Accurately collecting, analyzing and using marketing data is an obstacle to many marketers and decision makers. The right data collection and digital marketing data analysis techniques can provide invaluable insights about your business; it can show you where your dollars are best spent, what your customers are responding to, and how and when your marketing efforts turn into sales. The right digital marketing data analysis strategy can give your business a competitive edge.
Digital marketing changes fast, so we’ve updated this post in 2022 to give you to most up-to-date digital marketing data analysis strategies. We’ve added two additional steps to illustrate how to successfully experiment with new trends and minimize risk. We’ve also provided some examples at the end of the post of common problems you might assess using this strategy.
The 6-Step Marketing Data Analysis Strategy To Drive Business Growth
1. Define a Problem
First, you must know what you want to accomplish or what problem you want to solve. This will show you what digital marketing data you need to track and how you need to analyze it. Tracking the wrong data or conducting the wrong digital marketing data analysis will lead you to incorrect assumptions. Similarly, making decisions without data will prevent you from moving forward in a measurable way.
Ask yourself what you want to know or what problem you want to solve. At this stage, it’s okay to be general, but your problem should have a KPI attached to it. This might be leads, brand awareness, sales, conversion rates, or ROI.
With this example, we’ll go through each step in the digital marketing data analysis process to solve a problem.
You are a marketing manager and you’ve decided to take a hard look at your website. You feel like your website is underperforming, and you want to generate more leads from it.
2. Set Data-Driven Goals
With your problem and objective defined, a measurable goal will help you determine if you’re moving in the right direction. Digital marketing data analysis must be based on goals and benchmarks to give the numbers any meaning. Your goals should be based on previous digital marketing data analysis, or other benchmarks you’ve gathered. The goals you set should be difficult to reach, but possible.
To adjust your goals accordingly, determine the level of performance you would need to accomplish them. This will help you get specific. From here, you can determine what you would have to improve and by how much to reach a certain goal.
Previously, you’ve determined from your web analytics that your best landing page generates 13,000 visitors a month, and 130 leads, with a lead conversion rate of 1%. In this case, you decide improving lead conversions makes more sense than improving traffic. Previously, you’ve doubled conversion rates on similar pages simply by optimizing the page load speed, however no landing page has a conversion rate higher than 5%. From this, you determine how many leads you’ll need to meet a challenging goal.
Goal Leads Lead Conversion Rate % Improvement Current Status 130 1% N/A Minimum Goal 260 2% 100% Challenging Goal 520 4% 300% Improbable Goal 780 6% 500%
3. Collect Accurate Data
To generate the right conclusion and to focus on the right improvements, your digital marketing data analysis tools must be reliable. The data you receive should also be easy to interpret.
Once your tracking devices are installed and events are set up, you’ll need to integrate them with a data gathering or compilation platform so you can assess your digital marketing data analysis strategy. For this, you may need to integrate your website and analytics tools with a CRM system like Hubspot. Or you may prefer to use a data compilation platform like Data Box or Google Data Studio.
When assessing the performance of your landing page, you notice that conversion rates dipped the last two months. To make sure you have accurate data, you talk to your web design team about the Google Analytics tracking code. You determine that a recently installed chatbot interfered with the tracking code. The design team fixes this problem, and you test the code to make sure your conversion events are tracking properly.
You realize there’s still an issue; your sales team hasn’t seen any of the leads from the new landing pages. You know some of the leads generated must be sales-qualified, so you suspect an issue between your marketing and sales CRM systems. Sure enough, you see that the leads marketing determined to be sales-qualified were being delivered to the wrong regional salesperson due to a CRM system error.
Lastly, to get a full picture of page performance, you add your Google Analytics and CRM system reports to Data Studio. You build a custom report to look at the landing page you’re working on, and you get an easy-to-read chart showing traffic, traffic types, clicks, conversions, leads, marketing qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and more.
4. Make Informed Changes
To achieve your goals, you need to decide what to change and how to change it. At this stage, you’ll want to hypothesize changes based on previous digital marketing data analysis or other estimates. Use A/B testing or user testing and study the results individually and gauge the impact of each change. It’s a good idea to start with changes that you’ve made before, so you have a reference point for success, as well as experience. We’ll discuss experimental marketing and new trends later in the post.
