Leading digital analytics experts share how to effectively use data and analytics

The number of data sources that are available is growing every day. For some of us this might be a good thing, but for many digital marketers it brings up a lot of challenges to deal with. This report, Broken Links: Why analytics investments have yet to pay off, from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and global sales and marketing firm ZS, shows that there is still a long way to go. 70% of business executives say sales and marketing analytics is already very or even ìextremely important. This in contrast to 2% that say they have achieved broad, positive impact. The question is, how can you most effectively use data and analytics to your business' advantage?

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Use tools that predict conversations before they happen — then leverage the information to create meaningful conversations

It’s becoming clear that the future of marketing will be built around conversations. Technology, after all, has made everything somewhat social. But with the all-powerful consumer controlling conversations, how do brands get a word in edgewise? The answer can be summed up in one word: analytics. There’s an expectation that your brand, like every other brand, has gathered enough information about your customers that you not only know who they are and what they need but also how to speak to them — and in a way, they like to be spoken to, no less. But many brands miss the mark. Instead of using analytics to learn, experiment, and develop all aspects of business, they get wrapped up in measuring the minutiae. They view analytics as just a means to discuss performance, which can cause them to…

5 tools for assessing your online competitors

Site audience comparison tools provide marketers with industry and competitor intelligence to help inform decisions (e.g. new markets, new content strategies). Some of these tools also provide powerful segmentation capabilities. Typically, they do this either by aggregating Internet Service Provider data, panel data or a mixture of the two. Whether you’re launching a new product, entering a new market or wishing to understand what’s driving competitor growth, these tools can provide the relevant information to help inform key decisions. They’re often used to support business cases, helping to identify opportunities and threats in the competitor landscape. So if you are looking to map your competition, build a case for a new product line or more investment in your website, these tools can be extremely useful.

Key things to consider before purchasing and when using these tools:

Chart of the Day: The most popular methods for measuring marketing performance

Marketing effectiveness has always been tricky to measure. Digital marketing isn't short on analytics, but there are so many different analytics tools and types of data that it can be highly confusing. One of the major issues is knowing which metrics to weigh higher than others when there are so many available. A recent report from Trackmaven shows that marketers rank measuring content performance as the most important measure of marketing performance. This is followed by social media analytics and channel performance. These are valuable concepts, but are they really the most important metrics? I worry marketers are confusing important with measurable. It's relatively easy to measure social analytics or using Google analytics to report on content performance. But does that really mean your marketing efforts are doing what they're meant to - sell more of your products. …

How marketers are using analytics wrong and how to fix it

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools for marketing analytics. However, it is also one of the most underutilized tools - the amount of data and information it provides can be overwhelming, and users often have to spend hours tweaking their segments before finding any use in their data. To solve this problem, we set out to build a data science algorithm that turns that data into actionable insights. We thought it’d be a straightforward task. We had no idea about rabbit hole it would lead us to, the nuances we would have to factor in, and how working with hundreds of brands and agencies would allow us to see that it’s not only a data problem, but also a psychological one. Marketers are human. Our views are biased, our thoughts have fallacies, and our teams have constraints. Coupled with only…

How to bridge the advanced analytics knowledge gap

Today's marketing industry is becoming more metrics-driven by the day. If you're a marketer setting up a digital marketing campaign, one of your first major steps involves building a solid marketing strategy (see our toolkit that helps you do this), while becoming familiar with Google Analytics is a typical next step (see our GA toolkit). But once you get your web strategy going and feel more comfortable with Google Analytics, you might notice that your day-to-day work demands a deeper understanding of user intentions, preferences, and usage patterns. You might begin to ask questions about your users that are more difficult to answer, such as which paths users take on your website, how to do advanced segmentation, how to correlate data outside of Google Analytics, and so on. Marketers today are awash in customer data.  Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where…

Chart of the day: Marketers aim to measure video and other digital media performance with cost per acquisition

Most use site traffic and ROI to measure performance, but marketers expect to continue to use site traffic, ROI and also use cost per acquisition. Only half of marketers measure using ROI, which means there is a heavy reliance on using site traffic as the main measurement. Overall there is a lack of ROI measurement and sales lift per ad dollar spent is also low at just 3 in 10 using this method, with 4 in 10 expecting to use it within the next 2-3 years. Measurement is often an after-thought and doesn't get the resources required to use advanced metrics such as calculating ROI, and therefore relies on cruder metrics such as site traffic. This is a false economy,…

Our new guide shows you how to set up and optimise your tag management system

Today, marketers have a wealth of potential tools to manage their digital marketing as shown by the Smart Insights infographic wheel of digital marketing technologies organised around the RACE planning framework. Yet this presents a challenge, since the number of tags on any one web page has increased, in some extreme cases into double-digits, the need for a more effective way to manage them has emerged. This amazing array of tools and products will generally have one thing in common –they all need to be installed using a JavaScript tag, a simple pixel, or most likely both. A Tag Management System is a method of replacing a multitude of tags with a single tag that effectively acts as a beacon for all. The system has come about through the innovation of such tools and products and the need to quickly…

Leverage the power of the cloud to achieve better insights

The era of the cloud is in full swing. Cloud-based analytic platforms are driving automation and improving the predictive accuracy of marketing programs across all sorts of industries. With these platforms at their disposal, marketers can solve some of the key challenges that have daunted them for years, like connecting data, reporting, gathering insights, making decisions, and optimizing marketing programs.

In 2015, Gartner removed big data as an emerging technology trend, citing the fact that it has become prevalent in our lives and hence is no longer an emerging trend. Yet, McKinsey claims that less than 30 percent of the data’s value is being captured across industries. Big data’s applications will only grow as its true potential has yet to be fully tapped.

Making Decisions at the Speed of Business

Shifting to the cloud isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. It…

Use our new Digital Marketing metrics Google Docs reporting Spreadsheet to see your key marketing metrics at a glance

For Marketing, Digital marketing or e-commerce managers, the first week of the month is always a frantic one launching new campaigns, monthly dashboard reviews and on top of that you need to report the performance of your marketing to the internal stakeholders (the boss). Hopefully, it's a good news story, but if it isn’t, that just adds to the workload, identifying what went wrong and putting plans in place to turn things around. This is where you need to practice the art of analytics, to quickly create a report or dashboard with a subset of key metrics covering all marketing activities in an easy to understand format for rapid review and recommendations for upcoming activities? But how do you create a dashboard for reviewing digital marketing performance to compare different…

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