Digital Marketing, Analytics, and the Beauty of Failing Faster
Meet Carrie Wenzel, Social Strategist…
I have always found joy in helping others. This is probably why I studied psychology for my undergraduate degree. That being said, I am also blessed with having a diverse array of interests and past professions including, but not limited to: fashion, cooking, music, marketing, sales, yoga, retail, dance, blogger, website editor, craft beer, Sci-fi, and event planner… I strive to be a modern-day Renaissance woman! I love working at Boxless Media because I get to help small businesses succeed while satisfying my thirst for knowledge and growth. How often do you get to have your cake and eat it too? Mmmmmm, cake. Yes please…
“I believe God created the internet so we could fail faster. In the offline world it is very expensive to experiment and test, the cost of failure is very high. As a result we don’t take risks. We keep doing what we think “works” until the day we go bankrupt. The web changes that.” (Avinash Kaushik, I Believe: A Manifesto for Web Marketers and Analysts)
While I consider myself a naturally creative and intuitive person, my background in psychology consistently pushes me to search for facts to support my intuition and (sometimes) crazy ideas. This is why I love digital marketing and analytics. In traditional marketing it can take months (and an unfortunate amount of money) to do research, come up with a marketing plan, test that plan, and then schedule your campaign across various media. Digital marketing, on the other hand is quite different. The data you need to successfully run a campaign (or decide if your current campaign is working) is constantly being collected on the internet for you and all you need to do is analyze it.
What is Web Analytics?
Put simply, web analytics is the study and analysis of internet data for the purpose of understanding and improving web-based performance. The data can be collected from a number of different sources including: social media platforms, websites, email campaigns, and digital advertising campaigns. The data answers the questions: Who? What? When? and Where? The analysis attempts to answer they Why? of it all. This part can be tricky simply because there is so much data available that it can be overwhelming. The key to making the most out of your time and efforts is choosing a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to focus on. For example, if you want to focus on the performance of your website, start by asking yourself what the goal of your website is. If you sell a product, then you will want to focus on what is effecting conversions (sales). If the purpose of your website is to inform consumers and promote your business, then you’ll want to look at the number of people visiting your site, how long they spend there, what they do, and how many return.
Why Are Analytics an Essential Part of Running a Business?
If you’re running a business, you want to be successful. In order to do that you need to understand what works and what doesn’t. Marc D’Urbano, owner of Simple Analytics, gives us three things analytics allow you to and I add a forth:
- Measure and track your results over time
- Understand the habits and possibly the motives of your visitors, leads, and prospects
- Understand, track, and improve the tactics and systems used to convert visitors into valuable customers
- Make more money…
Yes. Using web analytics intelligently can make you more money! If you learn how to use data to fine-tune your business tactics you can make smart choices that can increase engagement, consumer loyalty, and conversion rates. As I’ve mentioned before, the world of web analytics can be overwhelming due to the sheer amount of data there is to work with. But, in the ever helpful words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic!” There are ways to start learning and using analytics that won’t take hours or become another full time job. The first thing you’ll need to do is get a Google Analytics account. It’s a great tool and it’s free! Next, check out this cool blog post on creating a Google Analytics dashboard. A dashboard is a customized view of data that allows you to only focus on the numbers that matter. Google Analytics has pre-customized dashboards that will have you up and running in no time!
Analytics and Social Media
It is pretty much accepted as fact that if you want to be successful online, you must incorporate some form of social media into your marketing mix. Learning how to do this well can be difficult because the world of social media is always changing. This is where analytics comes into play. In a general way you can asses how well your social media marketing efforts are doing by tracking the referral links in Google analytics. How much of your website traffic is coming from your social media channels? If the goal of your social media efforts is to ultimately bring people to your website, it’s important to track whether the content you’re publishing is accomplishing that.
In addition, platforms like Twitter and Facebook have their own internal analytics programs to consider. In August of this year (2014), Twitter made its analytics platform (which had previously only been accessible by advertisers) available to everyone. If you want to know just how cool that is, check out our CEO’s blog, “Can Your Tweet be Beat: Twitter Analytics“! Facebook also has “insights” available for its pages and boosted posts. These insights let you see what your engagement rates are for specific posts and how many people your posts are reaching. This information will tell you what types of content your followers enjoy and when the best times to post are. You can also follow your competitors to see how your social media marketing strategies measure up. While
Instagram and Pinterest also have analytics capabilities. Pinterest’s analytics are similar to Facebook’s but require a business account to use. At the end of August, Instagram released a more robust analytics suite to its top advertisers. We will keep you posted as they become available for general use over the few months.
Using web analytics for digital marketing and social media has made me embrace the idea of ‘failing faster’. As technology continues to develop, we are gaining the ability to see what works (and what doesn’t) in real time. That is a beautiful thing. If you’re interested in learning more about web marketing and analytics check out Avinash Kaushik’s blog, Occam’s Razor and/or his books: Web Analytics: An Hour and Day & Web Analytics 2.0.