Analytics: 3 Easy Tools to Start Using Now

shutterstock_218740615Marketers strive daily to validate the effectiveness of the strategies driving their marketing campaigns. A 2014 study done by the Fournaise Group found that “80% of global marketers struggle with being able to properly demonstrate to their management the business effectiveness of their spending, campaigns and activities.”

Engineers, numbers, and analytics drive this industry. Preparing a case demonstrating the return on investments for marketing dollars can fortify the belief that the course is steady and true – and can help avoid repeated cuts to a marketing budget.

The good news is that there are many analytics and tracking tools available — both paid and unpaid. These platforms provide significant insight to website traffic, paid digital advertising metrics, social media performance and page reach. The key to understanding the return from data presented in all of these platforms is assigning a value to the metrics and determining a set of goals for each marketing platform.

Here are three digital marketing tools that can help you assess return on investment for online and offline channels.

1. Google Anlaytics

This free platform from Google provides information about website traffic, including how many people are coming to your website, where the traffic is originating and what your viewers are doing. Google Analytics metrics such as time-on-site, bounce rate and the average number of pages per session provide insight into how engaging and useful visitors are finding a website to be.

By looking at these metrics within Google Anlaytics, you can pinpoint which sources of traffic are producing the highest quality traffic. For example, if you are running multiple display ads on different publications’ websites, you can easily determine if the audience of one magazine is spending longer on your website than the other audience. This will help to determine which advertising platforms are bringing the most qualified audience to your website, and that information can help you decide where to invest your valuable advertising dollars.

2. Call Tracking

Call tracking is one way to monitor the performance of offline marketing channels such as print advertising, billboards or other collateral. Call tracking platforms provide a specific phone number for each campaign that redirects to your company’s phone number. This allows a database to be formed of the calls that are coming through as a result of specific advertisements and the length of those phone calls. Online pay-per-click platforms like AdWords also use call tracking in online advertisements for customers that would rather speak to a company representative than visit a website.

A call tracking analysis could include a situation where you are running two identical advertisements in two different publications. The ads are the same but have different phone numbers. Both numbers would ultimately reach your sales office, but you would directly be able to compare how many calls were received from each ad placement.

3. Social Media

Social media is a common way to communicate directly to your audience, but it is also easy to spend time on social media while being unable to identify the return of social media efforts.

Try tracking the number of followers on your social media platforms and their engagement or actions to see the return on social media investments. Identify the goals of social media efforts (increased web traffic, more phone calls, video views, etc.) to most accurately measure the return on social media.

Most major social networks offer robust analytics for marketers to analyze the effectiveness of the online social campaigns. Take the time to download the reports and measure metrics over a few months. What type of content is your audience more interested in? Does your social audience prefer to watch videos or to look at photos? What types of posts drive additional traffic to your website? These are all questions that can be answered through social media metrics.

The rise of digital marketing has presented many ways to evaluate the advertising spend of both online and offline channels. Depending on what advertising campaigns your company favors, one or all of the above tactics might be a good fit.

You may also be interested in 8 Best Practices For Email Marketing Success or Growing Opportunities in Digital Marketing.