Monday December 8, 2014

    mining data to make the most of your marketing

    As apartment owners, restauranteurs, and brick and mortar business owners look to get the word out about their business, there is no shortage of options. From the expensive listing services on which to advertise your apartment to the contact maintenance required to effectively run and manage a SEM campaign or social media presence, business owners are left with some serious decisions about the best ways to get the word out about their brand. However, how can we tell which channels are driving the right kind of conversions, and which are just making up the numbers? Below, we go through three different ways that we can use Google Analytics in order to ascertain how your marketing is impacting your bottom line.

    In order to track how marketing dollars are impacting your business, it’s critical to come up with clear, delineated business objectives about what your site is meant to accomplish. From making a reservation online, downloading a property brochure, or submitting a contact form to get in touch with a property manager, every business will have specific goals on what they ideally want a user to do, and different mechanisms as to how this may be accomplished. For many sites where lead generation is the top priority, a common goal might be submitting a contact form–but what channels drive the most contact forms? How can we be sure?

    using goals to measure channel success

    Looking at goals within Google Analytics gives us great insight as to what channels might be contributing to your goals. Not only can you see the referring sites, search engines, ads and campaigns that might be driving visits, but you can also do the math: By looking at where your visitors come from who complete goals, you know what paths are actually reaching qualified customers, and can establish a baseline value of what the lead acquisition might be costing you. For instance, a promoted piece of content, listing service, or expensive ad may drive a large number of visits to a site, but no one may fill out a contact form. On the other hand, an organically acquired Facebook campaign may be driving more qualified visits than some of your more expensive marketing channels.

    using goal flow in google analytics

    If you’re capturing a large number of visits from sites that you may think should be contributing to your bottom line, but you’re yet to see some return on investment, start looking at Goal Flow within the Analytics report. While this may not attribute the channels that are driving conversions, this may help better identify pathways and pages on the site in which the path to convert, or successfully complete a goal, needs to be highlighted or slightly changed to reach more potential clients.

    Some simple conversion optimization tactics may be in order to see some better results. For example, you may just need to highlight the contact form, enlarge the phone number, or change the color of the submit button to something that works more organically in drawing in the viewer.

    multi-channel attribution to track conversions

    You’ve set up a campaign on a social network, listing service, or online local paper, and notice a large number of visits being driven to the site, but are mystified when they don’t convert or fill out a contact form. Are these channels not reaching a qualified audience? Why are they visiting the site and not filling out a contact form? Are these ad spends doing anything to actually influence and encourage conversions?

    It’s difficult to see that a channel might drive a huge number of visits to your site with a low percentage of incoming leads, but sometimes, it’s to be expected. In fact, with big decisions, like moving or large purchases, many people don’t necessarily request information on their first visit. So how do we know where they came from? With Multi-Channel Funnels, Google Analytics can tell us how many times someone has visited the site, the number of days between visits, and the total number of visits before they’ve finally filled out a contact form or converted. What’s more, is that the sources of each of these visits are also recorded. Facebook may drive users to the site who might check out the unit, but may not decide that’s their ideal living situation. They may instead just move onto other lists. However, if they come back through a difference channel, like direct, or organic search, Facebook assisted in that conversion. This is something that multi-channel funnels helps us to clearly identify.

    MCF Channel

    utm parameters increase tracking capabilities

    Although social channels have built in analytics to track traffic generated from their platforms, tracking smaller details like which product or campaign traffic belongs to can be done by leveraging UTM parameters. You might be thinking, “what are utm parameters?” because it sounds very techy. It’s very simply. UTM parameters are pre-defined text codes added to a URL to track important data about website visitors and traffic sources. By adding in key definitions within your URL hyperlink, Google can track data such as campaigns, keywords, content, and even custom sources and mediums.

    leverage demographic and interest data in your marketing efforts

    The demographics section of Audience reports in Google Analytics will help you understand things like the age and gender breakdown of your website visitors. The interests report in Google Analytics can assist you in better understanding the products and services your customers are interested in. By collecting and analyzing browsing behavior, app usage, and even video plays in YouTube, Google can provide a plethora of descriptive data points to bring your users “to life.”

    All in all, Analytics is a powerful tool that allows us to not only identify user behavior, but also track how that behavior is adding value to your business. For more info, contact us today!

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