"The price of light is less than the cost of darkness." - Arthur C. Nielsen, legendary data analyst
The day is Wednesday, August 4th...
The first “Techonomy Conference” is underway in Lake Tahoe, CA. Tech. Enthusiasts pack the conference hall to the brim, and moderator David Kirkpatrick just introduced panelist Eric Schmidt. Eric has been the CEO of Google since 2001 and is considered a thought leader in the Digital Age. Immediately after his introduction, Eric shocks the audience.
“Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.” That comes out to about 5 exabytes of data generated every two days. How big is that? One exabyte equals 1,073,741,824 gigabytes…
… and that was back in 2010.
FAST FORWARD TO TODAY
The number of weekly internet users continues to rise, and business of all sizes now have the opportunity to leverage data to improve their marketing. A goldmine of information that can make the difference between a successful campaign and an unsuccessful one – right at your fingertips.
Getting Started with Analytics
Quantitative Data vs Qualitative Data.
Quantitative refers to data that can be counted, like how many times Rick Astley never gave you up or let you down. Qualitative, on the other hand, is non-numerical. It is “data that approximates or characterized but does not measure the attributes, characteristics, properties, etc. of a thing or phenomenon” (BusinessDictionary.com). An example of this is a Google review or an online survey.
Ask yourself: “What am I trying to achieve?”
Write down your objective, and then consider which action or series of actions a user has to take online to fulfill your objectives. These actions are referred to as “conversions”. Common examples of conversions in digital marketing include making a purchase, completing a contact form, subscribing to a newsletter, and following a social media page.
Conversions should be valuable, otherwise you wouldn’t be spending time or money to get them. Assign each conversion a dollar value, or approximate as closely as you can. That way, you can measure the ROI of your marketing efforts and manage your marketing budget effectively.
KPIs in Digital Marketing
- Monthly website visits
- Bounce rate
- Time on page
- Pages viewed most often
- Search rank per keyword
- Page load speed
- Organic click-thru-rate
- Domain authority
- Conversion rate
- Total likes
- Comments per post
- Engagement rate
Don't forget to benchmark!
WRITE DOWN YOUR KPIs BEFORE STARTING A CAMPAIGN SO YOU CAN COMPARE PRE-CAMPAIGN AND POST-CAMPAIGN PERFORMANCE.
How do I Install Google Analytics?
How you install Google Analytics depends on which website platform that you use. To make things easy, we’ve curated a collection of step-by-step guides to help you set up Google Analytics properly. These are just a few of the most popular website building tools at the moment.
GoDaddy – Website Builder 7 – Beginner guide
Weebly – Beginner guide
Squarespace – Built-in integration with Google Analytics
Strikingly – Built-in integration with Google Analytics
How do I use Google Analytics?
We’ve curated a few guides below to help you familiarize yourself with Google Analytics. We recommend reading at least one guide so that your channel settings are set up properly. Once that is done, the best way to learn Google Analytics is by playing around with it!
Resources to help you learn Google Analytics:
- Main Street ROI – Beginner’s guide to using Google Analytics
- Neil Patel – How to use Google Analytics like a pro
- Sproutsocial – How to use Google Analytics for social media: a beginner’s guide
Additional resources provided by Google:
Social Media Analytics
Nowadays, almost every major social media channel has a built-in analytics tool for businesses and publishers. That was not always the case. Great as they are, native analytics tools are very weak compared to external paid services.
Learning these tools is easy – mastering them is the difficult part. Take your time and browse these resources we curated to get you started.
*Have you seen our Social Media Marketing course?
Now that you have identified your objective, KPIs, and the criteria for a conversion, it is time to program conversion tracking into your campaign. Do not let the word program scare you. Nowadays, with modern technologies and free courses like these, everyone can learn how to track conversions. And you really should. Here are just a few things that conversion tracking allows you to do.
- Demonstrate ROI on your digital marketing budget
- Count blog readers who scroll at least 90% down the page
- Optimize pages on your website for conversions
- Know which of your Facebook ads resulted in a purchase
- Target past website visitors who added an item to their shopping cart but did not completed checked out
Conversion tracking gives you the power to do all that (and more). They work by using little pieces of code called “conversion pixels”. This code is the link between you and an ad platform like Google Ads. Pixels tell ad platforms that a visitor arrived to a page as a result of clicking on an ad. They are also able to recognize when certain actions are taken on-page from ad campaign traffic.
Getting Started with Conversion Tracking
We could write an entire chapter on conversion tracking alone (and we plan to in the near future). In the meantime, we curated resources below to help you learn the fundamentals of conversion tracking and how to implement it.
Conversion Tracking Education Resources:
- Google Tag Manager is a free tool that houses all of your conversion pixels in one place. It can be difficult to keep track of pixels campaign over campaign, channel over channel, which is why we recommend learning how to use this tool.
- WordStream – Google conversion tracking: complete guide to conversion tracking in Google Ads 2018
- AdEspresso – Facebook pixel – the complete guide for 2018
- Kinsta – Ultimate conversion tracking guide for WordPress
- WordStream – The ultimate guide to tracking, targeting, and driving conversions on Facebook
Ethical Considerations of Data Collection
Every time you post a photo on Facebook, make a purchase online, click on a “read more” button, search on Google – all of these actions are stored on data serves. This data is extremely valuable, and companies have made fortunes by figuring out how to organize and make sense of it all. You can use these analytical services to monitor campaign performance, understand audience segments, and precisely target your advertising dollars.
After the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, NYT and The Guardian discovered that a data firm called Cambridge Analytica purchased personal data from Facebook users through Aleksandr Kogan, an outside researcher who created a data harvesting personality quiz app. Aleksandr lied to users, telling them it collecting information purely for academic reasons. Cambridge Analytica used this personal data on 87 million people to give politicians an edge, and the fallout has consumers understandably cautious about their data.
“With great power, comes great responsibility.” as Peter Parker’s uncle would say.
On May 25th, 2018, The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. The law regulates how websites protect the personal information of citizens in the European Union. It has a number of different requirements, such as requiring websites to get user consent before storing personal data. The law is enforced globally, meaning that if citizens of the EU visits your site, your site needs to be GDPR compliant. To learn more, click here.