Data is a treasure trove that gives you actionable insight to your campaigns and audience, but not all analytics are created equal. Without giving yourself the right filters or parameters, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of data that does nothing to move your marketing efforts forward. 

So, where can you find relevant data? How can you use it to inform your goals? Let’s dive in.

Understanding Your Goals

The best way to set yourself up for success is to clearly determine who you’re speaking to and what you want to accomplish with your specific campaigns. It may be tempting to jump straight into action, but the key to creating effective campaigns with measurable results is to take a moment before you even begin. Take a breath - it’s time for a little soul searching. 

Before getting too far into your campaign planning it is important to address your Target Persona. Not just the demographics you’ll be entering into your platform targeting, but that deeper look into the actual people you’ll be trying to reach. Through this process, you’ll want to ask some specific questions:

  • How do they communicate with the people in their lives? 
  • Where do they get their news and entertainment?
  • Which devices do they use to interact with your content? 
  • Where are they spending their free time? 
  • What are their motivations and triggers?
  • What is their tech patience, and prowess?

The better idea you have of your target customer, the better you’ll be able to flesh out a campaign that organically fits in their customer journey.  From the who, you can better determine the what…you need to define what success looks like for each step of your campaign. 

What action are you hoping your audience will take in response to your messaging? 

For example, if you’re planning a holiday campaign, are you looking for existing customers to purchase for themselves, or are you trying to inspire gift giving in order to reach a new audience? Consider a recruitment campaign. Do you want your target audience to join a mailing list to learn more about your opportunity, or do you want them to fill out interest cards to be contacted by a recruiter?

Knowing what you’re aiming for and who you’re talking to will make your path to relevant data all the clearer. 

Sourcing and Interpreting Analytics

When the time comes to interpret the results of your marketing campaigns, you want to be able to draw clear connections. You want to be able to show that “x” ad yielded “x” result. Let’s look at how we can utilize three levels of analytics to do just that.

1. Platform-Provided Analytics

This is accessible through the dashboards of advertising giants like Facebook Business Manager, YouTube, and TikTok. Similarly, traditional media channels, such as radio and broadcast television, provide metrics to gauge audience engagement. They can give you an overall idea of performance; however, it’s important not to just stop here.

Businesses will show you exciting numbers that may sway you to boost your ad spend, so take this data with a grain of salt. Prepare to ask more discerning questions and to look at the other data available to you.

2. Brand-Provided Analytics

These analytics let you take more control. By utilizing Google Analytics tracking codes, UTM codes, Facebook pixels, Google Tag Manager and the like, you’re able to more closely track your audiences’ behavior. What source brought your audience to your campaign (e.g. email, Facebook ad, third-party website)? Where did you customer go after leaving your site? When A/B testing, did the male or female voiceover perform better? These are all things you can gain more insight on with brand-established analytics.

3. Hard Data

Hard conversions are one of your best sources of information and the final piece to the puzzle. Look at your accounting through your books. Did spikes in foot traffic/purchases/interest signups correlate with any marketing campaigns? Leverage your historical data to track impact as well. Taking it back to that recruitment campaign–if you only had a 10% conversion rate from filled-out interest cards in 2022, but then a 40% conversion rate in 2023, you know that you’ve done something more effectively. 

Email is a great example of using the three levels of analytics. A platform-provided analytic is your open and click through rate. The platform may show that you have a high open rate, but does that mean your campaign is accomplishing its goals? In general, you want customers to take action (fill out a survey, book a hotel room, read a blog). If your open rate is high, but your clickthrough rate is low, that may tell you that you need to tweak your email content. Or perhaps the clickthrough rate is high, but there aren’t many conversions once they’re on your site. Your brand-provided analytics, UTM tracking codes, or Google Tags, can give you insight into where potential customers go instead of taking action - or if they do take action- where they came from. Finally, your hard data will tell you the meaningful conversions that ultimately impact your bottom line. 

By analyzing this data, you can see where you can improve. Low open rate? Improve your headline. Low clickthrough? Improve your copy. Low conversions? Change the landing page destination or content. Remember, if your audience feels lost, then you’ve lost your audience. Use this data to determine how you can keep them on track.

Without effective tracking, you won't be able to pinpoint where you went wrong (or right!). It's not just about having a strategic marketing mix; it's about knowing which platforms and campaigns are the real game-changers. Taking a holistic look at your data allows you to see what's performing well, enabling you to double down on those strategies that yield the best results.

Your marketing strategy is a living thing that gives clues on where to spend your time, money, and energy so that you get the highest ROI. So, embrace the lessons from your data and redistribute your energy where it matters most. In the end, understanding the nuances of your marketing strategy is the key to truly connecting with your target market, increasing sales, and improving customer relationships.