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Fundamentals of marketing analytics that everyone should know

December 8, 2022

How does Expedia determine the hotel price to quote to site users? How come Mac users end up spending as much as 30 percent more per night on hotels? Digital marketing analytics, a torrent flowing into all the corners of the global economy has revolutionized marketing efforts, so much so, that resetting it all together. It is safe to say that marketing analytics is the science behind persuasion.

Marketers can learn so much about the users, their likes, dislikes, goals, inspirations, drop-off points, inspirations, needs, and demands. This wealth of information is a gold mine but only for those who know how to use it. In fact, one of the top questions that marketing managers struggle with is


“Which metrics to track?” 


Furthermore, several platforms report on marketing, such as email marketing software, paid search advertising platforms, social media monitoring tools, blogging platforms, and web analytics packages. It is a marketer’s nightmare to be buried under sets of reports from different platforms while tracking a campaign all the way to conversion.

Definitely, there are smarter ways to track. But before we take a deep dive into how to track smartly, let me clarify why you should be investing half the time measuring while doing:

  • To identify what’s working
  • To identify what’s not working
  • Identify strategies to improve
  • Do more of what works

To gain a trustworthy answer to the aforementioned, you must: measure everything. While you attempt at it, arm yourself with the lexicon of marketing analytics to form statements that communicate results, for example:


“Twitter mobile drove 40% of all clicks this week on the corporate website” 

Every statement that you form to communicate analytics must state the source, segment, value, metric, and range. Let us break down the above example:

  • Source: Twitter
  • Segment: Mobile
  • Value: 40%
  • Metric: Clicks
  • Range: This week

To be able to report such glossy statements, you will need to get your hands dirty. You can either take a campaign-based approach or a goals-based approach.


Campaign-based approach to marketing analytics


In a campaign-based approach, you measure the impact of every campaign, for example, if you have social media platforms, blogs, and emails trying to get users to sign up for an e-learning course, this approach will enable you to get insight into each.

In this approach we will discuss the following in detail:

  1. Measure the impact on the website
  2. Measure the impact of SEO
  3. Measure the impact of paid search advertising
  4. Measure the impact of blogging efforts
  5. Measure the impact of social media marketing
  6. Measure the impact of e-mail marketing

Measure the impact on the website


  • Unique visitors

How to use: Unique visitors account for a fresh set of eyes on your site.  If the number of unique visitors is not rising, then it is a clear indication to reassess marketing tactics.


  • Repeat visitors

How to use: If you have visitors revisiting your site or a landing page, it is a clear indication that your site sticks or offers content people want to return to. But if your repeat visitor rate is high then it is indicative of your content not gauging new audiences.


  • Sources

How to use: Sources are of three types: organic, direct, and referrals. Learning about your traffic sources will give you clarity on your SEO performance. Also, it can help you find answers to questions like what is the percentage of organic traffic of total traffic?


  • Referrals

How to use: This is when the traffic arriving on your site is from another website. Aim for referrals to deliver 20-30% of your total traffic. Referrals can help you identify the types of sites or bloggers that are linking to your site and the type of content they tend to share. This information can be fed back into your SEO strategy, and help you produce relevant content that generates inbound links.


  • Bounce rate

How to use: High bounce rate indicates trouble. Maybe the content is not relevant, or the pages are not compelling enough. Perhaps the experience is not user-friendly. Or the call-to-action buttons are too confusing? A high bounce rate reflects problems, and the reasons can be many.


Measure the impact of SEO 

Similarly, you can measure the impact of SEO using the following metrics:


  • Keyword performance and rankings:

How to use: You can use tools like Google AdWords to identify keywords that optimize your website. Check if the chosen keywords are driving traffic to your site or if they are improving your site’s keywords.


  • Total traffic from organic search:

How to use: This metric is a mirror of how relevant your content is. Low traffic from the organic search may mean it is time to ramp up content creation – videos, blogs, webinars or expand into newer areas, such as e-books and podcasts that can be ranked higher by search engines.

Measure the impact of paid search advertising

Likewise, it is equally important to measure the impact of your paid search, also known as pay per click (PPC), in which you pay for every click that is generated by paid search advertising. How much are you spending in total? Are those clicks turning into leads? How much profit are you generating from this spend? Some of the following metrics can help you clarify:


  • Click through rate:

How to use: This metric helps you determine the quality of your ad. Is it effective enough to prompt a click? Test different copy treatments, headlines, and URLs to figure out the combination that boosts the CTR for a specific term.


