What You Want to Know Will Dictate What You Measure

Google Analytics Hacks

Google Analytics Hacks (Photo credit: Search Engine People Blog)

With so much data, it’s so easy to get caught up in all the numbers. Looking at the wrong numbers will result in faulty analysis and recommendations — you may fix things that aren’t broken, or not fix things that are. Or you may think you have the right solution to a problem, but not even be looking in the right place. While it may seem obvious, taking a step back to understand what you want to know first will help you choose the right measurements.

Step 1: State What You Want To Know

The first step is to state what it is you want to know — without using any measurements or metrics at all. For example, if a website has several links to its Careers page on the homepage, ‘We want to know what place on the homepage is sending the most traffic to our Careers page’. This is quite different from ‘We want to know where the most traffic is coming from that enters the site on our Careers page’. One is about the design of the homepage and the marketing there — the other is about external marketing efforts to the Careers page. We’re going to stick with the first for our example…

Step 2: Refine Your Data Needs

Now that we understand what we want to know, we can further refine our data needs to see if we have the right measurement in place. When we look at the homepage, we can see that there are actually 4 places that someone could click through to the Careers page: 1) Menu at the top of the page 2) Linked text in the middle of the page 3) Ad box in the sidebar 4) Menu in the footer of the page. Ok, so now we know there are 4 possible links a visitor could click, so in order to answer our ‘what we want to know’ question, we have to be able to tell the difference between each of these 4 links.

Step 3: Know Your Technologies

Unfortunately, the next step is fairly technical. In order to know if you can distinguish between the 4 links, you need to know 1) how your analytics package collects data and 2) how the links have been coded. In the case of Google Analytics, it treats all data that goes from one page to another as the same, if the links are the same (with a caveat explained in a second). This means that to Google Analytics, it can’t distinguish between the 4 links on the homepage in terms of how much traffic each sent to the Careers page. But there is hope… Google analytics allows you to add tags to links that can help you distinguish where traffic is coming from to the same web page. Which means that if the links were coded with these tags, the data will already be available. And if not, it can be if they are added. Other analytics tools may collect data differently and your content management system (CMS) can also impact how this works.

Step 4: Zero In on the Right Information

So now that we know what we’re trying to measure, what data refinements we need, and how our web technologies work, we can zero in on the right information in our analytics tool. In Google analytics, we’d look for traffic to the Careers page from each of the 4 tags on the homepage to provide information about what place on the homepage is sending the most traffic.

Good Measurement is In the Details

While this may seem complex, the first step — knowing what you want to know — is really vital for communicating your measurement needs to those that may help provide you with the metrics. Without this refinement, you may get back the wrong metrics, or your technologies may not be setup properly to provide them in the first place.

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Getting Caught Up in The Wrong Numbers

Numbers

Numbers (Photo credit: RichardBowen)

Numbers, Numbers everywhere! With every social network we sign up for, and every online service we subscribe to, we’re given numbers measuring everything from followers to likes to page views.  It’s so easy to get caught up in all these numbers and to start to try to make them bigger and better.  Bigger is better, right? While internet marketing does provide fairly easy measurement tactics, it’s vital to focus on the numbers that are important to your business and its goals.

Tie Measurements to Goals

Numbers that aren’t directly tied to goals are nice, but may obscure focus from what’s really important.  Look for measurements that will allow you to directly understand how you’re doing on your way to your goals.  Secondary measurements that help you understand what tactics are working, and how are also important.  These measurements, primary and secondary key performance indicators, are what you should focus on improving.

Measure with Value

Measurements need to help you understand how your business is doing.  Look for measurements tied to your goals that provide value in understanding how you’re doing — how each tactic is working and how it can be improved. Valuable measurements tend to also be easy to understand, but there are measurement tactics that do need more analysis to be valuable. The key is to do whatever number crunching or analysis needs to be done to make a measurement valuable — otherwise it’s just a number.

Measure to Drive Action

Measurement without action is useless. Measurements need to be analyzed to provide insights that can be acted upon. A good metrics will help you understand how your tactics are doing and what you should improve. It may take analysis to get to the point of actionable insights, but if a number doesn’t provide any insights, it’s not the right number.

Continuous Measurement for Improvement

Just like marketing and sales, measurement is something that has to be done constantly to be valuable to the business.  If you just look at some numbers every quarter, it’s hard to know if what you’re doing is helping you achieve your goals.  While it’s not necessary for most companies to measure daily, regularly measure and analyze to provide recommended actions for your business to take to improve performance.

How do you measure success for your internet marketing?