Improving the loading speed of other landing pages has doubled their conversion rates in the past. Though you’re reasonably sure this will be the case again, you make this change first and study the results so the improved conversion rates from the speed upgrades don’t affect the other changes you’ll make.
As you expected, the conversion rates doubled after the speed upgrade and are now at 2%. Next, you suspect that making the form on the page shorter and adding an explanatory video to the page will improve it further. You conduct an A/B test to first test your form hypothesis. It turns out to be correct; conversion rates improve to 3%. Then you conduct another A/B test for the video. This is also correct; conversion rates improve from the original 2% to 3%. Finally, you make both the changes together and, just as you expected, you’ve reached 4%!
5. Experiment and Advance
You’ve reached your goal for your landing page, and you’re happy with the results. However, digital marketing strategies and data analysis are not static. Digital marketing is constantly changing as technology changes, and a successful strategy is dynamic. This means you’ll need creative approaches to keep improving, and ways to monitor these improvements. Sometimes this means experimenting with new trends. We’ve updated this post in 2020 to return to this story problem, and see how to keep improving a few years down the road with a modern, creative solution.
Two years later, you’ve monitored your page closely with your digital marketing data analysis tools, and the conversion rates are holding strong, but your total leads have fallen. You take a look at the data, and you notice your page is getting less traffic, so a 4% conversion rate isn’t as strong as it once was. It seems your competitors have taken notice in the last two years, copied your approach, and are stealing your traffic. They’ve usurped your SERP position for two popular keywords, and traffic has fallen 10% as a result.
You decide it’s time to try something new. With a KPI in mind—traffic—you assess your options. You could try paid advertising, additional page upgrades and A/B testing, more SEO efforts, or something newer; organic social media advertising. You notice your social media manager’s last video marketing campaign on YouTube resonated with young consumers in particular, and increased traffic to your blog by 20%, without any additional ad spend. Also, you notice your competitors’ social media presence is lacking. This could give you a substantial edge, if it works.
You talk to your social media manager, ask them to spotlight the landing page in their next campaign, and set a realistic goal for a 10% increase in traffic. This will return your landing page’s traffic numbers back to normal.
6. Assess and Pivot
When experimenting with new trends, it’s important to look at new data carefully, and listen to your team. Many new marketing trends are not well-tested, and managers won’t have years of experience under their belt. However, this also presents a chance to gain an edge over competitors who aren’t yet comfortable with new marketing media or strategies. It’s a risk, but it can have a high pay-off. If the strategy doesn’t work at first, be careful not to dismiss it out-of-hand. What, specifically, didn’t work? Why? Can these things be fixed? Use your digital marketing data analysis strategies and your team’s expertise to answer these questions.
You assess the campaign after a few months. Your traffic has increased by 20%, even more than expected, but now your lead conversion rates have fallen to 3%. This indicates that the traffic generated through the YouTube campaign wasn’t well-targeted towards your audience. Viewers were interested in the landing page, but not enough to convert.
Explaining these results to your social media manager, you ask about their ideas. They explain that the landing page doesn’t resonate with a younger audience, or make any mention of the YouTube channel, so visitors get disinterested when they visit the page. The social media manager asks about A/B testing a landing page aimed more at younger visitors, or creating a specialized landing page for visitors from YouTube.
You try again, this time with traffic and lead goals in mind. Ultimately, creating an additional landing page worked better—the two pages combined increased traffic by 50%, and the new, highly-targeted page has a lead conversion rate of 5%. Though you’ve deviated slightly from your original solution—improving the landing page itself—you’ve ultimately reached more people and converted more leads.
How to Apply This Digital Marketing Data Analysis Strategy
Throughout this blog post, we’ve explored a story problem that a marketing manager might encounter, and how they might use this digital marketing data analysis strategy to solve this problem. How could we apply this strategy to solve other common digital marketing problems or questions?
In the story, our marketing manager assessed issues with traffic and lead conversions on a landing page. Let’s take a look at problems a marketing manager might encounter with other parts of the strategy, such as the blog, emails, lead magnets, social media, and advertising.
