Latest posts by Jay Dillon (see all)
- Which Social Media Platform Is Best For Your Business? (FB, Twitter, IG?) - February 8, 2016
- The Role of Social Media Manager in 2016 - February 1, 2016
- Why Placing Ads In Blogs Can Be A Negative - January 4, 2016
When it comes to digital marketing, data has become the go-to source for decision-making – but is this an effective strategy?
Customer data can be the key to figuring out how to best reach potential buyers. It’s safe to say that data acquisition and analytics are now an important part of the marketing strategy for any business. Knowing how to best evaluate, assess and implement such data acquisition and analytics has never been as critical as it is now.
How should we use data in digital marketing?
The historic timeline of the internet clearly shows that things have changed. Data was once relatively scarce – today advertisements are targeted specifically to certain demographics and potential clients. As you might have read in my previous article, a recent patent by Apple might open doors to targeting ads based on financial information.
Despite this, decisions shouldn’t be made based solely on data. We’ll never have access to ALL data, or be able to control all the variables. However, as digital marketers, if we focus on the higher quality aspects of the data, we’re bound to make better strategic decisions.
The boom of big data is a reflection of how the internet is now a part of most industries – still, we have to know when to use the data and why. Good data analytics is the skill of converting the information we gather, and turning it into marketable knowledge.
Measuring and using data effectively
So you want to optimise your digital marketing strategy. But where do you start?
First, you need to understand how to measure data correctly. There are four key points that will help you do this.
1. Have a strong foundation and clearly defined objectives and KPIs.
Before you look at the data, you must define the specific objectives, goals and KPIs that best relate to your desired outcomes. As a base these would include Inbound Marketing ROI, social media demographics, impact of visuals in marketing content, mobile states and customer issue resolution. It’s these objectives that measure whether your digital marketing is on the right track.
When it comes to analysing data, often the conversation starts with, “I have an Excel spreadsheet that shows a problem with X data…” Remember, if we are constantly focusing on specific problems within the data, we’ll lose sight of the bigger picture.
2. To make good decisions you need the right data
The next key element is to be sure you’re collecting all the vital data you need. By defining your goals and objectives, and measuring the data alongside them, you’ll see the value in the information and how it relates to your business.
Although goals and objectives will differ depending on your industry, by following this method you’ll always focus on quality data.
3. To make aligned decisions the data needs to be in one place
One of the keys to being agile in decision-making is the integration of data sources in one place.
Having all the data necessary to make a decision on one dashboard allows you to focus on just that – making decisions, and avoiding paralysis by analysis.
A common problem I see is companies that generate reports from different sources – they don’t fit with each other and marketers must invest much time to generate a single report. To overcome this issue, Google Analytics is a good place to start.
4. Everyone must be able to understand the data
There’s nothing worse than having done all the work gathering and analysing data, only to have others in the marketing team who don’t fully grasp it. This can cause delays in assessment, or even result in the wrong decisions being made.
You need to adapt the information so it’s easily understood by the entire marketing team, and to prepare a standard document so that clients can understand the reports as well. Digital marketing webinars and Google Academy are a big help here.
Spend your time on analysis and decision making
Multichannel strategies, and the lack of a unified metrics and formats, means that companies devote most of their time to the extraction and processing of data.
Your time is better spent on that which brings value and which is ultimately the goal of acquiring data: analysing it, converting it into information and then applying the knowledge.
So marketers need to increase the speed of extraction and processing and devote more time to the important task of analytics assessment – the famous 10/90 rule by Avinash Kaushik.
For the analysis of dashboards we use automation. For ad-hoc analysis, the volume of data has grown so much, we are now talking about scientific type data. We need the ability to quickly and effectively combine statistical, programming and business knowledge, merge it, and then extract the required data. Only then can we spend more of our time on what’s really important – the analysis and decision-making that drives your business.
What key advice would you add to this post based on your own digital marketing data and experience? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you.