Digital marketing is directly linked to web analytics. It is not possible to do analytics without metrics. In this article I will talk about digital marketing metrics.
Confused? Smoothly. For now I will focus on digital marketing metrics. Web analytics and digital marketing will be covered in other articles.
- Attributes of a good digital marketing metric
- Example of a good digital marketing metric
- Important lessons
- Choosing good digital marketing metrics
Be honest, do you know how to measure your brand success? Do you know what represents value for your client and that can be reflected in results for your business? That's a tough one, isn't it? You may be able to answer these questions (congratulations!) But I bet it wasn't that easy.
To measure these results, metrics are required. But it’s not just any metric that will provide insights for you to better understand your business. A good digital marketing metric needs to fulfill some requirements.
Read too: "Dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics“
Attributes of a good digital marketing metric
Whether you look in analytics, economics and statistics books or on the web, you'll find dozens of metrics to measure everything that happens in your business. Finding really relevant metrics is another story and requires more effort.
Some attributes of good digital marketing metrics:
They must be simple
In most cases, good metrics are simple. Do not confuse simple with simple-mindedness. Good metrics solve complex problems, but they don't have to be complex.
Generally, business decisions are not made by a single person. They are not taken by the CXO, manager or consultant. Decisions are made jointly, at all times. If only one person understands the metric, we have a problem.
If you are the only person who understands the metric, the Key Performance Indicator, then you have just guaranteed that your company, big or small, will not take action. Because you know the metric, but not the business.Avinash Kaushik - Google digital marketing evangelist
Simplify! Make sure everyone understands the metric and can make decisions based on it.
Digital marketing metrics need to be relevant
Are the metrics you're tracking relevant to your business?
Perhaps the answer is "yes" (congratulations, again), or perhaps it is "yes, because they are the metrics that all companies follow". Vish… if your answer was the second, possibly a large part of the metrics you are using does not bring any value to your company.
Every business is unique. A digital marketing metric that brings value to one company may not bring value to another.
Relevant metrics for a restaurant, for example, may not make any sense for a supermarket. Both sell food but the similarities end here. These are two very different businesses.
It is perfectly acceptable for you to use benchmarks in your industry. But in the end, what will say if the metrics you chose are relevant will be tests and more tests.
Must be available at the right time
Let's face the reality! One of the most frustrating things for an executive is to make decisions “now” taking into account metrics and insights that were collected, analyzed and interpreted six months ago.
I'm not a fan of real-time metrics. They can negatively impact your business in several ways: 1) more reporting, less analysis; 2) allocation of resources (financial and personal); 3) real-time analysis tools are sometimes less effective; 4) increase the complexity of the analyzes; 5) provide a false sense of security and confidence in the data.
Anyway, between real-time and six months there is a considerable time lag. Find the metrics that bring value in this range.
Working with biweekly insights when the market is changing every 7 days does not bring much competitive advantage.
Likewise, working with real-time metrics to solve strategic problems is like trying to destroy a battle tank with a slingshot.
Your metrics must reach those responsible at the right time.
Sacrifice complexity and perfection for punctuality.
Read too: "Is real time analytics really that important?“
They need to be useful and understood instantly
Fewer metrics, presented correctly, provide better results than long dashboards filled with metrics that no one understands.
The operator must immediately understand the metric presented and what is being presented. Less metrics doesn’t mean we’ll have less insights.
Remember when I mentioned earlier that business decisions are not made by a single person? Think about your boss or client, think about his boss and so on. Do they know as much as you or who drew up the report?
If a metric is not understood instantly, it is discarded instantly.
If your simplest metrics can be assimilated instantly, congratulations! You will be able to open doors to go deeper into them and go for more complex analyzes.
Read too: "Marketing metrics: partner metrics“
Example of a good digital marketing metric
An example of a good metric is the bounce rate. Let's see:
- Simple: related to page views, easy to understand and explain;
- Relevant: shows when the page is not performing as well as it should and if you are spending money from your campaigns properly investing in them;
- Available at the right time: is available in virtually all analytics and reporting tools, daily;
- Instant: just look at it and see if the page looks good, demands attention or needs emergency action.
Read too: "Bounce rate in Google Analytics“
Analyzing a metric in isolation can lead to errors. Always look for a metric correlated to the metric you are analyzing for better insights.
