Analytics platforms are powerful tools that offer marketers valuable insight into the customer journey from start to finish. But one must know how to retrieve, analyze, and draw actionable conclusions from the data to make tangible gains. Here is an overview on how analytics can help marketers increase ROI.
ROI is directly related to conversion against goals such as completed purchases or submitted leads. Because goals vary from business to business, it is a good idea to loop in departments or individuals who can help determine what to define as a goal in an analytics program. A communication disconnect between search marketers and those responsible for sales and other strategic business functions can cause errors in data collection and analysis. Once everyone is on the same page and objectives are clear, determine which website actions correlate to them. For e-Commerce businesses, identifying goals is relatively simple. For B2B businesses and those with less linear revenue cycles, it is especially important to establish the right value points along the customer journey (such as a contact form) in order to collect meaningful data.
Play with Variables
Once goals are configured in the analytics platform, determine which marketing campaigns you can tweak to test against them. Be sure to properly tag paid search campaigns, email marketing, social media, and other components that can provide insights into how a customer finds and interacts with the website. Appropriately tagging all media will give you a better feel for which tactics work and which do not.
Paid search campaigns are a great way to increase short-term gains as well as to evaluate which strategies should be implemented long-term. Although it is easy to determine the ROI on paid search efforts, the overall value of conversion may be less than conversions driven by SEO depending on how much you pay per click. Test various landing pages and ad copy variations, and increase bids on PPC ads to see which combinations generate the most conversions on your website. You can also quickly test the effectiveness of new keywords using PPC ads. The analytics data on these tests can help identify new keywords around which to focus content creation and SEO efforts, as the ROI on organic efforts is usually higher than paid campaigns.
Remember to once again adjust settings and apply appropriate tags to gather data on the new keywords and associated components. As rankings go up over time, the data can help you determine when to shift spending from paid search to organic efforts. Year-over-year analytics data can also help determine long-term budget allocations.
You can also use analytics to examine the conversion funnel step-by-step and identify weak spots. If a large number of users begin the process toward conversion but only a small fraction actually complete the valued action, use analytics to see exactly where people are dropping off and make adjustments accordingly. Such deep insight at a granular level will help you see exactly where problems lie rather than leaving it up to guesswork. Adjusting a website and marketing campaigns based on real-time data about user behavior can significantly impact a business’s bottom line over time.
Analytics programs are a great tool to get a detailed look at the ROI on individual components, providing a more accurate overall picture on which larger strategic decisions can be based. One thing to keep in mind is that analytics show what happens on a website but not necessarily why. For a better understanding of the true ROI of various components, it is important to supplement analytics data with additional research.
Do you know of any tips, tricks, or interesting analytics features that help you gain insight into ROI? Let us know in the comments!