How Does a Marketer Make Data-Driven Decisions? Meet Google Analytics

By BrainStation January 5, 2017

As a marketer, you must be a wearer of many hats.

Whether you have a background in traditional mediums or more digital channels, marketers master a multitude of skills and tools. They must keep up with the proliferation of digital mediums and methods, including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), event promotion and execution, copywriting for marketing materials, and many more.

The Many Mediums of Digital Marketers: Why Marketers Should Use Analytics

Digital marketers specifically may need to familiarize themselves with a few other areas, including:

  • Social media marketing: Creating organic and paid posts to promote your product and/or brand on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.
  • Inbound marketing: Drawing customers to your brand’s site with thought leadership pieces and content that delights prospective customers.
  • Email marketing: Sending updates, information, and nurturing past, present, and potential customers through campaigns sent directly to their email inboxes.
  • Public relations: Digital marketers also often have to help out with getting coverage from online publications (think blogs, online magazines and newspapers, podcasts, etc.) in an effort to help raise brand awareness.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads: Getting more potential customer eyeballs on your brand or website by paying a publisher or platform a fee for every time someone clicks on your ad.

With all these channels that must be managed, how can marketers track their campaigns, monitor what efforts are getting traction, and make informed decisions? According to a recent report from Forbes, Big Data is being used to optimize many marketing processes and drive better decision making, including:

  • Greater customer responsiveness. According to one Forrester study, business-to-consumer businesses are already using data to improve communications with customers. Almost half (44%) use big data and analytics to bolster responsiveness, and another 36% use data mining to glean customer insights to plan more relationship-driven strategies.
  • Reducing customer churn and boosting lifetime value. A recent study by DataMeer found that marketing departments already use data to acquire more customers and keep them longer to decrease churn. This thereby increases revenue per customer and helps improve existing products.
  • Building more successful relationships. Companies are using data to go deeper than looking at basic marketing campaign analytics — they’re using analytics to create a strong foundation for a better relationship.

Sold on the idea of using data to make better decisions? Marketers, meet Google Analytics.

Google Analytics: Using Data to Make Decisions

When it comes to monitoring your social media, email marketing, and content marketing performance, Google Analytics is a great tool for the modern marketer.

Google Analytics hooks up to your website, blog, and any subdomains (like landing pages) using a bit of code inserted into your site. The code links up to a digital dashboard that allows marketers to monitor how many visitors land on your site and dozens of other important metrics.

However, such a powerful tool can be daunting to use for a newbie. So, let’s dive into some of the most integral metrics GA can monitor to help you get the most return on your investment when it comes to your content and campaigns.

Getting You Started: Google Analytics’ Metrics

With the availability of so many analytics in one platform, it might be overwhelming to make sense of which stats are significant for your efforts.

So, let’s start with a few of the basics. Marketers can track more superficial metrics like:

  • Sessions
  • Unique pageviews
  • Time on site
  • Bounce rates
  • Referral sources (what sites are sending you traffic)

These types of analytics give you a big-picture view of what pages on your site are getting the most visitors, how long people are spending on each page engaging with your content, and how quickly they’re leaving your site after landing there.

If you dig deeper into Google Analytics’ capabilities, you can also establish campaigns with goals around your external marketing initiatives — or in Google’s words, “use campaign tracking in Google Analytics to accurately track online advertising campaigns to your website, both from AdWords-generated campaigns as well as from other advertising sources.”

By setting up custom campaigns, you can track what initiatives are sending you the most qualified traffic, the best sales leads, and which are offering the best ROI — and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.