Cindy Cragg has nearly 20 years experience in digital marketing with a focus on strategic content marketing and optimization. Cindy is Director of Digital Strategy for Luminary Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency in Denver, and has been an adjunct faculty at University of Denver’s University College (a BMA Colorado Gold Partner) since 2015. Cindy teaches courses in branding, search marketing, campaign management, marketing communication and web analytics.
How can marketers use data to learn more about the online customer journey? What valuable data/metrics are often overlooked?
The national average online conversion rate across industries generally hovers around 4 percent. Business owners and marketers typically focus on figuring out what has gotten the conversion and then scale that effort. But what about the other 96 percent? They come to the website and, often, take some kind of action (a click, like, download, etc.). Does that action have no value? Absolutely not.
While we often ignore users that don’t convert, there is real value in analyzing the behaviors of your website traffic that may not convert but still takes action. Those small steps that eventually might lead to a conversion are called micro-conversions and they are gold when analyzing web metrics.
Marketers have so much information at their disposal today. How can they identify what data they should be paying attention to? What are your tips for distilling this data into something manageable and useful?
Every business owner and/or marketing team needs to regularly ask, “What is the problem we are solving with our website? What is the number one thing we want our website users to do? What are our users actually doing?”
These seem like simple questions, but at the intersection of the answers to these questions there is often a disparity. That gap between the single most unique differentiator, the goal of the website, and the most common user behavior provides the answer of what metrics are the most important to track.
We love to report on successes, but the opportunities lie in where the online efforts show lack of performance. In an effort to show robust reports we also often track too many metrics. I say, when reporting on web analytics, go deep, don’t go wide. Figure out the three most critical metrics to track in a given period and focus on really digging into those metrics in an insightful way.
How do you recommend marketers transition from first touch reporting to analyzing the entire journey and all touch points?
Marketing in today’s online space requires the business to be everywhere the customer wants them to be, but only when they want you to be there. This is not an easy task. Too much and you risk being shut out for being annoying. Too little and you get buried and lost in the noise.
To adequately meet the demands of the online consumer, marketers need to understand their audience on a very deep level. I have found the best way to get into your customer's head is through storytelling. Creating a story out of the data provides your a much clearer, more intimate understanding of the data in context with the user experience. The shift from reading and reporting on the numbers to turning that data into user experience stories is challenging at first but worth the effort for the insights you’ll gain.
What are some data analysis tools that all marketers should use?
Honestly, the only tool you really need is Google Analytics. It is shocking to me how many business owners do not have Google Analytics integrated on their website. The amount of data, the integrations, and the free tools available through Google Analytics is mind blowing. For heavy social analytics you would also want to use platform-specific third-party software, of which there are a plethora of great choices depending on the platform to dig into that data. For those less familiar with Google Analytics but who want to drill down the data in a useful way, I recommend the Google video tutorials on segmentation and setting up goals.
Marketing and sales are often siloed — how can marketers apply sales data to learning more about their customers?
I truly believe that the role of the marketer is shifting. Marketers are now required to have not just a working understanding, but a depth of knowledge on elements related to IT, web development, sales funnels, creative, copywriting, analytics, and more. All this knowledge is power!
This power means marketers have a unique opportunity to be the conduit that can unify all these silos. As marketers, we are already conditioned to be hyper-focused on the goal. If the marketing team can take the lead on communicating the progress across each department with a focus on the goals — imagine the possibilities.