  • Average cost per click:

How to use: Cost per click determines the amount you spend for each click on a paid search ad. Combine this conversion rate and earnings from the clicks.


  • Conversion rate:

How to use: Is conversion always a purchase? No! Each time a user takes the action you want them to do on your site, such as clicking on a button, signing up for a form, or subscribing, it is accounted as a conversion.


Measure the impact of blogging efforts 

Going beyond the website and SEO metrics, you can also measure the impact of your blogging efforts. Since a considerable amount of organizational resources is invested in creating blogs that can develop backlinks to the website. Some of the metrics that can get you clarity on whether you are generating relevant content:

  • Post Views
  • Call to action performance
  • Blog leads

Measure the impact of social media marketing

 Very well-known and quite widely implemented are the strategies to measure social media marketing. Especially now, as the e-commerce industry is expanding, social media can make or break your image online. Some of the commonly measured metrics are:

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Mentions to assess the brand perception
  • Traffic
  • Conversion rate


Measure the impact of e-mail marketing

Quite often, the marketing strategy runs on the crutches of e-mail. E-mails are a good place to start visibility efforts and can be very important in maintaining a sustainable relationship with your existing customer base. Some of the metrics that can help you clarify if your emails are working their magic or not are:

  • Bounce rate
  • Delivery rate
  • Click through rate
  • Share/forwarding rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Frequency of emails sent

Goals-based approach

A goals-based approach is defined based on what you’re trying to achieve by a particular campaign. Are you trying to acquire new customers? Or build a loyal customer base, increase engagement, and improve conversion rate? Here are a few examples:

In this approach we will discuss the following in detail:

  • Audience analysis
  • Acquisition analysis
  • Behavioral analysis
  • Conversion analysis
  • A/B testing

 Audience analysis:

The goal is to know:


“Who are your customers?” 


Audience analysis is a measure that helps you gain clarity on who your customers are. The information can include demographics, location, income, age, and so forth. The following set of metrics can help you know your customers better.


  • Unique visitors
  • Lead score

  • Cookies

  • Segment

  • Label

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Properties

  • Taxonomy

Acquisition analysis:


The goal is to know:


“How do customers get to your website?” 


Acquisition analysis helps you understand which channel delivers the most traffic to your site or application. Comparing incoming visitors from different channels helps determine the efficacy of your SEO efforts on organic search traffic and see how well your email campaigns are running. Some of the metrics that can help you are:


  • Omnichannel

  • Funnel

  • Impressions

  • Sources

  • UTM parameters 

  • Tracking URL

  • Direct traffic

  • Referrers

  • Retargeting

  • Attribution

  • Behavioral targeting

Behavioral analysis:

 The goal is to know:


“What do the users do on your website?” 


Behavior analytics explains what customers do on your website. What pages do they visit? Which device do they use? From where do they enter the site? What makes them stay? How long do they stay? Where on the site did, they drop off? Some of the metrics that can help you gain clarity are:

  • Actions

  • Sessions

  • Engagement rate

  • Events

  • Churn

  • Bounce rate

Conversion analysis

The goal is to know:


“Whether customers take actions that you want them to take?” 


Conversions track whether customers take actions that you want them to take. This typically involves defining funnels for important actions — such as purchases — to see how well the site encourages these actions over time. Metrics that can help you gain more clarity are:

  • Conversion rate

  • Revenue report

A/B testing:

The goal is to know:


“What digital assets are likely to be the most effective for higher conversion?” 


A/B testing enables marketers to experiment with different digital options to identify which ones are likely to be the most effective. For example, they can compare one intervention (A Control Group) to another intervention (B). Companies run A/B experiments regularly to learn what works best.

In this article, we discussed what marketing analytics is, its importance, two approaches that marketers can take to report metrics and the marketing lingo they can use while reporting results. Pick the one that addresses your business needs and helps you get clarity on your marketing efforts. This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible metrics that can be used to measure.

Of course, there are more! But this can be a good starting point until the marketing efforts expand into a larger effort that has additional areas that need to be tracked.


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