Ever gotten stumped with your web analytics before you got started?
You encounter dozens of metrics, even more possible ways to view them, thousands of different configurations for reports.
It’s no wonder many marketers and entrepreneurs throw up their hands in exasperation. Though determined to use their web presence to produce more traffic, leads, and revenue, they give up and return to making decisions based on instinct and experience.
What’s the alternative? Develop a digital marketing and measurement model. It will help you to structure your thinking about your real purpose. And you’ll be able to identify what you will measure to judge success or failure.
With your marketing and measurement model you can:
- Organize your observations into something manageable.
- Make predictions about the future.
- Know where to experiment and test.
- Possess a common language to discuss and negotiate your decisions with your colleagues.
Avinash Kaushik, in articles on starting right with analytics and creating a digital marketing and measurement model, explains exactly how to prepare. Kaushik counsels to ask some existential questions about the business before diving into the data.
He describes fives steps to develop your model.
1. Settle on your business objectives
Why does your website exist? What business objectives will improve if your website does its job? More revenue? Lower costs? More control over the forecast?
Objectives place your website firmly in the context of your business. They align your activities and outcomes with those of your executives and investors.
For most B2B marketers, the business objectives for their website are to attract more buyers, to nurture them, and to transition them into sales leads or customers.
2. Specify your Goals
When you define specific goals, you align your website outcomes with your business objectives. Goals define actions you want your visitors to take.
Since B2B buyers pass through multiple buying stages, you may have multiple goals for your website. They could include downloads of articles, signups for email newsletters, or attendance to a webinar.
3. Select the key metrics
Once you’ve defined your goals, you can select the best metrics to measure your progress. Metrics are more specific than operational goals. They must be something your web analytics tool can measure.
You have a lot of metrics to choose from in your analytics tools! Select your primary ones carefully. Of all your metrics, these are your Key Performance Indicators.
KPIs are unique to each business. To use our lead generation example, a KPI might be the number of people who reach the “thank you” page for email newsletter signups.
Of all the metrics in your analytics tools, now you know which to focus on. You’ve got your “shopping list.” You can prioritize the time you spend to make these metrics measurable and visible. You can construct various tests and optimize for them.
4. Set your targets
How do you know if you are succeeding or failing? Choose targets for your metrics, specific values that indicate success or failure.
To choose your targets, look at the past history of this KPI in your web analytics tools. With your finance team you also look at your forecast or financial obligations for the coming period (month, quarter, year).
People are tuned to be persuaded by specific numbers. If you say sales increased, the point won’t stick with people. But if you say “our optimization efforts caused downloads to increase by 17% with a subsequent 4% increase in sales,” people will remember.
Choose these targets carefully! They should be aggressive enough to be significant toward achieving your business goals and objectives. Yet they should also be doable. These are the numbers you will be watching every day and reporting to your management and other groups in your organization.
Now you know what good or bad looks like. You know what constitutes success and what constitutes failure. You have a numerical yardstick against which to measure your test and optimization activities.
5. Single out your important segments
Segments are groups of people with common characteristics that visit your website. Divide your visitors into segments by how they got to your website (source), what they did on your website (behavior), and the outcome of their visit (the goals that were met).
Since the people in your segments have common characteristics, their metrics can reveal something about their intent. Knowing that 40% of the people who visit your site use your Total Cost of Ownership calculator is less useful than when you segment your visitors and find out that 80% of visitors who come via organic search use the calculator but only 20% who come from social media sites use it.
Further, focus on the segments that advance your business. They will produce more traffic, leads and revenue than other segments.
When you focus on specific segments, you will get clearer results from any testing and optimization. You’ll get more specific insights into your segments about what they want more of and what they want less of.
With a marketing and measurement model, you can stop being overwhelmed by your analytics data and start owning it for your own purposes.