Measure, measure, measure: using analytics to gauge digital success

Forge / 11th May 2020

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One of the great strengths of digital marketing is its measurability. During the pandemic, we’ve already seen major shifts in online behaviour – businesses need to be equipped to notice what these are and then react quickly. Key metrics around traffic and engagement will flag up some of these changes – and you’ll need to expect variation from the norm.

The traffic your site receives, in particular, will likely be shifting quickly. You may have suffered a dropoff due to declining consumer interest, or alternatively a spike in visitors if you’ve implemented some of the reactive digital techniques we recently spoke about. Forge recently measured record high traffic figures for several of our clients after tweaking their content distribution strategies.

It’s almost impossible to achieve improved digital performance if you’re not tracking your progress and measuring what does and doesn’t work. We explain some of the tools you’ll need to use to get a handle on your online performance, allowing you to refine your strategy and target audience.

Tools

If your martech stack doesn’t include analytics software that allows you to track these metrics, you’ll be missing the opportunity to take advantage of new opportunities presented by the huge increase in online traffic. Google offers a number of free platforms for tracking your site’s performance as well as wider trends in user behaviour:

  • Analytics – Google Analytics tracks your site’s core performance metrics like traffic by source and conversion rate. Identifying changes in where your site’s visitors are coming from and the pages they engage with allows you to fine tune your positioning and content strategy.
  • Trends – This tool allows anyone to view the relative popularity of search topics. Trends is most useful for early-stage content planning and will allow you to spot the topics prospective customers are most interested in reading – especially useful during this time of changing searcher behaviour.
  • Search Console – Search Console drills down into your site’s visibility. You can track how prominent your brand is to Google searchers, as well as technical problems which may be preventing you from getting in front of as many users as possible.
  • Keyword Planner – This allows you to take your findings from Google Trends, and obtain more detailed keyword data. Use it to spot opportunities to target new industry keywords that may have shot up in popularity over recent weeks, while evaluating the viability of the terms you were previously targeting.

For businesses looking to take their first steps into analysing their web presence, these tools are great to get you up and running. Once you’ve started to feel the benefit of measuring your digital performance, there are a host of paid tools available with more focused data on how your online presence links to your sales.

Conclusion

Analytics is so important during periods of uncertainty because, as the old adage goes, “if you’re not measuring, you’re just practising”. Even the best-intentioned marketing activity is essentially a stab in the dark if it isn’t informed by data and its success isn’t gauged by data.

Businesses need to have the capability to adapt their marketing activities in real time to avoid the worst financial impacts of this pandemic. A fluid strategy is vital but it is only possible if you measure what matters.