In a data-driven world, how you define, capture, use, and analyse metrics can mean the difference between falling and flying. But too often, data is seen as a method for showing value rather than a tool for creating value.
Benefits of data-driven marketing
The benefits of taking a data-driven approach to digital marketing cannot be overstated. As a value-creating tool, data-driven marketing can:
- eliminate guesswork and minimise variability
- provide a basis for strategic decision-making
- underpin content decisions in a way that appeals to advertising and search algorithms
- provide a tool for measuring and evaluating content and campaigns
In fact, according to Hydra Digital Director Matthew Cage, with marketing becoming more specialised, data-driven marketing is not optional; it’s essential.
“At the core of what every marketer is trying to do is achieving results. A lot of the value that we create as marketers is being able to show those results in a quantifiable way without prejudice or discretion, which is extremely important for our stakeholders.
“Whether you’re an agency providing that to a client or whether you’re a client representing that to the stakeholders and decision-makers inside your business, it’s very hard to justify a particular decision if you don’t have data to drive that decision.
“Data and the analysis of data introduces certainty. And it allows you to benchmark things and build on the experience and the data that you gain, which ultimately is what you want to do.”
Most of us know that basic website metrics – traffic, duration on page, referral channel, page views, and bounce rate – can tell us a good deal about the health of our websites. This data helps us make decisions about which content we wish to develop, where we might want to invest in further marketing, and what we ought to abandon. The problem, however, comes when we assume that this information is enough to deliver maximum value from our digital strategy.
For Matthew, data-based decisions should be occurring long before a single word of content is typed, or an image uploaded. He says that data-driven marketing delivers the most value when it is incorporated through the content creation process – start, middle, and end.
“In terms of digital marketing itself, everything is data-driven. Everything. When you interact with an advertising platform, all of the algorithms are driven by data.
“A deep understanding of how that works is really important in order to get the best out of our advertising platforms and from search engines. The more time that goes by, the more platforms are wanting to use data to drive those algorithms.
“If you don’t have data to drive those algorithms, you won’t get the most out of your advertising platforms or from search engines.There are a lot of reasons why data-driven marketing is absolutely essential in digital marketing. But as a business case, for any business, you want some certainty, you want some common language, you want to develop KPIs, you want to be able to refer back to it.
“The nirvana for any marketer is being able to measure the customer journey from beginning to end.”
This is where a data-driven agency can help. Agencies that specialise in analytics can create value by helping marketers develop an intimate knowledge of your target audience – its behaviour, trusted sources, the language it speaks, and what drives its purchasing decisions. It can tell how to find your niche amongst the noise, and make sure you can be found on search engines or in social media. In fact, with the right research and analysis, agencies that specialise in analytics can even shed light on seasonality and the best time to target marketing activities.
The bottom line? Data is king. And a data-driven marketing expert will use data to help you achieve business goals, leveraging your online platforms and assets.
Top Ways to Implement Data-Driven Marketing
- Define your goals. Without consistent goals across your marketing tactics, you will struggle to compare apples with apples and develop consistent metrics that allow you to judge the quality of outcomes you are achieving and what to do next.
- Link your digital goals to business outcomes like ROI, profit, # of customers, brand awareness etc. It is much easier to justify the effort and budgets when measurable outcomes are in the spotlight.
- Implement consistent analytics across your digital assets and platforms, including your website, advertising, SEO and content strategies along with your CRM to track conversions.
- Configure your analytics to collect information on your goals and report them consistently
- Use reporting platforms that make it easy for you, your team and stakeholders to access and assess marketing performance easily. A good example is Google’s Looker Studio (Formerly Google Data Studio).
- Meet regularly to discuss performance based on established metrics and KPIs and integrate insights into forward planning
- Never stop iterating your strategy. Just like Space X Vs NASA, you can leapfrog the competition by iterating, making mistakes and winning, but above all, learning from the process.
- Use period-on-period and year-on-year data. The longer you collect quality data, the more powerful it becomes for you as a business professional with the ability to draw on this data for new ideas and quick wins and identify bigger trends that were invisible previously.
- Maintain your analytics systems. In the world of digital marketing, things change quickly. New metrics, new systems, new features and different ways of measuring things are a constant. Maintain to avoid the pitfalls and take advantage of the new features and insights.
- Understand the limitations of your data. While data is great, misinterpreted it can be dangerous. Make sure you understand the limitations of the data you are collecting and the definitions.
Google’s Latest Version of Analytics GA4
If you haven’t already heard, Google is replacing the current version of their ubiquitous analytis platform with a new versions Google Analytics 4 (GA4). You can learn more about it from our article on what is google analytics GA4 and how to migrate to Google Analytics.
Digital Marketing and analytics does not stand still for long. It is easy to stay ahead of the curve and achieve your goals by leveraging data to do the heavy lifting and do what humans do best creatively. Navigating this space can be difficult unless you live and breathe it; if you have questions on how to implement data-driven marketing or have a topic you would like us to cover, get in touch.