For most companies, there is no lack of digital data made available to them. Yet, they struggle to deliver the promised business value.
In this article, you will learn various ways on how to improve your business by using your web analytics data and the business impact each approach brings.
5 ways to use web analytics data to drive business value:
- Marketing optimization
- Digital optimization
- Marketing automation
Macro business goals
Typically, these goals are driven by the high-level macro strategies set out by the senior management. Think of it as the company’s direction and vision for the next 5 years.
Such reporting focuses on monitoring metrics that represent macro business goals. These macro goals include improving mobile penetration rate, sales conversion rate, digital service take-up, etc.
In many cases, companies set out vague goals such as improving overall website bounce rate, increasing total number of web visitors and average visit duration.
Personally, I consider these goals to be nothing more than a distraction, as they are usually non-actionable and do not contribute much business value.
Reporting can comes in multiple forms:
- Scheduled report
- Adhoc report
Through these dashboards and reports, we develop high-level insights and monitor trends. These provide us with progress updates on our business goals and allow us to take appropriate action if we are falling behind.
Depending on how we leverage on reporting, the impact could be big or negligible.
High impact: Macro business goals
Having insights that we previously would not have, greatly helps to bring clarity to our macro business goals. Instead of depending on just sales figures to tell us if we are doing ok, we can better understand potential issues and success drivers with our digital data.
Low impact: vanity goals
The question most companies are still asking is, “What do I do with digital data?”.
This usually leads to over-reliance on vanity goals and metrics to portray a false sense of digital understanding.
Soon, frustration develops as they struggle to produce business value to justify the investment poured into acquiring digital data.
2. Marketing optimization
In every company, the marketing team is given a budget to drive sales.
The marketing budget, decided on a yearly basis, is typically fixed and the marketing team will have to plan their activities around it.
Hence, it is important for us to maximize the gains we can get out of the limited marketing budget.
There are 2 main ways to maximize the gains with our marketing budget:
- Paid media optimization
- Campaign optimization
Paid media optimization
There are many paid media channels available to us, such as display ads, social media ads, SEM, etc.
As the marketing team, we want to improve the marketing channel performance for a given goal (sales conversion, awareness generation, etc). Improvement efforts include refining audience target, content, copy, creative, etc.
With data, we can measure the performance to undersand what works what doesn’t, and continue to test and learn.
Thing to note
Before we embark on paid media optimization, it is important for us to understand this: a channel that works for Y might not work for Z.
We first need to understand the audience and purpose of any given channel.
Facebook is typically used for relaxation and mindless browsing. We want to catch up on stuff, be it news, our friends (not their babies though) or the latest meme.
Hence, Facebook is a good place to promote sales of low-ticket items. For most, making such a purchase does not require extensive consideration.
On the other hand, it is almost impossible to sell insurance products on Facebook. Insurance is a huge financial commitment over a long period of time, which requires extensive consideration.
Yet, many insurance companies are still using sales conversion rate as the core metrics to measure success of Facebook ads.
There is no point in optimizing a “doomed to fail” marketing strategy, without first identifying the right metric and approach.
The campaigns we are referring to here are digital marketing activities beyond paid media. One example is to email users to sign up for an event on your website. Such campaign can be complex in nature, which goes beyond just creative and copy.
Campaign optimization includes using past learnings to influence future campaigns. Learnings can be “event type X does not pique the interest of target audience Y”, “message Z is good at driving clickthrough but fails to deliver sales”.
Search Engine Optimization aims to increase the visbility of our website to search engine users. This increases both the quality and quantity of website traffics organically.
If you are new to SEO, Moz has a great beginner guide to get you started.
Low to medium impact: marketing optimization
Due to the limited marketing budget, the impact from optimization efforts is usually limited too.
Achieving 10-20% improvement (be it conversion or cost reduction) is considered a big deal in many companies, where most are still struggling to find the appropriate marketing strategy for each channel.
Having said that, marketing optimization is still the bread and butter of marketers to produce decent wins.
3. Digital optimization
In this context, digital optimization focuses on improving performance of our digital assets, such as website and mobile apps.
In the past, website revamp takes place without the mean to accurately measure success and effectiveness.
Fast forward to today, we now have tools and plenty of web data to help us with performance measurement and proper testing.
For companies leveraging on their website and app to drive sales, the goal would be to improve sales conversion rate.
For companies with websites that are more informational, the goal would likely be awareness-related.
In the past (without A/B testing), we identified issues, brainstormed for ideas and picked 1 to implement based on our own assumptions of what customers wanted. For MNCs, such development can take more than a year. There was no way to tell if an idea would work until it was implemented. If the change was bad, you had to invest more time and money to either revert it or try another idea.
With A/B testing, we address those issues with 3 key benefits:
- Multiple ideas can be tested concurrently
- fail fast learn fast
- Prove business benfit before full development
- Improve budget ROI
- Avoid implementing ineffective changes
- reduce wastage of development efforts, time and money
Customer journey optimization
For most websites and apps, there is at least one journey we would like our customers to take.
