Have you ever had an argument with a friend where you both cite true metrics that seem to directly contradict one another? Or, has your marketing analysis shown you contradictory results, causing you to have to select what metric best represents your argument? On a more fundamental level, how do you determine what information is important and what information is not?
Whether discussing this with family and friends or applying metrics analysis to bolster your business acumen, putting analytics in context is crucial to stay ahead of the game.
At Tribu, our digital marketers wrestle with this problem daily. When putting metrics in context, here is a five-step process to follow:
Marketing Analysis – It’s all about timing
When taking marketing analytics into context, timing could not be more crucial. Whether viewing graphs or a single number, you have to consider several factors. For example, imagine you have 10% lower conversions in February than in January. February has 3 fewer days in the month than January, so you should already expect around a 9-10% dip in numbers when comparing month-to-month. Year-to-year is a much more powerful indicator than month-to-month.
The season is another important consideration. For many businesses, either the summer or the winter holidays tend to be a busier time. Many people reserve money for these times of the year to expend income at disproportionate rates. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, being wary of the time of year will help you contextualize whether 20% growth in impressions in the summer is organic or simply seasonal.
The economy and industry matter
The current economic state (recession, recovery, and boom) will help you contextualize your marketing metrics to the market as a whole. During a recession, don’t panic just because your marketing analytics show you a decrease in purchases over a short period of time. Take a look at your competitors – how much are they losing? Your position in the market, and how you can weather the storm, are what matter most. In a recovery or boom period, you should expect growth above your competitors. Even if your cost per click is lower than all of your competitors if you aren’t hitting your conversion goals during a growth period, reconsider your strategy to take advantage of the market.
The type of industry will also influence your benchmark metrics. If you are involved in e-commerce, especially with brands targeting Gen-Z or millennials, getting impressions should be at a premium. You should expect a high volume. If you are involved in a more industrial or specialized sector and/or you are not as digitally focused (for example, you track phone calls as conversions) expect lower traffic, with each conversion being more important to your bottom line.
The Customer Journey – What stage are you at?
For B2B and B2C businesses, knowing where you are in the process of attracting your customer/client is crucial to analyzing metrics for performance. If you are at the first stage (awareness) your impressions and traffic matter more than leads and conversions. As you go from interest to leads and purchases, having a higher cost per 1000 impressions (like $15) is okay as long as you’re getting more people to the finish line. Think about it – as you narrow down your focus you’ll have fewer people searching for your content, but these people will be more interested.
Know Your Marketing Analytics Platform
When it comes to digital marketing, knowing your marketing analysis platforms will help you better create a cohesive argument. Consider what Facebook and Instagram are used for – people scroll through news feeds and see quick ads and pages. Facebook is more geared toward impressions, so look for a lower cost per impression on Facebook than on other platforms. Google has market power in search and cross-platform use. People use Google to get to their end goal, whether that is to purchase, to call, or to book. Google will get you a better cost per conversion. LinkedIn and TikTok are more specific toward business and entertainment, respectively. Both these platforms can be less cost-effective but have more qualified leads. So if you have a lower cost per conversion on Facebook versus Google, consider how these platforms are used.
We know there are a lot of factors to consider. Contextualizing marketing analytics is a learning process, but it can be incredibly useful for decision-making to allocate a budget, report, and, more broadly, to create a coherent argument.
Think of this page as your checklist. Or, you know, just use the checklist we created specifically for you: