What Analytics Should Companies Be Tracking?
You have to track what I call the bad idea metrics (Likes, Follows, RTs), said digital communications author Gini Dietrich in our interview*. Because if you are business to consumer or midsized B2B business you have to know immediately if something is wrong. If your reach or engagement decreases dramatically or skyrockets you would know something is not right. That something had changed.
It would be easy to report, “Okay, a week ago, our engagement was a thousand times or 200 percent better than it is today. What happened?” It could be various things. It could be that you were advertising last week and you’re not this week. There’s a lot of things that could change it. You have to track those things. You also have to track what are people doing when they come to your website.
What Is Their Digital Body Language?
What kinds of things are they reading? Are they downloading content? Are they downloading offers? Where are they interacting with through the purchase process? Do they get to the contact a sales rep. or other final stage action but don’t buy? You have to track that kind of data. Are you tracking where the leads coming in from? Are you tracking them through the sales process and are you tracking them as they convert to closed? You have to combine both the vanity metrics and the real business metrics.
What marketers need is a tool like Google Analytics or something that’s similar. An analytics tool where it actually tracks behavior on the website and information journey. Tools like that can go a long way in telling you what is going on in the minds of your customers. You can then use that data to help guide your communications activities.
Understand How Your Metrics Interact
In our staff meeting we talked about our blog Spin Sucks. There’s been great traffic, but it’s bumping along at a consistent viewership pace. It’s interesting because we’ve been trying new and different activities, but at first glance it looked like it’s not increasing readership. It’s just tracking along at the same pace.
Since we pay attention to that, we’re able to dig in and see what some of the causes are. Some of the referral traffic from Twitter, for instance, is down. We see that some of our growth is off-set because of this. In this case it is not that our efforts are not working, but we need to back out the Twitter numbers, and look at each data set to see if we are having a n impact. If you’re able to dig in to the data and look, you can figure out what’s going on. Where more testing makes sense, and to see if we need to change our Twitter strategy.
* This is an excerpt from my interview of Gini Dietrich on PR And Communications For The New Century.