As a marketer, you’re constantly being pulled in different directions. You’re a writer, a project manager, an ideas generator, a communicator and a negotiator to name a few. You’re also expected to justify your every move with a measurement strategy that covers all bases, meaning you need to be an excellent data analyst too!

Data analysis can be overwhelming, and when you’re down the numbers rabbit hole, it’s easy to get caught up with the stats that look the most impressive. But what really makes a powerful marketer is the ability to analyse data with your organisation’s core objectives in mind.

Vanity metrics can only get you so far. Data such as page views and likes can make you look good on paper, but do they show the impact you’ve had on the business? Focusing on the wrong metrics can give you a false sense of security and veer you off course. Effective data analysis should:

  • Drive decisions
  • Evaluate success
  • Highlight the areas you need to adjust
  • Identify opportunities
  • Give audience insights

By switching your focus to looking for actionable metrics, you’ll be able to tie your results to business objectives to demonstrate your impact and make meaningful adjustments to improve your strategy’s effectiveness.

So where do you begin?

Before you decide what metrics you need to track, it’s crucial you understand what goals your organisation is working towards. Without an understanding of overarching objectives, it’s impossible to measure your impact against them.

The metrics you track should be totally bespoke to your organisation’s objectives, but we’ve outlined a few examples below to demonstrate how you can incorporate actionable metrics in your measurement plan.

If your objective is to raise brand awareness:

Don’t: Measure page views alone.

Instead: Look for lead sources to determine which of your tactics work best. This means you can focus more budget on the channels that are pushing traffic to your website and take a close look at ones that aren’t.

Also take note of bounce rates. If your page has a high view count, yet you’ve got a 90% bounce rate, something is wrong. Your website may be failing when it comes to UX or you may be focusing on the wrong SEO keywords and not delivering the content or value that people expect when they click on your website.

What we can learn? Ultimately, you can’t act on page views alone. By looking beyond these you can gain actionable insights into what’s working and what isn’t.

If your objective is to increase ROI:

Don’t: Track site wide conversion rates.

Instead: Track conversion rates per page. Whilst site wide conversion rates are important to some degree, the data is too general to inform where you need to make improvements. By looking into each page’s conversion rate, you’ll learn what type of traffic converts where.

What can we learn? By going one step further and grouping this by channel, you’ll be able to see the nitty gritty of which tactics are working on each specific page so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if a specific page is doing great at converting paid traffic from Google Adwords, you know that’s where you need to allocate more of your budget.

If your objective is to gain new customers:

Don’t: Track your total number of customer acquisitions.

Instead: Track customer acquisition cost. It’s no use ploughing your budget into marketing activity when your cost per acquisition is higher than the return. To calculate this, divide the total cost of spend (per channel or specific campaign) by the number of customers acquired.

What can we learn? By only focusing on the number of acquisitions, you’ll be given no indication as to what needs to be revised within your strategy. By keeping track of CPA, you’ll know the real cost of your marketing efforts and whether they are truly working to and delivering ROI.

If your objective is to increase engagement:

Don’t: Track the number of followers per social channel or e-newsletter opens alone.

Instead: Track engagement rate and email clicks. By focusing on the percentage of people who interact with your social posts, you’ll be able to determine what type of content your customers are really interested in. Email open rates may seem important, but how many click throughs are you getting? If the subject line of your e-newsletter is interesting enough to open but you aren’t getting click-throughs, the stumbling block is the content.

What can we learn? By tracking engagement levels, we can get a deeper understanding of customer behaviour and what content they best respond to. Incorporating these insights into future tactics will make your audience more engaged and therefore, more likely to buy into your brand.

Ultimately, the best marketers know that metrics should have meaning beyond making them look good. The metrics you choose to track should give you the ability to fine tune your marketing strategy and take action where it’s needed. If you’re ever in doubt over whether the metrics you are tracking are actionable, ask yourself if they can be used to inform a future decision. In doing this, you’ll be on a clearer path to reaching not only your marketing and communications goals but also your overarching business objectives.

Want to know how to incorporate a measurement strategy into your marketing and communications plan? Visit our programme page to find out more.

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