Using Data and Analytics To Optimise Your Digital Activity

So you’ve gone through the process of developing a well-structured strategy and have a clear idea of what you’re setting out to achieve with your digital marketing efforts – what’s the next step?

From understanding the impact of your digital marketing activities to anticipating business-consumer needs and demands, analytics should now take the spotlight. Keep asking yourself – why am I carrying out this particular digital task? What am I trying to achieve through it? Is it a good use of my budget? With a set of business objectives in mind, your focus should shift to tracking your progress towards these goals through analytic tools that identify success or failure.

The ‘Digital Marketing & Measurement Model’, developed by digital marketing expert Avinash Kaushnik, explains that campaigns often fail due to a lack of an objective set of measures that identify success or failure, and not due to a lack of creativity. Further, a recent study by Accenture found that “42% of CMOs believe that analytic skills will become a core competence in marketing over the next five years”. From offering insights into customer preferences to forecasting sales, understanding your analytics and bringing them to the core of your strategy will help you cut back on wasted efforts.

42% of CMOs believe that analytic skills will become a core competence in marketing over the next five years

The first step? Identify a set of key performance indicators. These will map out the effectiveness of your journey to achieving your goals. Avoid overwhelming yourself with long-term projections by breaking them down into several sub-goals that together lead to delivering your ultimate objective.

Develop A Measurement Planning Framework

As always, planning is imperative for success. The following four steps outline the stages of a planning framework to help maximise the benefits of your data:

  1. Define: align your KPIs to wider marketing objectives to determine performance goals using previous insights.
  1. Design and develop: put together a measurement plan to track and report on the defined measurement needs. The logistics of what you will track in order to measure KPIs as well as the reporting tools should also be considered at this stage.
  1. Report and analyse: whilst reports will map out all activity and give you the big picture of your “current state”, analysis of this data is where the real value lies. A thorough analysis should highlight the improvements that need to be made and suggest how these can be made.
  1. Optimise: digital gives you the ability to test, so use this to your advantage by refining your activity according to your analytic data.

Set the parameters for success by identifying targets for each KPI and pinpoint the audiences, behaviours and outcomes that need to be analysed in order to measure success. From an organisational perspective, consider whether your company has the capability to measure, report and manage data in-house and whether your data is strictly confidential? If not, there may be scope to bring on the expertise of an agency for added value.

Context Is King

Whilst all data is valuable, the focus should be on your user. Customers are increasingly dictating marketers’ actions, as connecting with them on a personal level has become more important than ever before. So, be sure to analyse your data with your customer in mind to determine how you can tailor experiences to suit their individual preferences in real-time.

Customers’ expectations are rising in the competitive landscape of digital marketing. For example, transactional emails triggered by user behaviour are opened up to 8 times more frequently than bulk promotional mail campaigns and 42% of consumers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes. With insights like this about your own target audience, you’ll be well equipped to make informed marketing decisions that can mean the difference between gaining or losing a loyal customer.

Whilst all data is valuable, the focus should be on your user

According to research by TRUSTe, 60% of people say they are more concerned about security than they were a year ago. With concerns ranging from personal information being shared with other companies to having their online behaviour tracked for curating targeted content, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince customers to share personal data. However, Adobe’s ‘State of Online Advertising’ survey found that 94% of users in the US were either neutral or had a positive perception about customisation. So how can we customise content without access to the data that facilitates customisation? That’s where contextual data comes into play. Considering location, time, devices, mode of interaction and digital behaviour instead of personal information will allow you to reap the benefits of ‘responsive’ content in a non-invasive manner.

Whether you’re page tagging, using cookies, attribution modelling, last click or post click tracking, all analytics have their limitations as they only study data in the context of where they’re being used. For example, data may allow you to identify which advert directed a user to your website, but not their specific motivation that led them to click it. In an ideal situation, both quantitative and qualitative data would be measured in tandem to build personas for effective testing and planning.

Use Your Data to Stand Out from the Crowd

Quite simply, a digital campaign cannot be managed successfully without analytics. Shift away from simply collecting data to understanding it and tracking changes on an on-going basis. Pick out the valuable insights and utilise them to shape your next move.

The analytic process will vary from business to business, however, it should always be seen as continuous, regardless of the industry or company objectives. In any case, the process should focus on frequently collating data, analysing this data and testing repeatedly in an effort to further optimise activity as best you can.

Mark Warman - Founder & Digital Consultant Administrator

With a background in design, technology and user experience, I help businesses adapt. Adapt to the changing needs and expectations of their digital audiences.