To succeed in marketing and advertising, it’s no longer enough to just know marketing and advertising. You also have to be a data analyst, otherwise you miss out on all the insights you can gain from the proliferation of online data. Here’s how analytics can help your marketing efforts drive success:
Changes in Analytics
If you still think of analytics as tracking visits and page loads, think again. It’s much more than that. Take Google Analytics. In October 2012, Google released a re-imagined product called Universal Analytics. This has now replaced Google Analytics for new users, and Google is encouraging existing users to migrate. Universal Analytics is a huge step forward for marketers because of the enhanced capability at tracking the following:
- Audience demographics, which now go way beyond age and gender to include interests you can match to market segments
- User behavior
- Mobile user behavior, ranging from technology use to page load speed
Predicting Customer Behavior
But the real strength of analytics is not just in mapping what your customers and prospects already do; it’s about using that same data to figure out what they will do next so you can market to them effectively. This is called predictive analytics and it’s a significant trend in marketing. Last year, Forbes dubbed 2014 the year of digital marketing analytics, and analytics remains an important strategic focus for 2015, says Marketing Land.
To get the most from analytics, you need to make all your data play nicely together, integrating it in different ways to gain additional insight. CMO.com cites an example of linking analytics and CRM data to fine-tune marketing strategies and predict when certain customers are likely to make buying decisions. What’s even better is that much of this data crunching can be done in real time, so your marketing team can make informed decisions about next actions.
Measuring What Matters
But with so much data around, how do you decide what is going to be helpful? Neil Patel of KISSMetrics says you should measure what matters: Focus on the data that will actually move your marketing forward. As the Forbes article points out, it’s about figuring out who is taking action, what is making them take that action, and then using that data to predict future actions by other like customers. It’s a bit like looking into a crystal ball, though far more reliable.
One area that most marketers need to improve in is the data they have about mobile users. This is crucial as people increasingly use smartphones and tablets to research products and services, and complete purchases. As Manish Ahuja, VP Data Solutions, commented “The days of being restricted to valuable user data on a desktop browser cookie are past us. With consumer & household level cross screen associations by BlueCava, one can extend data on a desktop cookie confidently to other mobile devices. Also, mobile as a platform continues to remain segregated between web browser and app, so leveraging technology platforms ,like BlueCava’s Audience Association Graph, is critical to bridge between them and utilize mobile towards a more holistic marketing approach” important to know:
- Which devices your ads were viewed on
- How your audience researched your product or service
- What information they were looking for
- What their conversion path was
Overall, using analytics should help ensure the data you collect from the web, social media, CRM software and other solutions works for you by providing more information on who your customers are and predicting how they will behave. The better you use this data, the more likely you are to enjoy customer satisfaction and sales growth.