Over-Analyzing Your Marketing Analytics?
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. When it comes to marketing, data is vital to understanding what worked and why, so you can make informed decisions and drive better results. But with the wealth of information and tools available to marketers today, you may find yourself swimming in a sea of potential KPIs and metrics. With all of the data at your fingertips, the big picture gets lost, and it becomes difficult to make decisions and find solutions.
This is known as “paralysis by analysis”—when over-analyzing leads you to not take action, paralyzing the outcome. Some signs that you’re over-analyzing your marketing analytics:
- You find yourself dreading the end of every marketing campaign, when you have to report on results.
- Your campaign reports look a little different each time, as you add or take away data sets.
- You’re not sure where to focus your reporting efforts.
In this post, we’ll discuss some ways to simplify and improve your data analysis to make the process more manageable and make your data work for you, saving your team time and stress.
5 Guidelines for Better Data Analysis and Management
1. Don’t Collect Data for the Sake of Data
Collect only data that is actionable and can provide answers to specific questions, as well as a measurement of success. For example, if your goal for a particular campaign is to drive people to a specific landing page, focusing on page views and CTR can help you understand where any potential breakdown occurs and take the appropriate action. Perhaps people are clicking through to your offer but not fulfilling. In this case, you may need to reconsider your offer. On the other hand, if those who click through are highly qualified and convert on your offer, but your overall numbers are low, you may need to invest in social advertising, PPC, or other ways to reach your target audience.
2. Pull Data from a Variety of Sources
Relying on just one tool to measure success doesn’t provide a complete picture. To fully understand the impact of your marketing campaigns, draw data from a variety of sources. In addition to your CRM and any sales management software you have, include sources such as Google Analytics and social media platforms’ built-in analytics. However, as noted above, it’s important to ensure that you are only collecting data that aligns with your goals and is actionable.
Not all data requires the same degree of analysis. Some things should be checked daily—like any social media notifications you should reply to, and new leads that come in through forms on your website (e.g. contact us). Others, you can carve out time weekly—like checking in on campaign progress (email and CTA button clicks, conversions on landing pages, etc.). For metrics such as website traffic—referral versus organic—blog subscribers, social media followers, marketing qualified leads, customers, and other lead gen KPIs, monthly analysis is often sufficient. Lead to customer conversion rates and revenue associated with each marketing activity should be analyzed quarterly or annually. By setting priorities, you can avoid over-analyzing your data.
4. Don’t Start from Scratch Every Time
Automate reports and develop a template for charts and graphs that you can simply update, instead of recreating them each month. Make use of built-in analytics within your marketing management systems and schedule reports to be delivered automatically. You can even connect all your data sources with a business intelligence platform such as Databox or Chartio to build one streamlined report that will save you time.
5. Remember the Pitfalls
It’s easy to get lost in the data and allow it to take up too much of your time. But the consequences are real: You feel stressed, your marketing creative can suffer, and you may end up struggling to justify how marketing dollars are spent (which makes it difficult to secure future budget). It doesn’t have to be that way. Recognize the signs of “paralysis by analysis” and make a commitment to refocus only on actionable, meaningful metrics.
Don’t Take Away from the Value of Your Campaigns
Data can be empowering, but only when it can be put to use to help you achieve your marketing goals. Follow the guidelines outlined above, so you can sort out what data is relevant and what is simply weighing you down.