For a long time, marketing and advertising have been, in large part, a guessing game. But with online technology advances, your marketing has the ability to become much more targeted and effective.
Data, easily accessible to any business, allows you to measure how many people your marketing reaches, how many people engage with your content, how that affects your perceived brand and whether your efforts convince them to take action. These metrics can equip you to know exactly how your creative ideas are faring, and whether you need to switch tactics.
But there are massive amounts of data constantly being created; every action users take while online is tracked, compiled and analyzed. There is so much data at your fingertips but making sense out of it can be overwhelming. So where do you start?
Most likely you’ve heard of Google Analytics. It’s a free service created to track all of the relevant analytics related to your website. This platform is extremely robust, but can be quite complicated. That’s why Google also provides you with great tools to help you navigate it. You can take this online Google Analytics course.
We suggest taking the class, but we’ll give you the CliffsNotes version as well. First, create a Google Analytics profile, which will provide you with a tracking code. Add this code to your website (ask your developer or if you are using a hosting site like WordPress or Joomla, they have extensions). Once you’ve added the code, Google will begin tracking all of the traffic. You can look through the various reporting tools like demographics, page visits, time spent on the page (and more) and analyze what those metrics mean for your company.
Social Media Metrics
Social media is one of the most effective ways to reach a targeted and engaged audience online. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram are the most popular social networks and there are various platforms to track their metrics.
Hootsuite & Sprout Social
Hootsuite and Sprout Social are similar social media management platforms with analytics tools. However, when it comes to metrics and analytics, we prefer Hootsuite. With the free platform, Hootsuite allows you to track up to 3 social media channels, which is a great option for a small business. If you are running more than 3 channels, consider upgrading to Pro (it’s relatively inexpensive). From this point you can add all of your channels and use reporting templates or create custom reports to collect the data you want to see. Set these to run on a schedule, perhaps weekly or monthly, to consistently measure your progress.
Note that Hootsuite can only track metrics for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. So, this is where the additional platforms come into play.
Iconosquare is a great, free reporting tool for Instagram. What the program lacks in robustness, it makes up for in simplicity. Simply link your Instagram account and it will email you a report tracking likes, follows, engagement and the best times to post. To get new reports, you’ll have to log back in and wait for them to run.
Google Analytics (for Tumblr)
Using the same account, you can create a new page and ask for a new tracking ID. Then within your Tumblr account, you can add this tracking code and run all the same metrics you would on your website.
Various platforms are beginning to house their own metrics and analytics. Facebook has an “Insights” tab that allows you to see a strong set of metrics related to your Facebook page. You can see the effectiveness of posts, advertisements and page promotions all in this tab. You can even export the data into an EXCEL file for a more critical breakdown.
Twitter also runs an analytics platform, but only for its advertising. If you create a Twitter ad campaign, you are able to use their analytics to measure favorites, follows, reach and more.
Your metrics run continually and it’s up to you to decide how often you want to run reports, but no matter how often you decide to run them, establish a routine so you are consistently checking in.
Though this isn’t all of the information, this breakdown should give you an idea about how to begin to immerse yourself in the world of metrics and analytics. If you’re looking for something more robust, we’re here to help.
As always, we hope this helps you #MOVEahead.