Tag: Analytics

When the data breaks

Digital Strategy2 Comments

As a digital marketer, I’ve been raised to love data and I do. The ability to make decisions based on real-time evidence is one of the most empowering and liberating things to happen to me as a marketer. But as we trust so much of our decision making to what the numbers are saying, ostensibly to identify and take advantage of previously-missed opportunities, do we run the risk of becoming over reliant on the data?

The holy grail of marketing communications is to serve your customers with timely, relevant, targeted communications. The volume of data that we are now able to capture, track and analyse about our customers means that you no know what they’re interested in, what they’ve bought and the what time they are most likely to buy it. In fact, this is part of the strategy behind the success of several online retailers like Vinomofo and Amazon. But what happens when the data breaks? What happens when what you’re collecting is no longer accurate?

As an example, and not just because I mentioned Vinomofo 25 words ago, let’s use wine. When I first visit the site, I’m only interested in one varietal, let’s say Pinot Noir. I only click on links to Pinot Noir and that’s the only thing I ever buy. The wine retailer correctly assumes I only like Pinot Noir and stops sending me emails with any other offer and prioritises Pinot Noir when I’m on the website. But what if I go our to dinner one night and try an amazing Shiraz and suddenly want to buy Shiraz? All the emails I’m receiving still only spruik Pinots and since the website thinks that’s all I like, I never see the Shiraz deals so I think I need to go somewhere else to buy wines.

As marketers, we must avoid only just going by what the data tells. Here’s a couple of ways to avoid this happening:

When the data breaks

Give the option to fix

As the screenshot from Amazon shows, give your visitors a chance to fix the recommendation so you can continually learn as their tastes evolve.

Balanced observed with stated behaviour

Open up your customer profiles and allow customers to self-select what they are interested in rather than just relying on the data. While you can begin just by observing on-site behaviour, you can send a follow-up survey to confirm that what you’re collecting is accurate and ask if there’s anything else they’re interest in.

Don’t hide other offers

While you should tailor your communications to prioritise what the data tells you they are most interested in, don’t hide the rest either. Make other products and categories easy to find if their preferences change and they know you don’t just do one thing and there’s a whole lot more to you.

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Don’t Neglect Your Website

Analytics, Digital Strategy6 Comments

An Avinash Kaushik quote that I find myself repeating almost daily is “Don’t write cheques in social media that your website can’t cash.”

While I 100% agree with what Avinash is saying, I’d go even further and say don’t write cheques period that your website can’t cash. Simply put, your website (or ‘home base’) is probably the most valuable weapon in your marketing arsenal. It’s rare to see a marketing campaign these days (unless it’s purely branding) where the website isn’t at the heart.

Despite that, so many marketers, seduced by the perceived ease and reach of social media (Hint: it’s bloody hard, and reach is an illusion – you will never connect with all 600m denizens of Facebook), neglect their website or blindly continue plugging away with traditional tactics that, ironically enough, send people to poorly constructed landing pages and websites.

Landing pages and indeed websites are the front door(s) to your business, so why spend big bucks on acquiring traffic when all you’re doing is sending them to the online equivalent of a Soviet Gulag?

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind next time you’re planning your digital campaign and landing pages:

  1. Have a clear objective in mind. Know exactly what you want a visitor to do when they arrive at your page. That can be something like filling in a form, downloading a PDF or watching a video.
  2. Make sure you can track it. Whichever analytics package you are using, setup a goal for each macro and micro objective. If it’s something like watching a video or any other interaction, you might need to work with your web developer  to put in the proper code so you can do this.
  3. Design it effectively and align it with your objective. Landing pages should never, ever look like just another page on your website. They are a key conversion point that determine whether a visitor is going to go deeper into your site, buy your widget or handover their details. Not only must it look good and appeal to your customers, but it has to drive conversions.
  4. Hire a copywriter. While online video and audio is growing, the Internet is still 99.9799994392% text (don’t quote me on that). This gets overlooked incredibly often. You wouldn’t let a florist fix your car, so why leave your copy to someone who isn’t an expert?
  5. Always Be Testing (A/B or multivariate). Just because you’ve put your landing page up doesn’t mean the journey is over. This is only the beginning as now you have the fun job of refining and improving the page to eke out every 0.001% improvement in conversion rate. Test everything you can think of from colours, images, copy, fonts, forms, etc. but don’t go crazy. How much and how often you test can depend on how much traffic you get.
  6. Speaking of traffic, align your traffic acquisition tactics and creative with what your landing page. Probably the biggest contributor to bounce rate (a single page visit) and non-conversion is the web page meeting the promise of an ad, post, video, etc. It’s important that your website does what it says it does, without confusing or misleading your audience.
  7. Tell your story everywhere else. Keep your message platform agnostic and make sure it works across multiple touch points.

