Big data has been one of the hottest buzz words in the digital marketing space for the past few years. The evolution of cloud computing – infinite computing power connected through real-time communication networks – has made data collection more affordable.
The explosion of connected devices – smart phones, tablets and other digitally connected devices – has made the world more connected than ever, enabling marketers to monitor and collect engagement information at each touch point of the purchasing funnel. This combination has given today’s marketers unprecedented data about their customers.
The author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Google Analytics evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, has given an excellent and comprehensive definition of digital analytics:
“Digital analytics is the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your business and the competition to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers and potential customers have which translates to your desired outcomes (both online and offline)
With the right skills, processes and technologies, you can uncover the vital information about how you engage with your customers, effectiveness of your engagements and give you the data on which to take action to improve the outcome – business results”.
The traditional purchasing funnel – Awareness, Acquisition, Engagement, Conversion and Retention – is disrupted by the evolution of connected devices. Now customers can start their buying journey at any point of purchasing funnel.
Our job as digital analysts is to understand the new trend of customer behaviours, anticipate customer movements and interpret messages that are most effective in driving customers to conversion. This new approach means we’re putting customers back in the centre of the analytics and not the individual marketing channels. This approach will counter-act Google’s recent encryption of keyword data, something we’ve been overly focused upon for too long and a practise which doesn’t actually reflect the changing customer behaviours.
It means we can offer businesses accessible, reliable and holistic and sometimes near real-time customer analytics to understand how well their businesses are performing.
Qualitative and Quantitative
For a long time quantitative data for analysts was limited to engagements taking place on websites – the number of visits, geo-distribution of traffic, performance of individual marketing channels, interactions on a website, etc. The wide adoption of connected devices by consumers has driven the need for deep understanding beyond the website.
Google’s latest Universal Analytics is aimed at breaking down the walls between digitally connected devices and putting customers at the centre of universe, and providing a comprehensive view of your business beyond just your website – it connects all the touch points your customers might have made with your business throughout their purchasing journey.
In addition to the quantitative data, qualitative data helps analysts identify the reason(s) behind changes, trends, etc. Examples of quantitative data are: consumer surveys, user reviews and ratings, and feedback. All of these methods help us understand the user experience.
One of the most important steps, and usually the first step in our digital analytics project, is to determine your ultimate business objectives: what do you want achieve and how is it measured? A clearly defined measurement strategy will guide the implementation strategy and the data analysis.
Outcomes vs outputs: Often people tend to focus on outputs, and use it as a means of measurement, or even worse, the only measurement. A simple example is this:
A 20% increase in organic traffic does not necessary mean a 20% increase in profit – assuming the ultimate business objective is profit. Outputs are the data without context and focus.
In the connected world, the majority of business objectives can be categorized into five segments, and each usually has a measurable primary outcome. These are:
eCommerce: measured by products and/or services sales
Lead generations: measured by lead information captures – number of leads captured by form submission, email, phone call, etc
Content publishers: measured by engagement – which varies depending on your monetisation strategy. Visits, repeat visits, duration on site, etc. Or a combination of aforementioned metrics.
Online information and/or support portals: measured by the ease of finding information – quantified by user journey length, onsite time, etc.
Branding: measured by brand penetration, engagement and loyalty.
Digital analytics should run in parallel with other marketing activities providing business with real-time information. Our analytics cycle consists of four steps: measure, analyse, report and test.
Measure: the aim is to collect all the data – quantitative and qualitive – needed for you to understand your business.
Analyse: the aim is to extract actionable information and identify reasons for any anomalies in your data. This includes segmentation, attribution, and competitive analysis. You’ll want to put the data into context – using industry benchmarks and competitor activities.
Report: the aim is to dissect and digest raw data collected, process it and present it with clear and actionable information for making business decisions.
Test: the aim is to find the best solutions to the problems being identified during the analysis. Testing eliminates any personal opinions from the decision making process, helping you discover improvement opportunities and create actionable recommendations.
The analytical cycle should run in parallel with other marketing activities like monitoring ROI, providing unbiased actionable recommendations, actionable insight and driving the continual improvement in businesses.
Have you spoken to your digital analytics experts with regard to your ultimate business objectives? Do you have a comprehensive digital analytics strategy, implementation and measurement plans that will safeguard your marketing investments?
Do you want to drive more ROI by getting a picture of your business? What are the common obstacles and challenges you face in your business with regard to digital analytics? Leave a comment or drop us a line via the Contact Us form, we’d be more than happy to discuss your goals with you.