When you hear the word “analytics”, what comes to mind? Some will inevitably picture the cyberpunk digital rain from The Matrix, while others might instinctively yawn and struggle to keep their eyes open. But in an age where literally every company has some kind of web presence, analytical methods and tools have risen in prominence to become a staple across industries.
Traditionally, analytics in the modern workplace has meant web analytics – understanding all the data and stats involved with your company’s website traffic. Think pageviews, page load times, and time on site. But while web analytics are inherently valuable, they only ever present a one-dimensional and incredibly limited view of your organisation and its marketing efforts. This is where a wider and more practical take on analytics is required: marketing analytics.
HubSpot's former CMO Mike Volpe describes the difference between web analytics and marketing analytics as such:
“Marketing analytics are usually people-centric, featuring the prospect, lead, or customer as the unit of focus, whereas web analytics usually regard the page view as the unit of focus in its reports."
This customer-focused approach to analytics is inherently similar to that of inbound marketing and the inbound methodology. Here are a few tips for uniting the two and getting the most out of your marketing analytics:
Stay away from vanity metrics
Unless you’re a real-life Dorian Gray, dedicating your time and resources to vanity metrics will only rot your company to the core. As tempting as it may be, the style-over-substance approach of treating ultimately meaningless figures, graphs, and metrics as testament to your success (while ignoring the more difficult to obtain genuine indicators) is little more than admiring your own reflection.
In the context of marketing analytics, which focuses on your bigger-picture marketing efforts and strategy, there are a few vanity metrics in particular that you should be wary of getting too caught up with. For instance, the number of Facebook fans on your company page ultimately has little bearing on the number of people actually seeing your posts. A better supplement to your marketing analytics is to use Facebook Insights, a tool for accurately measuring how people are engaging with your Facebook posts and presence. For more vanity metrics to keep at arm’s length, check out this article from HubSpot.
Focus on people-centric data
The inbound methodology represents a fundamental shift in marketing towards your customers. Their needs and desires are given precedence to inform your marketing efforts and guide your strategy. The analytics you draw on should reflect this, which is where marketing analytics comes in. Marketing analytics puts your customer at the centre of your analysis with in-depth data on where they first came into contact with your website, how they engaged with your content, and how they responded to your lead nurturing efforts. Analysing this kind of data gives you actionable insights that can be used to hone your marketing strategy and measure its success.
To learn more about how to using the right data can boost your marketing strategy, download our Inbound Marketing Campaigns eBook.