How to Merge Digital Marketing and Data Analytics in Your Business

Understanding how your projects are performing is crucial for the future of your business – after all, when you don’t know the full story, how can your organization grow? For example, when you look at a field like digital marketing, you often find that many marketers do not take advantage of complete data analysis strategies. While it may not seem obvious, digital marketers could drastically benefit from data analytics because when used together, a clear picture can be seen. 
If you’re in a field that depends on digital marketing and would like to make sure you’re bringing the best data out of your projects, here’s a quick look at some strategic approaches that can help you measure and improve for the remainder of 2015. The following advice applies whether it’s upgrading your own expertise, adding strategically to your freelance stable, or refining your content planning skills.
Tracking data that matters
The founder of CrazyEgg and KISSMetrics, Neil Patel, has a very candid philosophy on data analytics and collection: measure only what matters. While using data, it’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics, which are metrics that generally make you feel good and might even give you some idea of what’s happening. However, they are not really suggestive of what’s happening to your business. Examples of vanity metrics include:
  • Visits to your site
  • Page views
  • Bounce rate
  • Time spent on your site
  • Followers on social media
  • Number of newsletter/email subscribers
Seeing progress in these numbers over time can be a valuable trend, but most of the time, you should be looking for the kinds of metrics that show one thing: action. Useful data tracking comes down to evaluating the following:
  • Who is visiting your site, and what are those people doing once they get there?
  • Who is converting?
  • What conversions are deepening relationships with you?
  • What conversions are driving actual revenue?
  • What channels are driving buying customers?
  • Who is buying multiple times?
  • What’s your lifetime customer value?
  • What are your churn rates?
Any solid analytics plan will try to answer the above questions, take your business model into consideration, and develop a set of metrics that maps to your exclusive needs and buying funnel.
Treat data as a strategic asset
Digital marketers are all too aware of the data explosion taking place these days, and the enormous talent and hiring gap in the data analytics space. An important pain point is the fact that data became “big data” almost overnight, and most CMOs feel underprepared to deal with it. In fact, a CEB study of nearly 800 marketers found the vast majority still relied upon their intuition in making decisions. 
Interestingly, data was most often last on their list of dynamics for decision making. Data is a strategic asset in digital marketing for many reasons, but far and away the most critical reason is that it can provide customer insight — insight that enables businesses to develop closer relationships with their consumers. It promotes the personalization of business messaging, which in turn can enhance customer trust and loyalty.
Focus on measurement
Digital marketing accommodates the measurement of marketing performance. Data trails from consumer activity can be analyzed to determine campaign return on investment (ROI), and that analysis can be immediately used to adjust and optimize a campaign if necessary.
Nothing will assist the expansion of big data driven marketing like the availability of solid ROI information. A commitment to incessant performance measurement is as essential as declaring data to be a strategic asset. The methods and dimensions now evolving for measuring the performance of digital marketing will be another significant, but permanent, change in marketing culture.
If your organization is one of the many that’s struggling with a gap in analytical capacity and insights, it’s time to have an honest internal conversation about which data gaps can dramatically improve your business and your outcomes. Start by evaluating your current data state, what metrics you should be tracking, and what cultural influence adding data to your process is likely to have down the road. While this calls for a little patience and more focus on insights, you’ll be ready to take a deeper dive into understanding different analytical resources and technologies available to you.
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By Mohit Jain
About the Author:

Mohit Jain is an Analyst at Stratigent 

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