The constant stream of comparisons and differences between brick-and-mortar retail establishments and online stores may become trite over time, as more and more commercial activity unfolds in cyberspace. There are definite overlaps that call for the same basic principles, but as the internet becomes more sophisticated, and more buyers navigate there to make purchases, the differences are starker than ever.
Marketing analytics is a function made simpler for those who operate online, by sole virtue of the complex, computerized system you already have in place. Tracking sales, customers, inventory, and just about everything else is somewhat automatic. In most cases it’s not necessary to actually ask a customer how they stumbled onto your store. Identifying strategies and efforts that are paying off is also much easier when your shortcut to analysis is effectively done for you.
But that doesn’t mean it requires no efforts. Putting in place an accurate, useful, and – more important – tailored process for tracking these markers demands a plan; it necessitates putting a sensible marketing analysis strategy in place.
Back in the days when search engines were a sparkly new Internet feature, much was made of “vanity searches,” or typing in your name to see how important you really were. Remember the thrill of discovering information in the public domain, which back then was largely positive?
That was then; this is now. For businesses, or anyone with branding needs, searching for information on yourself is a necessity —not only to validate your good reputation, but to patch things up if it’s not so hot.
Google, the granddaddy of All Things Internet, offers its own tracking function through “Google Alerts,” a feature many use on a daily basis. It’s free, and it’s simple. It can detect mentions of you and your brand merely by entering your business name. And while it’s a decent tool, it may not be sufficient. If you’re serious about monitoring your reputation, brand awareness, or anything related to your operation, consider these alternatives that come highly recommended:
For any ecommerce merchant, analytics is a key component is creating sales and marketing strategies to engage their consumer base. It is critical for digital marketers to know how to use their results to grow their audience and increase their Internet presence. From interrogating key SEO buzzwords, understanding block chain and algorithms, analytics can also feel overwhelming at times but it isn’t impossible to manage. Before you can master your analytics usage, you have to understand that it is more of a philosophy rather than a rigid set of rules. A lot of vendors have a lot of misconceptions surrounding what comes with good analytic managements and here are a few tips on how to better optimize your analytical results.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
One of the biggest misconceptions of analytics is that it is very expensive – and it can be with some vendors electing to hire third-party contractors to oversee this task for them. Software programs like Adobe’s Marketing Cloud can cost upwards of $100,000 a year, which can be a heavy financials burden on smaller, independent companies. You do not have to rely on this type of service to manage your analytical data when services like Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Hotjar can do the same job for a much lower price.
Collecting vs. Understanding
Many vendors fall into the mistake of putting too much focus on collecting as much data as they can on their audience. However, collecting the data is only one half of the equation. What many tend to neglect is the process of actually interpreting and understanding the data they have. Collecting the data the will not help you understand the consumer. A vendor must create a process to thoroughly review and master. What does the data tell you? What are the factors are driving this data? What are your conclusions and reviewing the data? All of these are important questions ask after you gather your information to analyze.
Reporting Isn’t Everything
This may come to a surprise to some but it is a very important truth. Reporting isn’t all there is to analytics. As mentioned earlier, it is more of a philosophy and a process that starts with gathering your data to drawing your summary of the information you have. Depending on the type of online store and your traffic, there is no definite answer on how often you can report your results. It can be monthly, quarterly, or longer. It is about what works best with your operation.
Even if you are sworn to avoid being swallowed by the social media craze that consumes an inordinate amount of time and energy from a growing number of everyday people, you are a de facto participant if you run an ecommerce business. At the outset of Facebook’s transition from strictly a college kids’ platform to a worldwide social gathering place, few took it seriously enough to consider investing in marketing there. After all, it’s primarily for catching up with high school friends, developing a love life, and commiserating with fellow NFL fans when your team is on a downslide. Right?
Not anymore. Like any other viral entity, Facebook and other social media venues have fine-tuned the art of pitching to businesses. Meet Facebook Analytics, a handy tool provided by the social media platform that crunches data to specifically introduce you to interested parties by way of measuring visitor activity on your page.
The bad news first. Recently Facebook began limiting its “Audience Insight” feature with a new algorithm that restricts this data to users who have liked your page. It’s an unfortunate move in that it delineates potential followers and customers. This privacy-driven decision goes hand in hand with the company’s response to regulatory and consumer discontent. Rolling out Facebook Ads was a big step for the company, albeit to the dismay of many users hoping to escape incessant commercial advertising. But like you, they need revenues, and business owners should look seriously into the unique opportunity they present.
The ability to narrow ad targets to an appropriate audience is huge. You sell a line of hipster cosmetics for young’ns, so why waste your time placing ads on the news feeds of men in their 60s? Unless your role is to advertise jobs or housing, and you were caught up in the very recent debacle in which Facebook is facing charges by Federal authorities for suborning discrimination through demographic targeting (another story altogether), you’re free to select an audience most likely to warm to your goods.
Yet aside from advertising—or rather to supplement it—your Facebook page itself can yield important information that helps refine product offerings, gauge interest, and stay atop of a marketing plan that works.