You have Google Analytics installed on your website and now you have a wealth of data at your fingertips. Your boss asks you to put together an analysis of the company’s digital marketing efforts and where you suggest your marketing dollars are allocated for the upcoming quarter.
Your first thought may be to put together a table that includes traffic and conversions by channel and suggest to your boss to allocate budget based on the % contribution of goal completions. This is a great place to start, but the analyst in you is going to need to spend some time with the data before you can provide any recommendations.
Path From Data To Wisdom
Just having the data is only the beginning. It’s important to note that the data doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be statistically relevant in order to be reliable.
The next step after collecting the data is understanding the meaning of the data. For example, why some numbers can be averaged (ex. Bounce rate) and why others cannot (ex. Transactions). Other considerations could include understanding what you’re considering a goal on your website and whether or not that is a direct indicator of a successful action to brings your organization value. A product purchase or lead form submission will in most cases be a better indicator than, for example, a user spending more than four minutes on your website.
Knowledge is understanding the context of the data. One example of understanding the context of the data is “we’re 10% less than what our monthly growth has been over the past three months.” A more specific example of understanding the context is knowing organic homepage traffic is down year over year because you recently launched a branded paid search campaign that is driving traffic to the site. Data without context is irrelevant and can lead to bad decisions.
Lastly, wisdom is acting on that knowledge. It could be shifting budget from lower to upper funnel initiatives in Facebook, and leveraging other tactics like Adwords remarketing to capture this Facebook traffic. Historically, your conversion rate in display remarketing is higher which we’ll discuss a bit more later on.
Tips To Understanding / Contextualizing The Data
There are many ways to understand and contextualize your data. Here’s a couple of ways to get you started.
Simply looking at the overall sessions to your website and seeing they’re up year over year does not provide you much value. Leverage segments in Google Analytics (either custom or built-in) to further slice and dice your data. Here’s a few examples of segments we commonly use.
- Converters vs. Non-converters
- United States vs. EU
- New vs. Returning Users
- Facebook vs. Twitter Traffic
- Mobile vs. Desktop Traffic