The technical side of digital marketing – part 1: Analytics
The technical side of digital marketing – part 1: Analytics
Behind every successful marketing campaign there is a specialist or an entire team of specialist working hard behind the scenes. Today, we are going to take a look at some of the most effective practices and tools that make our content stand out from the competition and become more visible in the most popular search engines.
With nearly 5 billion people using the internet every day, which is more than half of the global population, finding your target audience would be like looking for a needle in a haystack if it wasn’t for analytical tools. So how do they help?
The benefits of digital marketing analytics
Every user that enters and interacts with our website provides the company with a plethora of useful information with reference to such areas as demographics, behavioral patterns, popular/unpopular elements of the site, purchase preferences, ad effectiveness and more. All this data can be used to create a detailed profile of the target audience, characterizing the individuals that are most prone to conversions.
The information can be used to create personas – a representation of someone who uses or may use your website. Such an imaginary person combines the factual qualities extracted from the data acquired through analytics with believable, albeit made-up, personal information to complement the image. When you define personas, you can use this information to track their movement – or path – on the platform. This is critical information for your website’s success as you do not want to spend time and resources in areas that your users hardly ever make use of. This activity should be compared to the goal of the project. If the goal is for users to purchase your product – you track the steps they take from landing on your homepage to finalizing the transaction. If the goal is to make users contact you, what are the steps they take until they complete the contact form or use the chat bot? All of this will help improve or redesign the website to optimize the flow. Reviewing client paths also means investigating how they got to your website in the first place – was it through a social media post on Facebook? Was it through an advertisement provided by Google? Which advertising channel seems to be the most effective one to maximize user traffic?
There are of course many other benefits of using analytics. Certain tools will also help a company design products and services that clients require. One can go as far as directly asking clients what they are looking for, and adapt company activities. Having consumer insights increases your chances of writing a message that will draw the attention of your target audience. Cost effectiveness is another important aspect – digital marketing analytics provide companies with information on which marketing campaigns proved the most or the least effective, allowing businesses to adjust course with both existing and future marketing endeavors.
The most popular digital marketing analytics tools
Google Analytics (GA4)
Probably one of the first tools that comes to mind, and rightfully so – it’s detailed, it’s widely used and it’s free (at least in its basic version). It is also one of the oldest tools used for web analytics, as it first appeared in 2005. Since then, it has been constantly developed, with the newest version called GA4. With the latest release, it is also possible to analyze data acquired from Android and iOS devices. The free, basic version of the tool will prove enough data for most companies. Some of the main features of Google Analytics include:
- the ability to create about 80 reports featuring data on internet traffic, conversion rates and return of investment (ROI)
- the ability to categorize users basing on selected factors
- integration with other tools, including Google Ads, AdSense, Search Console and more (in the Analytics 360 paid version)
- analysis of issues connected with the website, e.g. performance problems
- support for multiple languages
While Google Analytics provides information on traffic in general, Hotjar allows you to analyze traffic from the perspective of a single user. It cooperates with GA to provide a more detailed picture of user experience, and it helps companies better understand those visiting their websites. The software provides clear, visual information on what is going on the platform, e.g. through heatmaps and recordings presenting user behavior. It helps to uncover the reasons why visitors behave in certain ways by providing several types of surveys or the Incoming Feedback expandable widget, which is always present on the side of the page for users to rate their experience. All of this valuable feedback helps make informed decisions about potential changes to your platform or marketing strategy.
The tool is used to analyze the linking profile and such functionalities as Site Audit and Explorer, Keywords and Content Explorer, and Rank Tracker. Site audit is a detailed analysis of a website’s SEO performance, providing vital information on the issues negatively impacting site ranking. The tool performs a detailed scan of all subpages and gives a collective result for the entire website in terms of SEO (about 100 factors are taken into account). Site Explorer provides information on the organic traffic from the search engine as well as a backlink profile for every website or URL address. It also analyzes traffic from paid content. Keyword Explorer operates using the largest database of search queries, offering a lot of effective keywords, the support for 171 countries, the measurement and estimation of “clicks” and deep insights. Similarly, Content Explorer suggests the most effective types of content for a specific industry. This functionality analyzes traffic value, organic traffic, social media sharing and more. Last but not least, the Rank Tracker monitors the position of the website across time, allowing for comparisons with the competition, and it creates scheduled reports. The functionality supports both desktop and mobile devices.
Google Tag Manager
This free tool bridges the gap between websites and Google Analytics (other software as well). It may become the best friend for a marketer, analyst or online store owner. It allows users to add scripts and tags to a website without the need for a programmer, which greatly speeds up and improves the whole process. Google Tag Manager makes it possible to manage the tags that are responsible for the effective acquisition of relevant data that is used in such tools as Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, etc. This data includes GA stats, conversion tracking, information used in heatmaps and session recordings. There are also certain plugins that further increase the effectiveness of GTM. With the huge number of possibilities it offers, Google Tag Manager is an outstanding tool that you do not pay for.
Google Data Studio
This tool allows for a clear and easy way of presenting virtually any data. No need for complicated excel commands or proficiency in creating reports in Google Ads or Analytics. The drag and drop method, combined with dynamic elements (e.g. more info after hovering the mouse cursor over a phrase), as well as the option to refresh existing reports and combine data from multiple sources (Google Ads, Analytics or Sheets) make it the go-to solution for report preparation. The tool is constantly updated and its popularity continues to grow.
Proper link tagging is essential to know which advertising campaigns yield the best results. Without UTM, it is difficult to provide reliable internet analytics. The more campaigns a company conducts, the more it will feel the lack of organized UTM tagging, and it gets increasingly more difficult to get a hold of the chaos as time goes by and the numbers of randomly tagged links accumulate. Therefore, it is imperative to set up clear rules/templates for the process as soon as possible, preferably even before the platform goes online.
Adding new tools and the influence on website speed
There is no denying that if we continue to implement new tools to the code of our website, this may eventually have a negative impact on its performance. Fortunately, there is another free solution that can help us keep website speed at an optimal level – PageSpeed Insights by Google. It helps strike the right balance between providing an optimal experience to people visiting our website and the number of tools implemented to help us manage the platform effectively.
This concludes the first part of the article. In part two, we will focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).