Some of the most important features of marketing automation involve reporting and analytics. These offer valuable insights regarding the effectiveness of your marketing efforts that you may not have been privy to otherwise. These bits of data can make or break a team on the cusp of success, or they can further help a team that has already proven its mettle. The short answer is that data is very important, but being able to read and apply it is even more so.
Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to read and work that marketing data. Misunderstanding what the figures in front of you mean is probably worse than not having them to begin with. We’ve compiled a handy list of do’s and don’ts for the next time you need to make a call based on automated analytics.
DO: Focus on the appropriate metrics
There are literally hundreds of metrics you can judge as far as your marketing goes. Activity, cost, quantity, and financial are the major data groups, but more subcategories exist the deeper down the funnel you go. Your team has to determine which metrics you want to be measuring, then set your solution to provide those data points. Don’t waste time on information you have no interest in.
DON’T: Keep the data to yourself
Marketing is a team sport. To achieve the greatest success, your team needs to work together. Actionable data is not truly actionable without team collaboration. After you have a crystalline understanding of the information, have a sit-down with the team and discuss it with them. Talk about what the information means for your strategy and, if necessary, talk about how to revise your efforts.
DO: Opt to receive reporting as often as possible
A solution will give you several options regarding how often you want to receive reports. You need to be getting those as often as you can handle. Frequent reports give you the most updated version of the data possible. If you only get the most barebones information you get the most barebones results. A strong assembly line of reporting makes it so that you and the team have up-to-the-minute data about what’s working in your campaigns.
DON’T: Focus on vanity metrics
Vanity metrics are data points that just simply make you look good without having much substance. A popular example of vanity metrics would be Netflix’s boast that 45 million accounts viewed the movie Bird Box, without accounting for how many of those viewers actually finished the film or how many of them enjoyed it. There are almost certainly going to be similar metrics in your marketing analytics. The number of emails opened and clickthroughs may be high-ball figures that make you look really good, but they don’t mean much in the grand scheme of your campaign. Focus on the numbers that aren’t good already and make them better.
DO: Share the reports with the C-Suite
You can do all the in-team strategizing and planning your heart desires, but you still need to let your CMO and company leaders at large know what’s going on. Not only is keeping them in-the-loop a good idea in most regards, but they will have additional “bigger picture” insights regarding long-term goals, target audiences, and the budget limitations your team will encounter. What’s more is that the metrics provided are quantifiable evidence to the C-Suite that you are doing your job well.
DON’T: View data in a vacuum
Every data set you collect will have a great deal of context behind it that cannot be ignored. If your engagement on a certain landing page is low, it may be the result of any number of issues. Maybe it was where you’ve been sharing it. Maybe the issue lies in how you’ve been linking it in your messaging, or maybe it’s something as benign as the format of the page needing a quick revision. The long and short of it is that every metric you collect needs to be looked at deeply and under every lens available to ensure you take the correct action to fix it.