My previous two articles set the stage for developing a successful tracking program. We begin by defining objectives and establishing tracking mechanisms to ensure proper data collection. The campaign commences; it’s time to see how well we are performing.
▶ Rephrase objectives into questions. Based on the defined goals, we want to see if the data suggests that we impacted site behavior in the manner in which we expected.
If our campaign is a trade show and our objective is to generate awareness of a new product, we can rephrase our objective into a question: Did our show handout with the QR code increase visits to our website?
In addition to our objectives, we might consider useful behavior we can learn.
For example, we assume trade show traffic driven via a QR code would come from mobile devices. Stating in the form of a question: Did the majority of traffic come from mobile devices?
If we find that a significant portion of traffic comes from mobile users, we would want to make sure that our website is mobile-friendly for future campaigns.
▶ Finding meaning in the data. The power of an analytics tool lies in the ability to segment data and explore the data in multiple formats to help extract meaning. Using Google Analytics as our analytics tool, we find our pre-configured tracking (embedded in our URLs) under Traffic Sources>Sources>Campaigns. Each campaign we defined appears here, ordered from most visits to least.
▶ Awareness, engagement, conversion. Metrics generally fall into three categories.
• Awareness metrics imply incoming traffic volume or “reach,” such as Visitors and Visits.
• Engagement metrics imply activity depth or interest such as Pages/Visit and Visit Duration.
• Conversion metrics imply something completed that, ideally, identifies the visitor as a person rather than a statistic.
The objectives determine which metrics to focus on. If you are introducing a product to the market, Awareness metrics are the place to start. But when you combine metrics from all three categories, you paint a more meaningful picture.
For example, by combining Visits (Awareness) with Visit Duration (Engagement) and Brochure Request (Conversion), you have a story to tell about the impact of your campaign.
▶ Going deeper. Delving into the data can provide richer context to build your story.
• Advanced Segments. Broad averages can hide important detail. One unique visit could skew the gross average and imply something that isn’t so. If one 20-minute visit increased your visit average from 30 seconds to one minute, you might change your opinion of the success/failure of your campaign.
Fortunately, Google Analytics makes advanced segmentation easy, even providing default segments most commonly used by analysts.
With just a few mouse clicks, you can see your data divided by meaningful groups such as desktop, mobile and tablet traffic. Doing so, you might observe that your gross Bounce Rate of 70% actually breaks down to 70% desktop, 83% tablet and 100% mobile.
• Visualize the data. Data in tables makes finding those nuggets of meaning difficult. Fortunately, all analytics tools provide multiple charting options to provide different dimensions from which important details may stand out in a way they otherwise wouldn’t. Pie charts, bar charts, comparison charts and even word clouds can enable the truth to bubble up. Explore using multiple formats to see if anything jumps out at you.
You may find nothing new but, when key insights emerge, the thrill of discovery is very rewarding.
• Don’t forget to ask why?
Behavioral data indicates what happened but discerning why it happened is difficult, at best. Survey tools such as 4Q provide answers that quantitative data can’t. Typical questions ask, “What did you come here for? Were you able to complete your task?” The answers add important perspective to the overall picture, allowing your target audience to tell you what they want, rather than leave you guessing.
We’ve asked our questions and found plausible answers in the data. Our next article will discuss how to tell your story to the client. PRN
This article originally ran in the November 11 issue of PR News.