Analytics are kind of the elephant in the room when it comes to digital marketing. For a lot of people, opening up Google Analytics or their email service provider’s reporting presents them with a flood of numbers, and it can be difficult to make heads or tails of those numbers. Some marketers focus on their email open rate, some on their click rate, some on the click-to-open rate, so on and so forth.
One of the most frequent questions we hear at WhatCounts is, “What metrics should I be paying attention to? Which ones are most important?” The answer is both simple and complicated at the same time: Pay attention to the metrics which move the marketing needle for you. There is no be-all, end-all skeleton key of a metric that will unlock the secrets of your success.
If you are an Internet retailer, you might be tempted to go to your boss and show off your fantastic 30 percent open rates for your weekly promotional newsletter. But do those opens actually mean anything if those readers aren’t actually converting and making a purchase? (This assumes you have set up conversion tracking within WhatCounts Professional or Publicaster Edition; if you have not, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and go back to step 1.)
Conversely, if you are a non-profit advocacy organization seeking to spread a message, conversion rates may not matter at all for you. After all, your ultimate goal is to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible, right?
There is no such thing as the general best time to launch an email. There is no such thing as the general best time to post to Facebook or Twitter. There is no one KPI in Google Analytics that tells you whether or not everything is proceeding as it should. The only thing you should be caring about is the best time to communicate with your audience. Every email list is different, every Facebook audience is different, every list of Twitter followers is different, and it’s incumbent upon you as a marketer to put in the time, energy and resources to testing the bejeezus out of those audience behaviors and figuring out what works best for the people who are actually in your network.
We have often talked about the importance of setting up goals and goal values in Google Analytics. In a holistic sense, this applies to all channels of your digital marketing mix. You need to know what your endgame is before you do anything, otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels. Ultimately, in all forms of digital marketing, you need to ask yourself three questions: Who am I talking to? What am I saying to them? And what do I want them to do as a result of seeing my message?
Once you have those questions answered, the metrics will fall into place.
Inbound Marketing Manager, WhatCounts
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