The true value of web analytics to digital marketers

In the management world, there is an old adage “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” For digital marketers a slight switch to this might be more accurate “If you can’t measure it, you won’t get budget for it.”

Since I started my career in digital marketing, I constantly heard marketing fellows complaining about how frustrating it is to get upper managers to support online marketing efforts.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to hire a consultant for ‘social strategy’, won’t an intern do the Facebook job?”

“I understand the website is really important, but let’s focus on contacting clients directly for the moment; the inbound thing might come later.”

All these doubts attribute to one single question “How does digital marketing contribute to the business bottom line?” If you can’t answer this question in a few sentences with quantitative proofs, I’m sure you’d have a hard time getting the budget.

Web analytics is used, or sometimes misused, by online marketers to defend their marketing endeavours. With all the tables, colourful charts and fancy terms, the marketing report instantly looks ten times more convincing. To my great regret, that’s how the first time I get my marketing budget and recruit a few allies on my side.

Evaluating results of digital marketing is one of the important things that web analytics can do for you. But the true value of web analytics is not explaining the past, but guiding the future decisions. Any small thing changed, wether it’s related to marketing, custom services, usability or sales procedure, will lead to some reactions in customer’s online behaviour: visits, new visitors, time spent, bounce, conversion, etc. These small changes accumulate and contribute to bigger change in business results.

Leaving these metrics unchecked, you might still get the final result. But you will never understand what are the factors behind it, and how to make the same miracle again.

By paying close attention to these metrics, we can break down the bigger result into smaller actions; understand how each action moves the metrics up and down.

Let’s suppose your new campaign was a big success. Without web analytics, you might still see more deals were made, but it would be difficult to understand the reason:

Did we get larger audience in the potential market?

Did we improve the conversion rate?

Were the copies or the price make the clients clicked?

Which channel brought us the most effective audience?

Can we improve something to make the results better?

With web analytics, you can measure separately where people came, what they did, how long they stayed and when they left. It would be possible to deduce the recipe of your success.

The true value of web analytics lies on how it helps us to understand better our decisions and make the success replicable.

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