Marketing analytics checklist
The best practices for marketers who want to make decisions based on data rather than guesswork.
Why you need marketing analytics
Marketing analytics measures and optimizes marketing efforts. It helps you assess the impact of marketing on your business as a whole. The principle is to combine marketing data with data from your CRM and ERP systems and consider the impact of all marketing efforts, both online and offline, on your business metrics.
The importance of marketing analytics is illustrated by recent research:
- As marketing costs decrease, the share of those costs for analytics and marketing technology is growing.
- 37% of company executives who don’t meet the growth plan believe the CMO should be changed first of all. Therefore, it’s crucial for marketing directors to implement plans and achieve growth goals.
- 78% of marketing directors have raised ROMI by using marketing analytics to shape their strategy.
How to set up an analytics system and what tools to use depends on the goals you set for your company. But two rules apply to everyone: ensure the quality of data and combine it in a single system.
Why it’s important to collect quality data
Quality marketing analytics starts with quality data. After all, the value of KPI reports and management decisions you make based on them depends on the completeness and reliability of the data you’ve collected. Low-quality data is the most common reason for erroneous decisions that cost businesses time and money.
Problems marketers often face:
- Google Analytics loses 10% to 20% of conversions, data in Google Analytics APIs is aggregated, and data in Google Analytics reports is sampled.
- Combining data in Google Sheets or in a regular database leads to failures and non-obvious errors.
- Data in advertising services is collected in different formats and retrospectively changed, resulting in discrepancies in reports.
As a result of the above problems, businesses lose time and money. Marketers waste 21% of their budgets due to data errors.
Therefore, the first thing to do to build analytics is to automate data collection. We recommend using OWOX BI Pipeline for this.
Why it’s important to combine data
Marketing is not an independent business function. Any metrics have value and meaning when combined with primary business data. If marketing indicators exist in isolation from business data — for example, in Google Analytics — their value will be low.
Let’s take a look at how marketing analytics helps businesses grow when faced with specific challenges.
Challenge 1. Finding and scaling profitable advertising campaigns
Usually, the goal of startups and small online projects is to identify and scale profitable advertising campaigns.
- There’s no separate budget allocated to analytics.
- The marketing budget is constantly changing depending on business results.
- Decisions are made intuitively due to a lack of data.
- The introduction of analytics is postponed until “better times.”
- Learn the best marketing practices: which tools to use, which KPIs to calculate, and which reports to build first.
- Keep track of benchmarks: conversions, traffic, cost of attracting customers, etc. and focus on surpassing them.
- Set up advanced e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics and automate reports in Google Sheets.
- Automatically import cost data from advertising sources into Google Analytics (for example, using OWOX BI) and compare the ROAS of all advertising campaigns in one report to efficiently allocate your budget.
- Send sales information from your CRM to Google Analytics using the Measurement Protocol.
This solution cannot be called a full-fledged analytics system, but it’s enough to get started. It allows you to get accurate data on your advertising campaigns. However, such an assessment will be useless without taking into account the mutual influence of channels on each other and on your business funnels.
- Have you set up tracking of events and goals in Google Analytics?
- Do you know how Google Analytics metrics relate to your business metrics? (Obviously, revenue and profit in the CRM will be different from online data.)
Challenge 2. Growing sales
This is the goal mainly of medium-sized online stores.
- Marketing reports are collected manually in Google Sheets or Excel either once a week or on demand.
- When the profitability threshold is already defined, it’s necessary to maintain the sales growth rate with the specified CPA or ROAS indicators.
- There aren’t enough resources to implement analytics (for example, developers and other specialists don’t have time to work with reports).
- There’s a belief that to grow sales, it’s enough to simply attract more traffic, set up Google Analytics, or have a contract with an advertising agency.
To overcome these challenges, it’s no longer enough to simply transfer orders from your CRM into Google Analytics through the Measurement Protocol.
- Formulate and measure metrics at the interface between online and offline. This will allow marketers to focus their goals and advertising budgets on growing the company as a whole.
- Collect raw data in Google BigQuery cloud storage to combine marketing and business metrics.
