One of the greatest challenges for businesses is to identify practical, yet tactical steps to take to achieve their website’s business objectives. I believe digital marketers have become more aware of the importance of measurement but deciding on the right marketing activities that match their business objective can become a challenge.
In most marketing departments, there’s no shortage of ideas. We’re marketers, after all. Successful marketers are successful for one reason: their ability to execute on those ideas.
But first, before embarking on an ambitious digital marketing plan, you want to ask yourself and the company stakeholders, “Why are we doing this?” Why does this specific campaign exist?
When launching Raven’s new Google Analytics reporting interface, we asked ourselves those questions. From there, our objectives were straightforward:
- Create awareness
- Generate leads
We started brainstorming the digital assets we, as a small team, could conceivably create to get the word out. Here’s our initial list:
- Blog series
- Online training
- Social outreach
- Knowledge base
- Email campaign
- Video mini tutorials
- Google Adwords campaign
- Repurpose content to slide deck
- Google Analytics forum participation
- Cross promote to sister website, GAConfig.com
Did we accomplish all of the above? No.
Identifying our primary objectives was the easy part; establishing realistic expectations required an honest appraisal of our internal resources, however.
4 Questions To Ask Before Launching Any Digital Effort
These are the four questions we asked and answered to determine if the above tactics were practical and met our business objectives.
Question No. 1
Is this activity (or activities) doable? Did we have the resources and/or budget to accomplish our goal?
Question No. 2
Is this activity understandable to our team? Does everyone know why we’re attempting this activity?
Question No. 3
Is this activity manageable? Creating a timeline and marketing calendar helped us answer this question. It became clear quickly that some of the above items would need to be dropped simply due to time and/or budget constraints.
Question No. 4
Is this activity beneficial? Sounds obvious, but sometimes a pet project sneaks in because it sounds cool. We wanted to be sure we were delivering value to our customers, prospects and Raven. Can you guess which tactic we nixed?
Following is a bird’s eye view (pun intended) of how the new Google Analytics metrics was able to inform Raven’s own marketing strategy. Yes, we actually use our own software to market ourselves.
Drilling Down To Gain Actionable Insight
I started by drilling down to identify our campaign’s goals. This required critical thinking from both marketing (myself and others) and the ability to understand the data presented.
Goals are specific strategies you’ll leverage to accomplish the business objectives. ~Avinash Kaushik
I wanted our goals to provide clarity but also contain specific tasks for what the team needed to get done.
- To create awareness we wanted a relevant online traffic acquisition strategy.
- To generate leads we needed a way to capture emails and/or contact information.
None of this would matter without the ability to find actionable and reportable data in Google Analytics.
For the Google Analytics Reporting re-launch, I wanted to show other B2B marketers how to measure KPIs that went beyond basic visitor traffic, page views and bounce rate to gain real insight.
So I took a look at Audience Behavior. That’s what I’ll be measuring over the next 3-4 weeks following our Google Analytics Reports launch. (You’ll want to check back, or subscribe to our blog feed, to find out which of the above marketing tactics made the cut and delivered the outcomes we wanted.)
Here’s a color-coded snapshot of how our marketing efforts paid off after just one week. Specifically:
Recency: How long has it been since a visitor last visited the website?
Seeing more returning customers, this may represent an opportunity for more on-page messaging to reinforce the value of Raven. If we saw a large percentage of new visitors over several months, we might consider different content designed for lead generation.
The number going up or down isn’t necessarily bad; this metric will simply help inform our content needs and messaging based on the business goals of our website.
Loyalty: During the reporting time period of our campaign, how often did people visit the website?
It’s important to identify a goal for the number of sessions (visits) you expect from traffic coming to your website over a given time period.
Since this is the first time I’ve created a digital marketing and measurement model, I’m happy with all those up arrows in green! I’ll use this data to inform future marketing decisions.
Percentages tell me more than the raw numbers you’ll find in Google. You’ll notice the “sweet spots” at 7 visits with a 57% increase in traffic and 26-50 pages with 68.75% increase over the previous month. It may make sense for us to test a pop up with a special offer or download when these thresholds are met.
Engagement: What is the quality of visits based on length of a visitor session in seconds?
Look at the distribution for length of visits and number of page views in each visit. Seeing those numbers has me asking, What can I do to entice the visitors who stayed 10 minutes (601-1800 seconds) on the site?
Would a pop up offering them a free one-on-one phone consultation encourage them to take an action?
Analyzing the click through path of visitors who fell into the red areas could help identify ways to provide more sticky content.
Segmenting Your Data To Drive Action
All data in aggregate is crap. ~ Avinash Kaushik
Segmentation is the key to insights that will drive action. For example, what are the most important acquisition sources for Raven? What are the keywords that drive valuable segments of traffic to the website?
Without giving away too much business intelligence, I can say that our Top 3 referral sources for this campaign were:
What might be some actions I could take to grow these sources?
- Continue to add relevant content to our blog.
- Increase activity that sends direct traffic to the website.
- Create a referral or customer loyalty program.
The Universe Is Getting Smaller
Google Analytics recently changed its language from Visits and Unique Visitors to Sessions and Users. (Raven adopted that language in our software with the reporting upgrade.) This speaks to the much larger push that Google is making to create a unified approach to tracking Users across multiple platforms.
As Google continues its march toward Internet domination, it’s Raven’s goal to link multiple data points — e.g. desktop search, purchase on a tablet, mobile ad click, and so on — to a single user and give you the ability to report on it.
You’ll be able to analyze the data and, more importantly, tell a story. That increases your ability to target customers and provide quality content and an enhanced user experience.
For those of you wondering if the new Google Analytics reporting works with Universal Analytics, the answer is yes. We’re just not incorporating all the data points … yet.
We’ll look for feature requests from our customers to decide things to add, as we did with this particular update. We just need to catch our breath after this amazing re-launch of Google Analytics Reports!
Shout Out to Avinash
I drew inspiration for this piece from the brilliant mind of data analyst, Avinash Kaushik, who writes at Occam’s Razor. Two articles I drew heavily from were Digital Marketing and Measurement Model and Your Web Metrics: Super Lame or Super Awesome?
My hope is that in 30 days I’ll be able to show you some super awesome data from my own experiment using the new Google Analytics metrics in Raven.