Many companies approach digital marketing as the holy grail of solutions, expecting huge payoffs without practicing a closed-loop strategy. Digital marketing is an industry-changing innovation, but without the proper tracking and reporting in place, it can be a formidable task. Google Data Studio helps marketing solve its biggest challenges. We’re here to show you how.
“Marketing really needs to step into that role of being the change agent, having the data that proves that it’s worth it, that it’s actually improving and moving the bottom line.”
Any person in business, especially in B2B industries, knows doing that is not simple. But it is 100% necessary.
The days of “marketing fluff” and “marketing/sales jargon” are over. On our team, we work hard to make sure the work we do for clients is supported by detailed analytics and data. From the conception of ideas and brainstorming to presenting proposals, through executing projects, and monitoring results – all of marketing’s digital actions should be connected to meaningful data. Luckily, Google just made that easier by making Google Data Studio free for everyone.
Previously, Google Data Studio limited teams to creating and sharing 5 reports without a paid license. But on February 2, 2017, Google announced limitless access to creating and sharing Google Data Studio reports.
Creating reports in Google Data Studio is really easy. It turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. There’s no coding or query-building required. Additionally, Google Data Studio also has a gallery of report templates you can use so all you have to do is connect your data to get started.
Here’s how the tool is going to help marketing teams solve some of their biggest challenges.
Generating Traffic and Leads
This is a problem shared across industries and faced by many businesses, including most of our clients. It’s important to be purposeful and make decisions about how you plan to generate leads and increase website traffic based on data, not just opinions. Using Google Data Studio reports, we can gather and connect data across different campaigns to develop actionable insights.
Connecting the data to actionable insights is the key. Having quantitative data to back up hypotheses and findings is how your team runs successful marketing programs.
This sample report from Google Data Studio is a good example of how these reports are visually appealing. But how do they help solve one of marketing’s biggest challenges of generating traffic and leads?
Improving on-site experience
Before increasing your website’s traffic, it’s important to understand what visitors experience on your site. If your bounce rate is extremely high and pages per session is extremely low, do not launch that advertising campaign that costs $10K per month and drives people straight to your website yet.
Look at the data to understand why visitors are bouncing. Create easy-to-consume reports in Google Data Studio to explain what changes need to be made and why. If you don’t have existing data to prove your solution will work, hypothesize and use that information to advocate for an A/B or multivariate test.
Because your data is presented in Google Data Studio, the report is easy to set up. It is also easier for stakeholders to read and digest and doesn’t take manual effort to track over time. In the end, your team will come to conclusions on your website’s experience supported by factual data, instead of jumping to conclusions stemming from varying opinions. This practice will result in improved strategies and lead to fewer bounces and, subsequently, higher conversion rates.
Investing in the right channels
This is a simple concept, but if no one tracks or monitors the data, channels can turn into black holes. A simple graph, like the ACME graph seen above, can easily highlight which channels support your company’s goals. If the data shows some channels result in more leads, it’s important to incorporate that into your marketing plan.
Using analytics and reports, your team can create strategies to take advantage of the most successful channels by creating tailored campaigns to drive more leads. Choosing where to invest your assets (time and/or money) is crucial to the success of your team. Now, you have the numbers to prove where to invest and why!
Targeting the ideal audience
In the sample Google Data Studio report above, it’s obvious ACME’s target audience’s location is the United States, and that information shouldn’t be ignored. It’s really important to evaluate this metric on your website, but this is easily overlooked by people who only focus on things like conversions. It is very simple: Generating website traffic and leads does not matter if those people do not fit your target audience.
Furthermore, take a look at the graph below. We know every person, whether in your target audience or not, is unique. Groups of visitors do have commonalities. It’s your job to find them.
Using Google Data Studio, your team can build graphs by creating groups based on demographics connected to the end goal (engagements). Again, these numbers alone don’t mean a whole lot, so make sure you connect them to your strategy. Take these findings and start running tests throughout your website for specific age groups within your target audience, and you will likely see an increase in engagement.
Identifying where leads are lost & why
This is not a great mystery, but you need to know where to look. Understand visitors’ behaviors on your website, and recognize patterns of people who don’t convert. Then, create reports to showcase your findings. Is there a frequently visited page where previously engaged visitors suddenly drop? Do visitors visit one page and then almost immediately navigate back to the previous page, indicating they expected something completely different? The list of questions goes on. So put on your detective hat, and get to work!
Proving ROI of Marketing Activities
Faced by 43% of respondents to Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound Report, the second biggest marketing challenge of companies is proving the ROI of marketing activities. Frankly, we aren’t surprised. In a digital world, everything moves faster: campaigns, sales cycles, production. But, that does not condone skipping the key step of reporting results.
In order to do that, your team needs to be diligent in putting the proper tracking in place. This may take a little bit of extra time and effort at the start, but making it a part of your routine is absolutely necessary for long-term success. Often, you encounter pushback when you need to add code to the website. Or, you might experience resistance when you ask for more time to execute a specific campaign in order to do it right. These groups who push back are often the ones who get the most out of your reporting.
When creating Google Data Studio reports, like the example above, to track and measure your ROI, don’t only present campaign findings. Connect your analytics to an actionable strategy. Your team will need to create reports highlighting the specific insights of each campaign, and think about:
- What is the spend?
- What are the goals and KPIs?
- Is your strategy working? If no, what are you doing to fix it based on indications in the data? If yes, what are you doing to improve?
Then, take the campaign data and all your answers and connect them to other data that matters to your company. Google Data Studio makes this easy.
Consider this hypothetical situation
You ran two campaigns during January and March to drive signups for Product A. Both campaigns were successful and met your KPIs. However, during that time, your site also saw an increase in visits, pages per session, and a lower bounce rate. Looking at the data, you also see that the campaign’s audience segment not only signed up for Product A, but also downloaded two other key tools on your website. Without highlighting the data beyond your campaign, you might not have ever realized the ripple effect it had. And yes, those positive results absolutely increase the impact of your campaign ROI.
We know that jumping into analytics and reporting can be intimidating at first. We also know making that jump using tools like Google Data Studio can help solve some huge marketing challenges. If your team faces common marketing challenges, like the two major ones we discussed today, reach out to us. We can solve those problems together.