It’s that time of year when most marketers are planning their strategies and locking down budgets for the next financial year. We all know you can’t argue with hard stats when justifying marketing decisions, but you may be asking what data should I use and where do I get it?!
There are a number of simple tools that can be put to work to help drive smart marketing decisions and invest your spend in the right tactics. In this post, I’m going to provide you with my 4 top tips to gather useful data and help provide some direction for your next campaign.
1. Analyse Digital Trends
In order to understand trends for your business and industry, there are two quick tools that can be used:
Google Trends will show the monthly search demand for various keywords and help to ascertain peaks and troughs throughout the year based on how people are searching.
Likewise, segmenting Google Analytics data by month allows you to identify peaks and troughs for your own website allowing you to see months of the year that have higher visits, lower bounce rates or even higher conversion rates.
Once you’ve fired up Google trends and you’re comfortable analysing Google Analytics data, it’s time to apply this analysis into a justified marketing decision. If you run an online store for example, and Google Trends shows that the keyword “Suede Boots” increases in search demand through July and August, then you can ensure spend is also increased in these months to capture the demand.
Likewise, if you see that May and June see slight decreases in demand, you can decrease budgets to ensure the most efficient ROI possible or put together a big offline campaign to drive the demand in those months (depending on what your goals and seasonal trends are).
2. Use Google’s Keyword Planner
Let’s face it, most people won’t remember a phone number or website URL after seeing a TV ad or hearing a radio ad. Rather, they are more likely to Google key terms that they remember from the ad to find the website advertised.
In fact, many big brands are conditioning people to act this way by including messaging like “Google This Term” to find out more instead of simply giving a website address. So how can you use keyword data to help direct your marketing strategy?
By using the Google Keyword Planner you can see which keywords related to your products/services are searched more often or are more popular. For example, a clothing store might stock plaid jackets, but what if your customers are more likely to search “Check Jackets” when looking for the same product? The Google Keyword Tool will help you get in the mind of your customer and see what’s being searched more often.
3. Segment your Data by Time
In Google Analytics, you can segment the data in many different ways to understand how people navigate your website and these are two of my favourites. This is why:
Time Lag/Path Length: If you go to the Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels section of Google Analytics there are options to see conversion data by Time Length and by Path Length.
This shows you how long it takes your visitors to make their final purchase decision (based on the Goals you have set up, whether they are transactions, enquiries, etc.) from how many days to conversion and how many traffic sources (paths) they visited your site through before converting. On average, we see between 70-90% of visits convert within their first day and first path but this leaves up to 30% of visitors (if not more) that require multiple touch points with your brand before making a decision to purchase or enquire (for a website receiving 50,000 visits a month, that’s 15,000 visitors!).
But what does this mean for your marketing plan?
It means you need to ensure you are setting up the right touch points to push people through the research cycle and make their final decision on your website, not on your competitors. The easiest way to do this is through remarketing (and a well-executed content strategy). This will allow you to serve different creative around the web based on how a person navigated your website, ultimately encouraging them back to your site to complete a conversion whilst maintaining top of mind brand awareness.
Data by Day/Hour: The easiest way to see your Google Analytics data by day or hour is to create a custom report (I know this sounds a little technical, so I have created a custom report for you to download. You may also click on the link to add the report to your Google Analytics profile too).
There are many decisions that can be made based on this data such as, does Sunday have a low conversion rate? If so, you can try pausing your PPC campaigns during that day and reinvest your savings into higher converting days.
Do Mondays have more visits than any other day? This might indicate that you have more advertising running on a Monday or that you need to switch out TV/radio spots to other days in order to drive traffic. Alternatively, it might just be the case that your product/service is simply the type of thing people need on Mondays. The key here is to understand your peak periods and to make informed marketing decisions based on these insights.
Likewise, with the hour of day report are there certain hours of the day that have more visits and conversions. Once you’re aware of this you can start increasing PPC bids and budgets specifically in these key hours or even switch your campaigns off completely in low performing hours.
Understanding which hours are higher performing can also help develop your email marketing plan as well. For example, do you want to send emails during the hour when people are more likely to convert or during the hours where there are less visits but you want to drive demand? There is so much more that can be gained from the day & hour data to help drive advertising placement and more so keep analysing!
4. Try Split Testing
There are many different ways you can split test marketing messages and content from focus groups to surveys and more. However, a quick way to test various brand messages in a smaller environment is through Google AdWords. This could be as simple as testing two different ad messages in your paid search ads prior to rolling out a big campaign.
For example, when people are searching your brand term in Google, create an AdGroup with the 2 (or more) messages you want to test, then take the one with the most click throughs to market. Likewise, adopting website conversion rate optimisation (CRO) – not just to increase the conversion rate on your website (which I also recommend!) – but to test various types of content on your website such as headlines, images, or even slogans, on your website to see which variation your users engaged with more.
There are many other tools out there and certainly a billion more figures that could be analysed to drive marketing decisions, however these are a few quick tips to help with your future planning!
Feel free to comment directly below to ask a question. If you need help in developing a tailored solution for your business, get in touch with Reload Media’s expert team today.