Some lessons I learned on a daily basis as analytics consultant:
Perfection is the enemy of “good enough”
The quality of the data collected through web analytics tools is not perfect. In fact, it is often far from that. In the initial audits of my clients' analytics tools (especially Google Analytics), I realized that they were making decisions based on data with 50-60% accuracy (when they weren't even smaller).
My efforts are to ensure that we have at least 85-90% of confidence in the data we collect and analyze.
Don't spend a lot of time in search of data perfection, correcting small details without impact. The market is dynamic. It is more important to make the wrong decision, correct and learn than to make no decision at all.
Read too: "Google Analytics mini audit“
Focus on few metrics
Ah…. how tempting it is to work around dashboards and reports with a dozen metrics. I already made that mistake!
What metrics define you, your department or company? Choose two or three metrics that can guide your analysis and decision making. If you look at a dozen metrics on a daily basis possibly (not to say for sure) you're doing something wrong.
The market changes, your company changes. Why a metric to measure the performance of your business should remain the same year after year.
The idea is simple: use the four attributes described above to test whether it is a good metric (to define)collect data (measure), analyze the collected data (analyze), take action based on the analyzed data (action). If you can't take an action then the metric is not good, throw it away (to eliminate). If you can, continue and improve continuously (improve).
The periodic review of metrics varies from sector to sector. Taking an assessment every three to six months is a good starting point.
Read too: "What are users in Google Analytics?”
Choosing good digital marketing metrics
One technique for choosing good metrics for your business is to focus on the customer journey. In a simplified way, the client's journey can be defined as Acquisition, Behavior and Results. This is the ABO model (Acquisition, Behavior and Outcomes) introduced by Avinash Kaushik.
- Acquisition: what we are doing to bring traffic to the site.
- Behavior: what happens after the customer enters the site.
- Results of: what was the impact on our business (online and offline).
Are we able to attract the right people and influence them? Do we deliver an incredible experience for our users? User and company win (user has an incredible experience and becomes a loyal customer)?
Most of the time, analysts and companies are focused on just one of these aspects, maybe two. Rarely in the three. In some cases, this is due to the organizational structure that does not encourage all areas to know the project from end to end. In others, there is a lack of technical skills to analyze the consumer's complete journey.
Based on this journey, let's see a suggestion of good digital metrics:
- Conversion rate: this is relatively basic. Looking at the conversion rate applied to different segments can generate valuable insights for your business.
- Assisted conversions: Although the market standard (imposed by analysts and the market) is the attribution of the conversion at the last click, I like to look at assisted conversions. If you use assisted conversions, you’ll better analyze your conversions and better target your marketing team’s efforts.
You can choose other acquisition metrics that best suit your industry (eg cost per acquisition, churn, LTV, etc.).
- Bounce Rate: this is to improve users' landing pages. Many content producers and advertisers are not concerned with what happens after the user enters the page. That needs to change.
- Visitor loyalty: Based on your industry, establish an expected standard of behavior for a loyal visitor. Let's say that for your sector 10 visits in a month characterizes a loyal visitor.
Did you notice the connection of these two metrics? Decrease the bounce rate (making your pages more attractive), your visitor will interact on more pages (more satisfaction) and return to your site more often. Recipe for success!
- Macro conversions: help to measure the result immediately.
- Micro conversions: help to design your business and think strategically. Micro conversions can and should be used as a source of information for future product launches and adaptations. Micro conversions are responsible for continuous improvement.
So we have:
Realize that we have dozens of metrics that can be used but in the end, half a dozen of them can be enough for an overview of how your company's digital marketing is going.
Extrapolate this model to different segments (eg subscribers vs. non-subscribers or desktop vs. mobile) and different areas of the company. Metrics that are presented to directors can (and generally should) be different from those presented to managers, who are at a more tactical and less strategic level.
Read too: "Analytics tools: 5 reasons not to use them“
We saw that for a metric to be good it needs to be simple, relevant, it must be available at the right time and it needs to be useful and understood instantly.
Don't look for perfection in the data. Strive to achieve a degree of confidence that allows you to do productive analysis. Use few metrics and pay attention to the cycle of a metric.
A good model for choosing which metrics to follow is Acquisition, Behavior and Results. Use it with the best metrics for your business and provide better decision making within your company or for your client.
Keep reading: "The era of browsers in digital advertising“