- Create a single marketing dashboard available to all members of your team so they can find out at any time what’s going on with advertising campaigns and how the sales plan is being implemented.
A marketing dashboard may not answer all your questions, and you may generate insights based on more in-depth data. But at least at the highest level, a dashboard is desirable.
- Do all marketing department employees know how the business evaluates their effectiveness and where they can see the results of their work? It shouldn’t be that the company’s management requires the marketing director to attract new customers or increase ROAS while advertising campaign specialists think their main goal is to increase conversions.
- Do you know where the data you need is stored and how to use it?
Challenge 3. Increasing market share and attracting new customers
Omnichannel retailers and marketplaces often want to increase market share and attract new customers.
- Retailers and marketplaces usually work with several advertising agencies, each of which is responsible for a specific advertising channel.
- The number of new customers is difficult to measure using Google Analytics: there’s no sign as to whether a user has previously made an order. In Google Analytics, a new visit is just a cookie that hasn’t appeared on the website before, so it’s difficult to set a goal such as orders from new customers.
- This leads to a contradiction between the goals of the advertising service and the business. The advertising service analyzes its overall contribution to the business and measures conversions as a whole. But for the business, it’s important to know who placed orders — new customers or existing customers. You can’t understand this without CRM data.
- Analytics is built retrospectively. That is, it looks at numbers when they can no longer be influenced. Plans are made in a table based on expert opinions or, at best, using logistic regression. Market trends are not taken into account.
- Focusing only on brand traffic can play a cruel joke with businesses. Yes, driving more traffic leads to more conversions, but this strategy doesn’t scale well.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of advertising campaigns doesn’t take into account ROPO sales. This can lead to inefficient solutions: the better an advertising campaign stimulates offline purchases, the more undervalued it looks online. In response, a lower budget is allocated to it, which contradicts the general goal of the business to grow sales as a whole.
- The sales and customer information that a company collects in its CRM isn’t enough to grow sales. An internal system lacks data on sessions, traffic sources, and regional breakdowns — everything that allows you to attract a target audience.
- Collect and combine raw data from your website, advertising sources, your CRM system, call tracking services, and emails in Google BigQuery to connect marketing metrics with business goals.
- Define key metrics for each branch of online marketing. For example, the top-level task to attract the maximum number of orders with a specific ROAS and CRR can be decomposed into various channels: paid search, social networks, email, etc.
- Set up funnel-based attribution that matches your business model. For this, the attribution model from OWOX BI is suitable, as it takes into account all user actions online and offline along with real revenue data from your CRM and shows the mutual influence of channels on the user’s conversion and promotion through the AIDA funnel.
Reports built on attribution data from OWOX BI will allow you to evaluate channel engagement separately for cohorts of new/returning customers and efficiently allocate your budget to target cohorts.
- Create a forecast for each metric and track its deviation from the plan. Moreover, you should compare not the fact with the plan but the forecast with the plan. If your forecast is automatically updated based on market trends, you’ll learn about risks and growth zones before the plan turns into reality — that is, before too much time passes and you’re no longer able to influence it.
This approach will help companies develop a culture of predictive analytics that allows them to influence the future rather than analyze the past. If you see the plan isn’t being implemented, you can build a summary table in advance for those segments and metrics that marketing can influence.
- Do you know how digital advertising affects your company’s overall sales?
- Do your managers trust the dashboards the marketing department prepares?
- What decisions do you make on the basis of forecasts and not data on what’s been accomplished?
Challenge 4. Improving the speed and quality of decisions
This goal is relevant for all data-driven companies.
Analytics will help marketers:
- Quickly find a common language with colleagues from other departments, argue their opinions, and focus on common goals.
- Save time. Previously, it was necessary to spend hours compiling tables with data from different sources in Excel. Now, you can get a report in Google Sheets, Smart Data, or Google Data Studio in a couple of clicks.
- Strengthen the team with individual reports. Each employee will receive effective reports so they can see the results of their efforts, make decisions on time, and make changes to advertising campaigns.
Marketing is like pinning the tail on the donkey. Analysts open your eyes and show you the whole picture. What matters here isn’t just the mere availability of reports but the fact that they’re built on complete data that can be believed and not only analyze the past but predict the future.