Data scientist Seshu Edala accurately nailed it in his think piece on Forbes.com: “So much data and so little business intelligence. That’s the irony of the information age, which is adding another 2.5 quintillion bytes to the data universe each day.”
Credit goes to Web 2.0 which took off exponentially in 2004, bannered by major features and technologies such as social networking sites, user created websites, self-publishing platforms, tagging, and social bookmarking which started the information revolution. And in recent years, cloud computing and the explosion of connected devices—smartphones, tablets— were added to the ever-growing list.
These days, while small and medium enterprises (SMEs) continue to bankroll tremendously riding this wave through a digital storefront (online shop or corporate site) powered to greater heights by social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so forth), very few businesses actually take advantage of free, nifty tools that can validate their traditional and digital advertising and marketing efforts as well as content marketing strategies.
Digital marketing analytics
It is called Digital Marketing Analytics, and most people probably know it through Google Analytics because of its popularity and its ease of use. More importantly, it is a free service (for websites with 10 million or less traffic).
According to Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics 2.0, digital analytics is the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your business and the competition to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers and potential customers have which translates to your desired outcomes (both online and offline).
While this description is pretty accurate and encompassing, digital analytics, simply put, is the modern businessman’s primary tool in understanding his customers.
The first step, of course, is to sign up with Google Analytics using a Gmail account. Then, the user needs to append a code to every webpage in the site. For Wordpress users, there is an available plug-in that makes the process simpler.
Justin Cutroni, an Analytics Evangelist at Google, told FoxBusiness.com to watch for key metrics valuable for SMEs. On top of these are Traffic Sources and Conversions.
Cutroni says understanding where the visitors are coming from—and who’s converting from a visitor to a customer—can help SMEs focus their marketing efforts.
He further adds that knowing where they come from--whether from display ads, SEO efforts or marketing emails--can help the businessman tweak the strategies accordingly.
Bounce Rate tracks the number of visitors who land on the site and measure the time before they leave. If they leave too quickly, that means a more attractive, compelling, or engaging content is in order.
Related to this is the On-Site Behavior, which establishes and measures how visitors interact with the site’s pages. These data will show the businessman which pages are attractive for his target audience.
“It’s a feedback loop—as you get data, you can take some action,” says Cutroni on digital marketing analytics.
This is but a tip of the treasure a businessman can mine from these data. Edala writes that the ability to access and analyze endless sources and types of structured and unstructured data is revolutionizing marketing and transforming entire industries.
Digital Marketing Analytics will be huge whether in SMEs or large industries. In fact in a separate Forbes feature last February, it declares that 2014 is the Year of Digital Marketing Analytics. It further stresses that in the next two years, there will be 4.4 million big data jobs available but only a third of them will be successfully filled.
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