By Meg Goodman
The ability to make data-driven decisions is a powerful marketing tool that can significantly increase the value of your marketing efforts.
Knowing what you’re tracking, constantly testing, consistently measuring performance, and taking action when needed is easier said than done. But there are simple ways to maintain a keen eye on the right metrics without spending endless time interpreting data.
Here’s how to save time and make sure you’re watching the data that matters most.
Getting started: Automation is your friend.
Set goals, objectives, and events in your Google Analytics or customer relationship management (CRM) platform to save countless hours that could’ve been spent sifting through data. The beauty of these platforms is that they can do all the data crunching for you through their automatic reports feature. Doing this allows your time to be focused on interpreting trends or key insights and making your next move, rather than pulling and organizing information.
The marketing metrics you need to know.
There are myriad consumer channels and touchpoints to consider. The following metrics will help eliminate guesswork and guide your marketing dollars toward the right channels so you can get customers into the sales funnel and move them along the journey.
It’s necessary to follow each of these metrics because more than one variable is likely responsible for influencing consumers. Further, some aspects of your marketing initiatives may not impact sales or profits this year. Rather, they may strengthen brand equity and customer relationships in the long-term.
1. Micro Conversions.
Micro conversions show you what site visitors were doing before completing your end goal. That way they allow you to use the full potential of the available behavioral data. Commonly measured micro conversions include each step in the sales funnel, including:
- Read RSS feed
- Subscribe to newsletter
- Download eBook
- Set up a consultation
Micro conversions can be added to Google Analytics as an event, or by measuring each individual step in the sales process as a goal and creating a conversion funnel.
You have countless touchpoints and interactions with customers. To gain a holistic view of your marketing traction, you need to look at their first touchpoint, influencing touches, and the last touch. Breaking it down will help you more accurately see what elements of your marketing campaign are driving more customers toward your set goals.
- The first touch – The first touch tracks the touch points that led the visitor to your website for the very first time—regardless of whether they made it to the end goal.
- The last touch – This identifies the final touch point before a customer moves forward on your specific end goal. If you’re focused on driving conversions, this is an important metric to know.
- Influencing touches – The first and last touch points largely ignore all other factors that may have influenced a customer’s journey. Use Google Analytics to determine the following touches that influence the middle of the buyer’s journey:
- Last non-direct click – This ignores direct clicks and monitors the channel that a customer previously used.
- Last AdWords click – This identifies the AdWords ds that closed the most conversions.
These touch points can be automatically pulled for you in Google Analytics. Further, you can use the “Model Comparison” tool within the platform to compare the different touch points side by side.
3. Lifetime value.
The lifetime value (LTV) gives you a more accurate picture of which campaigns are resulting in the best return on investment (ROI). This metric is the net dollar amount a customer contributes over their life as a customer. It’s important to follow because some campaigns may initially seem the most fruitful, but after paying attention to this metric you might find that it actually generates the lowest ROI. Without knowing the LTV, you could be putting your marketing dollars in the wrong channels.
In Google Analytics, the LTV report can be found under the “Audience” tab and then “Lifetime Value.”
What about social media?
Since social media is likely not the “last touch,” but may strongly influence a customer, it’s imperative to move beyond the vanity metrics and relate your social media data to real business outcomes. This will help demonstrate how social marketing dollars are helping move customers along the decision journey. For example:
- Traffic can be connected to revenue or lead generation, establishing autonomy and conversions.
- Follower growth can be connected to brand loyalty, brand awareness and customer growth.
- Engagement can be connected to brand loyalty, brand awareness, and audience growth.
- Reach or impressions can be connected to brand awareness, establishing authority, and audience growth.
- Conversions can be connected to revenue, lead generation, and customer growth.
With the first quarter coming to a close, it’s time to begin evaluating your marketing performance to determine what areas have been most successful and should be budgeted for in the upcoming year. Establishing a solid foundation of tracking and measuring data can be instrumental in taking out the guesswork and placing your designated dollars on the right tactics that will drive real, measureable results.
Meg Goodman is the Managing Director of relationship marketing agency Jacobs & Clevenger. She has brought measurable, data-driven results to a variety of major financial institutions. When she’s not riding her motorcycle, you can connect with Meg on LinkedIn or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.