It starts with data. Internet data. Get it, measure it, analyze it . . . and report it.
Well, to be better, My Dear Watson. More specifically, make your website and product/company better.
Part of that improvement lies in helping to measure traditional advertising campaigns and to hone your digital marketing campaigns for optimum effectiveness.
*business research and market research*
By properly implementing Web Analytics you will have access to valuable info:
- # of visitors
- # of page views
- # length of visit
- # traffic flow
- # most popular links
- # geo location of visitors
Off-Site versus On-Site Web Analytics.
Off-Site Analytics measures potential audience (I.e. your site’s opportunity, visibility and ‘buzz’) on the Internet overall (and Off-Site Analytics is not today’s main topical focus).
Effective Use of On-Site Analytics
On-Site Analytics track and measure the site visitor’s journey from the moment they reach your website. With On-Site Analytics, you can see what works – and how well (measure ‘drivers’ and ‘conversions’);
- Define what is important to your organization.
- Set goals.
- Develop a digital marketing strategy to achieve goals. *Note: unless your organization has an endless supply of money, you will want to measure the Return On Investment (ROI) from investing in the following digital marketing channels (I will address Digital Marketing ROI in another post):
- Organic Search Engine Optimization,
- Social Media,
- Search Engine Marketing (Adwords),
- Email campaigns,
- Banner Ad placements,
- Real World components to drive Internet traffic.
- Implement On-Site Web Analytics:
- Decide what you want to measure and how you want to measure it.
- Configure Google Analytics (or other) to track all relevant assets (pages, files, pdfs, podcasts, videos, links, contact forms, etc.).
- Start a digital marketing campaign(s) (I.e. Email blast, Adwords Ads, Banner Ads, Pop-Up Ads).
- See what assets or landing pages are driving the sale – or phone call/email that leads to the sale.
- Compare this info with key performance indicators (jargon for performance measurement).
- Take the information gathered from your efforts, interpret it, adjust your organization’s digital marketing strategy accordingly.
How can your organization best apply On-Site Analytics? /UGLY BABY ALERT!/
Be prepared to learn that you have an ‘ugly baby’ for a website (and possibly an ‘ugly baby’ for a digital marketing campaign as well!). That’s okay. The whole idea here is to reach your organization’s goals. The improvement of certain aspects of your website and your digital marketing campaign will move your organization further along the path to reaching its defined goals.
Now that you have gathered Internet data on your digital marketing efforts:
- Verify the accuracy of the data. (I.e. Compare your website’s data as shown through Google Analytics, to direct analysis of the raw server logs). What is it they say? Trust, but verify.
- Ensure the validity of the reporting (ideally two reports; the first being a snapshot of data relevant to focus; the second being an overall site metrics. The combination of these two allows context and perspective).
- Interpret the data.
- LEARN from the data. (What worked? What did NOT work?)
- Identify issues, roadblocks, challenges.
- Adapt (improve strategy).
- IMPROVISE/INNOVATE (improve, change, create or eliminate) your:
- OVERCOME CHALLENGES. If you don’t fail, you can’t learn. Remember that every digital marketing campaign fails to a certain degree. Embrace the experience, dissect the elements that are lacking, and pay attention to what your audience is telling you.
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
Evolution of Web Analytics.
The definition of Web Analytics and On-Site Analytics continues to evolve, and the methods and tools used for Web Analytics continually evolve. To ensure optimum accuracy and effectiveness, your organization needs a resource (person) to be continually integrating new techniques, tools and functionality of existing tools.
Dynamic Evolution: Digital marketing continues to evolve, as does traditional advertising, the mobile web, competing platforms, emerging technology, how people connect/share and overall consumer habits. Effectively utilizing Web Analytics to measure your organization’s performance will require insight, peripheral vision within your org’s industry, anticipation of future tech, recognition of emerging trends, impact assessment and adaptability. Change is the only constant.
Joe Wooldridge is a Digital Marketing Generalist, currently working on MyJoeCard.Com in Kansas City.