How do you track the progress of your digital marketing efforts? What tools do you use?
WordPress dashboard statistics don’t give you anywhere near enough detail to gain insights on how people find, use, and leave your website.
‘Analytics’ seems to be an intimidating topic for some so I’ve written this short post to introduce some easy-to-use and relatively cheap or free tools you might consider.
Don’t think that analytics means expensive tools spewing out spreadsheets that need complicated formulas and data manipulation to make any sense of. Those are the worst kind of analytics solutions. You need to make sure every tool that you use provides actionable information or else there’s little point to it.
There are three main areas of analytics reporting that I think every organisation needs to cover in order to assess the impact of their digital marketing efforts.
This is the bread-and-butter of the analytics toolkit. You install the appropriate code on your site and you’ll soon see how people navigate around.
Among other things, you’ll be able to track what people click on, how long they spend on specific pages, and where they abandon your website. You’ll also be able to segment this data to see how different types of visitor use your website (i.e. users from Facebook, users from Denmark, users on a mobile device).
This type of information is easy to collect and provides actionable information on how you can improve your website as well as your digital marketing outreach efforts.
User Experience Evaluation
In my experience of working with small businesses qualitative analytics are chronically underutilised. Yes, quantitative data permits you to listen at scale, but you also need to appreciate that there’s no such thing as the average user.
Numbers tend to encourage thinking about the ‘average’ user, but how do real people – living, breathing individuals – use your site? This is the type of data that you need to make sure your website is easy to use and that people can actually make sense of the online experience your website offers.
Every person that comes to your website has a different purpose, and you need to understand how your website works for everyone, not just how you think your website is used.
Social Media Analytics
Social media is a difficult beast. ‘Engagement’ – likes, favourites, etc. – is often used as a measurement of success but you also need to track this engagement back to your overall business goals.
Having loads of buzz on twitter doesn’t necessarily equate to business success (see Pepsi on the Ad Contrarian). I’d rather have less engagement but with a higher conversion rate for a given social media campaign.
There are loads of analytics options for social media. But be sure you make sense of the stats as they relate to your actual business goals. Unless you’re a massive global business, you probably can’t afford to throw away money on social media.
Use social media analytics to track where you should devote your precious resources of time and money. Where does the data suggest is the best place to build your brand online?
If there’s one thing to take away from this post it’s to think about the business goals you’re trying to achieve when choosing analytics tools. Your digital strategy and content plan need to be geared towards converting visitors on your website to customers of your business. (You have a content plan, right?!).
Are you measuring the impact of these efforts at each step of the way? If not, you should research the tools that allow you to do this. Otherwise, there’s no certainty that the time and effort you’ve expended on these tasks is worth it.
There’s really no reason not to assess the impact of your marketing anymore; the tools I’ve listed above aren’t expensive and are easy to implement. If you’re investing time and money into growing your business online, you should make sure that you know what the true business impact is.