Reviewing analytics reports and trying to make sense of it all is a task that often seems daunting. All the data has been piling up over the past months and you ask yourself, “Where do I start? What am I looking for? What does this all mean? How can I tell if my marketing/branding efforts are improving… or not?” Personally, when I first began learning to interpret data, I often started out feeling like I was in over my head.
Well, before you dive into the deep end without knowing how to tread water, consider that there are two important, perspectives to keep in mind that will help you to gain deeper insights from your data; comparing individual numbers and comparing performance trends that occur within a specific time period. Knowing when and why to observe individual data points versus trends over time can help you draw the most accurate conclusions.
Individual data points are important to consider because they measure the day-to-day (or month-to-month) actions that users are taking on your website. They can tell you a lot about your site’s recent performance in its current state, such as,
- What pages are users interacting with most?
- From where do they typically enter the site?
- What channels are driving the most traffic?
Essentially, it provides a snapshot view of how users are presently interacting with specific pages or keywords. But user behavior is rarely consistent on a daily basis, and fluctuation of these numbers will happen and is unavoidable – so don’t forget to focus on the big picture. Paying too much attention to individual, granular data points prevents you from seeing a comprehensive view of overall marketing efforts.
The bigger picture is that online marketing efforts are multi-faceted, interrelated and ongoing – and observing trends will help to illustrate that. As previously mentioned, getting caught-up in the nitty-gritty details of digital marketing analysis limits your perspective and understanding of the overall picture as a whole. Taking a step back and viewing the overall performance of specific data reveals key patterns to consider such as seasonality.
By nature, the more successful online marketing campaigns are cross-functional and capitalize on using multiple channels (SEO, Paid Search, Social Media, PR) and tracking online traffic from different sources (direct, referral, organic). It is important to understand that these varying channels and traffic sources leverage each other to complete conversions. Therefore, looking at trends of different channels, sources and key performance indicators (KPIs) can help shed light on reasons behind positive, negative or consistent changes over time.
Building a strong web presence that integrates analytics is a long-term investment and strategy, as it can take months, sometimes years to achieve. In order to do so, it takes careful observation of daily, monthly and total cumulative performance to holistically grasp the current, subjective state of your progress. This higher-level understanding will help you to plan and make the best objective decisions for your next steps.
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Justin Small | Digital Marketing Specialist | AVID DesignLeave a Comment