A simplified product purchase journey would represent a customer landing on our product page, to adding item to cart, to making the purchase.
Customer journey contains multiple touchpoints, leading customer from one step to another. Due to the ever-growing demand of business stakeholders wanting to place their content on the website, the customer journey can become very complex and fragmented, leading to bad user experience.
With customer journey optimization, we recognize every single touchpoint, measure the dropoff and identify areas for improvement. And for every touchpoint we improve, we move more customers down the purchasing funnel, increasing our chances of making additional sales.
Medium impact: UI changes
From experience, making thoughtful UI changes typically yield 10-30% improvement. On the flip side, there are plenty of UI changes that yield no benefit.
Here are 4 UI changes worth experimenting with:
- Place CTA on every digital banner
- Show CTA upfront
- Reduce word clutters
- Remove top banner on important pages (application form, cart, registration)
High impact: customer journey optimization
As mentioned, as our website grows, the more fragmented the customer journey will be. Getting your customers distracted is a sure way to lose them.
In one experiment, we managed to increase CTA clickthrough rate by 300%, which resulted in a knock-on effect of +26% sales conversion rate. All these benefits with one test.
As the website is an ever-evolving organism, you will never run out of optimization opportunities.
Hyper-personalization is all about delivering highly relevant content, product and services to each different user. It is also termed as “n=1” in many companies.
In the past, segmentation has helped us avoid sending embarassing marketing messages to our customers, such as promoting a youth credit card to an elderly.
What we fail to achieve, was to differentiate individuals within a segment of 10,000. This is important, because 2 individuals within the same age and salary range can have vastly different interests and priorities.
With hyper-personalization, we can deliver highly targeted and customized experience to our customers, making their engagement with us enjoyable, resulting in increased sales.
By leveraging on data from multiple sources (1st party, 3rd party), we continuously enrich our customer profiles, differentiating them apart from each other on an individual level.
Offer customization involves applying a set of rules to choose the best offer to show a customer at a given time. Amazon’s recommendation engine comes to mind.
Contextualized content marketing improves user experience by serving relevant content based on a customer’s activity on our website or app.
Propensity modelling takes our enriched customer profiles to predict the likelihood of a customer buying product X.
High impact: hyper-personalization
Hyper-personalization promises to bring huge business successes and we can understand why.
Predicting what a customer wants greatly reduce the friction of having to look for it.
In many cases, a follow-up or a nudge is all it takes to convert a fence-sitter.
By building a strong, trusty relationship with each of your customer, you increase the chance of them staying loyal to you and becoming your advocate.
5. Marketing automation
Marketing automation serves to engage and nurture customer in a timely and highly contextualized manner. It is also used to automate repetitive activities and workflows.
Similar to hyper-personalization, marketing automation aims to deliver contextualized experience and engagement to our customers, which ultimately lead to increase in sales.
In addition, marketing automation focuses a lot on lead nurturing and leverages on the timing element to deliver outsized results.
There are 2 recommended ways of using marketing automation:
- Lead nurturing
- Opportunistic selling
Lead nurturing is the process of building trust and relationship with your customers. The goal can be to make a sales or to improve customer loyalty.
There are many ways to nurture a lead:
- Birthday/Festive greetings
- Personalized emails
- Follow-ups on purchase
- “It’s been 3 months since you’ve gotten card XXX. Do you know about the discount at YYY?”
- Content outside the scope of your business
- “Flu outbreak in XXX. Here’s 4 things to take note of.”
The ultimate goal is to keep your customers engaged and loyal to you.
Opportunistic selling (trigger-based marketing)
When is the last time you visited an insurance website, let alone visit one of the insurance product pages?
If you think about it, the only time a user would visit an insurance product page, it’s because she has the intent to make a purchase or to do some research.
This is a golden opportunity for you to engage your customer. While she is stuck in the consideration stage of making a purchase, show her that you care by emailing her relevant information that would otherwise be hard to find. If you have a promo code, let her know in a “by the way” manner and be mindful to avoid any sales pitch.
Shower her with timely knowledge to help her make her own choice. That’s the power of marketing automation.
Medium to high impact: Lead nurturing
Lead nurturing is a long and tedious process and the business value takes time to show.
For companies that are focused on short-term gains and quick wins, lead nurturing efforts are often deprioritized, and when done poorly has negligible impact.
When a proper lead nurturing program is developed and put into place, the maintenance effort is low, yet the results is exponential over time.
By building trust with your customers over a long period of time, they increasingly become loyal to you and will advocate for you. This brings in additional leads that will automatically be enrolled into the lead nurturing program, resulting in a snowball effect.
High impact: opportunistic selling (trigger-based marketing)
If you are not already doing so, there are tons of missed opportunities you can tap into.
Users who showed purchase intents are hot leads and they are ready to make a purchase. Unlike paid media, where you are targeting a huge number of people and hope for a few to take up your offer, these users are basically screaming at you to sell them something.
When left alone, users are often bombarded with too many choices, which diminish your chance of being the company of choice. By taking the initiative to engage your potential customers on a personal level, you greatly improve the chance of making a sales.