Metrics Overload? How to Streamline Marketing Data

metrics overload

From Google Analytics to social media dashboards, too much data can lead to metrics overload.

How can you tell if your customers are happy with your service? How do you know whether your inbound marketing strategy is working? How do you know if your social media marketing is building strong brand awareness or getting lost in the Twittersphere?

There’s a good reason that, for marketers, reporting and proving their digital marketing ROI is their biggest challenge, according to HubSpot. More marketing channels mean more metrics, but not necessarily better campaigns or even a clear idea of what constitutes a successful campaign. In fact, in a report sure to scare all CMOs, TrackMaven recently said that marketers are generating more content but getting less return on their investments.

Is your marketing department drowning in metrics overload without being able to see any real meaning?

Better measurement is smarter measurement: it’s that simple. It all boils down to choosing the right metrics so you can fully value and understand your customer’s journey from awareness to purchase to retention.

4 Steps to Avoid Metrics Overload

Understand the Entire Customer Journey

Here’s where most businesses take a misstep: rather than looking at the entire customer journey, they focus on a single touchpoint. Look at the entire customer journey from brand awareness to online leads to in-store sales to increased profits. When picking key performance indicators (KPIs), select metrics from each step in the journey. For example, rather than drawing a direct correlation between display ads and product purchases, take into account other signals customers are receiving, like email marketing, social media, and even the placement of your key terms in organic search. These metrics as a whole will inform the success of your campaign.

Benchmark Against the Competition

Let’s say you launched a new social media campaign last week, and you’re already sure it’s a success. After all, you got over 1,000 views on your first “viral” video in less than a week, way above your usual performance rates of 250. But how do you know if 1,000 views are a good amount? You need to benchmark this campaign against other campaigns in your industry, not just your company’s past performance. Maybe your top competitors only get 500 views, so you’ve already landed double that in less time. Or perhaps the competition regularly land 10,000 views; by that comparison, 1,000 is a clear miss. Finally, don’t be distracted by “views” alone; look at the overall audience. If the majority of the views are coming from current subscribers, but the campaign’s mission is to reach new customers, then it’s missed the mark.

Look at the End Result

If your marketing goal is to generate leads, it naturally follows that you’ll want to keep the cost per acquisition down, right? Not necessarily. As any successful sales team knows, getting handed a deck of 1,000 low-quality leads is a huge waste of time. It would be much more effective to get 100 high-quality leads. Consequently, superficial metrics like “number of leads generated” or “cost per acquisition” are misleading. A low CPA doesn’t tell you much.

In fact, lowering your CPA might mean you’ve inadvertently lowered lead quality across the board, spiking sales costs since your team is now wasting energy and time on leads that aren’t qualified. In this example, a better metric would be “cost per qualified acquisition.”

Don’t Drown in the Data

Checking five different dashboards to keep an eye on campaign metrics can give you whiplash as you hop from Google Analytics to Buffer to Sprout Social and back again. If you’re drowning in dashboards, consider consolidating everything to a single service, like Cyfe. Stop wasting countless hours tracking every piece of data across multiple dashboards and head to one central location. Plus, with a single set of dashboards, you’re less likely to miss a key piece of information.

Bottom Line

When it comes to avoiding metrics overload and understanding your marketing data, take a holistic approach. Thanks to natural company divisions, it can be second nature to fall into a siloed approach that focuses on a single customer behavior or touchpoint, rather than the entire process. With a centralized dashboard, you can bring your data and reporting together for your entire business.

Data Overload Photo via Shutterstock
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Brian Hughes Brian is a seasoned digital marketing expert who loves to write about subjects that help small businesses grow their brands and increase their rankings online. He accomplishes this through his agency Integrity Marketing & Consulting, which he founded in 2011.

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