where they were secured and which source to focus on for future leverage, especially in the case of developing new promotions through Google AdWords.
Furthermore, you can even pinpoint the behavior of conversions themselves by comparing the rate and value of ‘last click or direct’ conversions, to those that were ‘assisted’. These can be discovered in the ‘assisted conversions’ tab and are important in discerning which channels drive your sales more than others and these are places where your ads should be implemented.
As implied before, tracking your data is highly influential in planning your content, as it points to knowing the performance levels of your traffic, including the financial costs or benefits. Different areas of your website requires more expenditure than others and you need to lock down what your ROI is, by using this particular data tool to perform that analysis. The best thing about the e-commerce feature is that you can store the monetary value of your product and the currency to get a more defined report on how much your marketing strategy is actually worth. The advantage of this is that you can track such information almost in real-time, rather than waiting for end of month internal reports. In addition to this, you can even pinpoint which of your products do well with different categories of audiences, whether you need to market more deals, discounts or specials, and the time that it takes for your customers to make the decision of taking up your offers, and buying the actual product. So, if your target audiences are slow to pounce on your new product, you can ramp up the marketing strategy to make your launch more exciting, and this relates to your choice of keywords.
14. Supporting Tools
With help from Google Analytics, you can strictly look at your content from different vantage points to work on the foundation of any marketing strategy. With the ‘events’ data, track how users are interacting with each and every content in a segmented manner, looking at independent reports to see what happened with each move. Besides this you can tap into the ‘content drilldown’ category of the behavior flow statistics to see which page on your website needs to be improved.
Taking a Deep Breath:
After running through the various data reports to show how your brand is performing, it is now crunch time to actually put the constant need of analyses into your routine. Of course, you can always set up a team dedicated to this portion of your business with the Google Analytics Premium feature, which will allocate a brand manager to work on ensuring that your business reaches its online marketing goals (24/7), train your team members with the latest breakthroughs in data transformations, provide you with templates for going into personal and detailed metrics for every type of consumer out there, if you’re ready to take your strategies to the highest level. On the other hand, you can try to manage things on your own with all the data lying there for you to delve into with a simple weekly checklist:
- Study your cohort analysis report
- Map out any new shifts in demographics
- Mark trends of your top affinity category profiles
- Look at the behavior of new vs returning users and their engagement levels
- Study the growth / declines of Impressions and CTR’s of SEO campaigns
- Highlight any changes in social network referrals
- Cross check developments on landing pages content
- Brainstorm new weekly campaigns on social media
- Formulate ways of seeking referrals from potential brand advocates