These days, the ways to gather analytics and stats about your online presence are nearly as plentiful as apps in the app store. From Google Analytics to various social media channels to built-in stats from your content management system, we have enough data to fill a book. We all know we are supposed to be data driven, but where should one start?
Vanity metrics won't buy you much
Even though the question "What should I be tracking?" is valid, it can often lead you down the wrong path. Traffic and likes are a trivial measurement of success. Though it is nice to say that your web traffic is increasing it can easily be caused by simply running a pay-per-click ad. The increase in traffic is a waste of money if it is not having business results.
I’m guessing your organization's mission is not to acquire thousands more Facebook followers or increase your website traffic. In the marketing world, these certainly give that warm fuzzy feeling, but in the end they are simply vanity metrics. Even if they sound nice and get you pats on the back.
It is all about conversions
That is why it is so important to have a lead generation strategy. Until you do, no other measurement is going to have a significant marketing meaning.
The goal is always to get visitors to take action, but since most people are online to gather information it is important to focus on helping them start a buyer's journey with you. Of course if they are ready to buy, you want to be ready also, but there is a much bigger audience of people who are just thinking of buying. You want to get as many people as possible to start a buyer's journey (conversions), so your focus needs to be on something that provides perceived value. Track that first, and then build from there.
So what should you be worrying about?
Once you start tracking conversions you can track all other marketing activities to see if they are increasing your conversions. Focus on information that gives you the necessary insights to adjust your strategies based on what is working and what is not.
For example — let’s say you are running an A/B test for a new offer. Group A resulted in nearly double the conversions than Group B. By measuring this, you know the message Group A saw should be the message for everyone visiting your site. Similarly, if you put the same offer in multiple places, keep an eye on where the offer is converting the best. These are actionable metrics.
Nothing wrong with data
Traffic spikes and social shares and undeniably exciting but should be kept in check. Keep your eyes on focused on what is generating conversions, and you will be way ahead of the game.
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