Marketing is one of the largest expenses, if not the largest expense, for small and mid-sized businesses, so it is not surprising that measurement of the outcomes is a topic of concern to the C-Suite. Many companies turn to their marketing departments – or marketing agencies – to provide some metrics to evaluate their marketing program’s success.
There are some common statistics that are tracked and shared with C-Suite leaders. Many are standard metrics that come preconfigured on any dashboard app you may be using (like Google Analytics). But does the common use and reporting of these metrics mean they are the right metrics for you to track and measure for your business? Not typically, but that doesn’t mean these metrics are useless either.
Take the example of the metrics for your website visits and traffic that you get from Google Analytics. Your website is more than a digital calling card. It is – or should be – an important part of your marketing strategy. So how can you tell if it’s doing as much for your business as it can? What numbers will tell you?
Most businesses track their website performance using Google Analytics – at least in part. You may have even configured goals and events to track successful conversions, but does Google Analytics really have the ability to track your conversions? No – at least not your sales conversions. It can track how many visitors take specific actions that may be precursors to closed business, but when you get right down to it, Google has no way of knowing who became customers.
This doesn’t mean that Google Analytics (GA) is either useless or unimportant. Neither is true. But understanding what a tool measures is crucial to ensuring that your marketing program is working. The numbers GA tracks tell you about your website’s performance, and a couple even help you see the effectiveness of your advertising and digital marketing campaigns, but they don’t tell you about your sales conversions. They can’t.
Again, the information on a GA dashboard can – and does – tell you quite a bit about your visitors and where they came from, as well as how they interact with your website. So, the data from GA is very good for making some business decisions, but not others. And the same is true for almost every pre-configured dashboard on any tool or app used to measure marketing effectiveness.
To ensure you have the best data to use when making decisions or adjustments, you need to start with the metrics that will be useful in mind. Then choose a platform that will either track those numbers as part of the default tracking or that can be customized to track the numbers you need.
TLDR? When it comes to ensuring the cost-effectiveness of your marketing, it’s easy to believe that the numbers in a preconfigured dashboard panel – such as Google Analytics – are important to your business. They may be, but they are not the only numbers that count. You need to factor in what those statistics actually show versus what you need to see.
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