Web metrics and analytics: most of us are familiar with the basics of measuring online performance, but at the end of the day, what does all this data really mean? How can the numbers we gather be used in the context of a branding and/or communications campaign?
Here at NJI Media, we love metrics and we’re passionate about analytics. We understand that they not only indicate what’s working, but may also help dictate our next move in a project. In this post, we’ve outlined key universal points to consider when analyzing your online numbers and return on investment (ROI).
What are the key areas I should focus on?
First, look at the metrics that have the potential to improve what you’re currently doing. Analyze what is going well and what just isn’t working. From there, act on what needs changing. Track your audience’s response to those changes. You might end up going back to the drawing board a few times, but that flexibility will move your campaign that much closer to success.
Second, answer the ROI question. This is slightly more difficult, but when you boil it down, it means analyzing two things: whether an initiative is helping an organization meet its goals, and whether that initiative is adding to its bottom line.
These are two fairly logical points, but many marketers and communications folk lose sight of them all too frequently, forgetting to pull analytics until the day before reports are due. Sometimes, working under pressure is necessary, but analytics can’t be churned out overnight; they have to be part of the process from the beginning.
Here are a few things to include in your initial campaign process, in order to better set it up for analytic success:
- Assess the baseline. What is your current situation? This will let you know how much progress has been made since starting a project.
- What are your goals? What will success look like? Determining these will help you know exactly what needs to be measured. Are you looking for site hits? Event attendees? Retweets?
- Set up your measurement tools and schedule periodic check-ins, whether daily, weekly or monthly. Just make sure there are deadlines attached so analytics don’t fall by the wayside.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s drill through 6 key questions to ask yourself when analyzing your online campaign’s potential ROI.
6 questions to ponder when considering your campaign’s ROI:
1. What is the number of people who take action on your website? Taking action can be anything from signing petitions to buying your products. Whatever your bottom-line or goals may be, how many people will take action when presented with an opportunity? If this number is low, then consider promoting pages on your site which provide action-taking experiences.
2. Where is your traffic coming from? Are you developing your referrers and providing them with adequate attention?
3. Do people share your content without being prompted? How are they sharing your content? Are they sharing straight from your site, via Tweet, Facebook Like, and other share buttons? Or is the sharing of your site’s content originating directly from Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms? In either event, if these numbers are high, then you are providing organic awareness. If these numbers are low, then it’s time to rethink your content strategy. Contemplate providing your site’s users with more sharable items, such as pictures and infographics that showcase your organization.
4. If a new social platform is gaining popularity and you’re unsure whether to invest time in it, take a moment and ask yourself the following: where would your campaign be without this resource? Is your audience on this new platform? Does it have the potential to increase site hits and engagement?
5. When does traffic and conversation spike? Can you do anything to encourage these patterns?
6. What were my goals when I started? How do my analytics compare?
Focus on the answers to these questions and relate them back to your bottom line. The insights you’ll gain will help assess the future of your campaigns – and more important – have the power to move them forward.