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A blog is often a critical part of a business’s organic traffic generation. As users ask questions to Google and other search engines, they may find their way onto blog posts. This makes a blog a useful tool to bring in potential customers early in the buyer’s journey. To assess problems and solutions related to your blog, organic traffic will probably be the most important KPI to look at. Movement to other pages and interactions with CTAs may also be important.
Perhaps you’re wondering why traffic to your blog has fallen. Or maybe you’re considering the ROI of starting a blog. Maybe you’ve seen lead conversions from the blog decrease. Applying the digital marketing data analysis strategy to the following elements can help you find solutions.
SEO: There are many elements of SEO. Keywords, site speed, meta data, content organization and other factors all play a role in how easily users can find your posts. Refine your SEO on high-performing posts to start, and measure improvements. Take a look at your site speed as well, to ensure that sluggish load speeds aren’t responsible for a fall in traffic.
Content Audit: If it seems like you’ve covered all the topics you can, and you find yourself retracing the same ground, a content audit might help. With a content audit, you can reinforce your high-performing posts and combine or edit your low-performing posts.
CTAs: If your blog is getting plenty of traffic, but visitors aren’t moving on to other pages, your calls to action (CTAs) might need some attention. You should have CTAs to relevant landing pages on any page you can. Your CTAs should be obvious, but not distracting. Consider CTAs in the sidebar, at the bottom of the page, or mid-text.
Landing Pages and Lead Magnets
Through our story problem, we explored issues a marketing manager might have with a landing page or a lead magnet, and some solutions. Traffic and conversions will be the main KPI’s to focus on here. More detailed information, such as the number of marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) or sales-qualified leads (SQLs) generated, might also be of interest.
Perhaps, like the story, your landing page traffic has remained the same, but your lead conversions have fallen. Or, maybe your traffic and conversions have both fallen, and you’re not sure how to attack the problem. Maybe your problem is more perplexing, such as an increase in traffic accompanied by a decline in leads.
A/B testing: As mentioned in the story, A/B testing can be a great way to test your page and see how you can improve it. Try different layouts or try adding different assets, like video instead of pure text. Consider targeting different keywords or targeting a new audience, and see how your traffic and lead conversions improve.
New Magnets: If your traffic and leads have both fallen, the best avenue may be to refresh your strategy with a new lead magnet. Consider something completely fresh that will get your leads’ attention again, such as a webinar, a time-saving template, or an instructional short course.
SEO assessment: SEO will be important here again. Assess the page for keywords and load speed, but take a look at other factors as well. Backlinks from unrelated websites, for example, may be responsible for an increase in traffic from visitors who aren’t interested in becoming leads.
Social media can be a powerful way to reach users for the first time as they’re scrolling or watching videos. Since social media is a comparatively new addition to the marketing mix, assessing the strategy can be difficult. Your KPI’s will vary depending on your goals, platform, audience and more. Work through the previous digital marketing data analysis strategy carefully to define your problem and find a solution. You might start with one of the following methods.
Content Audit: We previously mentioned a content audit to assess your blog, but a content audit can also help you assess what is working (and what isn’t) in your social plan. Take a closer look at your top-performing posts or videos, and see what these posts have in common.
Content Planning: Regular posting is essential to maintain and improve engagement, impressions, and other important social media metrics. Plan your content out beforehand on a content calendar and make sure everyone involved knows what they’re supposed to do, and when.
New Platforms: Finding the right platform is essential to a successful social media strategy. As the overall social landscape evolves, take a look at which market segments prefer which platform, and which market segments are engaging with your content.
This may seem like a long process for improving one aspect of your digital marketing strategy, however you’ve done more than that: you’ve made a framework for uncovering problems across your site and solving them using facts, not guesses. You’ve also determined a reliable process for experimenting with new trends ahead of your competitors.
For each objective you target however, it’s also important to determine the time and resources you can dedicate towards data analysis and assessment. If you lack the tools, time, or experience to apply marketing data analysis to your goals, a digital marketing agency can work through the process for you. With this, you can reliably resolve obstacles holding back your digital marketing strategy, without taking time away from your other business goals.