Sometimes we have to go back to basics and really think about these technologies and how they're going to assist us. Analytics at it's most basic level is the information resulting from the systematic analysis of data. We've discussed analytics terminology for years now but sometimes it's good to get back to basics.
Definition of Marketing Analytics
Marketing analytics comprises the processes and technologies that enable marketers to evaluate the success of their marketing initiatives by measuring performance (e.g., blogging versus social media versus channel communications) using important business metrics, such as ROI, marketing attribution and overall marketing effectiveness. In other words, it tells you how your marketing programs are really performing. via SAS
What is Analytics – A Video from IBM
As it pertains to online marketing, Web Analytics platforms are the systems that collect, aggregate and report on the activity of visitors to our online site(s) or social media interactions. There are subsets of analytics that marketers should be aware of and utilize from time to time:
- Behavioral Analytics – the paths that visitors take and how they interact with each page are critical data to understand how your site can be optimized for increased engagement and conversion. Too many folks just design a pretty site and forget that it's actually a gateway to doing business. There's a ton of usability science and experience that can be applied to increase the value of your site to your business.
- Business Intelligence – or BI analytics centralize all aspects of your organizations performance, from marketing to operations and accounting, for senior leadership to monitor a company's behavior. BI is central to medium, large and enterprise organizations' performance monitoring and planning.
- Conversion Analytics – a conversion on a site is an activity of value. The most obvious is a purchase on an ecommerce site. However, if your site is promoting a service, a conversion may be the number of visitors who sign up for a free trial, a demo, a download, a webinar or any other activity that has been shown to provide value. Conversion analytics often incorporate testing of elements so that you can optimize the site to convert more visitors into customers.
- Customer Intelligence Analytics – many companies don't actively monitor whether or not their customers actually like them nor what the roadblocks to a perfect engagement are. Systems that allow customer feedback through social channels, surveys and other data collection points can provide invaluable research into how your company is perceived and what you can do to improve it.
- Customer Lifecycle Analytics – understanding the stages of your customer is essential to increasing customer retention, driving up customer value, and then profiling future leads against the most successful engagements you have. Few platforms measure the stages as well as our marketing automation sponsors at Right On Interactive, be sure to get a demo of their system.
- Messaging Analytics – marketing automation, email, inbox reporting, SMS, phone, and other messaging systems offer analytics to provide you with activity per campaign, subscriber activity, and often integrate with the other analytics systems to help improve your messaging and campaign execution.
- Predictive Analytics – based on the past performance of your site, these platforms actually predict what the future behavior of visitors will be. Predictive analytics platforms often offer models where you can make adjustments and predict the impact of those changes on the performance of your site. For example, what if you cut your pay per click in half and increased your infographic budget?
- Real-time Analytics – provide insight into the current activity and behavior of the visitors on your site at the current time. Real-time analytics can be tapped into to modify the behavior of visitors, increase the likelihood of conversion, and provide awareness of the minute to minute response-time of your site.
- Sales Analytics – Sales enablement is a growing technology sector. Sales dashboards like our sponsors at Salesvue integrate directly with your Salesforce CRM and provide sales management with all the detail they need to see and predict sales performance. And for the salesperson, these systems help them to increase productivity, optimize touchpoints, and close larger deals faster.
- Search Analytics – backlinks are the gold standard of ranking on the Internet and rank drives traffic and conversions. As result, tools that help you monitor your search engine keywords, competitors, and how your content is ranking can help you to attract new visitors and build content strategies that drive business. Paid search analytics provide you with keyword performance and conversion metrics so you can drive down your cost per lead and increase sales.
- Social Analytics – as the Internet has developed, individuals and companies have built authority that garners them a growing following. Social analytics can measure that authority, track your social ranking, help you understand why people follow you and what topics they interact with you the most on. Helping you grow a social following and authority often leads to increased trust amongst your audience or community – which can be used to echo your promotions or even drive direct conversions.
Of course, all of these systems can provide information overload and often lead to analysis paralysis. It is great to see analytics platforms opening their APIs and integrating into other third parties to automatically improve the customer experience. My biggest criticism of analytics platforms is that they collect and report data, but seldom actually make a recommendation. Conversion testing platforms do this well – I wish the rest would! As an example, I don't understand why analytics platforms don't provide insight on content strategies and provide you with recommendations on what you should be writing about.