Monitoring analytics is a big part of what makes any good marketing strategy successful. Analytics allow you to see how your strategy is performing on a granular scale, providing the foundations to make informed decisions to improve effectiveness. You can gain an understanding of what works so you can replicate successes and also adjust where your strategy is failing to make it stronger. You can also see which channels are performing best, allowing you to prioritise resources to maximise your return on investment.

There are hundreds of digital analytics tools out there, some are free, which are perfect for small to medium sized businesses, and others are costly, designed for companies with millions of customers. Ultimately, the tools you use should depend on what you are trying to achieve as a business. You can experiment until you find the right ones for your brand, but there are some essential, amazing free tools out there that will give your reporting structure a solid foundation.

Google Trends

If you’re looking for insights into what your customers are searching for, Google Trends is the ultimate tool. It analyses the popularity of search queries across various regions and languages, so that you can understand the keywords you need to target in order to reach your buyer personas. Displayed in clear, informative graphs, the data can help you make informed decisions of the keywords your content marketing plan should be shaped around.

Google Analytics

For an in-depth understanding of your website performance, Google Analytics is the tool to use. The scope of metrics and dimensions for measurement are huge, so you will be able to find out stats on anything, from page views to conversions. If you integrate Google Tag Manager, you will also be able to see exactly where your audience is coming from as well as what conversions are being made, so you can gain better insights into which of your owned channels are most successful. It is useful to know that Google Analytics integrates with the suite of Google tools, such as Search Console and Google Ads, for seamless management and reporting.

GlobalWebIndex

The research company, GlobalWebIndex, offers an audience insight platform which gives you the data needed to tap directly into your target audience. You can build and examine your audience by inputting the characteristics you already know about your audience, such as age, gender, favourite brands and most used apps. Whilst the sheer amount of data might seem overwhelming at first, the platform is easy to navigate, and your findings can be outlined in graphs. GlobalWebIndex regularly updates its data, so you can trust that the information you’re getting is current.

HubSpot

As leader in marketing management software, HubSpot offers a full stack of software that can be used alone or together to manage marketing sales and customer service. The tools include the free HubSpot CRM, and paid platforms such as the CMS Hub, Marketing Hub, Sales Hub and Service Hub. An excellent starting point is the Marketing Hub which helps you grow traffic levels, convert visitors, and manage your inbound marketing campaigns. HubSpot offers an extensive range of free training programmes to make sure you get the most out of the software, making it perfect for marketers at all levels to use.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a paid-for cross-channel social media analytics platform. It allows you to compare results across multiple social channels in one place, saving time and adding further dimensions of insight to your social media marketing reporting. The platform provides templated and customisable reporting structures, so you can present your data in a way that suits your organisation. The social listening features helps you to gain a clear view of audience sentiment and conversations around your brand. Last but not least, you can also organise and publish social content, so you can get rid of all your spreadsheets and streamline your social media management process. Sprout Social is great for larger organisations managing a lot of channels and content.

Social platform analytics

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn all have their own inbuilt analytics platforms. These are your best choice for digging into the individual results of your social marketing efforts. See exactly how well each post has performed, when your audiences are most responsive and which types of content are most successful for your organisation. There are many other tools which allow your aggregate all of this data into one platform, but the in-built options are completely free.

How to choose the tools you need

It’s great to experiment with tools to see which work for your organisation, but there are a few questions to ask yourself at the start to help you make the best decisions possible:

  • What are you looking to measure?
  • What information do you need for reporting?
  • Which marketing tactics are you biggest priority?
  • How much budget do you have?
  • What current tools do you use that the new ones need to integrate with?
  • Will training be required?

Getting investment for analytics tools

If you need to secure extra budget to implement paid analytics tools, you will need to make a case to your management team. The key to successfully securing the budget is to make a rounded case for why the tool will benefit the business as a whole, rather than just your role in it. Here are some key points you might want to include:

  • This tool will streamline our current process, allowing us to save time and focus on driving conversions.
  • This tool will provide more detailed analytics which will inform our marketing strategy and help us to make more effective decisions for future strategies.
  • With this tool in place, the marketing team will be able to quickly provide informative reports to other departments within the business.
  • The marketing team will be able identify which activities are the most successful in delivering on our business-wide goals.

Analytics are key to each aspect of your integrated marketing strategy. You need the data and insights to inform your decision making around each tactic you use, so getting the right tools in place in the first steps to making this happen. Once your tools are chosen and implemented, you’ll have access to all the data you could wish for, and your next challenge is making sure you can draw meaning from the numbers. Drawing insights from metrics can be overwhelming, but our guide to analysing data with your organisation’s core objectives in mind will help you on your way. You can view it here, alongside our range of insights, resources and tools.