What do you think? What else should you do to keep your website relevant and convert traffic?

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(Social Media) Numbers that matter

Analytics, Social Media2 Comments

CEO: I think we need to be on <insert current hot social network>
Marketing: Great – I’ll setup an account
CEO: How will we know it’s working?
Marketing: *crickets*

No this isn’t from the script of The Social Network sequel but a scenario that is playing out in businesses all over the world. It seems everyone is getting into social media but no one knows how to start measuring it.

As I’ve said before, part of the beauty of the online space (social, included) is the wealth of data available to marketers and the accountability this brings. The problem is, that unless you have a clear idea about the metrics you are looking for, you run the risk of analysis paralysis.

So where do you start? Do you measure followers, comments, subscribers, visitors, mentions, RT’s, downloads, shares,…?

All too often, I hear social media marketers congratulating themselves on having x number of followers or however many posts. But what does that really mean?

Reporting on the number of followers, fans, etc. you have really doesn’t mean much on its own. Granted, they are a good indication of the potential reach you have, but don’t actually mean much on their own. Engagement metrics such as comments and retweets are better as they give an idea of the level of conversation and, well, engagement you are having with your audience, but again this doesn’t mean a whole lot on it’s own.

Instead, what you should be doing is tying those numbers in and seeing what impact social media is having on your business metrics.

If your job is lead generation or sales, then use your web analytics tool to measure the number of conversions that came from social media. If it is to build buzz through campaigns, use a tool like Radian6 or BuzzNumbers to determine success by monitoring changes in mentions and sentiment. Customer service? Check what impact your social media activity is having on customer satisfaction and your call centre.

The bottom line: There is no magic number for measuring social media success. Every business is different so why not start with the numbers that matter to your business.

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4 Killer Tools For Online Analysis

Analytics13 Comments

When I decided to throw my lot in with digital marketing, part of the appeal was working in an environment where finally there was real accountability! Online, data is everywhere – blogs, social media, web analytics, etc. – all with the potential to provide valuable insights into customer behaviour and attitudes towards our brand.

It’s amazing then that few marketers who play in the digital space take the time to truly understand and interpret the data. And if they do, it is often only a cursory glance at Google Analytics. The fact is that Google Analytics and other clickstream tools are only part of the equation. To get actionable insights from your analytics you need to have a full arsenal of tools that also covers (at a minimum) user experience; social media analysis and site surveys.

  1. Google Analytics
    The industry standard of clickstream tools, and better yet it’s free. If you have a website you should at a bare minimum be using GA to understand what people are doing on your website.
  2. Qualtrics
    Once you understand the what, you need to understand the why. A robust online survey tool that allows you to create on-exit surveys (like Qualtrics) will let you find out from your visitors why they came to your site and if they were able to achieve that.
  3. Mouseflow
    Complementing your clickstream data is a tool that visualizes what your visitors did on your website. Mouseflow lets you see how visitors behave on your website by realtime recording and playback of sessions from which you can generate heatmaps for clicks and mouse movements (such as scroll behaviour) as well as some standard analytics.
  4. Radian 6
    While it’s great to know what’s happening on your website, it’s also pretty damned important to know what’s happening beyond it too. Radian 6 is my favourite tool for social media monitoring, allowing you to listen in and analyse conversations taking place all over the world about your brand.

So there you have it, some of my favourite tools for analysing online data with the goal of gleaning actionable, strategic insights.

If you want to find out more about web analytics, I highly recommend heading over to the brilliant and inspiring Avinash Kaushik’s blog.

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