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Social Media ROI is Always a Number

Numbers

Numbers (Photo credit: RichardBowen)

Wishy-washy marketers may try to tell you that Social Media ROI doesn’t matter, or that it’s about the conversation, or some quirky statement asking how you measure a phone call.  But ROI of any marketing does matter, especially to decision makers (whether your boss or your client).  People want and need to know how well any particular marketing tactic is working, so they can make decisions about what to improve and on what to spend money. Nichole Kelly has a great article over on Social Media Explorer about how to apply ROI to social media:

So how do we fix it?  We’re going to have to accept our reality that we need to be able to tie social media to an impact on customer acquisition. Sure you can tout customer service savings and other types of cost based results, but you’re going to have to bring a huge volume of conversations for that savings to really mean something to the leadership team. But the minute you start generating leads and adding new customers with a reasonable volume at at a reasonable cost, ears start to perk up.  Social Media ROI is Nothing But A Numbers Game by Nichole Kelly

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Data-Driven Customer Experience as a Competitive Advantage

ETMS

ETMS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Companies are always looking for competitive advantages — what can make them stand out against their competitors.  Using data and analytics to drive customer experience improvements can be a long-haul competitive advantage — increasing conversions and repeat business. While some data analysis can be complex, there are a number of metrics that a business can look at to see basics like where website traffic is coming from and where people get stuck during the conversion/sales process.  Econsultancy has a great roundup of why data-driven customer experience is important and what to look for:

Great customer experience is one of the hardest things for your competitors to copy.

A strategy of continuous improvement can offer clear differentiation from competitors.

However, it’s only when we measure what customers are actually seeing and doing when they are interacting with our digital channels, that we can understand where they might have issues or unmet needs.

Rather than theorise about potential problems or rely on closely monitoring small samples of test users, we need to let the data lead us to areas of concern. — Data-driven customer experience is tough to copy by Geoff Galat

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Five Free Tools for Startups to Measure Impact of Online Videos

Video camera in action.

Video camera in action. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a lot of fancy tools which are being used by experts to track the progress of their video marketing campaigns. Most of these tools are very costly (but worth the price!), but are an investment you don’t really need yet. If you are a startup company and would like to limit the expenses of your video marketing campaign, you can use the tools below to measure how your videos do online.

Youtube Video Analytics

Youtube has a very detailed reporting tool on measuring the performance of your videos. You can track the views of your video, the people who comment on your video (since Google+ comment integration), the engagement with your audience, playtime, audience retention,  and etc. Youtube Video Analytics can even track videos which are embedded to a website or a blog. The engagement report is also another treat for marketers. Youtube is not only a video repository, it is also a social media platform. Thus, it is a platform that any marketer wouldn’t dare ignore.

Vimeo

Vimeo offers a very simple tool for tracking the views of your videos. There is a premium tracking tool with more measurements, but if you just want number of views, the free tool is fine.  When considering choosing between Vimeo and Youtube, I suggest that you give both a try. However, Youtube and Vimeo each cater to unique set of audiences. Vimeo users focus on creating creative shorts. Youtube is a social media platform and has a very powerful mob rule. The Youtubers are interested more in the entertainment value while Vimeo video watchers are more interested in creative and aesthetic content. Study your audience and determine which platform they use the most.

Bit.ly

Most of marketers post their videos on social media platforms and forum sites. To measure the click rate of your social media headlines and post, you can use Bit.ly. Bit.ly also has a very simple yet useful analytics. You can track what time a person clicked your url, their location, and date. This will help in identifying your audience.

Sharedcount.com

Sharedcount.com is one of the most exciting free tools to measure your campaign. Why? It gives you clear figures on how your videos do on social media sites. That includes Facebook likes, Facebook shares, Facebook comments, tweets, Google+ 1s, Diggs, Pins, LinkedIn shares, Delicious bookmark, StumbleUpon counts, and Reddit bookmarks. It can also track your Youtube views, like, dislike, and even the number of Youtube comments. This tool can clearly outline the progress of your social media campaign using your video. You can track as many as 50,000 links per day.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics does more than just track the pageviews that you have.  If you’re wondering if your audience does watch your Youtube embedded videos on your website, you can use GA to track the activity of your audience. Here’s a guide on how to do Youtube tracking on your website.

 Online Video Measurement Tools

By maximizing the use of these tools, you won’t need to spend any premium account on other tracking services. Measuring the performance of your videos online is important to have a clear idea on how you can improve your campaign. As a startup business, aim for measurable, actionable, and definite measures in developing your marketing campaigns.

