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Although marketing creativity is a right-brain activity, in today’s digital realm marketers are also responsible for the left-brain activity of measuring, analyzing and reporting on the effectiveness of their marketing programs. One of the most common web traffic measurement techniques involves the use of the Google Analytics tool.

Google Analytics is widely used on websites to track visitor activities on the site. It is freely available, easy to implement and is preloaded with many useful reports. However, online marketers struggle with making sense of the numerous reports offered by Google Analytics. To make sense of the available data, digital marketers should ask the following questions:

1. Why should we continue with this digital initiative?

Comparing visit trends before and after a campaign launch, checking out the traffic sources, locations and behavior are some of the useful reports to unravel the mysteries of online activity.

2. Who are our online audiences?

Google Analytics provides many different reports on audiences by demographic profile, platform and behavior. Utilize custom tags or filters to segment them in different ways to extract information relevant to you.

3. What channels are performing best?

Understanding what channels are sending the right-fit visitors is very important. Comparing direct, search, referral and social visits gives you an idea of which channels are important for your marketing campaign.

4. Where is our traffic originating?

The use of link tagging to pass campaign related information via shared links in emails, social media posts, ads, etc. is one technique that helps create clean reports within the analytics reporting console.

5. When to optimize to produce the best ROI?

Combine calendar options and segments to find the best time for conversion activities. The reports will help fine tune strategies for cost reduction and effectiveness of the digital campaigns.

Drilling down into reports, using available or custom filters and A/B testing results (aka Experiments), can be quite rewarding in answering the above questions in meaningful and tangible terms.

The outcome: fact-based reports on your digital marketing activities that will assist in measuring marketing ROI or help identify the un-noticed trends from site visitors.

Weave online measurement and A/B testing as part of your marketing planning efforts. It requires the same discipline, thought process and planning as the marketing initiative itself.

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