Big data

How Can “Big Data” Help You?

Cara Peppers Blog, Data and Analytics

Digital marketing is scary to some because it’s extremely easy to tell what works and what doesn’t. It sounds counterintuitive, but this is intimidating because it means you will come face to face with failure. Knowing what to do with that failure is what will make you successful. If you see something that’s not working – stop doing that.

Nowhere else does the axiom “I know half my advertising doesn’t work, I just don’t know which half” have more impact than in digital marketing, where every click, movement, action and activity can be measured, reviewed and analyzed. But more often than not, this volume of data being thrust at you can lead to paralysis. It’s called “Big Data” for a reason; there is almost a limitless supply of data you can collect and an equally near-limitless way you can sort it, view it and present it.

How do you start making sense of all this? Testing. Test one headline against another for best open rates. Test your Facebook ads for best cost-per-like. Conduct an A/B test on your landing pages for the better conversion rate. Test two different videos for completion rates. Start small – not every test has to be earth shattering – it just has to be different.

How will you know what’s working and what isn’t? Analytics. Depending on your campaign, platform and goals, a daily, weekly or even hourly analytics review will be important.

Much like the approach to testing, knowing your goals is key, but here you need to focus on metrics that track progress versus business goals. Performance metrics, such as completion rates, page views, open rates, etc., should all be considered in analytics. But dig deeper – focus on metrics that deliver insight actions. For example, if 80% of viewers stop watching your video in the first quartile, perhaps moving the call-to-action to the first ten seconds will increase conversions.

Regardless, a quarterly analytics review is crucial – looking back will set you up for the future by telling you if the direction you thought you were headed is indeed the right direction. Waiting too long to find out your orientation on your executions will be costly – time, money and potential are all lost when you are lost.

Remember that analytics without an insightful and actionable next step is just a meaningless number on a page. If you were told that that you got 2,200 views on your online video this month, well, that’s just a fact. Analytics should tell you where those views came from, how many people watched the whole video, what action they took next, and most important, what you can do next time to improve those numbers.

Put your testing and analytics to work. If you wonder if the email with the “Get it before its gone!” headline will have a higher open rate than the “Last chance to get yours!” – test it and review the data. Then you can proceed with confidence.

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Cara Peppers

Cara Peppers