Author Bio:

David Jenyns is an internet-marketing expert an amazing team that can offer valuable video marketing content for your business. You can check out his website  Melbourne Video Production for more information. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Why Phone Calls Are Important to Email Marketing Metrics

English: This is an example of the angst cause...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The point of marketing is to get the sale.  Marketing often crosses channels — people will see a tv ad, and then check out a website — or see something on Facebook and decide to stop into a store.  The same is true of email marketing — it often drives phone calls.  These phone calls are often very high quality leads and so should be attributed as a success metric for the email marketing that generated them.  Marketo has a great article with more detail on why phone calls are important and what metrics to look at…

Inbound phone leads are different. A 2012 BIA Kelsey Group study found that inbound callers are 10 times more likely to make a purchase than leads that simply clicked a link. That’s because leads that call you are most often further along in the buying process and ready to engage with a sales rep. So even if your email campaigns only generate a low volume of inbound calls compared to clicks and downloads, the calls are the leads that most often translate to revenue. Therefore, these leads are the ones marketers most need to track.

Failing to account for the sales pipeline and revenue from these inbound calls does a big disservice to your email campaigns. This practice also falsely deflates the ROI metrics you present to your executive team. Why You Should Include Phone Calls in Your Email Performance Metrics by Blair Symes

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Business Intelligence Trends for 2014

A segment of a social network

A segment of a social network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business Intelligence is rapidly evolving.  There’s so much data, especially on social networks, that there’s almost too much (almost).  Figuring out how to use, analyze and leverage all the data better and faster than competitors is going to be key.  Knowing how to use business intelligence as a competitive tool is obvious.  Understanding how competitors are using it, and how their methods are evolving will help a business stay ahead of the curve. Tableau Software has a great presentation on the Top Trends in Business Intelligence for 2014.

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F=MA for Content Acceleration

Ever wonder how to measure the effects of the type of content on how well it performs?  F=MA (force = mass x acceleration) may be a physics equation, but it also applies to content.

Newton's 1st Law of Motion - Dynamics

Smaller pieces of content have less “mass” and therefore it takes less effort to get them going.  This also makes sense from an intuitive point of view.  A tweet is much easier to share than a 2 hour video.  Which isn’t to say that the 2 hour video may not be important to your content strategy, but it may take a lot more effort for it to get the audience reach to return on the investment. Steve Kerho has more in his article over on Fast Company:

A four-minute video has significantly more mass than a 30-second video. An email with an embedded video, four articles, and eight links has more density than an email with two articles and three links. We can add various meta-data descriptors to boost SEO performance and sharpen content mapping. That’s not to say more “mass” or “density” makes for better-performing content. Content relevance is what determines success.

Performance attributes require an understanding of the number of exposures, shares, and other engagement measures. We can calculate the acceleration of a piece of content because of how we defined our descriptive attributes. Content-acceleration measurement provides unique insights into how quickly content spreads. To calculate content acceleration, apply this formula: Force = Mass x Acceleration. HOW YOUR BRAND CAN CREATE, TRACK, AND LEARN TO LOVE BIG CONTENT by Steve Kerho

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Determining Success on Facebook

There’s a great article over on Duct Tape Marketing today about metrics to use to determine success on Facebook:

Feeling a bit lost with your Facebook Page insights? Good. Facebook Insights terminology  was not built for humans, and now that we know you are not a killer robot from Mars, we’ll help you measure your Facebook Page’s performance without drowning in all that robotic Martian muck. The 6 Metrics That Determine Your Success On Facebook by Emeric Ernoult

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

These are good metrics to understand.  The key to determining your particular success on Facebook is to understand what you’re trying to accomplish there (you may have many different goals).  Then pick one main metric for each goal to help you understand how you’re doing.  Numbers can become overwhelming, but associating a number with a goal can help you gauge what’s working and what’s not so that you can improve.  Lastly, it helps to think of all marketing in terms of continuous improvement — try something, see how it works, figure out how to improve and repeat!

How do you determine your success on Facebook?

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Big Data is the Next Gold Mine

CloudsCloud services and software as a service are flourishing.  IT departments are freed from having to support hardware and software infrastructure, and users get the latest software updates. But the backend of these types of services is the data that they are able to collect.  By being able to view a spectrum of users across many different industries and uses, many companies are able to collect valuable marketing data that is not directly related to the services they are providing.  The use of this data may be helpful for individuals as companies are able to leverage it to make a better match between want and need. The value of this information to marketers is clear.  Will companies and individuals be willing to contribute to this type of data collection, especially when most are blissfully unaware?  Time will tell.

The other reason is that the big part of big data really is important if you want to get a really clear picture of what’s happening in any given space. While no single end-user company can (or likely would) address search-engine optimization, for example, by building a massive store comprised of data from hundreds or thousands of companies as well as the entire web, a cloud service dedicated to that specific task can. This is why big data is the sweet spot for SaaS by Derrick Harris